Morrison’s roadmap to emissions reduction could turn out to be pap – but it’s not a terrible idea | Katharine Murphy Some in the government do want to shift on climate policy, but it remains to be seen whether they have the gutsGiven the Coalition’s unconscionable track record, it is very, very hard to assume the Morrison government will approach anything in climate change policy from a position of good faith.But brace yourself, because I’m going to say something that might surprise you. I don’t think it’s dumb for Scott Morrison to be arguing that the Coalition should develop a roadmap before settling on a long-term emissions reduction target. Continue reading… Source – Full Article https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/feb/22/morrisons-roadmap-to-emissions-reduction-could-turn-out-to-be-pap-but-its-not-a-terrible-idea
Morality over money – Time for financial institutions to Tell the Truth
Extinction Rebellion response to JP Morgan ‘Risky Business,’ report on the Climate and Ecological Emergency:
Two economists working for JP Morgan have just released a report entitled Risky Business, the Climate and the MacroEconomy.
The report is candid, it exposes the risks facing our civilisations, including ‘natural’ disasters and conflict, spelling out likely scenarios which create ‘huge challenges for the survival of the human race.’ It looks as though JP Morgan has listened to Extinction Rebellion’s first demand, to ‘Tell the Truth’. The economists remind us that ‘quantifying the impact of climate change only in dollar terms overlooks the potential severity of the human and environmental costs’.
This is not just the biggest economic problem humanity has ever faced, but the biggest moral one. It is not the incomes of our children and grandchildren we are talking about here, but their lives.
The Truth is out there, now we all need to take action.
JP Morgan, with its immense power to affect change, has been broadly unsupportive of climate change resolutions in the companies they invest in currently.  & 
It’s time to put their house in order and take action. JP Morgan must desist from financially fueling the climate and ecological crisis which is destroying lives in the global south right now. Voting for an appropriate corporate response to the emergency, divesting from destruction, and investing in human survival, as well as using their immense power with governments and their peers to lobby for the survival of humanity would be a good start.
Notes to editors
 InfluenceMap’s assessment of JP Morgan’s engagement with companies around climate change:
‘JP Morgan Chase (JP Morgan) does not appear to be strongly engaging with companies around climate change. It is not transparent about its engagements (other than to clients), stating that only “summary information” is available on the public website. However, this could not be located. It is transparent about its AGM voting record, although it does not publicly disclose voting justifications. JP Morgan has a framework that informs its ESG engagement strategy and is prioritizing climate in some engagements. There are clear escalation responses, and penalties should companies not comply with requests. However, it is not clear that there is a structure with, for example, milestones or timelines, informing when specific actions should be taken. It is unclear whether JP Morgan is engaging to transition companies in line with the Paris Agreement due to lack of disclosure. There appears to be no examples of climate-related engagements in its company reporting between 2015-2019. InfluenceMap research suggests JP Morgan has been unsupportive of climate change resolutions, opposing 71% in 2018. This included opposing resolutions requesting climate risk disclosure, the setting of GHG emissions targets, renewable energy goals, and the elimination of deforestation in supply chains.’ (InfluenceMap, Asset Managers and Climate Change Report, November 2019.)
 Rainforest Action Network lists JP Morgan as the premier financier of fossil fuels during the period 2016-2018, https://www.ran.org/bankingonclimatechange2019/#data-panel.
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When the storms hit, will Johnson and co help you? It’s the new postcode lottery | Jonathan Watts This government’s response to the climate crisis appears to be: some of you will have to fend for yourselvesAs British high streets and farm fields lie under water this week, Boris Johnson has repeatedly been urged to put on his wellies, go out and listen to flood victims.So far though, his response has been more about tin ears than rubber boots: during Storm Dennis the prime minister was reportedly holed up in a 17th-century mansion in the Kent countryside. Continue reading… Source – Full Article https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/feb/21/storms-boris-johnson-government-climate-crisis
House coal and wet wood to be phased out by 2023 to cut pollution Wood burning stoves and coal fires are the single largest sources of PM2.5The sale of the most polluting fuels burned in household stoves and open fires will be phased out from next year to clean up the air, the government has said.Plans to phase out the sale of house coal and wet wood have been confirmed as part of efforts to tackle tiny particle pollutants known as PM2.5, which can penetrate deep into lungs and the blood and cause serious health problems. Continue reading… Source – Full Article https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/feb/21/house-coal-and-wet-wood-to-be-phased-out-by-2023-to-cut-pollution
The government's sudden passion for climate technology is newfound and insincere | Simon Holmes a Court The call for technology before action is a specious distraction designed to paper over the plan to take no actionIf you’re committed to the Paris agreement – to keep the increase in global average temperature to well below two degrees above pre-industrial levels, and pursue efforts to limit the increase to 1.5 degrees – then at a minimum, logically, scientifically, you’re committed to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.So far, at least 77 countries have committed to the target, as has every state and territory in Australia. The fact that prime minister Scott Morrison is pushing back hard against the calls… Source – Full Article https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/feb/21/the-governments-sudden-passion-for-climate-technology-is-newfound-and-insincere
Media Invited to Inside Look at NASA Marine Cloud Study
Media are invited to preview a NASA airborne science campaign to help improve weather and climate predictions at 9 a.m. EST Tuesday, Feb. 25, at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia.
Source: NASA Earth News
‘Natural’ flood management would be overwhelmed by Britain’s winter super-floods
As large swathes of the UK endure the worst floods in living memory, hearts and minds are rightly focused on protecting people and property. At one point the government’s Environment Agency had issued a record 594 flood warnings or alerts – its map of the country was a sea of orange and red symbols:
Once the floods recede, there will doubtless be a period of reflection on what could have been done better. It may be tempting to point the finger of blame or to promote a particular solution. But the hard truth is that there is no silver bullet for “preventing” floods.
There are common sense actions, like avoiding new development in places that are known to flood. Official statistics suggest that about 10% of new residential addresses are created in these high risk areas (classified as National Flood Zone 3). It is also smart to protect critical infrastructure like bridges or power substations to high standards. Yet a 2016 government review of flood resilience revealed more than 500 assets vulnerable to flooding.
Other measures can help ensure that floods, when they do occur, are less devastating. These include paved floors, valves to shut off foul water, or raising electrical circuits. Who should pay for these is another matter.
However, we need to accept that the climate is changing, and with it the pattern and types of river flooding. For instance, the Met Office has charted a steady decline in the number and severity of substantial snowfall events since the 1960s. Less snow means subsequent spring melting is becoming rarer. Instead, the country is seeing more heavy rainfall, with winter records being broken on a regular basis.
These consequences are exactly what the climate models have been predicting for decades. The net result is more water flowing from the headwaters of rivers in shorter periods. We are also observing simultaneous flooding across many river basins on a regular basis – the period since the late 1990s has been especially flood-rich.
We aren’t going to halt or reverse climate change anytime soon. However there are some technical solutions that might help reduce (note “reduce” not “prevent”) the risk of flooding. First, we will need to build new flood and coastal defences to higher standards to cope with climate change.
Second, we’ll need state-of-the art forecasts that can zoom right in and predict the risk of flooding from street to street. These next generation systems will warn at risk communities and businesses, and could help emergency services to navigate flooded road networks.
But many, including the government, are now promoting the wider uptake of “natural” flood management. This refers to various techniques intended to retain water or slow it down, or store it in floodplains without causing harm.
Examples of natural flood management include: soil conservation, which means more water soaks into the ground rather than staying on the surface; adding large wood debris to river channels and building “leaky” dams to delay the flow from upland streams; wetland creation, urban ponds, and setback of flood embankments to make space to store excess water. There may also be wider environmental benefits such as tree planting, habitat creation or carbon sequestration in new forests and re-wetted uplands.
Overwhelmed by ‘super-floods’
This all sounds very appealing and is the subject of ongoing research. Unfortunately, when we worked on the most comprehensive meta-analysis of natural flood management to date we concluded that such techniques are useful for reducing nuisance floods but would be overwhelmed by the types of super-floods seen in the UK this winter.
Throw a month’s worth of rain on a saturated catchment in one weekend and no nature-based solution is going to hold back the water. Given large UK river basins generally host various buildings, roads, many different types of fields and so on, it is also impossible to detect exactly what portion of changes in observed flood risk can be attributed to a patchwork of leaky dams, soil conservation and so forth. This is also very difficult even within modelled worlds.
We don’t want to discourage natural flood management, but we need more candour about its capabilities. Given the challenges posed by climate and landscape changes, we should be drawing on the full tool kit. Raising hopes of flood “prevention” by nature-based solutions will only lead to disappointment. They have a place, but only within a much broader, coordinated set of responses.
Robert Wilby receives funding from the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC). He is a scientific adviser to and owns shares in Previsico.
Simon Dadson receives funding from the Natural Environment Research Council and the Oxford University Martin School.
source: The Conversation: Environment
Beavers are set to recolonise the UK – here’s how people and the environment could benefit
For an animal that looks like a soggy fur ball with the feet of a duck in need of a pedicure and a tail cut from an old tyre, the beaver’s public image is doing rather well lately.
That’s despite centuries of hunting that caused the Eurasian beaver (Castor fiber) to disappear from the UK during the 1500s. Now they’re back. In 2015, two beaver families were released on the River Otter in Devon. Researchers followed this reintroduced population and tracked their distribution and health. They also monitored how the amphibious rodents affected river flow and other wildlife, along with any disruption on adjacent land. By 2019, there were at least seven breeding pairs that had spread throughout the river catchment, well beyond the release sites.
The results of the five-year trial are striking. The beavers built dams, creating wetland and ponds that slowed down peak river flows that might have caused flooding. Their engineering holds back water in the catchment area, stopping it from running off the land quickly and overloading the river, creating a bottle neck in towns downstream.
This glowing report on the flood prevention skills of beavers couldn’t be better timed. Two winter storms, Ciara and Denis, have recently brought flooding to thousands of homes in the UK. In November 2019, the National Trust, a charity more associated with stately homes, released beavers on Exmoor, also in Devon, with much of the publicity at the time touting the likely benefits they’ll bring to flood-prone homes nearby.
Wildlife has benefited from the beavers too. The small pools created by the dams had 37% more fish than comparable stretches of the river. That’s helped local birds that eat fish, while rare water voles have been able to find refuge from invasive mink in newly wetted channels. Young trout prefer the faster water of washed out dams and have been spotted leaping over intact dams during high river flows.
The River Otter backs up data from shorter term studies set over smaller areas that show beaver dams benefit the diversity of freshwater invertebrates, reduce nutrient levels in outflow, filter pollution and allow sediment to settle out and bury carbon.
Reconciling ranchers and rewilders
Just as importantly, the report doesn’t shy away from raising the challenges of returning a large mammal to a landscape heavily altered by humans. Beavers burrowed and blocked some culverts, while some of the trees they felled blocked paths. They ate some maize crop (£1.33 worth, gross) and gnawed an orchard tree.
The greatest potential drawback was flooding of productive farmland. There’s a risk that these outcomes cause people to rapidly degenerate into two mutually hostile camps – those with an anti-beaver outlook that portray rewilders as naïve townies, trying to force their eco-warrior views on country folk versus a pro-beaver lobby that sees opponents as habitat-wrecking landowners who don’t care about the environment and are only interested in animals they can shoot. Thankfully, there is none of this in the River Otter report. Instead, there’s recognition of concern and examples of rapid action that can deal with problems.
The recent report feels a far cry from the one produced after the first official beaver reintroduction trial, which ran in Knapdale, Scotland from 2009-2014. From start to finish the Knapdale project was circumscribed with cautious language, and the beavers were described as fenced in and heavily monitored. These legally permitted beavers were allowed but only under strict guard. Despite this, illegal beavers started appearing elsewhere, most conspicuously on the River Tay, also in Scotland, perhaps since 2011, according to the “Save the Free Beavers of the Tay” Facebook group.
Their presence caused the usual mix of delight and anger, and in 2010 Scottish Natural Heritage planned to remove them. But the death of a Scottish beaver called Erica that had been rounded up was a public relations mess. Once an animal has a name and can endear human observers, you better be sure it doesn’t die in your custody. Bowing to public pressure, the Scottish government granted beavers full legal protection in 2019.
Beavers look to be on the way back, all over the UK. Quite how they will get around isn’t entirely clear yet, but there seems to be widespread public and political support, and it may be that they will spread by themselves.
That will surely be better than the 1948 reintroduction of beavers in Idaho, in the US. Here, the hapless rodents were boxed up and the crates dropped by parachute from low flying aeroplanes.
The plan worked, apart from the one beaver that managed to climb onto the top of its airborne box only to jump off at the last minute. As the Chronicles of Narnia showed, tea and cakes are more a beaver’s thing than extreme sports.
Mike Jeffries does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.
source: The Conversation: Environment
Enough Air Pollution: Extinction Rebellion UK stage die-in at the Science Museum
- 11am today: the Science Museum’s Making the Modern World gallery was transformed into the stage for a die-in to draw attention to illegal levels of air-pollution in the UK.
- Children taking part in the protest wore bespoke pollution masks made by crass artist Gee Vaucher, 3D – Massive Attack, Fashion Designer Bella Freud, artist and sculptor Gavin Turk and Turner Prize Winning artist Jeremy Deller.
- The museum was chosen in response to the Science Museum Group’s active promotion of cultural sponsorship by fossil fuel companies and acceptance of oil sponsorship for its children’s gallery, Wonderlab.
- This Saturday: Enough is Enough: Together We March – multiple groups concerned about the climate and ecological emergency will come together to say enough harm, enough innaction, enough division.
From 11am today, Extinction Rebellion UK turned the Making the Modern World gallery at the Science Museum in London into the scene of a die-in to highlight the effects of air pollution on our and our children’s health. The Science Museum Group accepts sponsorships from fossil fuel companies, with it’s children’s gallery Wonderlab sponsored by Norwegian energy company Equinor.
Wearing masks that read “Enough is Enough on Air Pollution,” and holding banners with facts demonstrating the links between air-pollution and serious health conditions, the diverse group which includes children as young as two, lay down in silence for 20 minutes. Once the die-in was concluded the silence was broken with speeches from parents, concerned about their children’s future.
Children taking part in the protest wore bespoke pollution masks made by crass artist Gee Vaucher, 3D – Massive Attack, Fashion Designer Bella Freud, artist and sculptor Gavin Turk and Turner Prize Winning artist Jeremy Deller. The masks were donated by the artists to Extinction Rebellion UK and will be auctioned later this year. The proceeds will be split between Extinction Rebellion and other groups working directly to end the harm caused to children by air pollution.
In 2015, Margaret Chan, former Director-General of World Health Organization (WHO), stated that WHO estimates that over 7 million people die from air pollution each year, making it the largest single environmental risk to health globally. Four and a half million of these deaths are due to outdoor air pollution. 
Each year in the UK, around 40,000 premature deaths are attributable to long term exposure to outdoor air pollution . This is more than 100 deaths per day from cardiovascular problems, strokes and respiratory disease. There are around 9,400 excess deaths a year in London due to long term exposure to air pollution (from combined effect of PM2.5 particulates and nitrogen dioxide (NO2)).  Other health effects of long term exposure to air pollution include an increased risk of dementia and cognitive impairment, diabetes, and low birth weight and poor lung development in children.
The British government has repeatedly failed to tackle illegal levels of air pollution, and in May 2017 the UK was referred to the European Court of Justice over failure to take effective action. 
The families protesting today call on the government to start taking action now to reduce pollution levels in the UK. They demand that public and private institutions like the Science Museum declare a climate emergency, cut ties with the fossil fuel industry and tell the truth to the public about the climate and ecological emergency we are facing.
Juliana Westcott, mother of two from Lewisham, said: “I want my children, two and four years old, to be able to grow up in this amazing city without this meaning that I am putting their health at risk. We don’t want to leave the city – our lives are here in London – but it breaks my heart to know that when I go back home today, their lungs will be full with so much pollution from what was just supposed to be a fun family day out in a museum.”
Miranda Irwin, mother of two and teacher, said: “Air pollution is a social justice issue. It’s silently poisoning our children and the poorest and most vulnerable in our society have no choice but to live and breathe in the worst affected areas.”
Dr Terry Matthews, a member of Doctors for Extinction Rebellion, said: “Breathing illegal toxic air from fossil fuel combustion causes deaths and hospital admissions from heart attacks, strokes and asthma. Air pollution also increases the risk of dementia, impaired brain function and depression; and miscarriage and infertility. Child development is delayed and child lung development can be reduced by around one tenth.
“As we are surrounded by families today, my heart goes out to the most vulnerable who will suffer for many years to come from our failure to act on air pollution.”
Notes to editors
 WHO Director-General addresses event on climate change and health https://www.who.int/dg/speeches/2015/climate-change-paris/en/
 Every breath we take: the lifelong impact of air pollution https://www.rcplondon.ac.uk/projects/outputs/every-breath-we-take-lifelong-impact-air-pollution
 Understanding Health Impacts of Air Pollution in London https://data.gov.uk/dataset/52b7f9ec-f7fa-46ea-ab88-dc30e0752061/understanding-health-impacts-of-air-pollution-in-london
 UK taken to Europe’s highest court over air pollution https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/may/17/uk-taken-to-europes-highest-court-over-air-pollution
About Extinction Rebellion
Time has almost entirely run out to address the ecological crisis which is upon us, including the 6th mass species extinction, global pollution, and abrupt, runaway climate change. Societal collapse and mass death are seen as inevitable by scientists and other credible voices, with human extinction also a possibility, if rapid action is not taken.
Extinction Rebellion believes it is a citizen’s duty to rebel, using peaceful civil disobedience, when faced with criminal inactivity by their Government.
Extinction Rebellion’s key demands are:
- Government must tell the truth by declaring a climate and ecological emergency, working with other institutions to communicate the urgency for change.
- Government must act now to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.
- Government must create and be led by the decisions of a Citizens’ Assembly on climate and ecological justice.
- In the UK, come to one of our events, join the Rebellion Network and let us know how you can help out.
- Start a group where you are: in the UK or around the world.
- Find your local group.
- Check out the International XR website, with links to the French, German, Italian and UK websites.
About Rising Up!
Extinction Rebellion emerged from the Rising Up! network, which promotes a fundamental change of our political and economic system to one which maximises well-being and minimises harm. Change needs to be nurtured in a culture of reverence, gratitude and inclusion while the tools of civil disobedience and direct action are used to express our collective power.
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