Meditation Focus #121

Changing Our Consciousness to Prevent Climate Change


What follows is the 121st Meditation Focus suggested for the next 4 (FOUR) weeks beginning Sunday, December 5, 2004.


1. Summary
2. Meditation times
3. More information related to this Meditation Focus



Floods in Mozambique, Europe, Bangladesh, India and elsewhere. Forest fires in Indonesia, in the Amazon and in so many other places. Hurricanes in North and South America, in Japan, Haiti and in the Philippines where two storms last week have set off mudslides and floods that killed 640 people and left nearly 400 missing. Freak weather events like these are predicted to become more frequent because of climate change. It is one of the principle environmental challenges of the 21st century. Because of our use of coal, oil, and gas for energy, and the loss and degradation of our forests, our planet is warming faster than at any time in the last 10,000 years. The warming of the Earth's atmosphere is already adversely affecting fragile ecosystems and poor people’s livelihoods. Yet global warming could also lead to a big chill in the North Atlantic because rising temperatures are causing a big melt of polar ice and therefore a freshwater flood into the salty North Atlantic which could change the flow of the balmy Gulf Stream and in just a few years, average temperatures may plummet, especially in Europe and North America, ushering in a deep freeze. Glaciers are melting faster everywhere, some Pacific and Indian Ocean islands will soon have to evacuate or build sea defences, storms are becoming ever more intense and insect and water-borne diseases are moving into new areas as the world warms. All this comes on top of rising populations and spiralling demand for food, water and other resources. Experts say environmental degradation such as deforestation and pollution will likely magnify the impacts of climate change. In what could be a foretaste of the future, Japan was hit by a record 10 typhoons and tropical storms this year, while two-thirds of Bangladesh, parts of Nepal and large areas of northeastern India were flooded, affecting 50 million people, destroying livelihoods and making tens of thousands ill.

But for the moment, according to recent studies, the risk of scorching summers, similar to the heatwave of August 2003 in Europe linked to an excess of more than 27,000 deaths across the continent, has more than doubled due to the impact of human activity. Higher temperatures threaten dangerous consequences: drought, disease, floods, lost ecosystems. And from sweltering heat to rising seas, global warming's effects have already begun. But solutions are in sight. Nearly every country on Earth recognizes today the reality of this gathering threat and have signed the Kyoto Protocol, and even the Queen of England has recently become an active support of greater global efforts to combat global warming. The Conference of the Parties of the UN Convention on Climate Change will be meeting in Buenos Aires, Argentina this month. Through the media, the public will receive the good news that the Kyoto Protocol has been approved in spite of the refusal of the world's main polluter -- the US -- to ratify it. Most people will thus feel relieved, thinking that the climate crisis will now be averted. Unfortunately, the real situation is quite different. First, the emission reductions that the Kyoto Protocol has set for industrialized countries are only 5.2% below 1990 levels - which most scientists agree is completely inadequate to effectively address global warming. Second, even these inadequate targets are being evaded through schemes through which rights to emit extra carbon dioxide are earned by, for example, setting up monoculture tree plantations as "carbon sinks." If we turned off the smokestacks today the greenhouse gases already loaded into the atmosphere would increase by 1.3º celsius (2.3 fahrenheit) the global mean temperature of the Earth's atmosphere. If global temperatures reach that threshold, it's bad news for all of us. It raises the likelihood of the complete meltdown of the Greenland ice sheet, and possible collapse of the Amazon rainforest ecosystem. Tens of millions of people could suddenly be hungry, hundreds of millions would find themselves threatened with malaria in places where malaria had never previously occurred, millions could have their homes flooded and billions could be without enough water.

Faced with such traumatic possibilities, most people prefer to avoid seriously considering the consequences of ignoring today the warning signals that have been echoing all over the world for years now. Most also feel powerless to address a problem of such huge magnitude and like as many lemmings heading en masse for imminent death other the cliff, mindlessly continue to contribute everyday to the seemingly unstoppable destruction of our global environment. Only a massive change of consciousness could now lead to the real changes in lifestyles and energy consumption patterns that are urgently required to at least mitigate the worst consequences of today's largely un-addressed global warming crisis.

Please dedicate your prayers and meditations, as guided by Spirit, in the coming four weeks, and especially in synchronous attunement at the usual time this Sunday and the following Sundays, to contribute in fostering in everyone's mind and heart the courage to face the daunting consequences of humanity's disregard for the fragile balance of Life on Earth, and the inner resolve to help bring about the necessary changes to both correct as fast as possible the numerous related problems causing this global imbalance, and address the underlying values and misconceived beliefs that are at the source of the innumerable individual choices contributing to global climate change. May the sense of sacredness regarding all manifestations of Life, including our living planetary biosphere as a whole, become the guiding force behind a global awakening and change of consciousness that we will each strive to embody in our everyday actions and choices, for the Highest Good of All.

This whole Meditation Focus has been archived for your convenience at



i) Global Meditation Day: Sunday at 16:00 Universal Time (GMT) or at noon local time. Suggested duration: 30 minutes. Please dedicate the last few minutes of your Sunday meditation BOTH to the healing of the Earth as a whole and to reiterate our willingness and desire - if we so choose - to receive assistance from our space family in order to help set things on a path towards a new era of global peace, love and harmony for all. See the Earth as healthy and vibrant with life, and experience the healing of all relations as we awaken globally to the sacredness of all Life and to our underlying unity with All That Is.

ii) Golden Moment of At-Onement: Daily, at the top of any hour, or whenever it better suits you.

These times below are currently corresponding to 16:00 Universal Time/GMT:

Honolulu 6:00 AM -- Anchorage * 8:00 AM -- Los Angeles * 9:00 AM -- Mexico City, San Salvador & Denver * 10:00 AM -- Houston * & Chicago * 11:00 AM -- Santo Domingo, La Paz, Caracas, New York *, Toronto *. Montreal *, Asuncion & Santiago 12:00 AM -- Halifax *, Rio de Janeiro & Montevideo 1:00 PM -- Reykjavik & Casablanca 4 PM -- Lagos, Algiers, London *, Dublin * & Lisbon * 5:00 PM -- Jerusalem, Johannesburg, Geneva *, Rome *, Berlin *, Paris * & Madrid * 6:00 PM -- Ankara *, Athens *, Helsinki * & Istanbul * & Nairobi 7:00 PM -- Baghdad *, Moscow * 8:00 PM -- Tehran * 8:30 PM -- Islamabad 9:00 PM -- Calcutta & New Delhi 9:30 PM -- Dhaka 10:00 PM -- Rangoon 10:30 PM -- Hanoi, Bangkok & Jakarta 11:00 PM -- Hong Kong, Perth, Beijing & Kuala Lumpur +12:00 PM -- Seoul & Tokyo +1:00 AM -- Brisbane, Canberra & Melbourne +2:00 AM -- Wellington +4:00 AM

+ means the place is one day ahead of Universal Time/Greenwich Mean Time.

* means the place is observing daylight saving time (DST) at the moment.

You may also check at to find your corresponding local time for tomorrow if a nearby city is not listed above.


This complement of information may help you to better understand the various aspects pertaining to the summary description of the subject of this Meditation Focus. It is recommended to view this information from a positive perspective, and not allow the details to tinge the positive vision we wish to hold in meditation. Since what we focus on grows, the more positive our mind-set, the more successful we will be in manifesting a vision of peace and healing. This complementary information is provided so that a greater knowledge of what needs healing and peace-nurturing vibrations may assist us to have an in-depth understanding of what is at stake and thus achieve a greater collective effectiveness.


1. The illusion of the Kyoto Protocol
3. Asia Faces Living Nightmare From Climate Change
4. Brazil Amazon Deforestation Jumps, Data Show
5. Humans Raise Risk of Europe Heatwaves
6. Brazil Garbage Dump Could Be Climate Trailblazer
7. Bush Administration Want Arctic Meltdown
8. Logging Suspended in Philippines

See also:

Climate change
Floods in Mozambique. Forest fires in Indonesia. Hurricanes in South America. Storms in the UK. Freak weather events like these are predicted to become more frequent because of climate change. What causes climate change? Climate change is caused by increased levels of carbon dioxide (C02) and other polluting greenhouse gases in our atmosphere. Scientists say human activities, such as burning fossil fuels - coal, oil and gas - in power stations and vehicles are to blame. An unfair share Did you know? The UK with 1% of the world's population produces 2.3% of the world's C02. Rich countries, like the US and Australia don't want to take action to halt climate change. But it's the poorest people who are already suffering most and they can't afford to wait. CLIP

How Global Warming Can Lead to a Big Chill (Dec 3)
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Global warming could lead to a big chill in the North Atlantic, at least if history is anything to go by, researchers reported on Friday. They published evidence to support a popular theory that rising temperatures caused a big melt of polar ice 8,200 years ago, causing a freshwater flood into the salty North Atlantic. This would have changed the flow of the balmy Gulf Stream and in just a few years, average temperatures plummeted, ushering in a deep freeze that lasted a century or more, researchers have proposed. Writing in the Dec. 11 issue of Geophysical Research Letters, Torbjorn Tornqvist, an assistant professor of earth and environmental sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago, says he has evidence that this happened. "Few would argue it's the most dramatic climate change in the last 10,000 years," Tornqvist said in a statement. "We're now able to show the first sea-level record that corresponds to that event."

Pentagon Report on Climate Change (October 2003)*

Climate change
Climate change is one of the principle environmental challenges of the 21st century. Because of our use of coal, oil, and gas for energy, and the loss and degradation of our forests, our planet is warming faster than at any time in the last 10,000 years. The warming of the Earth's atmosphere is already adversely affecting fragile ecosystems and poor people’s livelihoods. These trends are projected to accelerate over the coming decades, prompting governments to adopt the Kyoto Protocol, which calls for industrialized countries to collectively reduce emissions five percent below 1990 levels from 2008 to 2012.

Why heatwave threat has doubled (December 2, 2004),12374,1364381,00.html?gusrc=rss
The risk of scorching summers, similar to the heatwave of August 2003, has more than doubled due to the impact of human activity, according to a study released yesterday. The findings, reported in the journal Nature, provide further evidence of a link between emissions of greenhouse gases - caused by burning fossil fuels - and warming of the environment. Temperatures last year were probably the highest in Europe for over 500 years, the research by Peter Stott from the Met Office's Hadley Centre and Daith Stone and Myles Allen of the University of Oxford showed. The heat was linked to an excess of more than 27,000 deaths across the continent. CLIP

Cut the emissions: sign the petition (over 350,000 signatures so far!)
Global warming is the #1 environmental issue facing the Earth. While the world is moving forward against climate change, the U.S. continues to sit out the fight. The best first step to change this inaction is the Climate Stewardship Act, the country's best legislative tool to cut heat-trapping emissions.

"An Arctic Alert on Global Warming," (November 9, 2004)
Global warming is heating the Arctic at a rapid pace - with impacts that could range from the disappearance of polar bears' summer habitat by the century's end to a damaging rise in sea levels worldwide. That assessment, released Monday by a group of international climate experts, amounts to one of the most urgent warnings on climate change to date, and could put new pressure on the US and other nations to curb fossil-fuel emissions. CLIP

Arctic Nations OK Climate Strategy (24 November 2004)
Measures encouraged, but not required, to curb warming. Reykjavik, Iceland - Eight Arctic countries on Wednesday agreed to encourage "effective measures" to curb a rapid melt of the region, but indigenous peoples accused the United States of having blocked mandatory action aimed at slowing global warming. The United States, Russia, Canada and the five Nordic states, which all have areas stretching into the Arctic, encouraged "effective measures" to adapt to climate change without spelling out exactly how. And governments noted "with concern" a report earlier this month by 250 scientists warning that the Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the globe. They would take the findings into account in policies on everything from research to aiding indigenous peoples. CLIP

Polar bears dream of a white Christmas If they go, London could be next (28 Nov 2004)
ICELAND/Rejkyavik An Arctic without ice. Polar bears extinct in the wild. Mass starvation of reindeer. And as a result of their snowy world melting, the possibility of a global sea-level rise of devastating proportions. It's the worst disaster film you've ever seen. Made real.A new report, "Impacts of a Warming Arctic: Arctic Climate Impact Assessment," is the result of four years of work by 300 scientists. And the results aren't pretty. They tell us that the Arctic is warming far more rapidly than anyone thought, and at nearly twice the rate as the rest of the world. CLIP

Praise for 'green Queen' (Nov 4),12374,1342929,00.html
The Queen earned unusual plaudits from Friends of the Earth yesterday after opening one of the most important and high-profile summits on climate change to be staged in Europe. The monarch met German and British teenagers in Berlin, watching as they showed the effects of global warming using a model of the Earth. "I'm hugely happy that the Queen is identifying herself with this issue," said Klaus Töpfer, the UN's environment programme chief. "She is showing that we have to act." The Queen's presence at the summit follows reports that she told Tony Blair of her grave concerns over the US's role in global warming. Last night environmental groups said her intervention in a debate that has split the US government from most of Europe was "significant". Tony Juniper, FoE's executive director, said. "Her participation will ... send a strong message around the world ... on the need for urgent action on global warming."

Climate Change
The problem of climate change transcends national and community boundaries, and affects the whole environment. Using its global reach, WWF examines the effects of climate change and advocates solutions that will help protect beloved wildlife and wild places for future generations. If we fail to act now, many of the world's most important habitats and species will cease to exist. Although human-caused global warming is among the most pervasive threats to the web of life, its root cause can be addressed. The burning of fossil fuels - coal, oil and gas - releases carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere. This carbon pollution blankets the earth, trapping in heat, and causing global warming. Reducing these emissions is the first step in stopping global warming. Smart energy choices made in one place can dramatically affect animals, people, air, land, and water around the world for years to come. WWF is a key advocate for major reductions in CO2 emissions and increases in the use of renewable energy resources and energy efficient technologies in the countries where the CO2 problem is worst. A slight rise in global temperatures threatens wild animals like polar bears that rely on disappearing sea ice to access their food supply. Help save polar bears and all life on Earth by taking steps to cut emissions of CO2.

Global Warming
Higher temperatures threaten dangerous consequences: drought, disease, floods, lost ecosystems. And from sweltering heat to rising seas, global warming's effects have already begun. But solutions are in sight. We know where most heat-trapping gases come from: power plants and vehicles. And we know how to curb their emissions: modern technologies and stronger laws. Natural Resources Defense Council is working to put these fixes in place. By shifting the perception of global warming from abstract threat to pressing reality, and promoting online activism. By pressing businesses to use less energy and build more efficient products. And by fighting for laws that will speed these advances. CLIP

"Satellites Record Weakening North Atlantic Current," NASA, Goddard Space Flight Center (April 15th, 2004)

Climate Change May Reverse Progress on Fighting Poverty (November 1st, 2004)
The Working Group on Climate Change and Development, a coalition of environmental and relief aid organizations, released a report last week stating that the onset of global warming threatens to undermine progress made in recent decades on lifting residents of many developing nations out of poverty.

Kyoto saved: not yet the planet (22 October 2004)
RUSSIAN FEDERATION/Moscow - The Russian Parliament voted to ratify the Kyoto Protocol in a body blow to George W Bush's opposition to action on climate change. Kyoto coming to force is a geopolitical ground shift. Russian ratification pushes this global climate protection agreement over the threshold required to become international law. You can feel the tectonic plates of global politics grating on one another as the rest of the world signs up to the Protocol and leaves the Bush administration and their largest single share of the globe's greenhouse gas emissions behind.We can only hope that the industrial revolution of the 20th century will be followed by an energy revolution of equal magnitude in the 21st. (...) They benchmark it at "2º celsius (3.6 fahrenheit) global average temperature increase above pre-industrial levels." If we turned off the smokestacks today the greenhouse gases already loaded into the atmosphere would take us to 1.3º celsius (2.3 fahrenheit). If global temperatures hit that barrier, it's bad news for all of us. It raises the likelihood of the complete meltdown of the Greenland ice sheet, and possible collapse of the Amazon rainforest ecosystem. Tens of millions of people could suddenly be hungry, hundreds of millions would find themselves threatened with malaria in places where malaria had never previously occurred, millions could have their homes flooded and billions could be without enough water. "Already we are witnessing increased storms at sea and floods in our cities," Chief UK Scientist David King said recently. "Global warming will increase the level and frequency at which we experience heightened weather patterns." Dr. King is also on record as saying climate change is a bigger threat than terrorism. CLIP

Event Locations of Interest as Global Warming Progresses (Oct 29, 2004)
Paleoclimatology research claims that for most of the last 4.5 billion years, the earth has been far warmer than now. It shows warming can take place rapidly, 10 degrees C in a couple of decades and that cooling appears slowler: 5 degrees C cooling in the century to millennium scale. Add to that human forcing of the climate's facility to retain heat and one could conclude concerns on global warming are risk assessment and planning--rather than speculation. The reasons will be clear as you read on. As you will see in each of the following cases, an event causes an effect, which in turn leads to modifications in the local climate, or in some cases changes to the region. In each example the event is not speculation, just advice to you on which areas of our planet you may want to pay attention to over the next couple of decades. Each of the events cited below have a high likelihood of occurring. Which happens first and in what time frame remains debatable. In any case, the following areas of the planet, in my opinion, are important sites, worth your attention, as global warming continues to become more pronounced due to human forcing. CLIP

Climate Change in the U.S.
The following is a brief synopsis of findings from the U.S. Climate Change office, NOAA, and others. More on this also at

Observed Impacts of Global Climate Change in the U.S. (November 2004)

One in Three Amphibian Species Nearing Extinction (October 26th, 2004)
A recent report summarizing the findings of 500 scientists from 60 countries confirms that the world’s amphibian population is undergoing a die-off of unprecedented proportions, most likely as a result of a combination of human-caused environmental problems. According to researchers at the World Conservation Union, almost a third of the 5,743 known species of frogs, toads, newts and salamanders on Earth are facing extinction within the next few years.

Heat stress is probably the most obvious thing people think of when the idea of global warming comes up. A heat wave in Europe during the summer of 2003 killed more than 10,000 people in France alone. Many of the dead were elderly; the group most likely to live alone and most susceptible to heat-related health problems.

Global Warming to Worsen Heat Waves in American and European Cities (August 20, 2004)
Researchers from the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colorado released findings last week predicting that cities in the U.S. and Europe would likely suffer from more frequent and intense heat waves in years to come as a result of global warming. Cities tend to get hotter than surrounding countryside as a result of their paved surface areas, lack of shading tree canopy, and concentration of energy expenditure. Recent heat waves in Chicago and Paris killed thousands of people and caused billions of dollars in damage. While the NCAR study reports that heat waves in those cities will worsen, it also predicts that other areas less adapted to such temperatures could suffer the most due to lack of preparedness. The NCAR researchers are using a new computer model that takes into account growing levels of greenhouse gases when measuring for the likelihood of dangerous increases in localized temperatures. The comprehensive model also debunks a popular theory that other atmospheric pollutants like sulfur dioxide could reflect heat away from the planet and thus mitigate the warming effects of carbon dioxide. Meanwhile, Princeton University researchers have published a complementary study showing that Americans and Europeans can stave off heat waves and other negative effects of global warming by limiting their output of carbon dioxide. "If we decide to act, we will need to reduce carbon emissions across the whole global economy," says Princeton's Robert Socolow.

Asian Industrial Pollution Reaching New England Skies (August 17th 2004)
An international group comprised of the world’s leading atmospheric scientists has found that airborne industrial pollution from Asia is lingering high over New England and the Atlantic Ocean this summer, raising concerns that improved American air quality in recent years may be jeopardized by the effects of increasing industrialization and weak regulation abroad.

Bush Administration Likely to Reject Ocean Reform Recommendations (November 30, 2004)
Marine conservation activists were dismayed to learn last week that the Bush administration is unlikely to institute recommended policy changes regarding the way it handles ocean pollution, coastal development, fisheries management and other marine environmental issues. The White House is mandated to officially "respond" by December 20 to recommendations set forth by the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy last year. © Brian C. HowardAccording to Admiral James Watkins, the former Secretary of Energy who chaired the federally appointed commission, the White House response will probably consist of "a menu of all the wonderful things they are doing right now" in an effort to solve America's marine woes by applying existing policies with the current governmental oversight structure. Watkins' commission recommended, among other things, creating a Presidential assistant dedicated exclusively to oceans as well as a National Ocean Council comprised of Cabinet-level officials and federal agency heads. Before news of the probable White House rejection of the recommendations was known, many activists had already been complaining that even implementation of the commission's advice would not be enough to stem the tide of marine decline. Meanwhile, the advocacy-oriented Pew Oceans Commission had released an independent report calling for even more far-reaching changes to the way the federal government deals with ocean problems.

White House Poised to Increase Pacific Northwest Logging (November 30, 2004)
Environmentalists are bracing for stepped-up efforts by a re-elected Bush administration to dramatically increase logging of old-growth trees and other forestlands in the Pacific Northwest over the next four years. "It's going to be harder and harder for us to get the message out that these forests are important…for many reasons, but we're going to work harder than ever," said Susan Ash of the Audubon Society of Portland. Local advocacy groups are marshalling legal, political and activist resources to prevent logging on still-pristine federal lands in the region, but they face an uphill battle. In lobbying the White House to ease logging restrictions in wildlife-friendly and fire-prone public lands in Washington and Oregon, timber industry representatives cite concerns that federally mandated forestry reform initiatives launched by the Clinton administration are inadequate to meet the economic and safety needs of local communities today. Analysts expect the Bush administration to institute several changes to the way the federal government manages Pacific Northwest forests, including the elimination of some "multiple-use" protections—whereby recreation and hunting, for instance, compete with resource extraction as viable land uses—in forests suitable for large timber harvests. Additionally, the White House is likely to roll back logging restrictions in areas thought to be key habitat for endangered species such as the northern spotted owl and the marbled murrelet. Administration officials have also hinted that they will work to reshape the U.S. Forest Service into a smaller agency more focused on specific goals such as thinning forests to stave off forest fires.

Animal diseases are breaking the species barrier and crossing over to humans at an alarming rate. The new science of conservation medicine teaches us that one big factor in these new epidemics is our wholesale destruction of the environment, which is upsetting nature's balance.

Study Links 200 or More Diseases to Pollution (November 23, 2004)
Doctors from the University of California and the Boston Medical Center have released findings linking common chemical pollutants to at least 200 different human diseases. The study, which compiled data from hundreds of previous studies, shows strong correlations between various common pollutants and a wide range of diseases, including asthma, testicular atrophy, cerebral palsy, kidney disease, heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, dermatitis bronchitis, hyperactivity, deafness, sperm damage and Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. Pollutants also were linked to 37 different types of cancers. "The human body is in constant conversation with this chemical milieu and some substances have turned out to be important contributors to disease," says study co-author Ted Schletter of the Boston Medical Center. He points out, though, that pollution usually acts as a trigger on a person's genetic predisposition to developing a particular disease, and not usually as the cause of the disease itself. Blood tests conducted throughout the U.S. and Europe show that the vast majority of residents of industrialized nations are carrying several of these pollutants--such as mercury, dioxin, and PCBs--in their bloodstreams at any given time, making exposure virtually unavoidable. Health and environmental activists believe the study's findings warrant the release of information by manufacturers on the potential risks associated with use of their products. Meanwhile, the Bush administration is working hard to prevent such mandatory information disclosure, which it argues would have economic impacts.

Fishermen Idle as Seafood Stocks 'Fall Off Precipice' Across the Globe (July 23, 2004)
While researchers have been warning of the decline of many seafood fish stocks in oceans around the globe for years, idle commercial fishermen from every seaport and island community are finally feeling the bite, verifying the dire state of affairs. On southern Italy's Favignana Island, groups of "old salt" fishermen stand around the docks telling stories about the good old days when runs of bluefin tuna were plentiful enough to support the island's economy. The bluefin run has dwindled to almost nothing in recent years, leaving fishermen idle and the rest of the islanders wondering about their fate. The phenomenon is not localized, however. The same story is being played out in economically depressed seaport fishing towns all over the world, as fish stocks plummet, primarily as a result of technology-aided overfishing in all of the world's oceans. "This is no sudden crash, but rather an extremely slow-speed fatal collision," laments Carl Safina of the nonprofit research and advocacy group Blue Ocean Institute. "For decades, the world has moved blindly toward a precipice. We have been confronted with signs and warnings and a clear view of the danger. And now we have fallen off." While several nations and the international community have put regulations limiting the catch of many prized seafood species, some fishermen ignore the limits, as there is little if any monitoring. Fearful of the crash, they are motivated to "get out the catch" as big as they can in an effort to maximize short-term profits, even if it represents the final blow for an already struggling species like Favignana's bluefin.

Impacts of Europe's changing climate
The impacts of climate change on Europe's environment and society are shown in this report. Past trends in the climate, its current state and possible future changes are presented using 22 selected indicators. For almost all of these a clear trend exists and impacts are already being observed. The report highlights the need to develop strategies at European, national, regional and local level for adapting to climate change.

Many more environmental news through

Full coverage by Yahoo on Climate Change

This search for "climate change" will return you 1539 results

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Hundreds of links related to Climate Change


Date: 3 Dec 2004
From: Teresa Perez>


The illusion of the Kyoto Protocol

The Conference of the Parties of the UN Convention on Climate Change will be meeting in Buenos Aires, Argentina this month. Through the media, the public will receive the good news that the Kyoto Protocol has been approved in spite of the refusal of the world's main polluter -- the US -- to ratify it. Most people will thus feel relieved, thinking that the climate crisis will now be averted.

Unfortunately, the real situation is quite different. First, the emission reductions that the Kyoto Protocol has set for industrialized countries are only 5.2% below 1990 levels - which most scientists agree is completely inadequate to effectively address global warming. Second, even these inadequate targets are being evaded through schemes through which rights to emit extra carbon dioxide are earned by, for example, setting up monoculture tree plantations as "carbon sinks."

Concern about this state of affairs -- which has resulted largely from the pressure of powerful corporations on the climate negotiations -- prompted representatives from organizations and peoples' movements from around the globe to come together in Durban, South Africa, in October 2004 to discuss more realistic avenues for addressing climate change. The group emerged from the meeting with a call for a global grassroots movement against climate change (see Durban Declaration at ).

Participants concluded that Kyoto's attempt to give carbon a price "will not prove to be any more effective, democratic, or conducive to human welfare, than giving genes, forests, biodiversity or clean rivers a price."

At the same time, the Durban Group reaffirmed "that drastic reductions in emissions from fossil fuel use are a pre-requisite" for addressing the climate crisis and affirmed its "responsibility to coming generations to seek real solutions that are viable and truly sustainable and that do not sacrifice marginalized communities."

The Group further committed itself "to help build a global grassroots movement for climate justice, mobilize communities around the world and pledge our solidarity with people opposing carbon trading on the ground."

Participants also agreed to declare December 10 (Human Rights Day) as "International Climate Action Day" as a means of stressing that a liveable climate constitutes a basic human right and that this right is being violated by those same governments that pretend to be addressing the climate crisis.

WRM fully supports these viewpoints. Its campaigning activities against monoculture plantations have long stressed that planting trees is not only not going to slow climate change, but will also create new problems for people living in the areas to be occupied by so-called carbon sink plantations.

It is ordinary and vulnerable people who will suffer most from government inaction and corporate greed unless something more is done -- and fast -- to deal with the environmental destruction and human suffering which will be wrought by climate change. In consequence, WRM firmly believes that, for crisis to be headed off, the peoples of the world need to take the climate issue back into their own hands. It is not Kyoto, but people, who will save the climate.

This article and much more will soon be archived at





Representatives from organizations and peoples’ movements from around the globe came together in Durban, South Africa October 4-7, 2004 to discuss realistic avenues for addressing climate change. The group emerged from the meeting with this call for a global grassroots movement against climate change.

Twelve years ago governments took serious note of and agreed to address the issue of global warming. They signed and ratified the Convention on Climate Change. Five years later, they agreed on the Kyoto Protocol, which was to establish concrete commitments to reduce fossil fuel emissions from Northern countries. This Protocol has yet to come into effect. (The Kyoto Protocol is expected to enter into effect later this year).

The emission reductions that the Kyoto Protocol established for industrialized countries were only 5.2% below 1990 levels—which most scientists agree is completely inadequate to effectively address global warming. Even these inadequate targets are being evaded through schemes such as carbon trading including the establishment of carbon “sinks” like monoculture tree plantations—mainly in the Global South. These schemes are being embraced by the very entities that are destroying the Earth. Meanwhile destruction of true carbon reservoirs like native forests continues unabated, leading to yet more releases of greenhouse gases.

For this reason, the Durban Group calls on grassroots activists and organizations around the world to stand up for real action on climate change.

Communities disproportionately impacted by climate change and the false “solutions” put forward by the Kyoto Protocol (including carbon sink projects and continued fossil fuel exploration, extraction and burning) include small island states, whose very existence is threatened, as well as indigenous peoples, the poor and the marginalized, particularly women, children and the elderly around the world.

The refusal of governments and international financial institutions like the World Bank to force corporations to phase out use of fossil fuels, and which in fact encourage accelerated use of increasingly limited fossil fuel stocks, is causing more and more military conflicts around the world, magnifying social and environmental injustice.

Just as peoples’ movements are rising up around the world against the privatization of water and biodiversity, so must we rise up against the privatization of the air, which is being promoted through the establishment of a massive “carbon market.”

If we are to avert a climate crisis, drastic reductions in fossil fuel investment and use are inescapable, as is the protection of remaining native forests. The current flawed approach of international negotiations must be met by the active participation of a global movement of Northern and Southern peoples to take the climate back into their hands.

We therefore call on activists, organizations and communities to sign on to the statement that emerged from the Durban meeting and join this growing global movement.

To sign on to the Climate Justice Now! statement please send an email to: or visit



Asia Faces Living Nightmare From Climate Change

November 26, 2004

SINGAPORE - The weather predictions for Asia in 2050 read like a script from a doomsday movie.

Except many climatologists and green groups fear they will come true unless there is a concerted global effort to rein in greenhouse gas emissions.

In the decades to come Asia, home to more than half the world's 6.3 billion people, will lurch from one climate extreme to another, with impoverished farmers battling droughts, floods, disease, food shortages and rising sea levels.

"It's not a pretty picture," said Steve Sawyer, climate policy adviser with Greenpeace in Amsterdam. Global warming and changes to weather patterns are already occurring and there is enough excess carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere to drive climate change for decades to come.

Already, changes are being felt in Asia but worse is likely to come, Sawyer and top climate bodies say, and could lead to mass migration and widespread humanitarian crises.

According to predictions, glaciers will melt faster, some Pacific and Indian Ocean islands will have to evacuate or build sea defences, storms will become more intense and insect and water-borne diseases will move into new areas as the world warms.

All this comes on top of rising populations and spiralling demand for food, water and other resources. Experts say environmental degradation such as deforestation and pollution will likely magnify the impacts of climate change.

In what could be a foretaste of the future, Japan was hit by a record 10 typhoons and tropical storms this year, while two-thirds of Bangladesh, parts of Nepal and large areas of northeastern India were flooded, affecting 50 million people, destroying livelihoods and making tens of thousands ill.

The year before, a winter cold snap and a summer heat wave killed more than 2,000 people in India.


Sawyer said India, with a population of just over one billion people, is one of the areas most threatened by climate change.

"The threat to the agricultural base for the Indian subcontinent from drought and increased heat waves, the consequences to the burgeoning Indian economy and the very large number of people to feed are potentially very very substantial."

Rising sea levels will also bring misery to millions in Asia, he said, causing sea water to inundate fertile rice-growing areas and fresh-water aquifers, making some areas uninhabitable.

Sawyer said India and Bangladesh will have to draw up permanent relocation plans for millions of people. "I'm afraid that's almost inevitable."

By 2050, China will have built sea defences along part of its low-lying, storm-prone southeastern coast, while the north of the country faced increasing desertification, he said.

According to the UN's World Food Programme, the Gobi Desert in China expanded by 52,400 square kilometres (20,230 sq miles) between 1994 and 1999, creeping closer to the capital Beijing.

Anwar Ali, a leading climatologist in Bangladesh, says about 15 percent of the country would be under water if sea levels rose by a metre in the next century.

Perhaps the biggest threat to Asia in the future will be the shortage of clean water. The WFP says Asia accounts for 60 percent of the world's population but has only 36 percent of the globe's freshwater.

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), rapid melting of glaciers poses a major threat to the Indian Subcontinent, Southeast Asia and parts of China.

Seven major rivers, including the Ganges, Indus, Brahmaputra and the Mekong, begin in the Himalayas and the glacial meltwater during summer months is crucial to the livelihoods of hundreds of millions of people downstream.


But many of these glaciers are melting quickly and will be unable to act as reservoirs that moderate river flows. This means less water in the dry season and the chance for more extreme floods during the wet season.

Sawyer thinks rich countries, by far the biggest polluters, should look after the millions at risk from climate change or suffer the consequences that could include mass migration or trying to feed millions made homeless by droughts and floods in a world struggling to grow enough food.

Fears of mass migration have already prompted the Pentagon and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, among others, to study the risk from climate-induced mass migration.

The Pentagon in its 2003 report looked at what might happen if the climate changed abruptly. The result was near anarchy.

"As global and local carrying capacities are reduced, tensions could mount around the world," it said. This could lead some wealthier nations becoming virtual fortresses to preserve their resources.

"Less fortunate nations, especially those with ancient enmities with their neighbours, may initiate struggles for access to food, clean water, or energy," the report said.

Few places are more exposed to climate change than the low-lying Maldives islands, to the west of Sri Lanka, where the highest natural point is under 2.5 metres (eight feet).

"We still face the threat of sea level rise," Maldivian President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom said in a recent interview.

"There is encroachment of the sea on many islands, there is erosion of our beaches," he said. In response, the Maldives is building an island that is a metre higher than the capital Male.

Malcolm Duthie, WFP's country director in Laos, said even small changes in weather patterns, such as a delay in the monsoon of just a few weeks, is a threat to subsistence farmers. In Laos, he said rains seemed to have become shorter and sharper, meaning faster run-off and more erosion.

Such changes are also threatening millions of farmers in Indonesia, where rapid industrialisation, slash-and-burn land clearing and illegal logging have caused extreme weather and pollution across the archipelago, experts say.

"The wet season is shorter than usual which has led to higher rainfall during that brief period and sometimes caused landslides and floods," said Indonesian weather expert Agus Paulus.

Government officials have said in the past years water levels at a number of reservoirs in densely populated Java island are close to a critically low level.

As countries try to adapt, it will be the poor who suffer most from climate change, said IPCC chairman R.K. Pachauri in the report "Up in smoke?" released last month.

"The impacts of climate change will fall disproportionately upon developing countries and the poor persons within all countries," he said, meaning the lot of millions of peasants could become far worse than it is now.



Brazil Amazon Deforestation Jumps, Data Show

December 2, 2004

BRASILIA, Brazil - An area of Amazon jungle larger than the US state of New Jersey has been destroyed this year and work on a new highway is mainly to blame, environmental group Friends of the Earth and the government said on Wednesday.

The preliminary figures, based on satellite images, alarmed environmentalists because they suggest that Amazon destruction has surpassed its second-highest level reached in 2002-2003.

The data is based on a satellite system which has been monitoring Amazon deforestation on a test basis. The government's yearly figures, released in March, are based on data from a different satellite system.

The images indicated that from 8,920 square miles to 9,420 square miles (23,100 sq km to 24,400 sq km), or an area bigger than New Jersey, was cut down this year, said Joao Paulo Capobianco, the government's secretary of biodiversity and forests.

"That number could be bigger or smaller, or the same, we will know in March," Capobianco told Reuters. But he said these figures and other indications made it clear there was no decline in deforestation this year.

"Either we have stabilized the rate or there is a small increase," he said.

If confirmed, the total figure for this year's deforestation will be above the 2002-2003 level of 9,170 square miles (23,750 sq km), said Roberto Smeraldi, head of Friends of the Earth in Brazil.

The figure was especially worrying because it showed that for the first time in history Amazon deforestation rose despite a slowdown in agriculture during the year, he said.

A record level was set in the mid-1990s in a year marked by an exceptional incidence of fires.

Small farmers have been major culprits in the trend as they hack away at Amazon jungle to expand their fields.

The data showed a big jump in deforestation along a road running through the heart of the Amazon that the government has said it wants to pave.

"The big reason for this (destruction) is the BR-163 road," Smeraldi said. "The government knew about this; it was warned. What is surprising is that they are not even talking about their anti-deforestation plans."

In the region of the road, deforestation soared by more than five times, Smeraldi said. Settlers have moved in even before the government started paving it.

Environmentalists have warned that roads, dams and pipeline projects through the Amazon -- home to up to 30 percent of the planet's animal and plant species -- represent the biggest threat to the forest because they open up access to large-scale development and settlement.



Humans Raise Risk of Europe Heatwaves

UK: December 2, 2004

LONDON - Human activity has raised the risk of more heatwaves like last year's, which gave Europe probably its hottest summer since 1500, scientists said on Wednesday.

Tens of thousands of people in Europe died during the sweltering weather as the mercury soared to new highs.

Unusual meteorological conditions were blamed for the extremely hot, dry summer. But Peter Stott, of the Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research in England, said human activity, particularly greenhouse gas emissions, at least doubled the risk of the unusual event.

"We are responsible for increasing significantly the risk of such heatwaves, largely through greenhouse gas emissions" Stott told Reuters.

"If we carry on as usual with emissions, our predictions indicate that every other year will be as hot as 2003 by the middle of the century," he added.

Stott and his colleagues studied climate change throughout the 20th century. They suspect human influence probably started altering the climate as far back as the 18th century.

"But it has only been in the last 50 years that the temperature has really started to accelerate as a result of greenhouse gas emissions," Stott said.

The scientists set out to determine the chances of having a European heatwave like last year's and whether the odds have changed.

Using climate models, they compared what the weather would have probably been like without any human influences, with simulations that included the impact of greenhouse gas emissions.

"It showed there was a significant observed warming in Europe that was associated with increasing greenhouse gas emissions," said Stott, who reported the findings in the journal Nature.

"We saw that there was a much greater risk of heatwaves now than there used to be in the pre-industrial climate."

Stott and his colleagues estimated that as much as three-quarters of the current risk of a heatwave is due to human influence on climate.

In a commentary in the journal, Swiss and German scientists described the research as a breakthrough because it is the first successful attempt to detect man-made influence on a specific extreme climate event.

"The advent of such attributable studies might profoundly affect the course of international negotiations on ways to mitigate, adapt to and ultimately pay for the consequences of climate change," said Christoph Schar, at the Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science in Zurich, and Gerd Jendritzky, of the German Weather Service in Freiburg.


Brazil Garbage Dump Could Be Climate Trailblazer

NORWAY: December 2, 2004

OSLO - A Brazilian garbage dump could be a trailblazer for thousands of projects in developing nations under a UN plan to battle global warming, a Norwegian company said on Wednesday.

Coal mines in China, hydro-electric plants in Chile and wind farms in Morocco could follow under a scheme giving companies in rich countries economic incentives to invest in cutting emissions of heat-trapping gases in the Third World.

"We expect significant growth in this market," said Einar Telnes, technical director of Norway's DNV, which checked and certified the Brazilian project. It was the first registered under the UN's "Clean Development Mechanism" last month.

In the giant landfill at Nova Gerar in Rio de Janeiro state, methane from rotting garbage will be burnt to generate electricity. That will stop the fumes from adding to global warming, dampen dangers of explosions and bring new income.

Dutch investors in the scheme will be able to claim the prevented methane emissions, equivalent to 670,000 tonnes of heat-trapping carbon dioxide (CO2) a year, as credits back home.

In a fledgling European Union market, CO2 allowances are worth about 8.25 euros ($10.98) per tonne.

Elsewhere around the globe, Telnes said about 200-300 clean energy projects were nearing certification in developing nations with perhaps another 1,200-1,300 on the drawing board.

"In the long term I wouldn't be surprised if we saw between 500 and 1,000 projects coming on every year," Telnes told Reuters. DNV, perhaps best known for checking ship designs, is a world leader in certifying environmental schemes.


The clean energy projects can save from a few thousand to millions of tonnes of CO2 a year, averaging 200,000-300,000 tonnes, he said. By contrast, the United States, the world's top polluter, emitted 5.79 billion tonnes of CO2 in 2002.

CO2 from fossil fuels is the main greenhouse gas thought to be building up in the atmosphere, pushing up temperatures and threatening storms, droughts and higher sea levels that could swamp coasts in Florida or drown low-lying Pacific islands.

The Netherlands is one of 128 nations to back the UN's Kyoto protocol, which aims to cut rich nations' CO2 emissions by at least five percent below 1990 levels by 2008-12.

Kyoto will start on Feb. 16, 2005. Russia ratified last month and gave it enough momentum to enter into force after the United States pulled out in 2001, arguing that it was too costly and wrongly excluded developing nations from cuts.

"We've seen quite a surge in projects after Russia ratified," Telnes said. In other projects, solar, wind or hydro energy could replace dirtier fossil fuel plants. In coal mines, flammable methane could be trapped to help avert blasts and protect the climate.

He said certification aimed to avert cheating in counting emissions of invisible gases. "We're verifying something that's not there, namely the greenhouse gases that would have been emitted in the absence of these projects," Telnes said.

Telnes said that one surprise in early projects was that some developing nations, like China, India and Brazil, were starting to register the CO2-cutting schemes without first securing promises of investment by companies in rich states.



Bush Administration Want Arctic Meltdown

By Wayne Madsen

Nov 15, 2004

Washington, DC. Speaking off the record, scientists studying the current warming of the Arctic region intimated that some officials in the Bush administration saw the loss of Arctic ice and the resultant opening of sea channels such as the Northwest Passage of Canada as a good thing for the exploration and retrieval of oil and natural gas from the endangered region.

Over 300 international scientists have just completed an extensive 1200-page report documenting their exhaustive 4-year Arctic Climate Impact Assessment study on the rapid warming of the Arctic. The study was commissioned by the Arctic Council and the International Arctic Science Committee at a ministerial meeting of the Arctic Council in Point Barrow, Alaska in 2000. On November 8, the scientists released a 144-page summary of their findings at a press conference in Washington, DC.

As if out of a scene from the Roland Emmerich's climate disaster movie, "The Day After Tomorrow," the U.S. State Department is criticizing the international panel's call to slow down Arctic warming by curbing greenhouse emissions into the atmosphere. The State Department, according to some scientists, is echoing the positions of oil companies and anti-environmentalist pressure groups like the Cato Institute and Heritage Foundation, in dismissing the recent report on Arctic warming. In fact, President Bush has repeatedly referred to previous scientific studies pointing to the effects of global warming as "silly science" based on "fuzzy math." The chief State Department focal point on the Arctic warming issue is Paula Dobriansky, the Undersecretary of State for Global Affairs, who is seen as a virtual mouthpiece for Vice President Dick Cheney, the oil companies, and the anti-environmental groups. She will be trying to minimize the impact of the Arctic warming report before she attends the November 24 meeting of the Arctic Council in Reykjavik, Iceland where the report will be officially released. Before her current stint at the State Department, Dobriansky was an international affairs adviser with the law firm Hunton & Williams, whose clients include a number of large energy companies, including Exxon Mobil.

The report concludes that Arctic warming has increased dramatically since 1954. Average Arctic winter temperatures have increased as much as 4 to 7 degrees F (3-4 degrees C) during the past 50 years and are projected to increase another 7-13 degrees F (4-7 degrees C) over the next 100 years. Over the past 30 years, the sea-ice extent of the Arctic has decreased 386,100 square miles (or Texas and Arizona combined). Since Arctic sea ice is declining at such a rapid rate, maritime access by oil exploration ships and tankers is viewed by the Bush-Cheney administration and their oil industry backers as an economic windfall because of increased access to Arctic resources. Timber companies are also excited about access to Arctic timber reserves from accessible Arctic seaports. Therefore, the Bush administration and their corporate sponsors want to downplay the environmental catastrophe that will be brought about by an anticipated complete loss of Arctic ice and the creation of an iceless Arctic Ocean by the end of the century. Already, British Petroleum and a Russian partner are using newly-opened shipping channels in the Russian Arctic to begin the off-shore drilling of natural gas.

The possible opening of the Northwest Passage to maritime shipping has already prompted Canadian warnings to the United States not to intrude on its national territory. The United States does not recognize Canadian sovereignty over its Arctic sea passages. This past summer, Canada's largest warship, a fleet of helicopters, and 200 troops engaged in Operation Narwhal, the largest Canadian military exercise ever held in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Narwhal was also noteworthy in that U.S. military participants and observers were not invited.

The Bush administration and their oil company supporters have also dismissed concerns that oil spills resulting from increased maritime access to Arctic waters cannot be cleaned up because no solutions have been discovered on how to deal with oil contamination in colder waters, such as the Arctic. They point to continued problems arising from the Exxon Valdez disaster in Alaska's Prince William Sound in 1989.

In addition to the loss of the Arctic icepack, scientists discovered that substantial melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet will continue and its eventual melting will raise global sea levels by about 23 feet (7 meters). That, coupled with glacial melting in the Arctic (in Canada, Alaska, and Russia) and Antarctic melting, will cause the sea to flood most of southern and coastal Florida (including the Keys and the Everglades), the Mississippi Delta (including the city of New Orleans), a number of near-sea level islands in the Pacific, Indian, and Atlantic Oceans, and the expansion of tidal-influenced bays and rivers worldwide.

Arctic ice melt will also increase ocean salinity and this affects ocean currents that bring warmer waters to colder regions. Because saltier water results in colder water sinking, a decrease in salinity will result in colder water rising to the surface and threatening the thermohaline conveyor belt upon which Europe depends for its temperate climate [see Dale Allen Pfeiffer's writings on abrupt climate change and the thermohaline current in FTW, especially: -- ed.]. The effect is that while temperatures increase in North America and Asia, regional cooling will take place in Europe. The imbalance will affect agriculture and the overall eco-system.

The loss of snow cover in the Arctic will mean that less solar energy will be reflected back into space, thus adding to the warming of the Arctic's land and water surfaces. Unprecedented rainfall is already being witnessed on Greenland's Ice Sheet by the local Inuit inhabitants.

According to the Arctic warming report, the loss of Arctic ice and permafrost will also result in the near extinction of a number of species, including the polar bear, a number of seal species, walruses, caribou, reindeer, lemmings, voles, and migratory birds such as snow owls. The Indigenous People of the Arctic will be forced to relocate from floods, loss of permafrost, coastal erosion from killer storms, building collapse from destruction of permafrost, and loss of food supply. In addition, rising Arctic temperatures are permitting the invasion of destructive insects such as the spruce beetle which has already decimated 1.6 million hectares of white spruce and Sitka/Lutz spruce on Alaska's Kenai Peninsula. In Sweden, invading moths have destroyed entire forests of birch trees. New species of birds entering the warmer Arctic tundra regions are also bringing with them a new disease - West Nile Virus, which threatens both humans and animals.

The Bush administration, in its unwillingness to appreciate the impact of Arctic warming and its desire for expanded oil sources, has incurred the wrath of the nations and peoples of the Arctic Council. These are Canada, Denmark, Greenland, Faroe Islands, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden, the Aleut International Association, Arctic Athabaskan Council, Gwich'in Council International, Inuit Circumpolar Conference, Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North, the Saami Council along with observers France, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, and the United Kingdom. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Queen Elizabeth have both championed the efforts to reverse global warming as have Senators John McCain and Joseph Lieberman.


From: "Glen Barry">
Subject: Logging Suspended in Philippines
Date: 04 Dec 2004

FOREST CONSERVATION NEWS TODAY Logging Suspended in Philippines

Forest Networking a Project of, Inc. -- Forest Conservation Portal -- Eco-Portal -- Climate Change Portal -- Water Conservation Portal

December 4, 2004


by Glen Barry,

The Philippines are being ravaged by massive human-induced floods that have resulted from decades of horrendous forest mismanagement. And now finally, after hundreds of deaths, the Philippine government has suspended logging.

There are reasons that most moist tropical areas including the Philippines were naturally densely forested. Closed canopy forests protected fragile soils from intense downpours. Forests and their soils and root systems acted like a sponge - holding water in times of torrential rains, and releasing water slowly in times of drought. You can attribute this to your God, Gaia and/or evolution. But human greed exhibited through both legal and illegal logging has dramatically impacted life giving rainforests. Tropical logging is murder, now, and in the future.

It is dangerous and unnatural for any tropical nation to depend upon tropical logging as a development strategy. Nations such as Papua New Guinea, the Congo, Brazil and elsewhere are following the Philippines and other nation's lead in peeling their rainforest skins from their lands, at drastic costs to their future ecological well-being and development potential. There will be no human advancement and much misery in all countries - tropical in particular, for the reasons given above - that fail to identify and maintain large and strategically placed natural forest areas adequate to provide ecosystem services such as water regulation.

Deforestation and diminishment of ancient tropical forests is dumb, evil, and ecocidal. It is also unnecessary and preventable. It must be stopped and reversed. Global ecological sustainability depends upon reintegrating natural forest cover into human communities, while maintaining remaining large, connected and intact areas as core ecological preserves free of industrial development and all but local traditional uses. Legal logging (or in essence mining) of ancient forests in most cases differs from illegal logging only in that corrupt government officials benefit even more. In both cases millions of years of evolutionary and ecological brilliance are being mowed for a few bucks and beer money for local peoples, while a few become gluttonously rich.

All tropical nations rich in forest ecosystems must heed the Philippines example and end commercial logging - both legal and illegal - and be assisted by the international community in doing so. If the Philippines and other tropical nations are serious about having a prosperous and civilized future, they will begin restoring their forests and limiting the size of their populations. To do otherwise dooms their citizens and the world to spirally ecological collapse and great suffering. It has begun already.




REAL, Philippines (AP) -- President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has suspended logging and pledged to prosecute violators after two storms set off mudslides and floods that killed 640 people and left nearly 400 missing in the northern Philippines.

Deforestation has stripped hillsides of vegetation that might have held mud and other debris in place during last week's tropical storm and typhoon, and many believe years of illegal logging set off the landslides.

Reinforcing that view, Arroyo said Saturday that illegal loggers would be prosecuted like terrorists, kidnappers, drug traffickers and other hardened criminals and called for unity amid the disaster.

"Our unity will lift up the nation from this tragedy in no time and bring justice to those who have needlessly suffered," she said on a visit to the hard-hit coastal town of Real in Quezon province.

She added: "I'm canceling all (logging) permits here and suspending issuance of all others." It wasn't clear how long the moratorium would last or whether it would be enforced nationwide.

Arroyo also urged Congress to amend existing environmental laws to come up with stiffer penalties against illegal loggers "and their cohorts, including erring government officials and law enforcers who are abetting the destruction of four forest lands."

"We are determined to make those responsible for widespread death and destruction to pay the price for their misdeeds," she said.

Arroyo's comments came as helicopters delivered food to famished survivors and picked up casualties in the north as the weather cleared Saturday.

Officials, worried over rapidly dwindling relief goods, have asked for more food, clothes, medicine and construction materials to help thousands of villagers overcome the devastation.

Most of the destruction was wrought by a tropical storm that blew through northeastern provinces late Monday, killing at least 527 people, military Chief of Staff Gen. Efren Abu said.

Typhoon Nanmadol then struck the same region late Thursday, leaving 13 dead and 19 missing, according to the Office of Civil Defense.

While Quezon province bore the brunt of the storms, about 100 people were found dead in Dumingan, about 100 kilometers (60 miles) northeast of Manila, Maj. Gen. Romeo Tolentino told ABS-CBN TV. It was unclear whether they died in Monday's storm or the typhoon.

The Philippines is hit by about 20 storms and typhoons a year. A typhoon and another storm the previous week killed at least 87 people and left 80 others missing in the east.

The Philippines does have laws to restrict logging but the country's forest cover has fallen below 20% from more than 60% in the 1920s.


See also:

Typhoon Bears Down on Flood-Hit Philippine Towns (December 2, 2004)
REAL, Philippines - Rescuers dug with their bare hands on Wednesday to find survivors from landslides and floods that killed up to 600 people in a part of the northern Philippines due to be hit by a typhoon in just over 24 hours. Residents of coastal towns worst hit by heavy rains early this week said food and water were running low as rescuers were forced to carry supplies on foot after roads were cut off and bad weather grounded rescue helicopters. President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo ordered a nationwide crackdown on the illegal logging believed to have worsened the landslides and told officials to do everything possible to protect people from the coming typhoon. (...) Interior Secretary Angelo Reyes said up to 600 people may have been killed in landslides and floods that hit several areas in the main northern island of Luzon. Citing police reports, he said 412 people were confirmed dead, 63 injured and 177 missing.

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