UN Secretary criticizes G8 on climate change

I’m in Geneva, Switzerland right  now attending a meeting at the UN on global health. I had the privilege of meeting Ban Ki Moon briefly on Monday when he stopped by an exhibit I put together for the conference. He was quiet, and gracious, and personable. I couldn’t help but wonder what his thoughts are on this week’s G8 summit in Italy. Global health is on the agenda here this week, but there it’s been all about the economy and climate change. Following the progress of this week’s summit on the refreshingly Michael Jackson-free BBC Europe and CNN International channels, I was disappointed to see that little progress was made. Today, Ban Ki Moon spoke out against the G8 stating “The policies that they have stated so far are not enough, this is politically and morally (an) imperative and historic responsibility … for the future of humanity, even for the future of the planet Earth.” Continue reading

1st International Marine Conservation Congress

imccThe Marine Section of the Society for Conservation Biology will be hosting its first stand-alone meeting, the International Marine Conservation Congress (IMCC), from 20-24 May 2009 at George Mason University near Washington D.C. This will be an interdisciplinary meeting that will engage natural and social scientists, managers, policy-makers, and the public. The goal of the IMCC is to put conservation science into practice through public and media outreach and the development of concrete products (e.g., policy briefs, blue ribbon position papers) that will be used to drive policy change and implementation. Continue reading

Climate change is a certain threat

Boiling Point: How Politicians, Big Oil and Coal, Journalists and Activists Are Fueling the Climate Crisis—And What We Can Do to Avert DisasterMarch 6, 2009 – Why does the public often pay more attention to climate change deniers than climate scientists? Why do denial arguments that have been thoroughly debunked still show up regularly in the media?

Some researchers from New York’s Fordham University may have found some answers. Prof. David Budescu and his colleagues asked 223 volunteers to read sentences from reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The responses revealed some fundamental misunderstandings about how science works. Continue reading

Congratulations President Obama!

Congratulations President Obama! Yesterday’s inauguration of President Barack Obama was so inspiring and wonderful it is hard to describe. What a landmark event in US history! We finally have a tangible reason to hope, and to continue to act, for a better future for our planet. Obama has enormous tasks before him to get the US back on track economically, politically, and environmentally. He’ll now be expected to fix the economy, divert us and the rest of the world from a global depression, improve foreign relations and foreign policy to restore America’s reputation abroad and at home, solve the health care and education messes, and at least slow global warming so that our children have a world worth living in. Thankfully he has help. A strong cabinet, both houses in Congress, overwhelming support of the American people and billions of global citizens, a wife who seems as amazing as he is, and two beautiful daughters who are clearly devoted to their father. Continue reading

Penguins = canaries in a coal mine

Spheniscus magellanicusI always loved the song “Canary in a Coal Mine” by the Police:

First to fall over when the atmosphere is less than perfect
Your sensibilities are shaken by the slightest defect
You live your life like a canary in a coalmine
You get so dizzy even walking in a straight line

Now the first line of the song and the comparison of penguins to canaries in coal mines is disturbing. Are we going to be a generation remembered for celebrating penguins in films like “March of the Penguins” and “Happy Feet” only to be the generation that announces their extinction? I hope not. It would be a tragic loss to the animal kingdom and to mankind. Continue reading

Out of Africa – back to reality

So in case you’re wondering why MarineBio’s blog seems to have been neglected, it’s because I was in Tanzania. Though I was there for a meeting, I did take a day to explore Tanzania’s beautiful scenery and wild life. From the windows of our Toyota Camry-like car, we saw — zebras, giraffes, warthogs (so ugly they’re cute), buffalo, baboons, gazelles… all in a span of a quick 2-hour tour of the Arusha National Park. I was thinking about how cool I was for going on “safari” (seriously finger quoting here) in a fuel-efficient vehicle instead of a gas-guzzling 4-wheel drive SUV — safari utility vehicle. Ok, ok I’ll stop — it’s just that I really resented being in such an amazing place for a meeting and having to rush back to the US without enjoying more than 2-hours of the fantastic wild life there. Continue reading

Reduce greenhouse gases now

Technology called available

By Beth Daley, Globe Staff | May 5, 2007

Climate Change in the US, watch it online today.Technologies are available to significantly reduce greenhouse gases but nations must adopt them far more aggressively to avert the worst consequences of global warming, the leading scientific authority on climate change said yesterday.

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said temperature increases that began more than a century ago could be capped at 3.6 degrees if nations level greenhouse gas emissions in the next decade and then reduce them between 50 percent and 85 percent by 2050. Continue reading

The global warming debate is over

The global warming debate is overUNITED NATIONS – NATIONS UNIES
FRAMEWORK CONVENTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE – Secretariat

PRESS RELEASE
UNFCCC Executive Secretary says significant funds needed to adapt to climate change impacts (Brussels, 6 April 2007) – On the occasion of the launch of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) assessment of present and future impacts of climate change, the UN’s top climate change official has pointed to the potential danger of climate change triggering conflicts over water, the spread of diseases and an increase in world-wide migration unless adequate adaptation measures are developed and integrated into long-term development planning. Continue reading

Panel Issues Bleak Report on Climate Change

Columbia Glacier 1980New York Times
Science / Environment

Panel Issues Bleak Report on Climate Change
By ELISABETH ROSENTHAL and ANDREW C. REVKIN
Published: Paris, February 2, 2007

In a bleak and powerful assessment of the future of the planet, the leading international network of climate change scientists has concluded for the first time that global warming is “unequivocal” and that human activity is the main driver, “very likely” causing most of the rise in temperatures since 1950.

They said the world is already committed to centuries of warming, shifting weather patterns and rising seas, resulting from the buildup of gases in the atmosphere that trap heat. But the warming can be substantially blunted by prompt action, the panel of scientists said in a report released here today. Continue reading

Just one reason why you should vote tomorrow

This is from the Center for Biological Diversity’s newsletter: Endangered Earth

Humpback WhalesOn October 30, 2006, the Washington Post ran a major expose on Julie MacDonald, the Bush administration’s point person for squelching scientific decision-making within the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The Post described MacDonald’s efforts as “the latest in a series of controversies in which government officials and outside scientists have accused the Bush administration of overriding or setting aside scientific findings that clashed with its political agenda on such issues as global warming, the Plan B emergency contraceptive and stem cell research … Hundreds of pages of records, obtained by environmental groups through the Freedom of Information Act, chronicle the long-running battle between MacDonald and Fish and Wildlife Service employees over decisions whether to safeguard plants and animals from oil and gas drilling, power lines, and real estate development, spiced by her mocking comments on their work and their frequently expressed resentment.” Continue reading