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 on: Today at 12:31 PM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Kristin
Hi All,

Rad, thank you for sharing this wonderful illustration of the power of EA. This is a perfect example of how those WHISPERS from eternity became so loud and clear. The timing for such an entrance of this invaluable work was divinely induced and clearly destined to be ~ lucky us ~ and thank you Yukestwar.

I remember Jeffrey used to talk about how EA would continue to blow him away as he observed the world around him, as well as when the teachings would personally 'hit home'. He was forever amazed and humbled by the precision of this incredible work.

He referred to himself as nothing more than God's 'errand boy', North Node in Gemini in the 7th conjunct Uranus in the 8th, ruler Mercury station direct in Scorpio in the 1st, conjunct the Ascendant and Jupiter in the 12th. The very last thing he ever wanted anyone to do was to put him up on a pedestal. He wanted none of the credit or the glory. It was enough to know that people were waking up to these teachings and making the effort to see the truth so they can heal.

I am reminded again of how EA unveils the truth at every turn, not only when observing the remarkable timing of the dream in Jeffrey's chart, but as I applied the current transits that are in place when this information was revealed and shared.

The day Rad posted on the founder, transiting Mars was in Libra, EXACTLY conjunct Jeffrey's Neptune in the 11th, Mars being the activation point, giving energy to anything it contacts. In this case it awakened, 11th house, this download of the dream, for us all to glean from these teachings, and to learn of the power of timing and divine influence.

Transiting Mars is conjunct Jeffrey's Neptune in Libra and currently together they are forming a Grand Trine, to his North Node in Gemini in the 7th, and his South Node of Neptune in Aquarius in the 3rd, the ruler Uranus also in Gemini in the 8th house, the house of Soul.

Transiting Mars is also sextile the North Node of Neptune in the 9th in Leo, which is conjunct his Pluto, the chart ruler. The ruler for transiting Mars in Libra, Venus Rx in Scorpio, trines transiting Chiron, which is also conjunct his Moon in Pisces. The ruler of his Venus Rx in Scorpio, is Pluto in the 9th with Saturn and conjunct the NN of Neptune in Leo, reflecting the teachings as they continue to be disseminated internationally, all around the world, in many languages.

The transiting South Node in Pisces in his 5th, is ruled by his natal Neptune in the 11th, soul astrology downloaded through dream, which is now being activated by that Mars. The transiting ruler of the South Node is Neptune in Pisces in the 4th and inconjunct the tr Mars and his natal Neptune.

Transiting North Node in Virgo, is in his 10th house, the ruler Mercury, is in Sagittarius, teacher of natural laws, and is conjunct Jeffrey's South Node, Sun and natal Mars in Sagittarius, truly a teacher of the ages.

A swell of great fortune it is that feel to be connected to this sacred work, and to be able to share in the joy of discovery with all of you.

Thanks again Rad for keeping the EA engine oiled..


 on: Today at 11:51 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
Australian government declares war on feral cats in bid to save native animals

Greg Hunt’s plan to cull two million feral cats and create native animal safe havens receives cautious welcome from environmental groups


The Australian government has pledged to kill two million feral cats and create new safe havens for native animals in an attempt to improve the fortunes of 20 mammal, 20 bird and 30 plant species that are at risk of extinction.

Federal environment minister, Greg Hunt, unveiled a five-year threatened species strategy at Melbourne zoo on Thursday, promising to “halt and reverse the threats to our magnificent endemic species”.

The first 10 mammal species identified for priority action are the numbat, mala, mountain pygmy-possum, greater bilby, golden bandicoot, brush-tailed rabbit-rat, eastern bettong, western quoll, Kangaroo Island dunnart and eastern barred bandicoot.

A further two – the leadbeater’s possum, Victoria’s faunal emblem that was recently listed as critically endangered, and the central rock rat – will get “emergency interventions”, Hunt said.

The environment minister, who announced the bird species that will receive help on Wednesday, said that two million feral cats, a major cause of native mammal and bird declines, will be wiped out “humanely” by 2020.

A total of 10 new feral cat-free enclosures will be established, with $750,000 spent, creating one of the largest fenced habitat areas in the Northern Territory. Meanwhile, cats will be targeted in a further 10m hectares of open landscape.

Hunt said that all of the states and territories have agreed to list the feral cat as a harmful pest, with the animal targeted through baiting, shooting and poisoning.

Just $6.6m has been dedicated to the strategy, with the majority of the money focused on cat eradication. Private donations may be required to fund 20 proposed plans, which include the expansion of the breeding population of the numbat in Western Australia and the extermination of feral cats on Kangaroo Island in South Australia.

Despite habitat loss being the primary threat to most of Australia’s endangered animals, the new strategy commits to “revegetate” existing habitats, rather than ensure they are completely off limits to developments such as mining and housing.

Australia has one of the worst extinction records in the world, losing 29 mammal species since European arrival on the continent. Feral cats, altered fire regimes, the expansion of the agriculture industry and other pests and weeds have been cited as reasons why nearly 1,800 species are nationally listed as being under threat.

“We are drawing a line in the sand today which says ‘on our watch, in our time, no more species extinction’,” Hunt said. “It’s tough, it’s a challenge, we can do much and we can do better.

“We can do a lot but we can do most if it’s a combination of the commonwealth states and community together.”

Asked about the funding, Hunt said: “What I’d like to see is additional funding from others. The whole idea here is putting out a prospectus. There are other projects we want to encourage. We want to encourage with this prospectus private, philanthropic, NGO and state and territory additional support.”

The strategy was announced at a threatened species summit that featured speeches from John Berry, the US ambassador to Australia, who praised Australia’s “leadership position” on conservation.

Maggie Barry, New Zealand’s minister for conservation, also spoke, calling the efforts to combat feral animals, such as possums and stoats in New Zealand, a “war”.

Environment groups broadly welcomed the federal government’s new strategy, although some questioned the level of funding committed to the plan and also the lack of any stricter controls on habitat loss.

“This strategy’s four actions areas – tackling feral cats, providing safe havens for species at risk, improving habitat and intervening to avert extinctions – are commendable,” said Kelly O’Shanassy, chief executive of the Australian Conservation Foundation.

“The strategy does fall significantly short in a number of areas. Threatened species recovery work is run on the smell of an oily rag. New money announced today is welcome, but funding remains inadequate. We urge the government to commit more.

“The strategy also fails to meaningfully address the biggest threat to threatened species and ecological communities – the loss and fragmentation of habitat – either through investment in new protected areas or by safeguarding existing critical places.”

The Places You Love alliance, a group of more than 40 environment and community groups, also gave the plan a cautious welcome but urged Hunt to ditch a plan to create “one-stop shops” that would devolve environmental approvals to the states.

“Our legal analysis clearly demonstrates that currently no state or territory major project assessment process that may affect listed threatened species meets the standards necessary for accreditation by the federal government,” said Glen Klatovsky, director of the Places You Love alliance.

“We believe that the ‘one-stop shop’ process will chronically reduce environmental standards and cause irreparable harm to our most critically endangered species and habitats.”

 on: Today at 11:47 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
Zoos Victoria unveils $30m plan to save 20 Australian species from extinction

Mountain pygmy possum, Lord Howe Island stick insect and Tasmanian devil among endangered species earmarked for saving under five-year plan


Zoos Victoria has unveiled a groundbreaking $30m “master plan” to save 20 key species from extinction, with the federal government looking at adopting a version of the strategy on a national level.

The strategy has identified the vertebrate species most likely to be wiped out in the next 10 years and has devised funded plans for each species to save them from this fate.

The list of species is dominated by animals associated with Victoria, such as the mountain pygmy possum, the leadbeater’s possum, the eastern barred bandicoot and the orange-bellied parrot.

But the plan includes other species tended for by Zoos Victoria, including the Tasmanian devil and the Lord Howe Island stick insect, which has been largely killed off on the island that named it due to rats but has a sizeable captive population in Victoria.

The five-year plan sets out costed actions such as $3.56m for the eastern barred bandicoot, with $580,000 of this to be used for a “fighting extinction dog squad”, which comprises a team of trained Maremma dogs that will guard bandicoots from predators such as cats and foxes.

Breeding Tasmanian devils and looking at whether they should be released on to mainland Australia will cost $3.4m over five years, while reintroducing the southern corroboree frog back into the wild, where just a handful of the small colourful animals exist, will cost $3.69m.

Establishing an insurance population of brush-tailed rock wallabies will cost $430,000 and a plan to save the mountain pygmy possum and the helmeted honeyeater will cost $4.27m. A further $38,500 is needed to store genetic material of endangered species in freezers.

Zoos Victoria has raised around $1.6m in donations for the plan and has committed $10m itself, but will require government or private sector funding for the rest of the $30m.

Rachel Lowry, director of wildlife conservation at Zoos Victoria, said the strategy aimed to reverse the decline of animals in the wild, rather than simply shelter them in captivity.

“We’ve been in the position before where we’ve recorded extinctions and we can’t come to work every day and think that that is our role,” she said. “This plan hones down to the animals we are set to lose first and makes sure we are more proactive, that we aren’t too late to save them.

“We don’t want to say we gave it our best shot but lost – we want to give them the very best chance. Zoos in the past have just got involved when things have got dire but we want to position ourselves a bit differently now.

“There seems to be a growing acceptance among some academics that we need to triage species but I fundamentally don’t agree that some species have to become extinct. I think we have a poorer future when we agree to that.”

Lowry said she was most worried about the eastern barred bandicoot, which is now extinct in the wild in Victoria, the southern corroborree frog and the helmeted honeyeater.

The plan sets out breeding programs as well as partnerships with other groups and government agencies to ensure that there is suitable habitat to release animals back into the wild. Innovations include the “bodyguard” dogs and a training program for helmeted honeyeaters, which teaches them to dive for cover when they see a goshawk – a key predator of the dwindling species.

Gregory Andrews, the federal threatened species commissioner, said he was impressed by the plan and wanted to adopt a similar strategy at a national level.

“I think this is an excellent document because it explains the problems and sets out clear actions for recovery,” he told Guardian Australia. “This is a benchmark and [federal environment minister] Greg Hunt has asked me to use this as a template for the Australian government to follow, to turnaround Australia’s unacceptable rate of extinctions.

“I don’t want to pre-empt anything but we will see actions and targets.”

The federal government has provided funding for the guard dogs program, as well as money to support the eastern barred bandicoot, the southern corroborree frog, the bent-wing bat and the helmeted honeyeater. But Andrews would not say whether further funding was forthcoming.

The Victorian government also would not commit to specific funding, meaning it is likely that private donors will have to be found to ensure the $30m target is reached.

A spokeswoman for Lisa Neville, Victoria’s environment minister, said the state government “will continue to work with Zoos Victoria to discuss its ongoing needs”.

 on: Today at 11:38 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
Rare Australian stick insect eggs flown to Bristol in bid to save species

Bristol zoo gets Lord Howe Island stick insect eggs in hopes of raising a colony 10,000 miles from Tasman Sea home

Monday 30 November 2015 16.56 GMT

Three hundred tiny eggs – carefully packed in sterilised sand – have been flown from Australia to the UK as part of an attempt to save one of the world’s rarest insects.

Bristol Zoo Gardens has taken delivery of the consignment of Lord Howe Island stick insect eggs and hopes to raise a colony of the intriguing creatures 10,000 miles from their home in the Tasman Sea.

The species was wiped out on Lord Howe Island after rats from Europe ran aground from a stranded ship in 1918. It was thought lost forever until a small colony was found on Ball’s Pyramid, a volcanic outcrop just off the island in 2001.

All Bristol’s eggs are descended from a breeding pair known as Adam and Eve taken from the outcrop in 2003.

Mark Bushell, assistant curator of invertebrates at Bristol zoo, said he was delighted to have received the eggs: “These stick insects are on the verge of extinction and we are thrilled to have been invited to take part in this vital effort to help conserve the species and bolster the captive population. Bristol zoo is the only place in the whole of Europe where the species now exists.

“From a personal point of view, this is a career highlight as I have been studying this species for 20 years and have always wanted to see one of these creatures, let alone be responsible for raising and breeding them.”

He said there was no guarantee of lots of the eggs hatching but added: “It is critical that we try and establish populations of this species outside Australia as an insurance measure, as there are thought to be around just 40 individual stick insects left in the wild on Ball’s Pyramid, in one small bushy area alone.”

The eggs made the long journey by air in carefully packaged batches of 50 placed in sterilised sand, travelling in a climate-controlled part of the cargo hold.

They were laid at various times and could hatch anytime between a week to three months after their arrival. When they emerge from the egg, the insects are a vibrant green and three times the size of the egg. Over time the stick insects moult, going from green to brown and finally jet black.

Bristol zoo has been selected as having the necessary expertise and facilities to receive 300 of the precious, pea-sized eggs, along with Toronto and San Diego zoos.

 on: Today at 11:29 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
India set to unveil global solar alliance of 120 countries at Paris climate summit

India’s prime minister Narendra Modi to announce new alliance of nations and industry on large-scale expansion of solar energy use in the tropics and beyond

Monday 30 November 2015 16.24 GMT

India’s prime minister Narendra Modi is poised to launch an international solar alliance of around 120 countries with the French president Françoise Hollande at the Paris climate summit on Monday.

France’s climate ambassador Laurence Tubiana said that the new group would be “a true game changer”.

While signatory nations mostly hail from the tropics, several European countries are also on board.
A story of hope: the Guardian launches phase II of its climate change campaign

“It is very, very exiting to see India nailing its colours to the mast and providing leadership on this issue,” said James Watson, the director of SolarPower Europe, which represents the continent’s solar photovoltaic industry. “It will mean more opportunities for solar across the world and that can only be positive for combating climate change.”

The Indian government is reported to be investing an initial $90m (£60bn) in setting up the alliance headquarters in India, with an eventual goal of raising $400m from membership fees, and international agencies.

Companies involved in the project include Areva, Engie, Enel, HSBC France and Tata Steel.

India wants to use cheap solar to increase energy access, particularly in remote and rural areas.

“The idea is that larger markets and bigger volumes will lead to lower costs making it possible to spur demand,” said Ajay Mathur, India’s senior negotiator and spokesperson at the Paris summit.

“The solar alliance brings together countries that have high solar resource, which have been relatively underexploited, and represents a large market for solar technology,” he said.

In its pledge to the Paris summit, India offered to draw 40% of its electricity from renewables by 2030. The country is projected to be the world’s most populous by this time, with 1.45 billion people.

The promise was described as “at the least ambitious end of what would be a fair contribution” by Climate Action Tracker, and not consistent with meeting a 2C target.

But some observers see Modi as a clean energy enabler, after he rapidly rolled out more than 900MW of solar energy across Gujurat, while chief minister there. Modi’s announcement on Monday follows comes hot on the heels of a pledge by the US and 18 other countries to provide $20bn for clean energy research by 2020, a doubling of current funding.

A separate ‘Breakthrough energy coalition’, which will act as an investment platform for clean energy projects is also being launched on Monday by Bill Gates and the Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg.

On sunday, Dubai announced a Dh100bn ($27bn) programme to make solar panels mandatory for all rooftop buildings by 2030, part of a plan to make the city a global clean energy centre. Dubai aims to generate 25% of its energy from clean sources by 2030, rising to 75% by 2050.

The Indian initiative, called the International Agency for Solar Technologies and Applications (Iasta), aims to spread cheap solar technology across the globe – with pooled policy knowledge.

“We share a collective ambition to undertake innovative and concerted efforts aimed at reducing the costs of financing and urgent technological deployment for competitive solar facilities throughout our country,” a membership statement by the alliance will say.

It adds that the alliance will “pave the way for production technologies and storage of solar-energy, adapted to the specific needs of our country”.

 on: Today at 07:00 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
Killed defending women's rights: nine female activists who died in 2015

To mark International Day of Women Human Rights Defenders, we remember some of the female activists who have been killed over the past year
Women’s rights defenders killed in 2015: Joan Kagezi, Nadia Vera, Norma Angélica Bruno Román, Catherine Han Montoya, Losana McGowan, Intisar al-Hasairi, Angiza Shinwari,

Liz Ford, Lejla Medanhodzic and Nana Darkoa Sekyiamah
Sunday 29 November 2015 07.00 GMT

Nadia Vera
Mexico: died 31 July 2015

Nadia Vera was found dead in her flat in Mexico City. She had been raped, tortured and shot in the head alongside four other people, including three women and a male journalist, Rubén Espinosa. She was the 36th female human rights defender to be killed in Mexico since 2010. Vera campaigned against attacks on journalists and the selling off of oil reserves. Her activism had led to death threats, prompting her move from Xalapa, the capital of Veracruz, to Mexico City last year.

“Nadia’s murder shows us that there is nowhere safe left in Mexico for defenders fleeing threats or violence. That’s how serious the human rights crisis has become,” said Atziri Ávila, coordinator of the National Network of Human Rights Defenders of Mexico.

Francela Méndez
El Salvador: died 31 May 2015

Francela Méndez defended the rights of the transgender community in El Salvador. She was on the board of the Colectivo Alejandría (Alejandría Collective), which promotes the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the country. She was also involved in implementing a programme to address HIV, tuberculosis and malaria, and was a member of the Salvadoran Human Rights Defenders Network. Méndez was killed at the home of a friend in Sonsonate, outside San Salvador. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights condemned the killing.

Intisar al-Hasairi
Libya: died 24 February 2015

The bodies of Intisar al-Hasairi and her aunt were found in the boot of a car in Tripoli. Both had been shot.

Al-Hasairi was the co-founder of the Tanweer Movement, a group that promotes peace and culture in Libya. She was involved in pro-democracy protests in the country.

Joan Kagezi
Uganda: died 30 March 2015

Joan Kagezi, a Ugandan lawyer and prosecutor, was shot dead on her way home from work. She headed the directorate of public prosecutions in the international crimes and anti-terrorism division. At the time of her death, Kagezi was the lead prosecutor in a trial involving 13 men accused of involvement in an al-Shabaab terrorist attack. She also helped prosecute Thomas Kwoyelo, a former commander of the Lord’s Resistance Army, for crimes of murder and kidnapping. “Her murder ended what some lawyers described as one of the most brilliant and fearless top-notch criminal prosecuting careers,” wrote the Observer newspaper in Kampala at the time of her death.

Sabeen Mahmud
Pakistan: died 24 April 2015

Sabeen Mahmud was shot dead in her car after leaving an event in Karachi with her mother. She was one of Pakistan’s most prominent human rights activists, and the director of a pioneering cafe and community arts space called T2F (originally The Second Floor). On the evening she was killed, T2F had hosted an event highlighting the cases of those in Balochistan who have been “disappeared”, allegedly at the hands of the Pakistani government. Mahmud had received death threats – she was not afraid of rocking the boat or taking on religious fundamentalists. “This was a woman equally at home soldering wires, discussing Urdu poetry, playing cricket, attending every progressive political demonstration in Karachi, singing the back catalogue of Pink Floyd, and being my self-proclaimed ‘geek-squad for life’,” wrote her friend, the novelist Kamila Shamsie, after her death.

Norma Angélica Bruno Román
Mexico: died 13 February 2015

Norma Angélica Bruno Román was killed in front of her children on her way to attend the funeral of another young activist.

She was understood to be a member of a group in Iguala that worked with families whose relatives had disappeared.

Catherine Han Montoya
US: died 13 April 2015

Catherine Han Montoya, who campaigned for civil and human rights, was killed in her home in Atlanta. She championed the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, as well as immigrants and female Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders. She co-founded the Southeast Immigrant Rights Network. Montoya worked for the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, which paid tribute to her as “an extraordinarily talented leader and skilled organiser who devoted her life to empowering people, including immigrants, communities of colour, and LGBTQ individuals and their families. She leaves a legacy of building bridges of unity and opportunity across multi-ethnic communities”.

Losana McGowan
Fiji: died 4 April 2015

Losana McGowan, a journalist and women’s rights campaigner, was killed at home. Her partner has been charged with her murder. McGowan combined her work as a journalist, reporting for the Fiji Times and the Fiji Broadcasting Corporation, with her activism for the Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre and Fiji Women’s Rights Movement, which works to change laws that discriminate against women. She was most recently the media and communications coordinator for the Secretariat of the Pacific Community. Her death has prompted calls for greater action to tackle violence against women.

Angiza Shinwari
Afghanistan: died 16 February 2015

Angiza Shinwari had recently started a second term as an active provincial council member in Nangarhar when she was killed following a bomb attack on the vehicle in which she was travelling. Before being elected to council, Shinwari was an activist and staunch defender of women’s rights and the right to education. Her killing highlights the dangers women face when taking up political positions in Afghanistan. Reuters reported that, despite keeping a low profile, Shinwari had asked Afghan and foreign officials for protection, fearing her life could be in danger. “All women working in government are in great danger. And the situation is especially bad for provincial council members,” she said.

 on: Today at 06:53 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
Paris climate talks: ‘Six years on, climate change is killing fish, flooding our fields’

On the eve of the 2009 Copenhagen summit, we reported on families threatened by climate change around the world. Now, as the Paris summit nears, many of their worst fears are being realised

30 November 2015 00.04 GMT

They are humanity’s hope for tomorrow, but each faces a future that looks increasing bleak and uncertain. Born in four different parts of the globe, these children came into the world in the weeks leading up to the Copenhagen climate conference in December 2009.

At the time, the Observer described the lives of these young people as their families struggled to cope with the impact of climate change.

Now, before the Paris climate summit at the end of the month, we have returned to meet those children and show how they have lived with the consequences of the 2009 Copenhagen summit’s failure to reach a deal to limit nations’ outputs of greenhouse gases. Global warming has continued and droughts have spread. At the same time, sea levels are still rising and ice caps are shrinking while food is becoming increasingly scarce for many people.

The world is again at a crossroads. In Paris, our leaders will be asked to agree to another deal that could limit carbon emissions from factories and vehicles that burn fossil fuels. Each nation will be asked to put forward proposals to cut their output of carbon dioxide so that it will be possible to have an even chance of limiting global warming to a 2C increase over temperatures that were experienced in pre-industrial times.

If they succeed, then the hopes for the next generation – those whose lives are described in these reports, gathered by the Catholic charity Cafod – will receive a welcome boost.

If our leaders fail again, however, then the bleak lives outlined on these pages are destined to become even grimmer.

Denislania da Silva, Brazil

The baby girl born to Elisa da Silva just before the Copenhagen climate summit in 2009 had not yet been named when our first report was published. Today, six-year-old Denislania da Silva attends school, plays with her five brothers and sisters and hopes one day to become a teacher.

However, life among the indigenous Macuxi people is still hard – though there has been one recent cause for hope that the Macuxi will be able to survive in their threatened homelands around Barro, in north Roraima, close to the border with Venezuela.

In 2009, Brazil’s supreme court ruled in favour of the Macuxi in their battle against farmers who wanted to turn the region’s marshlands – where local men hunt and fish – into rice plantations. The indigenous land there should remain as a single, continuous territory, it was decreed, while unlawful land occupiers were also ordered to leave the region.

“The white people used to occupy our land and wouldn’t let us fish or walk in the fields because everywhere was fenced off,” Elisa recalls. “Today it is open to us.”

The development is encouraging, though the Macuxi still face an uncertain future as the area is now being ravaged by the effects of climate change. “I have six children at home and worry a lot about not having enough food for them, especially when I wake up in the morning with nothing,” she says. “I say, ‘Oh dear God, I have nothing to give the children’, but then someone invites me to work and then I can go and buy food and give it to them.”

While Elisa works, her husband Denanson hunts and fishes with the other men of the community. Compared to the past, there have been many improvements, she adds.

“There was no transport in my day. Today we have buses. Nor did we have taps to fill our water bottles to put in the fridge. My hand used to be scratched from grating cassava. Today there is an electric mill and I no longer get tired from using a tipiti [a kind of grater]. I was always reminding the children of this.”

But other developments are not nearly so welcome. Roraima borders the Amazon region of Brazil, one of the world’s most environmentally sensitive regions. Almost 40% of the world’s remaining tropical forests grow here – though the threat of deforestation, caused by rising temperatures and the spread of farming, remains a serious worry.

“The weather has changed a lot,” says Elisa. “It is getting drier and there no longer seems to be a distinct winter or summer: the weather has become constantly dry. It isn’t like before, when there was a rainy season and then a summer. The seasons have clearly changed. Today our water system is drying up and we have to struggle to maintain it.

“Our river used to be abundant but it’s suddenly dried up. The fish that we used to catch have disappeared. Even when there is only rotten old fish, people will buy it. Our wildlife is also leaving – all because of the drought. I sometimes wonder if God is making us die from drought.”

Olomaina Mutonka, Kenya

In 2009, the Mutonka family had just celebrated the birth of their son Olomaina. Then, they were fearful of the future: droughts were increasing in severity and their cattle were dying. Those fears have since been justified. Of the 284 cattle that they have owned over the past six years, they have lost 271. The area has had no rain in the last year and the family regularly goes to bed without eating. Olomaina’s mother, Noomirisho Mutonka, now fears the worst.

“If the drought continues all our animals will die and we will be left with nothing. We will have no money to pay our children’s school fees. This will lead to our children dropping out. Yet they are the future of this family. They are the ones we will rely on. If they get education, they will get employment and will become breadwinners. And they love school. They are very bright.”

Noomirisho belongs to the Masai people and lives near the town of Kajiado, south of Nairobi. Droughts in this part of Kenya used to occur every three years but in the past few decades their frequency and duration have increased. More than 80% of the Masai in the Magadi area of south Kenya have lost cattle as a result of these increasing droughts.

By 2020 it is expected that more than 75 million people will suffer from water stress in east Africa as global warming takes its inexorable grip. The amount of land that can support the growing of crops will also be halved as a result, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

“In the past, it rained from April to June and then again in December so our dams were never dry,” says Noomirisho. “Nowadays, we can go two years without rain. During that time our animals become emaciated and die.”

Noomirisho wakes around 5am to prepare breakfast for her children before she takes her cattle and goats to graze. She makes the six-hour round trip for water every second day, travelling with a donkey that carries 30 litres in two jerry cans. “On the day, I go to fetch water, I cannot go to graze the cattle because I travel for six hours to the water point and back. When I do take the animals to graze I often have to travel far because of the dry conditions.”

The main source is an abandoned quarry that contains very salty water. “It is all we have now. The Olkejuado river dried up a long time ago and so we have nowhere else to fetch water from. That is what we have to drink.”

Fretelina de Oliveira, Timor-Leste

Six years ago, Joana and Armando de Oliveira, who live in the village of Au-Hun on the north coast of Timor-Leste, were celebrating the birth of their daughter Fretelina. She was the couple’s third child. Life was hard at the time but has only worsened as the climate has deteriorated, leaving the couple fearful for their offspring.

“My preoccupation is that now I am getting old, if I die, who will look after my children and sustain them?” says Armando.

In 2009, the island was afflicted by periodic droughts and wells sometimes ran dry. Maize production was badly hit on several occasions. Unfortunately conditions have hardened since then.

“The community here talks about climate change,” says Armando, who work as a security guard at the nearby Technique School. “Six years ago the climate was better, normal and not as hot as it is now. It’s so very hot and this heat is having an impact on our lives, particularly with my children who cannot get a good sleep.”

The family depend on Joana’s parents for shelter. “I started building my own house but I do not have enough money to continue,” Armando says. “In reality, sometimes my family and I do not have breakfast or lunch, we just eat dinner.”

In the dry season, life is bearable. However, things change in the rainy season, which lasts from November to May. “We are discontented because the roof leaks and water sinks in. The wall is made from woven fibre and if it rains we find it very difficult to find food.”

The community around Au-Hun relies on subsistence with local people growing all their own food, managing livestock and securing water. This is not easy. Both water and electricity supplies are erratic, for a start. “And now the government is charging us for clean water and electricity and we are not able to pay,” says Armando.

Poor yields affects a family’s resistance to disease, cuts livelihoods and, in the end, reduces access to basic service such as education and healthcare. Of Armando’s three children, only Fretelina now goes to school. “I hope my children will have a better future and go to school,” he says.

According to climate scientists, temperatures are expected to rise between 0.88C and 3.68C by 2070. At the same time, rain patterns will be disrupted and droughts will be far more frequent. It is a grim forecast, though Armando remains hopeful that his community will ultimately prevail. “Life in my community involves helping others. Sometimes there is a conflict in family life but as in community problems between youngsters, we can resolve issues.”

Tayab Mallik has been a rickshaw puller in Bangladesh for 30 years and the strain of this life is beginning to tell.

“I’m getting old and I am losing my strength,” he says. “I have breathing problems. It troubles me in the summer mostly due to the rising temperatures. But being rickshaw puller you have to be very strong. If you are not strong enough, then you will fail to earn money.”

Married with five daughters and a son, including Maria, who was born in 2009, Mallik’s main fears are for his family. “I want them to be literate. I want to see them going to universities and doing well-paid jobs. I don’t want them to pull rickshaws. But if something happens to me, who is going to feed them or pay their tuition fees? I know no one. Life is brutal.”

Mallik earns £2 to £3 a day. “It’s really hard to feed a family of seven with this income,” he says. “I cannot remember when I bought meat for my family and I feel bad when I cannot buy fruit for my children. I know that they need it.”

Tayab and his wife, Majeda Begum, live with the children in Mostortona in Bangladesh’s Barguna district, which is suffering desperately from rising sea levels caused by global warming. High levels of salinity affect soil productivity, agriculture and vegetation. Drinking water is polluted. At the same time, the area has been devastated by increasingly vicious cyclones that bring tidal surges and destroy homes. More and more people are migrating to cities as land is lost to erosion.

In 2009, the situation was serious and it has only worsened over the years. “Everyone in our community now knows that climate change is now a big threat. Everyone is tired of speaking about it. We are poor so there is no way out.

“The river Pyra is about two miles from my home and due to climate change the water level is rising every year. You never know when you have to swim at night rather than sleep in your bed,” Mallik says. “Increasing temperatures are another threat that cannot be denied. All in all, my life is full of threats. I don’t know what is going to be next.”

This stress is shared by his children, he believes. “I think it is hampering the natural flow of their lives and their education. At their age, I used to play all day long in the field. But my children are spending their time thinking about how to cope with a changing climate. This is not a proper childhood.”

 on: Today at 06:46 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
Major powers pledge $20bn for green energy research

The vow boosts a parallel initiative by global business leaders including Mark Zuckerberg and Ratan Tata

Press Association
Monday 30 November 2015 00.01 GMT

The US and 18 other countries have pledged to double funds for clean energy research to a total of $20bn over five years, boosting a parallel initiative by Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg and increasing the prospects for successful agreement at the Paris climate negotiations that start on Monday.

The countries, which include the UK, Canada, China, Brazil, India and South Africa, span the biggest global economies and major emitters, oil and gas producers, and leaders in clean energy research, the White House said.

Tech and business leaders, including America’s Bill Gates, George Soros, Meg Whitman and Mark Zuckerberg, Germany’s Hasso Plattner, India’s Ratan Tata and China’s Jack Ma, will also pledge on Monday to take on additional investment risks to bring environmental technologies coming out of scientific research to the marketplace.

“This announcement should help to send a strong signal that the world is committed to helping to mobilise the resources necessary to ensure countries around world can deploy clean energy solutions in cost-effective ways in their economies,” said Brian Deese, a senior White House advisor.

The announcement came as the first of more than 130 world leaders began jetting into Paris in preparation for the crunch negotiations. They will attend the first day of the two-week talks on Monday, instructing their negotiating teams.

As the UN and the French hosts prepared for the arrival of world leaders, the Eiffel Tower was lit up with colourful climate change messages by Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary general. Security was tight across the French capital, with many of the main roads around the conference centre shut for most of the day and a heavy police and army presence, following the terror attacks in the city earlier this month.

In central Paris, a largely peaceful demonstration of several thousand people forming a human chain was hijacked by a small group of masked anarchist activists, throwing missiles at the police and chanting that France had become “a police state”. The police responded by firing teargas and kettling the troublemakers.

Originally, a peaceful march through Paris had been planned, but that was banned by the government in the wake of the terror attacks that left 130 dead and scores more injured.

The Paris conference is seen as crucial to preventing runaway global warming, as failure to reach a deal would effectively bring to an end international efforts under the UN to control greenhouse gas emissions.

Countries are aiming to sign an agreement that would offer financial support to poor nations to help them cut emissions and cope with the effects of extreme weather, as well as targets on limiting global emissions that would come into effect from 2020, when current commitments run out.

David Cameron will tell the conference he wants “a global deal for a global problem” with a “robust legal framework” that would ensure the targets are met. He called for any agreement to include a long-term goal on avoiding dangerous temperature rises.

“This will give certainty to businesses and the public across the world that governments are serious about de-carbonising,” he will say.

A long-term goal is usually framed as limiting temperature rises to no more than 2C above pre-industrial levels by the century’s end. However, in an early sign that many poor countries favour a more stringent target, the Guardian has learned that on Monday the Philippine president Benigno Aquino and the heads of state of 42 other countries will sign a declaration urging the UN to adopt a more ambitious limit of 1.5C.

The Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF), which includes the Philippines, Bangladesh and Costa Rica, will break ranks with the G77 group that traditionally represents the views of most developing countries.

“We are the countries who will suffer the most from climate change and against whom all the big [negotiating] groups like the US, EU and G77 are aligned. We are the majority: 106 of the 195 countries of the world want this 1.5C target. But there is no democracy here. It’s a power game and the powerful are not on our side,” said CVF spokesman Saleemul Huq. “We accept it is not realistic [in these talks ] but it is the right thing to do.”

The declaration will also be signed by Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, and Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland.

 on: Today at 06:43 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
Prince Charles opens Paris climate talks and calls on world leaders to act now

Prince of Wales calls climate change the greatest threat facing humanity and urges leaders to protect the planet for future generations

Monday 30 November 2015 10.19 GMT

Global warming is the greatest threat that humanity faces and world leaders meeting in Paris for climate talks on Monday must act now, Prince Charles has told delegates from 195 countries meeting in the French capital.

“On an increasingly crowded planet, humanity faces many threats, but none is greater than climate change. It magnifies every hazard and tension of our existence,” the Prince of Wales told the summit, as he opened it along with the UN climate chief, Christiana Figueres and French foreign minister, Laurent Fabius.

“It threatens our ability to feed ourselves, to remain healthy, and safe from extreme weather, to manage the natural resources that support our economies, and to avert the humanitarian disaster of mass migration and increasing conflict.”

He echoed comments by Figueres, saying: “rarely in human history, as the executive secretary has just said, have so many people placed their trust in the hands of so few. Your deliberations over the next two weeks will decide the fate not only of those alive today but also of generations as yet unborn,” he told delegates.

Urging negotiators to end fossil fuel subsidies and spend the money on sustainable energy instead, he said: “We must act now. Already we are being overtaken by other events and crises that can be seen as greater and more immediate threats. But in reality many are already, and will increasingly be, related to the growing affects of climate change.”

The Prince, who also spoke at the landmark Copenhagen climate conference in 2009, told officials that the climate change crisis had become much more urgent in the last six years.

“The whole of nature cries out at our mistreatment of her. If the planet were a patient, we would have treated her long ago. You, ladies and gentlemen, have the power to put her on life support, and you must surely start the emergency procedures without further procrastination.”

He said that governments had the technology and money to tackle the problem, but lacked the will and the framework to use them wisely and at scale.

“In damaging our climate we become the architects of our own destruction. While the planet can survive the scorching of the Earth and the rising of the waters, the human race cannot. The absurd thing is we exactly what needs to be done,” he said.


Obama calls Paris climate talks an 'act of defiance' in wake of recent attacks

US president salutes French people for going ahead with crucial climate talks in his address to heads of state on first day of the conference

Monday 30 November 2015 12.13 GMT

Barack Obama has told crucial UN climate talks in Paris that the negotiations represent an act of defiance after the barbaric attacks in the city two weeks ago in which 130 people were killed.

Offering his condolences to the people of “this beautiful city” the US president said, “We salute the people of Paris for insisting this crucial conference go on ... What greater rejection of those who would tear down our world than marshalling our best efforts to save it.”

More than 130 heads of state and government are attending the first day of the two-week talks, instructing their negotiating teams on coming to a deal. Each leader has been allotted three minutes for a short speech.

The Paris talks are seen as a last chance for coordinated global action on climate change under the UN. If these talks fail to produce an agreement, the world will be left without an international commitment to prevent dangerous levels of global warming.

Obama said that the science now pointed clearly to the need for countries to act. “Our understanding of the ways human beings disrupt the climate advances by the day,” he said, pointing out that 2015 was on course to be the warmest year on record. He said he was attending personally because the US embraces its, “responsibility to do something about it.”

Speaking shortly after Obama, China’s president Xi Jinping said the eyes of the world were on Paris and that, “tackling climate change is a shared mission for all mankind.” He reiterated the country’s pledge to peak its emissions by 2030 and said: “we have confidence and resolve to fulfil our commitments”.

Ban Ki-moon, UN secretary general, urged countries to come to a deal: “Leaders of the world, the future of our people and our planet is in your hands. We need a universal, meaningful and robust agreement.”

President François Holland told the assembled leaders and delegates at the opening ceremony that France had put all of its energies into reaching an agreement in Paris. “Your presence here is a sign of hope,” he told world leaders.

Laurent Fabius, the French foreign minister who is hosting the talks as COP president, said: “Future generations cannot hear us, but in a way they are looking at us now.”

David Cameron, the UK prime minister, also urged action. He stood alongside Prince Charles for the opening ceremony, as all of the leaders posed for a “family” photograph.

Leaders will spend most of the rest of the day in private meetings with one another, aimed at ironing out remaining differences and creating an atmosphere of diplomatic cooperation in which a deal can be brokered by the UN.

The Paris conference is seen as crucial, as its failure would in effect bring to an end to international efforts under the UN to control greenhouse gas emissions. Countries are aiming to agree on financial support to help poor nations to cut emissions and cope with the effects of extreme weather. They also hope to set targets on limiting global emissions that would come into effect from 2020, when current commitments run out.

Later, UK prime minister David Cameron is expected to set out his personal commitment to tackling climate change, pledging support for poorer countries that are likely to suffer most from extreme weather.

Cameron will tell the conference he wants “a global deal for a global problem”, with a robust legal framework that would ensure the targets are met. He will call for any agreement to include a long-term goal on avoiding dangerous temperature rises. “This will give certainty to businesses and the public across the world that governments are serious about decarbonising.”

But critics argue that since the election the government has systematically undermined the UK’s reputation for climate leadership. Support for solar and wind energy has been slashed; legislation on efficient new homes has been weakened; and most recently, the chancellor, George Osborne, cancelled a £1bn scheme to promote carbon capture and storage.


The Paris summit is missing one of the great world leaders on climate

As heads of state arrive in Paris, the Maldives’ Mohamed Nasheed is being held in a prison cell. Paris will feel the absence of one of the only true world leaders on climate change

Monday 30 November 2015 10.36 GMT

World “leaders” have been arriving in Paris by the scores over the weekend – there will be more than a hundred prime ministers and presidents making speeches as the climate talks open on Monday.

But most of them won’t, in fact, be leaders on climate. And one who truly is – Mohamed Nasheed of the Maldives – will be languishing in a cell on a prison island in his nation, instead of pressing the case for carbon cuts.

Nasheed was the star – almost the only star – of the disastrous Copenhagen climate conference six years ago. Six years ago today he was the first head of state to arrive, and he went straight from the airport to a packed meeting hall where he led a giant crowd in chant after chant. “My message to you is to continue the protests. Continue after Copenhagen. Continue despite the odds. And eventually, together, we will reach that crucial number: Three - five - oh.”

He was electric. A tiny man, he was swallowed up in a sea of TV cameras and boom mikes the second his speech was done, but the crowd didn’t want to let him go. And with good reason. No one had ever before managed to quite sum up the predicament of the front-line states with as much wit and power. Nasheed, for instance, had taught his entire cabinet to scuba dive, so they could hold a formal meeting underwater against the backdrop of a dying coral reef, there to pass a resolution for the UN demanding action to return the planet to an atmosphere of 350 parts per million CO2. He climbed up on the roof of his own presidential house with his own presidential hammer to install solar panels. He pledged that his archipelago nation would become the first on earth to go carbon neutral.

And all around the world people responded. Since the highest point in the Maldivian archipelago is mere meters above sea level, he spoke with a credibility few others could muster.

And he spoke, too, with the credibility that came from fighting for freedom. The Mandela of the Indian Ocean, they called him, after his long struggle to oust the dictator that had ruled the Maldives for three decades. He’d spent five years in prison before forcing the elections that brought him to power, and turned his incredibly beautiful nation into a democracy.

Temporarily, as it turned out. The satraps of the old dictator never gave up, and eventually they pushed him aside in a military coup. Now, as before, he is in prison – the latest reports I’ve heard say his health is failing, and that he’s not been given proper medical attention. Amnesty International and the great human rights lawyer Amal Clooney are doing their best – but they’re up against thugs, pure and simple.

Thugs who, among other things, have abandoned plans for carbon neutrality in the Maldives. Indeed there are reports that the country will open its waters for oil-drilling. Oh, the Maldives will have a presence in Paris this week, and doubtless its “leaders” will speak fine words. But they won’t mean anything. Not like Nasheed’s, anyway, which captivated the world:

“I am not a scientist, but I know that one of the laws of physics, is that you cannot negotiate with the laws of physics. Three – Five – Oh is a law of atmospheric physics. You cannot cut a deal with Mother Nature. And we don’t intend to try.”


Cameron calls for 'global deal for global problem' at climate summit

UK prime minister to set out his priorities for talks, including legally binding emissions targets, help for poorer countries and a greater role for businesses

Monday 30 November 2015 07.53 GMT

David Cameron will set out his personal commitment to tackling climate change at the opening of a crunch UN conference on global warming in Paris on Monday, and will pledge support for poorer countries likely to suffer most from extreme weather.

The UK prime minister will meet world leaders including Narendra Modi of India, Barack Obama of the US and China’s Xi Jinping at the talks, but will also hold sessions with representatives of small islands and the world’s least developed countries.

More than 130 heads of state and government will attend the first day of the two-week talks on Monday, instructing their negotiating teams on coming to a deal.

The Paris conference is seen as crucial, as its failure would in effect bring to an end international efforts under the UN to control greenhouse gas emissions. Countries are aiming to agree on financial support to help poor nations to cut emissions and cope with the effects of extreme weather. They also hope to set targets on limiting global emissions that would come into effect from 2020, when current commitments run out.

Cameron will tell the conference he wants “a global deal for a global problem”, with a robust legal framework that would ensure the targets are met. He will call for any agreement to include a long-term goal on avoiding dangerous temperature rises. “This will give certainty to businesses and the public across the world that governments are serious about decarbonising.”

He will set out his priorities for the conference: putting in place a robust legal framework that will require countries to stick to their emissions targets; providing financial assistance for the developing world; and emphasising the role of business in tackling global warming.

Cameron is expected to cite the UK’s own Climate Change Act as a “strong domestic framework” to deal with emissions. The act is being used as a model by some other countries. “I want to see a similarly robust system at the international level,” he will tell the conference. However, the act has been attacked by some Tories.

Critics argue that since the election the government has systematically undermined the UK’s reputation for climate leadership. Support for solar and wind energy has been slashed; legislation on efficient new homes has been weakened; and most recently, the chancellor, George Osborne, cancelled a £1bn scheme to promote carbon capture and storage.

As part of the legal framework, Cameron endorses the proposed system of a five-yearly review of emissions targets after Paris, which the UN hopes will enable emissions to be cut further in the future, in line with scientific advice. On current emissions pledges, the world is still likely to be in for 2.7C or 3C of warming above pre-industrial levels by the century’s end, according to analyses. Scientists say that 2C is likely to be the limit of safety, beyond which dangerous climate changes will take hold, with droughts, floods, fiercer storms and rising sea levels.

A group of developing countries is calling for tougher emissions-cutting targets in order to hold the world within 1.5C of warming. This is because small islands may be swamped if temperatures rise by 2C, and other extremely poor countries are likely to be badly affected.

For the developing world, Cameron will call for a deal that includes “clear support to the poorest nations”, pointing to the UK’s pledge of £5.8bn during this parliament to “help them deal with the potentially devastating risks of climate change”. At least half of this money will go to helping countries adapt and strengthen their infrastructure to cope with the effects of extreme weather.

The UK prime minister will also place a strong emphasis on the role of businesses in cutting emissions and providing finance. “The issue of climate change is too large for governments alone to deal with. That is why business and private donors must play an active role in shaping our response to climate change, and enabling trillions of dollars of investment in clean technology,” he will say.

Although the main focus of any agreement is likely to be on government responsibility, Cameron wants to include provisions for the private sector. “I want the deal in Paris to outline the role that businesses should play. We need to give businesses long-term certainty for investment.”

World leaders will address the conference for several hours on Monday, and spend most of the day meeting privately to iron out their remaining differences and create an atmosphere of cooperation that will allow negotiators to hammer out the text of a deal in the remaining days.


Climate change talks: five reasons to be cheerful or fearful

As world leaders convene in Paris for climate negotiations, the political and economic auspices are encouraging. Yet major obstacles will have to be overcome if the gap between rich and poor countries is to be bridged

Monday 30 November 2015 07.00 GMT

Reasons to be cheerful

1 The world really wants a strong deal and this time will get it

There is a universal will to limit emissions. Governments understand the science and know that doing nothing is no longer a political or moral option. Evidence of climate change has grown since the Copenhagen meeting in 2009, and 2015 has already been declared the hottest year ever. Climate change is also much better understood by the public to be a grave threat and this gives politicians the legitimacy to be bold in their actions. Non-governmental groups have created a sense of destiny about the Paris meeting, pressing the idea that this is the world’s last chance to act to avoid catastrophic change, and that a deal is certain: “Now is our time,” says Obama’s special climate envoy, Todd Stern, urging all countries to compromise this week.

2 A green economy makes financial sense

A bold new international deal committing all countries to reducing emissions is in everyone’s long-term economic interests. It will signal to business that governments are legally committed to reducing emissions and this in turn will give the private sector and banks the long-term confidence they need to invest in renewable energies and conservation, and should steer financiers, technologists and others away from extracting oil, gas and coal and toward clean energy development. If large carbon markets also emerge, as big business and the UN want, and if rich countries make good on their pledge to mobilise $100bn a year for poor countries to adapt to climate change by 2020, then the long-promised global “green economy” should grow fast, benefiting everyone.

Renewable energy technologies are moving ahead much faster than imagined. The cost of wind power and solar in many countries today is roughly the same as coal or gas, making the switch to green energy and lower emissions much easier for treasuries and ministers to justify to electorates. Within 20 years, it is expected that renewable energy prices will fall further, while fossil fuel energy will grow comparatively more expensive.

3 Nations are ready to commit to real change

Countries have already stated their intentions. Ahead of the Paris talks, more than 180 countries representing 90% of global emissions, have submitted their national plans to cut emissions. This is the first time since climate negotiations started 20 years ago that virtually all the world’s nations have committed to being part of the solution. By comparison, the 1997 Kyoto protocol included pledges for reductions by 37 rich countries which together comprised well under half of global emissions. Kyoto did not include the US, which refused to sign up, or China, the world’s two largest carbon dioxide emitters. With the key players aboard, victory is certain.

4 What can go wrong?

The chances of diplomatic success are much higher than in Copenhagen in 2009, which was billed as the finale of years of talks, but ended in diplomatic chaos. The text that negotiators and politicians from 195 countries will haggle over in Paris is shorter and more focused, and many difficult decisions have already been made. The positions of the major emitting countries – like the US and China – are closer to each other than in the past, so it should be easier for negotiators and politicians to compromise. France, as the host country, is very experienced at international negotiations and has ensured that many of the potentially tough decisions, such as finance and the final target, can be put back to later meetings. This will allow, at the very least, a weak deal to be signed, with a stated guarantee that it can be improved later.

5 We’re all in it together

The recent terrorist atrocities in Paris will galvanise the 143-plus world leaders due to arrive in the city to make a global statement of solidarity and provide the political impetus to secure a strong deal. No country will want to be identified as the one that stopped a deal. “Paris will soon be known as the place where world leaders stood together on the right side of history,” says the president of the World Bank Group, Jim Yong Kim.

Over 10,000 pairs of shoes on the Place de la Republique in Paris replace marchers who were set to take part in a cancelled climate protest on Sunday

Reasons to be fearful

1 Countries may not make the necessary compromises

Prince Charles and more than 140 presidents, prime ministers and heads of state will make short, bland statements on Monday about the need to act, after which negotiators and politicians have just a few working days to reach diplomatic agreement. Considering that it has taken 20 years of fruitless negotiations to reach this point, there is no chance that the wide gaps between countries can be closed in just a few days. So the only way any deal can be reached in Paris is if the UN and France, as the hosts, bludgeon through a least-worst agreement over the heads of the many. All countries will come under intense pressure to compromise but some will not want to be dictated to.

2 It’s failed already

The cuts that 180 countries have said they are prepared to make up to 2030 will only hold temperatures to a 2.7C rise, whereas the absolute minimum needed to prevent catastrophic warming by the end of the century is thought to be 2C. More than 100 countries have said they want the UN to set the more ambitious global target of 1.5C, and for them anything that does not guarantee this will be seen as a failure of negotiations. Aviation and shipping are also unlikely to be in the deal because it will be too difficult to get agreement. Poor countries want legal certainty that the rich will do as they promise, but rich countries only want voluntary targets. The reality gap between what countries want and what they may get is just too wide.

3 Who will bear the biggest burden?

Countries are still fatally split on key issues like reducing emissions, finance and technology. With so many major differences, it will take a heroic effort by politicians to reach any deal at all. The most important hurdle could be over whether industrialised countries like the US, UK and Japan, which have contributed the most to the historical build-up of emissions, should be obliged to cut more more than developing countries. India, on behalf of many poor countries, will argue that there must be “differentiation” between rich and poor; but the US wants targets that are applicable to all. A collision is inevitable.

4 Where’s the money?

Many of the ambitious plans to cut emissions submitted to the UN depend on up to $1trn being made available to invest in renewable energy, farming and forestry. This money is not available and will depend on flows from new carbon markets and other uncertain financial sources. In addition, only $57bn of the $100bn pledged to be “mobilised” by rich countries to help poor countries adapt their economies to a warming world has been identified. Because developing countries have had long experience of failed promises and pledges they are not going to roll over without financial guarantees. They fear double counting and the diversion of aid flows, and although they will fight hard for money they will meet rock-hard resistance from the rich, who are determined to commit as little as possible.

5 We want a deal but not at any price

There is a genuine will to tackle climate change but not at any cost, and many rich countries delude themselves if they think that climate change and reducing emissions is a high priority for everyone. These talks have been going for many years and there is still a deep distrust of the way that the US and others have avoided having to change their lifestyles but have bullied poor countries to shoulder the burden of cuts. Many countries resent this injustice and want to determine their own development path. They fear that the rich will not have to do much to reduce emissions but they will have to slow down their growth. For them, poverty eradication and economic development are still the most important elements of any deal so they will seek guaranteed financial and techno­logical support if they are to agree to anything. Many oil-producing countries led by Saudi Arabia will also want a weak deal that will not devalue their natural assets. Some Latin American countries like Venezuela and Bolivia will hold out in the name of climate justice for a deal that forces the rich to cut more than the poor. Negotiations are conducted by blocs of countries, consensus is necessary and it is easy to tactically derail the talks or to delay discussions to a point where no strong deal can be negotiated in the limited time available.

 on: Today at 06:32 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
November 29, 2015

Scientists uncover four rare pre-Incan ‘mummies’

by Susanna Pilny
Red Orbit

Four pre-Incan “mummies,” buried sitting upright and facing the sea, have been found in a pyramid-shaped cemetery in Lima, Peru.

"There are four human burial sites, for adult individuals, three women and one man, who lived between the years 1000 to 1450," explained archaeologist Isabel Flores, director of the excavation in Huaca Pucllana, an ancient ceremonial complex perhaps dating to 200 CE.

According to Daily Mail, the human remains were found in a residential area of the city, and confirm that the Ichma culture did indeed exist in early Lima. Archaeologists believe they were wrapped in textiles in an attempt to mummify them—which doesn’t seem to have worked, although some of them actually still have hair—and were found with offerings like ceramics and weaving tools.

The “mummies” belonged to a somewhat mysterious people known as the Ichma, who dominated the region near Lima following the Wari culture beginning around 1000. Eventually, they were absorbed by the Incas in 1440—a people whom we know significantly more about.

We do know that, like the Incas, the Ichma believed there was a link between the gods and living humans. This link was somewhat mediated by mummies, who were “consulted” on certain occasions, and who were often placed near temples and on high ground in a sort of gesture of honor. The sitting positions of the remains found are believed to be tied to this tradition, perhaps holding some sort of ritual significance.

The Spanish conquistadors of the 16th century were apparently disgusted by this practice, and thus looted and destroyed many of the grave sites and mummies—meaning much of the evidence of the Ichma culture was permanently lost. The four Ichma grave sites just found were also likely looted, but despite that they may provide previously unknown knowledge about these early people.

"These are the first four tombs of the Ichma culture. We think that we may still find more,” said Flores.

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