Are you ready to explore the dark edges of climate change? Alex de Sherbinin reveals hundreds of millions of climate refugees expected by an unlikely source: the World Bank. From the Madrid COP25 climate conference, Canadian climate scientist Paul Beckwith talks climate restoration tech. Can we? Should we? Maybe we must.
I’m Alex, this is Radio Ecoshock, let’s go.
ALEX de SHERBININ – MILLIONS AND MILLIONS OF CLIMATE REFUGEES
News about climate-driven migration continues to pour out, even in the last few days. On December 2nd, the charity group OXFAM released their new report. Oxfam says:
“Climate-fuelled disasters were the number one driver of internal displacement over the last decade – forcing an estimated 20 million people a year from their homes.
Today, you are seven times more likely to be internally displaced by cyclones, floods and wildfires than by earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, and three times more likely than by conflict.”
Most of the climate victims will not head for America or Europe. They will stay within their own country or region. For that we have a report from the World Bank titled “Groundswell: Preparing for Internal Climate Migration“.
One of the co-authors of that report is Dr. Alex de Sherbinin. Alex is the Associate Director for Science Applications at the Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN). That is located at the Earth Institute of Columbia University, in Palisades New York. Alex also holds positions with NASA, the International Science Council and a long list of groups working with disaster preparedness and the future, right up to a visiting appointment with the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
Dr. Alex de Sherbinin
Alex De Sherbinin gave a presentation about this World Bank migration report to the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union, the AGU, in early December 2019 in San Francisco. From New York City, we welcome Alex de Sherbinin to Radio Ecoshock.
In a paper on “The Global Deal for Nature“, Eric Dinerstein and his colleagues predicted “human migrations, triggered by climate change–induced droughts and sea-level rise, in combination with extreme weather events, could displace more than 100 million people by 2050, mostly in the southern hemisphere.” They based that on the 2018 IPCC report and a key paper in the same year: “Trajectories of the Earth System in the Anthropocene“.
I just want to remind us all, as we talk about tens and hundreds of millions of people forced to leave their homes, each is a person and a family suffering a lot of grief and loss. We can not protect ourselves from that heart-breaking reality as we talk about the numbers.
The World Bank is one of the largest lending and investing institutions. The bank funded construction of coal plants in many countries, leading to more warming and more migration. How can we steer investments and loans to mitigate the displacement of hundreds of millions of people as Earth warms? The European Investment Bank just announced it will cease lending for fossil fuel projects.
You can read a good press briefing on the World Bank report here, from Columbia University.
SEE ALSO: How Climate Change Influences Immigration to the United States published in Yale Climate Connections December 05, 2019.
PAUL BECKWITH REPORTING FROM COP25 CLIMATE CONFERENCE IN MADRID
The world’s largest climate meeting wrapped up in Madrid. It is called The Conference of the Parties. This was COP25. There were no headlines other than world leaders again agreed to let Earth slip farther into climate disaster. Radio Ecoshock had our own observers on site, including regular guest Paul Beckwith. Paul is a genuine climate scientist who often teaches at the University of Ottawa. Now he is also Professor to the World with his in-depth series of climate videos on You tube.
Outside the COP25 climate conference in Madrid’s December, climate activists gathered to call for real action. But a small number of experts claim we can “restore” the climate with technology. Canadian scientist Paul Beckwith is tracking that web of small foundations and micro-investors pushing everything from carbon-capturing concrete to fertilizing ocean plankton. All that becomes more desperate as yet another gathering of world leaders abandons the future to stalling and words.
Please note that our COP25 correspondent Paul Beckwith is part of several groups he advances in this interview, including the Foundation for Climate Restoration, and the Arctic Methane Emergency Group.
In press briefings at COP25, Paul Beckwith gave a presentation on the scientific basis for a climate emergency. You can watch that below. In our interview, Paul correctly diagnoses this COP25 as another edition of the “farce” these climate meetings have become. The press tries to call the results “a compromise deal”. They are not brave enough to call it by the truth: “a total failure”, “a disgraceful stall when we don’t have time” or anything like that.
It’s cool to get a sense of the circus from Paul Beckwith, who crowd-funded part of his expenses for the trip, while covering the rest. We should support Paul with donations at his web site – if only for his dedicated videos teaching climate science through up-to-the minute happening-right-now events in our world. Nobody else does that!
Despite fighting off life-threatening illness, Stuart Scott founder of ScientistsWarning.org was there hosting an off-site press conference with former NASA Chief Scientist James Hansen. They propose launching lots more law suites. That may work in a few democracies with functioning legal systems, like the Netherlands. But it will not likely accomplish much in the United States. No climate lawsuits will be filed in Russia, China, Saudi Arabia or the majority of dictatorships on this planet. Are legal suits a waste of precious time?
I noticed the Heartland Institute, spawn of the Koch Brothers, also held press conferences with so-called experts explaining climate change is either nothing to worry about, or an alarmist hoax. It’s like having Nazis present at a big meeting of Jewish Holocaust survivors. That’s what I think. How long will the COP25 tolerate that, and provide a stage for outright climate denial? Of course, though the climate deniers splashed plenty of COP25 and UN logos around, they were not part of the negotiations. They were not allowed inside. It really was “fake news”.
RUSS GEORGE – AGAIN?
I was surprised to find long-time COP press organizer Stuart Scott was in Madrid promoting the work of contentious promoter Russ George and ocean fertilization. Fifteen minutes into this press briefing they bring up the Haida First Nations people of British Columbia Canada, and “the honesty and integrity of this man” as Stuart says of Russ George. I’m not sure Stuart had time to check the record.
The presentation by ScientistsWarning.org shows a few videos of Russ George (who could not intend in Madrid). There is no mention of the Canadian tribe who lost over a million dollars on George’s scheme, or the raid by federal environment protection officers on Russ George’s office in Vancouver in March 2013. The Haida people sued Russ George for, among other things, misrepresenting his credentials. Perhaps that was all settled, I could not find an update.
There is again the whiff of stock promotion in these new projects involving Russ George, or at least a plea for more “investors” in schemes to sequester carbon, which to my knowledge have never been verified by published peer-reviewed science. Even if carbon can be repurposed into concrete (a good idea), even if fertilizing plankton with iron can help reduce the atmospheric load (jury still out on whether this will work) – Russ George has a record that I think disqualifies him from our global forum. You can make up your own mind by listening to my two programs about Russ George (and please notice I gave Russ a full hour to explain his vision).
Here are my two programs about Russ George and his history.
Part I (Russ George interview)
In part two, I interview his critics, including stock watcher David Baines, and Pat Mooney from the environmental ETC Group.
But I’m going to give Paul Beckwith the last word on this. In our interview, he says that even if dozens of ideas to capture carbon are tried, and only a couple really work – we need to go through that process. These are desperate times. Governments should be spending trillions on solutions. If authorities doubt new carbon capture tech – at least try and try again! Test it out! Do something!
BACK TO THE REAL COP25
According to reports from Madrid by Climate Central, quote “China succeeded in delaying a key aspect of the rules of the Paris Agreement: the transparent reporting of national emissions.” This is very strange. China officially aims to create what they call an “ecological civilization”. Yet they don’t want to report how much greenhouse gases they pump into the atmosphere? Never mind bigger promises for reductions in 2030, they are not even being transparent about current emissions. I’m disappointed.
I think we need a list of the countries who pushed COP25 to failure, and may even a list of the diplomats or government people who killed off measures that might have slowed down climate disaster. Who are the nice people who argued for a hotter Earth? Maybe anyone who attended this failed conference should be disqualified from coming to the next one, since they already damaged the atmosphere with their inaction.
Time Magazine’s Person of the Year Greta Thunberg was allowed to address the delegates, but was not included in decision making. Greta said:
“Finding holistic solutions is what the Cop should be all about,… But instead it seems to have turned into an opportunity for countries to negotiate loopholes and to avoid raising their ambition.”
I know Australia is one of those loop-hole countries. The current pro-fossil government there is still using some technical carbon credit from the Kyoto Agreement from the 1990’s. Meanwhile, just like Canada, the U.S. and anyone who can, Australia is increasing it’s exports of natural gas and coal. Key governments and industries are building the infrastructure that will fry us all within a century. It is a lot like the dark world of international money laundering, but right now it’s international carbon laundering. The problem trying to prevent climate change is that humans so often lie and cheat, even when we all will be the losers.
There were hardly any aboriginal people on the key insider meetings at COP25. Of course environmental activists like Greenpeace representing millions of people were kept out. Anybody who protested killing off the future was herded out the doors by the police. Climate Change News reports: “200 climate activists were forced out of the conference centre on Wednesday afternoon by UN security after staging an undeclared protest in front of the talks’ plenary.”
The COP system is about keeping the public, anyone really concerned about climate change, outside and voiceless. The whole system is designed for protect the consumer economy and fossil powered civilization. We need something other than the COP conferences which have consistently failed for 25 years. Was there any talk of how a true planetary decision to survive can emerge?
TWO TINY RAYS OF HOPE
Just before we write our Last Wills and say goodbye to our grand kids, I want to remind listeners that while national governments are failing on climate around the world, Radio Ecoshock guest Rana Adib recently told us cities are stepping up with big commitments and real action. She said 75% of greenhouse gases come from cities, so there is a little hope there.
The other tiny light in the darkness comes from the crash of the American fracking industry. With way too much natural gas on the market, Chevron just announced a write-off over $11 billion dollars, and they are withdrawing funds from a Canadian LNG export facility now under construction in Kitimat BC. Exxon/Mobil lost $2.5 billion. The bad news is we have way too much natural gas, which is really methane. The good news is that by the time fracking re-emerges from multiple bankruptcies in 5 or 10 years, wind and solar will be so much cheaper and in demand, – fracking might not be able to compete.
One other positive note: the COP25 drove a lot of new climate science reports, and special briefings on our status from dozens of non-profit groups from Carbon Brief to the World Bank and World Meteorology Organization. It’s going to take me another six months to digest that tsunami of climate science and reporting that poured out over Fall 2019.
All said, it appears that the United Nations organized Conference of the Parties remains a collection of carbon addicts always promising to rein in the drug trade. They never do. It is up to all of us to come together in new ways. We can not give up on searching for ways to save what is left of the planet, for our beloved descendants and all living things.
SEARCHING FOR RADIO ECOSHOCK
You can download all our past programs for free, courtesy of our supporters. Search our recent show posts, use the “Archives” navigation button at the top of the screen, or the “Search” button at the bottom of every page. Or you can use a search engine like Google using “Radio Ecoshock” and the name of the guest or subject you want to hear.
Thank you so much to everyone who sent in donations this December to help Radio Ecoshock keep going! This show can’t happen without you. Getting the voices of experts directly to the public is our mission, and your supporter turns this into a group effort. Please donate if you can.
I’m Alex Smith. Please keep listening, and stay tuned for more developments in climate science and activism as we head into a new decade.