Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Beginning of the end of 'Life As We Know It'

The OFFICIAL TRAILER for 2012 Sundance Award-Winning film "Chasing Ice," opening in theaters starting November 2012.

In the spring of 2005, National Geographic photographer James Balog headed to the Arctic on a tricky assignment: to capture images to help tell the story of the Earth's changing climate. Even with a scientific upbringing, Balog had been a skeptic about climate change and a cynic about the nature of academic research. But that first trip north opened his eyes to the biggest story in human history and sparked a challenge within him that would put his career and his very well-being at risk.

Chasing Ice is the story of one man's mission to change the tide of history by gathering undeniable evidence of our changing planet. Within months of that first trip to Iceland, the photographer conceived the boldest expedition of his life: The Extreme Ice Survey. With a band of young adventurers in tow, Balog began deploying revolutionary time-lapse cameras across the brutal Arctic to capture a multi-year record of the world's changing glaciers.

As the debate polarizes America and the intensity of natural disasters ramps up globally, Balog finds himself at the end of his tether. Battling untested technology in subzero conditions, he comes face to face with his own mortality. It takes years for Balog to see the fruits of his labor. His hauntingly beautiful videos compress years into seconds and capture ancient mountains of ice in motion as they disappear at a breathtaking rate. Chasing Ice depicts a photographer trying to deliver evidence and hope to our carbon-powered planet.


Friday, February 22, 2013

MIDWAY : trailer : A 'Must Watch' film by Chris Jordan

MIDWAY : trailer : a film by Chris Jordan

from Midway PLUS 1 year ago / Creative Commons License: by nc nd NOT YET RATED


A Must Watch


The MIDWAY film project is a powerful visual journey into the heart of an astonishingly symbolic environmental tragedy. On one of the remotest islands on our planet, tens of thousands of baby albatrosses lie dead on the ground, their bodies filled with plastic from the Pacific Garbage Patch. Returning to the island over several years, our team is witnessing the cycles of life and death of these birds as a multi-layered metaphor for our times. With photographer Chris Jordan as our guide, we walk through the fire of horror and grief, facing the immensity of this tragedy—and our own complicity—head on. And in this process, we find an unexpected route to a transformational experience of beauty, acceptance, and understanding.

We frame our story in the vividly gorgeous language of state-of-the-art high-definition digital cinematography, surrounded by millions of live birds in one of the world’s most beautiful natural sanctuaries. The viewer will experience stunning juxtapositions of beauty and horror, destruction and renewal, grief and joy, birth and death, coming out the other side with their heart broken open and their worldview shifted. Stepping outside the stylistic templates of traditional environmental or documentary films, MIDWAY will take viewers on a guided tour into the depths of their own spirits, delivering a profound message of reverence and love that is already reaching an audience of tens of millions of people around the world.

Production of the feature film "MIDWAY" continues through 2013.

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Don’t Talk to Us About Your Sinking Island

How the U.N. Security Council takes a pass on global warming.

If you’re a low-lying island state, climate change is not some abstract problem far out on the event horizon, it’s more of an urgent existential threat—the kind of thing you’d hope would spur the leading global security body to take bold action. If only it were that simple.

Carne Ross

In the latest episode of Slate’s video series The World Decrypted, Carne Ross deconstructs the U.N. Security Council’s latest puzzlingly passive response to global warming. Here’s some additional background on the story: This report suggests that some low-lying states may need to be evacuated within a decade, as the rate of sea level rise is worse than anticipated: Oceans are rising 60 percent faster than the U.N. had projected. The island state of Kiribati is already making plans to relocate its population.

Here is the statement made by the representative of the Marshall Islands, Tony de Brum, at last week’s private and “informal” meeting of the U.N. Security Council.

There’s also a lot of emerging research about how rising temperatures may cause new hostilities or exacerbate existing conflict. This report from the International Crisis Group contends that the links between climate change and conflict are complex and not yet fully understood, and the Economist covers similar terrain in this analysis.

This National Research Council report states that accelerating climate change will place unparalleled strains on American military and intelligence agencies in coming years by causing ever more disruptive events around the globe. More




Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Climate: New study maps regional sea level rise variation « Summit County Citizens Voice

FRISCO — Intensifying concerns about the potential for sea level rise to swamp low-lying Pacific island nations are justified, according to a new report in Geophysical Research Letters.

Western Australia, Oceania and the small atolls and islands in this region, including Hawaii, are at greatest risk, according to the new study from EU’s ice2sea program.

The results of the modeling mirror observational data that’s been collected by satellites in the past few decades, said David Vaughan, program coordinator for EU’s ice2sea program, which seeks to develop more accurate sea level rise predictions.

“The urgent job now is to understand how global the sea-level rise will be shared out around the world’s coastlines. Only by doing this can we really help people understand the risks and prepare for the future,” Vaughn said, explaining that some regions will actually see relative sea levels decline because of the way land and ice interact globally.

The research team included scientists from Italy’s University of Urbino and the UK’s University of Bristol. The study focussed on three effects that lead to global mean sea-level rise being unequally distributed around the world.

One key factor is the continuing subsidence and emergence of land masses due to a massive loss of ice at the end of the last ice age 10,000 years ago when billions of tons of ice covering parts of North America and Europe melted. This caused a major redistribution of mass on the Earth, but the crust responds to such changes so slowly that the process is still ongoing.

The overall warming of the oceans will also change in the distribution of water across the globe by altering circulation patterns and currents. For example, scientists have documented a depletion of deep, cold water in the Southern Ocean around Antarctica, a reservoir that helps drive ocean currents worldwide.

The new paper also suggests that the loss of ice in Greenland and Antarctica will affect the regional distribution of sea level rise in another way. For now, the sheer mass of water held in ice at the frozen continents like Antarctica and Greenland exerts a gravitational pull on the surrounding liquid water, pulling in enormous amounts of water and raising the sea-level close to those continents. As the ice melts, that gravitational pull will lessen and the water will rush away and slosh toward equatorial regions.

“In the paper we are successful in defining the patterns, known as sea level fingerprints, which affect sea levels,” said University of Urbino Professor Giorgio Spada. “This is paramount for assessing the risk due to inundation in low-lying, densely populated areas. The most vulnerable areas are those where the effects combine to give the sea-level rise that is significantly higher than the global average,” Spada said, adding that, in Europe, sea level will rise but it would be slightly lower than the global average. More


Monday, February 18, 2013

China and Russia block UN Security Council climate change action

Russia and China blocked efforts last Friday to have climate change recognised as an international security threat by the UN Security Council (UNSC).

The council met in New York to discuss the potential effects of global warming, but according to Bloomberg the two permanent members objected to it being a ‘formal session’.

Despite the participation of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon this meant the session – planned by Pakistan and the United Kingdom – had few political implications.

China, Russia, India and more than 100 developing countries oppose climate becoming a UNSC issue as the council does not operate under the principles of Common But Differentiated Responsibility, which underpins the UN climate talks.

They are concerned that securitizing the issue would place a greater burden on poorer nations with large greenhouse gas emissions to take action.

Small island states vulnerable to sea level rises have pushed for climate to be discussed at this level for over two decades.

Marshall Islands representative Tony deBrum expressed frustration with Russia and China’s stance, explaining that 35 years on from gaining independence from the USA the very existence of his country is now in question.

“Our roads are inundated every 14 days,” he said. “We have to ration water three times a week. People have emergency kits for water. We can no longer use well water because it’s inundated with salt.”

The meeting – the third in UNSC history – was convened by council President Pakistan and permanent member the United Kingdom, which despite domestic criticism over its low carbon strategy appears to be embarking on a new initiative to inject momentum into global efforts to cut emissions.

The UK’s new climate envoy Rear Admiral Neil Morisetti is pushing for climate change to be framed as a global security concern.

“The UK believes that the impacts of a changing climate pose a significant and emerging threat to a country’s national security and prosperity,” a Foreign Office spokesman told RTCC.

“The UK is engaging with our international partners and through international forums to better manage this risk.”

Risk multiplier

A 2009 report commissioned by the council identified climate change as a ‘threat multiplier’, stressing it would hit food supply lines and affect the territorial integrity of island states.

And in 2011 it discussed whether ‘green helmet’ climate peacekeepers could be required to prevent conflicts caused by resource scarcity.

Addressing the session, leading German scientist Joachim Schellnhuber explained that rises in global temperatures were likely to have catastrophic consequences.

“With unabated greenhouse-gas emissions, humankind would venture into an uncertain future that is much hotter than ever before in its history – so from a scientist’s perspective, climate change is a global risk multiplier,” he said.

The World Bank’s Rachel Kyte told delegates cities must take the lead in developing low carbon infrastructure, in terms of transport, urban planning and managing water resources.

In a statement Oxfam International’s Tim Gore urged the UNSC to debate the issue further, warning the global food system was already under severe stress as a result of droughts across the US, Africa and Asia.

“Droughts or floods can wipe out entire harvests, as we have seen in recent years in Pakistan, in the Horn of Africa and across the Sahel,” he said.

“And when extreme weather hits major world food producers – like last year’s droughts in the US and Russia – world food prices rocket. This presents a major risk to net food importing countries, such as Yemen, which ships in 90% of its wheat.

“The food riots and social unrest seen in the wake of the 2008 food price spikes were not a one-off phenomenon, but a sign of the risks we face through our failure to feed a warming world.” More


Saturday, February 16, 2013

Islands struggle to convince UN Security Council that climate change is a security threat

The Marshall Islands and other low-lying island nations appealed to the U.N. Security Council on Friday to recognize climate change as an international security threat that jeopardizes their very survival.

Tony deBrum, a minister and assistant to the Marshall Islands president, said the island nations are facing opposition from Security Council permanent members Russia and China and a group of more than 130 mainly developing nations, which argue that the U.N.'s most powerful body is the wrong place to address climate change.

DeBrum told reporters after a closed Security Council meeting on the "Security Dimensions of Climate Change," organized by Britain and Pakistan, that he hopes more council members will be convinced that "this is a security issue and not just an economic-political-social issue."

The low-lying islands, which are already being inundated with sea water, want the council to bring its "political weight" to the issue and help their countries survive, for example, by harnessing new technologies and ensuring alternative energy supplies, he said.

DeBrum said it was "ironic, bizarre perhaps" that 35 years after he went before the Security Council to seek the independence of the Marshall Islands he was back again "to appeal for the survival of my country."

He said climate change has already taken a toll on the Marshall Islands. Wells have filled with salt water, making drinking water scarce and in turn affecting food production. One small island in a lagoon is now under water, and coastlines are being eroded.

The impact of climate change is also causing migration to other islands, as well as to Australia and the United States, he said.

In an interview Friday with The Associated Press, Rachel Kyte, the World Bank's vice-president for sustainable development, said that since the council's last discussion of climate change "the sense of immediacy and urgency has increased."

"The question is: Do you want to keep on cataloguing all of the terrible things that are going to happen if we continue on a business as usual track, or are we actually going to start doing anything about it?" she said

Kyte said she explained to the council on Friday that "it is possible to stop the worst from happening but it will require real, concerted policy action globally at every country level." More



Sunday, February 10, 2013

Tsunami highlights small island vulnerability

Bangkok - At least five people are reported to have died in a tsunami which struck a remote part of the Solomon Islands earlier today.

More than 5,000 people could have been seriously affected by the one meter wave that hit the town of Lata on Santa Cruz island swamping some villages and the town’s main airport but early warning systems worked and most people had fled the town for higher ground.

Initial information provided by OCHA suggests that the tsunami wave travelled 500 meters inland and flattened many traditional houses but the extent of the damage is still unknown especially in remote areas which may not have received the alert.

Some fifty people died in 2007 when the Solomon Islands was last hit by a tsunami following an 8.1 magnitude quake.

A tsunami warning was issued earlier today by The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre (PTWC) within four minutes of the earthquake and covered the Solomon Islands and many other surrounding islands such as Vanuatu, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Tuvalu, New Caledonia, Kosrae, Fiji, Kiribati, Wallis and Futuna. The regional warning was cancelled 2.5 hours later.

In New Zealand, tsunami sirens were set off late in the afternoon, and people in coastal areas were being told to stay off beaches and out of the sea, rivers and estuaries. The Bureau of Meteorology said there was no tsunami threat to Australia however a tsunami watch was issued for Australia, New Zealand, and all the way to Indonesia.

More than 500,000 people are living in Solomon Islands which forms part of the Ring of Fire, a zone of tectonic activity around the Pacific Ocean that is subject to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

“This lastest disaster event underlines the vulnerability of all these small low-lying islands to sea level rise. Many islands such as Vanuatu and Kiribati are already suffering from recurrent flooding. More action needs to be taken at the international level to increase their capacities to deal with what is now seen as inevitable,” said Jerry Velasquez from the UN office of Disaster Risk Reduction. More


Friday, February 1, 2013

The Open and Rocky Road Post-2015

UNITED NATIONS, Jan 31 2013 (IPS) - What values does a Yemeni journalist who fuelled the Arab Spring hold in common with a former principal of the U.S. National Security Council? And how in turn will they see eye to eye with a Jordanian queen, or the president of Indonesia?

The subjects of this riddle are meeting in Monrovia as part of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s 27-member High Level Panel of Eminent Person’s on the Post-2015 Development Agenda (HLP).

The purpose of the HLP is to lead the discussion around a new framework, the post-2015 development agenda, to replace the expiring Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The HLP’s work will culminate with an advisory report to Ban in May 2013.

The meeting, which takes place between Jan. 30 and Feb. 1, is the third in a series of four. Previous meetings took place in London and New York, and the forthcoming one will take place in Bali.

“This (meeting in Monrovia) is the HLP’s chance to hear the perspectives of a wide range of organisations and individuals in Africa about their priorities for a post-2015 agenda,” said Claire Melamed, head of the Growth and Equity Programme at the Overseas Development Institute (ODI).

“It’s important those perspectives are reflected in the final report,” Melamed told IPS.

ODI, in partnership with the World Wide Web Foundation and the U.N., developed an online survey to gauge the priorities of the world’s citizens. The survey, conducted through, inspired a running Twitter conversation on the topic (#post2015). The online platforms sparked international chatter that was absent during MDG discussions.

“As we witnessed in the historic events of 2011 – from the Arab spring to the rise of Occupy – the possibility of mobilising public opinion on a global scale is becoming ever-more urgent and realistic,” Rajesh Makwana, director of Share the World’s Resources (STWR), told IPS.

The airing of new voices does pose a challenge: how will 27 panellists harbour the hopes and concerns of so many people?

“My apprehension is that this process is moving in so many levels (that) there’s no priority on how these different conversations (will) come together in one place,” said Radhika Balakrishnan, executive director of the Center for Women’s Global Leadership and professor of women’s and gender studies at Rutgers University.

“There’s consultations happening all around the world… There’s not a clear way to see how these are going to come to fruition at the end,” Balakrishnan told IPS, noting that she is still hopeful, despite the challenges.