What grief for a dying planet looks like: Climate scientists on the edge

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Environmental engineer Wolfgang Metzeler-Kick, centre, and energy engineer Richard Cluse, right, began a hunger strike in March in Berlin, Germany, under the motto “starving until you are honest” in a protest organised by Scientist Rebellion. The protesters seek acknowledgement from the German chancellor of the severity of the climate crisis [Sean Gallup/Getty Images]

Desperate climate scientists embrace civil disobedience and specialised therapy to deal with their growing anxiety over global warming.

“I was scared as hell. … I remember feeling very nervous.”

On April 6, 2022, Peter Kalmus, a climate scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, got a ride into downtown Los Angeles, where he was about to handcuff himself to the door of a JPMorgan Chase bank alongside three fellow scientists.

“There was a moment,” he says of the decision to engage in civil disobedience when he “realised that I just had to do it, to find that courage”.

He was joining more than 1,000 activists taking to the streets in nearly 30 countries across the globe under the slogan “1.5C is dead, climate revolution now!” – a campaign led by Scientist Rebellion, an activist group of scientists, academics and students committed to disruptive, nonviolent action to raise alarm over the global climate emergency.

“I was really scared,” Kalmus reiterates over a call, about how his colleagues, the police and, especially, his employer would respond. “I thought there was a very good chance that I’d get fired, which was probably my biggest concern.”

But by that point, he had exhausted all other avenues. For Kalmus, civil disobedience came as a culmination of decades of attempts to raise awareness of the climate emergency by other means. With what he sees as half the country being in denial of the urgency of the climate crisis, Kalmus says he didn’t know what else to do; this was the next logical step and one he admits has been the most effective.

Joining a global day of action in 2022 to ban private jets, Peter Kalmus and local activists chain the doors of a private airport in Charlotte, North Carolina, to underscore the disproportionately high impact the wealthy have in terms of carbon emissions [Courtesy of Will Dickson]

During a speech he delivered that day, which has gone viral around the world, Kalmus is visibly emotional, breaking down in tears as he tells the onlookers: “So I’m here because scientists are not being listened to. I’m willing to take a risk for this gorgeous planet – for my sons,” he gasps as he tries to control the tremor in his voice. “I’ve been trying to warn you for so many decades, and now we’re heading towards a f****** catastrophe.”

After a standoff with police and an eight-hour stint in jail, Kalmus was charged with misdemeanour trespassing, but the charges were later dropped. That first arrest felt exhilarating and freeing, he says, but the incident led to a months-long investigation by NASA’s ethics and human resources departments, and the resulting stress caused Kalmus’s diverticular disease to flare up. While he was stuck in a holding pattern awaiting the outcome of the inquiry, which ended in his favour (Kalmus is still employed by NASA and spoke to Al Jazeera in a private capacity), Kalmus felt like the institution was making a mistake by not supporting his activism “since climate activists are clearly on the right side of history”, he says.

Article continues at https://www.aljazeera.com/features/2024/6/16/what-grief-for-a-dying-planet-looks-like-climate-scientists-on-the-edge-2

Continue ReadingWhat grief for a dying planet looks like: Climate scientists on the edge

93 Countries Back ICC Probe Into Israeli War Crimes in Gaza

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Original article by JON QUEALLY republished from Common Dreams under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). 

Palestinian child, injured in the Israeli attack on Abu Aisha family house is taken to Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir al-Balah, Gaza on June 14, 2024.
 (Photo by Ashraf Amra/Anadolu via Getty Images)

A joint statement calls on “all States to ensure full co-operation with the Court for it to carry out its important mandate of ensuring equal justice for all victims of genocide, war crimes, [and] crimes against humanity.”

Ninety-three nations on Friday, all them state parties to the Rome Statute that created the International Criminal Court, reiterated their support for the ICC as it assesses an application for arrest warrants of high level Israeli government officials accused of perpetrating war crimes in Gaza.

The 93 countries—including Canada, Bangladesh, Belgium, Ireland, Afghanistan, Costa Rica, Chile, Germany, France, Mongolia, Mexico, New Zealand, and scores of other—cited separate ICC statements defending its mandate for independence and upheld in their joint statement “that the Court, its officials and staff shall carry out their professional duties as international civil servants without intimidation.”

Though neither nation is named in the joint statement, both the United States and Israel have publicly condemned ICC chief prosecutor Karim Khan for his May 20 arrest warrant applications for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant over alleged “war crimes” and “crimes against humanity” in the Gaza Strip.

Khan also submitted arrest warrants for Hamas leaders Yahya Sinwar, Mohammed Diab Ibrahim Al-Masri, and Ismail Haniyeh for their alleged roles in the October 7 attack on southern Israel. Following Khan’s announcement in May, U.S. President Joe Biden said, “Whatever this prosecutor might imply, there is no equivalence—none—between Israel and Hamas. We will always stand with Israel against threats to its security.”

In April it was reported that the U.S. government was working behind the scenes to block the ICC from issuing any arrest warrants targeting Israel officials. Neither Israel nor the U.S. is party to the Rome Statute, though the United Nations has recognized the ICC’s jurisdiction over the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), where the alleged war crimes by the occupying power, Israel, took place.

After Khan made his application for warrants, White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre said, “We’ve been really clear about the ICC investigation. We do not support it.” On June 4, Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives, along with 42 Democrats, passed a measure that would sanction ICC officials if the arrest warrants for any Israeli officials were approved or carried out.

Balakrishnan Rajagopal, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing, was among those who applauded Friday’s public statement.

Rajagapol thanked the signatory nations “for defending the ICC and standing up against the bullies, including the relics from the U.S. Senate whose idea of engaging with the world is to use threats,” a possible reference to Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.) who denounced Khan’s applications as “outrageous,” applauded the House approval of sanctions, and vowed further punishment for the ICC.

Such punitive measures and high-profile threats directed at the ICC appeared to be the exact kind of intimidation Friday’s joint pledge of support is responding to.

“The ICC, as the world’s first and only permanent international criminal court, is an essential component of the international peace and security architecture,” the statement reads. “We therefore call on all States to ensure full co-operation with the Court for it to carry out its important mandate of ensuring equal justice for all victims of genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and the crime of aggression, grave crimes that threaten the peace, security and well-being of the world.”

With their show of unified support for the ICC and its mandate, the countries said they aim to “contribute to ending impunity for such crimes and preventing their recurrence while defending the progress we have made together to guarantee lasting respect for international humanitarian law, human rights, the of law and the enforcement of international criminal justice.”

Original article by JON QUEALLY republished from Common Dreams under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). 

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Continue Reading93 Countries Back ICC Probe Into Israeli War Crimes in Gaza

50,000 Gaza children require urgent treatment for malnutrition: UN

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Internally displaced Palestinians walk in the courtyard of a destroyed UNRWA school [File: Mohammed Saber/EPA-EFE]

UNRWA warns people in Gaza face ‘catastrophic’ levels of hunger because of Israeli restrictions on humanitarian aid.

The UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) says more than 50,000 children in the Gaza Strip require immediate medical treatment for acute malnutrition.

In a statement on Saturday, the agency noted “with continued restrictions to humanitarian access, people in Gaza continue to face desperate levels of hunger. UNRWA teams work tirelessly to reach families with aid, but the situation is catastrophic”.

UNICEF spokesperson James Elder also described how difficult it is to not only get aid into Gaza, but also to distribute it across the war-battered coastal enclave.

“More aid workers have been killed in this war than any war since the advent of the UN,” he told Al Jazeera.

On Wednesday, UNICEF had a mission to drive a truck full of nutritional and medical supplies for 10,000 children, Elder said. Their task was to deliver the aid, which was pre-approved by Israeli authorities, from Deir el-Balah to Gaza City, a 40km (25 miles) round trip.

“It took 13 hours and we spent eight of those around checkpoints, arguing around paperwork – ‘was it a truck or a van’,” he said.

“The reality is this truck was denied access. Those 10,000 children did not get that aid … Israel as the occupying power has the legal responsibility to facilitate that aid.”


Continue Reading50,000 Gaza children require urgent treatment for malnutrition: UN

UN climate chief warns of “steep mountain to climb” for COP29 after Bonn blame-game

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UNFCCC Executive Secretary Simon Stiell speaking at the closing plenary. Photo: IISD/ENB – Kiara Worth

Countries expressed disappointment as key negotiations on climate finance and emissions-cutting measures made scant progress at mid-year talks

UN climate talks in Bonn ended in finger-pointing over their failure to move forward on a key programme to reduce planet-heating emissions, with the UN climate chief warning of “a very steep mountain to climb to achieve ambitious outcomes” at COP29 in Baku.

In the closing session of the two-week talks on Thursday evening, many countries expressed their disappointment and frustration at the lack of any outcome on the Mitigation Ambition and Implementation Work Programme (MWP), noting the urgency of stepping up efforts to curb greenhouse gas pollution this decade.

The co-chairs of the talks said those discussions had not reached any conclusion and would need to resume at the annual climate summit in Azerbaijan in November, unleashing a stream of disgruntled interventions from both developed and developing countries.

Samoa’s lead negotiator Anne Rasmussen, speaking on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), emphasised that “we really can’t afford these failures”. “We have failed to show the world that we are responding with the purpose and urgency required to limit warming to 1.5 degrees,” she said.

Governments, from Latin America to Africa and Europe, lamented the lack of progress on the MWP because of its central role in keeping warming to the 1.5C temperature ceiling enshrined in the Paris Agreement.

Current policies to cut emissions are forecast to lead to warming of 2.7C, even as the world is already struggling with worsening floods, droughts, heatwaves and rising sea levels at global average temperatures around 1.3C higher than pre-industrial times.


Continue ReadingUN climate chief warns of “steep mountain to climb” for COP29 after Bonn blame-game

Greens warn that the Labour manifesto represents a diagnosis of doom for our NHS

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Green Party Co-leader Adrian Ramsay. Wikipedia CC.
Green Party Co-leader Adrian Ramsay. Wikipedia CC.

Responding to the publication of the Labour Party’s Manifesto that promises an “unprecedented slowdown” in NHS finances, Green Party Co-Leader Adrian Ramsay said:

“This Labour Party manifesto is a diagnosis of doom for our NHS and other frontline services.

“After 14 years of mismanagement and underfunding our health service is severely overstretched and crying out for real investment.

“Instead, the Labour Party has today promised investment of just 1.1% increase according to the Nuffield Trust, an “unprecedented slowdown in NHS finances”.

He continued, “Greens understand the severity of the crisis the NHS and have a plan to nurse it back to health.

“We are proposing a £50bn investment per year by 2030 alongside an additional £20bn capital investment fund.

“To quote the IFS “Labour continues in a conspiracy of silence on the difficulties they would face”.

“It’s time they were honest with the public.

“Our frontline services can’t keep limping on without real investment from real tax reform.”

Continue ReadingGreens warn that the Labour manifesto represents a diagnosis of doom for our NHS