If you visit the website of the UN body that oversees the world’s climate negotiations, you will find dozens of pictures, taken across 20 years, of people clapping. These photos should be of interest to anthropologists and psychologists. For they show hundreds of intelligent, educated, well-paid and elegantly-dressed people wasting their lives. The celebratory nature of the images testifies to the world of make-believe these people inhabit. They are surrounded by objectives, principles, commitments, instruments and protocols, which create a reassuring phantasm of progress while the ship on which they travel slowly founders. Leafing through these photos, I imagine I can almost hear what the delegates are saying through their expensive dentistry. “Darling you’ve re-arranged the deckchairs beautifully. It’s a breakthrough! We’ll have to invent a mechanism for holding them in place, as the deck has developed a bit of a tilt, but we’ll do that at the next … [Read more...] about Keep fossil fuels in the ground to stop climate change
Fossil fuel divestment and climate change reviewing contested arguments
Activists have occupied Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall with the aim of giving an all-night performance criticising BP’s sponsorship of the gallery. The group intend to cover the hall’s 152-metre sloping floor, which once housed the oil-fired turbines of the Bankside power station, with thousands of charcoaled words of warning about climate change. The performers said the art work would take 25 hours to complete, if they manage to remain inside the building, and is timed to coincide with a full tide cycle. Eva Blackwell, of the arts activism group Liberate Tate, said the protest was “a textual intervention”. “We’re filling the Turbine Hall with a tide of ideas and narratives of art, activism, climate change and oil,” she said. The words were sourced from a range of books and reports, including Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel Oryx and Crake, the UN’s latest climate science report and Naomi Klein’s This Changes Everything: … [Read more...] about Climate change activists occupy Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall
Shell’s decision to put its Arctic oil exploration plans in deep freeze will have several knock-on effects for global oil exploration, environmental protests and the future of the company itself. The broader Arctic retreat by energy firms once bullish about polar prospects has now left just two working operations in the region: BP’s Prudhoe Bay field, which feeds the Trans-Alaskan pipeline, and Gazprom’s largely symbolic Prirazlomnoye platform in the Pechora Sea. Publicly, Shell blames disappointing exploratory results, high operating costs and strict US environmental regulations for its decision to quit Alaska’s Berger field after about $7bn (£4.6bn) of investment. But company sources also accept that Arctic oil polarised debate in a way that damaged the firm. “We were acutely aware of the reputational element to this programme,” one said. The notion of drilling in some of the world’s most pristine and hazardous regions – which, in … [Read more...] about Shell has frozen its Arctic oil drilling – but it’s still hungry for fossil fuels
The effects of climate change are all too real. The world is warming, sea levels are rising, species are on the verge of extinction and millions of people are suffering — both physically and mentally. Although these effects can be seen and felt all around us, the data measuring these impacts can be complex and confusing if not presented properly. That's where visual data scientists come in. Their job is to collect and convey statistics showing the impacts of climate change so that governments and policymakers can make informed decisions based on the best available evidence. If that evidence is too complex or too broad to understand, then policymakers could have a hard time deciding on how best to handle certain problems. That's according to visual data scientist Thomas Nocke from Germany's Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, who says visuals are vital when conveying large amounts of data. "Of course, you cannot explain everything that's behind the statistics … [Read more...] about AI art: A game-changer in fighting climate change?
Fossil fuel companies are benefitting from global subsidies of $5.3tn (£3.4tn) a year, equivalent to $10m a minute every day, according to a startling new estimate by the International Monetary Fund. The IMF calls the revelation “shocking” and says the figure is an “extremely robust” estimate of the true cost of fossil fuels. The $5.3tn subsidy estimated for 2015 is greater than the total health spending of all the world’s governments. The vast sum is largely due to polluters not paying the costs imposed on governments by the burning of coal, oil and gas. These include the harm caused to local populations by air pollution as well as to people across the globe affected by the floods, droughts and storms being driven by climate change. Nicholas Stern, an eminent climate economist at the London School of Economics, said: “This very important analysis shatters the myth that fossil fuels are cheap by showing just how huge their real costs are. There … [Read more...] about Fossil fuels subsidised by $10m a minute, says IMF