Climate expropriation: US caused nearly $2 trillion damages to other countries from 1990 to 2014

Farooque Chowdhury

Countercurrents | 13 July, 2022

U.S.-attributable climate damages. (a) Ensemble mean GDPpc changes in each country attributable to U.S. emissions, over 1990–2014 with territorial emissions accounting and a short-run (contemporaneous) damage function. Missing data (white countries) denotes countries without continuous GDPpc data from 1990 to 2014. bc U.S.-attributable damages in the five countries with the greatest GDPpc percent decreases (b) and percent increases (c). The black lines show the mean, the boxes denote the 95% ensemble range, and the colored portions denote the additive fraction of each 95% range due to each.

With its carbon footprint from 1990 to 2014, the US caused nearly $2 trillion in damages to other countries, finds a new analysis.

How much “aid”, in all forms, the country has provided to other countries? The motive, character, use, implication, beneficiary of the so-called aid are not questioned/discussed here.

This is the face of carbon footprint, actually, climate-plunder/expropriation, which is global and impacting the entire humanity, and all lives. This is expropriation of climate from the entire humanity; and the humanity is paying with life.

The colossal amount of greenhouse gases (GHG) released by the US over the period cited above has led to natural disasters, and economic damages including crop failures in countries, resulting in $1.9 trillion in lost income globally, the report found.

The study by scientists from Dartmouth College and published in the journal Climatic Change on July 12, 2022 (Callahan, C.W., Mankin, J.S. “National attribution of historical climate damages”, Climatic Change 172, 40 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-022-03387-y).

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Transporting food generates whopping amounts of carbon dioxide

Moving fruit and vegetables in refrigerated vehicles is particularly emissions-intensive.

Freda Kreier

Nature | July 01, 2022

Domestic and international transport of food accounts for a large proportion of food-system emissions.Credit: Camilo Freedman/SOPA/LightRocket/Getty

Transporting ingredients and food products accounts for nearly one-fifth of all carbon emissions in the food system — a much bigger slice of the emissions pie than previously thought, according to the first comprehensive estimate of the industry’s global carbon footprint1.

Clearing land for farming, raising livestock and moving food to and from shops adds a large amount of greenhouse gas to the atmosphere. The United Nations estimates that growing, processing and packaging food accounts for one-third of all greenhouse-gas emissions. This has led to an explosion of studies looking into how food systems impact the climate, from causing damaging land-use changes to releasing greenhouse gases, says Jason Hill, an environmental scientist at the University of Minnesota in St Paul.

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Climate change is turning more of Central Asia into desert

The rapid expansion will have significant impacts on ecosystems and the people and animals who rely on them.

Giorgia Guglielmi

Nature | June 16, 2022

The spread of deserts in Uzbekistan and neighbouring countries will alter the composition of ecosystems.Credit: Matyas Rehak/Shutterstock

As global temperatures rise, desert climates have spread north by up to 100 kilometres in parts of Central Asia since the 1980s, a climate assessment reveals1.

The study, published on 27 May in Geophysical Research Letters, also found that over the past 35 years, temperatures have increased across all of Central Asia, which includes parts of China, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. In the same period, mountain regions have become hotter and wetter — which might have accelerated the retreat of some major glaciers.

Such changes threaten ecosystems and those who rely on them, says Jeffrey Dukes, an ecologist at the Carnegie Institution for Science’s Department of Global Ecology in Stanford, California. The findings are a “great first step” towards informing mitigation and adaptation policies, he says.

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Stockholm syndrome: What should ‘+50’ be about

The 50th anniversary celebration of the Stockholm conference should be about our common future, not the divisions of the past

Sunita Narain

Down To Earth | June 01, 2022

The Stockholm conference on the human environment marked the initiation of global consciousness on sustainability. It brought the world together to discuss the big issues of growth and environmental management.

This was the time when Rachel Carson, through her seminal book Silent Spring, had told the story of poisoning of nature. It was also the time when the industrialised West was battling against pollution and toxification.

Our colleague Anil Agarwal, who was at the conference in 1972, often recalled how Stockholm’s lakes were so contaminated with chemicals that you could develop a film negative in the water.

This conference was about the fallout of industrialisation and how to cope and mitigate its harmful impacts.

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Environment and war today

Farooque Chowdhury

Countercurrents | June 05, 2022

War environs environment.

War destructs and demolishes life, all forms of environment. It’s war’s powerful approach to contradictions within and with environment surrounding life. Wars including the current Ukraine War bear this signature of destruction of and on environment and ecology. The first victim is life; and, then comes surroundings of life that help sustain life. Activities to secure, nourish and sustain environment are hampered/suspended during war, and in war zones also.

Military activities, preparatory to war including training/drills/exercises, itself is threat to environment and ecology. Military/war expenditure is in direct and hostile contradiction with environment and ecology. The expenditure takes away a lot of resources, which can be allocated for life, steps to nourish and secure environment and ecology. The sphere of destruction of environment and ecology widens as the sphere of war widens. Today’s Ukraine is the witness. Iraq and Afghanistan, Yugoslavia and Vietnam are witnesses. Hiroshima and Nagasaki stand as witnesses.

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Stockholm+50: Is science for just solutions

If science-policy interfaces are to deliver just and effective solutions to climate change, they must involve indigenous peoples and local communities

Pia M Kohler

Down To Earth | June 04, 2022

When presenting my research on global institutions established to guide policymaking on environmental challenges, my (mostly North American and European) audiences will often wonder at the need to scrutinise these science-policy interfaces. Isn’t the only thing that matters, someone will inevitably ask, is that we have asked the best scientists on the planet to guide us?

This is typically when I draw from Anil Agarwal and Sunita Narain’s seminal 1991 piece, ‘Global warming in an unequal world’. Agarwal and Narain called out the environmental colonialism evident in a 1990 report by the US-based World Resources Institute purporting to measure a country’s greenhouse gas emissions.

I invite my interlocutors to consider the distinction Agarwal and Narain draw between “luxury” and “survival” emissions. We then consider what gets erased when we take up the now commonplace unit: the metric tonne of carbon dioxide (CO2) or of CO2 equivalent.

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Stockholm+50: We need decentralisation of ‘power’

Power generation and transmission models that are local and self-sustaining can increase access to energy in the future

Koshy Mathew Cherail

Down To Earth | June 03, 2022

Availability and access to uninterrupted and reliable energy sources is a prerequisite to enable an equitable and just development of communities, nations, and regions at large.

Countries that have clear goals of raising the socio-economic conditions of their population have prioritised access to energy above other development goals.

Construction and operation of power plants, as well as ensuring a steady supply of fuel of consistent quality, is a time-consuming and capital-intensive process.

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50 years since Stockholm conference: The summer lingers

Richard Mahapatra

Down To Earth | May 31, 2022

From June 5 to June 16, 1972, countries across the world shed a bit of their sovereignty. The aim was to create a common governance structure for the planet’s environment and natural resources.

The occasion was the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm, the first such worldwide convergence on planetary environment, with the theme ‘Only One Earth’.

When the participating 122 countries — 70 of them developing and poor countries — adopted the Stockholm Declaration on June 16, they essentially committed to 26 principles and an action plan that set in a multilateral environmental regime.

One of the overarching principles was that sovereignty should be subject to not causing harm to the environment of other countries as well.

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Rising heatwaves ravage the Himalayas. Here’s why?

Down To Earth | April 25, 2022

On April 19, 2022, 117 fresh forest fire incidents were reported in Uttarakhand by the forest department. The fire season which began this year on February 15 has affected more than 1020 hectares of forest land including 725 hectares of reserved forest area. In just over a week from April 18 to April 25, there were 362 major forest fire reports from across India. More than half of them were reported from one mountainous state of Uttrakhand. But why is this happening? India had recorded its warmest March in 122 years and the mountain regions of India have been particularly affected by these heatwaves of 2022. Like the plains, according to IMD, the average temperature during the initial summer months has been at least 5-7 degrees above normal in hilly regions of the country. High-altitude places such as Badrinath and Kedarnath have been left with very little snow this year compared to a thick blanket of snow in the previous years. The Ladakh which has a minimum elevation of 2,550 meters is witnessing a heatwave. Drass a town in Ladakh is at an elevation of over 3,000 meters and is one of the coldest places in the country. It recorded 22.6 degrees Celsius in the month of April when the temperatures should not cross about 15 degrees celsius. In Himachal Pradesh, Una recorded 42.5 degrees Celsius, a departure of seven degrees Celsius from the normal, while Solan recorded 35.5 degrees Celsius, a departure of six degrees Celsius from the normal, according to IMD. This is unusual because the mountainous states in India are not prone to heatwaves. Himachal Pradesh for example has recorded 21 days of heatwaves since March 2022, which is only second after Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. The hot weather is attributed to the lack of rainfall due to the absence of active western disturbances over north India and any central system over the country’s southern parts. According to experts, The hot winds blowing in from Pakistan could also have been the reasons behind the unusually high temperatures in many Himalayan areas. IMD has also warned about the increase in temperature and the potential for more heatwaves in the mountain regions of the country. While heatwaves are increasing, what is even more worrying is that the number of extremely cold days in the Himalayas is decreasing putting extreme stress on glaciers and other water reserves of the region.

[THIS ARTICLE IS POSTED HERE FOR NON-PROFIT, NON-COMMERCIAL, EDUCATIONAL PURPOSE. THE VIEWS EXPRESSED IN THIS ARTICLE ARE THAT OF ITS AUTHOR(S) AND DO NOT NECESSARILY REFLECT THE VIEW OF THE JOP]

Good while it lasted – I: 6th mass extinction underway, courtesy humans

Earth is losing species at an unprecedented rate; This marks the beginning of the Anthropocene Epoch, a self-aggrandising nomenclature that highlights our disproportionate and irreversible impacts on the surroundings

Richard Mahapatra

Down To Earth | April 11, 2022

This is the first part in a four-part series

My growing-up years on the banks of the Mahanadi — one of the planet’s oldest rivers, flowing for the last 160 million years through the land we now call Odisha — offered more ecological and geological experiences than I would encounter later in life. As I jog my memory, it becomes clear that our lives were marked, in fact, dictated, by ecological indicators.

Every tree, every creature, even the speed and direction of the wind, declared the arrival and departure of something.

When the dragonflies swarmed around in September, we rejoiced at the arrival of the winter festival season. In the post-monsoon season, around every puddle of water, or wetland, they had their merry world. Just before this, when the damselflies flew around our house, it was time for the monsoon.

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