Category Archives: Climate Change

Letting Go doesn’t always mean giving up – in HBO documentary

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Short interview with the filmmaker that expresses a perspective that seems well worth considering! Cheers.

“Oscar-nominated director Josh Fox contemplates our climate-change future by exploring the human qualities that global warming can’t destroy.”

HBO:  How would you describe the message of How to Let Go of the World?

JOSH FOX:  I thought I was making a film about climate change, and then in the middle of it I ended up making a film about the stunning revelation that it’s sort of too late to stop a lot of what we think about as climate change. That we have to refocus our dialogue to be about humanity as we progress through the most difficult period of change that we have ever seen. Do we want to be known as the moment in history that was incredibly violent, that was incredibly insensitive, that created wars, starved huge sections of the population, was selfish, and was racist? Or do we want future civilizations to look at this moment as the time we completely changed the way our civilization operates?

Click here for Trailer.  Can watch on HBO-GO, HBO-NOW and HBO itself

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The Climate Deception Dossiers (2015)

From the Union of Concerned Scientists, July, 2015 

 

Internal fossil fuel industry memos reveal decades of disinformation—a deliberate campaign to deceive the public that continues even today.

For nearly three decades, many of the world’s largest fossil fuel companies have knowingly worked to deceive the public about the realities and risks of climate change.

Their deceptive tactics are now highlighted in this set of seven “deception dossiers”—collections of internal company and trade association documents that have either been leaked to the public, come to light through lawsuits, or been disclosed through Freedom of Information (FOIA) requests.

Each collection provides an illuminating inside look at this coordinated campaign of deception, an effort underwritten by ExxonMobil, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, BP, Shell, Peabody Energy, and other members of the fossil fuel industry.

The climate deception dossiers

Containing 85 internal memos totaling more than 330 pages, the seven dossiers reveal a range of deceptive tactics deployed by the fossil fuel industry. These include forged letters to Congress, secret funding of a supposedly independent scientist, the creation of fake grassroots organizations, multiple efforts to deliberately manufacture uncertainty about climate science, and more.

THE REPORT

The Rising Waters Confab Report / Visual Book is complete.  Click here for the document.

RisingWatersReport

Rising Waters Confab Report

TABLE OF CONTENTS 
2 Participants
3 Introducing the Rising Waters Confab | Buster Simpson
4 Captiva’s Outlook | Leonard Berry
5 In the Dry Morning | Gretel Ehrlich
Science
7 SCIENCE & FACT
8 How the Arctic Drives the Climate of the Temperate World | Gretel Ehrlich
11 What Happened 120,000 Years Ago Could Repeat | John Englander
12 Surging Seas | Climate Central
14 We Have Time to Adapt, but No Time to Waste | John Englander
16 Digging for Water | Glenn Weiss
Commons
18 COMMONS
18 Is it Fair? | Thomas Ruppert
19 How to Talk About the Climate | Florida Sea Grant College Program
21 Week Two | Jeremy Pickard
22 Climate Change Is Gradual | June Wilson
24 Commons at Ground Level | Anne Focke
27 Commons Reader | Anne Focke
28 Rising Waters Blog | Anne Focke
30 Who Should be Our Allies? | Orion Cruz
Agiprops
31 AGITPROPS
32 Agitprop at Rally | Buster Simpson and Edward Morris
33 Statues of Brave Heroes of Climate Change Skepticism | Lewis Hyde
34 Drowning Man Festival | Lewis Hyde with Others
36 5 Actions to Stop Rising Seas | Xavier Cortada
38 Captiva Island H.V.A.C. Wedge | Buster Simpson
39 Making Ice Bags to Refreeze the Glaciers | Xavier Cortada
40 Glenn Weiss, Jungle Seeds
41 Week Two | Jeremy Pickard
42 L’Arctique est Paris | All Confab Collaboration, Lead Authors Mel Chin and Gretel Ehrlich
Invention
48 INTERVENTIONS & ENGAGEMENTS
49 Mangroves | Xavier Cortada, Walter Hood, and Buster Simpson
51 Removing Exotics | Xavier Cortada
Raked Free Zone | Buster Simpson
52 Pine Island Sound Expedition
54 Underwater Affair and Palm Column | Walter Hood
56 Hurricane Remodel…Hire an Artist | Lewis Hyde
57 The Graceful Retreat | Buster Simpson
58 National Midden Mound-ument Preserves | Buster Simpson and Andrea Polli
60 Rising Gas | Andrea Polli
62 Islands and Global Forces – Cretaceous-Tertiary Boundary | Andrea Polli and Buster Simpson
64 Voxel Frog // Mangrove | Buster Simpson
66 Limestone | David Buckland
68 Charcoal Sketch 2 for Neptune (A Play About Water) | Jeremy Pickard
OpenStudio
70 OPEN STUDIO
72 SOS Life Float & Reliquary | Buster Simpson
74 Suggesting Palm Readings | Laura Sindell
76 Charley and Bob | Andrea Polli
78 Luxury Island and American River Archive | Edward Morris and Susannah Sayler
80 The Water Table | Jeremy Pickard
82 Pinhole Cameras | Laura Sindell
84 More Sugar, Dear? | Laura Sindell
86 Grounding Line – I’ve Seen the Water on the Wall | Lewis Hyde
87 The Manatees at Blue Springs | Lewis Hyde
88 Becoming Water | Gretel Ehrlich
89 Death and Poetry | Gretel Ehrlich
90 Fathom’s Portal | Buster Simpson
91 Stacked Chairs | June Wilson
92 Table to Deploy // The Arctic is Captiva | Buster Simpson

India Responses to Climate Change

Excellent article summarizing the political situation in India regarding Climate Change policies.

http://www.orfonline.org/research/indian-exceptionalism-and-realistic-responses-to-climate-change/

Indian exceptionalism and realistic responses to climate change

AuthorSamir Saran

Observer Research Foundation, India.  http://www.orfonline.org/

At a discussion in Washington DC this spring, I was quizzed with a degree of annoyance on the multiple messages coming out of New Delhi with respect to India’s position on a global agreement to combat climate change. In the same discussion there was also an exasperated inquisition on why Indian needs and priorities must hold the world to ransom (as if there were a consensus) and why India imagines that it merits a special space, attention or exception in the climate arena.

The response to these two central propositions on India and climate change must of course come from the officialdom at Raisina Hills, home to Delhi’s executive offices. However, as we move down the road to COP 21 in Paris, it is crucial that any response, if formulated and then communicated (a bigger ‘if’), would need to engage with the most important climate proposition put before India by the world, and its interplay with the country’s development/growth imperatives.

Viewed from New Delhi, and after sifting through the chaff, the proposition for India’s climate change response posed by a large section of OECD countries, and certainly from the influential capitals in Europe, is fairly straightforward:

1. India must be the first country in the world (of size and significance) to successfully transition from a low-income, agrarian existence to a middle income, industrialised society without burning even a fraction of the fossil fuels consumed by other developed countries. China was the last country to enjoy this privilege. India will be the first that will have to cede this option and of course this may well be the new template for other developing countries to emulate.

2. The scale of this transition and the current economic situation in some parts of the world, alongside the complex and privately controlled innovation landscape, means that there is limited ability for the Annex 1 countries (the developed world) to offer any meaningful support in terms of financing or technology transfer. Official Development Assistance (ODA) is a small fraction of what is necessary today, and India will therefore need to mobilise domestic resources to power the non-fossil-fuel-fired Indian story.

3. Even as India adopts this ‘exceptional’ approach to industrialisation, and creates the necessary financial and commercial arrangements to achieve it, mostly through its own endeavors, the developed world and others want to retain the right to judge Indian performance. India will be monitored with an increasingly extensive system of compliance verification, and will be criticised for its missteps on the journey despite the novelty and scale of its undertaking.

My response to the thesis of ‘Indian exceptionalism’ therefore is that India does not seek to be an exception, but the demands imposed upon it that will require it to be exceptional. This is a truth for others to accept, and the climate reality for which India must discover creative policy. Three distinct narratives among various actors in India have so far shaped its response.

The first set of responses is from a group of people I like to call India’s ‘cold war warriors’. This group believes that no matter the contemporary political, economic and environmental reality, an alternate universe can be constructed through the mandate of the UNFCCC. These persons are the architects of the global intergovernmental processes and have faith in them. They believe that an agreement in Paris this December at COP 21, that is sensitive to Indian needs, will somehow assist in the transition required by India and will ensure that India only needs to make incremental changes to its ‘business as usual’ approach to economic growth and development. This group has ignored the changing economic system, which is increasingly disinvesting from fossil fuels politically, and in terms of financial flows and promoting green energy markets. The ‘green’ economic and market realities that will shape India’s future are seen as something that can be circumvented by creatively crafted text and clauses in a legal (read weak legal agreement) agreement in Paris. Despite 20 years of failure to achieve this ‘world of equity’ with ‘differentiated responsibility’ they continue to believe that a global agreement is the end in itself.

The second set of strategies to the proposition facing India are advanced by a group I refer to as the climate evangelists. They believe that 2050 is already upon us. Commercially viable clean energy solutions are available, and these hold the answer to both our immediate and future energy woes. The opportunities that exist in the creation of a new green economy must be grabbed with both hands. This group wants subsidies and incentives for clean energy technology, and taxes and regulation of fossil fuels. These green pioneers are sanguine that sufficient ‘push’ and ‘pull’ will deliver technology innovation and development on the requisite scale. They reject that fossil fuels are necessary as baseline sources of energy and instead insist that the technological revolution is already here, and that India must get on board or be left behind. Their argument is often a moral one: we have a moral obligation to save the earth for its own sake and for future generations – ignoring the fact that at this level of income disparity, inequality and differential access to the right to life, the planet is in fact being saved for the rich to flourish.

The third set of responses is from the group I call the climate realists. The realists understand that the global climate proposition is inherently unfair, and that India could and probably should push back against such an imposition by the developed world. However, they also recognise that no matter how hard they try to construct a ‘fairer’ agreement in Paris, the combined forces of the market, society and technology are all pointing towards a ‘greener’ transition. The political economy of climate change necessitates a transformation, and it is not necessarily in India’s interests to fight against it. Instead, the realists understand that there is an opportunity to lead in constructing a green economy. They believe that this moment can be used to reshape the tax, financial and global governance systems. They also see no contradiction in also ensuring continued flow of investments and emphasis on lifeline sources of energy for India’s poor.

Analysis shows that India does better than Germany, the United States, China and others on per capita coal dependence, with about a third of the consumption levels of the greenest among these three. It also already commits, as a proportion of its GDP, more towards renewable energy off-take than most (except Germany). It therefore does not need to defend its coal consumption. On the other hand, it must certainly be the champion to encourage ‘greener’ performance from others. The equity that it seeks lies in this. The rich must continue to invest more in renewables. This must be demanded and enforced.

Prime Minister Modi’s recent statements suggest that he may be such a realist as well. He is promoting an aggressive renewable energy thrust, while being uncompromising on the point that lifeline energy will continue to rely on coal for the foreseeable future. When he takes coal off the discursive table, he is not foreclosing the right to use coal; instead he is sharpening the focus on India’s impressive credentials around green growth. He invokes religious texts, civilisational ethos and clever political word-play as he seeks a leadership role for India in global climate policy, and sets the agenda with ambitious plans for transitioning to a new energy paradigm. The ‘house always wins’ is a golden Las Vegas adage with a lesson for global politics too: unless we see strong political leadership of the kind being displayed by Prime Minister Modi and President Obama, the house – in this case national officialdom(s) and global bureaucrats – will prevail again. They will construct a new world order with words, commas and full stops, where nothing, not even the climate, can ever change.

Courtesy: lowyinterpreter.org

Samir Saran is Senior Research Fellow and also Vice President responsible for Development and Outreach at the Observer Research Foundation. An Electrical Engineer by training, he has a Masters in Media Studies from the London School of Economics and Political Science and has been a Fellow at the University of Cambridge Program for Sustainability Leadership. He is visiting Fellow at the Australia India Institute and faculty at a number of other schools and programs.

Observer Research Foundation

ORF seeks to lead and aid policy thinking towards building a strong and prosperous India in a fair and equitable world. It sees India as a country poised to play a leading role in the knowledge age – a role in which it shall be increasingly called upon to proactively ideate in order to shape global conversations, even as it sets course along its own trajectory of long-term sustainable growth.

ORF helps discover and inform India’s choices. It carries Indian voices and ideas to forums shaping global debates. It provides non-partisan, independent, well-researched analyses and inputs to diverse decision-makers in governments, business communities, and academia and to civil society around the world.

Our mandate is to conduct in-depth research, provide inclusive platforms and invest in tomorrow’s thought leaders today.

Depicting Endangered Florida Wild Life — at Rauschenberg Residency.

XAVIER CORTADA,

XAVIER CORTADA, “Red Wolf Pattern,” silk screen on ceramic flat tile, 2015. Created at the Rauschenberg Residency.

Xavier Cortada,

Fish House at the Rauschenberg Residency

Fish House at the Rauschenberg Residency

Visiting egret

Visiting egret

More #sketching of #florida #wildlife at #Fishhouse #Rauschenberg #Residency — at Rauschenberg Residency.

More #sketching of #florida #wildlife at #Fishhouse #Rauschenberg #Residency — at Rauschenberg Residency.

Xavier Cortada,

Xavier Cortada, “Florida is… the Red Wolf,” digital art, 2015.

Planning for the Inevitable: Proposal for Restoring Wetlands at the Rauschenberg Residency

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Will wetlands be able to build vertically to keep pace with increases in sea level. Scroll down to bottom of page to learn move

Rauschenberg Residency has mangroves at the edge of the shoreline– something its Captiva neighbors (especially the mansion just to the south of the property!) should emulate.  Doing so provides important habitat for marine life .  The mangroves also help address issues of erosion and provide a buffer to hurricane winds.

All that is good, but I propose that we go a step further: Let’s return a larger portion of the property to its original habitat.  Let’s reclaim it for wetlands.

The mangroves at the Rauschenberg Residency are followed by lawn and landscaped gardens as we move upland.  Returning the lawn to wetlands– specifically a mangrove forest– would be a welcome gesture to address the rising seas.  As sea levels rise, having a larger and stronger  coastal habitat will provide more resilience –and the requisite space (and time) for the forests to adapt.

Let's go (inland)  beyond the water's edge.

We have mangroves at the shoreline:  Let’s go (inland) beyond the water’s edge!

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In time, residency artists can walk from house to house via decks (marked in green on drawings). As sea levels rise, the houses and decks would be further elevated.

Mangroves matter: Mangroves are important for they create the interface between land and water where marine life takes hold.  Small fish find refuge from predators in their intricate roots, which also serve to protect the shoreline from erosion during hurricanes. (http://www.reclamationproject.net/?M_index)

Prelimanary sketches to the RRr

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Let’s include a channel (into the grand lawn) to facilitate tidal flow. As it is the area is already prone to flooding,

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Here’s a link to the USGS website on how wetlands will adapt to sea level rise: http://wh.er.usgs.gov/slr/coastalwetlands.html.  It addresses the issue I was presenting to the Rising Waters group about Dr. Tom Smith’s research on mangroves in the Everglades:  whether wetlands are able to build vertically to keep pace with increases in sea level.
“In marshes where soil volume decreases due to either insufficient inorganic sediment input or decreases in plant growth, the marshes are less capable of maintaining their elevation as the average water level (mean sea level) increases and consequently they become prone to deterioration.

The loss of wetland habitats and the important ecosystem functions they provide is a critical concern.  Wetlands provide critical habitat for wildlife; trap sediments, nutrients, and pollutants; cycle nutrients and minerals; buffer storm impacts on coastal environments, and exchange materials with adjacent ecosystems.  As wetland habitat is lost, there will be significant impacts to other ecosystems.  To complicate the issue, large portions of the coastal environment have been developed and management practices may affect ecosystem responses to sea-level rise as well.  This will exacerbate the vulnerability and impacts to plant and animal species in coastal regions.  Of particular concern are the impacts to environments such as wetlands that are critical to support migratory bird populations and fisheries.

Understanding whether or not marsh systems can tolerate higher sea level requires knowledge of whether the present–day marsh surface is able to maintain elevation with respect to SLR.  To monitor marsh surface elevation trends, USGS scientists have developed tools to measure changes in surface elevation in marshes (Fig CW2, http://www.pwrc.usgs.gov/set/).”

Below is a link to the Reclamation Project installation we did up the coast in Pinellas County.  I am creating a similar temporary installation on the glass door in the studio.

Coastal Reforestation:

On November 18, 2008, Cortada joined USGS‘s Dr. Tom Smith and the Shorecrest Prep students in dedicating the mangrove “re-permnanent” installation he created at the Florida Botanical Gardens.

The eco-art installation, commissioned by Pinellas County Public Art and Design Program, features one-hundred fifty red mangrove seedlings in clear water-filled cups.  In September 2008, Dr. Smith led the Shorecrest Preparatory School students in collecting the mangrove propagules from Weedon Island Nature Preserve.  In 2009, students will plant this installation’s seedlings on Tampa Bay and replace them with a new batch.

Dr. Tom Smith, a scientist based at the U.S. Geological Service in St. Petersburg, FL, is internationally recognized as an expert on coastal ecosystems in general and mangroves in particular.  He has worked in forests in Florida, the Virgin Islands, Belize, Australia, Papua New Guinea, and elsewhere throughout Asia and the Pacific.  His research is aimed at understanding disturbance, both natural and man-made, and recovery in these important forests and especially at how to restore them.

Voxel Amphibian

Ephemeral mitigation installation  to offset acidification increases in global ocean habitats.

Voxel Frog,   Limestone 3x3x3 inch voxels (overall 33x30  inches)  Mangrove,   Rising Waters Confab / Robert Rauschenberg Residency,  Captiva Island,  FL.   2015

Voxel Frog, Limestone 3x3x3 inch voxels (overall 33×30 inches) Mangrove, Rising Waters Confab / Robert Rauschenberg Residency, Captiva Island, FL. 2015