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‘Good planets are hard to find’

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Dr. James Orbinsky views climate change here, now, as a huge threat to human well-being. “The science is unequivocal, but we don’t even need scientists to tell us our weather is changing,” he says. Photo credit: LUCAS OLENIUK / TORONTO STAR

The following is an edited interview by Ken Dryden, published in The Star, with Dr. James Orbinski, former president of Médecins Sans Frontières; CIGI chair in global health at the Balsillie School of International Affairs. Big doer, big feeler, big thinker.

You have spent much of your professional life outside Canada. With MSF in Peru, Somalia, Afghanistan, Rwanda and Zaire, during famine, civil war and genocide. You took time back in Canada, as you once put it, to get your “feet back on the ground.” How do you see Canada and the world today?

I don’t see things as “Canada and the world.” It’s Canada in the world. I don’t see us as somehow separate, somehow removed. “In the world” means being an active participant in the mutual construction of our destiny. It means assuming responsibility when as a nation or as an individual or as an institution one is able to respond meaningfully. And it means not simply responding, but also shaping, which means engaging, with a view to changing and making better our world so that it’s more just, more fair, more equitable.

So if one isn’t in the world, how does that change things?

One would always be a junior player, and always have the option of not playing. But life is a participatory sport, not a spectator sport. You live in the doing. You need purpose.

One of the most beautiful elements of our country is its diversity. Our racial diversity, our cultural diversity, our linguistic diversity, our geographic diversity. I was just in Victoria and the physical beauty of our country is literally breathtaking. And here each of us has the freedom to go anywhere, and to choose to make that place our home. This vast and diverse country – from prairie to mountain, to tundra, to the Canadian Shield, to the ice floats of northern Canada – is part of our being, part of our DNA. This geographic diversity is connected to the diversity of our people. Thirteen per cent of all marriages in Canada are interracial – I think it’s the highest in the world. I’m married – mine is an interracial marriage and it is so normal as part of our culture it’s not even honoured. It’s just the way it is. This way of being allows us to go beyond difference and to find common purpose, and to find common purpose around common problems.

My experience internationally has helped me to see what it is about our beautiful Canadian society that is so powerful. I think it has everything to do with diversity in all of its forms: geographic, cultural, linguistic, spiritual.

Here we have a framework, both legal and normative, that allows this diversity to thrive.

What does this mean for us in the future? What role can we play in the world?

I’d like to rephrase your question. What role must we play? This is not an option. We are in the world. The world is in us. We cannot choose to retreat or choose not to participate. We must consciously be in the world. That means re-engaging in our multilateral system, with all of its challenges and failures. We must do so seriously, with appropriate commitment of our intellectual resources, our diplomatic and financial resources to engage in the shaping of our global, multilateral system.

There are huge challenges internationally. We’re at the tail end of a global financial crisis. We’re in the midst of a global food crisis, a fuel crisis, and most importantly a crisis in governance; in global governance. There are also security challenges, whether it’s nuclear proliferation or the rise of Al Qaeda and now ISIS – and these crises are very much related, one to the other.

If this is a role we must play, are you saying in fact, we’re also well-suited to play it?

That’s exactly what I’m saying. There are certain parts of our Canadian mythology that are actually quite true. One of them is that we hold no colonial baggage. We have been seen, until fairly recently, as an independent, fair and honest broker. That doesn’t mean being “apolitical,” or being “neutral in all things,” Absolutely not. But it does mean being open-minded, seeking wisdom, being open to new ideas, being humble, but also being bold. It is a paradox but great humility can lead to great boldness, because humility allows you to see things differently.

What is it today in the world that we really must see?

The biggest issue is climate change. The world’s leading medical journal has said that it is the greatest threat to global health in the 21st century. We’ve already passed several critical thresholds. The science is unequivocal, but we don’t even need scientists to tell us our weather is changing. We have floods, again, in Alberta. A hurricane swept through Guelph. The march of the pine beetle across Canada, from B.C. through Alberta, has left a wake of dead, brown trees that are igniting into wildfires at an increasing frequency.

West Nile virus, never seen here before the year 2000, has infected more than 21,000 people in Canada and the U.S., killed more than 800 people, and left many thousands in permanent states of morbidity. This is a direct consequence of climate change. Lyme disease is sweeping through the continent, again driven by climate change. In 2011, draught and famine across East Africa meant that 13 million people were in need of food assistance, and 500,000 died.

A mere 10 years from now, crop yields in some parts of Africa are expected to fall by 50 per cent and water stress could affect as many as 250 million Africans. Exactly the same pattern is true for Central America and Southeast Asia. Climate change is here and we need to face up to it, and we need to stop, not only not participating, but scuttling other countries’ efforts to deal with it. So many of the other crises swirl around its reality. Our international financial crisis, our food crisis, our fuel crisis, they’re all inter-related, and the common solution rests in how we concretely address the issue of climate change, and how urgently we do so.

I’m working with the United Nations now to develop disaster preparedness scenarios, early warning systems that incorporate a health focus for communities that are facing extreme weather events.

These events have implications for infectious disease. As humidity patterns change, so too the vector patterns of mosquitoes, and therefore too the incidence of malaria and of other vector-born diseases like African sleeping sickness. It has implications for food security, for water, and for how we approach appropriate sanitation.

It has implications for urban versus rural environments. The world’s population has become increasingly more urbanized; in the developing world, squatter centres and slums in major urban centres grow with more population and even less infrastructure, and how one approaches infectious disease, food security, water sanitation, from a public health and a clinical health perspective, has to change.

This is what my research is focused on. But as I do that, something else is becoming profoundly clear to me – good planets, even those that are a bit damaged, are hard to find. There’s no escape from our biosphere. It’s the only place that we live. Yet we’re changing it so that it’s unlivable for many, especially those who’re the poorest.

The biosphere is not a problem to be solved. It’s a living being to which we belong, and we need to somehow re-imagine ourselves in relationship to it. We are part of it and it is part of us. We’re the proverbial frog in the cooking pot, but we’re turning up the heat on ourselves. We’ve got to change our way of seeing.

It really does require wisdom. It requires a genuine humility, a willingness to stand in awe of our beautiful world and be humble in relation to it. At the same time to have the courage to be creative and ambitious in how we approach new carbon-neutral or carbon-negative technologies.

It also requires us to be very, very determined in finding a common solution to our common purpose as human beings.

To go back to where we began: there is something particular about our perspective as Canadians, and it is rooted in our diversity and our common experience of diversity. There’s something particular about it that we have to bring to the world’s table.

We’ve seen it with cigarette companies, with lead companies; in sports on concussions, it’s what leagues do. They don’t need to prove their own case, because none of us wants the alternative to be true. They create doubt – that’s all – and we hang on to doubt because everything is easier that way. But without jump-in-both-feet commitment nothing happens. How do we do better on climate change?

Scientists are not political animals. They take great comfort in the certainty of their methodologies and in recognizing the limitations of them. The consensus of the International Panel on Climate Change is telling us unequivocally that the threat we now face is catastrophic and unprecedented. Yet we often confuse the unprecedented with the improbable.

From my perspective, I’m not willing to expend one more calorie of energy on the debate about climate change. The issue is absolutely clear. We have simply got to move into appropriate mitigation, adaptation and resilience strategies, and we’ve got to do it now.

My work is very much around disaster preparedness to extreme weather events. But really it needs to be about a new way of seeing, and from that a new way of being in relationship to each other and also in relationship to our biosphere.

I think art will be extremely important to help us come to this new understanding. It’s not going to arise through more intellectual debate. The beauty of art is it helps us see a phenomenon and ourselves differently. Art has many forms, and we need language and story and culture to express and give shape to a new story where we can see ourselves, where we can find ourselves, and where we can make ourselves for the future.

What is it that keeps you up at night with excitement? What is it that keeps you up at night with anxiety?

In my life I’ve seen war and its crimes, famine, epidemic disease. I’ve seen genocide. I know exactly what we can be, and how we can fail. I’ve also seen incredibly beautiful creations, incredibly beautiful human creations. Whether they’re forms of government, whether they’re in science or art, whether they’re in our social policies or our problem-solving strategies. And I’ve seen and continued to live in this wonderful daily gift that is life.

Somewhere in here is choice, and as human beings, we have the ability, if we’ll just wake up, to see that we can make choice. I know that choice means an active engagement and a participation. It needs effort.

Your kids will be living another 70 years or more. What do you hope for them? What is possible for them?

My wife and I talk about this a lot. Much of what is possible for our children depends on what we as parents, but also as citizens, do today. For our children to be the kind of people we hope they will be is rooted in the values they grow up in. We hope they will hold them as precious. But the environment surrounding the family is also important. To participate in issues of importance, as defined by each of us, or by virtue of circumstance. To hold certain roles as precious, the most important, the one beyond our personal relations as mother, father, brother, sister, friend — our role as citizen. In and for our community, whether it’s local or whether it’s global. And no matter what happens our children will have their Canadian legacy. It has done us pretty well in our short history as a nation. We’ve made some mistakes but with our values we can discover our mistakes and correct them.

Is there anything you would like to add?

Yes, one thing, Happy Birthday, Canada, and many more.

____

PUBLICATION: Toronto Star

PAGE: A8

DATE: 2014.07.01

SECTION: News

EDITION: ONT

BYLINE: Ken Dryden Special to The Star

COPYRIGHT: © 2014 Torstar Corporation

 

 

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Climate change: Implications for employment

Key findings from the intergovernmental panel on climate change fifth assessment report

Publication date: 2014

Number of pages: 20

Author(s): Mike Scott, freelance journalist

The Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is the most comprehensive and relevant analysis of our changing climate. It provides the scientific fact base that will be used around the world to formulate climate policies in the coming years.

This guide is one of a series of summaries of the AR report for stakeholders synthesising the most pertinent findings of AR5 for workers and employment. It was born of the belief that trade unions could make more use of AR5, which is long and highly technical, if it were distilled into an accurate, accessible, timely, relevant and readable summary.

Download the report for FREE here.

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Deep Decarbonization Pathways

The Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project (DDPP) is a collaborative initiative to understand and show how individual countries can transition to a low-carbon economy and how the world can meet the internationally agreed target of limiting the increase in global mean surface temperature to less than 2 degrees Celsius (°C). Achieving the 2°C limit will require that global net emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) approach zero by the second half of the century. In turn, this will require a profound transformation of energy systems by mid-century through steep declines in carbon intensity in all sectors of the economy, a transition we call “deep decarbonization.”

 

 

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CLOUDBURST ADAPTATION: A COST-BENEFIT ANALYSIS

Ramboll Cloudburst mitigation imageThis report, by Ramboll, outlines results from a socio-economic cost benefit analysis. The analysis is based on alternative solutions to address heavy precipitation events associated with climate change for the municipalities of Copenhagen and Frederiksberg.

Read the report here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Innovative Tools and Planning Methodologies Showcase Announced for the 2014 Rising Seas Summit


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Over 40 Speakers & 60 Participant Organizations Already Confirmed

The draft program agenda for the 2014 Rising Seas Summit is now published at http://www.risingseassummit.org/agenda.html

 

When: September 24-26, 2014

Where: New York City

Innovative Tools and Planning Methodologies Showcase Announced

Presenters from the National Climate Assessment, Climate Central, U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and leading engineering firms will provide guidance on leveraging data from recent reports and publicly available tools to support planning for adaptation and resilience to sea level rise.  These showcases will be conducted during the pre-conference (September 24) and post-conference (September 26) sessions.  Additional information will be published in the coming weeks.

Confirmed Speakers & Instructors

The following individuals are already confirmed to participate in the 2014 Rising Seas Summit.  Additional presenters and keynote speakers will be announced shortly.

  • Deborah Harford – Executive Director, Adaptation to Climate Change Team, Simon Fraser University
  • Christine Ackerson – Senior Manager, Sustainability & CSR, LG Electronics USA
  • Larry Atkinson – Professor, Center for Coastal Physical Oceanography, Old Dominion University
  • Pinar Balci – Director, Bureau of Environmental Planning and Analysis, New York City Department of Environmental Protection
  • Kelly Burks-Copes – Ecologist, Ecological Resources Branch, Ecosystem Evaluation and Engineering Division, U.S. Army Engineer Research and Develop Center, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  • Anne Choate – Vice President, ICF International
  • NEW: Peter Dailey – Senior Vice President, Verisk Climate
  • NEW: Margaret Davidson – Acting Director, Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
  • Olga Dominguez – Retired, Assistant Administrator, Office of Strategic Infrastructure, U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration
  • NEW: Kevin Donnelly – Assistant Commissioner, Wastewater Capital Program, New York City Department of Environmental Protection
  • John Englander – Author, High Tide on Main Street: Rising Sea Level and the Coming Coastal Crisis
  • Joan Fitzgerald – Professor of Public Policy and Urban Affairs, Northeastern University
  • Melanie Fitzpatrick – Climate Scientist, Union of Concerned Scientists
  • Rebecca Flora – Sustainable Communities Practice Leader, Ecology and Environment, Inc.
  • NEW: Grover Fugate – Executive Director, Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council
  • NEW: Michael Gerard – Andrew Sabin Professor of Professional Practice, Columbia Law School
  • NEW: Nancy Girard – Commissioner, Department of Environment, City of Boston
  • Daniel Goelzer – Partner, Baker & McKenzie LLP
  • William Golden – Executive Director, National Institute for Coastal and Harbor Infrastructure
  • NEW: Brian Helmuth – Professor, Department of Marine and Environmental Sciences and School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs, Northeastern University
  • Radley Horton – Associate Research Scientist, Center for Climate Systems Research, Columbia University Earth Institute
  • NEW: Caroline Lewis – Executive Director, The CLEO Institute
  • NEWAlice Lippert – Senior Technical Advisor, Energy Infrastructure Modeling and Analysis, U.S. Department of Energy
  • Susan Love – Planner, Delaware Coastal Management Program
  • Emilie Mazzacurati – Managing Director, Four Twenty Seven LLC
  • Michael Mondshine – Vice President, Sustainability & Energy, WSP Group
  • Margery Moore – Director, EHS Alliances, Bloomberg BNA
  • Joshua Murphy – Senior Spatial Analyst, U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
  • Rich Olson – Professor and Director of Extreme Events Research, Office of the Vice President for Research, Florida International University
  • NEWSteven Patarcity – Senior Analyst & Strategic Plans Officer, Office of the Chief, U.S. Army Reserve
  • Margaret Peloso – Attorney, Vinson & Elkins LLP
  • Emily Seyller – Inform Decisions & Adaptation Science Program Manager, U.S. Global Change Research Program
  • Nick Shufro – Director, Sustainable Business Solutions, PwC
  • Ben Strauss – Vice President, Climate Impacts, Climate Central
  • NEWCarter Strickland – Vice President, Water & Natural Resources Program Manager, HDR
  • Halldor Thorgeirsson – Director for Implementation Strategy, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
  • Susanne Torriente – Assistant City Manager, City of Fort Lauderdale
  • Caitlin Werrell – Co-Director, Center for Climate and Security
  • Adam Whelchel – Director of Science, The Nature Conservancy
  • NEW: Jeff Williams – Director, Climate Consulting, Entergy

About the Rising Seas Summit

The 2014 Rising Summit will be held in conjunction with Climate Week New York and in partnership with the New York City Department of Environmental Protection and U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).  Understanding, anticipating and adapting to water related threats is critical to national security and a stable economy. Sea level rise will continue to damage coastal ecosystems and inland water systems, and the recent catastrophic impacts of Hurricane Sandy have demonstrated the risks faced by all coastal communities on the U.S. eastern seaboard. These new environmental challenges require that stakeholders share knowledge and work together to reduce and mitigate environmental and social degradation induced by climate change.

For more information about this program,
please contact Melissa Lembke at 202-496-7390.

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Insurers zero in on flood-prone areas

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CBC reports on a new tool to help municipalities set priorities in spending on stormwater sewers

After a year in which it paid nearly $1 billion in claims in Ontario and $1.7 billion in Alberta because of natural disasters, the insurance industry is testing out a new tool that will help identify where municipalities might direct their money so future flooding does not do as much damage.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is testing out a system called Municipal Risk Assessment Tool (MRAT) that will identify the streets that will be hardest hit in a storm. Created with the help of engineers and geologists, it combines information about the age and condition of municipal infrastructure, current and future climate, soil quality and past insurance claims.

Three cities —? Coquitlam, B.C., Hamilton, Ont., and Fredericton, N.B. — are participating in a pilot with the tool this year. The idea is to test whether MRAT – essentially, a series of maps that highlight areas where basement flooding is most likely — is effective in giving city engineers a new picture of where infrastructure is vulnerable today and where it will be vulnerable in 2020 and in 2050.

According to Bill Adams, IBC vice-president for the Western and Pacific region, IBC aims to roll the diagnostic tool out to cities across Canada once it has been tested and refined and will not use it as a way of deciding where premiums should rise.

Read the full article here.

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EPA releases new policy statement on climate change adaptation

On Monday, June 30, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released a new policy statement on climate change adaptation to help the nation prepare for and respond to the impacts of a changing climate. The policy commits the Agency to work with states, tribes, and local communities to increase their resilience to extreme weather events and prepare for the impacts of climate change.

EPA’s policy is consistent with the President’s Climate Action Plan and Executive Order 13653 on Preparing the United States for the Impacts of Climate Change, which calls on the federal government to strengthen the adaptive capacity of its programs and operations. The new policy updates the EPA policy first issued in June 2011, and includes the following directives:

• Modernize EPA financial assistance program to encourage climate-resilient investments;

• Provide information, tools, training and technical support for climate change preparedness and resilience;

• Implement priority actions identified in EPA’s Climate Change Adaptation Plan and Implementation Plans;

• Focus on the most vulnerable people and places;

• Measure and evaluate performance of climate adaptation actions;

• Continue EPA planning for climate change-related risk; and

• Coordinate with other federal agencies

To read EPA’s Climate Change Adaptation Policy, go to  http://epa.gov/climatechange/impacts-adaptation/fed-programs.html

The above article was posted Jun. 30, 2014 @ 2:33 pm in Lake News Online.

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Miami-Dade Sea Level Rise Task Force: Reinvent Urban Infrastructure or Lose Trillions


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In the report’s introductory letter, Task Force Chair Harvey Ruvin, Miami-Dade clerk of the courts, describes sea level rise as a “measurable, trackable, and relentless” consequence of climate change that, lacking “innovative adaptive capital planning,” will “threaten trillions of dollars of the region’s built environment” as well as its water supply, natural resources, agricultural soils, and basic economy.

The Task Force was created by the County Commission in July 2013 to “review the relevant data and prior studies” to provide a “comprehensive and realistic assessment of the likely and potential [future] impacts of sea level rise.”

The Task Force report concludes with a “follow the money” warning:

With trillions of dollars of built environment and invaluable natural resources at stake in the region, the economic imperative to take action sooner rather than later is clear. WE BELIEVE THAT WITHOUT A PROFESSIONALLY WELL THOUGHT OUT ADAPTATION PLAN IN PLACE, WE RISK LOSING INSURABILITY AND FINANCIAL SUPPORT FOR OUR FUTURE.

Read the full article here.

 

 

 

 

 

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Canada Is Warming At Twice The Global Average And We Still Don’t Have A National Plan

Stephen Harper

 

Canada has been warming at roughly double the global average over the last six decades, setting the stage for dramatic changes to the economy, environment and our very way of life. But government and business have been slow to react and Canada still has no national plan to address climate change.

That’s the message in a new 259-page report from the federal government on how Canada is adapting to a warming world. And “adaptation” is the key word in the study. Rather than look for ways to slow down it down, Canada’s federal government appears focused on finding ways to deal with and even take advantage of climate change.

Read the full Huffington Post Canada  article by  here.

 

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Missed a session at GLOBE 2014? Check out the video’s online

Missed a session at GLOBE 2014? Check out the following session recordings now available on our website:
  • Opening Plenary: Embracing a Global Greener Economy
  • Creating Chemistry for a Sustainable Future
  • Clean Energy Trends: What’s Driving the Industry Forward?
  • Climate Action: Delay is Not an Option
  • Innovation and the Clean Technology Future
  • Next Generation Cities:  Smarter, Faster, Better
  • Pathways for a Strong Global Economy
  • Bringing Sustainability Disclosure Into Focus
  • Corporate Responsibility in a New Age of Transparency
  • Emerging Drivers of the Circular Economy
  • Natural Capital: Paying for What We Take From Nature
  • Canada’s Energy Strategy
  • The Global Energy Mix: Opportunities and Realities

PLUS a number of candid speaker interviews.

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Our Comment in Nature calling for oil sands moratorium

candian-oil-sands-615National Geographic: Photograph by Peter Essick

On June 25th, Mark Jaccard wrote the following on his blog:

Here is the press release for our Nature paper, released June 25, calling for a moratorium on oil sands expansion. This means no loss of current jobs in the oil sands. But it does mean a return to sanity from this selfish rush to accelerate global warming, ocean acidification and ecological destruction – events that will lead to huge economic and social costs according to a just-released study by the World Bank. It does mean that we should not build new pipelines like Keystone XL, Northern Gateway and others.

Press release:

Scientists call for a Halt to Oil Sands Expansion Until Policies Address True Costs and Global Impacts.
A Comment published today in the journal Nature calls for a moratorium on new oil sands projects in Alberta, Canada due to flaws in how oil sands decisions are made. The authors are a multidisciplinary group of economists, policy researchers, ecologists, and decision scientists. They argue that the controversy around individual pipelines like Keystone XL in the US or Northern Gateway in Canada overshadows deeper policy flaws, including a failure to adequately address carbon emissions or the cumulative effect of multiple projects. The authors point to the contradiction between the doubling of the rate of oil sands production over the past decade and international commitments made by Canada and the US to reduce carbon emissions. “The expansion of oil sands development sends a troubling message to other nations that sit atop large unconventional oil reserves,” said lead author Wendy Palen, Assistant Professor at Canada’s Simon Fraser University.
Read the full press release here.
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Want to Change the World? Read This First

change

 

One key take-away message from this post carbon institute article by Richard Heinberg is:

“Only ideas, demonstration projects, and policy proposals that fit our emerging infrastructure will have genuine usefulness or staying power. How can you know if your idea fits the emerging infrastructure? There’s no hard and fast rule, but your idea stands a good chance if it assumes we are moving toward a societal regime with less energy and less transport (and that is therefore more localized); if it can work in a world where climate is changing and weather conditions are extreme and unpredictable; if it provides a way to sequester carbon rather than releasing more into the atmosphere; and if it helps people meet their basic needs during hard times.”

Click to read more.

 

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Avoiding Collapse: An agenda for sustainable degrowth and relocalizing the economy

In this thoughtful paper, UBC Professor Emeritus William Rees, the originator of “ecological footprint analysis”, explores the interconnections between the ecological and social crises we face, and then offers up an inventory of policy solutions to address them. While radical by today’s context, his proposals seek to break through the layers of denial that mark dominant economic thinking.

His extended essay highlights the most pressing global challenges we face – the climate emergency, the reality of ecological “overshoot” that already exceeds the long-term carrying capacity of the earth and outrageous and unsustainable levels of inequality. But the paper also offers a hopeful way forward, a whole new approach to sustainable planning at every level. The solutions proposed relate to trade policy, taxation policy, regulatory policy, a re-localization of economic planning, and many other areas, but also speak to the urgent need to shift popular culture away from rampant consumerism and a blind faith in material growth. Rees contends that tackling the ecological crisis will require a much more equitable sharing of the world’s resources – a “new social contract” both locally and globally.

 

 

 

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Canada in a Changing Climate: Sector Perspectives on Impacts and Adaptation

Canada in a Changing Climate: Sector Perspectives on Impacts and Adaptation is a 2014 update to the 2008 science assessment report, From Impacts to Adaptation: Canada in a Changing Climate.  During this time period, our understanding of climate change impacts and adaptation in Canada has increased, both as a result of new research and through practical experience.  Led by Natural Resources Canada, the development of this report involved over 90 authors and 115 expert reviewers, and synthesized over 1500 recent publications.

The web-accessible report is available in its full version and by chapter.

 

 

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PCIC Employment Opportunity: Administrative Assistant – 1 year term

PCIC is seeking to hire an Administrative Assistant.

The Administrative Assistant works closely with the Director, the Lead for Planning & Operations and the Webmaster/Editor to facilitate a multi-disciplinary team of scientists to carry out an applied scientific program focused on providing regional climate services to stakeholders. The position is central to the functioning of PCIC through providing administrative and travel support to the PCIC staff, consolidating and maintaining financial records and staff records, and providing general administrative support. Refer to the complete job description for more details. For additional information, please address enquiries to Shelley Ma at climate@uvic.ca(link sends e-mail).

Closing Date: June 30th, 2014

Application: Please send your application with a CV, including three professional references. Address cover letter and application to Miss Shelley Ma, climate@uvic.ca(link sends e-mail), with “ATTN: Administrative Assistant” in the subject line. Please indicate whether you are legally able to work in Canada.

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Global refugee figure passes 50m for first time since second world war

Screenshot 2014-06-20 08.05.30Children in the Domiz refugee camp in Iraq. Photo: Courtesy of  UNHCR

 

The number of people forced to flee their homes across the world has exceeded 50 million for the first time since the second world war, an exponential rise that is stretching host countries and aid organisations to breaking point, according to figures released on Friday.

Half the world’s refugees are children, many travelling alone or in groups in a desperate quest for sanctuary, and often falling into the clutches of people traffickers, the annual UN high commissioner for refugees (UNHCR) global trends report said.

Factors that forced people to leave their homes included climate change, population growth, urbanisation, food insecurity and water scarcity – many of which interacted with and enhanced each other.

Read the full article here.

 

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