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What A Week It Was: Apocadocuments from
View By Scenario:
Species Collapse:(2)
Plague/Virus:(1)
Climate Chaos:(8)
Resource Depletion: (1)
Biology Breach:(12)
Recovery:(12)
This Week's Top Ten Very Scary Tags:
climate impacts  ~ contamination  ~ global warming  ~ stupid humans  ~ smart policy  ~ ecosystem interrelationships  ~ anthropogenic change  ~ unintended consequences  ~ ocean warming  ~ governmental idiocy  ~ carbon emissions  



ApocaDocuments (12) for the "Recovery" scenario from this week
[see full week] ~ [see full Recovery scenario and stories]
Fri, Sep 18, 2009
from London Times:
India challenges US by agreeing to impose limits on carbon emissions
India wrong-footed the United States and other rich nations yesterday by agreeing for the first time to set numerical targets for curbing its greenhouse gas emissions. The move added to pressure on the Obama Administration to deliver on its own climate change pledges even as senior Democrats warned that US legislation may face severe delays. Jairam Ramesh, the Indian Environment Minister, told The Times that legislation was being drafted in Delhi to limit India's carbon footprint and in the process repair his country's reputation for intransigence on climate change before the crucial UN conference in Copenhagen in December. ...


If India can do it, then yes we can too!

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Fri, Sep 18, 2009
from London Independent:
Call for murder charges to be brought over toxic dumping
Trafigura, the oil-trading company at the centre of the scandal caused by the dumping of tons of toxic waste in one of the world's poorest countries, could be prosecuted for murder after a dossier of evidence was submitted to a court in the Netherlands yesterday, alleging that the sludge caused deaths and serious injuries. A complaint filed by Greenpeace Netherlands calls for a Dutch prosecution arising from Trafigura's actions in July 2006 — when a chartered tanker carrying the contaminated waste arrived in Amsterdam — to be widened to include events in Ivory Coast a month later which caused thousands of people to fall ill after tons of the foul-smelling slurry was dumped in the port of Abidjan.... A United Nations report this week stated that there seemed to be "prima facie evidence" that up to a dozen deaths in Abidjan were linked to the sludge. ...


If this works, I've got a list a mile long...

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Thu, Sep 17, 2009
from Associated Press:
EPA scraps Bush-era smog rule and will start over
The Obama administration signaled Wednesday that it would scrap a controversial Bush-era rule that set stricter limits for smog but fell short of scientific recommendations. In a notice filed Wednesday in a federal appeals court, the Justice Department says there are concerns that the revision made by the Bush administration does not adhere to federal air pollution law. The Environmental Protection Agency will propose revised smog standards to protect health and the environment in late December. "This is one of the most important protection measures we can take to safeguard our health and our environment," said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson in a statement. "Reconsidering these standards and ensuring acceptable levels of ground-level ozone could cut health care costs and make our cities healthier, safer places to live, work and play." Smog is a respiratory irritant that can aggravate asthma and has been linked to heart attacks. ...


What's the hurry?

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Thu, Sep 17, 2009
from SolveClimate:
US Policy Breakthrough on Super Greenhouse Gases, But Obstacles Remain
The U.S. State Department issued an international proposal jointly with the governments of Canada and Mexico this week to phase down the production and consumption of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) starting as early as 2011. The move represents a welcome breakthrough for the administration, whose HFC policy has been delayed since May when interagency disagreements stalled U.S. action on the super greenhouse gases. HFCs, found in small amounts in air-conditioning and refrigeration systems, have a climate warming impact many thousands of times greater than CO2.... It would be the first time that the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, recognized as a very successful treaty that has stopped the global use of more than 90 ozone-destroying substances in its 20 years, would be deployed to control climate warming gases. ...


Jobs. Air conditioning more expensive. Theory. Economy. Socialism. Don't tread on me.

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Wed, Sep 16, 2009
from Paul Gilding, in ClimateProgress:
In its place we are entering a period of consequences
Some days my head hurts, as I shift between what feels like two parallel universes in the climate change debate.... They tell me the science says it is almost certain the impacts will be serious and destabilising for our society and our economy. The science also describes a lower level of risk -- which they find hard to quantify but generally say between 10 percent and 50 percent -- that the impacts of climate change will be catastrophic, perhaps even civilisation threatening. This could include widespread famine, war and economic collapse. Not certain, but a reasonable possibility.... Then I shift into the parallel universe. I spend time in corporate boardrooms and listen to the analysis of business executives who explain how we mustn't damage the economy by "over-reacting."... But they still fall for the easy way out, the path of denial and avoidance. Not because theyre bad people, but because they're not thinking clearly and courageously. My message on this topic is clear and direct. We are at a crucial moment in human history. 2009 is to climate change what 1939 was to WWII. Poland has been invaded -- the Arctic is melting, the bushfires are burning, the droughts are strengthening and the floods are sweeping away communities. There is only one question you have to ask yourself: "what will I tell my children?" ...


I'm resolved to be irresolute. Dithering is so much more pleasant.

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Wed, Sep 16, 2009
from COP15:
EU climate change unit warns against geoengineering
Rockets that release dust particles into the stratosphere, plans to fertilize oceans, or huge mirrors that reflect the sun's radiation may sound like handy shortcuts to cool the earth. "It's a temporary cure and doesn't solve anything, and the second thing is that we don't know the earth system enough to start playing with it," says Frank Raes, head of the climate change unit at the European Commission's Joint Research Centre in an interview with EurActiv.... "We have to stay very careful about how to use afforestation and deforestation so that we really have a benefit for the climate," Raes says. Instead, he is advocating for geo-renovating. "It is about discussing very sophisticated ways of solving the problems of climate change and air pollution rather than resorting to hard geo-engineering," Frank Raes says in the interview. ...


But without geoengineering, how will we use our surplus wealth to further enrich big corporations?

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Tue, Sep 15, 2009
from Washington Post:
When It Comes to Pollution, Less (Kids) May Be More
To heck with carbon dioxide. A new study performed by the London School of Economics suggests that, to fight climate change, governments should focus on another pollutant: us. As in babies. New people. Every new life, the report says, is a guarantee of new greenhouse gases, spewed out over decades of driving and electricity use. Seen in that light, we might be our own worst emissions. The activist group that sponsored the report says birth control could be one of the world's best tools for fighting climate change. By preventing the creation of new polluters, the group says, contraceptives are a far cheaper solution than windmills and solar plants. ...


As long as people don't leave those dang rubbers lying around everywhere!

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Tue, Sep 15, 2009
from Yale Environment 360:
Green Intelligence: Toward True Ecological Transparency
Wal-Mart has handed the environmental movement a new tool for ameliorating the human footprint: using an emerging generation of information systems to create market pressures to upgrade the ecological performance of commerce and industry. This strategy entails making life-cycle-assessment data for products transparent -- that is, labeling them with a sound, independent rating so shoppers can easily take the ecological impacts into account as they decide what to buy. Indeed, the Wal-Mart announcement has thrust what once seemed merely an intriguing idea into a market reality companies will have to deal with -- not just in tomorrow's strategic plans, but in today's logistics and operations. Wal-Mart's 100,000-plus suppliers (and the likes of Procter & Gamble counts as just one) will be required to reveal their products' ecological impacts or have them dropped from the retailer's stores worldwide. ...


Just as long as they keep using the smiley face, I'm okay with it.

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Mon, Sep 14, 2009
from :
From the ApocaDesk
As a film, The Age of Stupid is a strange brew, a combination science fiction drama and present-day documentary. The premise of the narrative makes it work: An archivist in the year 2050 sits atop the now permanently melted Arctic in a structure that houses all the great art and books and media of the history of humanity. The Archivist, played by Pete Postlethwaite (In the Name of the Father, The Usual Suspects), muses aloud about the imminent destruction of the habitat, as he sifts through the footage of the past, trying to figure out the answer to an essential question.
Why didn't we try and save ourselves?
The story is a pastiche of snippets of CNN and Fox broadcasters and other media moments, but six main narratives are threaded together, tied more or less loosely by the idea of oil. These are real people, and they represent a broad cross-section of age and geographical location, from the New Orleans-based Alvin Duvernay to 8 year old Jamila, an Iraqi refugee living, homeless, in Jordan.
A third main thread of the story -- in addition to the archivist and the real humans -- are numerous animated pieces that info-graphically and entertainingly tell the story of how mass consumerism and obsession with oil combined to lead to the ruination of the planet.
Three-fold, these elements of The Age of Stupid hold together, anchored by the sweet sad face of The Archivist.
Director Franny Armstrong tackled one facet of consumerism in McLibel and now she's grappling with a larger -- well, the largest == canvas. It was four years in the making, and funded by a "crowd" - i.e. numerous smaller investors, and her film is an entertaining and harrowing look at now through eyes of later.
According to the filmmakers, the documentary started off as a Soderbergh Traffic-style narrative, weaving the six real folks into one complex story called Crude. Knowing that may help you view the film; for me, giant issues of habitat collapse are missing from The Age of Stupid -- most notably the erosive effects of corporate farming, and the potential for potential pandemic plague to be cooked up its cauldrons. Then there's over-population, only slightly brushed against in the film. But understanding that Armstrong and company were hoping to stay on message with oil helps focus an otherwise potentially overwhelming subject.
So as a film, The Age of Stupid works, and as a piece of persuasion... well, you had me at stupid. The title is fun to say, and can morph into any number of entertaining phrases: "Have you seen 'Stupid' yet?" "I thought 'Stupid' was brilliant." "Hey, I'll join the 'Stupid' team!"
The Age of Stupid is going its own way in hopes of building a team of Stupids to help. On Monday, Sept. 21 at 7:30 (Eastern time), a New York-based live presentation of the film will feature the movie, followed by a panel discussion between the filmmakers, scientists and environmental leaders, with Radiohead's Thom Yorke wrapping up the event with an acoustic performance of the film's title track. This gathering will be as green as green can be, from a carbon emission standpoint, and will tape-delay broadcast to more than 30 countries. Hey, we're all in this together, or, rather, all going down together if we don't take the film's message to heart.
Ultimately, to rate this film, to recommend it, to criticize is absurd. On the brink of the December climate gathering in Copenhagen, on the precipice of disaster, shall we quibble about the entertainment value of a piece of culture like The Age of Stupid? The real question is: Does it contribute to the necessary awakening of humanity?
Our stupid answer is: It sure does, stupid.
For a complete list of screens -- there are more than 440 theaters involved -- go to www.FathomEvents.com. And please, carpool, bicycle or use public transportation. Because driving yourself, alone, to the theater would just be ... well, you know. For more info, go to www.ageofstupid.net. ...


It's the collapse of the habitat, stupid!

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Mon, Sep 14, 2009
from Treehugger.com:
Nanosolar Reaches Solar Cell Efficiency of 16.4 percent, Starts Mass Production of 'Printed' Solar Panels
The first piece of news from Nanosolar concerns a solar panel factory in Germany with a capacity of 640MW/year. The fully-automated facility is located in Luckenwalde near Berlin, and its inauguration was attended by Germany's Minister of the Environment and the Governor of the State of Brandenburg, among others. The 640 megawatts per year number if reached when the factory is operated 24/7 at the rate of 1 solar panel every 10 seconds (!). Nanosolar has also announced that serial production in its San Jose, California, cell production factory commenced earlier this year and that production would be ramping up to meet the $4.1 billion in contracts that they already have.... ...


There might be a big market for inkjet cartridges that could print solar panels. Will you get on that?

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Mon, Sep 14, 2009
from SciDev.net:
Bangladesh to host centre for climate adaptation knowhow
Bangladesh is set to host a new international centre for research and training in climate change adaptation activities. The International Centre for Climate Change and Development's official launch is planned for late November, at the end of its first course, Terry Cannon, the centre's visiting director of studies, told SciDev.Net.... "The idea is to bring together people from around the world who are working on community-based adaptation with vulnerable groups," explains Huq. Huq says that although several universities in industrialised countries around the world are developing climate change courses, the new centre can provide something more -- particularly for students from less developed countries, who will be able to experience first-hand the realities of climate change in Bangladesh and link them to the situation in their home countries. "Bangladesh is a living laboratory on climate change adaptation," he says. "We will take students out to see what is happening. It will be more than just a classroom exercise." ...


Hands-on learning with humankind's biggest uncontrolled experiment!

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Mon, Sep 14, 2009
from Seattle Times:
Bat experts watch health of Northwest colonies
"We don't expect it to be here already," Ormsbee said. "But we need to start doing surveillance early." More than 1 million bats already have perished in what one expert described as the most precipitous decline in American wildlife in recorded history. Extinctions are likely if the white-nose disease continues to spread, and could lead to a population explosion of mosquitoes and other insect pests normally held in check by the winged predators.... First discovered in 2006 in a popular tourist cave in New York state, white-nose syndrome has spread to hundreds of sites in nine states. Marked by a powdery, white fungus on the bats' noses and wings, the infection can kill 95 percent or more of hibernating animals in a cave. "When I talk to colleagues back East, they tell me they go into these caves and they cry," said Greg Falxa, a bat biologist with Cascadia Research Collective in Olympia. "They can't walk without stepping on dead bats."... ...


Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's the ghost of the bats of yesteryear.

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