350 Updates

Bushfires Raging in Spring. Something is up.

Bushfires are raging across the state of New South Wales in Australia. It's only Spring. Something is up. Yesterday, the Greens Member of Parliament, Adam Bandt, made headlines by suggesting that climate change is connected with the deadly NSW bushfires, which are causing widespread destruction. It has been treated as if he was speaking like a radical - by the media and by deniers. But there is nothing radical about what Bandt said - it’s what the Bureau of Meteorology have said and it’s what the Firefighters Union have said when addressing Parliamentarians:

"We are asking you very clearly, stop making this a political football, put in place the action that's required to secure the future because by 2020 we are going to see a frequency like we've not seen before." -- United Firefighters Union of Australia

It’s deeply worrying that, here in Australia, the causes and impacts of climate change have remained a political football. The increasing frequency and severity of bushfires show us that we can't hide from climate change impacts - they are happening already - not just here but all over the world. From the melting of the Arctic, larger cyclones hitting the Philippines, wildfires and drought in the United States, the list goes on. We’re entering a new era of weather extremes and it has a deadly toll.  

How can any of us watch, be affected and not be frightened about what climate change means for all of us in Australia?  We can't bury our heads in the sand -- we need to face what we're up against and insist on political action to reduce our emissions and avoid further community devastation. Bushfires aren't political, but we need political action to stop them.

What can we do?

1. Talk about it! It's a real concern and we need to talk to our politicians (pick up the phone and call your MPs and Senators), your local paper or radio station, your community and neighbours. Don't let deniers stop you voicing your concerns about the climate impacts we face nor the action needed to address them! 

Suggested Tweets:

  • Wildfires in October? Let's connect the dots: #climate change is driving extreme weather and wildfires. @TonyAbbottMHR @SMH @abcnews
  • @SMH @abcnews We need to be talking about the link between climate change, wildfires and action to reduce emissions
  • I stand with @AdamBandt and Firefighters: Message to @TonyAbbottMHR stop making #climate change a political football, make it about action.
  • My sympathy goes out to all impacted by NSW bushfires. Let’s take action on #climate change seriously so fires don’t get even more wild.

Share this image on Facebook by clicking here or on the image.

2. Divest! If we are to avoid further extreme weather impacts, it’s time to take away the power of the industry that’s driving these impacts. By moving our money out of fossil fuels, we can start to erode the industry’s social license and motivate the political action our climate so desperately needs. Find out how you can start moving your money today!

It’s time to show that this isn’t just about something a Greens Parliamentarian feels strongly about, but it is an issue and a real challenge that we all face. If last summer was anything to go by, the coming summer won't be pretty - it’s time to talk and it’s time to act.

Our heartfelt sympathies go out to all those impacted by the bushfires. In writing this, we are not seeking to make your suffering a political opportunity, rather a chance to call for action so that further suffering may be avoided.

 

First Nation Fracking Protest Escalates in New Brunswick


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our allies in Canada have urged us to spread the word about an important fossil fuel resistance effort underway in the town of Rexton, in New Brunswick, happening now. New Brunswick is one of the largest geographic areas under consideration for expanded fracking. For more information about Shale Gas drilling in New Brunswick, click here.

A group First Nations protestors and their allies gathered in the region to confront expanded shale-gas drilling, beginning on Sept 30, according to the Canadian Broadcasting Company.

Please help spread the word about this as a way to support our allies. Here is a livestream to follow updates.

 

Global Frackdown

We are nearly a week into Reclaim Power — a global month of action on energy. The next big day to come up is this year's Global Frackdown, a day when communities around the world are uniting to demand a shift to clean, renewable energy and debunk the myth of shale gas as bridge fuel.

Click here to find events planned near you.

To help get the word out in the coming days, there is a whole set of social media resources to help make it easy to spread the word online here: http://www.globalfrackdown.org/social-media

And here's a clip of 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben joining in the call to action for this Saturday:

 

Cyclone Phailin and Climate Change, Connecting the Dots

Crossposted with some edits from Huffington post

Over the past two days, I was glued to my television screen as one reporter after another stood in the rain and braved gusty winds to give the world a very detailed account of the cyclone Phailin that hit the eastern sea coast of India. Such reportage was unparalleled especially in comparison to the reporting around the massive super cyclone that hit the same region in 1999. 24 hour broadcasting ensured the cyclone's landfall made it to TV screens at the same instant as it ravaged through villages and towns in India.

Even with all the technology and the TRP buzz, one vital issue has remained out of discussion so far and that is the elephant in the room, Global Warming. I've been chided several times by reputed individuals in the field of science to not connect any single weather event to climate change and rightly so, it's simply not scientific to beat the climate change drum for my campaigning cause. But when these very scientists, whole 800 of them, unequivocally state that extreme weather events are on the rise and countries like India are highly vulnerable, I find it counter productive to not connect the dots from cyclone Phailin to climate change.

Let's take a brief look at the science. Cyclones are low pressure systems that form over warm tropical oceans. They derive energy from the warmer waters and do not form unless the temperatures are over 26.5 degrees C. The recorded temperature in the Bay of Bengal where Phailin developed was 28-29 degrees C with very high heat content. The sea surface temperature variations over the past few decades show an increasing trend, more particularly pronounced since 1992. Twenty-six of the thirty-five deadliest tropical cyclones in world history have been Bay of Bengal storms. During the past two centuries, 42% of Earth's tropical cyclone-associated deaths have occurred in Bangladesh, and 27% have occurred in India.

The Overseas Development Institute (ODI), an influential think tank stated in its new report titled "Geography of poverty, disasters and climate extremes in 2030" that India ranks highest in its risk to extreme weather disasters. "Over the two decades many parts of India - including Andhra Pradesh - will be increasingly exposed to disasters. The focus on how deadly disasters can be should not obscure the fact that many homes, hospitals, shops and schools will have been badly impacted in ways which will drive people into poverty", said Dr. Tom Mitchell from ODI. Climate change is as much about politics as it is about science and to act on it would require political mobilisation preceded by a greater public demand to acknowledge and act on this clear and present danger.

India's response to Phailin has been commendable. Over 800,000 people have been evacuated and the casualty rate has been remarkably low. With rapid deployment of the army, navy, coast guard and other reserve forces along with makeshift relief centres, thousands of lives have been saved. Disaster preparedness is as much about livelihoods as it is about lives and the cyclone's impact has been devastating with 9 million people affected and huge losses to crops and homes. Their rehabilitation and restoring their livelihoods is a daunting task. Phailin should therefore be another stark reminder for us think hard about climate adaptation in what is now a new normal in our planet's weather.

The Uttarakhand floods in June, Maharashtra’s drought, floods in Assam and now Phailin give a quick glimpse into the havoc climate change can play as many other disasters are awaiting India tomorrow. Ignorance and denial are not an option anymore and further inaction will come at our own peril.

350 India is organizing an online #ClimateChat on Friday, October 18th 2013 at 5 PM IST. Anyone with queries about climate change, its impacts, causes, perceptions and solutions in the Indian context can pose their questions to a reputable panel via twitter using the hashtag #climatechat. The chat will take place on Google Hangout and those interested can register here

 

 

Let the truth prevail: Confronting the Power Finance Corporation Limited, India

I usually find news paper advertisements boring, but a small invite to pre-bid conference for proposed   4000 MW Ultra Mega Power Plant (UMPP) caught my attention.  Ignoring a restraining order by the National Green Tribunal India, the project promoter Power Finance Corporation Limited, India has announced bid process for UMPP proposed in Cheyyur District of Indian State of Tamil Nadu. In past  PFC has lied to the people and authorities of Cheyyur about upcoming project and  now they were trying to hide facts from investors as well.  Someone had to put an end to all lying. So we at 350 India, decided to confront the concerned authorities and warn the investors as well. With help from our friends at Community Environment Monitoring, a list of fraudulent statements and misrepresentations used by Coastal Tamil Nadu Power Ltd to facilitate environmental clearances for 4000 MW Cheyyur UMPP was prepared.  The plan was to hand out these letters to the potential investors warning them of risks associated with this project.

It was bit difficult to blend in the suit clad crowd and pretend to be as one of  interested developer. However the short film on the project site followed by a presentation boosting about state of the art technologies being adopted to protect environment, made us laugh and even  more determined to expose the lies in the Environment Impact Assessment report submitted by the PFC officials. During the open discussion, one by one we started asking hard hitting questions about court orders & land acquisition. While the authorities tried to duck these questions few more investors expressed their concerns over the way the clearance was sought.  Suddenly from technical discussion the focus shifted to environment and forest concerns.  However the key moment was when we directly mentioned about the fraudulent claims and walked to deliver the letter to the panel. All eyes were glued to us as we were distributing  the letter in middle of the meeting.  We were hoping we would be asked to leave immediately, but the organizers were too shocked to react and we got stay till the end of the meeting. 

As we prepared to leave the conference we were surrounded by anxious investors asking for a copy of the letter. Soon we ran out of copies of letter. We never expected our small action would be taken so seriously by investors present.  No wonder we were not invited for post conference lunch for the organizers.

The small action was in solidarity with people of Cheyyur, fighting to save their land and water resouces.        Visit  http://cheyyur.wordpress.com/ for more information on the campaign.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

12 Photos of Divestment Campaigns Unleashing in Australia and New Zealand

Since launching broad divestment campaigns in both New Zealand and Australia during Bill McKibben's June tour, the campaigns have now focused in and targets are lined up. Today marked a new phase of campaigning in both countries, and builds on the rapid successes of various religious institutions paving the divestment way. Here are 12 photos from things that happened today across both countries (more are rolling in!). All these efforts coincide with the international Reclaim Power Month of Action.

In New Zealand, 350 Aotearoa and Coal Action Network Aotearoa launched a campaign calling on Westpac bank to stop financing Bathurst Resources Ltd, the company which has plans to dig up coal on the Denniston Plateau - an important conservation area home to rare species of geckos, prostrate plants, giant snails and kiwi. Westpac makes big promises around its sustainability practices and its time it lived up to them by not funding climate change. You can send them a letter asking them to withdraw their financial support to Bathurst Resources here. The 350 Aotearoa team also kicked off the first of their Divestment Forums tonight - to a great crowd in Auckland.

Meanwhile, across the ocean and not too far away, students from across 18 of Australia's universities joined together for a Fossil Free Universities day of action. In-roads are already being made at campuses like the Australian National University and Monash University. Over the coming months and into next year we'll be expecting to hear much more as all these Fossil Free Campus groups ramp up their campaigns that are pushing their universities to divest. Meanwhile, later this week we'll see 500 people turn out to Divestment Forums in Brisbane and Melbourne, as part of a series of forums around the country. Check out some of the fantastic photos that came from the day of action (a slideshow of them is viewable by clicking here):

University of Queensland

Melbourne University

University of Tasmania

Monash University

 

#Power4People

Today is the 4th day of Reclaim Power — a month of action on energy. Over the weekend, our friends at International Rivers led one of the first mobilizations, called Power 4 People. It was a day targeting the World Bank, calling on them to end financing for dirty energy projects and to invest in clean, local energy for all. Lots of the action was targeting the @WorldBank on twitter. And in Washington D.C. this crew took the message to World Bank headquaters:

Check out what is next for Reclaim Power anad join in here: www.reclaimpower.net.

 

Cyclone Phailin, India's Katrina

A massive cyclone is about to hit the eastern sea coast of India. Cyclone Phailin is gathering intensity and is expected to pick up speeds of over 220 KMPH, which would categorize it as a 'severe' to 'super' cyclone. Over 400,000 people have been evacuated from low lying areas close to the coast and shifted to various public institutions turned into cyclone relief centers. The army, navy, air force, coast guard and other reserve forces have been mobilised to offer relief as the cyclone is expected to make landfall by 6 PM IST on October 12th. Here is a list of emergency contact numbers in the region. The cyclone is currently on par in its intensity with hurricane Katrina in 2005. 

I write this from the comforts of my home in New Delhi while hundreds of locals are refusing to leave their homes, shops and their only source of livelihood. Relief operations are in full swing but as is with many in India, there is a greater faith in god to protect them than anything else. 

Two questions that remain unanswered at this moment are a. What was the sea surface temperature that caused this cyclone? vis-a-vis the past few decades and b. What is the periodicity and intensity cycles of such cyclones? These questions are crucial to learn how the unequivocal rise in global warming is causing cyclones like Phailin. But for now, our thoughts are with those millions in the path of the cyclone's fury and hoping there is as little casualty as possible.  

We will keep this site updated with the latest on this extreme weather event.