Climate Change, The Biggest Story of Our Time [2 Videos]

by John Brian Shannon John Brian Shannon

Climate Change

James Cameron says it is “the biggest story of our time” in a fresh nine-part documentary series airing on SHOWTIME that looks at our Earth, its climate and the effects of changing climate on people and local economies. Actors, economists, and political leaders set out as reporters traveling the globe in search of the effects of climate change.

Their “findings” and statements will astonish you. You may wish to keep a pen and paper handy, as there are some amazing quotes embedded in the hour-long documentary. Feel free to Tweet such quotes, or post on Facebook, and include the URL of this page.

For example, did you know that Indonesia’s forest clear-cutting causes 4% of worldwide annual carbon emissions? That’s approximately equal to all of Canada’s CO2 emissions and South Africa’s CO2 emissions, combined.

Some pretty big names are involved in this.

First, the executive producers. There are a lot of them:

James Cameron, Canadian film director, deep-sea explorer, screenwriter, editor, multi-Oscar winner, and one of the most popular film producers in Hollywood, who directed the two biggest box office films of all time: Titanic and Avatar.

Jerry Weintraub, film producer, entertainment mogul, former chairman and CEO of United Artists, and cofounder of 60s vocal group The Doodletown Pipers (once beloved to this writer).

Arnold Schwarzenegger, Teutonic movie hunk, former husband of a Kennedy, California’s 38th governor, founder of the nonprofit R20: Regions of Climate Action, and recent star of Escape Plan and Sabotage.

Daniel Abbasi, leader on climate change issues, founder of GameChange Capital, author, appointee at the EPA (worked with White House in mid-1990s on first U.S. National Action Plan on Climate Change), former strategist for subsidiaries of Washington Post and Time Warner, and former Associate Dean at Yale University’s School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.

Joel Bach, story producer at 60 Minutes for seven years, multi-Emmy awardwinner, colleague of Ed Bradley, Scott Pelley, Steve Kroft, and Lesley Stahl, veteran of ABC and NBC, and freelance producer/director of music videos, commercials, short films, and PSAs in California.

David Gelber, Ed Bradley’s producer at 60 Minutes for 25 years, winner of every major journalism award, including a Peabody, two DuPont Awards, and eight Emmy Awards, former executive producer of Peter Jennings Reporting at ABC News, winner of Best Investigative Story of 2010 Emmy with Scott Pelley on medical charlatans who peddle bogus stem cell therapy to patients dying of ALS.

Solly Granatstein, television producer formerly with 60 Minutes, NBC News, and ABC News, multiple award-winner, recent producer of “Inside Mexico’s Drug War,” “Blowout: The Deepwater Horizon Disaster,” and “Lost Children of Haiti.”

Maria Wilhelm, Executive Director of the Avatar Alliance Foundation, President & COO of CAMERON Companies, social advocate with a focus on climate change, with commercial initiatives in new technology integration and interests in China and elsewhere.

Second (although they often vie for first place), the stars of the show. Here are a few of these luminaries, all of whom showed up at the premiere:

Harrison Ford, Oscar-winning actor, environmentalist (Conservation International Board member from 1991, later Vice Chairman and Executive Committee; also involved with the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation and others), Han Solo in the first “Star Wars” trilogy, Indiana Jones in four mega-hits starting with “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” recently in “42″ and “Ender’s Game.”

Ian Somerhalder, actor (Boone Carlyle in “Lost,” Damon Salvatore in “The Vampire Diaries”), model from age 10-13, environmentalist (Ian Somerhalder Foundation, personal involvement in the cleanup after the Deepwater Horizon oil drilling disaster), conservationist, supporter of the It Gets Better Project (GLBT teen suicide), and Millenial heart-throb.

Don Cheadle, actor (Boogie Nights, Ocean’s 11, 12, 13, Hotel Rwanda, Marty Kaan on “House of Lies”), producer, Golden Globe Award winner, co-founder ofNot on Our Watch Project, U.N. Environment Program Goodwill Ambassador.

Also featured:

Mark Bittman, Christopher Hayes, Lesley Stahl, Sanjayan Muttulingam, Thomas Friedman, Olivia Munn, America Ferrera, Matt Damon, Michael C. Hall, and Jessica Alba.

by Sandy Dechert of Cleantechnica.com

See the first instalment of the nine-part documentary, below.

Subscribe to the Years of Living Dangerously channel for more.

Check out the official site for the nine-part video production here.

Click here for a summary of all episodes of the program.

Subscribe to SHOWTIME on cable TV. Order now for $25 off.

Watch on SHOWTIME free with your paid subscription.

Yale climate project. Climate Change is happening. 350.org
Yale climate project. Climate Change is happening. 350.org

Fossil Fuel Divestment Spreading Faster Than Any Previous Campaign – Even Apartheid

by Silvio Marcacci

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Fossil Fuel free
Fossil fuel divestment logo via 350.org

It may seem like a slow build, but the fossil fuel divestment campaign is growing faster than any previous divestment campaign and poses significant risk to coal, oil, and natural gas firms.

These findings come from “Stranded assets and the fossil fuel divestment campaign: what does divestment mean for the valuation of fossil fuel assets,” a new study from the University of Oxford.

Oxford reports 350.org’s fossil fuel divestment campaign is gaining traction faster than previous divestment efforts against Apartheid, tobacco, and pornography, posing a serious reputational risk to the world’s biggest fossil fuel companies.

Small Direct Financial Impact – With One Exception

The report seeks to answer the central question facing fossil fuel divestment campaigners: Can their efforts create a direct impact on some of the world’s richest and most powerful companies?

In terms of pure dollars, the answer is no, not really. Oxford’s researchers concluded that of the $12 trillion in assets among university endowments and public pension funds, the largest potential limit of divestment is between $240-600 billion, with another $120-300 billion in debt.

Those figures translate to about 2-3% fossil fuel equity exposure for US university endowments, 4-5% for UK university endowments, and 2-5% of public pension funds. Hence, the recent Aperio Group analysis that found fossil fuel divestment only increases ordinary market risk for higher education by less than 0.01%

University endowment fossil fuel exposure
University endowment fossil fuel exposure chart via Oxford University

This also means the direct impacts of fossil fuel divestment on equity or debt for fossil fuel companies will be limited at best, and their share prices are “unlikely to suffer precipitous decline” because divested stock will likely find neutral investors.

One exception stands out from this finding – coal. Oxford reasons the devaluations of coal companies will be more substantial because while they only represent a small fraction of overall fossil fuel market capitalization, they’re much less liquid and alternative investors are less likely to be found than for oil and natural gas stocks.

But Stigmatization Is A Major Threat To Companies

However, while the direct financial impact of divestment by major investment and pension funds on fossil fuel entities is small, the researchers believe stigmatization – the potential reputational damage upon targeted companies – can have big financial consequences.

“The outcome of the stigmatization process, which the fossil fuel divestment campaign has now triggered, poses the most far reaching threat to fossil fuel companies and the vast energy value chain.”

Oxford contends that stigmatization creates a negative image for firms and scares away suppliers, subcontractors, potential employees, and customers, which in turn leads shareholders to demand management changes and can bar stigmatized firms from competing for new business or completing mergers.

In addition, stigmatization can lead to restrictive new legislation by governments – a trend found in every existing divestment campaign. For fossil fuel companies, this could translate into a carbon tax or other law that would reduce their corporate valuation, and “a handful of fossil fuel companies are likely to become scapegoats.”

As a result, stigmatization from divestment has a multiplying effect on the larger campaign, increasing the negative perception of holding investments in target firms and speeding up results of the overall campaign.

Fossil Fuel Divestment Happening Faster Than Ever Before

Which all brings us back to 350.org’s fossil fuel divestment campaign. Oxford finds three waves of any divestment campaign: reach religious groups and public organizations; then reach universities, cities, and public institutions; then reach an international market.

3 waves of divestment campaigns
3 waves of divestment campaigns graph via Oxford University

Compared to previous campaigns, Oxford concludes 350 is ahead of the typical curve. “From the perspective of the three waves of divestment the fossil fuel campaign has achieved a lot in the relatively short time since it’s inception: 6 colleges and universities…along with 17 cities, 2 counties, 11 religious institutions, 3 foundations, and 2 other institutions,” said report author Ben Caldecott.

But perhaps most significantly, Oxford’s analysis doesn’t fully consider the pending $6 trillion carbon bubble that could lead to rapid devaluation of fossil fuel stocks that could happen if the international community heed’s the IPCC’s carbon budget warning, or if the 60 carbon pricing systems worldwide take hold and force proven assets to stay in the ground, unburned.

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This article, Fossil Fuel Divestment Spreading Faster Than Any Previous Campaign – Even Apartheid, is syndicated from Clean Technica and is posted here with permission.

About the Author

Silvio Marcacci Silvio is Principal at Marcacci Communications, a full-service clean energy and climate-focused public relations company based in Washington, D.C.

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