Interviews And Articles by Nick Breeze
Sir Jonathon Porritt is a leading environmentalist and writer with over 40 years in this field. He is one of the cofounders of 'Forum for the Future' working very closely with businesses and governments around the world to solve complex sustainability challenges.
Martin Rees - On creating a stable world: "...the momentum can be sustained if people really care about the world their children and grandchildren will live in, and feel some obligation to feel that the world is more stable."
Part 1: Former President of the Royal Society, Author of 'Our Last Century' and Founder of the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk (CSER), Lord Rees discusses how critical the roles of all of us are in ensuring politicians take the right decisions that will affect life not just in the next few decades but in centuries to come:
"...we can be technical optimists but we can’t be political optimists, bearing in mind that politicians often don’t even react to the most obvious moral imperatives..."
“Zeus, having fallen in love with Europa, a daughter of Agenor, king of Tyre in Phoenicia, assumed the form of a beautiful white bull. He seemed so gentle, the girl was enchanted by him and was eventually persuaded to climb on his back. Before she knew what was happening, she was riding out to sea, on the way to Crete. He brought her to Gortyn, where they became lovers. One of their three sons was Minos, [legendary king of the ancient Minoan palace at Knossos]. Crete then, not only gave Europe its name, it was where Europe began, a truth Cretans have always known.”
From ‘Crete’ by Barry Unsworth, pub. 2004, National Geographic Society
Symi Town from the top of the Kalistrata
I have just returned from the Greek island of Symi in the Dodecanese after a tense but beautiful week watching European ministers talk dirty about what to do about the Greek situation. The last time I was in Symi in 2008, the US investment bank Lehman Brothers collapsed leaving fellow tourists huddled around laptops in coffeeshops trying to asses the risk posed to their investments and the whole economic system entered the eye of the storm.
Watching the political news coming out of the US is often mind boggling, especially when it involves the Republican Party, AKA the Grand Old Party (GOP), or Fox News, or that complete mentalist Rush Limbaugh. When I first saw statements coming from these sources, I thought it was some sort of surrealist performance art parody of Monty Python. Alas, the whole thing is not a hoax. These people are real and very serious about their own myth making.
For years they have been denying that manmade climate change is real or can be proven, despite overwhelming evidence from climate scientists. During that time we have gone “beyond the limits” of what the Earth can manage in terms of being able to sustain an ever expanding population of humans. Even as I write there are over 200 fires raging in Alaska, a terrific heatwave causing mass deaths in India, crippling drought in large parts of South, Central and North America. The list of extreme weather events goes on and millions of people are suffering worldwide.
Professor David MacKay is the former Chief Scientific Advisor to the UK Government Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC). In this important presentation Professor MacKay demonstrates how summers in the coming decades are going to be more extreme than what we are experiencing now, even giving examples of the summer of 2013 where thousands of people died in Europe from the heat.
This presentation gives a view into what 2ºC warming really means.
Lord Rees explains how governments can lead the world in an energy revolution that would change the course of human civilisation by making renewables cheaper than coal within a decade.
Martin Rees says: “Everyone agrees that if the warming gets too severe the net harms will grossly overwhelm the net gains and that’s why it’s been supposed by most people that a 2ºC limit is what we should strive for.”
"The world should take note that the climate summit in Paris later this year (COP21) may be the last effective opportunity to negotiate arrangements that keep human-induced warming below 2-degrees C, and aim to stay well below 2-degree C for safety, yet the current trajectory may well reach a devastating 4-degrees C or higher"
We the undersigned have assembled at the Pontifical Academies of Sciences and Social Sciences to address the challenges of human-induced climate change, extreme poverty, and social marginalization, including human trafficking, in the context of sustainable development. We join together from many faiths and walks of life, reflecting humanity’s shared yearning for peace, happiness, prosperity, justice, and environmental sustainability. We have considered the overwhelming scientific evidence regarding human-induced climate change, the loss of biodiversity, and the vulnerabilities of the poor to economic, social, and environmental shocks.
If the answer is “no”, then “good night and good luck.” If the answer is “yes”, then “see you tomorrow (and good luck).”
Whatever decision humanity takes on the next step forward, whether it be to do nothing and allow industrial human civilisation to continue, or to cease emissions and hope that is enough to see us through, or to start actively sequestering carbon whilst attempting to reduce solar radiation hitting the Earth’s surface, each path is in itself a course of climate intervention.
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The weather we rely on for agriculture is only going to get worse
The jet stream is responsible for what kind of weather we experience and it’s behaviour is changing. Dr Jennifer Francis, a research professor at Rutgers University's Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences, explains how a combination of factors are going to drastically impact agricultural systems in Europe and Eurasia.
It is easy to look at the fires in southern Europe and think that “global warming” is a regional problem often on someone else doorstep. This misconception could not be further from the truth because the “global” bit refers only to global mean temperature. As scientists start to look at what is happening around the world, it becomes very clear that the interconnected global system is changing for all.
Dr Saleemul Huq: “They are making profits by killing people, it is as simple as that… so tax them! Let’s put a Loss and Damage levy on them”
Dr. Saleemul Huq Director International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD) at the Independent University, Bangladesh. In this short interview Dr Huq talks about his work and explains how those most vulnerable to the effects of manmade climate change are seeking recompense from the worlds greatest polluters.
Carmel McOuaid Director of Sustainability at Marks & Spencer, winners of Momentum for Change award in the Carbon Neutrality category
In 2014 Marks & Spencer became the only retailer in the world with carbon neutral operations. This huge undertaking across over 1400 stores has been rewarded with international recognition by the UNFCC winning Momentumn For Change award for carbon neutrality.
UK Financial Analyst and CarbonTracker CEO, Anthony Hobley, says the Paris Agreement “just makes financial sense”
UK based Carbon Tracker Initiative has played a key role showing big businesses, including fossil fuel companies, a route out of the business as usual high CO2 emitting path that is driving humanity towards catastrophe. Anthony Hobley has been at COP23 telling delegates “we are in a technology driven low carbon energy transition” and changing course “just makes financial sense”. NICK BREEZE catches up with him.
Nick Breeze: We are 2yrs on from Paris. Are we making any progress at the COP?
Angela Merkel’s chief science advisor describes Michael Gove’s comments on climate change as “A false trade off used all the time by the incumbents”
Earlier this week Environment Minister Michael Gove stated that he was convinced “climate change is a danger”, stating that it “is one of the biggest threats and challenges to biodiversity in the UK”.
By localising the issue to the UK, Gove seeks to belittle the global risk posed by climate change. This week, German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s chief science adviser and founding director of the Potsdam Institute, Professor Schellnhuber was in London speaking at the Royal Society. When I asked him to respond to the Environment Minister’s comments he replied:
Interview: Anton Golub, cofounder of Swiss blockchain exchange LYKKE
In part 1 of this wide ranging interview, Anton Golub discusses why the world needs Lykke, the truth about financial regulators and why only 1% Initial Coin Offerings (ICO’s) they assess make it onto the exchange.
Anton Golub: The core vision of Lykke is the vision of Richard Olsen, the founder of Lykke. I am a cofounder. I met him seven years ago when I joined him for an internship.
I sat down to eat my croissant and he sat down next to me and said: “Anton, we have to completely change the financial system. It totally doesn’t work. Everything is broken inside.”