Wednesday, April 20, 2011
BILL MCKIBBEN - Last Stand for Climate
LINKS TO FULL BILL MCKIBBEN SPEECH IN VANCOUVER BELOW...
This is Alex Smith, and I have a problem. Important news continues to pour out of the damaged Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant in Japan, along with radiation reaching my home here on the West Coast of North America.
At the same time, about a dozen listeners have sent email reminders that this nuclear accident, even at it's very worst, can never kill as many millions of people as climate change. Though Fukushima radiation may continue to damage the chromosomes of plants and animals for a few million years, global warming appears to be driving a mass extinction event.
Certainly, unless there is an explosion of every volcano on Earth, our greenhouse gas emissions have triggered a warming which will last at least 100,000 years. American scientist David Archer calls it "The Long Thaw".
[Dr. David Archer Radio Ecoshock interview 090918 27 min 6 MB Lo-Fi mp3]
It might not take that long. If the permafrost melts in the Arctic tundra, releasing all that methane. Or frozen methane under the sea is released. Nobody knows what a sudden shift in greenhouse cases could do. Top scientists, like Drs. James Hansen or Michael Oppenheimer wonder if Earth has any breaks on a rapid greenhouse breakout. Is it possible this planet could lose it's protective atmosphere, to become like Mars?
Even now, climate change is responsible for 300,000 deaths a year, according to a 2009 report by the Global Humanitarian Forum, headed by Kofi Annan. Extreme weather and heat driven climate disruption affected 325 million people. By 2030, that will double to 660 million people, and half a million deaths a year, they project.
The United Nations also reported that the majority of people who lost their lives in disasters in 2009, - three quarters of the fatilities were climate related.
As horrible as Fukushima is, we can't take our eyes off the biggest problem. Climate change endangers our civilization, our species, and all species - far beyond what the nuclear power and weapons industry can dish out.
Perhaps it is good news that due to the economic recession, greenhouse gas emissions in the most industrialized countries fell in 2009. The United States dropped 6.1 percent, or about 6.6 billion tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, the biggest change in American emissions since 1990. The second largest industrialized greenhouse gas polluter, Russia, announced a drop of 3.2 percent in 2009, according to a Russian news report.
Other countries reporting lower emissions to the UN Climate Change Secretariat for 2009 include Australia, Italy, Spain and France - although Australia has started to go up again this year.
Unfortunately these reductions are likely more than offset by growing emissions from developinging countries like China, India, Indonesia and Brazil.
When it comes to loading up the atmosphere, polluting less is like saying someone is raping women less often. What really matters is the climate continues to be disrupted, and the total load is still increasing rapidly. That guarantees a hotter and less stable world.
It's hard to believe the American media make no connection between historic tornados killing at least 43 people in mid-April, and the instability of the hotter atmosphere which carries more moisture. The same media is not reporting the continuing radiation falling on the country from Fukushima either.
But first we need to refocus our minds on the biggest single threat to us all, despite the nuclear horror news. On April 9th I recorded a new speech by Bill McKibben, the founder of 350.org, and one of the premier spokespeople for the American climate movement.
I'm going to presume you know who Bill McKibben is. He wrote the first book about global warming, "The End of Nature" in 1989. His latest book, which I highly recommend, is Eaarth where the name of this newly changed planet is spelled with two "a's".
Perhaps you have heard a speech by Bill, on the way the 350.org climate protests were organized, to become what "Foreign Policy magazine called 'the largest ever global coordinated rally of any kind,' with 5,200 simultaneous demonstrations in 181 countries."
But now I want you to hear some new material from Bill McKibben.
We'll start with his update on our climate situation, one year after the publication of the book Eaarth. Then I'm going to skip over his story about forming 350.org, and the first demonstrations.
Don't worry, I'll give you a way to listen to the whole speech, and the Question and Answer period, as a free mp3 download from our web site, ecoshock.org. It will be on our climate change page.
Full speech here (55 MB CD quality 55 minutes)
Q and A here (24 minutes, Lo-Fi 6 MB)
In the radio digest version, we skip ahead in the speech, to some some things I haven't heard. The situation in China. Bungee jumping from dead coal plants. Bills perspective now on the failure of international negotiations, and the disinformation campaign from the fossil fuel lobby.
McKibben calls for a campaign against the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and against the Canadian Tar Sands. He talks about the theme for this year's big world-wide demo coming September 24th. Why we have to try, even though we may have waited too long.
This speech was recorded by Alex Smith at the University of British Columbia April 9th, courtesy of the Vancouver Institute. I include the short introduction by the Honorable Madam Justice Mary Newbury, followed by the new big picture on climate change, by Bill McKibben.
That concludes our selections from a speech by author and activist Bill McKibben in Vancouver on April 9th. Now we're going to get some fresh perspectives as Bill answers questions from the audience. Things like climate and agriculture, population growth, and the role of civil disobedience. But first some fellow in the front named Alex Smith asks about climate change now that Fukushima appears to have blown up the nuclear power option....
[Alex question Fukushima]
Are these 350 demonstrations and photo-ops enough to save us from the worst climate change? Bill McKibben asked and answered.
Here is the concluding answer from Bill, answering a question about the role of industrial agriculture.
That's what we have from Bill McKibben, the founder of 350.org. Don't forget to plan your speak-out for the coming world-wide demo on September 24th, 2011. The theme is motion - without fossil fuels.
You can also watch and read the transcript of this Bill McKibben speech at a rally in Washington D.C. April 18th at Power Shift 2011. But their audio is crappy. I wrote them at the start of the web-cast to tell them about the obvious microphone problems, but got no reply. Pitty a big outfit like that can't get the sound right.
To record Bill's speech in Vancouver with radio quality plus, I got a little help. I used the microphones and mixer from the webcast provider. I have to thank Mark Van Driel of webeventcast.com. Mark has amazing technology that can do a live web cast, complete with the speaker, slides, and audience participation - and then post it just minutes later, with no wait for editing. It is delivered through 3 university level servers at once. I was blown away by the possibilities.
And my thanks to the Vancouver Institute, which continue to bring important speakers to the city, open to the public for free.
Fukushima? Still important, still leaking radioactivity all over the world. I'll be doing more investigative reporting on the Japanese nuclear accident in coming shows.
Climate change? The real big deal. Let's not forget, as we drive around, and waste the last of the fossil fuels buying plastic junk from a world away - we have to keep active on climate change. Like the future of the world, and our grandchildren, really matter.
Otherwise, we don't really matter, except to be known as the generation who wrecked the Nature, when we could make the big change to climate justice and clean energy. In our homes, our industry, our countries, our world. I know you want to. Let's do it together.
WATCH OUT FOR FALSE RADIATION REPORTS!
By the way - watch out for a lot of crazy fear-mongering on the Net. One big example is a series of You tube videos by Dutchsinse and Patriotspace.
These supposedly show radiation being dumped on the West Coast of North America in big quanties, unreported by the media. I contacted scientist Dr. John F. Burkhart in at the Norse Institute in Norway - the scientist who created those model animations you see in the You tube video.
In his email reply to me, Dr. Burkhart says his work has been totally misrepresented, used for fear-mongering. He tried to contact Dutchinsense, and his companion Patriotspace to correct the revelations, but got no response.
In fact, what these models were meant to show, and it says this right on the main page if anyone looks, is the worst case scenario that COULD happen. Like an atomic blow-up at Fukushima or something. These models would have meant something IF Fukushima emissions remained at their initial levels, when the hydrogen explosions took place - but that didn't happen either. Emissions have dropped significantly in the month that followed.
The models shown in the video by Dutchsinse do NOT reflect actual radiation hitting the West Coast, or anywhere else.
Worse, Dutchinsense then shows a "new" even worse projection of Xenon 133, which shows a ominous dark blue across the whole Northern Hemisphere. What Dutchsinse did not realize, or did not tell the viewers, is that projection was using a completely different scale. In order to see where Xenon 133 MIGHT have gone, Burkhart multiplied the slight impressions of his previous model by two orders of magnitude, to see where the wind and weather MIGHT have taken Xenon 133. It's actually the same projection as the previous one, but multiplied a lot.
Dutchsinse and Partiotspace have yet another video out, where they ponder the meaning of some straight lines across the globe on another Burkhart file. These are, in Burkhart's words, "garbage" - a run that did not work, a screen shot sent to a colleague, to figure out why the model was not working.
All our genii had to do was to contact the scientist, and ask what the models were showing. Or look at the main page on the web site.
But our would-be fringe reporters are too busy with exotic Net radio stations like Apocalypse Jungle, plus a fascination with "civilian militia" and guns. Dutchsinse uses other official looking maps to predict Japan will fall into the sea.
So unpack that escape U-haul my West Coast friends. We are getting some radiation, but not what You tube may tell you. Check your sources. The Dutchsinse video scared me unnecessarily for a few hours. I hope I've spared you the trouble.
Next week I'll be looking into the facts - and the strange fantasy and conspiracy theories - about the Fukushima nuclear disaster.
Thank you for listening, and caring about our world.
Posted by Alex Smith at 4:16 PM
Labels: accident, environment, Japan, nuclear, nuclear power, reactors, risks, safety
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