Volume 10 No. 9
November  2017
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 Photo above: Ralph Freso/Getty Images
Greetings Friends:

The banner photo above was taken in Phoenix , Arizona,  in June, 2017.  Temperature in Fahrenheit at 6:30 pm.

Bonn Talks. Much of the climate news of late has been confusing.  The Bonn Climate talks have begun.  They are called the Conference of the Parties (COP).  This is the 23rd meeting so it is called COP23. At the same time, the US Administration has been making plans to withdraw from the Paris Agreement on Climate while also sending a delegation to the Bonn meeting.  We can only hope for a good outcome as the other member parties work diligently to come to agreement on increasing their ambition for cuts in carbon emissions.  It is clear that virtually none of the big offenders on carbon are going to be on track to meet their agreed targets to which they committed in Paris .  You will enjoy the great spirit of the young people from the USA  at the Bonn Conference.  Please click on the link to their press conference video: "US Peoples Delegation"    They are impressive!

All of the stories in this edition have links in various places as indicated by the red color text.  I encourage you to click through a few to get a bigger picture.

Laudato Si.  We mentioned the USA first.  But China and India will be challenged enormously to meet a lower carbon output while trying to lift the vast numbers of poor in their nations.  Pope Francis has written movingly of these problems in his letter to the world, Laudato Si: 

‘…the urgent challenge to protect our common home includes a concern to bring the whole human family together to seek a sustainable and integral development (13).

Danger in Not Acting.  Some good news comes from Europe and Asia.  Some good news comes from the efforts of cities and states and large institutions in the US to keep working on Paris goals even while the Federal Administration attempts to withdraw from the accord.  We can read here below of the current efforts of many who are working to change from business- as- usual to a more sustainable path for humanity.  We read of new developments in transport and the shifting from old technologies that emphasized the burning of carbon.  We can see the great nations of India and China beginning to make the turn to sustainable development partly by their recognition of the massive pollution they are enduring under present conditions.  One third of all deaths in China in 2013 were caused by pollution. 
Wreaths. Some may want to assist the Sisters of Green Mountain Monastery in their annual wreath project.  Details are below.   And finally, I have included as usual an insight from Fr. Thomas Berry  that points to why we still have a sense of confidence that we can navigate this current predicament.  For those in the USA, Happy Thanksgiving and safe travels!



Br. Kevin

You can link to the Edmund Rice International website for Care of Earth here.
The Thomas Berry Forum for Ecological Dialogue at Iona College has a web page here.

23rd Session of the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change- Bonn
Bonn, Germany.  This event will be held in Bonn, Germany from November 6 to 17,
2017.   COP23 is the informal name for the 23rd Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The UNFCCC was adopted in 1992 at the Rio Earth Summit, which marked the beginning of the international community’s first concerted effort to confront the problem of climate change. Known also as the Rio Convention, the UNFCCC established a framework for action to stabilise concentrations of greenhouse gases in the earth’s atmosphere. The UNFCCC entered into force in 1994, and nearly all of the world’s nations—a total of 195—have now signed on.
Fiji, Small Island Developing State.  Fiji is presiding over COP23 with the support of the government of Germany.  Fiji is the first Small Island Developing State (SIDS) to assume the Presidency of the UNFCCC COP process, representing an opportunity to voice the important vulnerabilities and challenges facing SIDS and other coastal areas.

Paris Accord. At COP21, held in Paris in November-December 2015, the parties negotiated what is known as the Paris Agreement, which established specific actions and targets for reducing greenhouse gases emissions, mitigating and adapting to the effects of climate change, and financing mitigation and adaptation efforts in developing countries. The agreement took effect nearly a year later. Signatory countries agreed to work to limit global temperature rise to below 2 degrees Celsius and to make strong efforts to keep the rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius. The Paris Agreement is especially significant because it is a legally binding agreement.
Aim to Accelerate Action.  The central aim of COP23 is to move forward on the implementation of the Paris Climate Agreement and forge a grand coalition to accelerate climate action before 2020 (and beyond). This includes negotiations on the implementation guidelines for transparent climate action under the agreement as well as showcasing cooperative climate action, including on vulnerability and resilience, with examples from around the globe.  Read More:


Here is a video of the press conference for the "US Peoples Delegation" to COP23:

Some photos: Guardians of the Forest demonstrate at Bonn        
    Demonstrations at coal power plant (Guelland)



USA-Few Surprises, Real Substance in New Federal Report

Humans at the Root. The US government's first major report under the new administration confirms and reinforces what most scientists have long known: It's us, and it's primarily CO2.

Goes Against the Grain. Required by law under the Global Change Research Act of 1990, the CSSR report consists of findings, language, and cautions that might just as well have come from organizations such as the National Academy of Sciences and, at the global level, from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. That the report instead came from an administration vocally dismissive of much of its scientific findings seemed for many its most significant element.
Some examples:

  • The period from 1901 through 2016, with an increase of about 1.8 degrees F (1 degree C), “is now the warmest in the history of modern civilization.”
  • “It is extremely likely that human activities, especially emissions of greenhouse gases, are the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century. From the warming over the last century, there is no convincing alternative explanation supported by the extent of the observational evidence.” (So much for EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s arguments to the contrary.)
  • “The magnitude of climate change beyond the next few decades will depend primarily on the amount of greenhouse gases (especially carbon dioxide) emitted globally.” Lacking “major reductions in emissions,” annual average global temperatures relative to preindustrial times “could reach 9 degrees F (5 degrees C) by 2100 … and atmospheric concentrations “not experienced in tens to hundreds of millions of years.”

The report points to “record-breaking, climate-related weather extremes, the warmest years on record for the globe, and continued decline in Arctic sea ice.” 
Read More. 

Several Good News Items Here:
TransCanada has terminated its tar sands pipeline, triggering a $1 billion loss and ending an epic 4 year battle between politicians, big oil, environmentalists and indigenous communities. One of the great climate change victories of our time. Calgary Herald

On the eve of one of their major feast days- St. Francis, 40 Catholic institutions from five continents announced the largest ever religious divestment from fossil fuels. Catholic Reporter

 One of China's richest women, He Qiaonv, has announced a $2 billion donation for wildlife conservation, the largest environmental philanthropic pledge of all time. Bloomberg

The Dutch government has just confirmed a plan to make all new cars emission-free by 2030, meaning new combustion engines will be banned within the next 13 years. Elektrek

A new report by the ILO says that global child labour has plummeted. In 2016, there were 98 million fewer boys and girls being exploited than in 2000. CS Monitor
Finally, in a scientific surprise, research published in October  in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences concluded that winds blowing over deep ocean waters could generate "civilization scale power." The wind power over the deepest parts of the North Atlantic "could be sufficient to power the world," the authors wrote. While the technology does not yet exist to capture that power, the potential awaits. "The things that we're describing are likely not going to be economic today but... should provide incentive for that industry to develop," co-author Ken Caldeira, an atmospheric scientist at the Carnegie Institution for Science in California, told The Washington Post.

How the U.S. Might Fulfill Its Paris Pledge Without the White House
Majority Wants Action on Climate. With the US Administration planning to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, a new poll found that 55 percent of Americans now want their local and state governments to fight global warming. And indeed, states, regions, cities, businesses and colleges are stepping up efforts to reduce carbon emissions in an attempt to meet the pledge the U.S. made at the Paris climate accord.  U.S. carbon emissions fell two percent in 2016 thanks to our increased use of renewable energy instead of coal, but the nation still has a long way to go if it wants to meet its initial Paris target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 26 to 28 percent, compared to 2005 levels, by 2025. Non-federal initiatives are trying to close the gap.
The United States Climate Alliance, comprised of 14 states (California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington) and Puerto Rico, represents more than 36 percent of the U.S. population, $7 trillion in GDP, and 1.3 million clean energy jobs. These states are all committed to reducing their greenhouse gas emissions in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement. That means they will be producing more energy from renewable sources, such as wind, solar, biomass, and geothermal. They have ambitious energy efficiency policies and standards for buildings and appliances, and most are members of the Zero Emission Vehicle program, which requires them to sell a certain number of electric cars and trucks based on overall vehicle sales in the state.
Read More: . 


At Vatican, ‘Tenets of Faith’ Seen as Crucial in Climate Change Effort
VATICAN CITY — Religious leaders need to tell congregations that global warming can affect not just the environment, but also the spread of diseases and other threats to human health, participants said at a Vatican conferenceon Saturday , November 4, on climate change, an issue that has been a priority of Pope Francis.

Starts With Faith. Persuasion “starts with the tenets of faith” more than with scientific data, said the Rev. Leith Anderson, president of the United States-based National Association of Evangelicals, noting that most of the world’s population has some religious affiliation. “Environmental catastrophes” like recent storms, flooding and droughts, he said, “create opportunities to persuade.”

Future Event? The Rev. Mitchell C. Hescox, president of the Evangelical Environmental Network, said he had given hundreds of talks on the issue. “Many evangelicals believe in climate change or understand the science in climate change, but they still see it as a future event,” he said. “It’s not something they have to worry about, and that is what we have to change.”  Read More


How India's Battle with Climate Change Could Determine All of Our Fates
Damian Carrington and Michael Safi, The Guardian, 6 November, 2017
Emissions Rising. India's population and emissions are rising fast, and its ability to tackle poverty without massive fossil fuel use will decide the fate of the planet.  According to an ambitious pledge by India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, every Indian will have electricity, and the education, health and business benefits that follow, by the end of 2018. But how Modi achieves that, and the development of what will soon become the world’s most populous nation, matters to the entire world.

Only India. Of all the most polluting nations – US, China, Russia, Japan and the EU bloc – only India’s carbon emissions are rising: they rose almost 5% in 2016. No one questions India’s right to develop, or the fact that its current emissions per person are tiny. But when building the new India for its 1.3 billion people, whether it relies on coal and oil or clean, green energy will be a major factor in whether global warming can be tamed.

India Still to Be Buillt. “India is the frontline state,” says Samir Saran, at the Observer Research Foundation in Delhi. “Two-thirds of India is yet to be built. So please understand, 16% of mankind is going to seek the American dream. If we can give it to them on a frugal climate budget, we will save the planet. If we don’t, we will either destroy India or destroy the planet.”

Key Role.  This view is shared internationally: Christiana Figueres, the UN’s former climate chief who delivered the landmark Paris climate change agreement says India is “very, very important” for everybody, and the nation will play a key role at the UN summit that starts in Bonn, Germany November 6-17.
 Read More:

China Cuts Steel Production to Head Off Choking Winter Pollution

Strict Cuts.  China is set to implement some of its strictest cuts to steel production this week in a bid to head off choking winter pollution and further consolidate a fractious industry. The first wave of production cuts will halve the rate of steel production in the north-eastern city of Tangshan, the largest steel-producing city in China. This will ultimately affect 20m metric tonnes of steel, the equivalent of about 7.5 per cent of national annual production.  Three other key steel-producing cities — Shijiazhuang, Anyang, and Handan — are to announce similar cuts. In addition, producers will also be mandated to reduce overall coking coal production by 30 per cent.  The production cuts are part of a series of production suspensions in China’s rust belt that will take effect within the next few months as environmental authorities chase public commitments to lower the concentration of particulate matter by 22 per cent this winter. 
Electriciy From Coal.  About 70 per cent of electricity in north-east China comes from coal, leading to a sharp uptick in airborne pollutants during winter as central heating systems are fired up.  Authorities have been more rigorously policing steel producers this year as the country cracks down on overcapacity and pollution in heavy industry. China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection is mounting another round of plant inspections in Beijing, Tianjin and 26 other cities until January to enforce more stringent emissions guidelines.  Read More:


MESSAGE FROM GREEN MOUNTAIN MONASTERY, VERMONT  -CHRISTMAS WREATHS- Sustainably hand harvested and shipped to you.
Dear Friends,
It is truly a joy to send you the gift of healing fresh from our forest as
we prepare to sustainably hand harvest our beautifully fragrant
balsam for Christmas wreaths to send to your homes and loved ones.
We hold our forest as sacred and beloved and treat all trees with
care, nurturing their health and bringing their calming and gentle
presence to you as part of our ministry of Earth Healing.
Ordering details are below. We are so grateful for your support of
our work!

Sisters Gail, Bernadette, Amie, Kris and Bing
Details ~
Wreath Size: 20 inches
$25 plus shipping for regular wreaths
$20 plus shipping for orders over 50
$16/undecorated plus shipping for orders over 50
Our wreaths make wonderful gifts and can be sent to friends, family,
staff and community with a card in your name. Gather friends and neighbors together and order a box of 10 to save on shipping!
Wreaths can also be sent for fundraisers to schools, parishes, hospitals and community organizations.

E mail your order: ~

We ship wreaths from November 27 – December 18, 2017.
(Hand delivery to Weston, Montpelier and Burlington for orders of 10 wreaths or more.) If you would like to receive your wreaths before Thanksgiving or for the beginning of Advent please let us know.
Payment: We will send an invoice once we calculate shipping. Payment can be made by check to Green Mt Monastery or go to our web site/ top of home page and follow the link for donations.
Tithing: We tithe a portion of our wreaths sales each year, for 2017 a donation 
will be made to the Hurricane Fund (direct help) for the people of Puerto Rico
and to the Vermont Organic Farming Assoc.-NOFA


Message from Thomas Berry

“Here we might observe that the basic mood of the future might well be one of confidence in the continuing revelation that takes place in and through the earth. If the dynamics of the universe from the beginning shaped the course of the heavens, lighted the sun, and formed the earth, if this same dynamism brought forth the continents and seas and atmosphere, if it awakened life in the primordial cell and then brought into being the unnumbered variety of living beings, and finally brought us into being and guided us safely through the turbulent centuries, there is reason to believe that this same guiding process is precisely what has awakened in us our present understanding of ourselves and our relation to this stupendous process. Sensitized to such guidance from the very structure and functioning of the universe, we can have confidence in the future that awaits the human venture.” (Thomas Berry, “The New Story,” in The Dream of the Earth, 137).
Photo by Lou Niznik 10–6–1999
Copyright © 2017 Edmund Rice International, All rights reserved.

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