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Tag Archives: Hurricane Sandy

Thypoon Haiyan – the teardrop of an Angry Earth.


With Haiyan….the pain of understanding what is to further unfold has gripped me as it would have those who have spent countless hours in convincing and making aware the world on the dangers of Climate Change and have seen too little happening on the ground.

When I wrote the article Hurricane Sandy & Cyclone Nilam – “Our cousins would be visiting soon”., a year has passed on the anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, and the World has experienced Planet Earth’s invite – Danse Macabre,

Worldwide Natural Disasters List – has grown manifold. To create the desired impact, I have listed each and every disaster which hit India. From January to September 2013. The list contains countries listed from A to Z and all have a similar story. Readers are free to horrify themselves and I hope at the end of it start doing something about it.

The Planet is running out on time.

September 2013

August 2013

July 2013

June 2013

May 2013

April 2013

March 2013

February 2013

January 2013

The chairman of the United Nations’ climate panel has warned the world to act on global warming to avoid passing “on a lousy, spoilt and defiled planet” to future generations.Rajendra K Pachauri, the chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), spoke out as typhoon Haiyan slammed into the Philippines causing hundreds of deaths and widespread destruction. While Pachauri said it was not possible to blame any single disaster on the steep rise in carbon emissions, the increased frequency of extreme weather events was consistent with scientific predictions.

And yet we have a World which considers itself smart with “leaders” expert in “Realpolitik”.

Ah! the shame and the futility of intellect can never be more stark….

MOSCOW, Oct 3

Arctic Oil Production Could Begin Later This Year As Russia’s Gazprom Prepares To Tap Reserves: Gazprom has announced that it is on track to begin oil production this year at the Prirazlomnoye Arctic oil project that has ignited protests from environmental groups over the dangers of possible oil spills.

“As was envisaged, production is expected to start by the year-end,” Gazprom Neft Shelf, a unit of Gazprom, said in an email to Reuters – the first public remarks by the company since Greenpeace activists tried to scale the production platform at Russia’s first Arctic offshore oil project last month.

On Wednesday Russia charged Greenpeace activists with piracy for their demonstration against Arctic oil drilling, which the Kremlin sees as a key to Russia’s future prosperity.

Arctic offshore oil and gas development is crucial for Russia, which relies on hydrocarbon sales for more than half its budget revenue. The Ministry of Natural Resources puts the offshore oil resources at 100 billion tonnes, which would be enough to satisfy global demand for 25 years at current consumption levels……..

WASHINGTON,June 25, 2013

President Obama’s recent Climate Action Plan, which calls for an end to public financing for new coal plants overseas, has raised our hopes for a cleaner and safer future … We believe the best way to ensure development is through low carbon growth — not new lignite fired power plants … We therefore ask the U.S. state department to lead a new U.S. Government effort to identify clean alternatives to a proposed coal fired power plant in the country that can be supported by the World Bank Group…..(more)

BANGKOK, 14 October 2013

A National Resilience Award to inspire local leadership to build safer communities launched last week in the Philippines……..UN Champion for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation, Senator Loren Legarda unveiled the initiative on the same weekend in which Typhoon Nari left at least 13 people dead in the northern provinces of the Philippines; a reminder of the urgent need to strengthen resilience in the Philippines….At least 750,000 people were affected before the typhoon made its way out into the South China Sea towards China and Viet Nam.(more)

Firefox_Screenshot_2013-11-10T10-02-34.172ZWarming of the climate system is unequivocal, and since the 1950s, many of the observed changes are unprecedented over decades to millennia. The atmosphere and ocean have warmed, the amounts of snow and ice have diminished, sea level has risen, and the concentrations of greenhouse gases have increased….

Ocean warming dominates the increase in energy stored in the climate system, accounting for more than 90% of the energy accumulated between 1971 and 2010 (high confidence). It is virtually certain that the upper ocean (0−700 m) warmed from 1971 to 2010, and it likely warmed between the 1870s and 1971……..

Human influence on the climate system is clear. This is evident from the increasing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere, positive radiative forcing, observed warming, and understanding of the climate system. – Excerpts from SREX report by The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC);the leading international body for the assessment of climate change endorsed by the UN General Assembly.

Typhoon Haiyan: More than 10,000 feared dead in Philippines; 600,000 evacuated in Vietnam

TACLOBAN/HANOI: A super typhoon that destroyed entire towns across the Philippines is believed to have killed more than 10,000 people, authorities said on Sunday, which would make it the country’s deadliest recorded natural disaster…..The scenes in Tacloban, a city of 220,000 people, and other coastal towns were reminiscent of a tsunami aftermath, with concrete slabs the only part of many homes remaining, vehicles flipped over and power lines destroyed……The Philippines endures a seemingly never-ending pattern of deadly typhoons, earthquakes, volcano eruptions and other natural disasters….

It is located along a typhoon belt and the so-called Ring of Fire, a vast Pacific Ocean region where many of Earth’s earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur.

Dear Friends and Colleagues, in this session we shall try to find areas of synergy for society in its quest for living in a sustainable environment. I will not preach about Global Warming. Experts on Climate change have already spoken on them and Mother Nature has been politely ( Yes! Hurricane Sandy & Katrina, Cyclone Phailin and Typhoon Haiyan are but a polite nudge; if one understands the tremendous force Earth holds in its bosom)  reminding the Human Civilization on how fragile and pompous is its claim to be the most intelligent and mighty animal on Earth.Civilization is battered, but is yet to come to its senses.Society was always in synergy with Nature it has always been sustainable and one with the Environment. Until the time when we thought it more prudent to follow a culture and life-style alien to our very ethos. When we started considering, without proper thought to design and build, to trade and commerce, to act and think what someone else considered fashionable. While the intelligence lies in following what is good; irrespective of region or nation from where it might have originated. in the past 100 odd years we have behaved like college kids, who would wear any dress which would be trending at the time, irrespective of it suiting or not.We in our pursuit of narrow self-interest forget that with every new technology we adopt, without indigenization it could be detrimental to Sustainable practice, when looked at from the perspective of the Millennium & Sustainable  Development Goals, (as it does not factor at times, of creating jobs or preserve the ecosystem but, deny that opportunity altogether.)

The rate at which we are destroying greener pastures without stopping to think how we can improve the very cities we live in will eventually lead us to situations which almost all of us are very familiar with.

And it is not just the greed of the people directly involved in that event but perhaps all of us sitting in far away plush offices and homes. If we look into ourselves we all have the self-righteous belief that it is only the elected representatives and the administration which is responsible for all things that is required to run a civilization.

Honesty and discipline can’t be selective.

From following simple traffic rules and building by-laws to complex environmental issues; the so called innocent common man is rarely honest when it comes upon himself to follow those rules.

There could be many of us who must know a neighbour who has an endangered turtle in his/her fish tank but don’t even bother?

Tigers are killed because some humans believe that eating parts of them would be beneficial. Trees in tropical and rain-forest are chopped because some in south Asian cities  believe that having a golf course could help turn their brown skin a bit more white and western  (albeit a little brown).

Tree logs are smuggled because without a polished Burma Teak floor, a style statement can’t be made about how rich the man is.

The Panda is near extinct because without fine paper to write upon the CEO can’t work. Without having a printed email, she/he can’t decide coherently.

The fashion conscious can’t be seen wearing the same dress & accessories twice.

But to arrest that we must delve deep into ourselves to find a solution. Unless we understand that each individual reading  this and those outside, whizzing past their window, without any knowledge or interest of what is transpiring within; come together,  we would be facing a calamity so terrible that World War-II would pale by comparison.

The onus is on us to change our life-style. While not one climate scientist or environmentalist suggest that we go back and live in caves; if there would be no irrational demand, exploitation beyond rationale can’t happen.

Even the choice of a petrol/diesel guzzling Car, the fetish of using every cosmetic which boast of all the fruits and vegetables which a hungry third world Nations never gets to eat creates the vicious circle where armed guards swoop down from helicopters to arrest those who were in their own way trying to arrest the slide to climate chaos!

History has always proven that Civilization takes a turn when there is mass movement. But that mass movement finds legitimacy when the elite partake to make the change; therefore it is for those who understand the dangers of unsustainable living create opportunity and solutions which the mass can relate to.

We must nudge the common man in relating every-day events to the Climate Change and how we can adapt if not mitigate the consequence of global warming, the threats of which is already manifest – the drama of Danse Macabre which Mother earth has started playing with regular shows, each more intense or frequent than the last.

A bigger disastrous calamity may befall if steps are not taken; every day, every moment, by all at the micro-level which is catalysed by sound policy at the macro level by the Nation, thus help in making those micro level changes easier for people to adopt and benefit from.

We must understand that Food-Clothing-Shelter will always come in the same order of precedence as it has from time immemorial.

The first necessity after any disaster is Food & Water; Clothing and Shelter….it must be remembered.. always!


 

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Hurricane Sandy & Cyclone Nilam – “Our cousins would be visiting soon”.


In the video section of my blog you will find a time lapse video of Hurricane Sandy. Around 2:14 minutes into the video, the lights of New York go out. Till then it is business as usual. Single mindedly producing GHG by consuming humongous amount of electricity produced by coal / oil fired thermal plants.

An Article by Ryan Patterson, USCAN Operations Director says –Both Presidential campaigns were put on pause this week as Hurricane Sandy converged with extraneous weather patterns and battered the East Coast with unprecedented force, prompting National Wildlife Federation climate scientist Amanda Staudt to describe the effects of climate change as akin to ‘putting hurricanes on steroids.’ This fatal event contributes even more evidence to the annals of climate change data, and some media have connected the storm to climate disruption, such as Bloomberg Businessweek, which ran a front page article titled It’s Global Warming, Stupid and CNN, which ran a story called Experts Warn of Superstorm Era to Come. Unfortunately, top politicians have not followed suit and have failed to publically connect the dots to climate change, which is dispiriting at best and unethical at worst.

With less than a week to Election Day, it is important to think about how we found ourselves in the position where key decision-makers are not substantially addressing climate, despite broad efforts by climate change activists. I will argue here that a band of carbon billionaires have effectively influenced public opinion and national and state legislation on climate change using a three-pronged strategy that funds think tanks, Astroturf campaigns, and legislative outreach…..(Source: Climate Action Network).

In 1988, UNEP and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) came together to create the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which has become the pre-eminent global source for scientific information relating to climate change.  The main international instrument on this subject, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was adopted in 1992.  And its Kyoto Protocol, which sets binding targets for 37 industrialized countries and the European community for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, was adopted in 1997. In 2002, the World Summit on Sustainable Development was held in Johannesburg, South Africa, from 26 August to 4 September 2002, to take stock of achievements, challenges and new issues arising since the 1992 Earth Summit. It was an “implementation” Summit, designed to turn the goals, promises and commitments of Agenda 21 into concrete, tangible actions. 2005 – 2014 is  the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development  and Agenda 21 is a comprehensive plan of action to be taken globally, nationally and locally by organizations of the United Nations System, Governments, and Major Groups in every area in which human impacts on the environment.

In 2012 with only 1 year 2 months to 2014, my Blog article What is Agenda 21 written to help propagate the great UN vision got a sum total of 5 HITS between 12th November 2011 to 6th March 2012.

Not that I did not try pasting the link to the article in my other blogs, especially the ones I title as Green Business Ideas. I doubt if even the kith and kin of CM Sheila Dikshit of New Delhi and Ex Mayor Shraddha Yadav of Mumbai, who were the signatories of the C40 Cities ( Urban Development Rules: How C40 -City rules can make a difference for India.) have even heard of these wonderful United Nations driven goals, leave alone the common people in my Country.

I have a decent 99 HITS to the C40 article, taking my efforts to spread sensible living to a mere 104 persons in total of 6 Billion people in this planet. I hope the UNFCCC has been doing better. Given it has been at it since 1988.

While Noble Rabindra Nath Tagore wrote – Jodi tor dak sune ….( A superb poem which tells you to walk alone towards the path of truth, irrespective of the following you get ). Unfortunately the time of the Mahathma Gandhi; who did walk alone; has changed.

Truth is what the Corporates tell you, through their selected mouth piece Politicians and media Barons. But Mother Nature has this silly habit of knocking down the tall claims made by tiny self-centred human. Every time. So when both Mitt Romney and Barack Obama chose not to mention the “C” word, Hurricane Sandy felt offended and came visiting and sent cousin Hurricane Nilam to India, to remind the Annex II countries not to feel to smug about the disaster hitting the most uncooperative Annex I country in the Kyoto Protocol.

In my (4 HITS received till date, clearly underscores how unimportant a news it is compared to Hollywood / Bollywood actors affairs, which get a media frenzy) article Sustainable Development is urgent : IPCC’s special report on Climate risks I presented the SEREX report a few points I would highlight below –

EXPOSURE AND VULNERABILITY

1.Exposure and vulnerability are dynamic, varying across temporal and spatial scales, and depend on economic, social, geographic, demographic, cultural, institutional, governance, and environmental factors (high confidence).

2.Settlement patterns, urbanization, and changes in socio-economic conditions have all influenced observed trends in exposure and vulnerability to climate extremes (high confidence).

DISASTER LOSSES
1.Economic losses from weather and climate-related disasters have increased, but with large spatial and inter-annual variability (high confidence, based on high agreement, medium evidence).

2.Economic, including insured, disaster losses associated with weather, climate, and geophysical events are higher in developed countries. Fatality rates and economic losses expressed as a proportion of GDP are higher in developing countries (high confidence).

3.Increasing exposure of people and economic assets has been the major cause of the long-term increases in economic losses from weather and climate-related disasters (high confidence).

4.Long-term trends in economic disaster losses adjusted for wealth and
population increases have not been attributed to climate change, but a role for climate change has not been excluded (medium evidence, high agreement).

The report touches on many aspects in great detail and was published as the 4th Assessment Report of IPCC last year. I would want people to pause at the digit 4th. The 5th report is on its way.

Wonder how much that would help the common persons who are lead as sheep to the slaughter house by the willy Politician – Corporate out to make a quick buck. After all disasters do help in the business of rebuilding. What fun! Too bad, loss of life and limb happens. But statistics show far greater people die in their sleep don’t they?

Exposure and Vulnerability; Disaster losses. one can almost feel the despair and frustration of all those who have burnt the proverbial mid-night oil to compile a Report, detailed and accurate as humanly possible to help the Leaders of this World to address Climate change with Vision and Statesmanship.

$1 trillion in infra at any cost, Singh tells his 77: Prime minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday told the 77 ministers in his cabinet the government’s target of $1 trillion investments in infrastructure over the next five years “must be met at any cost”.That translates into Rs53.71 lakh crore, or more than Rs10 lakh crore a year, over the 12th Plan period of 2012-17…….“To do so, we will have to overcome the constraints that currently deter or slow down this investment.” The prime minister listed fuel supply arrangements, security and environmental clearances and financing difficulties among the constraints and said the growing gap between demand and supply of energy had emerged as a major roadblock to development.
I can almost hear the chain saws gnawing at the last remaining forest cover, to reach for the coal beneath. “Development at any cost” the new Indian Mantra.

The Stern Review states that climate change is the greatest and widest-ranging market failure ever seen, presenting a unique challenge for economics.The Review provides prescriptions including environmental taxes to minimise the economic and social disruptions. The Stern Review’s main conclusion is that the benefits of strong, early action on climate change far outweigh the costs of not acting.The Review points to the potential impacts of climate change on water resources, food production, health, and the environment. According to the Review, without action, the overall costs of climate change will be equivalent to losing at least 5% of global gross domestic product (GDP) each year, now and forever. Including a wider range of risks and impacts could increase this to 20% of GDP or more. The Review proposes that one percent of global GDP per annum is required to be invested in order to avoid the worst effects of climate change. In June 2008, Stern increased the estimate for the annual cost of achieving stabilisation between 500 and 550 ppm CO2e to 2% of GDP to account for faster than expected climate change.

It is said that unless we stop and reverse the Global temperature rise by 2017, we shall be locked into a high carbon growth for the next 50 years with Climate related disasters and its related abatement cost dogging the civilization, with millions in life and property is lost.

Yet, the World Leaders blinded by myopic vision, site economic gurus who unfortunately are born of a flawed economic system, who go back to the time when that flawed system was in its nascent stage and showed false growth and prosperity. By this I mean the dawn of the Industrial Revolution. The vast untapped resources were not yet exploited and thus the impact of “pollution” an unknown term then. And it had not manifested itself with the terrible consequences which we see now. While the Revolution is singularly responsible for the growth of Human understanding in every field, including the impacts of human induced climate change, applying the same economic measures and datum now is nothing short of foolhardy in the present circumstances.

Now is the time for us to search for leaders who would be able to stand tall and proud as Gandhi. Leaders not afraid to walk the path away from the beaten track. And should that be a problem then we still can walk the path  the Mahatma showed in his concept of a Sustainable Village or Gram Swaraj.

Visionaries are not born every day and civilization which forget the thoughts of visionaries do so at their own peril. While it is easy to catalogue the devastation of a Katrina or a Sandy or a Nilam, what is of profound importance now is that the United Nations must through its good offices bring around the USA, Canada, Japan and others who talk of not ratifying the KP-2 or any similar or better economic idea which might just be able to hold off the cousins of Sandy & Katrina from visiting too soon.

Perhaps UNFCCC-Doha may after all see the birth of a new Economic order born out of respect for the Ecology.

 

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