Reports on Climate Change

Are Commercial Banks a Health Hazard?

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Global determinations will determine whether humanity survives relatively unscathed from the ecological crisis. One of the major players in determining the outcomes will be the international banks for they determine whether money will be spent on environmental innovation. Since we all accept the relationship between the environment and health then it is quite clear that some operations of the banks are a health hazard.

The indictment
The history of banking is one of recurrent financial crisis due to greed and mismanagement, each crisis necessitating government funds to restore economic equilibrium. ‘Government funds’ means your money and so there is less money to be committed to health and the environment.  In the savings and loans crisis in the US in the mid eighties, deposits were gambled or stolen in the wake of deregulation and between 1986 and 1995 the cost was huge-- 3% of GDP, most of which was covered by the taxpayers. This lead to the Commissioner of the California Department of savings and loans, William Crawford, saying “the best way to rob a bank is to own one” Five hundred and fifty of those involved were convicted and 326 went to jail.

Clean coal (CCS) and Climate Change.

The announcement of the Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute at the G8 meeting by Mr. Rudd and President Obama and the support from 23 governments, 100 companies and with James Wolfensohn and Nicholas Stern on its advisory board was reported as the one positive feature of the meeting. Let us analyse whether this is positive or negative for the containment of green house emissions

DEA policy drafted in 2008 http://www.dea.org.au/node/91   summarises our concerns about carbon capture and storage (CCS). It is speculative and even if successful is unlikely to prevent several warming thresholds. Present data suggest 2030 as the earliest date for implementation and commencement of any reduction in emissions

The Population Bomb Revisited - by Paul R. Ehrlich and Anne H. Ehrlich

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Paul R. Ehrlich and Anne H. Ehrlich co-authored The Population Bomb in 1968.

Abstract
The Population Bomb has been both praised and vilified, but there has been no controversy over its significance in calling attention to the demographic element in the human predicament. Here we describe the book’s origins and impacts, analyze its conclusions, and suggest that its basic message is even more important today than it was forty years ago.

It has now been forty years since we wrote The Population Bomb (Ehrlich 1968). The book sold some 2 million copies, was translated into many languages, and changed our lives. There is not much disagreement about the significance of the volume – whether a person agrees with it or not, The Population Bomb helped launch a worldwide debate that continues today. It introduced millions of people to the fundamental issue of the Earth’s finite capacity to sustain human civilization. We believe that despite its flaws, the book still provides a useful lens for viewing the environmental, energy, and food crisis of the present time.

We need to act on climate change now - by Professor David Karoly

Global warming has been discussed often over the past two years in newspaper articles and opinion pieces, in the lead-up to the last election and as the Government has tried to introduce its Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme.

Is there a real scientific debate about climate change or is this just political manoeuvring?  If climate change is real, is it due to humans or is it natural? How bad will it get? How will it affect people, including human health?  These are some of the many questions that I am asked regularly, and below I try to provide some answers.

In 1988, due to growing concerns about climate change and its possible impacts, the governments of the world set up an independent agency, under the auspices of the World Meteorological Organization and the UN Environment Program, called the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Our experiment with climate is dangerous - by Professor Peter Doherty, Laureate Professor

Professor Peter Doherty, is Laureate Professor, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Melbourne - Friday, 5 June 2009, Published in the Medical Observer

SCEPTICISM is central to science. Denial is something else. Being sceptical by nature and training, I’ve read up on anthropogenic, greenhouse gas-induced climate change and am firmly on the side that says we need to act. (1)

In fact, I’d thought most reasonable people were convinced. Australian, US and UK public policy is certainly being developed accordingly.

It seems, though, that the senior geologist Ian Plimer is not only sceptical but in outright denial, a position he develops at length in a new book (2) that has received a great deal of publicity: Heaven + Earth: Global Warming The Missing Science.

The West is partly responsible for China’s green house emissions

A Chinese intellectual visiting the US was heard to say that the Americans must be mad to buy all this rubbish; he was referring to the mountains of Chinese consumables. Here lies the problem in apportioning responsibility for green house emissions. China is now the largest emitter in the world and a new study shows that exports to the West are a major source of these emissions.
In summary, half of the increase in emissions is due to production of exported goods and services, 60 per cent of which are exported to the West. This means Western consumers are partially responsible for one third of increases in Chinese emissions. These exports tend to be electronic products, metals, chemicals and textile products.

Climate Change and Population

Sustainable Population Australia (SPA) is to be congratulated on its submission to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate change in Bonn. Here are extracts from the submission - URL at the end of the article.

Climate change, are our elected representatives able to take action?

Around the World, scientists are becoming very anxious about data that suggests an acceleration of climate change. Statements urging reductions in emissions are being made by Academies, Colleges, Journals and by individual scientists. The editorial in the April 30 edition of the Journal Nature says,

“Nations urgently need to cut their output of carbon dioxide. The difficulty of that task is manifest: emissions have continued to rise despite almost two decades of rhetoric, diplomacy and action on the matter. But that unhappy fact should not be taken as a licence for fatalism. Governments have a wide range of pollution-cutting tools at their command, most notably tradable permit regimes, taxes on fuels, regulations on power generation and energy efficiency, and subsidies for renewable energy and  improved technologies. These tools can work if applied seriously — so citizens around the world must demand that seriousness from their leaders, both within their individual nations and in the international framework that will be discussed at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen this December”.

Protecting Health from Climate Change, global research priorities; WHO Report

17 May 2009: The World Health Organization (WHO) launched a report on climate change and health research during the meeting of Commonwealth Health Ministers, which took place in Geneva, Switzerland. The Chair of the report was Tony McMichael. Colin Butler was a contributor.

The report was drafted in response to a World Health Assembly resolution on climate change and health adopted by the 193 member States of WHO in May 2008. The resolution called on, inter alia, the WHO to work with external partners to support applied research in this field, from assessment of climatic risks to health, to estimating the health benefits of mitigation measures and the costs of adaptation.

Climate Change and Nephropathia Epidemica

An article by Clement and Colleagues in the International Journal of Health Geographics teaches us that we should be vigilant for changes in the frequency of infectious diseases and that a disease reported from Belgium is likely to have counterparts in Australia as climate change takes hold.  In fact it may well come to be that the discerning general practitioner will play a role in epidemiology similar to that of the famous Dr.Will Pickles of Wensleydale England  who described "catarrhal jaundice" (now recognised as Hepatitis A) in his book "Epidemiology in Country Practice" in 1923

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