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An Urgent letter from Emma Thompson & Danny Glover

Dear Real News viewers,

We all have causes we care passionately about, but nothing is as urgent as the climate change crisis. According to many scientists, the very existence of human civilization is at stake.

We believe the proposal below from The Real News Network to create a Global Climate Change Bureau deserves your attention. It is a critical link in the effort to fight for effective action to reduce and eliminate greenhouse gas emissions and transition to an equitable, environmentally sustainable economy.

We live in momentous times. The fate of future generations is in our hands. We urge you to read the proposal and support the effort with your talents, enthusiasm, and donations.

Please give as much as you can and share the proposal with your friends, colleagues, and family.

We wish you a happy new year. Let’s make 2017 the year that the Global Climate Change Bureau becomes a reality so we can reach more people on this crucial issue.

Thank you,

Emma Thompson

Danny Glover

 

Scientists Say Temperatures Will Pass Critical 2°C Threshold by 2050 and That Was Before the Election of Trump

Why The Real News Network is Building a Global Climate Change Bureau

2016 will set the record for the hottest calendar year since scientists began measuring surface temperatures over 150 years ago. This will be the first time we’ve witnessed three consecutive years of record-breaking temperatures.

A temperature increase of 2°C (3.6°F) above pre-industrial levels will be reached much sooner than predicted according to a report authored by seven leading climate scientists, including Sir Robert Watson, the former chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The Truth About Climate Change report states, “The 1.5°C target could be reached by the early 2030’s and the 2°C target by 2050.”

The report says that even if all the pledges made by the signatory countries to the Paris agreement are fully implemented, temperatures will pass this extremely dangerous mark in 34 years.

This model was produced before the election of Donald Trump. Given his appointment of climate deniers to critical positions in his cabinet, it’s clear that Trump and Pence will either "rip up" the Paris agreement or make the pledge impossible to fulfill. They will most certainly remove existing limits to fossil fuel production and consumption.

The Truth About Climate Change report continues: “Much of the public believes that climate change is only going to happen by the end of the century,” and that this is a misunderstanding of the urgency. Unless there is a dramatic change in current public policy, “most people alive today will live to see the 2°C threshold crossed.”

The two degrees threshold of change means an increase in the severity and chaos of climate change-related floods, droughts, storms, heat waves, and wildfires that have “already had devastating effects on livelihoods, infrastructure, and lives.”

If the 2°C threshold is not to be breached, immediate and profound action is required; the problem compounds the longer we delay.

At least for the next four years, the U.S. is headed in the opposite direction.

The threat is catastrophic. The science overwhelming. Yet, despite the existential threat posed by climate change, why don’t we see millions of people in the streets demanding decisive action? Why wasn't this a major issue in the election and why isn't it a major issue now? Why are politicians who deny the existence of human-caused climate change elected to office? Why aren’t solutions to the climate change crisis at the top of the political agenda? All these questions are linked.

According to a Yale survey, 70% of Americans believe global warming is real, but only 53% of those people think it is caused by human activity. More than 90% of climate scientists are convinced that human-caused global warming is happening, but only about one in ten Americans understand this. And only 16% of people surveyed are very worried about what 90% of scientists think is a catastrophic threat. Why?

The war on climate science, particularly in the United States, plays a major role in promoting doubt about the overwhelming scientific evidence of human-caused climate change. Billionaires like the Koch Brothers and Trump’s primary backer Robert Mercer along with right-wing think tanks spend tens of millions financing witch hunts that target climate scientists and funding “research” designed to confuse the public.

Corporate television news, “the gatekeeper of public consciousness” is arguably even more responsible for the gap between public opinion and scientific evidence. The Truth About Climate Change should have been the lead story on television newscasts. We can’t find evidence it was carried by any U.S. television news outlet at all.

A Media Matters report states that CNN aired almost five times as much oil industry advertising as climate change-related coverage in each week following the announcements that 2015 was the hottest year on record and February 2016 was the most abnormally hot month on record.

The report also found that the four major corporate TV networks only aired a total 146 minutes of climate change coverage in 2015, and that includes Fox’s coverage of criticism of efforts to address climate change. ABC only aired 13 minutes of coverage.

Why is corporate TV uninterested in the major news story of the century? The obvious reasons are pressure from certain advertisers, the interests of corporate ownership, and the political intrigues of the fossil fuel industry.

It goes even deeper.

The transformation required to drastically reduce the use of fossil fuels and move to a green economy would change who has power and how business is done. There is no way to achieve the necessary reduction in carbon emissions without serious government regulation, a strengthening of the public sector, and massive public investment in a sustainable green economy. All of this requires a reduction in the political power of the fossil fuel industry and the financial elites associated with it.

Years of evidence indicate that corporate television news simply won't challenge these forces or take up the issues in any serious manner.

To engage large numbers of ordinary people in fighting and voting for rational climate change policy we must break the corporate monopoly on daily video news. We must create an independent, uncompromising source of global climate change news that features analytical and investigative reports - exactly the kind of news TRNN has been committed to since our inception.

The first story ever produced by TRNN in 2007 was an interview with Guardian columnist George Monbiot on the urgency of climate change. Soon afterwards, we produced a series titled, “Does Anybody Care if Bangladesh Drowns?” To date, we have produced over 500 reports on human-caused climate change and solutions to the crisis. We have featured many reports on what a green and sustainable economy might look like, including the work of Robert Pollin and Gar Alperovitz. We also recently released the documentary "The Doubt Machine: The Koch Brothers’ War on Climate Science,” which is narrated by esteemed actor Emma Thompson.

While we have worked hard to keep a focus on climate change and are proud of our accomplishments, we also recognize that they are far from enough. To rise to the challenge and help inform the public of the science of climate change and the risks of inaction while investigating real solutions, we need a well-funded bureau dedicated to reporting on climate change issues. We intend to create a Global Climate Change Bureau (GCCB) with sufficient resources to become a major daily video climate news service – online, on mobile, on radio and on television.

This bureau must be funded at a scale that will include significant production capacity and a large marketing budget for social and conventional media. We are proposing an initial two million dollar annual budget that will be seeded by online campaigns and large individual donors. Emma Thompson and Danny Glover have already pledged their support and we expect to recruit other well-known celebrity activists to promote the bureau.

The Global Climate Change Bureau will:

● Produce daily reports on climate science and the urgency of the crisis

● Investigate and report on proposed solutions and models of change

● Report on mass movements and environmental activism around the world

● Examine the under-reported social and unequal economic impacts of climate change as refracted through class, race, gender and nationality

● Report on local models of green sustainability and public policy from around the world that could be brought to scale

● Debate and distinguish between effective solutions and corporate greenwashing

● Investigate controversial CO2 reduction technologies such as carbon capture and storage, bioenergy and geo-engineering

● Analyze the efficacy of negative emission technologies

● Examine plans for transitioning to a green and sustainable economy by connecting scientific and economic issues with political analysis

● Aggregate the best climate video and radio reporting from scientific and news organizations

To deliver this work we will:

● Develop a daily ten-minute headline news show

● Produce 5-7 minute daily in-depth field reports

● Publish one investigative report daily

● Host an interview show with scientists and public policy advocates

● Create short social-media-friendly backgrounder and breaking news videos

● Organize a daily debate show covering urgency and solutions

● Create local bureaus and a global network of freelance content producers

The Bureau will be based at our studios in Baltimore/Washington. In addition, we plan to establish climate news offices in Los Angeles, Toronto, Vancouver, London and Johannesburg. We will build a network of correspondents in other key locations around the world along with a global advisory committee of scientific advisors.

Most importantly, our climate news will be integrated into a news culture that addresses people’s immediate concerns for a better life. For example, we are establishing a team in a pro-Trump district in southern Pennsylvania where we will learn how to address climate issues to people suffering the consequences of low wages and globalization.

We are working to break through in key local news markets. Starting in Baltimore, we are building a pilot project to compete with local corporate news in U.S. cities with majority Black and Latino populations. These cities are the "weak links” in the corporate media chain, where corporate news targets wealthy white audiences outside of the city center.

We must break through to a mass audience by linking the fight to save the planet with solutions to the day-to-day economic struggles of people to survive. We will demonstrate how a green and sustainable economy is inseparable from a transition to a more equitable and just society.

Without profound policy changes many scientists have predicted that Earth will reach a temperature as high as 4-6C by the end of the century. The consequences will be apocalyptic: life as we know it ends. NASA climate scientist James Hansen has declared that even "a target of two degrees Celsius is actually a prescription for long-term disaster."

As you know, there is an urgent and desperate need for effective solutions to the climate crisis.

With your support we will make the Global Climate Change Bureau a reality. All donations are tax-deductible in the U.S. and Canada. Please make a donation today.

If you are capable of making a major donation towards the GCCB, please contact me directly at contact@therealnews.com.

Please help us Make Real News!

Paul Jay and the TRNN team

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