Good news / Bad news 2


GlobeAndMail_frontpage_2014sept22_400x487

It’s been a depressing year for anyone watching our climate and the health of the living Earth. Part of the West Antarctic ice sheet has melted past the point of no return, locking in enough sea level rise to drown huge coastal areas. New craters have been found in Siberia that may herald the beginning of a long-feared massive methane release from the tundra, leading to runaway global warming. Yet, decades after countries first pledged to cut back on carbon emissions, greenhouse gas levels are rising faster than ever before. And last month the World Wildlife Fund declared that the total animal population on the planet is now only half what it was in 1970. That’s half of the animals on Earth, lost in my lifetime.

But it’s also been an exciting and hopeful year. The year that solar and wind power became cheaper than fossil fuels, even without subsidies, in several US states. The year that the fossil fuel divestment movement really took off, with universities, foundations, pension funds, the British Medical Association, and even the Rockefellers taking the pledge to divest. The year that 400,000 people marched through New York on the People’s Climate March.

The conflicting moods of the year are summarized well by the front page of the Globe and Mail, September 22, shown here: “Pessimism abounds on eve of UN climate summit”, but the photo shows hope in action, as an unprecendented number of people join together on the People’s Climate March.

This month, in honour of Canadian Thanksgiving, we are going to focus on the good news.

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2 thoughts on “Good news / Bad news

  • Kelly Anthony

    Good News!

    UBC faculty vote to move forward on fossil fuel divestment referendum

    The UBC faculty association has voted 66% in favour of holding a referendum that could call on the university to divest itself of approximately $100 M in fossil fuel stocks. The referendum will be held in the last week of January and the first week of February. Should the faculty support the measure, UBC’s board of governors would be required to review the issue. The board of governors would not be bound to the results of the review, but would vote on whether or not to proceed with divestment. “We would like UBC to be a leader in acting on climate change,” said professor George Hoberg, who helped organize the vote. UBC spokesperson Pascal Spothelfer said, “UBC’s board of governors recognizes the importance of socially responsible investment and has put a process in place” to make a decision that will balance all stakeholders’ interests. Should UBC proceed, it would follow Stanford University, the city of Seattle, and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund in divesting from fossil fuel stocks. Financial Post