climate

Book recommendation De best intensjoner - Oljelandet i klimakampen

De beste intensjoner - Oljelandet i klimakampen by Anne Karin Sæther, or "The Best of intentions - The oil country in the climate battle" is one of the best books I've read this year. It got great reviews when it came out in 2017, and is still a must read for anyone who wishes to understand the ultimate paradox that is how the Norwegian oil industry and climate legislation has been in bed together since day one. 

The book gives you the historical background since we first found oil in 1969 at Ekofisk, and how the newly established Oil Office compiled "the ten oil commandments" that would govern Norwegian oil and climate policies in the years to come. It was decided that the oil should be extracted at a "moderate" estimate. This meant that Norway had given itself a limit to how much oil that should be extracted each year, based on the precautionary measures that we did not know how it would go. Later in the book, it is revealed that this "moderate" estimate were in fact higher than what the earliest oil pioners could ever imagine that Norway would extract of oil, but the principle of a moderate oil extractive pace was established to stay. 

Then, we are presented with how Norway led the way as the climate leading nation, with the worlds first environmental minister, Gro Harlem Brundtland. In 1987 she presented the report "Our common future" in the UN's climate assembly, where she recognised the impact oil extractions would have on our climate. As one of the first nations, Norway presented its first climate law, which was to "stabilise" the CO2 emissions during the 1990s or latest in the year 2000. 

However, in the Norwegian Parliament and oil industry, it was recognised how this climate law would hinder the oil industry. This is when the idea of climate quotas was first invented. It became  crucial for Norway's new and growing industry, that gave Norway so much wealth, to not be strangled by climate legislation. Therefore, in the next UN assembly, the then statistician Jens Stoltenberg, presented for the environmental ministers the idea that emission cuts could be made outside ones own country. It was in Norway's interest that you could pay other countries a quota, in stead of reducing emissions in your own country. 

In the next UN assembly, where Norway was part of negotiating forward a climate agreement, our new politics on CO2 emissions made us unpopular. Norway was criticised for caring more about national interests, than the climate, and that our protectionism was delaying the work with the climate agreement. 

These are the events the Norwegian oil adventure was based upon. "The best intentions" then goes on and present some of the arguments the Norwegian oil industry has used to defend its further use of more oil extraction in a time when we know how closely linked the oil industry is to climate change and rising CO2 emissions. The myths of "the worlds cleanest oil" and "Norwegian oil to the worlds poor" are dissected and revealed. Further, the book talks about Statoils role in Norway, and how this has affected the Parliament and our politicians. It also discusses modern oil debates, as the Lofoten area.  

This book is for anyone who wishes to understand how and why Norways biggest industry has played such a huge role in our modern history and policy making. It is also for anyone who is interested in Norwegian politics, international climate politics or just wishes to read a really well written book. 

IMG_0236.jpg

Norway's first climate lawsuit!

Something historical will happen this following week. On Tuesday the 14th of November, in Oslo District Court, the climate article 112 will be tested for the first time ever. The article reads: 

'Every person has the right to an environment that is conducive to health and to a natural environment whose productivity and diversity are maintained. Natural resources shall be managed on the basis of comprehensive long-term considerations which will safeguard this right for future generations as well. The authorities of the state shall take measures for the implementation of these principles'.

This is a brilliant article because it says that the state is responsible for a liveable environment, not just for us, but also for future generations. This means that the actions we make today must be morally just towards the environment because it will affect the environment of the future. 

I believe, and so does the wonderful workplace that I am proud to call my job - Greenpeace, that drilling for more oil, and especially in the Arctic, is not in agreement with this article. We believe that it violates this article, and when the Norwegian government handed out new oil licences for oil drilling in the Arctic, against all environmental advices, that this would not be in the best interests of a liveable climate for the future. 

I first wrote about this lawsuit over a year ago, which you can read here, before I even worked in Greenpeace, because I as a global citizen care about and feel deeply committed to global climate justice and belive in the slogan that 'what happens in the Arctic doesn't stay in the Arctic' - meaning that the oil and gas that is extracted from the Norwegian continental shelf will, when burned somewhere else, further escalate global warming. 

In two days it is finally happening. At 09.00 in Oslo District Court we will meet the states representatives and lay forward our best arguments. I hope with all my heart that we are heard and understood. If we were to win this case, it would set a global precedence. Literally, the world is looking towards Oslo these next two weeks. Here, you can read about it in Al Jazeera. 

There will be a myriad of cultural and other events linked to the lawsuit, that you can attend here, if you are in Oslo. Otherwise, for the best coverage, if you want to follow the court case, I would encourage you to follow Greenpeace Norge on both Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and even Snapchat. Also, follow Klimasøksmål Arktis on Facebook. It will be press coverage in both Norwegian and English. For purely English content, I would recommend following Save The Arctic on Facebook and Greenpeace International. Also, I will do my best to update on social media as well, so find me at The Climate School on Instagram. 

I am so very exited about these two upcoming weeks and I know that there is massive global support to this case. Over 400 000 people have signed up at Save The Arctic to add their names as witness statements. At the same time as this historical lawsuit is taking place in Oslo, there is the COP happening in Bonn, where Norway advocates for ways for create a better climate for the future. By looking towards ourselves first, we could make a significant impact in bettering the climate conditions by being the example that the world so sorely needs. Thank you to everyone that helps bring this message forward in the coming two weeks. 

An Inconvenient Sequel

Today I had the pleasure of being invited to the pre-screening of the new Al Gore movie 'An Inconvenient Sequel', the follow up to the climate awakening 'An Inconvenient Truth'. You can see the trailer here. 

The movie concentrates on the year following up to, and during, the Paris climate negotiations, and up until Trump became president. The movie presents you with several clips of climate catastrophes, which at least for me made me feel on how incredibly unjust the effects of climate change are, and how those who have done the least to contribute are those who suffer the most. 

On a more positive note though, Al Gore has spent the 11 years since 'An Inconvenient Truth' to build up a league of climate educators. This were one of the more uplifting parts of the movie. For more resources about this, please follow this link.  

Furthermore, what I was left with after watching this was how impactful a strong climate movie really can be. I remember seeing 'An Inconvenient Truth' in a biology lessons in college when I was 17, and only the year previous had I joined Nature and Youth, which was the start of my climate journey. With how strongly I felt about it then, and also now, I would actually highly recommend my readers to this week; use movies as a way of educating yourself on the climate. Did you catch Leonardo DiCaprios 'Before The Flood' last year? If not, I would actually encourage you to watch all three of them. 

I fear that some people are afraid of discussing climate related topics out of the doubt that they do not know enough about the subject. I would argue that all of these three movies gives you a fair overview of what has and is happening on the overall climate scene these past few years. In November we will see another UN climate conference (COP), this time in Bonn, so do watch, and do participate in the climate debate! 

 

fb-inconvenientsequel.jpg

What we think about when we try not to think about global warming

Environmental book recommendation of ‘Det vi tenker på når vi prøver å ikke tenke på global oppvarming’ (What we think about when we try not to think about global warming) by Per Espen Stoknes

I must begin with saying that I am happy that this book recommendation can not do justice to reading the book yourself - and that’s a really good thing! Because this is actually, as the book says on the back 'The most important book of the year!'.

The author of the book, Per Espen Stoknes, is both a psychologist and economist, and in this book he presents us with the five key psychological mechanisms that prevents us from acting on climate change. Luckily, he also provides us with new strategies about how we should talk about climate change, and also how detrimental some of the communication around climate change can be. 

There are three main parts of the book: ‘Thinking’, ‘Doing’ and ‘Being’. In ‘Thinking’, the book starts of by thoroughly describing why there are climate deniers and sceptics to climate science. The key findings in this chapter, and also why there are psychological barriers towards climate action is summed up in: 

  1. 1.Distance - the climate cause feels distant to us, ‘it doesn't concern me, yet’. 
  2. 2.Doomsday - with impending doom soon on your hands, it’s easy to feel defeated. 
  3. 3.Dissonance - when we know that the use of fossil fuels amplifies climate change, but we continue to drive our petrol based cars, it can create a dissonance that is uncomfortable to handle. This dissonance is relieved by starting to doubt or trivialise the facts (that our lifestyle created the problem) 
  4. 4.Denial - when we deny the facts, we use it as a tactic to protect ourselves from fear or guilt. By denying climate change altogether, it is easier to lift yourself to the same level as those ‘preaching’ climate facts to you, and rather ridicule them, as a mean of self defence. 
  5. 5.Identity - we look for information that confirms our personal and political values and beliefs, and when the political side you identifies with either express that they believe or do not believe in climate change, it is easier for you to let your cultural identity belief be mirrored, than opposing this. 

However - there are good ways to combat these identified traits to why some denies climate change, and these tactics are described in part 2 - ‘Doing’. The main message here stars of with: Turn the barriers upside down - 

  1. Find a way to make climate change feel close, human, personal and urgent (the opposite from distance). 
  2. Use supportive framing that does not evoke negative emotions (doomsday). 
  3. Create opportunities for a simple and visible climate action (reduces dissonance) 
  4. Avoid emotions as fear, guilt, and the need for self protection (reduces the need for denial) 
  5. Reduce the cultural and political polarising of climate change (to reduce the need to protect your identity) 

From a climate communication perspective, which is my daytime job, this information is golden! Knowing how to not create a ‘them and us’ worldview is vital information when the goal is for climate science to be globally accepted. 

The two main remaining aspect of this first strategy also includes: 

  1. Stick to the positive strategies - whatever we communicate about the climate - the message should be inspiring, sympathetic, and stimulate to togetherness. A solution works so much better when people actually wants it, rather than having it implemented by guilt or fear of repercussions. 
  2. Act as a global citizen, not as a individual - we get further when we act towards societal change, rather than as separate individuals. That being said, we do need those individual acts, as recycling, but it’s when more people join in that a movement is created. 

Based on this, the book presents us with five new strategies to present climate change: 

  1. Social - use the power of social networks. The best communicators for an idea is someone you look up to or identify with, be it a cultural influencer or a celebrity. This strategy has been successfully used in AIDS campaigns in South-Africa and anti smoking campaigns in the US. The same logic can be applied in communication climate science. In already established communities as sports clubs, organisations etc - find out who different communities looks up to, and let them be spokespeople to their own communities.  
  2. Supportive - use lingual framing that supports the message with positive feelings. Talk about the opportunities to a better life, innovation and job opportunities. Talk about how it promotes better health and wellbeing, how it is better to be prepared and ready for the risk of climate, than staying passive. Talk about it as values for our joint cause. 
  3. Simple - make it simple and practical to act climate friendly. Use ‘green nudges’ as means to making the green choice the simplest.
  4. Story-based - use the force of stories to create meaning and togetherness. We need the vision of how the green future will look like, therefore - tell better climate stories. Avoid the apocalyptic narrative and rather talk about green growth, happiness and the good life, ecological restoration and nature ethics. Also, when you tell the stories, make them personal, personified and concrete. Give them life and make them extraordinary. Visualise, don’t explain. Make them fun and vibrant with a strong narrative and use of emotions and drama. 
  5. Signals - use social indicators that visualise society respons to the climate crisis. Integrate the climate communication with new progress as indicators as towards green growth. 

All in all, this is a very optimistic book, and with fear of that this blog post is going to be too long, I will refrain from covering part 3 ‘Being’. I will just say this, you want to read this book, as it provides you with a lot more visuals and examples than I could cover in this brief overview of what the book contain of ideas. 

While reading it, and after, I have felt a renewed hope in communicating climate science. If Stoknes aim for this book was to spread hope around our joint climate, I will definitely say that he succeeded. 10 out of 10, I can strongly recommend this book to anyone interested in climate, psychology, even economics or communication. 

Thank you for reading this longer than usual blogpost, and remember to talk positively when communicating about the climate. 

IMG_7840.JPG

Climate March!

This weeks blog post is a little different, however, I hope you'll find it inspiring. It's about one of the many ways that you can contribute towards a greener and more environmentally friendly society.

Today, there is a big climate march happening in Oslo. I am helping to organise it, so as soon as this blog post goes up, I will head down to the Oslo central station to help out. If you are in Oslo, and have this afternoon free, do come and join us, this is the Facebook event.

The march is the work of a broad coalition, raning from the environmental movement to the religious movement, workers union and scientists. In addition, there will be appeals by author Karl Ove Knausgård and Jan Egeland, Secretary General of the Norwegian Refugee Council. 

The reason why its good to come to these kinds of marches is both to see for yourself that you are part of a much broader movement than you probably knew. Also, it is very good to show our politicians how many people who actually do care and are concerned about the environment. 

Our three major banners this year says "No Arctic Oil", ""Show Climate Justice" and "100.000 new climate jobs". These are our demands, in addition to that we want the upcoming Norwegian election (happening on the 11th of September) must be a tide turn for the environment. We want it to be a climate election. 

So if you are around in Oslo today and want to get some inspiration and feel how broad this movement is, I strongly encourage you to come. We will be marching from the Oslo central Station at 13.00 and end up in front of the Parliament where the appeals will be held. 

 

Circular economy - why it is good for the planet

You've might come across the term 'circular economy' while reading, but what does it really entail? And how is it helping the planet? I hope you will get some of these answers after reading this blog post. 

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation, a foundation founded to accelerate the transition to a more circular economy, defines it as 'Looking beyond the current "take, make and dispose” extractive industrial model, the circular economy is restorative and regenerative by design. Relying on system-wide innovation, it aims to redefine products and services to design waste out, while minimising negative impacts. Underpinned by a transition to renewable energy sources, the circular model builds economic, natural and social capital' .

Put simply; todays economic model isn't sustainable - what can we do about it? In a circular economy we no longer think about a product linearly, hence the name circular. This is understood as a 'produce, use and throw away' linear model. In the circular model, the aim is for the product to stay within the economy for as long as possible. This longevity can even mean that the product no longer servers the use it was initially intended to. 

In the broadest understanding of the concept of circular economy, there will be no more waste. We have finite resources, and within this economic model, waste is actually seen as a resource. In the process of better waste management and recycling, this economic model also aims at upcycling (creatively reusing something), having stricter standards for product design and material usage, and find smarter ways to run a business. 

The overall aim for this economic model is to find smart alternatives. We know that resources are finite, sometimes even scarce, and we know that the Earth has its own limits to what it can handle. With this model, the aim is to play on the same team as Earth, in stead of against it. Luckily, as with many green alternatives, this can both be a financially good investment model, in addition to being good for the planet. Several major companies as H&M, Nike and Google are already partners to the aforementioned Ellen MacArthur Foundation. 

If this blog post sparked some interest for you to find out more, because there is a lot more to dive into with this concept, then I can recommend this page as a first point. 

As always, thank you for reading, for keep educating yourself towards a greener you and a greener future for our shared planet. 

 

3 tips on how to be eco friendly this summer

Hi everyone, June is here, and so is the start of summer holiday for a lot of you. With summer comes a lot of well deserved spare time, and with that, here are some handy tips on how to not let the good habits slip over the holiday: 

1. Slow travels: If possible, chose a train/ferry/bikes/kayak in stead of a flying. Slow travel is all the rage, and for a good reason. By making the travel part of your journey, you can find a necessary slowing of the pace, that might be the reason why you wanted to go on holiday in the first place. For more inspiration, you can follow this link to a couple who are committed to slow travels. 

2. Be a local hero: If you do decide to stay at home, be a local hero in your community! What I mean by this is - if you see that someone has thrown a disposable grill out in the water right next to a beach or any place that children or animals might get stuck in it - be a local hero and pick it up! I have seen this happen numerous times; its polluting, and the grill has no reason to be there. 

3. Pick up the plastic: Following up on being a local hero, I am assuming that a lot of people associate summer with spending time near the ocean, or at least waters, at least, that's summer to me. Whenever you see a plastic bag, or a bottle that have lost its way out of some owners hands, please be the climate hero they failed to be, and carry it with you until you can throw it away in a designated place. Last summer, I did a kayak hike, which turned into a picking up plastic bags from the sea hike. 

Also, obviously, great to pick up the plastic before it enters into the ocean as well, because as we know, almost all the plastic that ends up in nature find its way to the ocean. 

There might be more tips over the summer, but if we all try to follow up on these, you are really making a difference. Have an eco friendly start to your summer. 

The world without us - by Alan Weisman

I started this book without knowing too much about its content, except that it would describe what will happen to our world if we were all to disappear tomorrow. With this seemingly bleak outlook I started reading, and was instantly surprised by, given the premises for the book, how little troublesome it was to read. 

First of all, the language is beautiful. With sentences like:

‘Unless humankind’s Faustian affair with carbon fuels ends up tipping the atmosphere past the point of no return, and runaway global warming transfigures Earth into Venus, at some unknown date glaciers will do so again.’  

Weisman does a good job at describing what will remain after us, mostly underground cities. But with chapters with names like ‘Polymers Are Forever’ and ‘The Petro Patch’ it’s easy to see where we are headed. It is an environmentalist book through and through. Weisman has gone to some great lengths and apparently traveled the world in the attempt to cover all our misdeeds towards the climate. 

What is most distressing however is not that the concrete will break up and New York will once again be a green canopy, but how long after the toxins we have engineered are staying in our environment. One example is PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) that we stopped using in the 70’s due to how animals who came in contact with it started mutating and changing gender. After remains of PCB were dug deep into the earth, that again found it’s way back into the water (spoiler: Everything finds it’s way back into the water), these toxins have now reappeared in the Arctic, where they are found in breastmilk in Innuit women, and in the fat tissues in seals and fish. 

Weisman leaves us with a thought on the choice ahead — if we as a species will bring the rest of Life with us, or tear it down, with a friendly reminder that we can't really do it alone if nature isn't with us. This is, to my belief, perhaps the core of this book, how closely we are linked with nature. 

If you are into in-debt explanations and a more naturalistic approach to climate change, this could well be the book for you. 

This changes everything

I have finally gotten around to read Naomi Kleins 'This Changes Everything" (2014) (yes, I know, a little late to the game) However, even if you read it now, you will still get some really good insights as to where we are currently in the climate discourse.

Klein is a Canadian journalist, author and political activist, and 'This Changes Everything' draws most of its example from the current day US climate policies. The main idea of the book is that its the current economical system, capitalism, that is ruling how we make all other decisions, including those for the climate. If you are either interested in climate, as I sort of assume you are if you've found your way to this blog, but also if you are interested in how economy influence all aspects of society, then this might be the book for you.

One of my most 'aha!' moments when reading the book, was when she discusses how the fossile fuel industry per definition neither can't stop nor won't stop before they have literally searched every inch of our common Earth. This has to do with how it is financed; oil companies gets new investments based on what they estimate that they will be able to produce. So with this cycle, they can never stop searching. Klein gives some devastating examples in the book about small island communities that perished because of this extractive industry. For a more thorough explanation of this and a lot more, I can really recommend this book. It is also a good road map if you have just gotten into the climate debate, but want to get a bit more back history on how the movement came to be. 

We are almost there..!

This is the current status of the Paris agreement - but what does that mean? As previously stated in another blogpost http://theclimateschool.com/news/2016/9/4/progress-on-the-paris-agreement  the Paris agreement will first take effect when at least 55 countries has ratified (UN language to say agreed to). As of 23rd of September, we have 60 countries that have ratified the agreement. There is however one more formality that remains, and that is that of the 55+ the countries that have ratified the agreement, we need to have those countries who contribute to at least 55% of the globale climate emissions. Currently we have reached 47, 78%, so nearly there! 

This is exciting! Look forward to climate related celebrations when we hit the right number! 

As always, thank you for reading and caring about the climate. 

Progress on the Paris agreement!

The biggest climate news of this week is that both China and the US ratified the Paris agreement. This means that they made it legally binding, and it also sends a strong signal to countries that have yet to ratify it. If you follow this link  http://www.paris-agreement.fr you can see which countries that have agreed, and how long we are into the process of having it ratified globally. 

A quick summary of what the Paris agreement contains:  

- A promise to keep the global warming emissions below 2 degrees celsius, and try to limit it to below 1,5 degrees (a blog post on why this is so will come soon)

- Will contribute with adaptation and loss and damages from the effects of climate change, and secure the financial part of the low emission development

- The agreement will take effect when at least 55 countries - who are contributing to at least 55 % of the global climate emissions - formally has signed the agreement

- So far 177 countries have signed the agreement and 24 countries have ratified it

 

Greetings!

Hello, my name is Charlotte, and welcome to this new blog project! 

I've always been passionate about sharing information that leads to higher social awareness. For the past 10 years, I've been a part of the environmental movement. This has taken me from grassroot movements to the highest level in UN climate change negotiations. Through environmental and development NGOs, and through my formal education at university, I've been given a thorough education in the different aspects of what is happening to our planet. This year I'm doing a one year teacher studies course, and on that occasion I wanted to start this blog.

I want to be an environmental educator, spreader of environmental news and try to inspire with climate related literature. New posts will be added every Tuesday. 

I will also explain environmental concepts. I want this blog to be helpful for those who want to understand climate change better, but don't know where to start. If we break it into smaller pieces, we can put them together as part of the bigger picture. If you want to read about certain concept or themes related to climate, write me a comment and I will follow up with a  blog post. 

I look forward to starting this project! Hope you will enjoy reading it.