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As the Ukraine war grinds on, Russia’s president Vladimir Putin has turned to a new tactic — trying to blackmail the world with food.

By blockading Ukraine’s Black Sea ports and thereby stopping the export of the country’s prodigious grain harvest to world markets, Putin is using the threat of starvation in import-dependent developing nations as a tactic to demand the easing of sanctions.

The only way to face down this blackmail without starving the Global South — in the absence of successful measures to lift the blockade — is to spare food resources from elsewhere. In a new report for the pro-science environmental group RePlanet, I list the top 5 ways to free up food and face down Putin.

For the full report, see RePlanet’s Switch Off Putin campaign, coverage in the Guardian or my summary at the Alliance for Science.

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The brutality of Vladimir Putin’s war on Ukraine has shocked the world. The Russian dictator is now formally accused of war crimes by the United States, and sanctions have been imposed by democratic countries across the world. In Europe, however, these sanctions have not included oil and gas – instead we have continued to send half a billion euros per day to the Kremlin in payments for Russian fossil fuels.

In his arrogance, Putin thinks we will lack the courage and strength to stand up to him. He thought the same about the Ukrainians. With their unity and bravery, they proved him wrong – and so can we.

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The world is therefore arguably now closer to nuclear conflict than at any time since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. So what would a full-scale nuclear exchange look like in reality? Is it truly global Armageddon, or would it be survivable for some people and places?

Full post.

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If any single illustration best highlights our climate predicament, it is probably the Keeling Curve. Now scientists are warning that time is running out to reverse its steep upward trend.

Named after Dr. Charles David Keeling, the atmospheric scientist who began measuring CO2 in the air atop Mauna Loa volcano in Hawaii way back in 1958, the iconic Keeling Curve graph shows an accelerating upwards saw-tooth curve as human emissions of carbon dioxide accumulate relentlessly in our atmosphere.

There was no slow-down in CO2 rises after the Earth Summit in 1992, nor with the Copenhagen meeting in 2009 nor even with the much-heralded Paris Agreement of 2015. As far as the Keeling Curve is concerned, humans have so far achieved more or less nothing in the battle to stabilize the Earth’s climate.

For the full post, see the Alliance for Science.

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It’s the last chance for the climate. Of course, this is said before every annual COP, but for COP26, which starts this weekend in Glasgow, it really is the case. Scientists are clear that to meet the 1.5-degree goal set by the Paris Agreement, global emissions of carbon need to be cut by half by the end of this decade. That won’t happen if COP26 fails, momentum is lost and climate targets are watered down.

For the full post, see the Alliance for Science.

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It has become something of a cliché, in advance of each annual climate summit, to say that it represents the “last chance to save the climate” or somesuch.

For COP26 this is actually true in a very specific sense. The meeting in Glasgow really is the last chance for the world to embark on the drastic cuts in emissions required to achieve the Paris goal of keeping global temperatures from rising by more than 1.5 degrees Celsius.

For the whole article, see The Scotsman

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The scientific consensus that humans are altering the climate has reached 99.9%, according to a paper of which I was lead author, published in the journal Environmental Research Letters.

Here’s Cornell University’s news story, and coverage from the Guardian.

Link to the full paper (open access).

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So what might be a COP26 climate emergency target that we actually could meet? My suggestion is extremely simple: we set a date for the worldwide exit from fossil fuels, a sort of independence day from carbon. Like all ideas that eventually become mainstream, at first sight this looks preposterous. You mean, we actually have to stop burning oil? No more petrol? No more LNG tankers plying the world’s oceans? No more giant coal machines scraping up carboniferous forests from underneath medieval villages in eastern Germany? Yes, that’s exactly what I mean.

For the full article, see the Guardian

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By an extremely fortunate coincidence, the world urgently needs to invest trillions of dollars in decarbonization just when the global economy equally urgently needs a huge stimulus to get people back to work, says Mark Lynas.

To read the full column, see Project Syndicate.

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It’s here! After three years of hard labour, the new Six Degrees is finally launched. Thanks to HarperCollins for publishing on both sides of the Atlantic! For those asking – yes, this is a fully original rewrite of the 2007 original Six Degrees… if you’re wondering whether the projections made back then still stand today, read on.


From the jacket:

Mark Lynas delivers a vital account of the future of our earth, and our civilisation, if current rates of global warming persist. And it’s only looking worse.

We are living in a climate emergency. But how much worse could it get? Will civilisation collapse? Are we already past the point of no return? What kind of future can our children expect? Rigorously cataloguing the very latest climate science, Mark Lynas explores the course we have set for Earth over the next century and beyond. Degree by terrifying degree, he charts the likely consequences of global heating and the ensuing climate catastrophe.

At one degree – the world we are already living in – vast wildfires scorch California and Australia, while monster hurricanes devastate coastal cities. At two degrees the Arctic ice cap melts away, and coral reefs disappear from the tropics. At three, the world begins to run out of food, threatening millions with starvation. At four, large areas of the globe are too hot for human habitation, erasing entire nations and turning billions into climate refugees. At five, the planet is warmer than for 55 million years, while at six degrees a mass extinction of unparalleled proportions sweeps the planet, even raising the threat of the end of all life on Earth.

These escalating consequences can still be avoided, but time is running out. We must largely stop burning fossil fuels within a decade if we are to save the coral reefs and the Arctic. If we fail, then we risk crossing tipping points that could push global climate chaos out of humanity’s control.

This book must not be ignored. It really is our final warning.