Arquivo da tag: Opinião pública

This Is How We Live Now (The Cut/New York Magazine)

feature Jan. 9, 2020

A year’s diary of reckoning with climate anxiety, conversation by conversation.

By Emily Raboteau Photo: Clockwise from top left: Courtesy Emily Raboteau, Anadolu Agency/Getty, Courtesy Emily Raboteau (4), Alex Coppel/Newspix/Getty, courtesy Emily Raboteau, Daniel Volpe/The New York Times/Redux, Courtesy Emily Raboteau (2), Kevin Hagen/The New York Times/Redux

Some scientists say the best way to combat climate change is to talk about it among friends and family — to make private anxieties public concerns. For 2019, my New Year’s resolution was to do just that, as often as possible, at the risk of spoiling dinner. I would ask about the crisis at parent-association meetings, in classrooms, at conferences, on the subway, in bodegas, at dinner parties, while overseas, and when online; I would break climate silence as a woman of color, as a mother raising black children in a global city, as a professor at a public university, and as a travel writer — in all of those places, as all of those people. I would force those conversations if I needed to. But, it turned out, people wanted to talk about it. Nobody was silent. I listened to their answers. I noticed the echoes. I wrote them all down.


Tuesday, January 1

At last night’s New Year’s Eve party, we served hoppin’ John. Nim said that when he used to visit relatives in Israel, he could see the Dead Sea from the side of the road, but on his most recent trip, he could not. It was a lengthy walk to reach the water, which is evaporating.

Chris responded that the beaches are eroding in her native Jamaica, most egregiously where the resorts have raked away the seaweed to beautify the shore for tourists.

Wednesday, January 2

After losing her home in Staten Island to Hurricane Sandy, Lissette bought an RV with solar panels and has been living off the grid, conscious of how much water it takes to flush her toilet and to take a shower, I learned at Angie’s house party. Get unlimited access to The Cut and everything else New YorkLEARN MORE »

Monday, January 14

At tonight’s dinner party, Marguerite said that in Trinidad, where they find a way to joke about everything, including coups, people aren’t laughing about the flooding.

Wednesday, January 16

On this evening’s trip on the boat Walter built, he claimed with enthusiasm that we might extract enough renewable energy from the Gulf Stream via underwater turbines to power the entire East Coast.

Moreover, Walter predicted with the confidence of a Swiss watch, no intelligent businessman will invest another dime in coal when there is more profit to be made in wind, solar, and hydrokinetic energy. Economic forces will dictate a turnaround in the next ten years, he said.

Monday, January 21

After Hurricane Irma wrecked her homein Key West, Kristina, a triathlete librarian, moved onto a boat and published a dystopian novel titled Knowing When to Leave, I learned over lobster tail.


Tuesday, February 12

We ate vegetable quiche at Ayana and Christina’s housewarming party, where Christina described the Vancouver sun through the haze of forest-fire smoke and smog as looking more like the moon.

Monday, February 18

In the basement of Our Saviour’s Atonement this afternoon, Pastor John said he’s been preaching once a month about climate change, despite his wife’s discomfort, and recently traveled to Albany to lobby for the Community and Climate Protection Act.

Saturday, February 23

When I see those brown recycling bins coming to the neighborhood, said a student in Amir’s class at City College in Harlem, it tells me gentrification is here and our time is running out.

Thursday, February 28

Just between us, Mik said over drinks at Shade Bar in Greenwich Village, it scares me that white people are becoming afraid of what they might lose. History tells us they gonna get violent.


Sunday, March 17

On St. Patrick’s Day, Kathy, who’d prepared the traditional corned beef and cabbage, conversed about the guest from the botanical garden in her master gardening class, who lectured on shifting growing zones, altering what could be planted in central New Jersey, and when.

Tuesday, March 19

Sheila, who brought weed coquito to the tipsy tea party, said that when people ask her, “What are you Hondurans, and why are you at the border?,” she says, “Americans are just future Hondurans.”

Monday, March 25

Mat recalled vultures in the trees of Sugar Land, Texas, hunting dead animals that had drowned in Hurricane Harvey, during which he’d had difficulty fording flooded streets to reach his mother’s nursing home.


Tuesday, April 16

After a bite of roasted-beet salad in the Trask mansion’s dining room, Hilary spoke of the historic spring flooding in her home state of Iowa, where the economic impact was projected to reach $2 billion.

Thursday, April 18

Carolyn warned me at the breakfast table, where I picked up my grapefruit spoon, that I may have to get used to an inhaler to be able to breathe in spring going forward, as the pollen count continues to rise with the warming world. My wheezing concerned her, and when she brought me to urgent care, a sign at the check-in desk advised, DON’T ASK US FOR ANTIBIOTICS. Valerie, the doctor who nebulized me with albuterol, explained that patients were overusing antibiotics in the longer tick season for fear of Lyme.

Tuesday, April 23

On his second helping of vegetable risotto, Antonius reflected that in Vietnam, where his parents are from, the rate of migration from the Mekong Delta, with its sea-spoiled crops, is staggering.

Sunday, April 28

Due to Cyclone Fani, Ranjit said he was canceling plans to visit Kerala and heading straight back to Goa, where he would be available for gigs, lessons, jam sessions, meals.

Michael said that beef prices were up after the loss of so much livestock in this spring’s midwestern flooding, and so he’d prepared pork tacos instead.


Friday, May 3

At the head of the table where we sat eating bagels, Aurash said we won’t solve this problem until we obsess over it, as he had obsessed over Michael Jordan and the Lamborghini Countach as a kid.

He added that, just as his parents weren’t responsible for the specific reasons they had to leave Afghanistan, in general the communities most impacted by climate change are least responsible for it.

Balancing an empty plate in his lap, Karthik said that New York City (an archipelago of 30-odd islands), with all its hubris, should be looking to Sri Lanka, another vulnerable island community, for lessons in resilience.

We have more in common, he went on, with the effective stresses of low-lying small-island coastal regions such as the Maldives, the Seychelles, Cape Verde, Malaysia, Hong Kong, and the Caribbean than with a place like Champaign, Illinois —

“I’m from Champaign!,” Pamela interrupted, her mouth full. “It’s in a flood plain too!,” she cried. We’re all sitting at this table now.

Tuesday, May 7

“Personally, I’m not that into the future,” said Centime, who had a different sense of mortality having survived two bouts of breast cancer. She uncorked the fourth bottle of wine. We’d gathered over Indian takeout for an editorial meeting to comb through submissions to a transnational feminist journal centering on women of color. “But I can respect your impulse to document our extinction.”

Sunday, May 19

Eating a slice of pizza at a kid’s birthday party in a noisy arcade, Adam reminisced about the chirping of frogs at dusk in northern Long Island — the soundtrack to his childhood, now silent for a decade.

“Sad to say,” he mused, “among the 9 million meaningless things I’ve Googled, this wasn’t one. It’s like a postapocalypse version of my life: ‘Well, once the frogs all died, we shoulda known.’ Then I strap on a breather and head into a sandstorm to harvest sand fleas for soup.”


Friday, June 7

Hiral, scoffing at what passes for authentic Punjabi food here in New York, was worried about her family in Gandhinagar and the trees of that green city, where the temperature is hovering around 110 degrees Fahrenheit weeks before monsoons will bring relief.

Sunday, June 9

After T-ball practice at Dyckman Fields, while the Golden Tigers ate a snack of clementines and Goldfish crackers, Adeline’s dad, an engineer for the Department of Environmental Protection, spoke uneasily of the added strain upon the sewage system from storms.

Saturday, June 15

Jeff, who’d changed his unhealthy eating habits after a heart attack, said, “We are running out of language to describe our devastation of the world.”

Lacy agreed, adding, “We need new metaphors and new containers with which to imagine time.”

Sunday, June 16

Keith confessed that he was seriously losing hope of any way out of this death spiral.

Tuesday, June 18

We sipped rosé, listening to Javier read a poem about bright-orange crabs in the roots of the mangrove trees of Estero de Jaltepeque in his native El Salvador, where the legislative assembly had just recognized natural forests as living entities.

The historic move protects the rights of trees, without which our planet cannot support us. Meanwhile, Javier discussed the lack of rights of migrants at the border, recalling the journey he made at age 9, unaccompanied, in a caravan surveilled by helicopters.

In Sudan, where Dalia (who read after Javier) is from, youth in Khartoum wish to restore the ecosystem through reforestation using drones to cast seedpods in the western Darfur region, hoping to stymie disasters such as huge sandstorms called haboob.

Owing to this month’s massacre, one of Dalia’s poems proved too difficult for her to share. “I’d be reading a memorial,” she said.

I strained to hear the unspoken rhyme between the rising sandstorms and the dying mangroves, hemispheres apart.

Wednesday, June 19

Salar wrote to me about the call of the watermelon man this morning in Tehran where groundwater loss, overirrigation, and drought have led to land subsidence. Parts of the capitol are sinking, causing fissures, sinkholes, ditches, cracks.

The damage was most evident to him in the southern neighborhood of Yaftabad, by the wells and farmland at the city’s edge. There, ruptures in water pipes, walls, and roads have folks fearing the collapse of shoddier buildings. The ground beneath the airport, too, is giving way.

Thursday, June 20

“Our airport’s sinking too!,” mused Catherine, who’d flown in from San Francisco for this evening of scene readings at the National Arts Club, followed by a wine-and-cheese reception.

Friday, June 21

“It’s not true that we’re all seated at the same table,” argued David, a translator from Guatemala, where erratic weather patterns have made it nearly impossible to grow maize and potatoes.

Retha, David’s associate, quoted the poem “Luck,” by Langston Hughes:

Sometimes a crumb falls

From the tables of joy,

Sometimes a bone

Is flung.

To some people

Love is given,

To others

Only heaven.

Then we went out looking for the Korean barbecue truck.

Saturday, June 22

“Say what you will about the Mormons,” said Paisley, who lives in Utah, “but they’ve been stockpiling for the end of days for so long that they’re better prepared.”

Sunday, June 23

At the Stone Barns farm, where tiara cabbages, garlic scapes, snow peas, red ace beets, zucchini flowers, and baby lambs were being harvested for the Blue Hill restaurant’s summer menu, Laura spoke hopefully of carbon sequestration in the soil.

Edgily, Lisa argued, “There’s not a single American living a sustainable lifestyle. Those who come close are either homeless or are spending most of their time growing food and chopping wood.”

Tuesday, June 25

S.J. said their car as well as eight of their neighbors’ cars, including a freaking Escalade, got totaled by a flash flood in the middle of the night in Charleston without warning. Living in a sea-level coastal city is becoming more terrifying by the day, said S.J. They now check the radar before parking.

Thursday, June 27

Magda turned philosophical before returning to Tepoztlán, Mexico. What is the future of memory and the memory of the future? she pondered. We were eating raw sugar-snap peas, remarkable for their sweetness, out of a clear plastic bag.

Her eyes, too, were startlingly clear. “My daughter’s 27 now,” she said. “By mid-century, I’ll be dead. I can’t imagine her future or recall a historical precedent for guidance …” Magda lost her thread.

Meanwhile, Roy had been pointing out the slowness of the disaster; not some future apocalypse, but rather our present reality — a world’s end we may look to culturally endure with lessons from Gilgamesh, the Aeneid, the Torah, and the Crow.

Friday, June 28

The other Adam sent word from Pearl River at breakfast: “Today’s temps at camp are going to reach 100. It will feel hotter than that. We’ll be taking it slower and spending more time in the shade. Don’t forget sunscreen, water bottles, and hats; they’re critical to keeping your kids safe.”

There was no shade at the bus stop in front of the Starbucks on 181st Street. “Why wasn’t climate change the center of last night’s Democratic presidential debate?,” asked Ezra, a rabbi.

“They didn’t talk about it at all in 2016,” pointed out Rhea’s mom, who preferred to see the glass as half-full. “This is progress!,” she cheerfully exclaimed.

Sunday, June 30

Ryan, Albert’s head nurse on the cardiac unit, feared the hospital was understaffed to deal with the upswing of heat-induced diseases. Delicately moving the untouched food tray to rearrange the IV tube, he said, “It’s hard on the heart.”


Tuesday, July 2

“My homeland may not exist in its current state, a bewildering, terrifying thought I suffer daily,” Tanaïs said of Bangladesh. “Every time I go to the coast, there’s less and less land and now a sprawling refugee camp. Every visit feels closer to our end.”

Wednesday, July 3

“Let’s lay off the subject tonight,” suggested Victor, as he prepared the asparagus salad for dinner with Carrie and Andy, who were back in town for the music festival.

Thursday, July 4

Holding court over waffles this morning in the stately dining room of the black-owned Akwaaba Bed and Breakfast in Philadelphia, Ulysses, who works to diversify the U.S. Geological Survey, said, “We need representation. Earthquakes affect us, too. Volcanoes affect us, too. Climate change affects us, too.”

Charlie stirred the gumbo pot. He speculated that his girls’ public school had closed early this year because its sweltering classrooms lacked air-conditioning to manage the heat wave.  “Our seasons are changing,” he said, regarding the prolonged summer break.

While Lucy distributed glow necklaces to her little cousins on the Fourth of July, her aunt learned the fireworks display had been canceled by the Anchorage Fire Department owing to extreme dry weather conditions. Alaska was burning.

Cyrus yanked off his headphones with bewilderment and looked up from his iPad toward his mom. “It says there’s a tornado warning,” he cried. All through the airport, our cell phones were sounding emergency alarms, warning us to take shelter. A siren sounded.

“Take shelter where?” begged his mother in confusion. She clutched a paper Smashburger bag with a grease spot at the bottom corner. The aircraft was barely visible through the gray wash of rain at the wall of windows rattling with wind.

Sunday, July 7

Nadia, a flight attendant in a smart yellow neck scarf, served us Würfel vom Hahnchenkeulen in Pilzsauce on the delayed seven-hour red-eye from Philly to Frankfurt, on which each passenger’s carbon footprint measured 3.4 metric tons.

Monday, July 8

Owing to a huge toxic algae bloom, all 21 of the beaches were closed in Mississippi, where Jan was getting ready to start her fellowship, I learned before tonight’s dinner at the Abuja Hilton.

Jan ordered a steak, well done, and swallowed a malaria pill with a sip of South African wine. She referred to Joy Harjo’s poem “Perhaps the World Ends Here,” which starts:

The world begins at a kitchen table.

No matter what, we must eat to live.

Wednesday, July 10

Eating chicken suya in the mansion of the chargé d’affaires, Chinelo spoke quietly of the flooding in Kogi state at the confluence of the Niger and Benue rivers.

Few Nigerians realize, Buchi said, that the longevity of Boko Haram in the Northeast, the banditry in the Northwest, and the herder-farmer crises in the North Central are a result of rapid desertification and loss of arable land even as the country’s population keeps exploding.

Thursday, July 11

Jide, a confident and fashionable hustler, slipped me a business card claiming his sneaker line was the first innovative, socially conscious, sustainable footwear brand in all of Africa. His enviable red-laced kicks said, “We’re going to Mars with a space girl, two cats, and a missionary.”

Stacey, a science officer for the CDC, was geeking out about the data samples that would help control the spread of vector-borne diseases like yellow fever and dengue when the waiter interrupted her epidemiological account with a red-velvet cake for my 43rd birthday.

Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita / Mi ritrovai per una selva oscura / Ché la diritta via era smarrita!,” shouted Nicole, my college roommate from half a lifetime ago, before we had kids, before she went blind. We had memorized the opening lines of The Inferno, had crushes on the Dante professor, and knew nothing yet of pain.

Tuesday, July 16

Naheed said, “The southwest monsoon is failing in Nagpur. For the first time in history, the municipal corporation will only provide water on alternate days. There will be no water on Wednesday, Friday, nor Sunday in the entire city for two weeks.”

Chido told us that in Harare, she was one of the lucky ones on municipal rotation getting running water five days out of the week, until fecal sludge appeared, typhoid cases cropped up, and the taps were shut off entirely. “They are killing us,” she said.

Friday, July 19

Kate said the back roads of Salisbury, Vermont, were slippery with the squashed guts and body fluids of the hundreds of thousands of northern leopard frogs — metamorphosing from tadpoles in explosive numbers — run over by cars.

Centime sent a picture of a memorial for Okjökull, the first Icelandic glacier to lose its status as a glacier. “For your time capsule,” she offered. The plaque read, THIS MONUMENT IS TO ACKNOWLEDGE THAT WE KNOW WHAT IS HAPPENING AND WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE.

Posed as a letter to the future, the message ended, ONLY YOU KNOW IF WE DID IT.

“What would you do if the power went out and you were stuck underground in a subway tunnel?” Lissette drilled, showing me the prepper items in her crowded backpack, heavy as a mother’s diaper bag: water, protein bars, flashlight, battery, filter, knife …

Saturday, July 20

“Bobby was stuck underground on the 1 train during last night’s commute for 45 minutes,” said his wife, Angela, describing the clusterfuck of six suspended subway lines. “And in this heatwave, too,” she griped. “Folks were bugging out! — ten more minutes and there woulda been a riot.”

Monday, July 22

Morgan wasn’t the only one to observe it was the poorer neighborhoods in Brooklyn that had power cut off in yesterday’s rolling blackout. The powerless scrambled to eat whatever food was in their fridges before it spoiled. Wealthier hoods were just fine.

Tuesday, July 23

“Can you rummage in my mind and take out the fire thoughts and eat them?,” asked 8-year-old Geronimo at bedtime. This was the ritual. He felt safer with his anxieties in my stomach than in his brain.

Just back in L.A. from an empowering trek to Sicily where she’d visited the Shrine to the Black Madonna despite sizzling temperatures, Nichelle shared her two rules for dealing with the global heat wave: “(1) Drink lots of water. (2) Watch how you talk to me.”

Wednesday, July 24

Marking the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, the Reverend John sermonized, “You’d think after seeing the Earth from afar, we would do anything to protect this planet, this home. You’d think wrong.”

“We’ve become drunk on the oil and gas poisoning the waters that give us life,” he preached. “And we have vomited that drunkenness into the atmosphere. Truly, the prophet is right,” he said, quoting Isaiah 24:4. “The Earth dries up and withers. The world languishes and withers. The heavens languish with the Earth.”

“We have broken the everlasting covenant,” reasoned the Reverend John. “Nevertheless, the Bible tells us that God loves this world.”

Thursday, July 25

At last night’s “Intimate Dilemmas in the Climate Crisis” gathering at a software company on Madison Avenue, we were told to write our hopes and fears for the future on name tags as a silent icebreaker, then to stick these messages to our chests and walk about the room. Sebastian’s was only one word: war.

Mary, who left the event early, said she worried about her aging mother down South. “I’m the first person in my family born after Jim Crow. They fought battles so I could live the dreams my mother couldn’t. How can I talk to her about this existential grief of mine when she’s already been through so much?”

“Having one less child reduces one’s carbon footprint 64.6 U.S. tons per year,” Josephine from Conceivable Future informed us.

“Why is it so easy to police reproductive rights of poor women and so hard to tell the fossil-fuel industry to stop killing us?,” asked Jade, a Diné and Tesuque Pueblo activist in New Mexico, whose shade of red lipstick I coveted.

Friday, July 26

Ciarán set down our shepherd’s pie and Guinness on a nicked table at Le Chéile. On one of the many drunken crayon drawings taped to the walls of that pub were scrawled these lines from Yeats:

All changed, changed utterly:

A terrible beauty is born.

Protesters from Extinction Rebellion Ireland staged a die-in at the Natural History Museum in Dublin, where Ciarán’s family is from, arranging their inert bodies on the floor among silent stuffed “Mammals of the World.”

Tuesday, July 30

Ari cooked lamb shoulder chops with eggplant and cilantro purée, a family recipe from Yemen, where swarms of desert locusts, whose summer breeding was ramped up by extraordinary rainfall, are invading crops, attacking farms, and eating trees.

Meanwhile, Yemeni villagers are eating the locusts, shared Wajeeh, catching them in scarves at nightfall, eating them with rice in place of vegetables, carting sacks of them to Sanaa and selling them, grilled, near the Great Mosque.

Wednesday, July 31

When Nelly and I chewed khat with Centime in Addis Ababa a decade ago, discussing creation myths at the New Flower Lounge while high as three kites, we never imagined that Ethiopia would plant 350 million trees in one day, as they did today.

Eric distributed Wednesday’s fruit share under a canopy in Sugar Hill, Harlem. I took note of the Baldwin quote on the back of his sweat-soaked T-shirt when he bent to lift a cantaloupe crate:

The moment we break faith with one another, the sea engulfs us and the light goes out.


Thursday, August 1

Off the rugged coast of Devon, where Jane grew up picking wild blackberries, the Cloud Appreciation Society gathered to slow down and gaze up at the sky in gratitude and wonder. Nobody spoke of the modeled scenario released by scientists of a cloudless atmosphere.

“In the beginning,” said Elizabeth, who lives in Pass Christian, a block from the Mississippi shore, “before they closed the beaches, I saw the death with my own eyes. Dead gulf redfish, dead freshwater catfish dumped from the river. Thousands. I saw a dead dolphin in the sand.”

Friday, August 2

“I’m always so pissed at plastic bags and idling cars, but I feel like there’s no point in caring anymore,” said Shasta upon learning that between yesterday and today, more than 12 billion tons of water will have melted from the Greenland ice sheet.

Saturday, August 3

Meera grew disoriented when she returned to the Houston area to finish packing up the house that her family had left behind and could not sell; it was languishing on the market for a year as if cursed.

Sunday, August 4

Because he dearly loved taking his boys camping in the Mojave Desert, Leonard felt depressed about the likely eventual extinction of the otherworldly trees in Joshua Tree National Park.

Monday, August 5

The El Paso shooter’s manifesto said, “My whole life I have been preparing for a future that currently doesn’t exist … If we can get rid of enough people, then our way of life can become more sustainable.”

In her kitchen, Angie nearly burned the platanos frying in oil on her stovetop. “That ecofascist targeted Mexicans,” she said, swatting at the smoke with a dish towel. “He called us invaders.”

Wednesday, August 7

“In the Black Forest,” said Daniel, “there are mainly firs and spruces. Many of them die because it is too dry. We used to have something called land-rain. That was light rain for days. It’s gone. When it rains (like now) it feels like an Indian monsoon. What I really want to say to you about Waldersterben (dying forest): Come now, as long as the Black Forest exists.”

Friday, August 9

Claire, a former Colorado farmer, spoke of intensifying forest fires. “The mountains are full of burn scars like this,” she said, sharing a shot from a blaze near Breckenridge.

None of us will be able to say later that we didn’t know we were doing this to the Earth.

Thursday, August 15

Isobel stopped planning our 25th high-school reunion to study the weakening of global ocean circulation and the tanking of the stock market when the Dow dropped 800 points today. Back to back, she traced with a painted fingernail the lines of the inverted yield curve and the slowing Gulf Stream.

Friday, August 16

Zulema wasn’t surprised when Pacific Gas & Electric went bankrupt from the billions of dollars in liability it faced from two years of raging California wildfires, though it wasn’t a downed power line that ignited the Detwiler fire she fled. It was a discharged gun.

On being evacuated from Mariposa for six days by that fire, whose smoke reached Idaho as it burned 80,000 acres of trees dried into tinder by bark beetles and drought, she said over soup dumplings: “I almost lost my house. It’s surrounded by charred forest now. We’re like those frogs in the boiling pot.”

Sunday, August 18

“The developers don’t live here, so they don’t care,” said Jimmy, the tuxedoed waiter who served me linguini with clam sauce for lunch at Gargiulio’s on Coney Isalnd, where the new Ocean Dreams luxury apartment towers are topping out despite sea-level rise. “All they care about is making a buck.”

Monday, August 19

Manreet said she felt anxious. Yesterday in Delhi, where her sister in-law lives, the government sounded a flood alert as the Yamuna River swelled to breach its danger mark.

“Punjab, where I come from, means ‘The Land of Five Rivers,’” she explained. “It’s India’s granary. After a severe summer left the fields parched, the brimming rivers are now flooding them. It’s worse and worse each year. I feel weirdly resigned.”


Tuesday, September 3

Although the sky directly above her wasn’t blackened by smoke from the burning Amazon rain forest, Graduada Franjinha saw protests along the road to a capoeira competition in Rio. “It’s so sad to see how humankind destroys the lungs of the earth that gives us breath,” she said.

Saddened by the loss of 28 wild horses in Pamlico Sound to a mini-tsunami, Chastity remembered seeing them as a kid and swearing to commit them to her forever memory. “You don’t see beautiful things like that and question whether there’s a higher being,” she said. “You just don’t.”

Wednesday, September 4

Chaitali said she can’t stop thinking about Grand Bahama after learning that 70 percent of it is now underwater. “Where are all those people going to go?,” she asked, mystified and horror-struck.

It is an unprecedented disaster, said Christian, struggling to control his voice. He had cut his hair since last I saw him. Dorian was still hovering over his birthplace of Grand Bahama.  “Natural and unnatural storms reveal how those most vulnerable are disproportionately affected,” he said.

Friday, September 6

At last night’s party, Jamilah, a Trini-­Nigerian Toronto-based sound artist and former member of the band Abstract Random, took a bite of pastelito and said she’d like to get to the Seychelles before they drop into the Indian Ocean.

Saturday, September 7

“Eat the fucking rich,” said Jessica, in reply to a quarterly investment report on how to stay financially stable when the world may be falling apart.

Thursday, September 9

Arwa feared that the plight of 119 Bahamian evacuees thrown off a ferryboat to Florida for being without visas they did not legally need was a sign of climate apartheid.

Wednesday, September 11

“Ma’am, I am the heat,” Maurice replied to the woman in New Orleans’s Jackson Square who warned him against jogging outdoors because of the heat advisory in effect.

Thursday, September 12

Maya, proud owner of a Chihuahua–pit bull–mini-pin mix in Montclair, was saddened to learn that nearly 300 animals had drowned at a Humane Society shelter in Freeport during the hurricane.

Melissa, incensed, asked why they didn’t let the animals out of their damn crates.

“Well, if it’s any consolation, a shit ton of people died too,” argued Sanaa.

Tons of babies, tons of elderly and infirm people, even perfectly healthy people died, too. Over 2,500 people are still missing, and 70,000 now homeless.

“Did you not see the videos of people trapped in their attics with the waves crashing over their houses? Y’all sound fucking stupid,” Sanaa fumed.

Friday, September 13

“Did you hear the NYC Department of Education approved absences from school for the youth climate strike next Friday?,” Elyssa asked during the Shabbat Schmooze while the children swarmed around a folding table tearing off hunks of challah and dunking them in Dixie cups of grape juice.

“I’d rather go to school,” said Jacob. His dislike of large crowds outweighed his dislike of third grade.

Wednesday, September 18

Amanda, whom I last saw at Raoul’s, where we ate steak au poivre and pommes frites, said she had to sell off half the herd on her family’s Texas cattle ranch after a drought left the tanks dry, the lake depleted, and the hayfield shriveled.

She mentioned, almost as an aside, that they’d lost half the honeybees in their hives to colony-collapse disorder in the past five years too.

“Everyone here is linked to someone who works in oil,” she said. “It’s the center of the damage, and all that industry makes my efforts feel small. Sailing in Galveston Bay after a tanker spill, I wondered if my ­soaking-wet clothes were flammable.”

Thursday, September 19

TaRessa, from Atlanta, said, “I have always loved awakening to birdsong. This year, for the first time, I hear none.” A third of North American birds had vanished from the sky in the span of her lifetime.

Friday, September 20

“I’m here to sign out my child for the climate strike,” said a dad to Consuelo, the parent coordinator in the main office at Dos Puentes Elementary.

“By the time they’re our age, they won’t have air to breathe,” worried Consuelo. “They’ll be wearing those things on their faces — mascarillas respiratorias.

Ben’s sign said, I’M MISSING SCIENCE CLASS FOR THIS. He was 6, in the first grade and studying varieties of apples, of which he knew there were thousands. He’d also heard that as many as 200 species were going extinct every day.

Shawna told her daughter on the packed A train down to Chambers Street that a teenage girl had done this, had started protesting alone until kids all over the world joined her to tell the grown-ups to do better, had sailed across the ocean to demand it.

Along Worth Street toward Foley Square, the signs said:









In yellow pinafores, Grannies for Peace sang “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” while a nearby police officer forced a protester to the ground for refusing to move off the crowded street to the sidewalk. “Shame!,” chanted the massive crowd in lower Manhattan.

“When our leaders act like kids, then we, the kids, will lead!,” shouted a gaggle of outraged preteen girls in Catholic-school uniforms. Their voices grew hoarse, though the march had not yet begun.

Saturday, September 21

Humera’s Sufi spiritual guide, Fatima, said, “Alhamdulillah! Let’s offer a Fatiha for the young generations who are inheriting a heavy, sad burden left by their predecessors but who are in process of finding their own voice of goodness. This is a movement of consciousness. “

Thursday, September 26

“You need to use an AeroChamber that goes over his nose with the pump so he gets all the asthma medicine,” La Tonya, the school nurse, instructed me. Her office was full of brown boys like our son, lined up for the first puff of the day.

Friday, September 27

“The point of the shofar is to wake us up,” Reb Ezra said, lifting the ram’s horn to his mouth. He blasted it three times with all he had. “Shana tova!,” he shouted. The table was dressed for the New Year with apples and honey.

“Who shall perish by water and who by fire?,” went a line in the Rosh Hashanah service as we were asked to think about atonement. So began the Days of Awe.

Sunday, September 29

Namutebi said at Andrew’s memorial service that in the 25 years since that picture of him holding his son in Kampala was taken, Uganda has lost 63 percent of its trees.

Monday, September 30

“The Rollerblades are $5,” said Abby, who sold books, clothes, toys, puzzles, and games she’d outgrown, spread over a blanket on the sidewalk leading to the Medieval Festival, to make money to fight climate change.


Tuesday, October 8

Danielle made risotto in the pressure cooker for dinner tonight in Marin County to feed her 91-year-old grandparents, who are staying over because they lost power in Sonoma as part of the huge, wildfire-driven blackout.

“I’m almost scared they aren’t turning off our power and we’re going to end up engulfed in flames,” said Danielle. “My grandfather keeps asking when the storm is coming, and I keep trying to explain to him that this isn’t like a hurricane.”

She was curious about how the rest of America sees this — 800,000 people without power as risk mitigation by the gas-and-electric company against wildfires during high winds. She asked, “Do they know this is how we live now?”

Wednesday, October 9

“We are okay, but it is starting to get smoky, and we are sorry about our friends closer to the fire,” Zulema alerted us. The Briceburg fire was 4,000 acres and 10 percent contained. “PG&E will cut power to the northern part of the county,” she said.

Friday, October 11

“You’re going to feel some discomfort,” Dr. Marianne warned me at yesterday’s annual gynecological checkup. She inserted the speculum. I stared at the wall with a picture of her taken five years prior on the white peak of Kilimanjaro.

“Are you in pain?,” the doctor asked, discomfited by my tears. The glaciers that ring the mountain’s higher slopes were evaporating from solid to gas, the wondrous white ice cap towering above the plains of Tanzania for as long as anyone can remember disappearing before our eyes.

Saturday, October 12

In the highlands of Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, and Uganda — where Damali is from — the climate is no longer hospitable for growing coffee. Damali will likely serve hot milky spiced tea at the family gathering she invited us to with a proper note card through the mail.

Baby Kazuki’s mother feared her breastmilk had sickened him after she reintroduced eggs into her diet. And she feared for the 8 million people ordered to evacuate their homes, as Typhoon Hagibis flayed Tokyo, including the house where her father was born.

Sunday, October 13

In the park this morning, Ana said her Realtor had advised against the offer she wished to make on purchasing her first home through the subsidized Teacher Next Door program. The house she’d fallen in love with was in a flood zone.

Tuesday, October 15

Romy sent us video of the churches in Damour ringing bells before sunrise to warn people of the raging wildfires. “Lebanon is burning,” Romy said. “Probably the biggest fire this country has seen. Please send help.”

Amaris said, “Mount Lebanon, the refuge of persecuted native minorities and their history in the Middle East, is on fire. For a place that represents holy land for us, I’m not joking when I say I feel my soul has been set aflame.”

And then, as if by listing the scorched villages, she could turn them verdant again, she mourned their names: “Mechref, Dibbeyye, Damour, Daqqoun, Kfar Matta, Yahchouh, Mazraat Yachoua, Qournet El Hamra, Baawarta, Al Naameh …”

Wednesday, October 16

Yahdon, bred in Bed-Stuy, bought his gold Maison Martin Margiela designer sneakers secondhand to stay sustainably fly, he said.

Tuesday, October 22

Amelia posted a picture of the view from her kitchen window in Quito last week. “Gracias a Dios, we escaped the fire and the house is still standing!,” she said amid nationwide civil unrest, wherein protesters clashed with riot police and a state of emergency was declared.

“Fossil-fuel subsidies were reinstated to stop the protests in Ecuador, a petrostate where the price of an unstable, fossil-fuel-dependent economy is paid by the poor. It’s been a tough week,” said Amelia, following up with a picture of a chocolate cupcake. “We all need a treat sometimes.”

“What’s your position on public nudity?,” slurred Elliott, my seatmate on this morning’s flight to San Francisco. In Melbourne, where he’s from, Extinction Rebellion activists had stripped for a nudie parade down Exhibition Street.

Thursday, October 24

“Are we under the ocean or in the clouds?,” asked Geronimo, looking up at the illusion of undulating blue waves made by a trick of laser light and fog machines at tonight’s Waterlicht show, both dream landscape and flood.

“Anyone else have their fire go-bag ready just in case?,” asked Lizz, who paints wrought iron in San Diego and writes about brujas. Six hundred fires had burned in California in the past three days.

“For me as a parent, knowing that my ancestors have overcome the brutality of colonialism gives me hope for the future,” said Waubgeshig, originally from the Wasauksing First Nation near Parry Sound, Ontario. “My people have seen the end before.”

Tuesday, October 29

Salar, just back from Beirut, described a contrast between streets of festering trash and citizens forming a human chain, across sect, at the start of revolution. “It’s like we forgot the planet was our house until it grew so dirty we had to wake up,” he said.

Wednesday, October 30

Felicia, Mark, Dean, Robin, Dara, Kellen, Alexandra, Roxane, Alethea, Susan, David, and Roy all marked themselves safe in Los Angeles during the Getty fire, which started near I-405 and Getty Center Drive, destroying 12 homes and threatening 7,000 more.

No word as yet on the safety of Samara, Marisa, Nkechi, Josh, Kelela, Anika, or Laila.

Thursday, October 31

“It’s because of global warming,” said Geronimo, dressed as a wizard, when his father recalled having to wear a winter coat over Halloween costumes during his own New York City childhood. The jack-o’-lanterns were decaying.  It was 71 degrees when we walked to the parade.


Friday, November 1

Naheed brought us back a painting of Lord Shiva, the Destroyer, and his wife Parvati, from the Dilli Haat handicraft bazaar in New Delhi, where schools have closed because of the dirty, toxic air.

Tuesday, November 5

“I feel guilty,” said Alejandra, a City College student, at the first Extinction Rebellion meeting held on campus, the same day 11,000 scientists declared a global climate emergency.

“Is there going to be food at this meeting?,” Hector asked, poking his head in the door of the nearly empty classroom with mismatched, broken chairs. Down the hall was a food pantry. “You’d get more students to act if you offered food,” Hector said, then left.

“Our aim is to save humanity from extinction,” said Tom, an Iowa native. He’d volunteered to give the presentation, having joined the protest back in August. The slideshow included a picture of him drenched in fake blood at the feet of the Wall Street bull.

“This is a decentralized movement. Our nonviolent civil-disobedience actions are theatrical. We disrupt the status quo by occupying space. This was my first time getting arrested,” Tom said. “You can do this too.”

“Not me,” said Cedric, referencing the obstacles to his participation, as a black man. “If I get arrested, will it go on my record? Who pays my bail?”

Valentin, a full-time rebel since graduating with a degree in architecture, said we could address the criticism of the rebellion as a white movement that fetishizes arrests at our next house meeting. Demanding divestment, he added, should be on the agenda.

Wednesday, November 6

“Back home in Ontario, the backyard rinks are gone,” lamented Michael, the man we met playing solo street hockey in the schoolyard of PS 187. He showed my boy, wobbling on new inline skates, how to balance himself with a hockey stick, how to gracefully sweep the puck across concrete.

Sunday, November 10

At Václav’s baby shower, Yana, who’d ordered the usual Mediterranean platter, told him to just rip the wrapping paper off the gift. That’s how Americans do it, she said. Vaclav held up the bibs, booties, and dresses she’d bought for his baby, due in five weeks.

“Is it just me or does it feel like this is the last baby we will produce?,” whispered Renata, depressed by our aging and shrinking department in an age of endless austerity with several retirements on the horizon but no new hires. “It feels like Children of Men.

Monday, November 11

Geronimo climbed into our bed with The Children’s Book of Mythical Beasts and Magical Monsters open to a page of flood stories, floods delivered by vengeful gods: Utnapishtim, Viracocha, Zeus, Vishnu, Noah, and Chalchiuhtlicue.

“ ‘The Mexican goddess of rivers and lakes once flooded the whole world to get rid of all those who are evil, but those who were good were turned into fish and were saved,’ ” he read. “Will I be saved?”

“You will be safe because we are privileged, not because we are good,” I said, torn between wishing to comfort him and wanting to tell him the truth. “Those who are less safe aren’t drowning because they are bad but because they are poor.”

Thursday, November 14

“Samantha’s got serious respiratory issues now too,” said her mother, as we waited for the school bus to drop off our kids outside our building around the corner from a busy bus terminal in a neighborhood at the nexus of three major highways and the most heavily trafficked bridge in the world.

Friday, November 22

“Are we rebels or are we not?,” asked Lena, a French international student studying environmental biotechnology. “The best way to make people know the movement is to plan an action and make demands,” she said.

Saturday, November 23

“Wow, and here I thought it was going to be just another game,” said Aaron, class of ’98, after student activists from both schools disrupted today’s Harvard-Yale football game, rushing the field to demand fossil-fuel divestment. “I guess I should have gone in to bear witness instead of hanging out at the tailgates.”

Friday, November 29

Next to me at Kathy’s Thanksgiving table sat her eldest son, who’d driven up for the holiday from Virginia, where he said his neighbors in the coalfields knew their industry was dead and were understandably fearful of the transition into new lines of work.


Sunday, December 8

The Ghost of Christmas Present encouraged Ebenezeer Scrooge to do the most he could with the time he had left, in the Harlem Repertory Theater’s opening-night production of A Christmas Carol. The last ghost waited in the wings.

Monday, December 9

Sujatha said it was getting harder to see outside in Sydney, but the failure of state and federal government action was clear: No mitigation policy. No adaptation policy. No energy-transition policy. No response equal to the task of this state of climate emergency.

“I am worried,” she said, as ferries, school days, and sports were canceled because of air quality 11 times the hazardous levels. Mike bought air filters for the house, face masks for their two kids. Shaad had asked her, “Will this be the future?”

Friday, December 13

The other Ben had been at the U.N. climate conference in Madrid all week and felt depressed about our chances of getting through this century “if it wasn’t for these kids,” he said, sharing a picture of teens with eyes drawn on the palms of their upheld hands. “They are watching and awake.”

“We’re not here for your entertainment. The youth activists are not animals at a zoo to look at and go, Awww, now we have hope for the future. If you want hope for the future, you have to act,” said Vega, a Swedish Fridays for Future leader.

Wednesday, December 18

“You know it’s bad when the sun looks red and there’s ash on every windshield,” said Sarah from Sacramento, who could feel it constricting her lungs.

“What’s the right balance of hope and despair?,” asked the other Laura.

Friday, December 20

In the Netherlands, where Nina just submitted her doctoral-dissertation proposal to the University of Amsterdam, the Dutch Supreme Court ruled that the government must protect the human rights of its citizens against climate change by cutting carbon emissions.

“Everyone not from Australia, I’m begging you,” said Styli in Sydney. She feared international ignorance due to the lack of celebrity and location. “The truth is, our country is burning alive,” she said, on the nation’s hottest day on record, one day after its prior record.

Sunday, December 22

“It looks like an alligator’s head,” said Ben from the backseat on the drive to Nana’s for Christmas. “No, a hydra,” said Geronimo. Billowing smoke from the towers of the oil refinery and petrochemical plant to the side of the New Jersey Turnpike at Linden took shifting monstrous shapes.

Monday, December 23

“It’s always the women who pick up the mess at the end of the meal,” sighed Angie, doing the dishes at the kitchen sink in a pink T-shirt that said, SIN MUJERES NO HAY REVOLUCIÓN.

Tuesday, December 24

Though it was the third night of Hanukkah, Rebecca was still preoccupied by the Parshas Noach she’d heard weeks before, admonishing her to be like Noah, who organized his life around saving his family despite the part of him that couldn’t fathom the flood.

The hardest pill for her to swallow was this: Knowing that a single transatlantic flight for one person, one way, is equivalent to commuting by car for an entire year, she now feels flying to Uruguay to see friends and family for the holidays is a kind of violence.

Friday, December 27

Home in Bulawayo for the holidays during Zimbabwe’s worst drought of the century, NoViolet described hydropower failure at Kariba Dam. Downstream from Victoria Falls, shrunken to a trickle, the Zambezi River water flow was too anemic to power the dam’s plants, and so, NoViolet said, there was no running water three to four days a week, and power only at night, “A terrible living experience.”

“The time of the month can be a nightmare for women and girls. Showers are a luxury. Those who can afford to turn to generators and solar power, but for the poor, it means adapting to a maddening and restricted life,” she said.

Saturday, December 28

“Mom!,” called Geronimo from the bath. “I can’t breathe.”

Sunday, December 29

Ben was disturbed by the dioramas on our visit to the American Museum of Natural History. “Who killed all these animals?,” he demanded. “Don’t they know this is their world, too?”

“I learned to fish at my grandparent’s house on the beach, and now my kids enjoy its calm waters,” said Trever from Honolulu. “Every year, the ocean inches higher. We will sell the house next year.”

Monday, December 30

From Gomeroi Country, Alison wrote, “Even away from the fires, we saw a mass cockatoo heatkill on the Kamilaroi Highway near Gunnedah. Willy-willy after willy-willy followed us home down that road. I can’t find it in me to be reflective about the decade right now. Love to everyone as you survive this, our night.”

“The worst part is feeling helpless, held hostage at the whim of an abusive, inconsistent parent who wreaks havoc, then metes out arbitrary punishment in the name of protecting us,” said Namwali from Zambia, about the failing of the hydroelectric company and the failures of those in power. “In a word, capitalism.”

Tuesday, December 31

Another New Year’s Eve. In distant parts of the planet, it was already tomorrow. The future was there and almost here. We drank prosecco at Angie’s party, awaiting the countdown while thousands of people in the land Down Under fled from the raging bushfires and headed for the beach, prepared to enter the water to save their lives on New Year’s Day.

The screen of my phone scrolled orange, red, gray, black — fire, blaze, smoke, ash. A window into hell on earth. I shut it away to be present for the party and the people I loved. Before he kissed me, Victor said, “Here’s to a better 2020 for our country and the whole world.”

140 blocks to the south of us in Times Square, the ball is about to drop.

*A version of this article appears in the January 6, 2020, issue of New York Magazine.

Despite being ‘the biggest threat facing humanity’ climate change and its impacts fail to make headlines, says study (Science Daily)

April 6, 2016
International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)
Even as 60 million people around the world face severe hunger because of El Niño and millions more because of climate change, top European and American media outlets are neglecting to cover the issues as a top news item, says a new research report.

Even as 60 million people around the world face severe hunger because of El Niño and millions more because of climate change, top European and American media outlets are neglecting to cover the issues as a top news item, says a new research report funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) today.

“It’s incredible that in a year when we have had record temperatures, 32 major droughts, and historic crop losses that media are not positioning climate change on their front pages,” said IFAD President, Kanayo F. Nwanze. “Climate change is the biggest threat facing our world today and how the media shape the narrative remains vitally important in pre-empting future crises.”

The report, “The Untold Story: Climate change sinks below the headlines” provides an analysis of the depth of media reporting around climate change in two distinct periods: two months before the 21st session of the UNFCCC Conference of the Parties (COP21) in Paris, and two months after. Specifically, it explores whether issues connecting climate change, food security, agriculture and migration made headlines, and if so, how much prominence these stories were given.

Among some of its key findings: • Climate change stories were either completely absent or their numbers decreased in major media outlets in Europe and the United States before and after COP21. • Coverage on the consequences of climate change, such as migration, fell by half in the months after COP21 and people directly impacted by climate change rarely had a voice in stories or were not mentioned at all. • News consumers want climate change issues and solutions to be given more prominence in media outlets and, in particular, want more information on the connections between climate change, food insecurity, conflict and migration.

The release of the report comes just days before world leaders gather at the United Nations in New York to sign off on the Paris Agreement coming out of COP21. In December, the agreement made headlines and led news bulletins across the globe. But leading up to COP21 and in the months following it, coverage on climate change significantly fell off the radar of major media outlets across Europe and the United States.

“The research shows how the average news-consuming public want to hear constructive stories that highlight solutions to climate change, yet this is exactly what is missing from major news outlets,” said Sam Dubberley, a former journalist and Director of Kishnish Media Ltd, and the author of the report.

Building on initial research that was conducted on media in France and the United Kingdom in September 2015, the report is augmented by focus group surveys that look at what newsreaders understand about food and climate-related migration and their impression of media coverage provided. The report asks what expert voices were heard throughout the stories and whether farmers or migrants themselves had a voice.

The research findings are drawn from an analysis of the content of news stories across influential and popular media outlets: TF1 and France 2 in France, RAI and LA7 in Italy, BBC and Channel 4 in the United Kingdom and CBS and NBC in the United States, as well as the front pages of print editions of Le Monde and Libération in France, Corriere della Sera and La Repubblica in Italy, The Guardian and Daily Mail in the United Kingdom and the New York Times and USA Today in the United States.

In 2014, IFAD funded a research report that looked at how 19 large global and regional news organizations covered issues related to migration and, in particular, food security and agriculture and how it impacted on migration. It focused on two stories that made headlines over the summer of 2014 — the US/Mexico border crisis and the ongoing conflict in South Sudan, which created a large numbers of migrants. That report also found that the depth of coverage on the topics was lacking, and in particular that the voices of migrants were often left out of the stories.

Download the report:

Climate change seen as greatest threat by global population (The Guardian)

Environment damage followed by worldwide economic instability and Isis in list of concerns, according to survey by Pew Research Center

Climate change

Climate change was the highest concern in almost half of all countries polled, with the issue particularly feared in Latin America and Africa. Photograph: Daniel Reinhardt/EPA

Climate change is what the world’s population perceives as the top global threat, according to research conducted by the Pew Research Center, with countries in Latin America and Africa particularly concerned about the issue.

It is followed by global economic instability and the Islamic State militant group.

The survey, conducted in 40 countries and taking in the views of more than 45,000 respondents, attempts to measure perceptions of global threats. In 19 of the 40 countries polled, climate change was found to be the issue of highest concern.

A median average of 61% of Latin Americans said they were very concerned about climate change, the highest share of any region. In Brazil and Peru, 75% of respondents said they were very concerned about the issue. Burkina Faso had the highest share of any country, with 79% expressing the highest level of concern.

Isis was viewed as the biggest threat for people in Lebanon with 84% saying they were very concerned – understandable given the region’s close proximity to the group’s activities. However, Isis was also viewed as the top threat a lot further away in the US (68%), Australia (69%) and the UK (66%).

Global economic instability is another major worry. It was found to be the top concern in a number of countries, including Venezuela – which has been undergoing a severe financial crisis – as well as Senegal and Tanzania. It was also found to be the second biggest concern in half of all those surveyed.

Pew found that major worries about Iran’s nuclear programme were limited to a few nations, with the US, Spain and Israel (the only country to cite Iran as the highest threat) the most concerned.

Tensions between Russia and its neighbours, and territorial disputes between China and surrounding countries, “remain regional concerns”, said Pew – 62% of respondents in Ukraine and 44% in Poland said they were very concerned about tensions with Moscow. However, 44% of US respondents were also very concerned about this issue, closely followed by France (41%), the UK (41%) and Germany (40%).

Cyber-attacks are also viewed as a considerable threat in the US, with 59% of Americans saying they were very concerned. The survey was conducted after the hack and leak of Sony Pictures emails, which the US government blamed on North Korea. In South Korea, cyber-attacks were the second highest concern (55%) after Isis (75%).

The report focuses on those who say they are “very concerned” about each issue and surveyed respondents from March 25 to May 27, 2015.

Como a ciência é vista em São Paulo (Fapesp)

16 de março de 2015

Agência FAPESP – Uma pesquisa feita pelo Datafolha apontou que a profissão de cientista é a terceira mais admirada pela população (61%), depois das de professor (77%) e médico (70%). Outro destaque é que, apesar de 88% considerarem muito importante investir em ciência e tecnologia, 70% acham insuficiente o investimento atual feito pelo país no setor e 86% acham que o governo deve financiar a pesquisa científica, mesmo que isso não traga benefícios imediatos.

Entre pesquisadores, melhores recursos financeiros e credibilidade são considerados os principais fatores para a escolha da FAPESP como agência de fomento para seus estudos.

Os números são de pesquisas feitas pelo Datafolha com três públicos no Estado de São Paulo: população geral, cientistas e formadores de opinião.

A pesquisa com a população geral foi feita em 138 cidades no Estado de São Paulo. Foram realizadas 3.217 entrevistas com homens e mulheres de 16 anos ou mais, de todas as classes sociais. A pesquisa quantitativa contou com abordagem pessoal dos entrevistados mediante aplicação de questionário estruturado com cerca de 25 minutos de duração.

Dos entrevistados, 63% disseram ter algum interesse em ciência e tecnologia e 26%, muito interesse. O percentual com muito interesse no assunto “Ciência e Tecnologia” (26%) foi superior ao de “Economia e Empresas” (24%), “Moda” (14%), “Política” (12%) e “Curiosidades sobre pessoas famosas” (7%). Os assuntos de maior interesse foram “Medicina e Saúde” (51%), “Alimentação e Consumo” (45%), “Meio Ambiente e Ecologia” (39%), “Religião” (38%), “Esportes” (32%) e “Cinema, Arte e Cultura” (30%).

A população disse obter informações frequentes sobre ciência e tecnologia principalmente na TV (31%), na internet (24%) e em conversa com amigos (21%), seguido por jornais (18%) e revistas (10%).

Para 39%, a pesquisa científica no país está atrasada e 51% concordaram com a afirmação de que, ao tomarem as decisões, os políticos deveriam levar mais em conta as evidências científicas do que a opinião pública.

Para o presidente da FAPESP, Celso Lafer, “a pesquisa feita pelo Datafolha mostra a importância que a população atribui à ciência e o respeito que tem pelos cientistas. Em segundo lugar, evidencia a clara percepção de que cabe ao Estado apoiar a pesquisa científica, mesmo quando ela possa não trazer benefícios imediatos, e que a iniciativa privada também pode aumentar seus investimentos no setor”, disse.

Ao mesmo tempo que a população valoriza a ciência e a atividade científica, a pesquisa revela que seu desconhecimento a respeito das instituições de pesquisa é grande: de acordo com o levantamento do Datafolha, 77% não sabem mencionar o nome de uma instituição no setor, nem mesmo de universidades. Ao serem apresentados a nomes de instituições, 26% disseram já ter ouvido falar da FAPESP, mas, desses, 65% não souberam dizer o que a faz a Fundação.

O conhecimento científico e tecnológico foi considerado de “muita utilidade”, principalmente no “cuidado com a saúde e prevenção de doenças” (70%), na “compreensão do mundo” (51%) e na “preservação do entorno de minha casa e do meio ambiente” (47%).

“A alta prioridade que a população dá ao apoio à pesquisa e o valor que dá à profissão científica ecoam o sentimento verificado em outros países e estimulam a comunidade científica paulista a obter cada vez mais e melhores resultados de impacto científico, social, e econômico. A pesquisa destaca também a necessidade de maior empenho das instituições na demonstração e associação de seus nomes aos resultados”, disse Carlos Henrique de Brito Cruz, diretor científico da FAPESP.

A opinião dos pesquisadores

A pesquisa do Datafolha com pesquisadores apoiados pela FAPESP resultou de 505 entrevistas, feitas com homens e mulheres no Estado de São Paulo.

O governo foi citado como o principal financiador de pesquisa científica no país e os entrevistados defenderam que as empresas aumentem seus investimentos. Para 67% dos entrevistados o país é “intermediário” em pesquisa científica e, para 80%, tem investimento insuficiente.

“Melhores recursos financeiros” e “credibilidade” são os principais fatores para a escolha da FAPESP, segundo a pesquisa.

“O público mais diretamente envolvido reconhece a contribuição da FAPESP e ressalta a sua credibilidade. Em resumo, os dados confirmam o apoio do contribuinte paulista às atividades da FAPESP”, disse Lafer.

Praticamente a totalidade (99%) acredita na contribuição da pesquisa científica para o crescimento do país e defende a independência dos cientistas.

Dos entrevistados, 60% consideraram que o país tem muito destaque em agricultura e pecuária e apenas 6% acham que tem muito destaque em desenvolvimento de tecnologias.

Em relação à satisfação com o desenvolvimento científico da área de atuação, 55% disseram estar satisfeitos, contra 44% que se declararam insatisfeitos – 1% não respondeu. Dos que se mostraram satisfeitos, 31% apontaram como principal motivo o “reconhecimento ou destaque internacional” e 29%, “avanços e desenvolvimento na área de pesquisa”.

A maioria considera a profissão de cientista pouco atrativa para os jovens por ter baixos salários e pouco prestígio e 58% consideram que a vocação pelo conhecimento é a principal motivação dos cientistas.

O apoio da FAPESP aos pesquisadores entrevistados se dá por meio de Bolsas de Doutorado (36%), Bolsas de Pós-doutorado (30%), Auxílio à Pesquisa – Regular (26%), Bolsas de Mestrado (26%), Bolsas de Iniciação Científica (22%), Auxílio à Pesquisa – Projeto Temático (5%), Programa de Pesquisa Inovadora em Pequenas Empresas, PIPE (3%), Jovem Pesquisador (2%) e outros (6%).

Do total, 85% tiveram apoio para pesquisa de outra instituição, principalmente do Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq).

Formadores de opinião

O Datafolha também realizou uma pesquisa com formadores de opinião. Foram feitas 30 entrevistas em profundidade: 15 com jornalistas e 15 com professores do ensino médio de escolas públicas e particulares, ambos no Estado de São Paulo.

O estudo observou que tanto jornalistas como professores têm o hábito de buscar informações sobre ciência e tecnologia, sobretudo na internet. Enquanto os professores costumam ler mais comunicações específicas da sua área, os jornalistas leem diversos meios de comunicação.

A maioria concorda que a linguagem dos artigos sobre ciência e tecnologia está mais fácil hoje em dia, assim como o acesso à informação científica. De acordo com os entrevistados, o ensino de ciências nas escolas precisa melhorar e há falta de estímulos e capacitação, tanto para professores como para alunos.

O grau de satisfação com a pesquisa científica no Brasil foi considerado regular. Os entrevistados citaram a falta de investimento e a baixa tradição em pesquisa como aspectos negativos. Por outro lado, acham que o Brasil forma grandes cientistas, mas que esses muitas vezes atuam fora do país.

Todos os entrevistados consideram que o volume de investimentos na área, atualmente, não é suficiente. Segundo eles, são necessários mais investimentos para melhorar a pesquisa científica, para melhorar a qualidade de vida e para garantir o avanço de que o país necessita, tanto de parte do governo como da iniciativa privada.

Entre os jornalistas entrevistados, a FAPESP foi a instituição de fomento à pesquisa mais conhecida. Os entrevistados que conhecem a FAPESP têm uma imagem positiva dela – a de instituição séria. Todos os participantes são a favor da existência de instituições públicas de apoio à pesquisa científica no país.

Os resultados das pesquisas feitas pelo Datafolha estão disponíveis em:

Opinion poll: Canada’s climate change consensus confronts Keystone (Science Daily)

Date: November 20, 2014

Source: University of Montreal

Summary: Despite the fact that 81% of Canadians accept that temperature on Earth is increasing, researchers have revealed that Canadians are generally misinformed about the science of climate change and are divided over the construction of new oil pipelines.

Despite the fact that 81% of Canadians accept that temperature on Earth is increasing, Université de Montréal researchers have revealed that Canadians are generally misinformed about the science of climate change and are divided over the construction of new oil pipelines. The researchers’ study also found that 70% of Canadians perceive significant changes in weather where they live; 60% believe that weather in Canada has been getting more extreme; and 87% believe these changes are somewhat or very likely the consequence of a warming planet.

The nationally representative telephone survey interviewed 1401 adult Canadians during the month of October, yielding a margin of error of +/- 2.6% in 19 of 20 samples. The study, run concurrently with researchers at the University of Michigan and Muhlenberg College in the US, highlights a stark contrast between the views of Canadians and Americans on the existence of climate change and support for pipelines, yet remarkable convergence on perceptions of weather and climate-related knowledge.

Hardly opinions based in fact

80% of Canadians, versus 60% of Americans, believe there is solid evidence that the average temperature on Earth has increased over the past four decades. This figure was significantly lower in Alberta (72%) and the Prairies (Manitoba and Saskatchewan, 60%.)

Of those who perceive an increase in temperature, 61% attribute the warming to human causes, compared to only 45% in the US. The figure was significantly higher in Quebec, at 71%, and significantly lower in Alberta, at 41%.

70% of Canadians perceive significant changes in weather patterns where they live, with 60% of Canadians perceive national weather is becoming more extreme, with highest figures in Ontario and on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. These figures were 58% and 68% respectively for Americans.

Extreme weather is either somewhat (40%) or very (47%) likely the result of global warming, according to 87% of Canadians (and 68% of Americans.) Moreover, 59% of Canadians believe climate change will begin to harm people living in Canada within the next 10 to 25 years. A plurality of Canadians (35%) believe it already is.

Finally, two out of three Canadians (67%) believe the government is either not too prepared (34%) or not at all prepared (33%) for the consequences of a warming planet

Despite all this, more Americans (35%) than Canadians (30%) know that methane is a more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, while 60% of Canadians (and 45% of Americans) believe that carbon dioxide emissions are responsible for the hole in the ozone layer.

Pipelines and politics

Canadians are more likely to oppose (44%) than support (36%) the Keystone XL energy pipeline, while 20% have a neutral opinion. The opposite is true on the other side of the border: the figures are 34%, 52% and 14%, respectively. However, support is highest among self-identified supporters of the federal Conservative Party of Canada (55%), mirroring the polarized situation in the United States, where 72% of Republicans support the project against 39% of Democrats.

Within Canada, support for Keystone XL was highest in Alberta (58%). At 50%, Trans Canada’s Energy East project has greater support than Keystone XL, but opinions vary substantially across regions. At the high end, 68% of citizens in Alberta support the project, compared to a low of 33% of citizens in Quebec.

Finally, support for a system of cap and trade in Canada has increased to 60% in 2014, and continues to be more popular among Canadians than a carbon tax (48%).

“When you dig into the data, you see that Canadians are beginning to connect the dots between the notion of ‘climate change’ and observable changes in weather where they live. However, Canadians lack a certain degree of climate literacy, and it would be a mistake to assume that all Canadians are on the same page when it comes to fundamental climate science,” explained Erick Lachapelle, Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Montreal and principal investigator for the Canadian portion of the study. “The public is not as informed as perhaps they should be about this important issue, and there continues to be wide variation across the country, in terms of perceptions, beliefs, and preferences. The division over pipelines is a case in point.”

About the poll

The National Survey of Canadian Public Opinion on Climate Change was designed by Erick Lachapelle (Université de Montréal), Chris Borick (Muhlenberg College) and Barry Rabe (University of Michigan). The survey was administered to a nationally representative sample of 1,401 Canadians aged 18 and over. All interviews were conducted via telephone in English and French from 6 October 2014 to 27 October 2014. Calls were made using both landline and mobile phone listings. The margin of sampling error for the full sample is plus or minus 2.6% in 19 of 20 samples. Regional margins of error vary according to subsample size. Results reported here are weighted according to gender, age, language and region to reflect the latest population estimates from Statistics Canada (Census 2011).

Negócio arriscado (Folha de São Paulo)

JC e-mail 4987, de 11 de julho de 2014

Em editorial, a Folha de São Paulo faz uma leitura sobre as mudanças climáticas no Planeta

O ano de 2015 poderá assistir a uma mudança de sinal na questão da mudança climática planetária. Há indícios de que ela já deixa o terreno estéril das polêmicas ao estilo Fla-Flu para se tornar, cada vez mais, uma preocupação crescente entre empresários e governantes de todos os matizes.

Não têm faltado manifestações nesse sentido. Elas aparecem bem sumarizadas na entrevista de Achim Steiner, diretor-executivo do Programa das Nações Unidas para o Meio Ambiente (Pnuma) ao jornal “Valor Econômico”.

Steiner aposta num bom acordo internacional em Paris, no final de 2015, decisiva reunião de cúpula sobre o clima. Um tratado abrangente e ambicioso reverteria o fiasco de Copenhague (2009), que deveria ter produzido um documento para substituir o Protocolo de Kyoto (1997), extinto em 2012.

Para o diretor do Pnuma, a poluição do carbono –que agrava o efeito estufa e leva ao aquecimento global– não é o preço inevitável do desenvolvimento. Seus argumentos são essencialmente econômicos, e não ideológicos.

Ele aponta a distorção dos subsídios concedidos mundialmente aos combustíveis fósseis (carvão, petróleo e gás natural), principal fonte do carbono lançado na atmosfera por atividades humanas. A conta fica entre US$ 600 bilhões e US$ 700 bilhões anuais e correspondente a cerca de dez vezes os incentivos para energias renováveis, como a eólica (ventos).

Seu exemplo é o Quênia, país que planeja incluir em cinco anos os 75% da população hoje sem acesso à eletricidade –e o fará com 95% de fontes limpas. Poderia ter citado o Brasil, que tem 80% de sua matriz com geração renovável e, nos últimos anos, descobriu os atrativos da energia eólica.

E Achim Steiner não está só. No contexto da opinião pública dos EUA, talvez a mais refratária ao tema do aquecimento global, líderes da política e da economia –democratas e republicanos– também vieram a público para defender que a inação diante dos problemas do clima, hoje, custará caro no futuro cada vez menos distante.

A manifestação apareceu no relatório “Risky Business” (negócio arriscado), com o endosso de pesos pesados como os ex-secretários do Tesouro dos EUA Henry Paulson, Robert Rubin e George Shultz, além de Michael Bloomberg, ex-prefeito de Nova York.

Seu raciocínio é cristalino: por remoto que seja o perigo, faz-se seguro contra incêndio; que sentido haveria, então, em ignorar os riscos do aquecimento global? A resposta será dada, ou não, em Paris.

(Folha de São Paulo)

Brazil Kicks Back Against FIFA and Misses (Bloomberg)

Brazil isn't ready for a lot of things. Photographer: Paulo Fridman/Bloomberg


The other day, as she was priming her re-election campaign, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff hit a speed bump. There she was, racing across the country to launch shiny public-works projects ahead of the World Cup, and the only thing those annoying journalists wanted to know was if the airports would be renovated on time and up to “FIFA standards.” The reference, of course, was to the rigorous Switzerland-based global soccer authority. “The airports will not be FIFA-standard,” she shot back. “They will be Brazil-standard airports.”

And there it was, in a sound bite, the official spin on Brazil’s complicated moment in the sun, a candid take on the rolling public-relations disaster that has been this country’s relationship with the wider world and its international gatekeepers. Rousseff’s prickly riposte might have been calculated. With presidential elections scheduled for October, she has been struggling in the polls. Hardly a week passes without some angry klatsch or another taking the streets — not least because of Brasilia’s perceived weak hand in dealing with those overweening bean counters from Zurich. A mini-genre of anti-FIFA articles has bloomed here and abroad. It’s about time the Brazilians kicked back, she said.

It’s an odd moment to circle the wagons. Brazil is days away from the curtain call for the crown event of the most popular sport on the planet. Two years from now, Rio de Janeiro will stage the Summer Olympics, drawing hundreds of thousands of athletes and tourists, plus billions of television viewers. And yet nationalism and resentment have flared, and with them memories of times that Brazilians had imagined were behind them. “FIFA go home,” says a message stenciled in white on the pavement of Copacabana, Rio’s signature beachfront neighborhood.

Squint a little and you can see the faded graffiti of another cranky time, some three decades ago, when international creditors were banging on Brazil’s door for their due and the International Monetary Fund was their policeman. FIFA Go Home! is the direct heir to IMF Go Home!

This is passing strange. Brazil, with the world’s seventh-largest economy, traffics in a globalized world and its signifiers and acronyms, from the Gini coefficient, which measures economic inequality, to the International Organization for Standardization, which sets proprietary, industrial and commercial standards. When the country excels, Brasilia trumpets the achievement. The nation’s traditionally skewed income inequality score has improved since the beginning of the last decade, even as most fast-growing developing nations become more lopsided. When the country flops, such as in the PISA — the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s yardstick for 15-year-olds, measured by standardized scholastic tests (Brazil is a lowly 58th on a scale of 65 nations) — the official handlers rush to print disclaimers. Then there’s the mother of all acronyms, the WTO. Not only does a Brazilian, Roberto Azevedo, head the World Trade Organization, few countries have been as aggressive as his in wielding its authority, taking protectionists to task 26 times since 1995.

That’s one of the big reasons that Brazilians revere soccer. Roberto DaMatta, the brilliant anthropologist, nailed it when he said that futebol isn’t some opiate for the witless. Brazilians love the game because it is fair, has transparent rules and is played on a level playing field. What counts on the pitch is how you play, not who you know. It’s a scale model of a better world. The current World Cup anger notwithstanding, Brazilians have always been proud of their FIFA standing (currently fourth), and they will remind visitors that they got there the proper way: by beating the best.

More than an ankle kick at Brazil’s intrusive outsiders, Rousseff’s FIFA outburst was essentially the declaration of an era. To her predecessor, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Brazil was destined for glory. He pushed for a seat on the United Nations Security Council and a nuclear energy deal with Iran. He opened 40 new embassies abroad. Bagging the World Cup was part of the package. Brazil “will now with great pride do its homework,” he promised the FIFA brass in Zurich. That was then.

To contact the writer of this article: Mac Margolis at

To contact the editor responsible for this article: James Gibney at

Brazilian artist’s image of starving child kicks up a World Cup storm (LA Times)

Paulo Ito’s artwork in São Paulo has been shared thousands of times online.

BY VINCENT BEVINS May 27, 2014, 10:30 a.m.

A work of graffiti here has become an overnight global symbol, subverting official representations of Brazil and placing street artist Paulo Ito unexpectedly in the middle of the battle to define the country’s image during next month’s World Cup.

In the untitled work on the fence of a local elementary school, a black child sits down to eat, only to be presented with a soccer ball on a plate. It went around the world quickly, Ito thinks, because it “brought together what a lot of people are thinking.”

From just two Facebook posts, the spray paint and latex image was shared more than 96,000 times, even before being subsequently reported on in numerous countries.

The simple message was obvious, even if it is metaphorical. Brazil’s poorest already receive monthly stipends for basic goods, and few of the thousands of World Cup protesters who have been on the streets ever mention food, instead focusing on cost overruns at stadiums and a shortage of quality education, healthcare and housing.

But like much else during the turbulent time before the games start, Ito’s image has taken on a different scale abroad than it has at home. Here it has even been used by those whose politics Ito considers unscrupulous, underlining the difficulty of nailing down a clear aesthetic message for the world’s cameras, which will arrive all too soon.

“Everything tends to be taken as from one side or the other, which doesn’t make sense. Right now, even the protesters don’t know what their actions will lead to, since the situation is so complex,” says Ito, 36, who’s been active in the street art scene here for 14 years. “I want the World Cup to be a failure for FIFA but a victory for the Brazilian people.”

The clash of ideas and representation over the World Cup is complex as about half the country currently thinks it will be bad overall for Brazil. At the moment, some insist that “there will be no World Cup,” saying a corrupted event should be disrupted in the name of other progressive social causes. Others have extensive complaints but are worried about linking them to the World Cup and how Brazil could look if things go the wrong way.

Still others, those in the right-leaning political opposition, may generally want to present a strong Brazil to the world but know that a poorly executed competition boosts their electoral chances in October. In the protest movement, literal fights have broken out over flags and images raised in the streets.

Then there is FIFA, soccer’s governing body, which last week presented the official World Cup video, featuring Pitbull and Jennifer Lopez and shot in Miami, alongside a gaggle of old-school Brazil Carnaval stereotypes that were widely condemned here.

Artistically, Ito’s work is firmly grounded in the tradition of São Paulo street art, which is as well-known here as it is underappreciated abroad. Its colors and fine features remind the viewer of Os Gemeos, a São Paulo graffiti duo who have garnered some international success and have worked with Ito.

But Ito says his main inspiration is pixação, the black latex paint spelling out tag names aggressively and illegally across the city in an extraterrestrial-meets-Druidic-runes script.

“People think they are representing Brazil because they do something very tropical, with some Indians. … but that’s not what we are,” says Ito. In fact, São Paulo, South America’s largest city and host of the opening match on June 12, “is chaos in concrete.”

But the viral image may already be more famous abroad than it is here. It took on a life of its own largely because a right-wing Brazilian Facebook page called TV Revolta used it to highlight its message.

“They think that everything that happens in the country is the fault of [Worker’s Party President] Dilma Rousseff. I find that type of thinking stupid,” says Ito, who says it’s important to praise the real advances made in the country while also pointing out misplaced priorities. “But we’re still very far from perfection … let’s show the world what we are, and not what some want to show or what others wish we looked like.”

Are We Bothered? (Monbiot)

May 16, 2014

The more we consume, the less we care about the living planet.

By George Monbiot, published on the Guardian’s website, 9th May 2014

That didn’t take long. The public interest in the state of the natural world stimulated by the winter floods receded almost as quickly as the waters did. A YouGov poll showed that the number of respondents placing the environment among their top three issues of concern rose from 6% in mid-January to 23% in mid-February. By early April – though the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change had just published two massive and horrifying reports – the proportion had fallen back to 11%.

CarbonBrief has plotted the results on this graph:

public response to floods

Sustaining interest in this great but slow-burning crisis is a challenge no one seems to have mastered. Only when the crisis causes or exacerbates an acute disaster – such as the floods – is there a flicker of anxiety, but that quickly dies away.

Why is it so difficult to persuade people to care about our wonderful planet, the world that gave rise to us and upon which we wholly depend? And why do you encounter a barrage of hostility and denial whenever you attempt it (and not only from the professional liars who are paid by coal and oil and timber companies to sow confusion and channel hatred)?

The first thing to note, in trying to answer this question, is that the rich anglophone countries are anomalous. In this bar chart (copied from the website of the New York Times) you can see how atypical the attitudes of people in the US and the UK are. Because almost everything we read in this country is published in rich, English-speaking nations, we might get the false impression that the world doesn’t care very much.

bar chart from New York Times

This belief is likely to be reinforced by the cherished notion that we lead the world in knowledge, sophistication and compassion. The bar chart puts me in mind of the famous quote perhaps mistakenly attributed to Gandhi. When asked by a journalist during a visit to Britain, “What do you think of Western civilization?”, he’s reputed to have replied, “I think it would be a good idea.”

Our erroneous belief that we are more concerned about manmade climate change than the people of other nations informs the sentiment, often voiced by the press and politicians, that there’s no point in acting if the rest of the world won’t play its part. For example, last year the Chancellor, George Osborne, remarked:

“I don’t want us to be the only people out there in front of the rest of the world. I certainly think we shouldn’t be further ahead of our partners in Europe.”

But we’re not “the only people out there in front of the rest of the world.” In fact we’re not in front at all. As this map produced by Oxford University’s Smith School suggests, we are some way behind not only some other rich nations but also a number of countries much poorer than ours.

mapping climate change commitments

As for the US, Australia and Canada, they are ranked among the worst of all: comprehensively failing to limit their massive contribution to a global problem. We justify our foot-dragging with a mistaken premise. Our refusal to stop pumping so much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere is pure selfishness.

Both the map and the bar chart overlap to some degree with the fascinating results of the Greendex survey of consumer attitudes.

For years we’ve been told that people cannot afford to care about the natural world until they become rich; that only economic growth can save the biosphere, that civilisation marches towards enlightenment about our impacts on the living planet. The results suggest the opposite.

As you can see from the following graph, the people consulted in poorer countries feel, on average, much guiltier about their impacts on the natural world than people in rich countries, even though those impacts tend to be smaller. Of the nations surveyed, the people of Germany, the US, Australia and Britain feel the least consumer guilt; the people of India, China, Mexico and Brazil the most.

Greendex graph

The more we consume, the less we feel. And maybe that doesn’t just apply to guilt.

Perhaps that’s the point of our otherwise-pointless hyperconsumption: it smothers feeling. It might also be the effect of the constant bombardment of advertising and marketing. They seek to replace our attachments to people and place with attachments to objects: attachments which the next round of advertising then breaks in the hope of attaching us to a different set of objects.

The richer we are and the more we consume, the more self-centred and careless of the lives of others we appear to become. Even if you somehow put aside the direct, physical impacts of rising consumption, it’s hard to understand how anyone could imagine that economic growth is a formula for protecting the planet.

So what we seem to see here is the turning of a vicious circle. The more harm we do, the less concerned about it we become. And the more hyperconsumerism destroys relationships, communities and the physical fabric of the Earth, the more we try to fill the void in our lives by buying more stuff.

All this is accompanied in the rich anglophone nations with the extreme neoliberalism promoted by both press and politicians, and a great concentration of power in the hands of the financial and fossil fuel sectors, which lobby hard, in the public sphere and in private, to prevent change.

So the perennially low level of concern, which flickers upwards momentarily when disaster strikes, then slumps back into the customary stupor, is an almost inevitable result of a society that has become restructured around shopping, fashion, celebrity and an obsession with money. How we break the circle and wake people out of this dreamworld is the question that all those who love the living planet should address. There will be no easy answers.

Ficção climática, um gênero literário que vai além da ficção científica (IPS) 

16/4/2014 – 11h40

por Dan Bloom*

mudancasclimaticas1 300x230 Ficção climática, um gênero literário que vai além da ficção científica

Taipé, Taiwan, abril/2014 – Quando lemos romances ou ficções curtas em qualquer idioma o fazemos para entender a história, para aprender algo novo ou, com sorte, para conseguir algum tipo de elevação emocional graças às palavras impressas nas páginas e às habilidades do narrador.

Então, como contar a “história” da mudança climática e do aquecimento global?

Um novo gênero literário chamado “ficção climática”, abreviado em inglês como cli-fi, vem evoluindo nos últimos anos e, embora ainda empreste seu nome da ficção científica, se centra em relatos sobre a mudança climática e seus impactos atuais e futuros sobre a vida humana.

Alguns insistem em que é apenas um subgênero da ficção científica, e isso tem sentido em certo aspecto. Mas, em outros, trata-se de um gênero em si mesmo que está ganhando impulso em todo o mundo, não como mero escapismo ou entretenimento – embora frequentemente inclua esses elementos –, mas como um modo sério de abordar os assuntos complexos e universais existentes em torno da mudança climática.

Sei algo sobre ficção climática porque nos últimos anos trabalhei para popularizá-la, não só no mundo de idioma inglês, mas também entre milhões de pessoas que leem em espanhol, chinês, alemão ou francês, para citar alguns. Em minha opinião, é um gênero internacional, com leitores internacionais, que deveria ser abordado por escritores de qualquer nação e em qualquer idioma.

Cada vez mais novelas de ficção climática se dirigem a uma audiência jovem – “adultos jovens”, no jargão editorial –, como Not a Drop to Drink (Nem Uma Gota Para Beber), de Mindy McGinnis, The Carbon Diaries 2015 (Os Diários do Carbono 2015), de Saci Lloyd, e Floodland (Terra Inundável), de Marcus Sedgwick. Na verdade, são as crianças e os adolescentes que sofrerão as consequências dos estilos de vida escolhidos pelas gerações anteriores.

Em um mundo que enfrenta os impactos potencialmente catastróficos da mudança climática, esse novo gênero literário se incorpora à nossa cultura em narrativa comum, divulgando ideias e pontos de vista sobre o futuro que a humanidade pode enfrentar em dez, cem ou 500 anos.

É aí que entra em cena a ficção climática, que pode desempenhar um papel importante para plasmar as emoções e os sentimentos das personagens, em um relato ou romance bem escrito para conscientizar leitores em todo o mundo.

Imaginem um romance de ficção climática, que não só chegue a milhares de leitores, mas que também os emocione e, talvez, os motive a se converterem em uma voz mais forte no debate político internacional sobre as emissões de carbono.

Esse é o potencial da ficção climática.

Uma universidade dos Estados Unidos oferece um curso sobre romances e filmes de ficção climática para estudantes de ciências ambientais e literatura.

Para Stephanie LeMenager, que este ano dá aulas na Universidade de Oregon, o curso constitui uma oportunidade, para ela e seus alunos, de explorar o poder da literatura e do cinema, em um momento em que escritores e cineastas tentam abordar alguns dos assuntos mais difíceis que a humanidade enfrenta no século 21.

O curso de LeMenager se chama As Culturas da Mudança Climática. É o primeiro na América do Norte, e inclusive no mundo, que se dedica dessa maneira às artes e à mudança climática. Estou seguro de que outras universidades seguirão esse esforço pioneiro, agregando novos cursos sobre ficção climática para seus estudantes.

Nathaniel Rich é um escritor de 34 anos, autor do aclamado romance Odds Against Tomorrow (Prognósticos Contra o Amanhã), uma história ambientada em um futuro próximo em Manhattan, que mergulha na “matemática da catástrofe”. Residente em Nova Orleans, Rich acredita que serão publicados mais livros como o seu, não só em inglês e não só do ponto de vista das nações ricas do Ocidente.

Escritores de todo o mundo devem se animar a incursionar no gênero da ficção climática e a usar a literatura de suas próprias culturas para tentar despertar a população sobre o futuro que pode esperar a todos em um planeta que esquenta sem um fim à vista.

As tramas podem ser aterradoras, mas as novelas de ficção climática dão a oportunidade de explorar esses assuntos com emoção e prosa. Os livros têm importância. A literatura tem um papel a desempenhar em nossos debates sobre os impactos do aquecimento global em todo o mundo.

Se poderá dizer que o cânon do gênero remonta ao romance O Mundo Submerso, escrito em 1962 pelo britânico J. G. Ballard. Outro dos primeiros livros sobre esse fenômeno foi escrito em 1987 pelo australiano George Turner: As Torres do Esquecimento.

A norte-americana Barbara Kingsolver publicou há alguns anos um romance muito poderoso de ficção climática intitulada Flight Behavior (Comportamento de Voo). Me impressionou muito quando o li no verão passado, e o recomendo.

A canadense Mary Woodbury criou o site Cli-Fi Books, que lista romances atuais e passados de ficção climática.

Como vejo o futuro? Prevejo um mundo onde os seres humanos se aferrem à esperança e ao otimismo. E sou otimista. E creio que quanto mais nos apegarmos à ciência da mudança climática no plano cultural mais efetivamente poderemos nos unir para evitar o pior. Envolverde/IPS

Dan Bloom é jornalista independente de Boston que vive em Taiwan. Em 1971, se formou na Tufts University, onde se especializou em literatura francesa. É ativista climático e literário desde 2006. Para segui-lo no Twitter o endereço é @polarcityman.

Loss Adjustment (

March 31, 2014

When people say we should adapt to climate change, do they have any idea what that means?

By George Monbiot, published in the Guardian 1st April 2014

To understand what is happening to the living planet, the great conservationist Aldo Leopold remarked, is to live “in a world of wounds … An ecologist must either harden his shell and make believe that the consequences of science are none of his business, or he must be the doctor who sees the marks of death in a community that believes itself well and does not want to be told otherwise.”(1)

The metaphor suggests that he might have seen Henrik Ibsen’s play An Enemy of the People(2). Thomas Stockmann is a doctor in a small Norwegian town, and medical officer at the public baths whose construction has been overseen by his brother, the mayor. The baths, the mayor boasts, “will become the focus of our municipal life! … Houses and landed property are rising in value every day.”

But Dr Stockmann discovers that the pipes were built in the wrong place, and the water feeding the baths is contaminated. “The source is poisoned …We are making our living by retailing filth and corruption! The whole of our flourishing municipal life derives its sustenance from a lie!” People bathing in the water to improve their health are instead falling ill.

Dr Stockmann expects to be treated as a hero for exposing this deadly threat. After the mayor discovers that re-laying the pipes would cost a fortune and probably sink the whole project, he decides that his brother’s report “has not convinced me that the condition of the water at the baths is as bad as you represent it to be.” He proposes to ignore the problem, make some cosmetic adjustments and carry on as before. After all, “the matter in hand is not simply a scientific one. It is a complicated matter, and has its economic as well as its technical side.” The local paper, the baths committee and the business people side with the mayor against the doctor’s “unreliable and exaggerated accounts”.

Astonished and enraged, Dr Stockmann lashes out madly at everyone. He attacks the town as a nest of imbeciles, and finds himself, in turn, denounced as an enemy of the people. His windows are broken, his clothes are torn, he’s evicted and ruined.

Yesterday’s editorial in the Daily Telegraph, which was by no means the worst of the recent commentary on this issue, follows the first three acts of the play(3). Marking the new assessment by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the paper sides with the mayor. First it suggests that the panel cannot be trusted, partly because its accounts are unreliable and exaggerated and partly because it uses “model-driven assumptions” to forecast future trends. (What would the Telegraph prefer? Tea leaves? Entrails?). Then it suggests that trying to stop manmade climate change would be too expensive. Then it proposes making some cosmetic adjustments and carrying on as before. (“Perhaps instead of continued doom-mongering, however, greater thought needs to be given to how mankind might adapt to the climatic realities.”)

But at least the Telegraph accepted that the issue deserved some prominence. On the Daily Mail’s website, climate breakdown was scarcely a footnote to the real issues of the day: “Kim Kardashian looks more confident than ever as she shows off her toned curves” and “Little George is the spitting image of Kate”.

Beneath these indispensable reports was a story celebrating the discovery of “vast deposits of coal lying under the North Sea, which could provide enough energy to power Britain for centuries.”(4) No connection with the release of the new climate report was made. Like royal babies, Kim’s curves and Ibsen’s municipal baths, coal is good for business. Global warming, like Dr Stockmann’s contaminants, is the spectre at the feast.

Everywhere we’re told that it’s easier to adapt to global warming than to stop causing it. This suggests that it’s not only the Stern review on the economics of climate change (showing that it’s much cheaper to avert climate breakdown than to try to live with it(5)) that has been forgotten, but also the floods which have so recently abated. If a small, rich, well-organised nation cannot protect its people from a winter of exceptional rainfall – which might have been caused by less than one degree of global warming – what hope do other nations have, when faced with four degrees or more?

When our environment secretary, Owen Paterson, assures us that climate change “is something we can adapt to over time”(6) or Simon Jenkins, in the Guardian yesterday, says that we should move towards “thinking intelligently about how the world should adapt to what is already happening”(7), what do they envisage? Cities relocated to higher ground? Roads and railways shifted inland? Rivers diverted? Arable land abandoned? Regions depopulated? Have they any clue about what this would cost? Of what the impacts would be for the people breezily being told to live with it?

My guess is that they don’t envisage anything: they have no idea what they mean when they say adaptation. If they’ve thought about it at all, they probably picture a steady rise in temperatures, followed by a steady rise in impacts, to which we steadily adjust. But that, as we should know from our own recent experience, is not how it happens. Climate breakdown proceeds in fits and starts, sudden changes of state against which, as we discovered on a small scale in January, preparations cannot easily be made.

Insurers working out their liability when a disaster has occurred use a process they call loss adjustment. It could describe what all of us who love this world are going through, as we begin to recognise that governments, the media and most businesses have no intention of seeking to avert the coming tragedies. We are being told to accept the world of wounds; to live with the disappearance, envisaged in the new climate report, of coral reefs and summer sea ice, of most glaciers and perhaps some rainforests, of rivers and wetlands and the species which, like many people, will be unable to adapt(8).

As the scale of the loss to which we must adjust becomes clearer, grief and anger are sometimes overwhelming. You find yourself, as I have done in this column, lashing out at the entire town.


1. Aldo Leopold, 1949. A Sand County Almanac. Oxford University Press.

2. Read at







Global Warming Scare Tactics (New York Times)

 OAKLAND, Calif. — IF you were looking for ways to increase public skepticism about global warming, you could hardly do better than the forthcoming nine-part series on climate change and natural disasters, starting this Sunday on Showtime. A trailer for “Years of Living Dangerously” is terrifying, replete with images of melting glaciers, raging wildfires and rampaging floods. “I don’t think scary is the right word,” intones one voice. “Dangerous, definitely.”

Showtime’s producers undoubtedly have the best of intentions. There are serious long-term risks associated with rising greenhouse gas emissions, ranging from ocean acidification to sea-level rise to decreasing agricultural output.

But there is every reason to believe that efforts to raise public concern about climate change by linking it to natural disasters will backfire. More than a decade’s worth of research suggests that fear-based appeals about climate change inspire denial, fatalism and polarization.

For instance, Al Gore’s 2006 documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth,” popularized the idea that today’s natural disasters are increasing in severity and frequency because of human-caused global warming. It also contributed to public backlash and division. Since 2006, the number of Americans telling Gallup that the media was exaggerating global warming grew to 42 percent today from about 34 percent. Meanwhile, the gap between Democrats and Republicans on whether global warming is caused by humans rose to 42 percent last year from 26 percent in 2006, according to the Pew Research Center.

Other factors contributed. Some conservatives and fossil-fuel interests questioned the link between carbon emissions and global warming. And beginning in 2007, as the country was falling into recession, public support for environmental protection declined.

Still, environmental groups have known since 2000 that efforts to link climate change to natural disasters could backfire, after researchers at the Frameworks Institute studied public attitudes for its report “How to Talk About Global Warming.” Messages focused on extreme weather events, they found, made many Americans more likely to view climate change as an act of God — something to be weathered, not prevented.

Some people, the report noted, “are likely to buy an SUV to help them through the erratic weather to come” for example, rather than support fuel-efficiency standards.

Since then, evidence that a fear-based approach backfires has grown stronger. A frequently cited 2009 study in the journal Science Communication summed up the scholarly consensus. “Although shocking, catastrophic, and large-scale representations of the impacts of climate change may well act as an initial hook for people’s attention and concern,” the researchers wrote, “they clearly do not motivate a sense of personal engagement with the issue and indeed may act to trigger barriers to engagement such as denial.” In a controlled laboratory experiment published in Psychological Science in 2010, researchers were able to use “dire messages” about global warming to increase skepticism about the problem.

Many climate advocates ignore these findings, arguing that they have an obligation to convey the alarming facts.

But claims linking the latest blizzard, drought or hurricane to global warming simply can’t be supported by the science. Our warming world is, according to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, increasing heat waves and intense precipitation in some places, and is likely to bring more extreme weather in the future. But the panel also said there is little evidence that this warming is increasing the loss of life or the economic costs of natural disasters. “Economic growth, including greater concentrations of people and wealth in periled areas and rising insurance penetration,” the climate panel noted, “is the most important driver of increasing losses.”

What works, say environmental pollsters and researchers, is focusing on popular solutions. Climate advocates often do this, arguing that solar and wind can reduce emissions while strengthening the economy. But when renewable energy technologies are offered as solutions to the exclusion of other low-carbon alternatives, they polarize rather than unite.

One recent study, published by Yale Law School’s Cultural Cognition Project, found that conservatives become less skeptical about global warming if they first read articles suggesting nuclear energy or geoengineering as solutions. Another study, in the journal Nature Climate Change in 2012, concluded that “communication should focus on how mitigation efforts can promote a better society” rather than “on the reality of climate change and averting its risks.”

Nonetheless, virtually every major national environmental organization continues to reject nuclear energy, even after four leading climate scientists wrote them an open letter last fall, imploring them to embrace the technology as a key climate solution. Together with catastrophic rhetoric, the rejection of technologies like nuclear and natural gas by environmental groups is most likely feeding the perception among many that climate change is being exaggerated. After all, if climate change is a planetary emergency, why take nuclear and natural gas off the table?

While the urgency that motivates exaggerated claims is understandable, turning down the rhetoric and embracing solutions like nuclear energy will better serve efforts to slow global warming.

Environmentalists Doing It Wrong, Again (Washington Post)

Want to see Tom get annoyed? Of course you do. Well then tune in and pull up a chair. The article that got to me was so exasperating because it’s 2014 and it’s the New York Times. It’s too late in the day and too beside-the-real-point for a publication such as the Times to do this, though I’m not saying such a thing is impossible at my own publication either. I can’t decide whether to link to it or not. I think I won’t.

I’ll place it squarely in the category of Concern Trolling, a great conceptual meme that identifies opinions that purport to be on your side and just trying to help, but function in the exact opposite way. I won’t get into motives here because I don’t know what they are and it doesn’t make any difference.

The piece says that ‘environmentalists’ are using bad ‘tactics’ in drawing comparisons between current weather catastrophes and climate change. Any linkage to a specific event can’t be specifically proven, but that’s not the stated concern of this piece. The ‘concern’ is that as a tactic it can ‘backfire’ and not win over conservatives to climate change action. Not win over conservatives! The article doesn’t place ALL the blame on faulty environmentalist tactics. It pauses to include what may be the most understated disclaimer in history: “Other factors contributed. Some conservatives and fossil-fuel interests questioned the link between carbon emissions and global warming.” Some! Really???

Now to the ‘backfire’ part of this. This is just maddening. If environmentalists aren’t careful, it says, sufficient support for an adequate policy response might go away. Go away! As though it was ever even close to being there in the first place. They cite Al Gore’s 2006 ‘Inconvenient Truth’ as contributing to backlash and division. Do they think no one has any memory whatsoever? Let me remind those who don’t. Before “Inconvenient Truth’ there was close to ZERO widespread public concern about climate change. This film was a watershed in opening people’s eyes to the pending climate calamity and getting people to take the issue seriously. The backlash was not about the particulars of the argument, the backlash was against how effective it was in bringing the nation closer to actually doing something about it. The article says a better ‘tactic’ is to emphasize ‘popular solutions.’ Only one problem with ‘popular solutions.’ They don’t come ANYWHERE CLOSE TO BEING ADEQUATE solutions.

And finally, please please just stop saying it is the responsibility of ‘environmentalists’ to come up with tactics to persuade the rest of us, who by implication are perfectly entitled to sit back and not take our responsibilities on this issue seriously unless and until ‘environmentalists’ come up with arguments that are appealing to us in every way. Gaaaaah!

Repercussões do novo relatório do Painel Intergovernamental sobre Mudanças Climáticas (IPCC)

Brasil já se prepara para adaptações às mudanças climáticas, diz especialista (Agência Brasil)

JC e-mail 4925, de 02 de abril de 2014

Com base no relatório do IPCC,dirigente do INPE disse que o Brasil já revela um passo adiante em termos de adaptação às mudanças climáticas

Com o título Mudanças Climáticas 2014: Impactos, Adaptação e Vulnerabilidade, o relatório divulgado ontem (31) pelo Painel Intergovernamental sobre Mudanças Climáticas (IPCC) sinaliza que os efeitos das mudanças do clima já estão sendo sentidos em todo o mundo. O relatório aponta que para se alcançar um aquecimento de apenas 2 graus centígrados, que seria o mínimo tolerável para que os impactos não sejam muito fortes, é preciso ter emissões zero de gases do efeito estufa, a partir de 2050.

“O compromisso é ter emissões zero a partir de 2040 /2050, e isso significa uma mudança de todo o sistema de desenvolvimento, que envolve mudança dos combustíveis”, disse hoje (1º) o chefe do Centro de Ciência do Sistema Terrestr,e do Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais (Inpe), José Marengo, um dos autores do novo relatório do IPCC. Marengo apresentou o relatório na Academia Brasileira de Ciências (ABC), no Rio de Janeiro, e destacou que alguns países interpretam isso como uma tentativa de frear o crescimento econômico. Na verdade, ele assegurou que a intenção é chegar a um valor para que o aquecimento não seja tão intenso e grave.

Com base no relatório do IPCC, Marengo comentou que o Brasil já revela um passo adiante em termos de adaptação às mudanças climáticas. “Eu acho que o Brasil já escutou a mensagem. Já está começando a preparar o plano nacional de adaptação, por meio dos ministérios do Meio Ambiente e da Ciência, Tecnologia e Inovação”. Essa adaptação, acrescentou, é acompanhada de avaliações de vulnerabilidades, “e o Brasil é vulnerável às mudanças de clima”, lembrou.

A adaptação, segundo ele, atenderá a políticas governamentais, mas a comunidade científica ajudará a elaborar o plano para identificar regiões e setores considerados chave. “Porque a adaptação é uma coisa que muda de região e de setor. Você pode ter uma adaptação no setor saúde, no Nordeste, totalmente diferente do Sul. Então, essa é uma política que o governo já está começando a traçar seriamente”.

O plano prevê análises de risco em setores como agricultura, saúde, recursos hídricos, regiões costeiras, grandes cidades. Ele está começando a ser traçado como uma estratégia de governo. Como as vulnerabilidades são diferentes, o plano não pode criar uma política única para o país. Na parte da segurança alimentar, em especial, José Marengo ressaltou a importância do conhecimento indígena, principalmente para os países mais pobres.

Marengo afiançou, entretanto, que esse plano não deverá ser concluído no curto prazo. “É uma coisa que leva tempo. Esse tipo de estudo não pode ser feito em um ou dois anos. É uma coisa de longo prazo, porque vai mudando continuamente. Ou seja, é um plano dinâmico, que a cada cinco anos tem que ser reavaliado e refeito. Poucos países têm feito isso, e o Brasil está começando a elaborar esse plano agora”, manifestou.

Marengo admitiu que a adaptação às mudanças climáticas tem que ter também um viés econômico, por meio da regulação. “Quando eu falo em adaptação, é uma mistura de conhecimento científico para identificar que área é vulnerável. Mas tudo isso vem acompanhado de coisas que não são climáticas, mas sim, econômicas, como custos e investimento. Porque adaptação custa dinheiro. Quem vai pagar pela adaptação? “, indagou.

O IPCC não tem uma posição a respeito, embora Marengo mencione que os países pobres querem que os ricos paguem pela sua adaptação às mudanças do clima. O tema deverá ser abordado na próxima reunião da 20ª Convenção-Quadro sobre Mudança do Clima COP-20, da Organização das Nações Unidas (ONU), que ocorrerá em Lima, no Peru, no final deste ano.

Entretanto, o IPCC aponta situações sobre o que está ocorrendo nas diversas partes do mundo, e o que poderia ser feito. As soluções, salientou, serão indicadas no próximo relatório do IPCC, cuja divulgação é aguardada para este mês. O relatório, segundo ele, apontará que “a solução está na mitigação”. Caso, por exemplo, da redução das emissões de gases de efeito estufa, o uso menor de combustíveis fósseis e maior uso de fontes de energia renováveis, novas opções de combustíveis, novas soluções de tecnologia, estabilização da população. “Tudo isso são coisas que podem ser consideradas”. Admitiu, porém, que são difíceis de serem alcançadas, porque alguns países estão dispostos a isso, outros não. “É uma coisa que depende de acordo mundial”.

De acordo com o relatório do IPCC, as tendências são de aumento da temperatura global, aumento e diminuição de precipitações (chuvas), degradação ambiental, risco para as áreas costeiras e a fauna marinha, mudança na produtividade agrícola, entre outras. A adaptação a essas mudanças depende do lugar e do contexto. A adaptação para um setor pode não ser aplicável a outro. As medidas visando a adaptação às mudanças climáticas devem ser tomadas pelos governos, mas também pela sociedade como um todo e pelos indivíduos, recomendam os cientistas que elaboraram o relatório.

Para o Nordeste brasileiro, por exemplo, a construção de cisternas pode ser um começo no sentido de adaptação à seca. Mas isso tem de ser uma busca permanente, destacou José Marengo. Observou que programas de reflorestamento são formas de mitigação e, em consequência, de adaptação, na medida em que reduzem as emissões e absorvem as emissões excedentes.

No Brasil, três aspectos se distinguem: segurança hídrica, segurança energética e segurança alimentar. As secas no Nordeste e as recentes enchentes no Norte têm ajudado a entender o problema da vulnerabilidade do clima, acrescentou o cientista. Disse que, de certa forma, o Brasil tem reagido para enfrentar os extremos. “Mas tem que pensar que esses extremos podem ser mais frequentes. A experiência está mostrando que alguns desses extremos devem ser pensados no longo prazo, para décadas”, salientou.

O biólogo Marcos Buckeridge, pesquisador do Instituto de Biociências da Universidade de São Paulo (USP) e membro do IPCC, lembrou que as queimadas na Amazônia, apesar de mostrarem redução nos últimos anos, ainda ocorrem com intensidade. “O Brasil é o país que mais queima floresta no mundo”, e isso leva à perda de muitas espécies animais e vegetais, trazendo, como resultado, impactos no clima.

Para a pesquisadora sênior do Centro de Estudos Integrados sobre Meio Ambiente e Mudanças Climáticas – Centro Clima da Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Carolina Burle Schmidt Dubeux, a economia da adaptação deve pensar o gerenciamento também do lado da demanda. Isso quer dizer que tem que englobar não só investimentos, mas também regulação econômica em que os preços reflitam a redução da oferta de bens. “Regulação econômica é muito importante para que a gente possa se adaptar [às mudanças do clima]. As políticas têm que refletir a escassez da água e da energia elétrica e controlar a demanda”, apontou.

Segundo a pesquisadora, a internalização de custos ambientais nos preços é necessária para que a população tenha maior qualidade de vida. “A questão da adaptação é um constante gerenciamento do risco das mudanças climáticas, que é desconhecido e imprevisível”, acrescentou. Carolina defendeu que para ocorrer a adaptação, deve haver uma comunicação constante entre o governo e a sociedade. “A mídia tem um papel relevante nesse processo”, disse.

(Agência Brasil)

* * *

Mudanças climáticas ameaçam produtos da cesta básica brasileira (O Globo)

JC e-mail 4925, de 02 de abril de 2014

Dieta será prejudicada por queda das safras e da atividade pesqueira

Os impactos das mudanças climáticas no país comprometerão o rendimento das safras de trigo, arroz, milho e soja, produtos fundamentais da cesta básica do brasileiro. Outro problema desembarca no litoral. Segundo prognósticos divulgados esta semana pelo Painel Intergovernamental de Mudanças Climáticas (IPCC), grandes populações de peixes deixarão a zona tropical nas próximas décadas, buscando regiões de alta latitude. Desta forma, a pesca artesanal também é afetada.

A falta de segurança alimentar também vai acometer outros países. Estima-se que a atividade agrícola da União Europeia caia significativamente até o fim do século. Duas soluções já são estudadas. Uma seria aumentar as importações – o Brasil seria um importante mercado, se conseguir nutrir a sua população e, além disso, desenvolver uma produção excedente. A outra possibilidade é a pesquisa de variedades genéticas que deem resistência aos alimentos diante das novas condições climáticas.

– Os eventos extremos, mesmo quando têm curta duração, reduzem o tamanho da safra – contou Marcos Buckeridge, professor do Departamento de Botânica da USP e coautor do relatório do IPCC, em uma apresentação realizada ontem na Academia Brasileira de Ciências. – Além disso, somos o país que mais queima florestas no mundo, e a seca é maior justamente na Amazônia Oriental, levando a perdas na agricultura da região.

O aquecimento global também enfraquecerá a segurança hídrica do país.

– É preciso encontrar uma forma de garantir a disponibilidade de água no semiárido, assim como estruturas que a direcione para as áreas urbanas – recomenda José Marengo, climatologista do Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais (Inpe) e também autor do relatório.

Marengo lembra que o Nordeste enfrenta a estiagem há três anos. Segundo ele, o uso de carros-pipa é uma solução pontual. Portanto, outras medidas devem ser pensadas. A transposição do Rio São Francisco também pode não ser suficiente, já que a região deve passar por um processo de desertificação até o fim do século.

De acordo com um estudo realizado em 2009 por diversas instituições brasileiras, e que é citado no novo relatório do IPCC, as chuvas no Nordeste podem diminuir até 2,5mm por dia até 2100, causando perdas agrícolas em todos os estados da região. O déficit hídrico reduziria em 25% a capacidade de pastoreiro dos bovinos de corte. O retrocesso da pecuária é outro ataque à dieta do brasileiro.

– O Brasil perderá entre R$ 719 bilhões e R$ 3,6 trilhões em 2050, se nada fizer . Enfrentaremos perda agrícola e precisaremos de mais recursos para o setor hidrelétrico – alerta Carolina Dubeux, pesquisadora do Centro Clima da Coppe/UFRJ, que assina o documento. – A adaptação é um constante gerenciamento de risco.

(Renato Grandelle / O Globo)

* * *

Impactos mais graves no clima do país virão de secas e de cheias (Folha de S.Paulo)

JC e-mail 4925, de 02 de abril de 2014

Brasileiros em painel da ONU dizem que país precisa se preparar para problemas opostos em diferentes regiões

As previsões regionais do novo relatório do IPCC (painel do clima da ONU) aponta como principais efeitos da mudança climática no país problemas na disponibilidade de água, com secas persistentes em alguns pontos e cheias recordes em outros. Lançado anteontem no Japão, o documento do grupo de trabalho 2 do IPCC dá ênfase a impactos e vulnerabilidades provocados pelo clima ao redor do mundo. Além de listar os principais riscos, o documento ressalta a necessidade de adaptação aos riscos projetados. No Brasil, pela extensão territorial, os efeitos serão diferentes em cada região.

Além de afetar a floresta e seus ecossistemas, a mudança climática deve prejudicar também a geração de energia, a agricultura e até a saúde da população. “Tudo remete à água. Onde nós tivermos problemas com a água, vamos ter problemas com outras coisas”, resumiu Marcos Buckeridge, professor da USP e um dos autores do relatório do IPCC, em entrevista coletiva com outros brasileiros que participaram do painel.

Na Amazônia, o padrão de chuvas já vem sendo afetado. Atualmente, a cheia no rio Madeira já passa dos 25 m –nível mais alto da história– e afeta 60 mil pessoas. No Nordeste, que nos últimos anos passou por secas sucessivas, as mudanças climáticas podem intensificar os períodos sem chuva, e há um risco de que o semiárido vire árido permanentemente.

Segundo José Marengo, do Inpe (Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais) e um dos autores principais do documento, ainda é cedo para saber se a seca persistente em São Paulo irá se repetir no ano que vem ou nos outros, mas alertou que é preciso que o Brasil se prepare melhor.

O IPCC fez previsões para diferentes cenários, mas, basicamente, indica que as consequências são mais graves quanto maiores os níveis de emissões de gases-estufa. “Se não dá para reduzir as ameaças, precisamos pelo menos reduzir os riscos”, disse Marengo, destacando que, no Brasil, nem sempre isso acontece. No caso das secas, a construção de cisternas e a mobilização de carros-pipa seriam alternativas de adaptação. Já nos locais onde deve haver aumento nas chuvas, a remoção de populações de áreas de risco, como as encostas, seria a alternativa.

Carolina Dubeux, da UFRJ, que também participa do IPCC, afirma que, para que haja equilíbrio entre oferta e demanda, é preciso que a economia reflita a escassez dos recursos naturais, sobretudo em áreas como agricultura e geração de energia. “É necessário que os preços reflitam a escassez de um bem. Se a água está escassa, o preço dela precisa refletir isso. Não podemos só expandir a oferta”, afirmou.

Neste relatório, caiu o grau de confiança sobre projeções para algumas regiões, sobretudo em países em desenvolvimento. Segundo Carlos Nobre, secretário do Ministério de Ciência, Tecnologia e Inovação, isso não significa que o documento tenha menos poder político ou científico.

Everton Lucero, chefe de clima no Itamaraty, diz que o documento será importante para subsidiar discussões do próximo acordo climático mundial. “Mas há um desequilíbrio entre os trabalhos científicos levados em consideração pelo IPCC, com muito mais ênfase no que é produzido nos países ricos. As nações em desenvolvimento também produzem muita ciência de qualidade, que deve ter mais espaço”, disse.

(Giuliana Miranda/Folha de S.Paulo)

* * *

Relatório do IPCC aponta riscos e oportunidades para respostas (Ascom do MCTI)

JC e-mail 4925, de 02 de abril de 2014

Um total de 309 cientistas de 70 países, entre coordenadores, autores, editores e revisores, foram selecionados para produzir o relatório

O novo relatório do Painel Intergovernamental sobre Mudanças Climáticas (IPCC) diz que os efeitos das mudanças climáticas já estão ocorrendo em todos os continentes e oceanos e que o mundo, em muitos casos, está mal preparado para os riscos. O documento também conclui que há oportunidades de repostas, embora os riscos sejam difíceis de gerenciar com os níveis elevados de aquecimento.

O relatório, intitulado Mudanças Climáticas 2014: Impactos, Adaptação e Vulnerabilidade, foi elaborado pelo Grupo de Trabalho 2 (GT 2) do IPCC e detalha os impactos das mudanças climáticas até o momento, os riscos futuros e as oportunidades para uma ação eficaz para reduzir os riscos. Os resultados foram apresentados à imprensa brasileira em entrevista coletiva no Rio de Janeiro nesta terça-feira (1º).

Um total de 309 cientistas de 70 países, entre coordenadores, autores, editores e revisores, foram selecionados para produzir o relatório. Eles contaram com a ajuda de 436 autores contribuintes e 1.729 revisores especialistas.

Os autores concluem que a resposta às mudanças climáticas envolve fazer escolhas sobre os riscos em um mundo em transformação, assinalando que a natureza dos riscos das mudanças climáticas é cada vez mais evidente, embora essas alterações também continuem a produzir surpresas. O relatório identifica as populações, indústrias e ecossistemas vulneráveis ao redor do mundo.

Segundo o documento, o risco da mudança climática provém de vulnerabilidade (falta de preparo), exposição (pessoas ou bens em perigo) e sobreposição com os riscos (tendências ou eventos climáticos desencadeantes). Cada um desses três componentes pode ser alvo de ações inteligentes para diminuir o risco.

“Vivemos numa era de mudanças climáticas provocadas pelo homem”, afirma o copresidente do GT 2 Vicente Barros, da Universidade de Buenos Aires, Argentina. “Em muitos casos, não estamos preparados para os riscos relacionados com o clima que já enfrentamos. Investimentos num melhor preparo podem melhorar os resultados, tanto para o presente e para o futuro.”

A adaptação para reduzir os riscos das mudanças climáticas começa a ocorrer, mas com um foco mais forte na reação aos acontecimentos passados do que na preparação para um futuro diferente, de acordo com outro copresidente do GT, Chris Field, da Carnegie Institution for Science, dos Estados Unidos.

“A adaptação às mudanças climáticas não é uma agenda exótica nunca tentada. Governos, empresas e comunidades ao redor do mundo estão construindo experiência com a adaptação”, explica Field. “Esta experiência constitui um ponto de partida para adaptações mais ousadas e ambiciosas, que serão importantes à medida que o clima e a sociedade continuam a mudar”.

Riscos futuros decorrentes das mudanças no clima dependem fortemente da quantidade de futuras alterações climáticas. Magnitudes crescentes de aquecimento aumentam a probabilidade de impactos graves e generalizados que podem ser surpreendentes ou irreversíveis.

“Com níveis elevados de aquecimento, que resultam de um crescimento contínuo das emissões de gases de efeito estufa, será um desafio gerenciar os riscos e mesmo investimentos sérios e contínuos em adaptação enfrentarão limites”, afirma Field.

Impactos observados da mudança climática já afetaram a agricultura, a saúde humana, os ecossistemas terrestres e marítimos, abastecimento de água e a vida de algumas pessoas. A característica marcante dos impactos observados é que eles estão ocorrendo a partir dos trópicos para os polos, a partir de pequenas ilhas para grandes continentes e dos países mais ricos para os mais pobres.

“O relatório conclui que as pessoas, sociedades e ecossistemas são vulneráveis em todo o mundo, mas com vulnerabilidade diferentes em lugares diferentes. As mudanças climáticas muitas vezes interagem com outras tensões para aumentar o risco”, diz Chris Field.

A adaptação pode desempenhar um papel-chave na redução destes riscos, observa Vicente Barros. “Parte da razão pela qual a adaptação é tão importante é que, devido à mudança climática, o mundo enfrenta uma série de riscos já inseridos no sistema climático, acentuados pelas emissões passadas e infraestrutura existente”.

Field acrescenta: “A compreensão de que a mudança climática é um desafio na gestão de risco abre um leque de oportunidades para integrar a adaptação com o desenvolvimento econômico e social e com as iniciativas para limitar o aquecimento futuro. Nós definitivamente enfrentamos desafios, mas compreender esses desafios e ultrapassá-los de forma criativa pode fazer da adaptação à mudança climática uma forma importante de ajudar a construir um mundo mais vibrante em curto prazo e além”.

O relatório do GT 2 é composto por dois volumes. O primeiro contém Resumo para Formuladores de Políticas, Resumo Técnico e 20 capítulos que avaliam riscos por setor e oportunidades para resposta. Os setores incluem recursos de água doce, os ecossistemas terrestres e oceânicos, costas, alimentos, áreas urbanas e rurais, energia e indústria, a saúde humana e a segurança, além dos meios de vida e pobreza.

Em seus dez capítulos, o segundo volume avalia os riscos e oportunidades para a resposta por região. Essas regiões incluem África, Europa, Ásia, Australásia (Austrália, a Nova Zelândia, a Nova Guiné e algumas ilhas menores da parte oriental da Indonésia), América do Norte, América Central e América do Sul, regiões polares, pequenas ilhas e oceanos.

Acesse a contribuição do grupo de trabalho (em inglês) aqui ou no site da instituição.

A Unidade de Apoio Técnico do GT 2 é hospedada pela Carnegie Institution for Science e financiada pelo governo dos Estados Unidos.

“O relatório do Grupo de Trabalho 2 é outro importante passo para a nossa compreensão sobre como reduzir e gerenciar os riscos das mudanças climáticas”, destaca o presidente do IPCC, RajendraPachauri. “Juntamente com os relatórios dos grupos 1 e 3, fornece um mapa conceitual não só dos aspectos essenciais do desafio climático, mas as soluções possíveis.”

O relatório do GT 1 foi lançado em setembro de 2013, e o do GT 3 será divulgado neste mês. O quinto relatório de avaliação (AR5) será concluído com a publicação de uma síntese em outubro.

O Painel Intergovernamental sobre Mudança do Clima é o organismo internacional para avaliar a ciência relacionada à mudança climática. Foi criado em 1988 pela Organização Meteorológica Mundial e pelo Programa das Nações Unidas para o Ambiente (Pnuma), para fornecer aos formuladores de políticas avaliações regulares da base científica das mudanças climáticas, seus impactos e riscos futuros, e opções para adaptação e mitigação.

Foi na 28ª Sessão do IPCC, realizada em abril de 2008, que os membros do painel decidiram preparar o AR5. O documento envolveu 837 autores e editores de revisão.

(Ascom do MCTI, com informações do IPCC)

Relatório do IPCC sugere adaptação baseada em ecossistemas (Estado de S.Paulo)

JC e-mail 4923, de 31 de março de 2014

Modelo adotado no Brasil e região foi indicado como alternativa a infraestutura cara

Além das recomendações usuais para que os países invistam mais em infraestrutura para aumentar sua resiliência às mudanças climáticas, no novo relatório do Painel Intergovernamental sobre Mudanças Climáticas (IPCC), divulgado neste domingo, 30, ganhou espaço uma alternativa mais barata que pode, em alguns locais, conseguir efeitos parecidos: a adaptação baseada em ecossistemas.

O tema aparece em maior ou menor profundidade em cerca de metade dos capítulos e teve destaque especial no capítulo regional de América Central e do Sul, onde técnicas como criação de áreas protegidas, acordos para conservação e manejos comunitários de áreas naturais estão sendo testadas.

Mas o que isso tem a ver com adaptação? De acordo com o ecólogo Fabio Scarano, da Conservação Internacional, e um dos autores do capítulo, a ideia é fortalecer serviços ecossistêmicos que são fundamentais. Um ambiente bem preservado tem a capacidade de prover um clima estável, o fornecimento de água, a presença de polinizadores. “Como se fosse uma infraestrutura da própria natureza”, diz.

Como premissa, está a conservação da natureza aliada ao incentivo do seu uso sustentável – a fim também de evitar a pobreza, que é um dos principais motores da vulnerabilidade de populações.

“Normalmente quando se fala em adaptação se pensa na construção de grandes estruturas, como um dique, por exemplo, para evitar uma inundação. O que em geral é muito caro, mas em uma adaptação baseada em ecossistemas, conservar a natureza e usá-la bem é uma forma de diminuir a vulnerabilidade das pessoas às mudanças climáticas”, afirma.

Ele cita como exemplo uma região costeira em que o mangue tenha sido degradado. “Esse ecossistema funciona como uma barreira. Em um cenário de ressacas mais fortes, elevação do nível do mar, a costa vai ficar mais vulnerável, será necessário construir diques. Mas se mantém o mangue em pé e se oferece um auxílio para que as pessoas possam ter uma economia básica desse mangue, com técnicas mais sustentáveis, e elas recebam para mantê-lo assim, vai ser mais barato do que depois ter de fazer um dique.”

Segundo o pesquisador, para ser mais resiliente é importante acabar com a pobreza e preservar a natureza. “Se for possível ter os dois, a gente consegue o tão falado desenvolvimento sustentável”, opina.

(Giovana Girardi / Estado de S.Paulo),relatorio-do-ipcc-sugere-adaptacao-baseada-em-ecossistemas,1147134,0.htm

Outras matérias sobre o assunto:

O Globo
Painel da ONU apresenta medidas contra aquecimento global

Valor Econômico
Mudança do clima afeta a todos e está acontecendo agora, alerta IPCC

Global warming dials up our risks, UN report says (AP)

By SETH BORENSTEIN, 30 March 2014

FILE – In this Aug. 20, 2013 file photo, Syrian refugees cross into Iraq at the Peshkhabour border point in Dahuk, 260 miles (430 kilometers) northwest of Baghdad, Iraq. In an authoritative report due out Monday, March 31, 2014, a United Nations climate panel for the first time is connecting hotter global temperatures to hotter global tempers. Top scientists are saying that climate change will complicate and worsen existing global security problems, such as civil wars, strife between nations and refugees. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban, File)
FILE – In this Dec. 17, 2011 file photo, an Egyptian protester throws a stone toward soldiers, unseen, as a building burns during clashes near Tahrir Square, in Cairo, Egypt. In an authoritative report due out Monday, March 31, 2014, a United Nations climate panel for the first time is connecting hotter global temperatures to hotter global tempers. Top scientists are saying that climate change will complicate and worsen existing global security problems, such as civil wars, strife between nations and refugees. (AP Photo/Ahmad Hammad, File).
FILE – In this Nov. 10, 2013 file photo, a survivor walks by a large ship after it was washed ashore by strong waves caused by powerful Typhoon Haiyan in Tacloban city, Leyte province, central Philippines. Freaky storms like 2013’s Typhoon Haiyan, 2012’s Superstorm Sandy and 2008’s ultra-deadly Cyclone Nargis may not have been caused by warming, but their fatal storm surges were augmented by climate change’s ever rising seas, Maarten van Aalst, a top official at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said. Global warming is driving humanity toward a whole new level of many risks, a United Nations scientific panel reports, warning that the wild climate ride has only just begun. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila, File).
FILE – This Nov. 9, 2013 file photo provided by NASA shows Typhoon Haiyan taken by astronaut Karen L. Nyberg aboard the International Space Station. Freaky storms like 2013’s Typhoon Haiyan, 2012’s Superstorm Sandy and 2008’s ultra-deadly Cyclone Nargis may not have been caused by warming, but their fatal storm surges were augmented by climate change’s ever rising seas, Maarten van Aalst, a top official at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said. Global warming is driving humanity toward a whole new level of many risks, a United Nations scientific panel reports, warning that the wild climate ride has only just begun. (AP Photo/NASA, Karen L. Nyberg, File).
FILE – This May 6, 2008 file photo, shows an aerial view of devastation caused by Cyclone Nargis, seen at an unknown location in Myanmar. Freaky storms like 2013’s Typhoon Haiyan, 2012’s Superstorm Sandy and 2008’s ultra-deadly Cyclone Nargis may not have been caused by warming, but their fatal storm surges were augmented by climate change’s ever rising seas, Maarten van Aalst, a top official at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said. Global warming is driving humanity toward a whole new level of many risks, a United Nations scientific panel reports, warning that the wild climate ride has only just begun. (AP Photo/File).
FILE – This Oct. 31, 2012 file photo, shows an aerial view of the damage to an amusement park left in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, in Seaside Heights, N.J. Freaky storms like 2013’s Typhoon Haiyan, 2012’s Superstorm Sandy and 2008’s ultra-deadly Cyclone Nargis may not have been caused by warming, but their fatal storm surges were augmented by climate change’s ever rising seas, Maarten van Aalst, a top official at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said. Global warming is driving humanity toward a whole new level of many risks, a United Nations scientific panel reports, warning that the wild climate ride has only just begun. (AP Photo/Mike Groll, File)
FILE – In this Oct. 22, 2005 file photo, a motorcyclist rides past a mountain of trash, sheet rock and domestic furniture, removed from homes damaged by Hurricane Katrina, at one of three dump areas setup for that purpose, in New Orleans, LA. In the cases of the big storms like Haiyan, Sandy and Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the poor were the most vulnerable, a United Nations scientific panel reports said. The report talks about climate change helping create new pockets of poverty and “hotspots of hunger” even in richer countries, increasing inequality between rich and poor. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik, File)
FILE – In this Aug. 7, 2010 file photo, a firefighter tries to stop a forest fire near the village of Verkhnyaya Vereya in Nizhny Novgorod region, some 410 km (255 miles) east of Moscow. Twenty-first century disasters such as killer heat waves in Europe, wildfires in the United States, droughts in Australia and deadly flooding in Mozambique, Thailand and Pakistan highlight how vulnerable humanity is to extreme weather, says a massive new report from a Nobel Prize-winning group of scientists released early Monday, March 31, 2014. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko Jr., File)
FILE - This Nov. 13, 2013 file photo, shows typhoon damaged fuel tanks along the coast in Tanawan, central Philippines. A United Nations panel of scientists has drafted a list of eight ``key risks” about climate change that’s easy to understand and illustrates the issues that have the greatest potential to cause harm to the planet. The list is part of a massive report on how global warming is affecting humans and the planet and how the future will be worse unless something is done about it. The report is being finalized at a meeting on the weekend of March 29, 2014 by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. (AP Photo/Wally Santana, File)
FILE – This Nov. 13, 2013 file photo, shows typhoon damaged fuel tanks along the coast in Tanawan, central Philippines. A United Nations panel of scientists has drafted a list of eight “key risks” about climate change that’s easy to understand and illustrates the issues that have the greatest potential to cause harm to the planet. The list is part of a massive report on how global warming is affecting humans and the planet and how the future will be worse unless something is done about it. The report is being finalized at a meeting on the weekend of March 29, 2014 by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. (AP Photo/Wally Santana, File)
CJ. Yokohama (Japan), 31/03/2014.- Renate Christ, Secretary of the IPCC attends a press conference during the 10th Plenary of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group II and 38th Session of the IPCC in Yokohama, south of Tokyo, Japan, 31 March 2014. The IPCC announced that the effects of climate change are already taking place globally on all continents and across ocean waters. Although the world today is not prepared for risks resulting from a climate change, there are opportunities to act on such risks. EFE/EPA/CHRISTOPHER JUE
CJ. Yokohama (Japan), 31/03/2014.- Renate Christ, Secretary of the IPCC attends a press conference during the 10th Plenary of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group II and 38th Session of the IPCC in Yokohama, south of Tokyo, Japan, 31 March 2014. The IPCC announced that the effects of climate change are already taking place globally on all continents and across ocean waters. Although the world today is not prepared for risks resulting from a climate change, there are opportunities to act on such risks. EFE/EPA/CHRISTOPHER JUE
CJ. Yokohama (Japan), 31/03/2014.- Rajendra Pachauri (L) Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and Christopher Field (R), IPCC Working Group II Co-Chair attend a press conference during the tenth Plenary IPCC Working Group II and 38th Session of the IPCC in Yokohama, south of Tokyo, Japan, 31 March 2014. The IPCC announced that the effects of climate change are already taking place globally on all continents and across ocean waters. Although the world today is not prepared for risks resulting from a climate change, there are opportunities to act on such risks. EFE/EPA/CHRISTOPHER JUE
CJ. Yokohama (Japan), 31/03/2014.- Rajendra Pachauri (L) Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and Christopher Field (R), IPCC Working Group II Co-Chair attend a press conference during the tenth Plenary IPCC Working Group II and 38th Session of the IPCC in Yokohama, south of Tokyo, Japan, 31 March 2014. The IPCC announced that the effects of climate change are already taking place globally on all continents and across ocean waters. Although the world today is not prepared for risks resulting from a climate change, there are opportunities to act on such risks. EFE/EPA/CHRISTOPHER JUE
CJ. Yokohama (Japan), 31/03/2014.- Christopher Field, IPCC Working Group II Co-Chair, speaks at a press conference during the tenth Plenary of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group II and 38th Session of the IPCC in Yokohama, south of Tokyo, Japan, 31 March 2014. The IPCC announced that the effects of climate change are already taking place globally on all continents and across ocean waters. Although the world today is not prepared for risks resulting from a climate change, there are opportunities to act on such risks. EFE/EPA/CHRISTOPHER JUE
CJ. Yokohama (Japan), 31/03/2014.- Christopher Field, IPCC Working Group II Co-Chair, speaks at a press conference during the tenth Plenary of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group II and 38th Session of the IPCC in Yokohama, south of Tokyo, Japan, 31 March 2014. The IPCC announced that the effects of climate change are already taking place globally on all continents and across ocean waters. Although the world today is not prepared for risks resulting from a climate change, there are opportunities to act on such risks. EFE/EPA/CHRISTOPHER JUE
Smoke is discharged from chimneys at a plant in Tokyo, Tuesday, March 25, 2014. Along with the enormous risks global warming poses for humanity are opportunities to improve public health and build a better world, scientists gathered in Yokohama for a climate change conference said Tuesday. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
Smoke is discharged from chimneys at a plant in Tokyo, Tuesday, March 25, 2014. Along with the enormous risks global warming poses for humanity are opportunities to improve public health and build a better world, scientists gathered in Yokohama for a climate change conference said Tuesday. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
Demonstrators participate in a silence protest in front of a conference hall where the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is meeting in Yokohama, near Tokyo, Monday, March 31, 2014. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)
Demonstrators participate in a silence protest in front of a conference hall where the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is meeting in Yokohama, near Tokyo, Monday, March 31, 2014. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)
Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Rajendra K. Pachauri, center, speaks during a press conference in Yokohama, near Tokyo, Monday, March 31, 2014. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)
Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Rajendra K. Pachauri, center, speaks during a press conference in Yokohama, near Tokyo, Monday, March 31, 2014. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)
A guard speaks on a mobile phone in front of demonstrators participating in a silence protest in front of a conference hall where the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is meeting in Yokohama, near Tokyo, Monday, March 31, 2014. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)
A guard speaks on a mobile phone in front of demonstrators participating in a silence protest in front of a conference hall where the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is meeting in Yokohama, near Tokyo, Monday, March 31, 2014. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)

YOKOHAMA, Japan (AP) — If the world doesn’t cut pollution of heat-trapping gases, the already noticeable harms of global warming could spiral “out of control,” the head of a United Nations scientific panel warned Monday.

And he’s not alone. The Obama White House says it is taking this new report as a call for action, with Secretary of State John Kerry saying “the costs of inaction are catastrophic.”

Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that issued the 32-volume, 2,610-page report here early Monday, told The Associated Press: “it is a call for action.” Without reductions in emissions, he said, impacts from warming “could get out of control.”

One of the study’s authors, Maarten van Aalst, a top official at the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, said, “If we don’t reduce greenhouse gases soon, risks will get out of hand. And the risks have already risen.”

Twenty-first century disasters such as killer heat waves in Europe, wildfires in the United States, droughts in Australia and deadly flooding in Mozambique, Thailand and Pakistan highlight how vulnerable humanity is to extreme weather, according to the report from the Nobel Prize-winning group of scientists. The dangers are going to worsen as the climate changes even more, the report’s authors said.

“We’re now in an era where climate change isn’t some kind of future hypothetical,” said the overall lead author of the report, Chris Field of the Carnegie Institution for Science in California. “We live in an area where impacts from climate change are already widespread and consequential.”

Nobody is immune, Pachauri and other scientists said.

“We’re all sitting ducks,” Princeton University professor Michael Oppenheimer, one of the main authors of the report, said in an interview.

After several days of late-night wrangling, more than 100 governments unanimously approved the scientist-written 49-page summary — which is aimed at world political leaders. The summary mentions the word “risk” an average of about 5 1/2 times per page.

“Changes are occurring rapidly and they are sort of building up that risk,” Field said.

These risks are both big and small, according to the report. They are now and in the future. They hit farmers and big cities. Some places will have too much water, some not enough, including drinking water. Other risks mentioned in the report involve the price and availability of food, and to a lesser and more qualified extent some diseases, financial costs and even world peace.

“Things are worse than we had predicted” in 2007, when the group of scientists last issued this type of report, said report co-author Saleemul Huq, director of the International Centre for Climate Change and Development at the Independent University in Bangladesh. “We are going to see more and more impacts, faster and sooner than we had anticipated.”

The problems have gotten so bad that the panel had to add a new and dangerous level of risks. In 2007, the biggest risk level in one key summary graphic was “high” and colored blazing red. The latest report adds a new level, “very high,” and colors it deep purple.

You might as well call it a “horrible” risk level, said van Aalst: “The horrible is something quite likely, and we won’t be able to do anything about it.”

The report predicts that the highest level of risk would first hit plants and animals, both on land and the acidifying oceans.

Climate change will worsen problems that society already has, such as poverty, sickness, violence and refugees, according to the report. And on the other end, it will act as a brake slowing down the benefits of a modernizing society, such as regular economic growth and more efficient crop production, it says.

“In recent decades, changes in climate have caused impacts on natural and human systems on all continents and across the oceans,” the report says.

And if society doesn’t change, the future looks even worse, it says: “Increasing magnitudes of warming increase the likelihood of severe, pervasive, and irreversible impacts.”

While the problems from global warming will hit everyone in some way, the magnitude of the harm won’t be equal, coming down harder on people who can least afford it, the report says. It will increase the gaps between the rich and poor, healthy and sick, young and old, and men and women, van Aalst said.

But the report’s authors say this is not a modern day version of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Much of what they warn of are more nuanced troubles that grow by degrees and worsen other societal ills. The report also concedes that there are uncertainties in understanding and predicting future climate risks.

The report, the fifth on warming’s impacts, includes risks to the ecosystems of the Earth, including a thawing Arctic, but it is far more oriented to what it means to people than past versions.

The report also notes that one major area of risk is that with increased warming, incredibly dramatic but ultra-rare single major climate events, sometimes called tipping points, become more possible with huge consequences for the globe. These are events like the melting of the Greenland ice sheet, which would take more than 1,000 years.

“I can’t think of a better word for what it means to society than the word ‘risk,'” said Virginia Burkett of the U.S. Geological Survey, one of the study’s main authors. She calls global warming “maybe one of the greatest known risks we face.”

Global warming is triggered by heat-trapping gases, such as carbon dioxide, that stay in the atmosphere for a century. Much of the gases still in the air and trapping heat came from the United States and other industrial nations. China is now by far the No. 1 carbon dioxide polluter, followed by the United States and India.

Unlike in past reports, where the scientists tried to limit examples of extremes to disasters that computer simulations can attribute partly to man-made warming, this version broadens what it looks at because it includes the larger issues of risk and vulnerability, van Aalst said.

Freaky storms like 2013’s Typhoon Haiyan, 2012’s Superstorm Sandy and 2008’s ultra-deadly Cyclone Nargis may not have been caused by warming, but their fatal storm surges were augmented by climate change’s ever rising seas, he said.

And in the cases of the big storms like Haiyan, Sandy and Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the poor were the most vulnerable, Oppenheimer and van Aalst said. The report talks about climate change helping create new pockets of poverty and “hotspots of hunger” even in richer countries, increasing inequality between rich and poor.

Report co-author Maggie Opondo of the University of Nairobi said that especially in places like Africa, climate change and extreme events mean “people are going to become more vulnerable to sinking deeper into poverty.” And other study authors talked about the fairness issue with climate change.

“Rich people benefit from using all these fossil fuels,” University of Sussex economist Richard Tol said. “Poorer people lose out.”

Huq said he had hope because richer nations and people are being hit more, and “when it hits the rich, then it’s a problem” and people start acting on it.

Part of the report talks about what can be done: reducing carbon pollution and adapting to and preparing for changing climates with smarter development.

The report echoes an earlier U.N. climate science panel that said if greenhouse gases continue to rise, the world is looking at another about 6 or 7 degrees Fahrenheit (3.5 or 4 degrees Celsius) of warming by 2100 instead of the international goal of not allowing temperatures to rise more than 2 degrees Fahrenheit (1.2 degrees Celsius). The difference between those two outcomes, Princeton’s Oppenheimer said, “is the difference between driving on an icy road at 30 mph versus 90 mph. It’s risky at 30, but deadly at 90.”

Tol, who is in the minority of experts here, had his name removed from the summary because he found it “too alarmist,” harping too much on risk.

But the panel vice chairman, Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, said that’s not quite right: “We are pointing for reasons for alarm … It’s because the facts and the science and the data show that there are reasons to be alarmed. It’s not because we’re alarmist.”

The report is based on more than 12,000 peer reviewed scientific studies. Michel Jarraud, secretary general of the World Meteorological Organization, a co-sponsor of the climate panel, said this report was “the most solid evidence you can get in any scientific discipline.”

Michael Mann, a climate scientist at Pennsylvania State University who wasn’t part of this report, said he found the report “very conservative” because it is based on only peer reviewed studies and has to be approved unanimously.

There is still time to adapt to some of the coming changes and reduce heat-trapping emissions, so it’s not all bad, said study co-author Patricia Romero-Lankao of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Colorado.

“We have a closing window of opportunity,” she said. “We do have choices. We need to act now.”



The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change:



Seth Borenstein can be followed at

Climate Engineering: What Do the Public Think? (Science Daily)

Jan. 12, 2014 — Members of the public have a negative view of climate engineering, the deliberate large-scale manipulation of the environment to counteract climate change, according to a new study.

The results are from researchers from the University of Southampton and Massey University (New Zealand) who have undertaken the first systematic large-scale evaluation of the public reaction to climate engineering.

The work is published in Nature Climate Change this week (12 January 2014).

Some scientists think that climate engineering approaches will be required to combat the inexorable rise in atmospheric CO2 due to the burning of fossil fuels. Climate engineering could involve techniques that reduce the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere or approaches that slow temperature rise by reducing the amount of sunlight reaching the Earth’s surface.

Co-author Professor Damon Teagle of the University of Southampton said: “Because even the concept of climate engineering is highly controversial, there is pressing need to consult the public and understand their concerns before policy decisions are made.”

Lead author, Professor Malcolm Wright of Massey University, said: “Previous attempts to engage the public with climate engineering have been exploratory and small scale. In our study, we have drawn on commercial methods used to evaluate brands and new product concepts to develop a comparative approach for evaluating the public reaction to a variety of climate engineering concepts.”

The results show that the public has strong negative views towards climate engineering. Where there are positive reactions, they favour approaches that reduce carbon dioxide over those that reflected sunlight.

“It was a striking result and a very clear pattern,” said Professor Wright. “Interventions such as putting mirrors in space or fine particles into the stratosphere are not well received. More natural processes of cloud brightening or enhanced weathering are less likely to raise objections, but the public react best to creating biochar (making charcoal from vegetation to lock in CO2) or capturing carbon directly from the air.”

Nonetheless, even the most well regarded techniques still has a net negative perception.

The work consulted large representative samples in both Australia and New Zealand. Co-author Pam Feetham said: “The responses are remarkably consistent from both countries, with surprisingly few variations except for a slight tendency for older respondents to view climate engineering more favourably.”

Professor Wright noted that giving the public a voice so early in technological development was unusual, but increasingly necessary. “If these techniques are developed the public must be consulted. Our methods can be employed to evaluate the responses in other countries and reapplied in the future to measure how public opinion changes as these potential new technologies are discussed and developed,” he said.

Journal Reference:

  1. Malcolm J. Wright, Damon A. H. Teagle, Pamela M. Feetham. A quantitative evaluation of the public response to climate engineeringNature Climate Change, 2014; DOI: 10.1038/nclimate2087

Otimismo do brasileiro cai pela primeira vez desde 2009 (OESP)

Por José Roberto de Toledo | Estadão Conteúdo – 12.jan.2014

No ano em que a presidente Dilma Rousseff tentará se reeleger, o otimismo do brasileiro está 17 pontos menor do que quando a petista assumiu a Presidência da República. Segundo pesquisa do Ibope, 57% esperam que 2014 seja melhor do que 2013. Apesar de elevada, a taxa caiu pela primeira vez em anos. Na pesquisa anterior, os otimistas eram 72% – mesmo patamar de 2011 (74%), 2010 (73%) e 2009 (74%), pela margem de erro.

O pessimismo praticamente dobrou nos últimos 12 meses. Agora, 14% acham que 2014 será pior do que 2013. Um ano antes, só 8% achavam que 2013 seria pior do que 2012. Os restantes 24% apostam que este ano será igual ao anterior (eram 17%).

Há diferenças regionais importantes no otimismo dos brasileiros. Ele é muito maior no Norte/Centro-Oeste (69%) e Nordeste (67%) do que no Sudeste (47%). Destaca-se nas capitais (61%) e murcha nas cidades das periferias das metrópoles (52%). É a marca dos jovens com menos de 25 anos (64%) e dos mais ricos (72%).

A pesquisa do Ibope faz parte de um levantamento global de opinião pública realizado em 65 países pela rede WIN, que reúne alguns dos maiores institutos de pesquisa do mundo. Apesar da diminuição das expectativas de melhora, o Brasil ainda aparece em 7º lugar no ranking das nações mais otimistas. As informações são do jornal O Estado de S. Paulo.

“Scientists are…” (Slate)

DEC. 4 2013 8:00 AM


Phil Plait writes Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of Death from the Skies!

A lot of tech is so ubiquitous you don’t even notice it anymore; it would be like a fish noticing the water in which it swims.

Google certainly fits that category; it’s not very often a company name becomes a verb. It’s second nature now to fire up a browser and type in a few words when I need some help pinning down a word or phrase, or to just get more info on a topic.

A while back, Google introducedautocomplete; if you start typing words into the search engine text field, it’ll make suggestions for words even before you’re done typing. I don’t find this feature particularly useful since I generally have a pretty good idea what I’m looking for when I’m searching. But I can certainly see its utility.

The suggestions are based on previous searches by users as well as page content, so the most common things people type in (weighted with with highly-ranked sites) are what Google offers up as helpful phrases. That makes sense; using the most common searches is statistically likely to match what you might need.

It’s not hard to imagine a downside to this, though. It can focus searching to a few popular sites, and can reinforce false information, since those pages may not be vetted for accuracy.

I was alerted to this when Lindacska126 on Twitter sent me the following tweet:

@BadAstronomer Have you seen what happens when you Google “Scientists are”?

The link goes to a screengrab showing Google’s suggestions to her. I typed “Scientists are” into Google and got essentially the same results:

Scientists are...
Scientists are what now?

Ouch. That doesn’t seem to fare well for what people think of scientists.

I’ll admit, most scientists are liberal, or perhaps better described as progressive. In general that’s to be expected of someone who has an open mind, is ready for open inquiry, and willing to change their views based on evidence. But only in general; I know many conservative scientists who are quite brilliant. I’ve been labeled as liberal myself many times, which makes me chuckle; my views on most topics are a bit more subtle than can be assumed from such a blanket label.

But the “scientists are stupid” and “scientists are liars” suggestions are troubling. Can it be that most people really think this?

I decided to follow through, and see what pages are actually recommended by Google if you use these suggestions. What I found is that yes, many of the pages linked do make these accusations — and they come from the usual suspects, such as fundamentalist religion sites, or climate change deniers. No surprise there. And some are satirical pages, clearly meant as parody. But it’s not hard to find page after page, site after site, sincerely making these claims about scientists.

What do we make of this? Is all hope lost?

This is troubling, to be sure, but I don’t know just how bad it is. After all, we don’t know why people are using these terms. I search for things I know are wrong all the time, for instance, so I type weird things into Google every day. Of course, I tend to be looking for people making claims that are, um, not as reality-based as they could be, so maybe I’m not the best example.

I can think of a few other ways this may not be so bad, but I keep coming back to the fact that in the United States, roughly 45% of people outright deny evolution. Climate change denial is on the wane, but still, something like a third of people in the US deny that humans have played a role in it. And it’s not hard at all to find media pundits who froth and rail against science, as long as it doesn’t have the ideological stance they cleave unto.

Scientists need a better rep. Science is everywhere, all around you, all the time. You’re soaking in it. I can make all manners of arguments of why it’s important philosophically — and I have — but it’s also absolutely critical economically; our way of life in the United States, and the world, depends absolutely on scientific achievements. From better agriculture to medicine to communication to mitigating global disasters, science plays a fundamental role in each.

So what to do? In my opinion, there are two things that will help. One is to not let broad and ridiculous accusations about science and scientists go unchecked. I do that here quite often, of course.

The other, though, is if you love science, tell people. Write about it, talk about it, sing about it if you can (and Gawker? You’re not helping; we should be encouragingpeople to look up the definition of “science”, not making fun of them).

And if I may, let me suggest simply being a better person. I get this idea from my friend George Hrab, who has a segment on his podcast where he answers questions from listeners. Many times, he is asked by someone who is nonreligious how their reputation can be improved. George tells them to lead by example: be friendly, help out, do charity work. Then, later, if someone finds out you’re not a believer, it won’t color their opinion as much. In fact, it may change their mind about an entire group of people they otherwise would have written off.

I suspect the same can be done for science. If so many people truly think scientists are liars, scientists are stupid, then we need to show them otherwise. Don’t lecture; teach (or better yet, converse). Don’t insult or belittle; enlighten. Admit your mistakes, show where you learn from them. Talk about the joy and wonder and awe of truly understanding the Universe as it actually is!

Isn’t that why we love science in the first place?

My hope is that we can change Google’s algorithm, so that one day it will produce this:

Ah. That’s better.


The India Problem (Slate)

Why is it thwarting every international climate agreement?

NOV. 27 2013 12:44 PM


Haze in Mumbai, 2009

India has stalled international greenhouse gas accords because climate change isn’t a winning election issue in the developing country. 

Photo by Arko Datta/Reuters

Apowerful but unpredictable force is rising in the battle over the future of the climate. It’s the type of powerful force that’s felt when 1.2 billion people clamor for more electricity—many of them trying to light, heat, and refrigerate their ways out of poverty; others throwing rupees at excessive air conditioning and other newfound luxuries. And it’s the type of unpredictable force that’s felt when the government of those 1.2 billion is in election mode, clamoring for votes by brazenly blocking progress at international climate talks.

Hundreds of millions of Indians live in poverty, wielding a tiny per-person carbon footprint when compared with residents of the West and coming out on top of environmental sustainability surveys. But the country is home to so many people that steady economic growth is turning it into a climate-changing powerhouse. It has developed a gluttonous appetite for coal, one of the most climate-changing fuels and the source of nearly two-thirds of the country’s power. India recently overtook Russia to become the world’s third-biggest greenhouse gas polluter, behind China and the United States. (If you count the European Union as a single carbon-belching bloc, then India comes in fourth).

India has been obstructing progress on international climate talks, culminating during the two weeks of U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change negotiations that ended Saturday in Warsaw. The Warsaw talks were the latest annual get-together for nearly 200 countries trying to thrash out a new climate treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol.

India’s erraticism at international climate talks is frustrating the West. But it is also starting to anger some developing nations struggling to cope with violent weather, droughts, and floods blamed on climate change.

India’s stance during climate talks is that developed countries should be legally committed to addressing global warming by reducing their greenhouse gas emissions, and that developing countries should do what they say they can do to help out.

But once-clear distinctions between developed and developing countries are blurring. A growing number of developing countries—including low-lying island states in the Pacific and some countries in Africa and Latin America with which India has long been allied—are eyeing the vast, growing, climate-changing pollution being pumped out by China and India. They are wondering why those two countries, and others in the “developing” camp, shouldn’t also be committed to reducing their emissions.

The Warsaw meetings ended with India and China thwarting efforts by the United States, Europe, and others to commit all countries to measures to address greenhouse gas pollution. Instead, countries agreed in Warsaw to announce their “intended contributions” to slow down global warming in 2015, in advance of final meetings planned in Paris to agree on the new climate treaty.

“Developing countries are a varied group at this stage, and there is a growing frustration about the inability to move forward from some of these countries,” said Jake Schmidt, international climate policy director for the Natural Resources Defense Council, who attended the Warsaw meetings. “Some of their anger is directed at the U.S. and Europe, but more and more of their anger is quietly being directed at friends in the developing world that they see as stalling progress.”

And no country has done more than India to stall progress on international climate negotiations during the past two months.

It began last month in Bangkok, when negotiators met to update the Montreal Protocol. Signed in the late 1980s, the protocol saved the ozone layer by ending the use of chlorofluorocarbons in refrigerants, household goods, and industrial products. The problem was, manufacturers often swapped out CFCs for a closely related group of chemicals called hydrofluorocarbons. HFCs don’t hurt the ozone layer, but it turns out that they are potent greenhouse gases. With climate change now the most important global environmental challenge, the United States and a long list of other countries have proposed amending the Montreal Protocol to phase out the use of HFCs.

All seemed to be going well with the plans for those amendments. India and the other members of the Group of 20 endorsed the proposal during September meetings in Russia. A couple of weeks later, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh reiterated the country’s support for the amendments during meetings with President Obama.

But when international representatives gathered for meetings in Bangkok to actually make the amendments, they were surprised and angered to find the negotiations blocked by India. The country’s environment officials told Indian media that they were worried about the costs associated with switching over to new coolants. What may have worried them even more was the fear of being accused of opening the door for foreign air conditioning and fridge companies to take over domestic markets.

If there’s one thing that no Indian government up for re-election in the current political climate would want, it’s to be seen giving an inch to America on trade.

Then came Warsaw. Extensive negotiations around agriculture had been scheduled for the first of the two weeks of meetings. Farming causes about a fifth of greenhouse gas emissions, due in part to land clearing, energy use, and the methane that bubbles up from rice paddies and is belched out by cattle.

But that’s not what drew farming representatives to Warsaw. Farmers are the hardest hit by changes in the weather—which should help them secure a chunk of the hundreds of billions of dollars in climate aid that a new climate treaty is expected to deliver for poor countries. But India, which is home to farms that are struggling to cope with changing rainfall patterns, spearheaded a maneuver that blocked agricultural negotiations from moving forward. Its negotiators feared that negotiations over farmer adaptation efforts would lead to requests that those farmers also reduce their carbon footprints.

“India has been very clear that agriculture is the mainstay of our population, and we don’t want any mitigation targets there,” said Indrajit Bose, a climate change program manager at the influential Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment, who attended the Warsaw meetings. “It’s a red line for India, and I think we agree with that.”

During the second week of Warsaw talks, India again blocked progress on HFC reductions, and it worked with China to water down the meeting’s most important agreement on the final day of talks.

Despite instances of Chinese obstructionism at Warsaw, China and the United States have been making headlines during the past week for their blossoming mutual commitment to tackling climate change. Now India appears to be supplanting China as the developing world’s chief climate agitator, even as it takes real steps to boost renewable energy production at home and meet voluntary goals to reduce the “emission intensity” of its economy. (Meanwhile, Japan, Australia, and Canada are taking America’s mantle as the developed world’s chief climate antagonists.)

The India problem isn’t limited to climate talks. Early this year India helped dilute an international agreement that had been crafted to reduce mercury pollution—a major problem with coal-fired power plants.

Before the country’s environment minister was replaced during a mid-2011 Cabinet reshuffle, India had been hailed as a constructive leader during international climate talks. Now it’s being accused of foot-dragging, obstructionism, and flip-flopping.

Recent Indian shenanigans on the global climate stage are partly a reflection of the fact that a federal election will be held in the spring. Such elections are held every five years, and frantic campaigning by long lists of parties occupies many of the months that precede them. In India, despite the country’s acute vulnerability to climate change, the climate is simply not an election issue. BBC polling suggests that 39 percent of Indians have never heard about “climate change.” Indian voters are calling for more affordable energy—not for a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

And India, like other developing countries, has been angered by what appears to be reluctance by developed countries to lend a meaningful financial hand as the climate goes awry. A cruel irony of climate change is that the poor countries that did the least to warm the planet are often the hardest hit, vulnerable to rising tides, crop-wilting droughts, and powerful storms. During the talks in Warsaw, Western countries were suddenly balking at previously promised climate aid that would have been worth $100 billion a year by 2020. And developed countries have fobbed off developing countries’ appeals for additional compensation, so-called loss-and-damage payments, when climate change has harmed their people and economies.

It’s not just the electioneering in India that’s causing problems for global climate talks. Another problem seems to be how little press attention the country receives on foreign shores. “There’s not a lot of focus on India anywhere,” said Manish Ram, a renewable-energy analyst for Greenpeace India who attended the Warsaw meetings. “That’s one of the reasons India gets away with doing what it’s been doing.”

Pan-Amazônia à brasileira (Agência Pública)

02/12/2013 – 11h07

por Bruno Fonseca e Jessica Mota, para a Agência Pública

gasoduto Pan Amazônia à brasileira

Gasoduto de Camisea no Peru. Foto: Divulgação Skanska

Obras negociadas pelo BNDES na Amazônia sul-americana incluem hidrelétrica com rachaduras, gasoduto com vazamentos e rodovia que estremeceu a presidência da Bolívia.

Na vertente leste da Cordilheira dos Andes, início da Amazônia Peruana, o dinheiro brasileiro começa a erguer uma barragem de 200 metros de altura – e trata-se de muito dinheiro. São mais de US$ 320 milhões em empréstimos do Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Econômico e Social (BNDES), quantia que representa mais de um quarto do custo total da bilionária hidrelétrica de La Chaglla, que será uma das três maiores usinas do Peru em 2015, quando deve ser concluída.

Quem toca as obras, no Rio Huallaga, a mais de 400 km da capital, Lima, é a gigante brasileira Odebrecht. A usina é uma peça importante para a Odebrecht, que tem olhos especiais para o território peruano, onde atua há 33 anos e possui ao menos outros nove empreendimentos (AQUI AQUI) em execução, desde rodovias a gasodutos e portos.

Há razões de sobra para justificar o interesse da Odebrecht no Peru. As licitações para megaempreendimentos são menos concorridas no país vizinho que em terras brasileiras, onde há mais empreiteiras a disputar o filão. Tomemos como exemplo a própria usina de La Chaglla. Simplesmente não houve concorrência na licitação. Segundo reportagem da revista Carta Capital, o único adversário possível, a empresa peruana Chancadora Centauro, desistiu ainda na fase de estudos, alegando não ter condições de cumprir o prazo.

A conexão com a costa oeste do Peru é também um caminho precioso para os produtos brasileiros atingirem o Oceano Pacífico. Assim, uma empreiteira como a Odebrecht passa a contar com o apoio de outras empresas brasileiras que, por sua vez, ainda podem trazer consigo o suporte de financiadores públicos para grandes empreendimentos. É este o caso dos investimentos no porto de Bayovar, construído pela Odebrecht a partir de dinheiro da mineradora Vale para escoar sua produção de fosfato a partir de uma mina cujos investimentos chegaram a mais de US$ 560 milhões de dólares. (AQUI) A Vale, por sua vez, trouxe a Andrade Gutierrez, que conseguiu dinheiro do BNDES para construção de uma usina de dessalinização da água fornecida à mina. O BNDES, como de costume, não revela quanto repassou à Andrade Gutierrez através do fomento à contratação pós-embarque (leia mais sobre a falta de transparência do BNDES aqui).

Já na costa leste, a Amazônia Peruana é uma área estratégica para a produção de energia. Estratégica porque a alta declividade em algumas regiões permite represas com menor área de inundação e maior potencial energético. Mas também porque possibilita a venda de energia para o Brasil e, com isso, conquista o coração de financiadores públicos do porte do BNDES. Tanto é que, em 2010, Brasil e Peru firmaram um acordo energético para construção de hidrelétricas em território peruano para exportar energia para o Brasil (AQUI), consolidação de um namoro que começou em 1997 a partir de um memorando de entendimento sobre cooperação em energia (AQUI).

Em contato com a Pública, o BNDES, entretanto, se recusou a comentar quais projetos de hidrelétricas peruanas estariam sendo avaliados pelo banco. “O BNDES não faz comentários sobre se um projeto está ou não sendo analisado pela instituição. Podemos dizer apenas que nenhum daqueles projetos foi até o momento aprovado ou contratado pelo BNDES”, informou a assessoria, depois de uma evasiva troca de 27 e-mails com a Pública.

Fato é que, em 2011, a pressão de comunidades indígenas levou a Odebrecht a desistir da construção da usina de Tambo 40, na região Central do país, que seria financiada pelo BNDES. Os grupos populares contestavam a previsão de alagamento de 73 mil hectares de florestas amazônicas e o deslocamento de 14 mil pessoas (AQUI). A hidrelétrica seria construída pela brasileira OAS.

perfuracao Pan Amazônia à brasileira

Perfuração de túnel nas obras da Hidrelétrica-de Chaglla, no Peru. Foto: Divulgação Odebrecht

BNDES financia exploração de gás e tragédia ambiental no Peru

O projeto de gás Camisea, no departamento de Cuzco, na Amazônia peruana, próxima ao estado do Acre, foi iniciado em 2003 por uma parceria público-privada, com grande aporte de financiamento do Banco Interamericano de Desenvolvimento (BID). Localizado em uma região próxima a comunidades indígenas – como a Reserva Territorial Kugapakori, Nahua, Nanti (RTKN), onde vivem os índios Nahua, Nanti, Matsigenka e Mashco-Piro – o projeto foi visto com preocupação por ambientalistas. O objetivo era transportar gás natural e líquidos de gás natural até a área costeira do Peru, no Oceano Pacífico.

O Consórcio Camisea é liderado pela argentina Pluspetrol, junto à Repsol-YPF, Sonatrach, Hunt Oil, Techpetrol e SK Energy. Durante os primeiros anos de desenvolvimento do projeto, ocorrerm seis vazamentos de gás. Glenn Shepard, antropólogo e etno-botânico convidado pelo Import-Export Bank, dos Estados Unidos a integrar um painel de estudo – o South Peru Panel – sobre o projeto, como condição de empréstimo do banco à Hunt Oil, esteve na região durante duas semanas no final de 2011. Em seu blog, o especialista comentou o descaso com infraestrutura na região, que não tem nem saneamento básico, e ressaltou o que lhe disse um morador local: “não há vida para viver. Sem peixe, não há nada. A água está contaminada. Há muitas doenças”. (Leia o informe do antropólogo AQUIe o último relatório lançado pelo painel AQUI, ambos em inglês)

O BID chegou a realizar duas auditorias, e fez um empréstimo de US$5 milhões para o governo, destinado a fortalecer seu sistema de proteção ambiental e social associado ao projeto, de acordo com o próprio banco. A segunda parte do projeto recebeu aprovação de financiamento do Banco Interamericano em 2007 – não sem protestos de organizações ambientais, que alegaram omissão a certos critérios nas auditorias realizadas pelo BID, referentes a danos à biodiversidade e comunidades indígenas.

Em 2009, o BNDES aprovou um empréstimo para exportação da Confab Industrial S/A com destino à Transportadora de Gás do Peru, na modalidade de buyer’s credit, na qual o banco estabelece o contrato diretamente com a empresa importadora, por meio do exportador. Como sempre, o valor não é divulgado pelo banco. Este ano, o caso culminou em uma crise no governo peruano, com pedido de demissão do então vice-ministro de Interculturalidade do Peru, Paulo Vilca (leia mais AQUI).

BNDES na Bolívia: ex-ministro aponta má fama de empresas brasileiras

Os problemas envolvendo obras de empreiteiras brasileiras financiadas pelo BNDES se estendem pela região amazônica de outros países da América do Sul. Talvez um dos mais notórios exemplos é a construção da estrada San Ignacio de Moxos / Villa Tunari, na Bolívia – obra que se tornou um fiasco político e diplomático.

A estrada, também conhecida como rodovia Cochabamba-Beni, é um antigo antigo projeto do governo boliviano que cobria mais de 300 km, mas tomou corpo depois do BNDES firmar um contrato de US$ 332 milhões, através da aliança do então presidente Lula e o mandatário boliviano Evo Morales (AQUI). Faltaria à Bolívia apenas completar US$ 80 milhões para bancar a obra.

A construção da estrada foi entregue à empreiteira brasileira OAS em meio a uma delicada situação: pouco antes, a construtora brasileira Queiroz Galvão havia sido expulsa por não cumprir especificações do projeto de construção de duas rodovias no sul da Bolívia. As estradas apresentavam rachaduras nas obras e utilização de asfalto no lugar de cimento, segundo apontou o governo boliviano em 2007. A Bolívia chegou a decretar a prisão de um dos diretores da companhia, que escapou do país.

A situação foi revertida após negociações entre Brasil e Bolívia, mas novamente a Queiroz Galvão foi expulsa após divergências no custo de conserto das duas rodovias. A empresa afirmou por nota, na época, que iria buscar ressarcimento pelos danos pela “rescisão unilateral e injustificada do contrato pela Administradora Boliviana de Estradas”.

Após a desastrosa operação, a OAS assumiu o contrato de reparo das estradas e, coincidentemente, venceu a licitação para a construção da rodovia San Ignacio de Moxos / Villa Tunari na mesma época.

Apenas dois anos depois, em 2009, a OAS passou a ser investigada pela Controladoria-Geral da Bolívia após avaliações oficiais apontarem superfaturamento na estrada de Villa Tunari. Um estudo da Sociedade dos Engenheiros da Bolívia (SIB, em espanhol) afirmou que o preço de cada quilômetro era o dobro de outras obras na Bolívia, em locais de topografia similar. Além disso, a OAS foi a única empresa a participar da licitação.

Como se não bastasse, um trecho da rodovia passava dentro das terras do Parque Nacional y Territorio Indígena Isiboro-Secure (TIPNIS). O resultado: em agosto de 2011, a Confederação de Povos Indígenas da Bolívia (CIDOB) e outras organizações iniciaram uma marcha em oposição ao projeto, que durou meses e enfrentou prisões e espancamentos de manifestantes. A pressão popular foi tão intensa que balançou o primeiro governo de um indígena no país vizinho e, em outubro do mesmo ano, Evo Morales acabou promulgando uma Lei que impedia a rodovia de passar por TIPNIS e o declarava como território intangível.

O imbróglio acabou com o cancelamento do contrato com a OAS e o desgaste foi tamanho que, através da sua assessoria de imprensa, a empresa afirmou que atualmente não possui nenhum outro empreendimento na Bolívia.

O BNDES também foi afetado pela polêmica, e teve de publicar nota oficial afirmando que o banco havia determinado o cumprimento de todas as exigências ambientais cabíveis para que fosse firmado o contrato de financiamento à exportação de bens e serviços utilizados na estrada boliviana. “A assinatura do contrato foi condicionada às exigências usuais do BNDES, além de requisitos adicionais, elaborados em coordenação com o governo boliviano e fiscalizados por auditoria independente. Nos trechos da estrada que não passam por reserva indígena, o licenciamento ambiental já foi concluído, o que permitiu o início das obras”. Nenhum desembolso foi realizado pelo banco, visto que o contrato foi cancelado.

Mas, para Alejandro Almaraz, que foi vice-ministro de Terras do governo de Evo Morales até 2010 – e hoje é um dos maiores opositores da obra – todo o caso envolvendo a estrada do TIPNIS demonstra uma postura prejudicial das empresas brasileiras para com o povo boliviano, com conivência do governo local. “A imagem da empresa brasileira ficou muito desgastada, entretanto não é algo tão chamativo por não se tratar de nenhuma novidade. Está é a tradicional imagem das empresas construtoras brasileiras na Bolívia. Há várias décadas as empresas brasileiras têm uma espécie de monopólio na construção de estradas bolivianas, ao menos das grandes. Sempre houve esse tipo de denúncias, com bastante fundamento, mostrando superfaturamentos que beneficiam as empresas brasileiras. Isto é uma história eterna”, critica.

Para Almaraz, há pouca transparência sobre o tema na Bolívia. “Se abriu um processo judicial que, como tantos outros que envolvem agentes do governo, está congelado. Recentemente, pouco se fala [sobre o caso] na Bolívia e na imprensa. Tampouco há transparência sobre os ressarcimentos [entre a empresa brasileira e o governo boliviano] e na resolução do contrato” avalia.

Atualmente, a rodovia San Ignacio de Moxos / Villa Tunari segue em construção – exceto pelo trecho que passaria por TIPNIS – por empresas bolivianas. Entretanto, o governo boliviano vem realizando consultas com as populações afetadas para tentar retomar a construção do trecho (leia mais AQUI).

Imbróglios diplomáticos

Em 2004, o BNDES aprovou financiamento referente à exportação de bens e serviços da Odebrecht para a construção da hidrelétrica de San Francisco, na província amazônica de Pastaza, no Equador. O consórcio construtor contou também com as internacionais Alstom e Vatech.

A usina começou a operar em 2007, e no ano seguinte apresentou as primeiras falhas, que incluíam rachaduras em um dos túneis e defeitos em uma turbina. De seu lado, a Odebrecht afirmou que “durante seu primeiro ano de operação, a Central (hidrelétrica) trabalhou continuamente, sob a responsabilidade de empresa do governo equatoriano, e acima da capacidade projetada”, segundo comunicado. A empresa ainda alegou que as falhas se deviam a um aumento significativo de sedimentos” nas águas do rio Pastaza devido à erupção do vulcão Tungurahua, a 20 quilômetros da usina. Por outro lado, o governo equatoriano de Rafael Correa afirmou que a usina hidrelétrica apresentava “falhas estruturais” e exigiu uma indenização de US$ 43 milhões pelas perdas, além da reparação da obra.

A crise culminou com a emissão de dois decretos de Correa que pediam a tomada dos bens da construtora, o término de todos os contratos da empresa no país e expulsão de seus funcionários do território equatoriano. Foi o início de uma crise bilateral entre o Equador e o Brasil, com a declaração de que o governo de Correa não pagaria o crédito fornecido pelo BNDES para a importação dos serviços da Odebrecht para a concessionária equatoriana. Ao fim, o Equador voltou atrás, pagou o financiamento e, em 2010, entrou em acordo com a Odebrecht, que retomou suas operações no país.

mapa Pan Amazônia à brasileira

Mapa Investimentos negociados pelo BNDES na Pan-Amazônia

Como saber o que o BNDES faz na Pan-Amazônia?

Os diversos casos de conflitos socioambientais envolvendo os megaempreendimentos tocados por empresas brasileiras vêm se acumulando, e lançando dúvidas sobre a atuação das corporações brasileiras na Amazônia sulamericana – problema que se estende aos financiadores, sobretudo às instituições públicas como o BNDES, que, supostamente, deveria primar pelo desenvolvimento regional antes de abraçar tais projetos.

A situação se torna ainda mais dramática devido à dimensão dos investimentos do BNDES na região. Desde o início do governo Lula, o banco investiu mais de US$ 2 bilhões em apoios à exportação de empresas brasileiras somente para países que abarcam a Amazônia internacional (Bolívia, Colômbia, Equador, Bolívia e Venezuela). O principal país beneficiado é a Venezuela, que recebeu mais de dois terços desse valor (cerca de US$ 1,4 bi).

Toda essa quantia pode ser ainda maior, visto que o BNDES divulga apenas os números das exportações da modalidade de pós-embarque (quando o banco apoia a comercialização de bens e serviços nacionais no exterior), deixando de divulgar as cifras da modalidade de pré-embarque (quando o banco apoia a produção no Brasil das mercadorias que serão exportadas).

Além disso, o BNDES não disponibiliza uma lista clara de quais projetos no exterior foram ou estão sendo apoiados ou negociados pela instituição. A Pública enviou uma lista ao banco com quase 30 projetos, apenas da Pan-Amazônia (veja abaixo), que em algum momento haviam sido assinalados pela imprensa como destinos de financiamento do BNDES. Apenas o projeto da hidrelétrica de Chaglla foi confirmado pelo banco – a todos os demais, o BNDES se recusou a comentar, ainda que alguns deles tivessem documentos do Itamaraty que comprovavam o interesse do Governo Brasileiro em financiar obras bilaterais através do banco. O BNDES também se recusou a comentar quais motivos poderiam ter levado ao cancelamento do financiamento desses projetos e até mesmo se o banco ainda estaria em processo de avaliação dos contratos. Ou seja, o BNDES e o Governo Federal argumentam sigilo bancário para negar uma gama gigantesca de informações – desde negociações em curso até valores e projetos beneficiadas – e defender que o sigilo tem supremacia sobre o direito à informação da sociedade brasileira.

Veja a lista de projetos enviada à assessoria de imprensa do BNDES no link original da matéria.

A série BNDES na Amazônia é uma parceria da Agência Pública com O Eco.

** Publicado originalmente no site Agência Pública.

Is BP “Trolling” Its Facebook Critics? (Aljazeera)

Wednesday, 20 November 2013 13:04

By Dahr JamailAljazeera English

BP.BP Critics using BP America’s Facebook page allege they have been harassed. (Erika Blumenfeld / Al Jazeera)

New Orleans – BP has been accused of hiring internet “trolls” to purposefully attack, harass, and sometimes threaten people who have been critical of how the oil giant has handled its disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

The oil firm hired the international PR company Ogilvy & Mather to run the BP America Facebook page during the oil disaster, which released at least 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf in what is to date the single largest environmental disaster in US history.

The page was meant to encourage interaction with BP, but when people posted comments that were critical of how BP was handling the crisis, they were often attacked, bullied, and sometimes directly threatened.

“Marie” was deeply concerned by the oil spill, and began posting comments on the BP America Facebook page. Today, she asks that she remain anonymous out of what she described to Al Jazeera as “fear for my personal safety should the BP trolls find out that I am the whistleblower in this case”.

In internet slang, a troll is someone who sows online discord by starting arguments or upsetting people, often posting inflammatory messages in an online community, or even issuing physical threats.

Marie sought assistance from the Government Accountability Project (GAP) in Washington DC, and has produced boxes of documents and well-researched information that may show that the people harassing BP’s critics online worked for BP or Ogilvy.

“We’d been hearing of this kind of harassment by BP when we were working on our health project [in the Gulf of Mexico], so it sparked our interest,” GAP investigator Shanna Devine told Al Jazeera. “We saw Marie’s documentation of more serious threats made on the BP page, and decided to investigate.”

According to both Marie and Devine, some of the threats began on the page, but then escalated off the page.

Threats included identifying where somebody lived, an internet troll making reference to having a shotgun and making use of it, and “others just being more derogatory”, according to Devine. “We’ve seen all this documentation and that’s why we thought it was worth bringing to the ombudsman’s office of BP, and we told them we thought some of it even warranted calling the police about.”

Death Threats

“We have thousands of documents regarding communications posted through various Facebook websites,” said certified legal investigator Steve Lockman of Levin, Papantonio, Thomas, Mitchell, Rafferty & Proctor. “In addtion, we are in possession of communications between the federal government and the ombudsman’s office of BP regarding the [harassment] Internet communications, and the federal government requesting BP to control the harassment through their Facebook page and their interactions.”

“The harassment communications are not something that BP and their people are not aware of,” Lockman told Al Jazeera. “It’s not a hidden secret that the personal attacks, broadcast abuse, and type-written harassment were happening and continue to go on.”

Marie provided the firm and Al Jazeera with files of complaint letters, computer screenshots of the abuse, and a list of Facebook profiles used by the people who harassed her and others.

According to Marie, the harassment didn’t remain on the BP page. Trolls often followed users to their personal Facebook pages and continued to harass them there.”I was called a lot of names,” Marie added. “I was called a streetwalker and a lot of things like that, and eventually had gun threats.”

“They resorted to very demeaning methods of abuse,” Marie said. “They were racist, sexist, and threatened me and others with legal action and violence. They’ve insinuated that some commenters are ‘child molesters’, and have often used the tactic of mass reporting with the goal of having their targets completely removed from Facebook.”

One troll using the name “Griffin” makes several allusions to gun violence in order to distress and harass users, even going so far as to edit a photo of a BP critic’s pet bird into the crosshairs of a gunsight, before posting the photo online – along with photos of an arsenal of semi-automatic weapons.

Another instance occurred involving “Griffin” and an environmentalist who posted a picture of a rendition of Mother Earth saying “Mother Earth Has Been Waiting for Her Day in Court, BP”. “Griffin” posted a comment to the picture that read, “A few rounds from a .50 cal will stop that b**ch”.

According to Marie, Lockman and GAP, BP’s “astroturfing” efforts and use of “trolls” have been reported as pursuing users’ personal information, then tracking and posting IP addresses of users, contacting their employers, threatening to contact family members, and using photos of critics’ family members to create false Facebook profiles, and even threatening to affect the potential outcome of individual claims.

Marie, along with several other targets of harassment, wrote and sent two letters to BP America, asking the company to respond to the allegations and deal with the matter.  Neither letter received a response, which is why Marie decided to contact GAP, as well as the law firm.

While Marie’s evidence appears to tie Ogilvy and BP together via the trolls, the law firm Lockman works for is investigating further in order to conclusively determine the extent of BP’s involvement.

Spinning the Disaster

Stephen Marino worked for Ogilvy during the BP disaster. BP had been a client of Ogilvy for five years before the spill, and when the disaster occurred, “we were responsible for all the social media for BP during the spill”, Marino said during a lecture he gave at the University of Texas, Austin, on April 19, 2012.

His team, which he called the “digital influence team”, was “responsible for the crisis response”.  Marino told the audience that his job during the BP disaster was to run a ” reputation management campaign ” and gave this specific example of the depths to which Ogilvy worked to maintain a positive appearance for BP:

“We were putting out ads, if you guys remember those ads that came out where it would be Iris in the Gulf of Mexico and she’d be talking about how she grew up there and she wasn’t going to go away,” he explained . “The way we were working with the strategy on that was we would cut the ads one day, we would edit them overnight, we’d air them on Tuesday let’s say, and then we’d look at social media to see what the response was to the ads – and based upon the feedback we were getting on social media, the advertising agency would then go back and re-cut the ads to fix the message to make it resonate more with what the constituents wanted… that was the first key strategy.”

Chris Paulos, an attorney with the firm investigating Marie’s case, believes this is a perfect example of “subversive attempts by corporations to put forward their ideology of what we should think about them, and doing it in a way that is not decipherable to the average person”.

According to Paulos, the public should be concerned about this because we can no longer tell if people online are truly who they say they are, “or are working for a corporation and talking their script to control the dialogue about whatever issue they are addressing”.

“We are in unprecedented times with technology, and [in] the disparity between the power of corporations and autonomous consumers,” Paulos told Al Jazeera. ” Citizens United has basically emboldened corporations with their ability to speak as individuals with First Amendment rights. Ever since that decision, corporations have been outspoken and vigorously protecting themselves while doing it.”

BP’s Response

Billie Garde, BP’s deputy ombudsman, in a letter to the Government Accountability Project dated December 18, 2012, stated clearly that “BP America contracts management of its Facebook page to Ogilvy Public Relations” and added, “Ogilvy manages all of BP America’s social media matters”.

2013 1120-51

2013 1120-52

2013 1120-53

“According to BP America, Ogilvy has a group of 10 individuals in different time zones that perform comment screening of the page,” wrote Garde.

Interestingly, Garde’s letter addressed the fact that, at that time, according to Ogilvy’s data, 91 percent of all the comments on BP’s Facebook page were considered to be “unsupportive” of BP, while only nine percent were considered “supportive”.  She added that “i n previous years, the number of comments that were ‘unsupportive ‘ of BP was larger than the present 91 per cent “.

Her letter stated that Ogilvy follows a “three strike” policy for all comments, “meaning if they find a comment to be in violation of the commenting policy, they delete the comment and record a ‘strike’ against the user, and three strikes means a user is no longer able to comment on the page. It is also noted that Ogilvy will delete offending comments and send a note to the user indicating the comment was inappropriate”.

Garde added: “BP America has informed our office that Ogilvy strictly adheres to the Commenting Policy as stated on the BP America Facebook page. This policy serves as the guidelines that Ogilvy follows when evaluating the appropriateness of comments. Ogilvy does not evaluate a comment with respect to it being a positive or negative statement towards BP. Likewise, they do not delete any comments based on either of these qualifiers.”

According to Garde, BP America’s Director of Employee Concerns Oversight, Mike Wilson, was apprised of the situation. Wilson was provided examples of harassment and was asked if the examples were reviewed by Ogilvy. “The discussion is ongoing, and Mr Wilson is addressing these specific concerns internally, ” Garde added.

A BP spokesman provided the following statement for Al Jazeera: “The BP America Facebook page, and its moderators, do not endorse or dictate any user activity. All users’ comments and actions are their own. BP created the BP America Facebook page to engage the public in an informative conversation about our ongoing commitment to America and to facilitate constructive dialogue for any and all who wish to participate. No users are compensated for participating in the Facebook community. More information on our commenting policy can be found here .”

Marie, however, staunchly believes that BP is responsible for the pro-BP Facebook trolls.

“I have no doubt that they are, and I’ve found the links between the trolls and their friends who work for BP,” she told Al Jazeera. “The Government Accountability Project, through the inquiry they’re conducting for me, is still trying to find out. But we are being stonewalled on the other end, as far as BP doing some type of an internal investigation into these connections that I’ve uncovered.”

According to Marie, the harassment “almost ceased completely at around the same time GAP received Garde’s letter. I say ‘almost’ because at least two of the people who were involved in the prior harassment are still allowed to comment on BP’s page to this day, and [one of those] was still checking on people’s profiles to obtain their state of residence, and would use this against them on the page.”

“Terroristic Threats”

Lockman’s investigation continues, as do efforts of recovering additional documentation and sifting through information on hand that links the trolls to both BP and Ogilvy as well as other subcontracted companies used by BP as creative storytellers.

“The information we possess regarding Marie’s claims, printed out, fills two file boxes, and that does not include all the DVDs which are currently being duplicated at this time,” Lockman said. “It is an unbelievable amount of documentation that has been developed. This documentation, support materials, and information is coming from several different sources. It is like a spider web and we just got started.”

Al Jazeera asked the firm Lockman works for what the possible legal ramifications would be for the alleged actions of BP and Ogilvy.

“What these guys are doing is bordering on illegal,” Paulos told Al Jazeera. “Marie’s allegations are that these guys have made overt acts beyond what they did online, and it does sound like people who’ve been the victims of these actions believe they are in imminent danger of bodily harm, and that can become the basis for a claim of assault.”

Paulos went on to say that if money were involved, like if the threats made by the trolls were against people who had pending claims against BP, or offered to cease the harassment in exchange for funds or other benefits, “it can become a claim of extortion or fraud, depending on how the money is being used”.

Yet these are not the worst possible crimes.

“They [BP/Ogilvy] are obviously trying to silence folks who are opposed or critical of what they are doing,” Paulos claimed. “But it appears as though it has moved into threats that can be considered terroristic threats depending on the intent behind them, so there are a lot of laws they can be treading on, including stalking, and tortious interference with someone’s businesses. I understand they’ve called the workplaces of people on the websites, and depending on what’s being said that may become actionable under US civil law. So there are a lot of ways they could be breaching the law based on the intent of their communication and how that has been received.” Paulos believes Marie’s case is an example of how corporations such as BP use their money and power to take advantage of a lack of adequate legal regulations over the use of internet trolls and vigorous PR campaigns, and that this should give the general public pause.

“Marie’s story shows that corporations do not refrain from cyber-bullying, and they are doing it in a very aggressive fashion.”

Other Harassment

Linda Hooper Bui, an associate professor of entomology at Louisiana State University, experienced a different form of harassment from BP while working on a study about the impact of the oil disaster on spiders and insects.

“BP was desperately trying to control the science, and that was what I ran into,” Bui told Al Jazeera. According to her, BP’s chief science officer “tried to intimidate me”, and the harassment included BP “bullying my people” who were working in the field with her on her study that revealed how “insects and spiders in the oiled areas were completely decimated”.

While collecting data for the study, Bui and her colleagues regularly ran into problems with BP, she said.

“Local sheriffs working under the auspices of BP, as well as personnel with Wildlife and Fisheries, the US Coast Guard – all of these folks working under BP were preventing us from doing our job,” Bui explained. “We were barred from going into areas to collect data where we had previous data.”

Bui said personnel from the USCG, Fish and Wildlife, and even local sheriffs departments, always accompanied by BP staff, worked to prevent her from entering areas to collect data, confiscated her samples, and “if I’d refused to oblige they would have arrested me” – despite her having state permits to carry out her work.

Bui has also been harassed online, by what she thinks was “a BP troll”, but she remained primarily concerned about what BP was doing to block her science. Her frustration about this prompted her to write an opinion article for The New York Times , titled A Gulf Science Blackout .

That is when she received a call from BP.

“August 24, 2010, at 7:15am the morning my op-ed was published, I received a call from BP’s chief science officer who tried to get me to be quiet,” Bui said. “He said he’d solve my problem, and asked me how much money I needed.”

Bui explained to him she was only interested in being allowed to conduct her studies, and was not interested in working with BP, “that I was publishing science and it involved the entire scientific community”, and she never heard back from him.

She believes her method of dealing with the overall situation was a success. “When somebody starts to mess with me, I publicise it and say: ‘Don ‘ t f**k with me,'” she concluded. “And if you do, I’m going to go very public with it, and that’s what I did.”

BP did not respond to Al Jazeera for comment regarding her specific allegation.

GAP’s Shanna Devine told Al Jazeera she believes the onus is on BP to investigate the possibility that there is a connection between the harassment and Ogilvy and BP employees.

“But so far they’ve taken a very hands-off approach,” she explained. “They’ve not taken responsibility and they are not willing to share information with us. So if it’s through BP’s silence that the public is willing to draw their conclusions, I think that is legitimate.”

Hence, Devine concluded: “The BP America Facebook page is not a safe place to be.”

2013 1120-5aInternet troll “Griffin” here complains to Facebook that “D**” is a troll, making up fabrications about BP. “Griffin” posts a link to “D**”‘s profile page, next to a picture of a gun.

2013 1120-5bA second internet troll, “Ken Smith”, is understood to have taken a photo of “D**”‘s pet bird from the BP critic’s profile, printed it out, superimposed a rifle’s crosshairs upon the image – and shot it several times.

2013 1120-5c“Griffin”‘s profile, using an anonymised portrait, also features images of target practice. It is understood that his message has a threatening tone.

2013 1120-5d“Ken Smith”, who posted the previous image of a BP critic’s pet bird being used as target practice, here posts a picture of his considerable arsenal.

2013 1120-5e“Ken Smith” goes on to call BP critics “haters”, and one in particular a “drunken moron”.

2013 1120-5hOthers leave comments on BP America’s Facebook page supportive of the oil giant, claiming that scientists and others critical of the spill are attention-seeking drug users.

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source.


Dahr Jamail, a journalist for Al Jazeera’s Human Rights Department, is the author of “The Will to Resist: Soldiers Who Refuse to Fight in Iraq and Afghanistan,” (Haymarket Books, 2009), and “Beyond the Green Zone: Dispatches From an Unembedded Journalist in Occupied Iraq,” (Haymarket Books, 2007). Jamail reported from Iraq for more than a year, as well as from Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Turkey over the last ten years, and has won the Martha Gellhorn Award for Investigative Journalism, among other awards.

Um balanço da primeira semana da COP19 (Vitae Civilis)

18/11/2013 – 09h10

por Délcio Rodrigues e Silvia Dias*

cop19 ecod 300x183 Um balanço da primeira semana da COP19

Ao fim da primeira semana da CoP19, a sensação de dejá vú é inevitável. Mais uma vez, o negociador filipino foi o responsável pelo discurso mais emocionante. Mais uma vez, o Germanwatch divulga que os países pobres são os mais vulneráveis aos eventos climáticos extremos. Mais uma vez, aliás, temos um evento climático vitimando milhares de pessoas enquanto acontece a conferência. Mais uma vez, temos a divulgação de que estamos vivendo os anos mais quentes da história recente do planeta, de que a quantidade de gases causadores do efeito estufa na atmosfera já está em níveis alarmantes, de que o certo seria deixar as reservas de combustíveis fósseis intocadas…

Mesmo o novo relatório do IPCC chega com um certo gosto de notícia velha. Pois apesar da maior gama de detalhes e da maior certeza científica, basicamente o AR5 confirma que estamos seguindo em uma trajetória que esgotará já em 2030 todo o carbono que poderemos queimar neste século sem alterar perigosamente o clima do planeta. Da mesma forma, a Agência Internacional de Energia (IEA) confirma o exposto por uma forte campanha feita na CoP18 contra os subsídios aos combustíveis fósseis. Segundo a IEA, os governos gastaram US$ 523 bilhões em subsídios aos combustíveis fósseis em 2011 – uma completa inversão de prioridades, do ponto de vista da mudança climática: para cada US$ 1 em apoio às energias renováveis​​, outros US$ 6 estão promovendo combustíveis intensivos em carbono. Parte dos subsídios aos combustíveis fósseis estão acontecendo em países emergentes e em desenvolvimento, haja vista os subsídios à gasolina impostos pelo governo brasileiro à Petrobrás. Mas talvez sejam mais importantes nos países ricos. Pesquisa do Overseas Development Institute, do Reino Unido, mostrou que os subsídios ao consumo de combustíveis fósseis em 11 países da OCDE alcançam o total de US$ 72 bilhões dólares, ou cerca de US$ 112 por habitante adulto destes países.

Essa perversidade econômica estrangula, no nascimento, as inovações tecnológicas que podem contribuir para evitarmos a colisão iminente entre a economia global (e o seu sistema energético) e os limites ecológicos do nosso planeta. Os recentes desenvolvimentos em energia eólica, solar, bio-combustíveis , geotermia, marés, células de combustível e eficiência energética estão aumentando as possibilidades de construção de um cenário energético de baixo carbono. Além de poderem afastar a crise climática, estas tecnologias poderiam abrir novas oportunidades de investimento, fornecer energia a preços acessíveis e sustentar o crescimento. Mas este potencial somente será realizado se os governos perseguirem ativamente políticas industriais sustentáveis. É necessário alinhar o objetivo de mitigação da crise climática com desincentivos para as fontes de energia intensivas em carbono por meio de impostos e apoio a alternativas sustentáveis.

O fim dos subsídios aos combustíveis fósseis precisa ser acompanhado por políticas que favoreçam a transferência de tecnologias limpas. Não podemos deixar de lado o exemplo da China, da Índia e também do Brasil, para onde multinacionais historicamente enviam plataformas de produção sujas e energo-intensivas. Infelizmente, as negociações sobre tecnologia estão entre as mais emperradas – tanto no formato anterior, estabelecido pelo Caminho de Bali, como agora, na chamada Plataforma Durban. Simultaneamente, tomamos conhecimento, pelo WikiLeaks, da Parceria Trans-Pacífica (TPP) referente a patentes e proteção intelectual – acordo que vem sendo negociado secretamente entre líderes de 12 países que concentram 40% do PIB e um terço do comércio global e que visa impor medidas mais agressivas para coibir a quebra de propriedade intelectual.

A discrepância entre o que a ciência recomenda e o que os governos estão promovendo permanece, independente do formato das negociações climáticas. Saímos dos dois trilhos estabelecidos em Bali para a Plataforma Durban, mas os compromissos financeiros ou metas mais agressivas de mitigação não vieram. Na primeira semana da CoP19, os discursos dos negociadores reviveram posicionamentos arcaicos e obstrutivos ao processo. Sim, é certo que já sabíamos que esta não seria uma conferência de grandes resultados. Mas o fato é que os bad guys resolveram ser realmente bad sob a condução complacente de uma presidência que não se constrange em explicitar sua conduta em prol do carvão e demais combustíveis fósseis. Tanto que a Rússia abriu mão de atravancar o processo, guardando suas queixas sobre o processo da UNFCCC para outra ocasião.

Esta outra ocasião pode ser a CoP20, no Peru, para onde as esperanças de negociações mais produtivas se voltam. Antes, porém, haverá a cúpula de Ban Ki Moon, para a qual as lideranças dos países estão convidadas. O objetivo é gerar a sensibilidade política que faltou em Copenhague e tentar definir metas antes da reta derradeira do acordo, em Paris. Esse encontro deve ser precedido e seguido de várias reuniões interseccionais para que os delegados avancem na costura do acordo e para que os itens críticos, como metas de mitigação e financiamento, comecem a adquirir contornos mais concretos.

Em outras palavras, uma agenda consistente de reuniões e o compromisso para apresentar metas no ano que vem são o melhor resultado que podemos esperar de uma conferência que corre o risco de entrar para a História como a CoP do carvão.

Délcio Rodrigues é especialista em Mudanças Climáticas do Vitae Civilis. Silvia Dias, membro do Conselho Deliberativo do Vitae Civilis, acompanha as negociações climáticas desde 2009.