A place for collecting and curating things I find myself holding before God in relation to climate change and environmental concerns. Some are alarming, some a little more hopeful, most have links to help dig into the story more fully. Additions and subtractions will take place over time. I’m very happy for you, dear reader and fellow-prayist, to make suggestions or offer updates in the comments. It may be that some comments could become further ‘prayabouts’.
A brief note on format. Mostly there are no directions or suggestions about how to pray: these are things to hold before God and over time to get a sense of the right sort of petitions that may be inspired as we pray about them.Andii
So, holding before God …
- Environmentally, tackling deforestation is about more than just carbon. REDD+ (“reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation,”) programs deliver numerous other environmental benefits. For example, tackling deforestation reduces soil erosion, repairs water systems, enhances water quality, and increases resilience to drought and floods… Where local community has been engaged in efforts to halt deforestation, and where residents can clearly see the indirect and direct benefits of projects, these have been far more successful. Evidence suggests that deforestation is lower in areas where Indigenous peoples’ collective land rights are recognized
- …A series of complex challenges, including a lack of funding and political will as well as rising insecurity linked to extremist groups al-Qaida and the Islamic State in Burkina Faso, are obstructing progress on Africa’s Great Green Wall, according to experts involved in the initiative. There have been some modest gains for the project, which plans to build an 8000-kilometer (4970-mile) long forest through 11 nations across the width of Africa to hold back the ever-growing Sahara Desert and fend off climate change impacts, but many involved with the plan are calling for renewed momentum to combat both insecurity and environmental decline. Read more...
- Four main pathways form the nature-security nexus. These pathways spell out the different ways in which environmental degradation and biodiversity loss interact with conflict, insecurity and peace:
1. Ecosystem and biodiversity loss, livelihood insecurity and political instability
2. The environment, conflict financing and organised crime
3. Competition and conflicts around natural resources
4. The impacts of war and conflict on the environment
The scale of the environmental crisis and its critical importance in driving insecurity make it imperative that the UN system recognises and acts more comprehensively on this overarching challenge. The report lays out recommendations that outline critical starting points and possible next steps for UN organs, programmes, funds, specialised agencies and bodies to work towards a comprehensive environmental security agenda. Article here.
- … a peer-reviewed study in the journal Nature in April… noted the existence of roughly 10,000 viruses with the potential to infect humans—the vast majority of which, researchers said, are already “circulating silently in wild mammals.” Global climate change and evolving land-use patterns will increase the potential for cross-species viral transmission as animals that were once geographically isolated begin to have increased contact with people https://insideclimatenews.org/news/07062022/monkeypox-zoonotic-diseases-spread-climate-change/
- Corporate courts give fossil fuel companies the power to sue governments for taking action on the climate emergency. They are an obstacle to a clean energy transition and to achieving climate justice …Industry insiders reckon the amounts at stake could be over $9 trillion. The UK needs to drop corporate courts in new trade deals, and exit the Energy Charter Treaty …the UK has dropped corporate courts from the UK-Australia and UK-Canada trade deals. Now we need to keep up the pressure for the UK to exit the Energy Charter Treaty and stop joining Trans-Pacific Partnership.
- The IGSD paper, which was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, showed the huge potential for “buying time” to change the world’s energy systems by concentrating on cutting methane, and other SLCPs including soot, hydrofluorocarbons, ground-level ozone and nitrous oxide. These substances contribute almost as much to global heating as CO2, …Dreyfus said sharp cuts to methane and other SLCPs could result in temperatures lower by 0.26C by 2050, which is almost four times greater than the benefit of pursuing CO2 cuts alone
- We urgently need to diversify global food production, both geographically and in terms of crops and farming techniques. We need to break the grip of massive corporations and financial speculators. We need to create backup systems, producing food by entirely different means. We need to introduce spare capacity into a system threatened by its own efficiencies. –Source article.
- Climate change has been holding back food production for decades, with a new study showing that about 21% of growth for agricultural output was lost since the 1960s. That’s equal to losing the last seven years of productivity growth, according to research led by Cornell University and published in the journal Nature Climate Change. The study was funded by a unit of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
- Arctic ice is fast retreating: summertime ice coverage is now down to 20% of its 1970s levels. This climate breakdown is creating three potential areas for interstate competition, threatening the uneasy cooperation that has governed relations in the Arctic Circle…First, melting ice sheets are uncovering new sources for raw materials. Arctic oil and gas exploration and mining projects have grown rapidly… Second, as Arctic ice disappears, sea routes that were once impassable for much of the year are being opened up… The third and final potential conflict area also arises from the Arctic’s prime geographical location. Positioned at the shortest possible distance between the globe’s two major landmasses, the Arctic has long been ripe for militarisation.
- …the Alliance of Small Island States (Aosis)… want a mechanism for hard cash to be distributed to victims of climate disasters and they want it by Cop27. The details can be worked out along the way.jThe dialogue isn’t scheduled to end until 2024. Vulnerable nations simply cannot wait until then. Humanitarian aid is not keeping up with rocketing needs. And intensifying climate impacts have held back their economic growth in the last two decades. Had it not been for these losses, vulnerable countries would be 20% richer – money which could have been invested in resilient infrastructure, social protection measures and early warning systems to help societies prepare for future shocks. From report.
- …soil can break down so quickly when it’s farmed. Under certain conditions, when farmers apply nitrogen fertiliser, the microbes respond by burning through the carbon: in other words, the cement that holds their catacombs together. The pores cave in. The passages collapse. The soil becomes sodden, airless and compacted. More here. …Almost single-handedly, through trial and error, Tolly has developed a new and revolutionary model of horticulture. At first it looks like magic. In reality, it’s the result of many years of meticulous experiments….
- “US right-wing groups with links to big oil are desperate to stop action against the climate crisis. Now they are trying to extend their reach into UK political debate.” A registered UK charity, the GWPF is one of the most vocal groups in British politics opposing the government’s ‘net zero’ plans and has been at the forefront of recent calls to restart fracking. The Tufton Street-based group’s trustees include former chancellor Nigel Lawson and Steve Baker, who leads the ‘Net Zero Scrutiny’ group of backbench Tory MPs and was recently criticised for sharing a paper by the group that denied the climate crisis…Of the £1.45m that the GWPF has received in charitable donations since 2017, at least 45% has come from the US….Craig Mackinlay and Steve Baker, the MPs leading the group, are regularly quoted on press releases from Net Zero Watch and have repeated some of its lines on the economic cost of net zero word-for-word. Read More
- The world’s biggest fossil fuel firms are quietly planning scores of “carbon bomb” oil and gas projects that would drive the climate past internationally agreed temperature limits with catastrophic global impacts, a Guardian investigation shows. The exclusive data shows these firms are in effect placing multibillion-dollar bets against humanity halting global heating. Their huge investments in new fossil fuel production could pay off only if countries fail to rapidly slash carbon emissions, which scientists say is vital. (Originating article)
- Last year, the folks at Our World in Data published an article and some graphics about how human diets affect land use. The conclusion, …is that if everyone in the world ate a vegan diet – one without any animal products at all – global agricultural land use would decrease by 75%. Rapid advances… in precision fermentation (PF), a process that allows us to program micro-organisms to produce almost any complex organic molecule (especially proteins), and cellular agriculture (CA), a process that involves growing animal tissue cells outside the animal. In Rethinking Food and Agriculture, we found that PF will make protein production 5 times cheaper by 2030 and 10 times cheaper by 2035 than existing animal proteins, before ultimately approaching the cost of sugar. They will be up to 100 times more land efficient, 10–25 times more feedstock efficient, 20 times more time efficient, and 10 times more water efficient than animal products and they will also produce an order of magnitude less waste. This means that, by 2030, modern food products will be higher quality and cost less than half as much to produce as the animal-derived products they replace. \-But note this from George Monbiot: “threatened by intellectual property rights: it could easily be captured by the same corporations that now monopolise the global grain and meat trade. We should fiercely resist this: patents should be weak and anti-trust laws strong. Ideally, this farm-free food should be open source.”
- NewClimate Institute, one of Net Zero Tracker’s partner groups, released an initial “corporate climate responsibility” report. It found net-zero pledges by 25 top global companies added up to, at best, an average 40% cut in emissions, not the 100% promised… fast and reliable systems to document, track and compare action on net-zero commitments will be crucial to efforts to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, from rising hunger and migration to more extreme weather… Net Zero Tracker’s work uses an algorithm to scrape the web for key terms such as “net zero” or “climate neutral” while filtering out irrelevant information, to more easily track and document publicly available pledges… The algorithmic approach can be at least 5-6 times faster than a manual search by people… More on this here.
- The Antarctic ice sheet is losing mass three times faster now than in the 1990s and contributing to global sea level rise.
- On Nov. 1st 2021, the @_GlobalAssembly‘s declaration was presented to world leaders at #COP26 stating that #Ecocide should be “enshrined in internat. & national laws, and firmly enforced alongside existing environmental protection laws.”
- This yeast oil comes from right here in Gerboin’s own bakery. At the end of the day, he roasts his unsold leftover bread, grinds it up and delivers it to TUM, one of Germany’s most innovative universities. There, Brück’s team ferments the stale bread with a special yeast, and within two days, a yellowish oil is dripping steadily out of the lab’s centrifuge. This oil is then sent back to Gerboin, who uses it for baking and frying. “The yeast oil lasts longer than palm oil,” he says. “I can reuse it up to 60 times. I even make my Bavarian cream with it.” More importantly, it is a zero-waste, 100 percent sustainable solution. “We replace the conventional palm oil monocultures with a truly circular bio-economy without waste,” Brück says.
- Women make up 80 percent of those forced to leave their home during climate catastrophes according to UN studies. They are also 14 times more likely than men to die during climate change related disasters.
- The need to tackle what the IPBES (Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services) has identified as the five key drivers of biodiversity loss: changes in land and sea use; direct exploitation of natural resources; climate change; pollution; and invasion of alien species.
- “We call on Cop27 to establish an international financing mechanism for climate change loss and damage in solidarity with victims least responsible for, and least equipped to withstand, the increasingly extreme shocks driven by climate change,” (Finance ministers of the V20 group of vulnerable nations, a coalition of 48 developing countries, report here)
- A Commission of Small Island States on Climate Change and International Law. AOSIS Member States … are starting to reject handouts, rather demanding debt relief and fair access to vital financing for mitigation and adaptation as a right. They are now going even further: threatening, in very clear terms, to take their claims for loss and damage to international courts and tribunals.
- Making QE available to the global south. If the right partnerships were built at the next UN climate summit, COP27 in Egypt, then money created in richer nations could be directed to developing countries to fund climate action. It’s not the only approach. An alternative is the use of IMF Special Drawing Rights. These increase the amount of credit that a government has with the IMF, which it can then use to settle payments due to other countries. If SDRs could be directed towards mitigation and adaptation efforts and limited to those countries with the greatest financing need, they could, with climate QE, meet that funding challenge set out by Mottley in Glasgow when she called for an additional $500bn worth of SDRs to be issued every year for 20 years to unlock the carbon-cutting investments needed to limit heating to 1.5C.
- The work of Client Earth, using not just legal angles but diplomatic ones to push for the end of coal, will continue to be really significant next year. Comfortingly, that extends far beyond Europe to very-hard-to-read China, where Client Earth claims to have trained 1,000 judges and prosecutors on regional pollution laws.
- …many cities have done a good job at reducing local emissions. But, … urban dwellers consume a great deal of stuff from beyond their boundaries.
When a product or service is bought by an urban consumer in a C40 city, resource extraction, manufacturing and transportation have already generated emissions along every link of a global supply chain. Together these consumption-based emissions add up to a total climate impact that is approximately 60% higher than production-based emissions.The Future of Urban Consumption in a 1.5°C World, by Arup, C40 Cites and the University of Leeds.
So it’s not enough to just cut direct emissions, we also have to cut the footprint of all the stuff that we consume… biggest source of emissions is a usual suspect – buildings and infrastructure. Here, the first thing to do is use less steel and concrete, substituting lower carbon materials and just building less …food, at 13 percent of emissions, actually has a bigger carbon impact in cities than cars. So we have to cut waste, eat less meat and dairy (preferably none), and even limit calories. I suspect that this will be a hard sell. … upfront emissions of building cars matters, totally a third of their total emissions. So we need to cut the numbers significantly (ambitiously, to zero), make them last longer, and reduce their weight by half, which could be done easily by banning SUVs and light trucks for non-commercial uses. …clothing and textiles have 4 percent of total emissions. It’s twice as high as aviation. So no more big shopping sprees for fast fashion; ambitiously, no more than three new items per year. Full article here. Also: The single biggest factor in the carbon footprint in our cities isn’t the amount of insulation in our walls, it’s the zoning.
- Science shows that to avoid ecological meltdown we need a two-third reduction in the impact of consumption in just 10 years, starting with rich countries. And yet, even our best examples of sustainable society still show huge and growing consumption emissions. This is because on their own, better technology and policy can’t green fast enough to keep up, when our mindsets, our cultures and our economic, political, technical and education systems are focused on more stuff.” -a movement where you take the jump—a movement fittingly named The JUMP. https://www.treehugger.com/take-the-jump-less-stuff-more-joy-5215018
- From this article: …carbon footprint of those things that we can control of 2.5 tonnes of carbon per person per year as the 2030 target.
- In early 2009 Danish oil and gas company DONG Energy began to change. … 2008 …DONG announced it would be pushing forward on a new vision, the 85/15, which stated that the 85% fossil fuel 15% renewable split in its power generation mix would be swapped within a generation and that this would be done through closing coal fired power plants and scaling up offshore wind power… in 2017, DONG, which had oil and gas in its name, sold its final oil and gas production assets and to reflect its fossil fuels-free future, the company rebranded as Ørsted, after the Danish scientist who discovered electromagnetism, Hans Christian Ørsted… “Now that we have transitioned, we want to help governments and businesses do the same and achieve their decarbonisation goals. That’s how we will realise our vision of a world that runs entirely on green energy.” -Article.
Reduce and remove plastic packaging: “Nearly three-quarters of British people have experienced “anxiety, frustration or hopelessness” at the amount of plastic that comes with their shopping and 59% think supermarkets and brands are not doing enough to offer refillable, reusable or packaging-free products,”
But as the table shows, some people are not even close to this. The Canadians, with a lifestyle pretty close to that of Americans, lead at 14.2 tonnes per year, followed by Finland. [I think that this may illustrate the impact of dairy produce]
Some of the differences between countries are surprising: Canada consumes more of everything, even more meat than Brazil.
- The youth movement has moved on from school strikes …. We cannot have another Cop that holds them at arms length. Cop27 in Egypt must have proper representation built into the structure (in 2018 UN protocols were changed to allow youth leaders to participate in more of the process, but they still don’t have a seat in negotiations).
- The Amazon rainforest is becoming less resilient, raising the risk of widespread dieback, new research shows. The study found that resilience – the ability to recover from events such as droughts or fires – has declined consistently in more than three quarters of the rainforest since the early 2000s.Experts believe the Amazon could soon reach a tipping point, crossing of which would trigger dieback and turn much of the forest to savannah, with major impacts on biodiversity, global carbon storage and climate change. / The collapse of the Amazon rainforest is inevitable if Jair Bolsonaro remains president of Brazil, … the far-right leader is more interested in placating the powerful agribusiness lobby and tapping global markets that reward destructive behaviour.
Consultancy Crondall Energy has been awarded a share of a £6.7 million UK Government pot to try to use North Sea infrastructure to solve the puzzle of energy storage. In partnership with Durham University, the pair have been awarded nearly £150,000 to develop a project which may ultimately help deal with the problem of intermittency in renewable energy sources like offshore wind. Over a five month period, the pair will explore the cost of using electricity to compress air and store it offshore in the UK North Sea. When such a system is reversed, the compressed air could be used to power a turbine to produce flexible electrical energy.
Something to pray to see more of expressed in the life of the world.
A growing gap in green space provision divides the UK according to recent research, with people in northern cities having access to fewer parks than their southern counterparts. Nationwide, ethnically diverse communities and people living on low incomes are more likely to live in areas without accessible or high-quality wild places or parks, according to data from Natural England and the Office for National Statistics. These communities are more likely to suffer poorer health outcomes, with higher incidences of heart and lung disease, depression, diabetes and obesity. To address this inequity, a coalition of environmental charities has called for equal access to nature to be enshrined in law. This echoes proposals for a legal right to nature, which have been discussed by the United Nations. https://theconversation.com/green-space-access-is-not-equal-in-the-uk-and-the-government-isnt-doing-enough-to-change-that-177598