Climate Change and the Loss of a Planet: Pichon Battle and Almut Arneth, President of Taproot Earth, and a Climate Scientist
As the Re:WIRED GREEN event on addressing climate change drew to a close yesterday, the weather underlined the urgency in the most horrific way possible.
Pichon Battle is the president of Taproot Earth and she is on the front lines of the climate crisis. She lives on the Louisiana swamp, where the water is already washing away communities. And she knows her home will be lost to rising seas no matter what she does. Pichon Battle wants to try and save some parts of the world that are still protected. Her closing speech was a generous but unsparing entreaty to the privileged, asking them not to turn away from the necessity for sweeping systemic change.
For Pichon Battle, individual steps like voting for politicians who care about the climate are all well and good—but must be accompanied by hard work on collective action that challenges existing economic and political systems. Access to clean water and healthy food, she said, should not depend on how much money a community has.
When it comes to changing minds, nothing beats an experience. Sylvia Earle thinks that way. The scientist has spent years trying to get people to understand the impacts of climate change, and has found that showing them can be the best way to tell them about the problems the planet is facing. It’s not possible to take millions of people to the bottom of the ocean or make them read a boring climate report. The solution? Actually, it might be TikTok.
Climate scientists see a lack of action by governments and institutions as their main problem, so it makes sense that they would choose to act on it, says Almut Arneth, who signed the letter at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany. She says that the AGU response isdisproportionate to a non-violent protest. “We need to make sure that we as scientists are stepping up to stop something that could potentially be quite dangerous for free speech in science.”
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“I’d like to know from you,” Earle said, “how to strengthen that bridge between the knowledge that is there and communicating it in a way that people listen.”
Social media is what Kianni considers the bridge. She founded a nonprofit that works to translate information about the environment into as many languages as possible. It began when she saw the effects of pollution on her parents home country of Iran. Kianni said that his nonprofit had over 9000 volunteers due to the fact that they had been able to reach hundreds of thousands of people through short-form video.
The President of the United Nations Climate talks has environmental credibility that few other American presidents can claim. He muscled through a landmark climate law that is pouring $370 billion into the effort to speed the American economy away from fossil fuels. He has seeded climate policy across the federal government. His administration plans to enact the strongest regulation to date to reduce methane, a potent greenhouse gas.
The Democrats may be able to retain control of Congress thanks to a surprisingly strong showing by Mr. Biden and his party in Tuesday’s elections.
Climate Damage and the Power of Power: The Case of the Egyptian Dissident and COP27 Climate Summit Protester Abd El Fattah
For decades, wealthy nations, which have emitted half of all heat-trapping gasses since 1850, have avoided calls to compensate poor countries for climate disasters, fearing that doing so could open them to unlimited liability. As a legal matter and a practical matter it has been difficult to determine what loss and damage could cost and who should pay for it.
According to Wanjira Mathai, there is a lot of money in the economy. $17 trillion showed up when Covid happened, there was plenty out there. There is money. We have a crisis in empathy.”
Paul Bledsoe, a climate adviser under President Bill Clinton who now lectures at American University, said there was no way Mr. Biden would embrace the idea of loss and damage payments.
“America is culturally incapable of meaningful reparations,” he said. “Having not made them to Native Americans or African Americans, there is little to no chance they will be seriously considered regarding climate impacts to foreign nations. It’s a complete nonstarter in our domestic politics.”
John Kerry wants corporations to invest in renewable-energy projects in countries that will allow them to claim the resulting cuts in greenhouse gases against their own climate goals. Many climate scientists feel that carbon offset initiatives can be seen as a way of allowing companies to continue their pollution.
Mr. Biden is due to meet with the president of Egypt and discuss the case of an Egyptian dissident who is on a hunger strike. Mr. Abd El Fattah had said he would stop drinking water last Sunday, at the start of the COP27 summit. The conference representatives are threatening to walk out if he dies.
Demonstrators, who are a mainstay at U.N. climate summits, have been muted all week at this gathering because of tight restrictions imposed by Mr. Sisi’s government. But on Friday morning, about 100 people from Fridays for Future, a youth-led and organized climate movement, as well as protesters urging a vegan diet and activists opposed to oil and gas drilling in Africa, made their presence known inside the area at the summit that is under the control of the United Nations.
World leaders, scientists, and policymakers are gathered in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, for the 27th United Nations Conference of the Parties (COP27) climate summit. So far, the discussions have addressed the urgent need to decarbonize high-emitting industries, adaptation strategies for climate-resilient agriculture and loss and damage compensation.
As the conference enters its second week, Nature spoke to four climate scientists from the host country about their research, the challenges they encounter and their hopes for COP27.
At my research institute, we work on projects to mitigate the sea-level rise in the Nile Delta, and study its impact on farmers and people living in the surrounding area.
There is a lot of uncertainty in the field because of the different climate models that make it hard to transform our research into viable projects that can be implemented immediately. While high-speed computers can do it in one hour, it takes three months to run one model using the computers we have access to. The lack of supporting technologies causes delays in producing our research.
My colleagues are attending COP27 and delivering a presentation on the Water Day, 14 November. But we’re only doing research — we cannot change policies. We wish to hear about an agreement to reduce emissions by the end of COP27, and to see actions not just words. We have heard enough promises in previous COP meetings.
Climate Change in the Nile Valley: The Low-Redshift Era During the Precession of Thunberg and Africa’s Pandemic
There is a huge gap in climate research in the Middle East and North Africa. The majority of the studies focus on Europe or the Mediterranean region. You wouldn’t find research specifically on Egypt, for example; the work that exists is like a by-product of research on the Mediterranean region or the African continent.
My research focuses on trying to mitigate the effects of climate change on the Nile Valley. I collaborate with plant-breeding scientists at the University of Florida to find plant genotypes that can tolerate droughts and a high level of salinity.
Even though our research proposes solutions, I feel that it is not up to the scientists to translate the output of their studies into effective adaptation projects. I hope that we can see action to start projects with immediate effect, because we have a long way to go.
When she came to New York in a boat to help stage two climate strikes, I first met her in the middle of that maelstrom. A lot has changed since then, and then again, a whole lot hasn’t. Thunberg is 20 now. Countries accounting for almost 90 percent of the world’s emissions and G.D.P. have made net-zero pledges. fossil fuel use has peaked, but it isn’t as high as it was in the past and renewable energy is still going up. Current policies still point to a global average temperature rise above three degrees Celsius this century, more than double the more ambitious goals enshrined by the Paris agreement in 2015. She’s published her third book, ” The Climate Book,” a tour of the state of the emergency, and how to think about it from more than 100 contributors. I wrote an essay about the experiences of the Pandemic.
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The company I co-founded, Recyclizer, collects plastic waste from the streets and recycles it into a mulch film that can be used to cover soil, protecting it from damage and reducing the amount of water needed for irrigation.
In my academic research, I focused on how the decision-making process in the public and private sectors affects the implementation of sustainability and development goals and tackling climate change in Egypt.
Lack of data or poor access has been the biggest challenge for me. Others include access to research papers in science journals — as a researcher in a developing country, paying fees to access multiple international journals is an issue.
We now know that a large part of the reason for the political failure to act on climate change is because the fossil fuel industry built a network to challenge the science and policy of climate change. The industry’s efforts, which are ongoing, have included at least 4,556 individuals with ties to 164 different organizations. The investment in climate change denial—at least $9.77 billion from 2003 to 2018—bought the companies a half-century to continue the extraction of fossil fuels and delay the transition to clean energy.
The deliberate production of knowledge or doubt is on the rise. For example, the Climate Social Science Network launched out of Brown University in the fall of 2020 now includes approximately 300 scholars (including me), and is largely dedicated to studying climate policy obstructionism around the world, such as the important role of public relations firms. In 2023, universities will begin to establish entire research units dedicated to finding ways to protect scientific knowledge from the interests of government, religion, and free enterprise.
In 2023, agnotologists will work to create a set of standards to combat the creation of ignorance, including building firewalls between industry money and university research and putting more pressure on social media to prevent “superspreaders” of disinformation. Society’s trust in science can mean the difference between life and death: A study of 126 countries found that where trust in science is high, citizens are more confident about vaccination (controlling for the individual’s own trust in science).
As knowledge remains our best hope to save the planet and ourselves, in 2023 a deeper understanding of ignorance will help us learn what the powerful do not want us to know.
Climate Change Manifestation: Rose Abramoff and Peter Kalmus walked out of the lab on 15 December 2022 to demand action on climate change
By the time she spoke at Davos that January, excoriating the world — “I want you to act as if the house is on fire, because it is” — she had become the face of the global climate movement, giving it an entirely new generational life and scale. She led weekly marches across the globe that drew millions of people through the year and helped force the most powerful people in the world to do more about the global warming crisis.
On 15 December 2022, Rose Abramoff, an Earth scientist then at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, and Peter Kalmus, a climate scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, walked on stage at the beginning of an AGU plenary talk and held up a banner reading “Out of the lab & into the streets”. The organizers took the sign out of the room, and then asked them to leave.
Nature wondered if Oak Ridge had fired Abramoff because it was pursuing his personal interests outside of work, but a spokesman wouldn’t give an answer.
A spokesman for the society said that people can reserve space for public engagement at all meetings, and it has a proactive stance on climate change.
This wasn’t the first time that Abramoff and Kalmus had protested to demand action on climate change. Both were arrested for civil disobedience. For instance, they were detained last November after chaining themselves to the fence of Charlotte Douglas International Airport in North Carolina to protest against emissions from private jets, as part of global demonstrations organized by the activist group Scientist Rebellion.
Oak Ridge fired her because she had been using government resources for personal purposes and not following the organization’s code of business ethics, as was written in a New York Times opinion piece by disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff.