The Second Shoe Has Dropped: the IPBES Global Assessment Report

This was a particularly difficult day for me because the second shoe has hit the floor very, very hard. The first shoe dropped last fall when the 1.5C report was published by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, indicating that we have only 12 years left to address climate change. The other shoe dropped to the floor today when the United Nations Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) published its unusually stark Global Assessment Report, the most thorough planetary health check ever undertaken.

Let me state it right up front: the report is devastating. It was conducted by more than 450 scientists and diplomats, and was three years in the making. As well, it drew on over 15,000 reference materials and runs out to over 1800 pages. A shorter 40 page summary for policymakers is also available.

“The overwhelming evidence of the IPBES Global Assessment, from a wide range of different fields of knowledge, presents an ominous picture,” said IPBES Chair, Sir Robert Watson. “The health of ecosystems on which we and all other species depend is deteriorating more rapidly than ever. We are eroding the very foundations of our economies, livelihoods, food security, health and quality of life worldwide.”

The Report finds that around 1 million animal and plant species are now threatened with extinction, many within decades, more than ever before in human history.

The average abundance of native species in most major land-based habitats has fallen by at least 20%, mostly since 1900. More than 40% of amphibian species, almost 33% of reef forming corals and more than a third of all marine mammals are threatened. The picture is less clear for insect species, but available evidence supports a tentative estimate of 10% being threatened. At least 680 vertebrate species had been driven to extinction since the 16th century and more than 9% of all domesticated breeds of mammals used for food and agriculture had become extinct by 2016, with at least 1,000 more breeds still threatened.

“Ecosystems, species, wild populations, local varieties and breeds of domesticated plants and animals are shrinking, deteriorating or vanishing. The essential, interconnected web of life on Earth is getting smaller and increasingly frayed,” said Prof. Settele. “This loss is a direct result of human activity and constitutes a direct threat to human well-being in all regions of the world.”

Let us be clear, both the IPCC report and this IPBES assure us that it is not too late, but ONLY if we engage NOW with transformative change: “fundamental, system-wide reorganization across technological, economic and social factors, including paradigms, goals and values.”

Question: How good are we at transformative change? Who exactly is going to steer us away from “the current limited paradigm of economic growth?”

I highly recommend reading the two press stories HERE (Guardian) and HERE (BBC) and, if you are so inclined, download and read the summary for policymakers.

UK Parliament declares climate change emergency – less than a week after XR thrashes London

This from the BBC: “MPs have approved a motion to declare an environment and climate emergency.”

“This proposal, which demonstrates the will of the Commons on the issue but does not legally compel the government to act, was approved without a vote.”

“Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who tabled the motion, said it was “a huge step forward.”. . .

Addressing climate protesters from the top of a fire engine in Parliament Square earlier, Mr Corbyn said: “This can set off a wave of action from parliaments and governments around the globe.

“We pledge to work as closely as possible with countries that are serious about ending the climate catastrophe and make clear to US President Donald Trump that he cannot ignore international agreements and action on the climate crisis.”

“. Read more HERE (BBC) and HERE (Guardian) . . .

‘We Are Burning It Up’: Protestors Block Parts Of Speer For Global Warming Movement

Click on the link below to watch (and read) the CBS Channel 4 News Report on Saturday’s Extinction Rebellion (XR) non-violent, civil disobedience action, blocking parts of Speer Blvd for 20 minutes. I was honored to serve as spokesperson for the event.

Today’s Extinction Rebellion US Press Release

Press Release
For Immediate Release
April 12, 2019

CONTACT:
Ruby Bristol, (541) 499-2522, climatenews@protonmail.com
Bea Ruiz, (510) 859-4540, xr@extinctionrebellion.us
ExtinctionRebellion.US | Twitter: @extinctionrebel #XRUS Facebook.com/ExtinctionRebellionUS/
Call to Action: https://extinctionrebellion.us/rebellion-week

Climate Rebels Take 30+ Actions Across the US – April 15 – 22
Groups declare non-violent rebellion to force government action on climate change

USA – Beginning Monday, April 15, Extinction Rebellion (XR US) will take action in large and small cities in the United States as one strand in an emerging, worldwide revolt to build the people power necessary to force governments to take action on climate change. In the U.S., actions may include lockdowns, road blockades, shutdowns, “die-ins”, and other forms of disruption — while advocating for a justice-based, healing vision for the future.

Extinction Rebellion’s International Rebellion will break out across every continent on Earth April 15 through 22, barring Antarctica. Rebels in 49 countries are demanding their governments take decisive action to implement systemic changes to stop global warming while there’s still time left.

“Governments have failed us. Those who are most vulnerable and least responsible for this crisis are the ones who are suffering the most. People are dying. Species are disappearing. Everything is at stake,” said Bea Ruiz, a national coordinator for XR U.S. “We are living through a time like no other and we won’t allow this destruction to continue.”

Ruiz continued, “It’s time to do what’s never been done before in the fight against climate change – a collective and coordinated international rebellion that will continue to escalate until our demands are met. Nothing can stop us, because together, nothing can.”

The wildly popular movement has grown exponentially since their initial Declaration of Rebellion in the United Kingdom in October, 2018. A month later, six thousand Rebels converged and peacefully blocked five major bridges across the Thames in London. They planted trees in Parliament Square and dug a hole there to bury a coffin representing the future, and then super-glued themselves to the gates of Buckingham Palace as they read a letter to the Queen.

The movement has spread to include hundreds of thousands of people around the world in six months in part because Extinction Rebellion doesn’t rely on false positivity or hope. XR communicates precisely about the climate emergency we face and then asks people to act accordingly. It’s working.

“People from all walks of life in the US are joining Extinction Rebellion,” said Christina See, a theatrical lighting designer and a New York City Coordinator for XR US. “I have never been involved in activism before. I came with feelings of grief, fear, and anger that have been building for years and I’ve transformed those feelings into action.”

One newcomer to XR and the fight for climate justice includes Mike Selmer, a 62 year-old cancer survivor and blue collar construction worker from Wyoming who has vowed to take action for his grandchildren.

“My generation has not come to grips with the climate crisis,” said Selmer. “It is our moral responsibility to create the circumstances that will allow those who follow us to succeed where we failed. That success will only come if all of us, young and old, take action to make it happen.”

Actions are planned in major cities from coast to coast, including New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Atlanta, and smaller cities including Portland, Denver, and Austin.

Extinction Rebellion U.S. is one of 49 countries that form Extinction Rebellion International. XR US has four demands. They include not only the necessary target for reducing carbon emissions and expanding democracy to counteract the hold fossil fuel industries have over the US government, but also environmental reparations for disproportionately impacted communities, rights for Mother Nature, and respect for Indigenous sovereignty.

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Expressions of support for the international call to do whatever is necessary to non-violently persuade politicians to end their complacency and inaction have come from many hundreds of notables from all spheres. A portion of those include:

Greta Thunberg (Climate Activist), Dame Emma Thompson (Actor, Writer, and Activist), Radiohead (Musicians), Stephen Fry (Comedian, Writer, Actor), Rowan Williams (Former Archbishop of Canterbury), Ellie Goulding (Singer-songwriter), Simon Amstell (Comedian, Writer, Film-maker), Lily Cole (Model, Actor, Entrepreneur), George Monbiot (Journalist), Noam Chomsky (Linguist, Philosopher, Academic), Bill McKibben (Educator and Author), Vandana Shiva (Environmental activist, Author), Naomi Klein (Author, Activist) The YES MEN (Culture Jamming Activists), Gavin Turk (Artist), Nan Goldin (Artist), John Aitchison (Bafta and Emmy Winning Wildlife Cameraman).

WMO Statement on the State of the Global Climate in 2018 published today

The World Meteorological Organization Statement on the State of the Global Climate in 2018 (44 page pdf) was published today. Read informative press release HERE.

This publication marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the WMO Statement on the State of the Global Climate, which was first issued in 1994. The 2019 edition treating data for 2018 marks sustained international efforts dedicated to reporting on, analysing and understanding the year-to-year variations and long-term trends of a changing climate.

The WMO climate statement includes input from national meteorological and hydrological services, an extensive community of scientific experts, and United Nations agencies. It details climate related risks and impacts on human health and welfare, migration and displacement, food security, the environment and ocean and land-based ecosystems. It also catalogues extreme weather around the world.

It complements the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) five-to-seven year reporting cycle in producing updated information for the United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Change and other climate-related policy frameworks.


Key findings of this Statement include the striking consecutive record warming recorded from 2015 through 2018, the continuous upward trend in the atmospheric
concentration of the major greenhouse gases, the increasing rate of sea-level rise and the loss of sea ice in both northern and southern polar regions.

WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas

With data provided by: Global Precipitation Climatology Centre (DWD), UK Met Office Hadley Centre, NOAA National Centres for Environmental Information (NOAA NCEI), ECMWF, National Aeronautics and Space Administration Goddard Institute for Space Studies (NASA GISS), Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), WMO Global Atmospheric Watch, United States National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), Rutgers Snow Lab, Mauna Loa Observatory, Blue Carbon Initiative, Global Ocean Oxygen Network, Global Ocean Acidification Observing Network, Niger Basin Authority, Hong Kong Observatory, Pan-Arctic Regional Climate Outlook Forum, European Space Agency Climate Change Initiative, Copernicus Marine Environmental Monitoring Service and AVISO (Archiving, Validation and Interpretation of Satellite Oceanographic data), World Glacier Monitoring Service (WGMS) and Colorado State University.