5…now 2.5 Minutes to Midnight (Heading to 2 or 3 Minutes in 2018?)
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5…now 2.5 Minutes to Midnight (Heading to 2 or 3 Minutes in 2018?)
When we call these dangers existential, that is exactly what we mean: They threaten the very existence of civilization… http://goo.gl/EZmlVF
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IT IS TWO AND A HALF MINUTES TO MIDNIGHT

IT IS TWO AND A HALF MINUTES TO MIDNIGHT | 5…now 2.5 Minutes to Midnight (Heading to 2 or 3 Minutes in 2018?) | Scoop.it
"For the last two years, the minute hand of the Doomsday Clock stayed set at three minutes before the hour, the closest it had been to midnight since the early 1980s. In its two most recent annual announcements on the Clock, the Science and Security Board warned: “The probability of global catastrophe is very high, and the actions needed to reduce the risks of disaster must be taken very soon.” In 2017, we find the danger to be even greater, the need for action more urgent. It is two and a half minutes to midnight, the Clock is ticking, global danger looms. Wise public officials should act immediately, guiding humanity away from the brink. If they do not, wise citizens must step forward and lead the way. See the full statement from the Science and Security Board on the 2017 time of the Doomsday Clock." 

For full statement: https://goo.gl/JE5Yjl ;

"Because we know from experience that governmental leaders respond to public pressure, we also call on citizens of the world to express themselves in all the ways available to them— including through use of the powerful new tools of social media—to demand that: • US and Russian leaders return to the negotiating table to seek further reductions in nuclear arms and to limit nuclear modernization programs that threaten to create a new nuclear arms race. The world can be more secure with much, much smaller nuclear arsenals than now exist— if political leaders are truly interested in protecting their citizens from harm. • The United States and Russia reduce the alert levels of their nuclear weapons and use existing crisis stability mechanisms to avoid inadvertent escalation of con ict. Provocative military exercises increase the possibilities for accidental war and should cease. • Governments around the world sharply reduce their countries’ greenhouse gas emissions and ful ll the Paris Accord promise of keeping warming to 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels, or less. This temperature target is consistent with consensus views on climate science and is eminently achievable and economically viable, provided that poorer countries are given the support they need to make the post-carbon transition. • The Trump administration acknowledge climate change as a science-backed reality and redouble US e orts to limit carbon dioxide emissions and support carbon- free energy sources, including, when economically reasonable and safe over the long term, nuclear energy. It is well past time to move beyond arguments over the reality of climate change and on to solutions, including scal measures—such as carbon markets and carbon taxes or fees—that encourage e ciency and put a price on carbon emissions. • The United States, China, Russia, and other concerned nations engage with North Korea to reduce nuclear risks. Neighbors in Asia face the most urgent threat, but as North Korea improves its nuclear and missile arsenals, the threat will rapidly become global. As we said last year and repeat here: Now is not the time to tighten North Korea’s isolation but to engage seriously in dialogue. • Leaders of countries with commercial nuclear power programs deal responsibly with safety issues and with the commercial nuclear waste problem. Top experts disagree on whether an expansion of nuclear-powered electricity generation can become a major component of the e ort to limit climate change. Regardless of the trajectory of the global nuclear industry, there will be a continuing need for safe and secure interim and permanent nuclear waste storage facilities and for ever-safer nuclear power plants. • The countries of the world collaborate on creating institutions speci cally assigned to explore and address potentially malign or catastrophic misuses of new technologies. Scienti c advance can provide society with great bene ts. But as events surrounding the recent US presidential election show, the potential for misuse of potent new technologies is real. Governmental, scientific, and business leaders need to take appropriate steps to address possibly devastating consequences of these technologies." 

 For full statement: https://goo.gl/JE5Yjl
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Powerful Pictures Show What Nuclear ‘Fire and Fury’ Really Looks Like

Powerful Pictures Show What Nuclear ‘Fire and Fury’ Really Looks Like | 5…now 2.5 Minutes to Midnight (Heading to 2 or 3 Minutes in 2018?) | Scoop.it
These historic pictures show the aftermath of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, a black-and-white reminder of what “fire and fury” actually looks like—although the capabilities of modern nuclear weapons far outstrip those of their mid-century counterparts.
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North Korea advances its nuclear power: Live updates

North Korea advances its nuclear power: Live updates | 5…now 2.5 Minutes to Midnight (Heading to 2 or 3 Minutes in 2018?) | Scoop.it
"North Korea best not make any more threats to he United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen," Trump said. "They will be met with fire, fury and frankly power the likes of which the world has never seen."
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Government Report Finds Drastic Impact of Climate Change on U.S.

Government Report Finds Drastic Impact of Climate Change on U.S. | 5…now 2.5 Minutes to Midnight (Heading to 2 or 3 Minutes in 2018?) | Scoop.it
"The report directly contradicts Trump administration claims about global warming and concludes that temperatures have risen rapidly since 1980."
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When Will the Planet Be Too Hot for Humans? Much, Much Sooner Than You Imagine.

When Will the Planet Be Too Hot for Humans? Much, Much Sooner Than You Imagine. | 5…now 2.5 Minutes to Midnight (Heading to 2 or 3 Minutes in 2018?) | Scoop.it
• "... no matter how well-informed you are, you are surely not alarmed enough. Over the past decades, our culture has gone apocalyptic with zombie movies and Mad Max dystopias, perhaps the collective result of displaced climate anxiety, and yet when it comes to contemplating real-world warming dangers, we suffer from an incredible failure of imagination." • Plague, famine, heat no human can survive. What scientists, when they’re not being cautious, fear climate change could do to our future.
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Tillerson says diplomacy with North Korea has ‘failed’; Pyongyang warns of war

Tillerson says diplomacy with North Korea has ‘failed’; Pyongyang warns of war | 5…now 2.5 Minutes to Midnight (Heading to 2 or 3 Minutes in 2018?) | Scoop.it
TOKYO — The Trump administration made a clear break Thursday with diplomatic efforts to talk North Korea out of a nuclear confrontation, bringing the United States and its Asian allies closer to a military response than at any point in more than a decade.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that 20 years of trying to persuade North Korea to abandon its nuclear program had failed and that he was visiting Asia “to exchange views on a new approach.”

Soon after Tillerson’s remarks, in a sign of mounting tensions, the North Korean Embassy held an extraordinary news conference in Beijing to blame the potential for nuclear war on the United States while vowing that its homegrown nuclear testing program will continue in self-defense.
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Close to midnight: The Doomsday Clock now reads two and a half minutes to midnight

Close to midnight: The Doomsday Clock now reads two and a half minutes to midnight | 5…now 2.5 Minutes to Midnight (Heading to 2 or 3 Minutes in 2018?) | Scoop.it

"The symbolic clock is ticking. On January 26th, the Science and Security Board of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, in consultation with the Bulletin’s Board of Sponsors and its 15 Nobel laureates, unveiled its latest Doomsday Clock. The current time: two and a half minutes to midnight."

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Trump's wild misrepresentation of Obama's response to a protester

Trump's wild misrepresentation of Obama's response to a protester | 5…now 2.5 Minutes to Midnight (Heading to 2 or 3 Minutes in 2018?) | Scoop.it
"To hear Donald Trump describe it, President Barack Obama was 'really screaming' at a pro-Trump protester whose appearance at a Hillary Clinton rally momentarily interrupted the President's remarks." "• More to the point, Obama's rebuke was directed at the Clinton supporters, not the protester. He first told the audience they shouldn't worry about the man, who was peacefully conducting himself. • 'We live in a country that respects free speech. Second of all, it looks like maybe he might have served in our military and we've got to respect that,' Obama said. 'Third of all, he was elderly and we've got to respect our elders.' • Trump -- who called Obama's response 'a disgrace' -- didn't mention Obama's plea for respect for the protester. Instead, he said the President 'spent so much time screaming at this protester.'"
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Questions for the presidential candidates on nuclear terrorism, proliferation, weapons policy, and energy

Questions for the presidential candidates on nuclear terrorism, proliferation, weapons policy, and energy | 5…now 2.5 Minutes to Midnight (Heading to 2 or 3 Minutes in 2018?) | Scoop.it

A few key nuclear policy questions for the 2016 presidential candidates:

On nuclear terrorism

— Do you believe that nuclear terrorism is one of the greatest threats facing the United States, and, if so, what will you do to invigorate international cooperation to prevent it?

On nuclear proliferation

— How will you attempt to roll back North Korea’s increasingly threatening and destabilizing nuclear weapon program?

— Will you continue to support the deal and, if so, how will you work with Iran, quell dissent among our allies in the region, and answer criticism here at home?

— Do you plan to continue building a strategic partnership with India, and, if so, how will you reassure Pakistan that the US insistence on nuclear restraint in South Asia includes not just Pakistan, but India as well?

On nuclear weapons policy

— Will you continue to push for a reduced role for nuclear weapons in US defense policy? If so, will you promote further nuclear arms reductions and ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty? And if Russia and China stay their current course, how will you deal with US nuclear modernization, and how will you reassure America’s allies?

On nuclear energy

— What are your plans for the domestic nuclear power industry and for the role the United States will play in this sector internationally?


Siegfried S. Hecker (2016) Questions for the presidential candidates on nuclear terrorism, proliferation, weapons policy, and energy, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists,72:5, 276-277, DOI: 10.1080/00963402.2016.1216498


To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00963402.2016.1216498

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Flooding of Coast, Caused by Global Warming, Has Already Begun

Flooding of Coast, Caused by Global Warming, Has Already Begun | 5…now 2.5 Minutes to Midnight (Heading to 2 or 3 Minutes in 2018?) | Scoop.it
Huge vertical rulers are sprouting beside low spots in the streets here, so people can judge if the tidal floods that increasingly inundate their roads are too deep to drive through.

Five hundred miles down the Atlantic Coast, the only road to Tybee Island, Ga., is disappearing beneath the sea several times a year, cutting the town off from the mainland.

And another 500 miles on, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., increased tidal flooding is forcing the city to spend millions fixing battered roads and drains — and, at times, to send out giant vacuum trucks to suck saltwater off the streets.

For decades, as the global warming created by human emissions caused land ice to melt and ocean water to expand, scientists warned that the accelerating rise of the sea would eventually imperil the United States’ coastline.

Now, those warnings are no longer theoretical: The inundation of the coast has begun. The sea has crept up to the point that a high tide and a brisk wind are all it takes to send water pouring into streets and homes.

Federal scientists have documented a sharp jump in this nuisance flooding — often called “sunny-day flooding” — along both the East Coast and the Gulf Coast in recent years. The sea is now so near the brim in many places that they believe the problem is likely to worsen quickly. Shifts in the Pacific Ocean mean that the West Coast, partly spared over the past two decades, may be hit hard, too.
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Rescooped by Dennis Richards from Kids Global Climate Change Institute (KGCCI) - "But the minute [Trump's] door closes to learning and evolving, man the barricades." Thomas L. Friedman
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An open letter to the Prime Minister on the climate crisis, from 154 scientists: There is no Planet B.

An open letter to the Prime Minister on the climate crisis, from 154 scientists: There is no Planet B. | 5…now 2.5 Minutes to Midnight (Heading to 2 or 3 Minutes in 2018?) | Scoop.it

Andrew Glikson, Australian National University

Dear The Hon. Malcolm Turnbull MP, Prime Minister of Australia,

The following is an open letter signed by 154 Australian atmospheric, marine, environmental, biological and medical scientists, including several leading climatologists, for your and your government’s attention.

There is no Planet B 

 
In July 2016, global temperatures soared to the hottest in the 136 years of the instrumental record, 0.1℃ warmer than previous warm Julys in 2015, 2011 and 2009. It followed a succession of rising temperatures, moving from 0.42℃ above average in 2000, to 0.87℃ above average by 2015.

Developments in the atmosphere-ocean system reported by major climate research organisations (including NASA, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the US National Snow & Ice Data Center, the UK Met Office Hadley Centre, the Tyndall Centre, the Potsdam Institute; the science academics of dozens of nations; and in Australia the CSIRO and Bureau of Meteorology) include:

A rise of atmospheric carbon dioxide levels to 404.39 parts per million (ppm; as of July 2016), an average rise of 3.08 ppm per year. This rate is unprecedented in the geological record of the past 55 million years, and is tracking towards the stability threshold of the Antarctic ice sheet, estimated at around 450ppm atmospheric CO₂. 


The rise in greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere and oceans is leading to an increase in extreme weather events relative to the period 1950-60, including tropical storms such as those in Fiji, Vanuatu and the Philippines, with lives lost and damage estimated in the billions of dollars. In Australia the frequency of extreme weather events has been increasing, and since 2001 the number of extreme heat records has outnumbered extreme cool records by almost three to one for daytime maximum temperatures, and around five to one for night-time minimum temperatures. 

 
Impacts on a similar scale are taking place in the ocean, where the CO₂ rise has caused an increase in acidity from pH 8.2 to 8.1 already. The pH is predicted to decrease to 7.8 by 2100, affecting coral reefs and the marine food chain. 

 
Ice sheet melt rates have been increasing and the rate of sea-level rise has been accelerating, from roughly 1.7mm per year over the past century to 3.2mm per year between 1993 and 2010, and to about 3.5mm per year today. This threatens low-lying islands, deltas and lower river valleys where billions of people live – a problem that is compounded by increased variability of river flows in terms of floods and draughts. 

 
We are concerned that global warming, amplified by feedbacks from polar ice melt, methane release from permafrost, and extensive fires, may become irreversible, including the possible collapse of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation, a crucial component of the global climate system that transfers heat from the tropics to the North Atlantic.

According to James Hansen, NASA’s former chief climate scientist, “burning all fossil fuels would create a different planet than the one that humanity knows“. Joachim Schellnhuber, Germany’s chief climate scientist, has summed up the situation by saying: “We’re simply talking about the very life support system of this planet.”

We note your broad agreement with this point, in light of your 2010 statement that:

…we are as humans conducting a massive science experiment with this planet. It’s the only planet we have got… We know that the consequences of unchecked global warming would be catastrophic… We as a human species have a deep and abiding obligation to this planet and to the generations that will come after us.

While the Paris Agreement remains unbinding and global warming has received minimal attention in the recent elections, governments worldwide are presiding over a large-scale demise of the planetary ecosystems, which threatens to leave large parts of Earth uninhabitable.

We call on the Australian government to tackle the root causes of an unfolding climate tragedy and do what is required to protect future generations and nature, including meaningful reductions of Australia’s peak carbon emissions and coal exports, while there is still time.

There is no Planet B.

Yours sincerely,

Dr Christine Adams-Hosking, Conservation planner, University of Queensland

Associate Professor Stephen Adelstein, Medical scientist, University of Sydney

Professor Ross Alford, Tropical ecologist, James Cook University

Dr Wallace Ambrose, Archaeological anthropologist, ANU

Dr Martin Anda, Environmental engineer, Murdoch University

Dr Marion Anderston, Geochemist, Monash University

Professor Michael Archer, Paleontologist, UNSW Australia

Dr Leanne Armand, Marine Researcher, Macquarie University

Professor Patricia Armati, Medical scientist, University of Sydney

Professor Owen Atkin, Plant respiration researcher, ANU

Professor Elaine Baker, Marine scientist, University of Sydney

Associate Professor Cathy Banwell, Medical scientist, ANU

Dr Andrew Barnes, Aquatic animal health researcher, University of Queensland

Dr Fiona Beck, Renewable energy researcher, ANU

Dr Tom Beer, Climatic and environmental change researcher, CSIRO

Professor Andrew Blakers, Photovoltaics/energy storage researcher, ANU

Professor Phillip Board, Medical scientist, ANU

Professor Justin Borevitz, Plant geneticist, ANU

Dr Caryl Bosman, Environmental planning researcher, Griffith University

Professor David Bowman, Forestry researcher, University of Tasmania

Dr Timothy Broadribb, Plant Scientist, University of Tasmania

Dr Helen Brown, Environmental health researcher, Curtin University

Dr Tim Brown, Medicine and environment researcher, ANU

Professor Ralf Buckley, Conservation/ecotourism researcher, Griffith University

Dr Florian Busch, Plant scientist, ANU

Dr Jason Byrne, Urban design researcher, Curtin University

Professor Maria Byrne, Marine and developmental biologist, University of Sydney

Dr Martina Calais, Renewable energy researcher, Murdoch University

Associate Professor Craig Carter, Engineering and IT researcher, Murdoch University

Dr Phill Cassey, Ecologist, Adelaide University

Professor Carla Catterall, Ecologist, Griffith University

Dr Juleen Cavanaugh, Biomedical scientist, ANU

Professor Fred Chow, Plant biologist, ANU

Associate Professor David Cohen, Geochemist, UNSW Australia

Professor Steven Cooper, Evolutionary biologist, SA Museum

Professor Rod Connolly, Marine scientist, Griffith University

Professor Jann Conroy, Plant scientist, Western Sydney University

Dr Lucy Coupland, Medical scientist, ANU

Dr Joseph Coventry, Solar energy researcher, ANU

Dr Chris Creagh, Physicist, Murdoch University

Professor Patricia Dale, Environment/planning researcher, Griffith University

Dr Armanda Davies, Planning geographer, Curtin University

Dr Ian Davies, Forestry fire management researcher, ANU

Dr Kirsten Davies, Ethno-ecology and environmental law researcher, Macquarie University

Dr Robert Davis, Vertebrate biologist, Edith Cowan University

Professor Keith Dear, Global health researcher, ANU

Dr Fjalar de Haan, Sustainability researcher, University of Melbourne

Professor Hans Peter Dietz, Medical scientist, Penrith Hospital

Professor Bob Douglas, Medical scientist, ANU

Associate Professor Mark Douglas, Medical scientist, University of Sydney

Dr Jen Drysdale, Climate and energy researcher, University of Melbourne

Professor Angela Dulhunty, Medical scientist, ANU

Professor Robyn Eckersley, Climate change governance researcher, University of Melbourne

Dr Elin Charles Edwards, Environmental geographer, University of Queensland

Professor David Eldridge, Evolutionary biologist, UNSW Australia

Professor David Elsworth, Environmental ecologist, Western Sydney University

Associate Professor Jason Evans, Climate change researcher, UNSW Australia

Dr Isabelle Ferru, Medical scientist, ANU

Professor Tim Flannery, Climate Council

Professor Barry Fox, Ecologist, UNSW Australia

Dr Evan Franklin, Solar energy researcher, ANU

Dr Diego Garcia-Bellido, Paleontologist, University of Adelaide

Dr Stephen Garnett, Conservation and sustainability researcher, Charles Darwin University

Dr John Gillen, Soil scientist, ANU

Dr Andrew Glikson, Paleoclimatologist, ANU

Dr Susan Gould, Climate change researcher, Griffith UNiversity

Professor Colin Groves, Anthropologist, ANU

Dr Huade Guan, Hydro-meteorologist, Flinders University

Professor Neil Gunningham, Global governance researcher, ANU

Dr Asish Hagar, Medical scientist, UNSW Australia

Dr Nina Hall, Sustainable water researcher, University of Queensland

Dr Willow Hallgren, Atmospheric scientist, Griffith University

Dr Elizabeth Hanna, Environmental health researcher, ANU

Associate Professor David Harley, Epidemiologist, ANU

Professor Robert S. Hill, Paleobotanist, University of Adelaide

Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, Marine climatologist and Great Barrier Reef researcher, University of Queensland

Professor Geoff Hope, Archaeologist and natural history researcher, ANU

Associate Professor Michael Howes, Environmental scientist, Griffith University

Professor Lesley Hughes, Climate change and species researcher, University of Adelaide

Dr Paul Humphries, Environmental scientist, Charles Sturt University

Professor Phillip Jenning, Energy researcher, Murdoch University

Professor Darryl Jones, Behavioural ecologist, Griffith University

Dr Hugh Jones, Medical scientist, University of Western Australia

Dr Jochen Kaempf, Physical oceanographer, Flinders University

Professor Jeffrey Keelan, Medical scientist, University of Western Australia

Professor Peter Kershaw, Biogeographer and botanist, Monash University

Dr Carsten Kulheim, Plant physiologist, ANU

Professor Rakkesh Kumar, Medical scientist, UNSW Australia

Dr Lori Lach, Rainforest conservationist, James Cook University

Professor Barry Lacopetta, Medical scientist, University of Western Australia

Professor Trevor Lamb, Medical scientist, ANU

Professor Tony Larkum, Plant biologist, University of Technology Sydney

Dr Annie Lau, Geography and environmental management researcher, University of Quensland

Professor Bill Laurance, Tropical environment and sustainability researcher, James Cook University

Associate Professor Fred Leusch, Soil, water and energy researcher, Griffith University

Professor Andrew Lowe, Plant conservationist, University of Adelaide

Dr Fabio Luciano, Medical scientist, UNSW Australia

Professor Justin Marshall, Marine biologist, University of Queensland

Dr Melanie Massaro, Ecologist and ornithologist, Charles Sturt University

Associate Professor John F. McCarthy, Resource environment researcher, ANU

Dr Allison McInnes, Plant biologist, UTS

Associate Professor Andrew McKenzie, Landscape planning researcher, University of Canberra

Dr Kathryn McMahon, Environmental researcher, Edith Cowan University

Professor Andrew Millington, Land change scientist, Flinders University

Professor Angela Moles, Evolutionary ecologist, UNSW Australia

Professor Renee Morris, Medical scientist, UNSW Australia

Professor Barbara Norman, Urban planning researcher, University of Canberra

Professor Nikos Ntoumanis, Behavioural medicine researcher, Curtin University

Dr Bradley Opdyke, Climate historian, ANU

Professor Richard G. Pearson, Marine and tropical biologist, James Cook University

Dr Barrie Pittock, Climate scientist, CSIRO

Dr Jason Potas, Medical scientist, ANU

Professor Susan Prescott, Medical scientist, University of Western Australia

Dr Lynda Prior, Climate researcher, University of Tasmania

Dr Thomas Prowse, Biologist, University of Adelaide

Professor Marie Ranson, Molecular biologist, University of Wollongong

Professor Steve Redman, Medical scientist, ANU

Associate Professor Tracy Rogers, Evolutionary ecologist, UNSW Australia

Professor Chris Ryan, Eco-innovation researcher, University of Melbourne

Dr Oz Sahnin, Climate change researcher, Griffith University

Associate Professor Peter Sainsbury, Climate and health researcher, University of Sydney

Professor David Sinclair, Medical scientist, UNSW Australia

Dr Tom Sobey, Medical scientist, UNSW Australia

Professor Will Steffen, Climate change researcher, ANU

Professor Peter Steinberg, Marine scientist, UNSW Australia

Associate Professor Christian Stricker, Medical scientist, ANU

Professor Ian Suthers, Marine biologist, UNSW Australia

Associate Professor Sue Taylor, Medical scientist, University of Western Australia

Dr Sebastian Thomas, Sustainability researcher, University of Melbourne

Dr Andrew Thomson, Solar researcher, ANU

Associate Professor Thomas Thorsten, Marine biologist, UNSW Australia

Associate Professor Ian Tibbetts, Marine Scientist, University of Queensland

Professor David Tissue, Plant ecophysiologist, Western Sydney University

Professor Matthias Tomczak, Oceanographer, Flinders University

Mr Shane Toohey, Medical scientist, University of Western Australia

Dr Gail Trapp, Medical scientist, UNSW Australia

Professor Patrick Troy, Human ecologist, ANU

Professor Tom Trull, Antarctic, oceans and atmosphere researcher, CSIRO

Professor David Tscharke, Medical scientist, ANU

Professor Chris Turney, Antarctic climatologist, UNSW Australia

Dr Tania Urmee, Renewable energy technologist, Murdoch University

Professor René Vaillancourt, Plant geneticist, University of Tasmania

Professor John Veevers, Earth scientist, Macquarie University

Professor Charlie Veron, Marine scientist, Australian Institute of Marine Science

Professor Phil Waite, Medical scientist, UNSW Australia

Dr Elaine Walker, Physics and energy researcher, Murdoch University

Dr Hayden Washington, Environmental researcher, UNSW Australia

Professor David Watson, Water and society ecologist, Charles Sturt University

Dr Scarla J. Weeks, Biophysical oceanographer, University of Queensland

Professor Adrian Werner, Hydrologist, Flinders University

Mr Peter Weiske, Medical and environmental scientist, ANU

Dr Jonathan Whale, Energy researcher, Murdoch University

Associate Professor George Wilson, Wildlife management researcher, ANU

Dr Phillip Zylstra, Forests and fire researcher, University of Wollongong



Andrew Glikson does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond the academic appointment above.

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Special Issue: Cold War 2.0?

Special Issue: Cold War 2.0? | 5…now 2.5 Minutes to Midnight (Heading to 2 or 3 Minutes in 2018?) | Scoop.it
"Over the last year, relations between Russia and the United States have deteriorated to a level not seen since the days of the Cold War. Are we in Cold War 2.0? This special issue of the Bulletin offers a remarkable collection of top-rank experts and their deeply considered views on the US-Russia relationship and the unique enigma named Vladimir Putin. It's an issue that should (and will) be read by national leaders around the world—and by the citizens who must hold them to account, if the world is to avoid the danger and waste of another Cold War. • Let us know what you think of the issue. • John Mecklin • Editor-in-Chief"
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A New Dark Age Looms

A New Dark Age Looms | 5…now 2.5 Minutes to Midnight (Heading to 2 or 3 Minutes in 2018?) | Scoop.it
"Boulder, Colo. — IMAGINE a future in which humanity’s accumulated wisdom about Earth — our vast experience with weather trends, fish spawning and migration patterns, plant pollination and much more — turns increasingly obsolete. As each decade passes, knowledge of Earth’s past becomes progressively less effective as a guide to the future. Civilization enters a dark age in its practical understanding of our planet. • To comprehend how this could occur, picture yourself in our grandchildren’s time, a century hence. Significant global warming has occurred, as scientists predicted. Nature’s longstanding, repeatable patterns — relied on for millenniums by humanity to plan everything from infrastructure to agriculture — are no longer so reliable. Cycles that have been largely unwavering during modern human history are disrupted by substantial changes in temperature and precipitation. • As Earth’s warming stabilizes, new patterns begin to appear. At first, they are confusing and hard to identify. Scientists note similarities to Earth’s emergence from the last ice age. These new patterns need many years — sometimes decades or more — to reveal themselves fully, even when monitored with our sophisticated observing systems. Until then, farmers will struggle to reliably predict new seasonal patterns and regularly plant the wrong crops. Early signs of major drought will go unrecognized, so costly irrigation will be built in the wrong places. Disruptive societal impacts will be widespread."
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Violent clashes between white nationalists and counterprotesters in Charlottesville

Violent clashes between white nationalists and counterprotesters in Charlottesville | 5…now 2.5 Minutes to Midnight (Heading to 2 or 3 Minutes in 2018?) | Scoop.it
"CHARLOTTESVILLE -After a morning of violent clashes between white nationalists and counter protesters, police ordered hundreds of people out of a downtown park - putting an end to a noon rally that hadn’t even begun. • Gov. Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency shortly before 11 a.m. • Using megaphones, police declared an unlawful assembly at about 11:40 a.m., and gave a five-minute warning to leave Emancipation Park, where hundreds of neoNazis, Ku Klux Klans members and other white nationalists had gathered to protest the removal of a Confederate statue. They were met by equal numbers of counterprotesters, including clergy, Black Lives Matter activists and Princeton professor Cornel West."
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Rescooped by Dennis Richards from Kids Global Climate Change Institute (KGCCI) - "But the minute [Trump's] door closes to learning and evolving, man the barricades." Thomas L. Friedman
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Climate Change Now Impacting U.S., Government Report Warns

Climate Change Now Impacting U.S., Government Report Warns | 5…now 2.5 Minutes to Midnight (Heading to 2 or 3 Minutes in 2018?) | Scoop.it

The review also summarizes the key findings of thousands of studies, conducted by tens of thousands of climate scientists across the globe over a period of decades:

- Global evidence makes clear that today’s climate is changing rapidly compared to the natural climatic changes that have occurred throughout Earth’s history.


- The frequency and intensity of heavy precipitation and extreme heat events are increasing in most regions of the world, consistent with the expected physical responses to a warming climate.


- Human activities—especially emissions of greenhouse gases—are primarily responsible for the observed changes in climate since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution. There are no alternative explanations or observed natural cycles that can explain recent climate change.


- Atmospheric CO2 levels have now passed 400 parts per million, a concentration last seen about 3 million years ago, when average temperature and sea level were significantly higher than today.


- The world is not reducing emissions enough to limit warming to 2 degrees Celsius relative to preindustrial temperatures by 2100, the goal of the Paris Agreement.

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North Korea now making missile-ready nuclear weapons, U.S. analysts say

North Korea now making missile-ready nuclear weapons, U.S. analysts say | 5…now 2.5 Minutes to Midnight (Heading to 2 or 3 Minutes in 2018?) | Scoop.it
North Korea has successfully produced a miniaturized nuclear warhead that can fit inside its missiles, crossing a key threshold on the path to becoming a full-fledged nuclear power, U.S. intelligence officials have concluded in a confidential assessment.

The new analysis completed last month by the Defense Intelligence Agency comes on the heels of another intelligence assessment that sharply raises the official estimate for the total number of bombs in the communist country’s atomic arsenal. The U.S. calculated last month that up to 60 nuclear weapons are now controlled by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Some independent experts believe the number of bombs is much smaller.

The findings are likely to deepen concerns about an evolving North Korean military threat that appears to be advancing far more rapidly than many experts had predicted. U.S. officials last month concluded that Pyongyang is also outpacing expectations in its effort to build an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of striking cities on the American mainland.
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North Korea fires another missile, its latest step toward putting the U.S. within reach

North Korea fires another missile, its latest step toward putting the U.S. within reach | 5…now 2.5 Minutes to Midnight (Heading to 2 or 3 Minutes in 2018?) | Scoop.it
"The projectile flew for 45 minutes, indicating it was another intercontinental ballistic missile." "• TOKYO — North Korea has taken another bold step toward achieving its stated goal of being able to send a nuclear weapon to the U.S. mainland, firing an intercontinental ballistic missile late Friday that highlights the regime’s rapid technological progress. • The missile flew almost straight up for 45 minutes and reached a height of about 2,300 miles before crashing into the sea off Japan. But if it had been launched on a normal trajectory, the missile could theoretically have reached Chicago and perhaps even New York, experts said."
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Donald Trump Is Less Predictable Than Kim Jong Un

Donald Trump Is Less Predictable Than Kim Jong Un | 5…now 2.5 Minutes to Midnight (Heading to 2 or 3 Minutes in 2018?) | Scoop.it
Mark Bowden argues that the president is more likely to start a nuclear war than his adversary in North Korea.
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How US nuclear force modernization is undermining strategic stability: The burst-height compensating super-fuze

How US nuclear force modernization is undermining strategic stability: The burst-height compensating super-fuze | 5…now 2.5 Minutes to Midnight (Heading to 2 or 3 Minutes in 2018?) | Scoop.it

"The US nuclear forces modernization program has been portrayed to the public as an effort to ensure the reliability and safety of warheads in the US nuclear arsenal, rather than to enhance their military capabilities. In reality, however, that program has implemented revolutionary new technologies that will vastly increase the targeting capability of the US ballistic missile arsenal. This increase in capability is astonishing—boosting the overall killing power of existing US ballistic missile forces by a factor of roughly three—and it creates exactly what one would expect to see, if a nuclear-armed state were planning to have the capacity to fight and win a nuclear war by disarming enemies with a surprise first strike.

Because of improvements in the killing power of US submarine-launched ballistic missiles, those submarines now patrol with more than three times the number of warheads needed to destroy the entire fleet of Russian land-based missiles in their silos. US submarine-based missiles can carry multiple warheads, so hundreds of others, now in storage, could be added to the submarine-based missile force, making it all the more lethal.

The revolutionary increase in the lethality of submarine-borne US nuclear forces comes from a “super-fuze” device that since 2009 has been incorporated into the Navy’s W76-1/Mk4A warhead as part of a decade-long life-extension program. We estimate that all warheads deployed on US ballistic missile submarines now have this fuzing capability. Because the innovations in the super-fuze appear, to the non-technical eye, to be minor, policymakers outside of the US government (and probably inside the government as well) have completely missed its revolutionary impact on military capabilities and its important implications for global security.

Before the invention of this new fuzing mechanism, even the most accurate ballistic missile warheads might not detonate close enough to targets hardened against nuclear attack to destroy them. But the new super-fuze is designed to destroy fixed targets by detonating above and around a target in a much more effective way. Warheads that would otherwise overfly a target and land too far away will now, because of the new fuzing system, detonate above the target.

The result of this fuzing scheme is a significant increase in the probability that a warhead will explode close enough to destroy the target even though the accuracy of the missile-warhead system has itself not improved.

As a consequence, the US submarine force today is much more capable than it was previously against hardened targets such as Russian ICBM silos. A decade ago, only about 20 percent of US submarine warheads had hard-target kill capability; today they all do. (See Figure 1.)

This vast increase in US nuclear targeting capability, which has largely been concealed from the general public, has serious implications for strategic stability and perceptions of US nuclear strategy and intentions.

Russian planners will almost surely see the advance in fuzing capability as empowering an increasingly feasible US preemptive nuclear strike capability—a capability that would require Russia to undertake countermeasures that would further increase the already dangerously high readiness of Russian nuclear forces. Tense nuclear postures based on worst-case planning assumptions already pose the possibility of a nuclear response to false warning of attack. The new kill capability created by super-fuzing increases the tension and the risk that US or Russian nuclear forces will be used in response to early warning of an attack—even when an attack has not occurred.

The increased capability of the US submarine force will likely be seen as even more threatening because Russia does not have a functioning space-based infrared early warning system but relies primarily on ground-based early warning radars to detect a US missile attack. Since these radars cannot see over the horizon, Russia has less than half as much early-warning time as the United States. (The United States has about 30 minutes, Russia 15 minutes or less.)

The inability of Russia to globally monitor missile launches from space means that Russian military and political leaders would have no “situational awareness” to help them assess whether an early-warning radar indication of a surprise attack is real or the result of a technical error.

The combination of this lack of Russian situational awareness, dangerously short warning times, high-readiness alert postures, and the increasing US strike capacity has created a deeply destabilizing and dangerous strategic nuclear situation.

When viewed in the alarming context of deteriorating political relations between Russia and the West, and the threats and counter-threats that are now becoming the norm for both sides in this evolving standoff, it may well be that the danger of an accident leading to nuclear war is as high now as it was in periods of peak crisis during the Cold War."

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Moments of hope in 2016 – Kiva

Moments of hope in 2016 – Kiva | 5…now 2.5 Minutes to Midnight (Heading to 2 or 3 Minutes in 2018?) | Scoop.it

"There’s no way to sugarcoat it: 2016 has been an emotionally exhausting and, at times, devastating year. With violence and conflict constantly making headlines, the passing of several artistic legends and a bitter, divisive election in the U.S., the countdown to 2017 seemed to kick off midsummer. 


But 2016 was also full of hopeful, small acts of kindness between families, neighbors and even strangers, that reaffirmed love and empathy can persevere through the most difficult times. We saw this on display every day in 2016 through the Kiva community.


Hundreds of thousands of borrowers (351,465 to be exact) around the world shared their dreams for a better future for their families, and lenders responded by funding $133 million in loans to help those families take their next steps. 


Kiva also celebrated a momentous milestone­­– 10 years of impact, made possible by the generosity of 1.6 million lenders from 192 countries. That’s truly an international movement of people who believe in lifting each other up as a global community."

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Bob Dylan - Masters of War - lyrics

via YouTube Capture

Via Dennis Richards
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Obama Unlikely to Vow No First Use of Nuclear Weapons

Obama Unlikely to Vow No First Use of Nuclear Weapons | 5…now 2.5 Minutes to Midnight (Heading to 2 or 3 Minutes in 2018?) | Scoop.it
President Obama, who has weighed ruling out a first use of a nuclear weapon in a conflict, appears likely to abandon the proposal after top national security advisers argued that it could undermine allies and embolden Russia and China, according to several senior administration officials.

Mr. Obama considers a reduction in the role of nuclear weapons as critical to his legacy. But he has been chagrined to hear critics, including some former senior aides, argue that the administration’s second-term nuclear modernization plans, costing up to $1 trillion in coming decades, undermine commitments he made in 2009.

For months, arms control advocates have argued for a series of steps to advance the pledge he made to pursue “a world without nuclear weapons.” An unequivocal no-first-use pledge would have been the boldest of those measures. They contend that as a practical matter no American president would use a nuclear weapon when so many other options are available.

Former Defense Secretary William J. Perry said in a recent interview, “It’s the right time,” noting that the pledge would formalize what has been America’s unspoken policy for decades.

But in the end, Mr. Obama seems to have sided with his current advisers, who warned in meetings culminating this summer that a no-first-use declaration would rattle allies like Japan and South Korea. Those nations are concerned about discussion of an American pullback from Asia prompted by comments made by the Republican presidential nominee, Donald J. Trump.
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North Korea Will Have the Skills to Make a Nuclear Warhead by 2020, Experts Say

North Korea Will Have the Skills to Make a Nuclear Warhead by 2020, Experts Say | 5…now 2.5 Minutes to Midnight (Heading to 2 or 3 Minutes in 2018?) | Scoop.it
The reclusive, hostile nation has been rushing to perfect missiles that are small, fast, light and surprisingly advanced, according to analysts and military officials. This spring and summer, Pyongyang successfully tested some of these missiles, while earlier efforts had fizzled or failed.

“They’ve greatly increased the tempo of their testing — in a way, showing off their capabilities, showing us images of ground tests they could have kept hidden,” John Schilling, an aerospace engineer and expert on North Korea’s missile program, said in an interview on Friday. “This isn’t something that can be ignored anymore. It’s going to be a high priority for the next president.”

Military experts say that by 2020, Pyongyang will most likely have the skills to make a reliable intercontinental ballistic missile topped by a nuclear warhead. They also expect that by then North Korea may have accumulated enough nuclear material to build up to 100 warheads.

Siegfried S. Hecker, a Stanford professor who has traveled to North Korea and who formerly directed the Los Alamos weapons lab in New Mexico, the birthplace of the atomic bomb, said North Korea’s progress in missile and nuclear development signals that it has gone from seeing unconventional weapons as bargaining chips to “deciding they need a nuclear weapons fighting force.”

The Pentagon warned Congress in a report earlier this year that one of Pyongyang’s latest missiles, if perfected, “would be capable of reaching much of the continental United States.”
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Is the Islamic State Unstoppable?

Is the Islamic State Unstoppable? | 5…now 2.5 Minutes to Midnight (Heading to 2 or 3 Minutes in 2018?) | Scoop.it
"In May, Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, the Islamic State’s spokesman, released a statement: 'Do you think, America, that defeat is by the loss of towns or territory? Were we defeated when we lost the cities in Iraq and retreated to the desert without a city or a land?' he asked. 'No, true defeat is losing the will and desire to fight.'"
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War is Not the Answer, Never Was, Never Will

Recocrded April 15, 2011 at Wellspring Sound in Acton, MA. Written by Pat Scanlon; music video by Perpetual Motion Pictures of Ashland, MA. Creative Common
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