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Re: E-M:/Minimizing Climate Catastrophe; "Contraction & Convergence"



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Enviro-Mich message from "Thomas W. Stephens" <tstephens@sugarlaw.org>
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http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?SectionID=21&ItemID=7360

*** QUOTE00
"Climate crisis is not a future risk. It is today's reality. As Myles Allen,
a climate scientist at Oxford University, warned recently: "The danger zone
is not something we are going to reach in the middle of this century. We are
in it now."... The notion of government and big business perpetrating
climate crimes against humanity is simply off the news agenda. A collective
madness of suffocating silence pervades the media, afflicting even those
editors and journalists that we are supposed to regard as the best. ...One
of the major gaps in the climate 'debate' is the deafening silence
surrounding contraction and convergence (C&C). This proposal by the
London-based Global Commons Institute would cut greenhouse gas emissions in
a fair and timely manner, averting the worst climatic impacts. Unlike Kyoto,
it is a global framework involving all countries, both 'developed' and
'developing'. C&C requires that annual emissions of greenhouse gases
contract over time to a sustainable level. The aim would be to limit the
equivalent concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to a safe
level. The pre-industrial level, in 1800, was 280 parts per million by
volume (ppmv). The current level is around 380 ppmv, and it will exceed 400
ppmv within ten years under a business as usual scenario. Even if we stopped
burning fossil fuels today, the planet would continue to heat up for more
than a hundred years. In other words, humanity has already committed life on
the planet to considerable climate-related damages in the years to come."
***END QUOTE  ADDITIONAL EXCERPTS AND LINK TO FULL ARTICLE BELOW

ZNet | Mainstream Media

Is The Earth Really Finished?
Countering Despair With The Momentum Of Hope

by David Cromwell; Media Lens; March 04, 2005

"What goes against the grain of conditioning is experienced as not credible,
or as a hostile act." (John McMurtry, philosopher)


Bizarre Conversations

Climate crisis is not a future risk. It is today's reality. As Myles Allen,
a climate scientist at Oxford University, warned recently: "The danger zone
is not something we are going to reach in the middle of this century. We are
in it now." (Roger Highfield, 'Screen saver weather trial predicts 10 deg
rise in British temperatures', Daily Telegraph, 31 January, 2005)


Human-induced climate change has been killing people for decades.
Climatologists estimate that global warming has led to the deaths of 150,000
people since 1970. (Meteorological Office, 'Avoiding Dangerous Climate
Change', 1-3 February 2005, Table 2a. 'Impacts on human systems due to
temperature rise, precipitation change and increases in extreme events',
page 1; www.stabilisation2005.com/impacts/impacts_human.pdf) By 2050, as
temperatures rise, scientists warn that three billion people will be under
"water stress", with tens of millions likely dying as a result.

At such a desperate moment in the planet's history, we could simply throw up
our hands in despair, or we could try to reduce the likelihood of the worst
predictions coming true. The corporate media has yet to examine its own role
in setting up huge obstacles to the latter option of hope.


Consider, for example, Michael McCarthy, environment editor of the
Independent. McCarthy described how he "was taken aback" at dramatic
scientific warnings of "major new threats" at a recent climate conference in
Exeter. One frightening prospect is the collapse of the West Antarctic ice
sheet, previously considered stable, which would lead to a 5-metre rise in
global sea level. As McCarthy notes dramatically: "Goodbye London; goodbye
Bangladesh".


On the way back from Exeter on the train, he mulls over the conference
findings with Paul Brown, environment correspondent of the Guardian:


"By the time we reached London we knew what the conclusion was. I said: 'The
earth is finished.' Paul said: 'It is, yes.' We both shook our heads and
gave that half-laugh that is sparked by incredulity. So many environmental
scare stories, over the years; I never dreamed of such a one as this.

***
Tom Stephens
Guild/Sugar Law Center
733 St. Antoine, 3rd Floor
Detroit, Michigan 48226
(313) 962-6540
(313) 962-4492 (fax)
(586) 419-9230 (cell)

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