When asked if I am pessimistic or optimistic about the future, my answer is always the same: If you look at the science about what is happening on earth and aren’t pessimistic, you don’t understand data. But if you meet the people who are working to restore this earth and the lives of the poor, and you aren’t optimistic, you haven’t got a pulse.
Read More by Al Gore here: http://blog.algore.com/
Problems With The Media November 17, 2010 : 10:23 PM
For some time, the media has failed to appropriately cover the climate crisis. A new report from Oxford University’s Reuters Institution for the Study of Journalism provides us with a snapshot of the problem:“Less than 10 percent of the news articles written about last year's climate summit in Copenhagen dealt primarily with the science of climate change, a study showed on Monday.”“Based on analysis of 400 articles written about the December 2009 summit, the authors of the report for Oxford University's Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism called for a rethinking of reporting on future such conferences.” “Author James Painter concluded that "science was under-reported" as the essential backdrop when about 120 world leaders met in Copenhagen but were unable to agree on a binding treaty to slow climate change.” Our media has a responsibility to educate the public on issues affecting the planet. Covering the climate crisis only as a political issue shields from public view the vital scientific and moral elements of the debate.
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Officials Propose Adding Unique Marine Mammal to Endangered Species List
Only 150 Hawaiian False Killer Whales Remain in the Wild
LOS ANGELES (November 17, 2010) – In a move to save the dwindling population of the Pseudorca crassidens—better known as the insular Hawaiian false killer whale—the Obama Administration today proposed classifying the population as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act.
“The whales are losing their food, getting hooked on fishing lines and accumulating toxins at a rate that threatens their survival,” said Michael Jasny, Senior Policy Analyst of NRDC’s Marine Mammal Project. “Protecting them will go a long way towards protecting the extraordinary marin
e environment of the Hawaiian Islands.”
Video of the Hawaiian false killer whales are available here:
The Hawaiian false killer whale is a small and ecologically unique population that has suffered a significant decline over the last 25 years and, according to recent analysis by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), only 150 of the animals may be left. Last month the NMFS released a 230-page report concluding that the population stands “at a high risk of extinction.”
“Today’s announcement recognizes the serious situation the Hawaiian false killer whales face due to a series of manmade threats,” said Sylvia Fallon, wildlife biologist with NRDC. “Toxic chemicals, reduced food sources and interactions with fishing vessels continue to harm this unique mammal. Endangered species status will give the population a chance to recover.”
This decision comes one year after NR
DC submitted a formal scientific petition to list the population. Should the administration follow through on its proposal, the Hawaiian false killer whale would become only the fourth U.S. whale or dolphin population to appear on the endangered species list since 1970.
Under the endangered species listing, the government would have to identify critical habitat for the population, ensure that activities do not jeopardize its survival, and prepare a “recovery plan” to bring it back from the brink.
Background on the Hawaiian False Killer Whale
Hawaiian false killer whales are large members of the dolphin family. Females can grow up to 15 feet and males can reach 20 feet. In adulthood, false killer whales can weigh up to 1,500 pounds. They are pelagic animals that tend to prefer deep, open water, and the Hawaiian inshore population is the only one of its entire species known to make its home near land. This indicates not only the uniqueness of the population, but also the biological importance of Hawaiian waters as an oasis for marine mammals.
Research shows that Hawaiian false killer whales establish long-term bonds within their species, sometimes mating for up to 20 years. They also display unique feeding habits that promote trust among members of their pod by passing prey back and forth with fellow hunting partners before consuming the catch.
The population faces a number of threats including interactions with local fisheries, reduced food sources and exposure to toxic chemicals. It is likely that the whales are affected by both long-line and unregulated near-shore and “short” long-line fisheries. A recent study showed that disfigurement from fishing gear in this population was four times higher than for other
dolphin and toothed whale species around the islands, suggesting high rates of interactions with fisheries. These fisheries may also be contributing to a decline in the size and number of the primary food source for false killer whales: large, deep-water fish including mahi mahi and yellowfin tuna.
The cumulative effects of these risks combined with the population’s dangerously small size qualify it for listing under the federal Endangered Species Act. NRDC petitioned to list the Hawaiian false killer whale as an endangered species in September 2009. Granting of endangered species status would extend a special level of protection to the whales and their habitat in order to help the population rebound.
Recent population surveys of the insular population of Hawaiian false killer whales shows a precipitous decline in size over the past 10-20 years. In 1989, more than 300 individuals were seen in aerial surveys compared to more recent population estimates of 150 individuals.
The National Marine Fisheries Service will have one year from today’s proposed rule to issue a final rule designating the Hawaiian false killer whale as a federally protected endangered species.
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"We need to step out of our collective psychosis," said Deepak Chopra, author and speaker at today's Governor's Global Climate Summit 3 taking place at the Mondavi Center, UC Davis in Northern California. "We are worried about the planet, but we should be worried about ourselves."
He told the 1500 assembled delegates and attendees of the this sub-national and grassroots focused conference that a biologist had recently explained to him that were all the insects to disappear, the planet would collapse within five years; Were the human race to disappear from the planet, the Earth would flourish. He then introduced a film, Harmony, that is to air tonight on NBC, inspired and narrated by Charles, the Prince of Wales. He left the podium quoting Chief Seattle's letter to the president which includes the famous, rhetorical question, "how can you buy and sell the sky?" and reiterated the ancient teachings that the human body and the world are one, trees are but lungs.
But while the first morning of the Summit concluded on a spiritual note, it was mainly spent in discussing the need for a "Green Industrial Policy" and to define the specific direction to take the Green Energy Policy in.
Co-host Governor Schwarzenegger addressed the assembly and made it clear that the "green revolution is moving full speed ahead." He stressed the bipartisan victory California enjoyed recently when it collectively and overwhelmingly said "No" to Proposition 23 which sought to gut the state's landmark global solutions act, AB 32.
George Shultz, a veteran of Ronald Reagan's cabinet shared his memories of his first cabinet position under Eisenhower. Back then, he said, Eisenhower had advised him that if the nation imported more than 20% of its oil we were "asking for trouble." Sure enough, he recalled, two years later we had the first Arab oil embargo.
"How many times do you have to get hit on the head with a 2x4 before you decide to take action?" asked George Shultz.Harrison Ford took the stage after the Governor, easily following in the footsteps of Climate Action Hero. He has been a long supporter of and spokesperson for Conservation International whose main message at the summit is the carbon cost of deforestation. "Sixteen percent of all global greenhouse gas emissions is created from deforestation. That's more than all the buses, cars, trucks on the planet combined," said Ford.
The other speakers, including Linda Adams, California Secretary of Environmental Protection, could hardly keep the "cat in the bag" until tomorrow's official announcement about R20, an organization incorporated in Geneva, Switzerland, which is to be a "green investment program," said Linda Adams, secretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency. It is intended to match investors from the World Bank and private corporations with local governments in developing and industrialized countries to accelerate alternative-energy projects. Adams added that today was a day to celebrate...to celebrate the victory for Mother Earth. "Protecting the environment protects our way of life...clean air, clean water, livable neighborhoods, walkable streets...".
As Ford explained it, "it will lay the tracks for the world's first compliance market for global deforestation activity." In other words, the developing nations will have as much economic incentive to protect the environment as they do now to strip their forests and sell the raw resources.
Focus is also towards COP 16 taking place in the next few weeks in Cancun, Mexico. The Summit provides an opportunity for states and provinces to partner with and influence the position of their national governments leading up to the United Nations COP 16 conference. The GGCS3 is in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme and United Nations Environment Programme and co-sponsored by UC Davis.
“The politics of climate change have challenged the science, so it is critical that universities like UC Davis - with 21st century research and development units - uncover and deliver the facts so that the world’s opinions can flow from there,” said UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi.
Schwarzenegger added that last year's Global Climate Summit was held in Los Angeles, the "entertainment capital of the world," and this year the summit is being held at UC Davis, the "environmental research capital of the world."
Shultz had praise for British Columbia's Gordon Campbell and his model of a revenue neutral carbon tax, saying "It's a good idea to create a level playing field for all sources of energy."
Campbell emphasized that 90% B.C.'s energy is clean energy sourced meaning carbon neutral or no carbon. He continued by saying he was of the same mind as Gov. Schwarzenegger in reaching across borders on issues of climate action and energy. "We're happy to share our clean energy with our friends, across the border." Campbell rounded up his panel address by saying that the way we move forward is in public-private partnerships. He concluded with a quote from Churchill, "Never, never, never give up. It's too important."