Stephen Hawking: ‘This is the most dangerous time for our planet’

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The Guardian

As a theoretical physicist based in Cambridge, I have lived my life in an extraordinarily privileged bubble. Cambridge is an unusual town, centred around one of the world’s great universities. Within that town, the scientific community that I became part of in my 20s is even more rarefied.

And within that scientific community, the small group of international theoretical physicists with whom I have spent my working life might sometimes be tempted to regard themselves as the pinnacle. In addition to this, with the celebrity that has come with my books, and the isolation imposed by my illness, I feel as though my ivory tower is getting taller.

So the recent apparent rejection of the elites in both America and Britain is surely aimed at me, as much as anyone. Whatever we might think about the decision by the British electorate toreject membership of the European Union and by the American public to embrace Donald Trump as their next president, there is no doubt in the minds of commentators that this was a cry of anger by people who felt they had been abandoned by their leaders.

It was, everyone seems to agree, the moment when the forgotten spoke, finding their voices to reject the advice and guidance of experts and the elite everywhere.

I am no exception to this rule. I warned before the Brexit vote that it would damage scientific research in Britain, that a vote to leave would be a step backward, and the electorate – or at least a sufficiently significant proportion of it – took no more notice of me than any of the other political leaders, trade unionists, artists, scientists, businessmen and celebrities who all gave the same unheeded advice to the rest of the country.

Brexit supporters form a counter demonstration as Pro-Europe demonstrators protest during a “March for Europe” against the Brexit vote result earlier in the year, in London, Britain Thomson Reuters

What matters now, far more than the choices made by these two electorates, is how the elites react. Should we, in turn, reject these votes as outpourings of crude populism that fail to take account of the facts, and attempt to circumvent or circumscribe the choices that they represent? I would argue that this would be a terrible mistake.

The concerns underlying these votes about the economic consequences of globalisation and accelerating technological change are absolutely understandable. The automation of factories has already decimated jobs in traditional manufacturing, and the rise of artificial intelligence is likely to extend this job destruction deep into the middle classes, with only the most caring, creative or supervisory roles remaining.

This in turn will accelerate the already widening economic inequality around the world. The internet and the platforms that it makes possible allow very small groups of individuals to make enormous profits while employing very few people. This is inevitable, it is progress, but it is also socially destructive.

We need to put this alongside the financial crash, which brought home to people that a very few individuals working in the financial sector can accrue huge rewards and that the rest of us underwrite that success and pick up the bill when their greed leads us astray. So taken together we are living in a world of widening, not diminishing, financial inequality, in which many people can see not just their standard of living, but their ability to earn a living at all, disappearing. It is no wonder then that they are searching for a new deal, which Trump and Brexit might have appeared to represent.

It is also the case that another unintended consequence of the global spread of the internet and social media is that the stark nature of these inequalities is far more apparent than it has been in the past. For me, the ability to use technology to communicate has been a liberating and positive experience. Without it, I would not have been able to continue working these many years past.

But it also means that the lives of the richest people in the most prosperous parts of the world are agonisingly visible to anyone, however poor, who has access to a phone. And since there are now more people with a telephone than access to clean water in sub-Saharan Africa, this will shortly mean nearly everyone on our increasingly crowded planet will not be able to escape the inequality.

The consequences of this are plain to see: the rural poor flock to cities, to shanty towns, driven by hope. And then often, finding that the Instagram nirvana is not available there, they seek it overseas, joining the ever greater numbers of economic migrants in search of a better life. These migrants in turn place new demands on the infrastructures and economies of the countries in which they arrive, undermining tolerance and further fuelling political populism.

Donald Trump welcomes Nigel Farage, ex-leader of the British UKIP party, to speak at a campaign rally in Jackson, Miss., Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2016. Gerald Herbert/AP

For me, the really concerning aspect of this is that now, more than at any time in our history, our species needs to work together. We face awesome environmental challenges: climate change, food production, overpopulation, the decimation of other species, epidemic disease, acidification of the oceans.

Together, they are a reminder that we are at the most dangerous moment in the development of humanity. We now have the technology to destroy the planet on which we live, but have not yet developed the ability to escape it. Perhaps in a few hundred years, we will have established human colonies amid the stars, but right now we only have one planet, and we need to work together to protect it.

To do that, we need to break down, not build up, barriers within and between nations. If we are to stand a chance of doing that, the world’s leaders need to acknowledge that they have failed and are failing the many. With resources increasingly concentrated in the hands of a few, we are going to have to learn to share far more than at present.

With not only jobs but entire industries disappearing, we must help people to retrain for a new world and support them financially while they do so. If communities and economies cannot cope with current levels of migration, we must do more to encourage global development, as that is the only way that the migratory millions will be persuaded to seek their future at home.

We can do this, I am an enormous optimist for my species; but it will require the elites, from London to Harvard, from Cambridge to Hollywood, to learn the lessons of the past year. To learn above all a measure of humility.

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worldwide to save world heritage Sundarbans In Bangladesh

 

The committee announced the protests at a rally at the Central Shaheed Minar on Saturday organised to demand cancellation of the Rampal power plant project at the vicinity of the forest.

CLAIM OVER POOR (COP22)

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Some countries on climate change hit-list.All the countries are Low Income &Middle Incomeing countries.The people are faceing every moment,how the climate changing.But they are not helping by the cop properly.But,the cop conference is spending a lot of money every year.We think,do not spend a lot of money.Give the advice and money to climate change hit-list countries.Organized a small conference every year.
Drought     Flood              Storm
Malawi    Bangladesh   Philippines
Ethiopia     China           Bangladesh
Zimbabwe India           Madagascar
India        Cambodia          Vietnam
WE are doing something our own money,idea,advice.

https://disqus.com/home/discussion/channel-theweather/claim_over_poor_of_conference_of_parties_cop/

4 Big Questions For This Year’s Climate Change Conference

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World leaders are preparing to gather in Morocco to build on a year of momentous action.

Now, thousands of officials are preparing to meet in Marrakech, Morocco, for the 22nd Conference of the Parties, with the hopes of figuring out many of the specifics regarding putting that deal into action ― including how to pay for the necessary changes and speed up the transition away from planet-warming fossil fuels.

“We’re coming into this COP with a tremendous amount of positive momentum,” John Morton, director for energy and climate change at the National Security Council, said in a call with reporters last week. “2016 has been a truly historic year for international climate action,” he added, with the Paris deal coming into effect “months, years faster than expected.”

But as past meetings have shown, failure can hover around the corner as countries struggle to agree on how ambitious emissions cuts can be. And a U.S. election led by two candidates with vastly different views on environmental policy could affect America’s place in any future negotiations.

Here are four big things to pay attention to at this year’s COP, which starts Monday and ends Nov. 18:

How Do We Live Up To Paris?

The Marrakech meeting will focus on how to implement the Paris agreement now that it’s been ratified into force. While last year’s deal put countries on record with their individual commitments for cutting emissions, many still need to determine how they will implement those plans.

Alden Meyer, director of strategy and policy at the Union for Concerned Scientists, a science advocacy group based in the U.S., said the conversation in Morocco will largely focus on solidifying nations’ efforts by a deadline set for 2018. And the challenge is vast.

“There are more than 100 elements spelled out that [officials] have to grapple with, some of them more technical, some more political,” Meyer said. “But they’ll all take time.”

Under the Paris framework, each country’s goals are voluntary, and a country that fails to adhere to promised emissions cuts won’t face any repercussions. But many countries, including the China and the U.S., have already announced plans curb emissions. There has also been a recent international agreement on phasing out the use of a heat-trapping refrigerant called hydrofluorocarbons, which is seen as progress toward meeting the goals of the Paris deal.

Meyer said the Marrakech meeting will seek to build on that momentum, aiming to keep global warming well below the 2-degree Celsius limit laid out in Paris ― the level scientists say we must stay beneath to avoid the worst effects of climate change.

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Small, low-lying nations like the Marshall Islands often bear the brunt of climate change’s effects, but don’t emit nearly as much greenhouse gas emissions as richer countries.

How Do We Pay For It?

The transition to a low- and no-carbon economy will be expensive, requiring a reallocation of up to $90 trillion in investments toward renewable infrastructure, according to a recent report from the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate.

Much of that burden is expected to fall on the shoulders of rich nations like the U.S. and the European Union, and rapidly developing nations like China ― which also happen to be the world’s biggest polluters. The Paris agreement includes a pledge to jointly raise $100 billion a year by 2020 to help developing nations cope with climate change.

But the private sector and local governments around the world are also expected to play a big role in any transition to a low-carbon future, according to Andrew Steer, CEO of the World Resources Institute, a Washington-based environmental organization.

“We live in a totally different world now. … This is not just about government-to-government [action],” Steer said during a press call last week. “One of the reasons that we have the Paris deal is that we had other actors that were helping governments to raise their game.”

But both rich and developing nations ― namely in Africa and Southeast Asia, which are expected to grow quickly as more than a billion people still lack basic energy ― will need to participate in the conversation about raising and spending that money.

“It’s very important in the context of sustainable development goals that we speak of prosperity for everyone,” said Mariana Panuncio-Feldman, the World Wildlife Fund’s senior director of international climate cooperation. “We need to convert energy systems for those that have energy, but also laying groundwork for those that don’t.”

What Do We Need?

Sustainable transit, land and forest protection, investment in renewables and a carbon tax are all expected to be discussed in Marrakech, both within the official negotiations and in the hundreds of side events that aim to increase the ambition laid out in Paris.

What Will It Mean For The U.S.?

President Barack Obama has made climate action and environmental protection central to his presidency, saying, “No challenge  poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change.”

But the U.S. election is taking place on the second day of the climate summit, and the two major-party candidates disagree on the country’s role in that fight: Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton is an ardent supporter of emissions cuts, but Republican nominee Donald Trump denies that climate change is even happeningand has threatened to leave the Paris deal if he wins.

While Morton noted the “candidates have very different views on climate,” he said in recent years there has been “a recognized inevitability of the transition to a low-carbon economy.” The world is moving forward, with or without the U.S.

“I think the question will be what role and how quickly the U.S. moves,” he said. “The question of commitment to action is no longer one that is being debated … it’s how quickly it will move forward, and who will lead.”

Kate Sheppard contributed reporting.