First we need to set out a whole lot of information on this subject, and I will divide it up into various heads. While the science is pretty much proven, and we are seeing the results, if you like, before our very eyes, the reaction of various individuals varies, or should I say, differs widely. And especially with our leaders.
A prime example would be Theresa May. One of the first acts she undertook as Prime Minister was to cut the subsidy for solar panels. This demonstrated to me, two things :
The government was short of money, so rob Peter to pay Paul, and
This was a middle aged, middle class lady who did not understand climate change or the urgency thereof. Had she done so she might have made an announcement such, as “I want 50% of homes to have solar panels within two years.”
However Theresa May has recently been speaking about her own personal experience of climate change, namely by seeing a glacier retreat in the SWiss Alps, on her walking holiday with Philip, her husband :
Theresa Mayhas said she was won over to the cause of tackling the climate emergency on her Swiss walking holidays.
In 2017 the prime minister decided to call what would prove to be a disastrous snap general election while on a walking holiday in Wales.
Speaking to journalists en route to her last major international summit, in Japan, May said noticing the pace at which ice had receded over time in the Swiss mountains had inspired her recent announcement that the UK would targetnet zero carbon emissionsby 2050.
“I’m pleased to be going to the G20. I’m going to be talking about the importance of us continuing to work together cooperatively, and us working with international partners,” she said. “One of the issues we’ll be talking about climate change, and I’m very pleased to say that when we get off the plane our net zero target for 2050 will have entered law in the UK. And that’s obviously important to ensure that we’re not contributing to climate change in the future.
“Just as a small example of why this is important: as you know, Philip and I go walking, not just in Wales but also in Switzerland, and there’s a particular place we go to where over the last decade you can see the glacier retreating quickly – and this has brought home to me the importance of climate change.”
She said she would urge other leaders to follow the UK’s example. “The G20 represents 80% of emissions, so actually it’s not just about what the UK does, it’s about what we can do together. So I’m going to be taking a message to the other leaders about the importance of them following the UK’s lead and acting on this issue.”
The surprise net zero plan was one of a string of policies announced by Downing Street in recent weeks, as May seeks to secure some legacy beyond failing to deliver Brexit.
The climate pledge met with scepticism among some of her cabinet colleagues. The chancellor, Philip Hammond, said that it could costup to £1tnin lost economic output by the time it was met.
But May was keen to respond to the increasing public concern about the climate emergency after the school strikes and a visit to the UK by the climate activist Greta Thunberg.
Let us look at the reactions of some others :
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo downplayed climate change as a long standing trend, suggesting that that modern societies could adapt to a changing environment, possibly with people moving to different places.
"The climate's been changing a long time. There's always changes that take place," Pompeo said during an interview with the Washington Times published Friday, when asked whether he thought climate change was man-made and how best to address it. He did not mention anything about man-made pollution in his remarks.
"Societies reorganize, we move to different places, we develop technology and innovation," he added. "I am convinced, I am convinced that we will do the things necessary as the climate changes."
In May, Pompeo praised the Arctic's rapidly shrinking sea levels for their subsequent economic opportunities, despite continued warnings about the catastrophic effects of climate change.
"Steady reductions in sea ice are opening new passageways and new opportunities for trade -- this could potentially slash the time it takes to travel between Asia and the West by as much as 20 days," he said during remarks in Rovaniemi, Finland. "Arctic sea lanes could become the 21st century Suez and Panama Canals."
“However, the goal of political appointees in the Trump administration is not just to change the climate assessment’s methodology, which has broad scientific consensus, but also to question its conclusions by creating a new climate review panel. That effort is led by a 79-year-old physicist who had a respected career at Princeton but has become better known in recent years for attacking the science of man-made climate change and for defending the virtues of carbon dioxide — sometimes to an awkward degree.
“The demonization of carbon dioxide is just like the demonization of the poor Jews under Hitler,” the physicist, William Happer, who serves on the National Security Council as the president’s deputy assistant for emerging technologies, said in 2014 in an interview with CNBC.
Mr. Happer’s proposed panel is backed by John R. Bolton, the president’s national security adviser, who brought Mr. Happer into the N.S.C. after an earlier effort to recruit him during the transition.
Mr. Happer and Mr. Bolton are both beneficiaries of Robert and Rebekah Mercer, the far-right billionaire and his daughter who have funded efforts to debunk climate science. The Mercers gave money to a super PAC affiliated with Mr. Bolton before he entered government and to an advocacy group headed by Mr. Happer.
Climate scientists are dismissive of Mr. Happer; his former colleagues at Princeton are chagrined. And several White House officials — including Larry Kudlow, the president’s chief economic adviser — have urged Mr. Trump not to adopt Mr. Happer’s proposal, on the grounds that it would be perceived as a White House attack on science.
Even Stephen K. Bannon, the former White House strategist who views Mr. Happer as “the climate hustler’s worst nightmare — a world-class physicist from the nation’s leading institution of advanced learning, who does not suffer fools gladly,” is apprehensive about what Mr. Happer is trying to do.
“The very idea will start a holy war on cable before 2020,” he said. “Better to win now and introduce the study in the second inaugural address.”
But at a White House meeting on May 1, at which the sceptical advisers made their case, Mr. Trump appeared unpersuaded, people familiar with the meeting said. Mr. Happer, they said, is optimistic that the panel will go forward.
Now 21 youth activists are taking the US government to court :
“Twenty-one youth activists faced off with the US government in an Oregon courthouse on Tuesday, where their attorneys petitioned a panel of judges to let their climate case go to trial. Until it does, their attorneys argued, fossil fuel development should be halted on public lands.
The case of Juliana v the US charges the federal government with violating the constitutional rights of youth by perpetuating systems that contribute to climate breakdown. Those young people – who range in age from 11 to 23 and hail from all corners of the nation – argue that the constitution gives them and future generations a right to an environment free of climate catastrophe.”
How about this ? Yes, a socialist plot -
Jeffrey Bossert Clark on Tuesday argued against the trial on the government’s behalf. A former George W Bush administration appointee, he has publicly equated greenhouse gas regulation with socialist attempts to seize the economy and use of United Nations science as synonymous with US rule by foreign scientists.
How about this ? Yes, a socialist plot - the same article states -
Jeffrey Bossert Clark on Tuesday argued against the trial on the government’s behalf. A former George W Bush administration appointee, he has publicly equated greenhouse gas regulation with socialist attempts to seize the economy and use of United Nations science as synonymous with US rule by foreign scientists.
Let us look at Ernesto Araújo :
Ernesto Araújo – until recently a mid-ranking official who blogs about the “criminalisation” of red meat, oil and heterosexual sex – will become the top diplomat of South America’s biggest nation, representing 200 million people and the greatest and most biodiverse forest on Earth, the Amazon.
His appointment, confirmed by Bolsonaro on Wednesday, is likely to send a chill through the global climate movement.
Brazil was where the international community first came together in 1992 to discuss reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. Its diplomats have played a crucial role in bridging the gap between rich and poor nations, particularly during the forging of the Paris agreement in 2015.
But when the new government takes power in January, the foreign ministry that leads that work will be headed by a man who claims climate science is merely “dogma”.
In his blog, Araújo states his goal is to “help Brazil and the world liberate themselves from globalist ideology”, which he sees as anti-Christian.
The 51-year-old diplomat – who has never served as an overseas ambassador – claims unnamed leftist politicians have hijacked environmentalism to serve as a tool for global domination.
“This dogma has been used to justify increasing the regulatory power of states over the economy and the power of international institutions on the nation states and their populations, as well as to stifle economic growth in democratic capitalist countries and to promote the growth of China,” he wrote in a post last month.
What strikes me, and is obvious from his recent visit to the U.K., is that he does not understand climate change in the slightest degree. He thinks it is about clean air, and because most U.S. cities are not as polluted as, say, Delhi, he thinks he is onto a winner. And he also thinks it is about clean water !
Incidentally, well done Prince Charles for arguing passionately in front of Donald Trump, for a recognition of Climate Change. So passionately that Donald Trump remarked on his passion to save the planet for future generations:
“Prince Charles spent 75 minutes longer than scheduled trying to convince Donald Trump of the dangers of global heating, but the president still insisted the US was “clean” and blamed other nations for the crisis.
Trump told ITV’s Good Morning Britain on Wednesday he had been due to meet the Prince of Wales for 15 minutes during his state visit, but the discussion went on for 90 minutes – during which the prince did “most of the talking”.
Trump said: “He is really into climate change and I think that’s great. What he really wants and what he really feels warmly about is the future. He wants to make sure future generations have climate that is good climate, as opposed to a disaster, and I agree.”
But Trump said he pushed back at the suggestion the US should do more.
He said: “I did say, ‘Well, the United States right now has among the cleanest climates there are based on all statistics.’ And it’s even getting better because I agree with that we want the best water, the cleanest water. It’s crystal clean, has to be crystal clean clear.”
Trump added: “China, India, Russia, many other nations, they have not very good air, not very good water, and the sense of pollution. If you go to certain cities … you can’t even breathe, and now that air is going up … They don’t do the responsibility.”
There are various initiatives being taken worldwide, but it is this author’s conclusion that most of them are only palliative. For instance the UK government fell far short of its target of planting trees, planting only 1,420 hectares, as opposed to Scotland’s 11,200 hectares. No sense of urgency here.
”No other EU country burns more hard coal than Poland and only Germany burns more lignite, the most polluting grade of coal. Even today, almost 80 per cent of Polish electricity is generated from the fossil fuel.”
Yet as reserves dwindle and citizens worry more about their dirty air and their damaged countryside, questions are being raised over a fuel that has long been an environmental curse and, in recent years, more often than not an economic burden.
“If you look at opinion polls, support among Poles for renewable energy is by far the highest of any energy source, and fear of the impact of climate change is growing,” says Ilona Jędrasik, from the environmental group ClientEarth. “The economy is also doing well. It is a good moment for politicians to decide to move away from coal and to set a date for doing so.”
So far, however, Poland’s ruling Law and Justice party has shown no interest in making such radical decisions. Deeply distrustful of the Kremlin and its use of gas supplies as a political weapon in Ukraine, Law and Justice’s strategists see coal as a guarantor of Polish energy independence. Like most of its predecessors, the ruling camp also has little appetite for riling the industry's powerful unions. The result is that as the EU aims to go carbon neutral by 2050, Warsaw is building new coal-fired power plants and has no plans to burn less of the fuel before 2030. Even by 2040, it expects to draw almost a third of its electricity from the most polluting hydrocarbon.
The contradictions were thrown into the global spotlight when Poland hosted the COP24 climate talks in its coal capital, Katowice, last year. As delegates from around the world gathered to limit global warming, Warsaw selected mining and energy groups among the event’s main partners.
On the eve of the conference, the energy ministry unveiled a strategy that implied onshore wind-farms would be all but phased out by 2040. And a couple of days into the summit, Andrzej Duda, Poland's president, promised a miners’ festival that he would “not let anyone murder Polish mining”.
Or India :
GENEVA: China and the US may be the largest producers of coal power, but power plants in India take the highest toll in the world when it comes to health, a global study claims.
Coal-fired power plants produce more than just carbon dioxide, which contributes to global warming, said researchers from ETH Zurich in Switzerland.
Coal burning also releases particulate matter, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and mercury- thus damaging the health of many people around the world, they said.
To estimate where action is most urgently required, the researchers modelled and calculated the undesired side effects of coal power for each of the 7,861 power plant units in the world.
The results, published in the journal Nature Sustainability, show that China and the US are the two largest producers of coal power, but power plants in India take the highest toll in the world when it comes to health.
Central Europe, North America and China all have modern power plants, but Eastern Europe, Russia and India still have many older power plants equipped with insufficient flue gas treatment, said Stefanie Hellweg from ETH Zurich's Institute of Environmental Engineering, who led the study
As a result, these power plants only remove a fraction of the pollutants- while also often burning coal of inferior quality.
"More than half of the health effects can be traced back to just one-tenth of the power plants. These power plants should be upgraded or shut down as quickly as possible," said Christopher Oberschelp, the lead author of the study.
The global picture of coal power production shows that the gap between privileged and disadvantaged regions is widening. This is happening for two reasons.
Firstly, wealthy countries- such as in Europe- import high-quality coal with a high calorific value and low emissions of harmful sulphur dioxide.
The poorer coal-exporting countries such as Indonesia, Colombia and South Africa are left with low-quality coal, which they often burn in outdated power plants without modern flue gas treatment to remove the sulphur dioxide.
"In Europe, we contribute to global warming with our own power plants, which has a global impact. However, the local health damage caused by particulate matter, sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide occurs mainly in Asia, where coal power is used to manufacture a large proportion of our consumer products," said Oberschelp.
"Global coal resources will last for several hundred years, so the harmful emissions need to be limited politically. It is particularly important to leave coal that is high in mercury and sulphur content in the ground," said Oberschelp.
Researchers said reducing the negative health effects of coal power generation should be a global priority.
But further industrialisation, especially in China and India, poses the risk of aggravating the situation instead," they said.
The initial investment costs for the construction of a coal power plant are high, but the subsequent operating costs are low. Power plant operators thus have an economic interest in keeping their plants running for a long time, according to researchers.
"The best option is therefore to not build any new coal power plants. From a health and environment perspective, we should move away from coal and towards natural gas- and in the long term, towards renewable energy sources," said Oberschelp.
Quoting FP : Brazil Was a Global Leader on Climate Change. Now It’s a Threat.
Jair Bolsonaro’s government could roll back decades of progress on clean energy and reducing deforestation.
Bolsonaro, who took office Jan. 1, clearly believes that economic development is at odds with environmental protection and that considerations about the planet should not be allowed to inhibit industry, particularly Brazil’s huge agricultural sector. During the campaign Bolsonaro earned the support of Brazil’s agribusiness lobby, the ruralistas, which make up one of the country’s most powerful congressional blocs. While corporate campaign donations are illegal in Brazil, many wealthy ruralistas are able to self-fund their campaigns and get elected; as a result, they have become a powerful force in Congress, and Bolsonaro needs their backing.
The newly inaugurated president has grumbled that environmental policy is “suffocating” the economy. He has threatened to withdraw Brazil from the Paris agreement on climate change (although he recanted after an international backlash). His environment minister, Ricardo Salles, is a former legal director of the Brazilian Rural Society, an agricultural group, and was fined this past December for changing plans for an environmentally protected area to benefit businesses in the state of São Paulo when he was head of an environmental agency there. Bolsonaro has also promised to remove some protections for the Amazon rainforest, including by rolling back indigenous reserves, such as Raposa Serra do Sol—he has advocated for agriculture and mining exploration there and said the area is too large for its inhabitants. In one of his first acts as president he shifted the power to regulate and create indigenous reserves—which account for about 13 percent of Brazil’s territory, including vast swaths of rainforest—from the National Indian Foundation agency to the agriculture ministry. On the plus side, Bolsonaro does advocate expanding wind and solar energy and reducing dependence on coal and oil for power generation, but he has offered few details on how he plans to do so. He also supports ethanol incentives, popular with Brazil’s sugar cane lobby, but has expressed no plans to support other forms of clean transport.
Brazil already has one of the cleanest electricity portfolios in the world.
Throughout 2018, about 65 percent of its electricity supply came from large hydropower projects, and more than 15 percent came from wind, solar, and biomass. Interest in large-scale hydropower development is waning, as most remaining potential projects are located in environmentally sensitive or indigenous areas. Meanwhile, auctions for wind and solar projects have generated bids to produce renewable power at some of the lowest prices in the world and attracted $6 billion of investment in 2017.
Even if large-scale hydropower development has reached a point of diminishing returns, there is still progress to be made on other renewable sources. For now, wind power accounts for nearly 8 percent of electricity supply. Solar makes up just 0.5 percent but is growing at an impressive clip. Bolsonaro’s campaign website proposed speeding up environmental licensing for small-scale hydroelectric plants and developing a local industry to produce, install, and maintain solar panels in the country’s impoverished Northeast, which is home to abundant solar and wind resources. However, the new president himself has scarcely addressed the issue in public remarks, and it’s unclear that renewable energy will be a priority for his government.
But the most important contribution Brazil can make to global climate health is reducing deforestation. Under the Paris climate agreement, Brazil committed to eliminating illegal deforestation in the Amazon and reforesting 12 million hectares by 2030. The country’s efforts in this respect matter on a global scale: The Amazon is estimated to contain 10 percent of the world’s biomass, absorbing and storing massive amounts of atmospheric carbon dioxide. In 2015, 46 percent of Brazil’s greenhouse gas emissions resulted from land use change, such as deforestation and increase in croplands, and the huge decline in Brazil’s emissions between 2005 and 2012 owed mostly to a reduction in deforestation. This suggests that progress is possible, but the rise in deforestation since 2012 means Brazil has to do more. Unfortunately, Bolsonaro has actively undermined forest protection efforts, foreshadowing dire results.
China spends $36bn on coal-fired power despite emissions goals
Beijing’s clean energy credentials imperilled after funding projects in emerging markets
China financed more than a quarter of all coal plants announced outside the country last year according to a new report, putting its clean energy image at risk as Chinese institutions fund coal-fired projects in emerging markets. Chinese institutions last year provided $36bn of financing for coal plants outside the country, 26 per cent of the 399 gigawatts of such plants planned or committed last year, according to a report published by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA), a US-based non-profit.
As development banks scale back or completely halt their investment in coal-backed energy projects, China has emerged as a chief lender for such power plants, putting its international policies at odds with its domestic agenda to cut coal use, reduce carbon emissions and boost consumption of renewable energy.
“We are at a juncture where the rest of the world has shifted to renewable energy investments, but we are seeing a whole set of legacy patterns for coal — patterns of the last generation — are being clung to and subsidised by Chinese institutions,” said Melissa Brown, a report co-author. In the past two years, China has pared capacity in steel production and coal-fired industries by shutting outdated facilities and capping polluting activity.
China’s coal consumption has dropped steadily since 2013, with the exception of a short-term jump in late 2018 as the country increased industrial activity to boost economic output. China has also taken a leadership role in global climate talks designed to cut carbon emissions, filling a void left by the administration of Donald Trump, who notoriously described global warming as a “hoax”.
But some of the cut capacity has shifted abroad to developing countries, particularly in countries formally partnering with China on the Belt and Road Initiative. In the past four years, the Chinese steel industry, a coal-consuming sector, has funded 32m tonnes of annual capacity in new steel projects in Indonesia and Malaysia, according to a FT analysis last year, equivalent to more than 40 per cent of steel consumption in 2016.
Chinese funding for coal projects is especially evident in south and south-east Asia, where energy demands are growing quickly. Last year, Chinese institutions committed or offered to finance 13.8GW of coal-fired capacity in Bangladesh, for example, equivalent to just under 90 per cent of Bangladesh’s power capacity.
According to the US Department of Energy, 1GW can power about 9,000 compact electric vehicles. “Chinese investment has the potential to shape south-east Asia, but in doing so, it must invest in clean renewable energy, not weigh us down with dirty coal,” said Khanh Nguy Thi, director of Vietnamese environmental organisation GreenID.
3. Time is getting short, global warming seems to be accelerating
Scientists shocked by Arctic permafrost thawing 70 years sooner than predicted
Permafrost at outposts in the CanadianArcticis thawing 70 years earlier than predicted, an expedition has discovered, in the latest sign that the global climate crisis is accelerating even faster than scientists had feared.
A team from the University of Alaska Fairbanks said they were astounded by how quickly a succession of unusually hot summers had destabilised the upper layers of giant subterranean ice blocks that had been frozen solid for millennia.
“What we saw was amazing,” Vladimir Romanovsky, a professor of geophysics at the university, told Reuters. “It’s an indication that the climate is now warmer than at any time in the last 5,000 or more years.“
Scientists are concerned about the stability of permafrost because of the risk that rapid thawing could release vast quantities of heat-trapping gases, unleashing a feedback loop that would in turn fuel even faster temperature rises.
With scientists warning that sharply higher temperatures would devastate the global south and threaten the viability of industrial civilisation in the northern hemisphere, campaigners said the new paper reinforced the imperative to cut emissions.
“Thawing permafrost is one of the tipping points for climate breakdown and it’s happening before our very eyes,” said Jennifer Morgan, executive director of Greenpeace International. “This premature thawing is another clear signal that we must decarbonise our economies, and immediately.”
This is where ice floes come to die, and the cemetery is filling faster each year, according to the leader of this scientific expedition, Till Wagner, of the University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW). One of the objectives of the expedition is to investigate why the collapse of Arctic ice is happening faster than climate computer models predict and to understand what this augurs for the rest of the planet.
The melt is not simply a seasonal process. The natural thaw that starts with spring’s warm weather is being amplified by manmade global heating. The Arctic has heated up by 2C above pre-industrial levels, twice the global average. Some hotspots, including parts of the Fram strait, have warmed by 4C. There are variations from year to year, but the trend is clear and accelerating.Sea iceis melting earlier in the spring and freezing later in the autumn. Each summer it thins more and recedes further, leaving greater expanses of the ocean exposed to 24-hour sunlight. This is driving back the frontiers of ice and fragmenting one of the planet’s most important climate regulators. It is also creating a series of feedbacks that are accelerating the Arctic melt. Several are only partially understood.
Greenland's ice melting faster than scientists previously thought – study
The pace of ice loss has increased four-fold since 2003 as enormous glaciers are depositing ever larger chunks of ice into the Atlantic ocean, where it melts, causing sea levels to rise
Greenland’s ice is melting faster than scientists previously thought, with the pace of ice loss increasing fourfold since 2003, new research has found.
Enormous glaciers inGreenlandare depositing ever larger chunks of ice into the Atlantic Ocean, where it melts. But scientists have found that the largest ice loss in the decade from 2003 actually occurred in the south-west region of the island, which is largely glacier-free.
This suggests surface ice is simply melting as global temperatures rise, causing gushing rivers of meltwater to flow into the ocean and push up sea levels. South-west Greenland, not previously thought of as a source of woe for coastal cities, is set to “become a major future contributor to sea level rise”, the research states.
“We knew we had one big problem with increasing rates of ice discharge by some large outlet glaciers,” said Michael Bevis, lead author of the paper and a professor of geodynamics at Ohio State University. “But now we recognize a second serious problem: increasingly, large amounts of ice mass are going to leave as meltwater, as rivers that flow into the sea.”
The research provides fresh evidence of the dangers posed tovulnerable coastal placesas diverse as Miami, Shanghai, Bangladesh and various Pacific islands as climate change shrinks the world’s land-based ice.
The melting of the sea ice has consequences on all levels, from local to global. Locally, all the animals that live up there have evolved to live with the sea ice, so its disappearance will have major effects through the entire food web.
For example, there are certain algae that need to live under the ice. Those organisms are an important food source for little shrimplike creatures calledamphipods. Those organisms, in turn, are eaten by Arctic cod, which are eaten by seals, which are eaten bypolar bears. There are projections that the polar bear population is going to crash as the ice keeps melting. Already in the Beaufort Sea, we have seen a 30 percent decline in the polar bear population.
You also said the Arctic is like the air-conditioning of the Northern Hemisphere, affecting weather patterns, currents, and disasters like droughts and floods. Can you explain how this works ?
A warming Arctic is going to affect our planet’s systems of ocean currents and wind patterns, which help drive a lot of our weather. Now, there is agiant conveyor beltin which cold water that forms near the edge of sea ice sinks, only to be replaced by warmer water from the south. This process makes the British Isles comfortable to live in, for example, instead of frigid. But this whole conveyor system is in danger of disruption as the poles warm.
As the Arctic warms, it may also impact air currents, such as thejet stream, which drives a lot of weather in North America by blocking or shuttling cold air.
The Himalayan Mountains are home to the highest peak in Mount Everest at 29,029 feet, but also to the third largest deposit of ice and snow in the world, after Antarctica and the Arctic. Now the first complete study of this remote region reveals that its glaciers lost billions of tons of ice—equivalent to more than a vertical foot and half of ice each year—from 2000 to 2016.
This is the first comprehensive look at what’s happened to glaciers in the Himalaya over a 40-year time span, said lead author Joshua Maurer at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. The study was published today in Science Advances.
“Our study reveals a robust signal of glacier ice loss linked to rising temperatures from climate change,” Maurer says. As much as quarter of the region’s ice has been lost over the last 40 years, he estimated.
Temperatures in the region have risen one degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) higher than those from 1975 to 2000, according to temperature data collected from ground stations. Researchers calculated the amount of melting likely to result from warmer temperatures to confirm that one degree was indeed enough to produce such a massive loss of glacier ice.
“A one degree C increase is a huge change,” says co-author Joerg Schaefer, a professor at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. “In the middle of the last ice age the mean annual temperature was only 3 degrees C cooler,” he says.
Spying on glacial ice :
The signal showing Himalayan ice loss linked to rising temperatures would not be so clear if it weren’t for the U.S. spy satellites—KH-9 Hexagon military satellites from 1973 to 1980 to be precise—that photographed the region. Declassified images from those satellites were turned into 3-D models to show what the glaciers’ elevations and sizes were in the 1970s, Maurer said. Those were then compared to more recent sophisticated NASA satellite imagery that shows changing elevations of the ice over time. That enabled researchers to study the changes to 650 of the largest glaciers, representing 55 percent of the glacial ice in the region over the past 40 years.
The glaciers in the Himalaya are much less studied than Greenland’s since it is amongst the most dangerous regions—physically as well as politically difficult—to do research in, said Maurer. The Himalaya span 1,500 miles, passing through the nations of India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, Bhutan, and Nepal.
The ice and snow in the region are the source for Asia’s mighty rivers including the Indus, the Yangtze, and the Ganga-Brahmaputra. The study did not include the huge adjoining ranges of high-mountain Asia such as the Pamir, Hindu Kush, or Tian Shan, but other studies suggest that similar melting is underway there as well.
The Bible was inspired by God himself. That may be a strange statement to a non believer, “well, how did He inspire it ? Did He write a note to scribe B, and scribe C, at the time of the exile in Babylon ? Or what about Jeremiah, or Isaiah ?” The trouble is for the non believer, that Christians tend to use code, “well, the Bible is the Word of God.” Huh, what does that mean ? Another code word that suggests that Christians, in their churches, are running a private club, that you can only really enter after some strange rituals. Adult baptism, anyone ? Take a local Baptist church, which advertises that the Minister has such and such a degree.
Person off the street : “I’ve been drinking heavily for some years, and my partner walked out, recently I’ve been violent, and it’s scaring me. I heard somewhere ages ago that Jesus can deal with these sorts of problems, and I’m re-assured that the Minister has a degree . . ” Hello ?
Some two years ago I took the bus to Torquay, to pick up my car after an MoT. This is what I observed from the top deck of the bus. Shops, plate glass, wares to be seen, come in and be welcome. “Do try this sofa, it’s on special offer this weekend.” Churches, mostly by their architecture, declared the churches to be fortresses. A very clear signal - this is a private club, meeting on Sundays, oh, and some stuff going on the week, read the notice closely.
God is Spirit, and works by His Spirit. That is in itself fairy unintelligible to most folk. “Yeah, we know my daughter has gone to be with angels, she was run over by a car, we still miss her . . are the angels in heaven ?” But it is His Spirit that is unseen, oversees Creation, that is this world, and the universe. One of the problems in apprehending who God is, is the sheer power available to him. Imagine, if you like, that there was a steel rope-way a mile wide, stretching from here to the moon, and on this rope-way were placed hard drive after hard drive - think of the computing power. I often ask myself, “well what does He use, photons of light to store and process information ?”
Talking of what inspired the Bible, and how it was compiled, there is a useful book called “The Ark before Noah, Decoding the Story of the Flood,” by Irving Finkel. Irving Finkel has spent a lifetime, literally, in the British Museum, decoding Assyrian and Babylonian clay tablets. He makes a convincing case that when the Jews went into exile, it was either write down and codify the various scrolls and parchments that we now know as the Old Testament, or assimilate into the lush Babylonian culture - the hanging gardens of Babylon, anyone ? - and the Jewish culture would be dead. He also looks into pre existing stories of the Flood, and how these stories were assimilated to become the story of Noah, and his escape from the Flood.
So we come back, again, to the fact that God is Spirit, and not unnaturally prefers to work by His Spirit. For a people brought up to understand science, that what you see, what you can measure, is what you get, the idea of an invisible Spirit that for instance, knows if you are feeling sad, is hard to understand. After all, we can’t see radiation - think Chernobyl - but with the appropriate instruments we can measure radiation and say if it is at a dangerous level. We have no idea how God can read your mind, your emotions, but he can.
So God the Father - Father because all of Creation stems from Him - is able to read what is going on in your mind, and can introduce certain thoughts, if He so wishes. Let me make it quite clear, I am not talking about “hearing voices”, that told me to argue with a neighbour. Those voices are a deception from the Enemy of mankind, so that a person, or persons will follow an evil path. We are seeing rapes, murders, the list is endless, all sorts of evil. So God is able to introduce thoughts, and directions, to those who are writing the Bible.
The next point to make is that God does not barge around : “Do this !” : “Do that !” : “Move to Birmingham by the end of next week !” The prime point to understand is that He has given us Free Will. Yes, he could make robotic angels, and robotic human beings, that would praise the Creator God, because they were programmed to do so. “We praise you, O Creator God,and we will do so until you change our circuits !” But God the Father wants that people, of their own free will, praise Him and draw near to Him, to have relationship with Him.
But God is able to give directions to those who are close to Him. A friend might say, “you are hanging around in this town, why don’t you move to Birmingham ? Good jobs, and opportunities, you know.” And you think, ‘he’s right, why didn’t I think of that ?’ God has just used your friend to give you a suggestion, and when you go to Birmingham to suss things out, you find doors are opened, a job is offered, you find a flat quickly and easily . . . God has, unseen and unheard, prepared a way for you.
God the Father is in the process of selecting those He can call holy, not because they are holy, but because they have put their trust in Jesus - hence the New Testament. I am just providing an overview here, there are plenty of books and preachers who will argue the case more fully. And these persons whom He can call holy, will live and join with the Father, and Jesus, in Heaven. These persons that God will live with, are those who have said “sorry” for their sins, and have asked Jesus to be their Lord and Saviour, and hopefully gone on to receive the infilling of the Holy Spirit. It is no use, by the way, of saying, “well I was baptised as an infant, now let me into Heaven.” God the Father will say, “so you lived your life just as you pleased, with all its sin, both petty sin and big sin, you couldn’t be bothered to search for, and find My Son, Jesus, so now your sin clings to you, and I will now say : “Depart from Me, you evildoer, into outer darkness.”
But for those who accept Jesus, the purpose of doing that is so that you can have relationship, that means talking to God the Father, or Jesus, and hearing the Lord speak back. So many stop at just going to church, useful in itself, but they never bother to ask to receive the Holy Spirit, still less do they think of actually communicating with the Father.
What does the Bible say ? part 2 :
So now we come to the crux of the matter. What if anything, does the Bible say about Climate Change, or rather, Climate Emergency ?
In a few brief paragraphs above, I have sought to show that God is able to speak into men’s minds, and in particular, into the minds of those who drew up the Scriptures. So we can say that God ‘inspired’ the Bible. What He wanted written, was written, what He wanted left out, was not written. For instance, the Bible has plenty to say about sexual sin, for instance, but you will not find any lurid descriptions, thankfully.
It is worth making the point at this stage that God the Father has put the whole of this present run of this creation, i.e. life on earth, through the vast computer of His mind, and He knows the end from the beginning. You may find that incredible, but it is true. Therefore He already knows whether climate change is a threat, or not.
The Bible works in many ways. Firstly it is a (relatively) simple storybook, that serves to bring the reader to an understanding about God the Father, and an enabler by a fairly simple process, for the reader to come to a belief in Jesus. But remember these chilling words :
53He has filled the hungry with good things, but the rich He has sent away empty. Luke 1 v 53.
Secondly the Bible does not necessarily give a full account of incidents and happenings. Nor does it fully explain things. This is deliberate, it is not because God has forgotten to add details, explanations. Remember that we are meant to be in relationship with God the Father, and His son, Jesus ? Meaning that we give praise, enter into belief, and in return we are guided by and hear from God. So the Bible asks us to query, to ask the lord, “What does this mean ?” or, “Why did they do that ?” or, “What is going on here ?”
Here is a simple example. Jesus enters the home of Martha and Mary, and as was the custom, was offered hospitality. Now wouldn’t you like to know more details ? Two sisters keeping home in those times ? Was that not unusual ? Had the men, husbands, or the father died ?
We are told the story in Luke 10 :
38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him.
She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
In a way, this story does not make much sense on one level. Isn’t it commendable that Martha oversees preparations for a meal ? Remember this is the Middle East, so hospitality was a must. She would never have said , “ oh, there’s a takeaway down the road, send one of your disciples . . .”
But instead Martha is gently ticked off by Jesus, and most commentators focus on the fact that it is better to receive teaching from Jesus, i.e. to spend time with Him, than be distracted by whether that bill has been paid, or whether a meal has been prepared.
But it was revealed to me that the story, and Jesus’ reactions to Martha, make perfect sense, in the culture of the time. Put simply, the people of the time would be reacting by thinking, “Couldn’t she organise the servants ? Were they so useless that she had to supervise them ? Had she not trained them as to what she required, as to how to do things ?” Rather than supervising servants, she should be sitting with the guest of honour.
The same thing still goes forward in the Middle East. In Iran, if you are offered food in a house - and you will be offered food - you should refuse the first two times, only on the third time of offering is it acceptable to accept.
Thirdly, the Bible acts as a codebook. This may surprise some people, but Jesus is locked in a battle with the evil one, Satan, who was created a very powerful angel, an Archangel, who was expulsed from heaven, with his angel followers, when he rebelled against God, thinking he could be like God and receive worship. This is why Jesus says to his disciples “ I saw Satan fall like lightning, from heaven.” Satan fell to Earth, and tries to continue his “reign” here on earth, thus we see rapes, murders, stabbings, lying by those in power, financial irregularities, oppression of the poor . . . all in direct conflict with the teachings of Jesus, and all these things point to another power, another hidden, unseen kingdom at work in men’s minds. Though of course when there is a stabbing, or a court case about financial irregularities, then the hidden kingdom is seen.
So what do I mean by codebook ? As Jesus does not want to necessarily reveal his plans to the evil one, Satan, who by his agents i.e. fallen angels and such, may be listening, by speaking directly to a person, as that person prays about a situation, about a person they are concerned about, they may find a scripture comes up in their readings, or in a service, that answers their query. No-one know that a query has been raised, addressed to God, and no-one knows an answer has been given, but that particular person knows that an answer from God has been given. And he or she marvels that God knew what they were thinking, what loved one they were concerned about.
And now what can we glean from the Bible about Climate Change, Climate Emergency ? Is not God in charge, and He will make all things right, surely there have been fluctuations in the climate for thousands of years ?
Matthew 24 :
3As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”
4Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumours of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.
9“Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other,
11and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”
Did you notice ? “There will be famines and earthquakes in many places.” As global warming, heating, takes place, one result will be famines. Suppose a heatwave strikes Europe and Asia for three months over summer, and all the crops fail, are scorched to be useless. You think he supermarket shelves will be full of produce, vegetables ? and grains ie bread, will be rationed. Check out 2030, 2035.
Carbon emissions from energy industry rise at fastest rate since 2011 :