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Global News and Analysis

At last, divestment is hitting the fossil fuel industry where it hurts

Source: The Guardian

I remember well the first institution to announce it was divesting from fossil fuel. It was 2012 and I was on the second week of a gruelling tour across the US trying to spark a movement. Our roadshow had been playing to packed houses down the west coast, and we’d crossed the continent to Portland, Maine. As a raucous crowd jammed the biggest theatre in town, a physicist named Stephen Mulkey took the mic. He was at the time president of the tiny Unity College in the state’s rural interior, and he announced that over the weekend its trustees had voted to sell their shares in coal, oil and gas companies. “The time is long overdue for all investors to take a hard look at the consequences of supporting an industry that persists in destructive practices,” he said. read more

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Bill McKibben: Stop talking right now about the threat of climate change. It’s here; it’s happening

Source: The Guardian

Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma, flash fires, droughts: all of them tell us one thing – we need to stand up to the fossil fuel industry and fast

For the sake of keeping things manageable, let’s confine the discussion to a single continent and a single week: North America over the last seven days.

In Houston they got down to the hard and unromantic work of recovery from what economists announced was probably the most expensive storm in US history, and which weather analysts confirmed was certainly the greatest rainfall event ever measured in the country – across much of its spread it was a once-in-25,000-years storm, meaning 12 times past the birth of Christ; in isolated spots it was a once-in-500,000-years storm, which means back when we lived in trees. Meanwhile, San Francisco not only beat its all-time high temperature record, it crushed it by 3F, which should be pretty much statistically impossible in a place with 150 years (that’s 55,000 days) of record-keeping. read more

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Recalculating the Climate Math

Source: New Republic

The future of humanity depends on math. And the numbers in a new study released Thursday are the most ominous yet.

Those numbers spell out, in simple arithmetic, how much of the fossil fuel in the world’s existing coal mines and oil wells we can burn if we want to prevent global warming from cooking the planet. In other words, if our goal is to keep the Earth’s temperature from rising more than two degrees Celsius—the upper limit identified by the nations of the world—how much more new digging and drilling can we do? read more

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A Great Day for the Climate Movement

Source: 350.org

Today was the day. Finally, powerfully, decisively — the movement to stop climate change has come together.

This was the biggest climate change rally in US history. By our count, 50,000 people gathered by the Washington Monument and then marched past the White House, demanding that President Obama block the Keystone XL pipeline and move forward toward climate action.

There were many high points: Van Jones declaring that Keystone is the only presidential decision anyone will care about in 20 years; billionaire investor Tom Steyer laying out why it’s a bad investment; Chief Jackie Thomas explaining the toll that the tar sands are taking on her neighbors, and promising that they would never allow a tar sands pipeline west to the Pacific. read more

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Hurricane Sandy Forces Climate Change on US Election Despite Fossil Fuel Lobby

Source: The Guardian Unlimited

Here’s a sentence I wish I hadn’t written – it rolled out of my Macbook in May, part of an article for Rolling Stone that quickly went viral:

“Say something so big finally happens (a giant hurricane swamps Manhattan, a megadrought wipes out Midwest agriculture) that even the political power of the industry is inadequate to restrain legislators, who manage to regulate carbon.”

I wish I hadn’t written it because the first half gives me entirely undeserved credit for prescience: I had no idea both would, in fact, happen in the next six months. And I wish I hadn’t written it because now that my bluff’s been called, I’m doubting that even Sandy, the largest storm ever, will be enough to make our political class serious about climate change. read more

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Why ‘Frankenstorm’ Is Just Right for Hurricane Sandy

Source: The Daily Beast

Watching Sandy on her careening path toward the Eastern Seaboard scares me more than it would have 15 months ago. That’s because my home state took the brunt of Irene, last year’s “sprawling,” “surly,” “record-breaking” Atlantic storm. I know now exactly how much power a warm sea can contain and how far that pain can spread.

And in the process, feeling that fear, I begin to sense what the future may be like, as more and more of the world finds itself facing ever-more-frequent assaults from the amped-up forces of the not-so-natural world. read more