Category Archives: News

Rising tides force Miami Beach residents to seek higher ground


Miami City’s Skyline, Through the Reflex System of a Camera. Photo courtesy of: ©Marc Martinez

Excerpts;

Scientists with the United Nations Wednesday released their most alarming report yet on climate change. Oceans are warming, sea levels are rising and polar ice is melting — all of that is accelerating because of increasing carbon dioxide levels.

But the report warns the harshest consequences may be on low-lying coasts, where almost 700 million people live.

The shores of Miami Beach are lined with multi-million dollar homes and yachts. For more than 60 years, it has been home to charter boat captain Dan Kipnis. The low-lying Miami Beach regularly floods during high tides, but not because of storms or hurricanes…

Read Full Article; CBS News (09-25-2019)

Column: The future of Florida’s beaches and the public’s right to know; Op Ed. by Orrin Pilkey (12-07-2015)

Miami’s fight against rising seas; BBC (04-04-2017)
In the battle against rising seas, Florida – which has more to lose than almost anywhere else in the world – is becoming ground zero…

Sand’s end, The Verge (11-17-2016)
Miami Beach has run out of sand. Now what?..

Miami Beach Sees Rising Seas as No Threat to Real Estate Boom, For Now; Phys.Org (04-22-2015)

Developers don’t get it: climate change means we need to retreat from the coast, Guardian UK (15-03-2016)
It is preposterous to build in areas that are bound to flood. So why are real estate companies still doing it?..

Atlantic City and Miami Beach: two takes on tackling the rising waters; Guardian UK (03-20-2017)

Florida has spent more than $100 million pouring more sand onto beaches in the past three years. Is it time to wave a white flag? Sun Sentinel (06-08-2018)
In South Florida’s war against the tides, it may be time to recognize that discretion is the better part of valor. For the past 70 years, the state of Florida has spent more than $1.3 billion on packing sand onto eroding beaches…

Column: High-rises spell the end for Florida beaches; By Orrin H. Pilkey and J. Andrew G. Cooper; Tampa Bay (07-25-2017)
Floridians are becoming more attuned to sea level rise and more familiar with nuisance flooding related to the rising sea. However, we believe there is less recognition that by century’s end it is likely that most of Florida’s major beaches will be permanently gone…

Reinforce and Build: The vicious cycle driving development on Florida’s most fragile beaches; by John Platt, Hakai Magazine (12-20-2016)

Gone with the wind: storms deepen Florida’s beach sand crunch; Reuters (02-16-2018)
Costs of so-called beach renourishments are a fraction of the total, measured in hundreds of millions of dollars, but the effort is crucial for Florida’s $67 billion tourism industry. And while sand needs are surging, there is not enough to go around…

Sand washes away as quickly as it can be dumped, Bathtub Beach, FL, TCPalm News (11-17-2017)
Between 2004 and 2014, some $13.6 million was spent on beach renourishment in Martin County, Florida. About $7.1 million came from local funds — your tax dollars. In the past two years, more than $6 million from a variety of sources has been spent to renourish and restore dunes at Bathtub Beach alone…

Florida is drowning. Condos are still being built. Can’t humans see the writing on the wall? Guardian UK (02-15-2018)
People tend to respond to immediate threats and financial consequences – and Florida’s coastal real estate may be on the cusp of delivering that harsh wake-up call…

In Cambodia, sand mining is big business — but it comes at a price

sand-barges
Sand barges, Hong Kong, South China Sea. Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care.

As of 2011-2012, when investigative filmmaker Denis Delestrac and team, were first collecting and unveiling sand mining datas and information from the professionals involved, they found and reported that “the Sand business was estimated to be a $70 billion industry, worldwide…! Sand is the second most consumed natural resource, after water…” —Denis Delestrac -(©-2013) “Sand Wars” Multi Award-Winning Filmmaker.

Excerpts;

Sand mining accounts for 85 percent of all worldwide mineral extraction, a $70 billion industry. In Cambodia, the practice is big business — but it comes with a price. The country relies upon the Mekong River for commerce and transportation, but extensive dredging to harvest sand is fundamentally changing its ecosystem and eroding its banks.

Special correspondent Fred de Sam Lazaro reports…

Read Full Article; PBS (09-18-2019)

Sand Storm: $750 Million Worth of The Material is Unaccounted For in Cambodia; RFA (11-02-2016)
Nearly 50 civil society organizations called for the Cambodian government to join some other Southeast Asian nations and ban or severely restrict exports of sand to Singapore after it was revealed that nearly $750 million worth of the building material has disappeared from the country…

Singapore’s data mirrors UN’s on Cambodia’s sand export numbers; The Phon Penh Post (10-19-2016)
Singaporean customs data on sand imports from Cambodia show near identical figures to those recorded by the UN, which last month were dismissed by a top official amid a reporting discrepancy in the hundreds of millions of dollars. The UN data showed $752 million in imports of sand from Cambodia since 2007, despite Cambodia reporting only about $5 million in exports to Singapore…

Cambodia digs into sand mining industry as beaches vanish, Reuters (11-05-2016)
Cambodian officials have promised to investigate problems in the sand mining business following complaints from fishermen that dredgers have been stealing the shore beneath their boats on an industrial scale…The ministry’s move came after the release of U.N. trade data compiled by campaigners this week, showing Singapore has imported more than 72 million tons of Cambodian sand since 2007…

Cambodia’s villagers lose ground – literally – to Singapore’s expansion; CSM (10-21-2016)
Singapore is buying tens of millions of tons of sand for its land reclamation projects. Their dredging is destroying Cambodia’s coastal mangrove forests, and fishermen’s livelihoods with them. But the villagers are pushing back…

How Sand Became One of Phnom Penh’s Hottest Commodities, Cambodia; Next City (09-08-2014)

Built on Sand: Singapore and the New State of Risk; Harvard Design Magazine (09-07-2015)

Global Witness, Shifting Sands, Singapore
Shifting Sand: how Singapore’s demand for Cambodian sand threatens ecosystems and undermines good governance

Sand, Rarer Than One Thinks: A UNEP report (GEA-March 2014)
Despite the colossal quantities of sand and gravel being used, our increasing dependence on them and the significant impact that their extraction has on the environment, this issue has been mostly ignored by policy makers and remains largely unknown by the general public.
In March 2014 The United Nations released its first Report about Sand Mining: “Sand, Rarer Than One Thinks.”
“Sand Wars” film documentary by Denis Delestrac – first broadcasted on the european Arte Channel, May 28th, 2013 in its french version: “Le Sable: enquête sur une disparition”, where it became the highest rated documentary for 2013 – expressly inspired the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to publish this 2014-Global Environmental Alert.

Sand Is in Such High Demand, People Are Stealing Tons of It, By Dave Roos; HowStuffWorks (03-06-2017)
As strange as it may sound, sand is one of the world’s hottest commodities. The global construction boom has created an insatiable appetite for sand, the chief ingredient for making concrete. The problem is that sand isn’t as abundant as it used to be. And when high demand and high value meets scarcity, you open the doors to smuggling…

The Conservation Crisis No One Is Talking About, By John R. Platt, TakePart (09-21-2016)
Beaches around the world are disappearing. No, the cause isn’t sea-level rise, at least not this time. It’s a little-known but enormous industry called sand mining, which every year sucks up billions of tons of sand from beaches, ocean floors, and rivers to make everything from concrete to microchips to toothpaste…

Demand for sand: the largest mining industry no one talks about; Inhabitat (05-23-2019)
The world’s largest and perhaps most destructive mining industry is rarely discussed. Approximately 85 percent of all material mined from the earth is a simple and widely available resource: sand. Because it is so cheap and readily available, it is mined by everyone from guy with a shovel, to multi-million dollar machine operations.

The world is running out of sand, The New Yorker (05-29-2017)

Sand Wars, An Investigation Documentary, By Award-Winning Filmmaker Denis Delestrac (©-2013)
Is sand an infinite resource? Can the existing supply satisfy a gigantic demand fueled by construction booms? What are the consequences of intensive beach sand mining for the environment and the neighboring populations…? This investigative documentary takes us around the globe to unveil a new gold rush and a disturbing fact: the “Sand Wars” have begun…


Cambodia Sand Mining: Learn More, Coastal Care

Global Sand Mining: Learn More, Coastal Care


BE THE CHANGE:

PETITION: Take Action To End Global Beach Sand Mining, Coastal Care


Illegal beach and dune sand mining operations, near Tangier, Morocco. Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care

Investors make unprecedented commitment to net zero emissions


Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care

By UNEP;

In one of the boldest actions yet by the world’s largest investors to decarbonize the global economy, an alliance of the world’s largest pension funds and insurers – responsible for directing more than US$ 2.4 trillion in investments – has today committed to carbon-neutral investment portfolios by 2050.

This commitment by the newly launched, United Nations-convened Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance was announced today at the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Action Summit, which brought together governments, companies and civil society to strengthen commitments and accelerate the implementation of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

The Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance is an example of investors stepping up to protect people and planet with the knowledge that companies that transform their businesses to deliver a low carbon economy will benefit most from the opportunities presented by climate change.

Inger Andersen, Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) said, “There are no short-cuts to decisive climate action. We need to take a long-term view. I applaud the leadership of the investors in this Alliance. Their commitment sends a strong signal that financial markets and investors are listening to science, and moving us to a path of resilience and sustainability.”
Asset owners – so called because they are the principal holders of retirement savings or are insurance companies investing their customers’ premiums – represent some of the largest pools of capital on the planet. Their investment portfolios are highly diversified and exposed to all sectors of the global economy.

Concerned about the disruptive impacts that unabated climate change will have on societies and economies, now and in the future, responsible asset owners are powerful allies in global action to fight climate change and limit the rise in global temperature to no more than 1.5°C warming.

As long-term investors who must look far into the future to fund their liabilities, asset owners are keen to ensure that the global economy prospers, that climate-related risks are addressed, and that opportunities to invest in a cleaner tomorrow are captured.

The Alliance was initiated by Allianz, Caisse des Dépôts, La Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ), Folksam Group, PensionDanmark and Swiss Re at the beginning of 2019. Since then, Alecta, AMF, CalPERS, Nordea Life and Pension, Storebrand, and Zurich have joined as founding members.

Convened by UNEP’s Finance Initiative and the Principles for Responsible Investment, the Alliance is supported by WWF and is part of the Mission 2020 campaign, an initiative led by Christiana Figueres, former Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

“Mitigating climate change is the challenge of our lifetime. Politics, business and societies across the globe need to act as one to rapidly reduce climate emissions. We, as asset owners, will live up to our responsibility and, in dialogue with the companies in which we invest, steer towards low-carbon business practices. We’ve already started and, by 2050, our portfolios will be climate neutral,” said Oliver Bäte, Allianz’s CEO.

The members of the Alliance will immediately start to engage with the companies in which they are investing to ensure they decarbonise their business models. Initiatives such as the UN Global Compact “Business Ambition for 1.5°C — Our Only Future” campaign will be a clear partner in mobilising corporations to commit to net zero emissions. The Alliance will also collaborate with other initiatives, such as the Investor Agenda, Science Based Targets initiative, Climate Action 100+, and the newly announced 2050 Ambition Alliance.

The members of the Alliance will hold themselves publicly accountable on their progress by setting and publicly reporting on intermediate targets in line with Article 4.9 of the Paris Agreement. By committing to transitioning their investment portfolios to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, asset owners are significantly raising the bar for other investors, industry associations and, importantly, the global economy.

“The Net-Zero Alliance is the recognition that institutional investors collectively have an important role to play in fostering the energy transition the world needs. For investors like CDPQ, there are so many opportunities to earn commercial returns by investing in low-carbon solutions and to work with portfolio companies to decarbonize,” said CDPQ CEO, Michael Sabia. “Combined with the necessary changes in public policies, investors’ actions will induce real change in every sector.”

To have maximum impact, existing Alliance members actively encourage additional asset owners to join them in their quest to decarbonise investment portfolios and achieve net zero emissions by 2050.

Original Article; UNEP (09-23-2019)

130 banks holding USD 47 trillion in assets commit to climate action and sustainability; UNEP (09-22-2019)
In a massive boost for climate action and sustainability, leading banks and the United Nations today launched the Principles for Responsible Banking, with 130 banks collectively holding USD 47 trillion in assets, or one third of the global banking sector, signed up.
In the Principles, launched one day ahead of the UN Climate Action Summit in New York, banks commit to strategically align their business with the goals of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the Sustainable Development Goals, and massively scale up their contribution to the achievement of both…

U.N. Climate Summit Sets Stage For New National Emissions Promises

dam-hand
Photo source: ©© André Solnik

Excerpts;

Leaders from nearly 200 countries are attending a special United Nations Summit on climate change today as they face increasing pressure from citizens around the world to cut global greenhouse gas emissions and slow global warming.

Currently, global emissions are on track to cause potentially catastrophic climate change in the coming decades…

Read Full Article; NPR (09-23-2019)

‘It can kill you in seconds’: the deadly algae on Brittany’s beaches


Green algae invasion, Brittany, France. Photo source: ©© Cristina Barroca

Excerpts;

For decades, potentially lethal green algae have amassed in shallow bays on Brittany’s beautiful north-western coast. Environmentalists say the blossoming of unusually large amounts of green algae are linked to nitrates in fertilisers and waste from the region’s intensive pig, poultry and dairy farming flowing into the river system and entering the sea…

Read Full Article; Guardian UK (09-08-2019)

Wave of Toxic Green Beaches, France; By Sharlene Pilkey (10-2009)
With beaches and coastlines all over the world already under attack from sea level rise, pollution, mining, driving, seawall construction and human development encroachment, another menace is mounting an assault…

Green And Golden Seaweed Tides On The Rise, By Victor Smetacek & Adriana Zinging (08-2014)
Green, brown and red seaweeds lying on the beach are part and parcel of life in many coastal regions. The amount of beached seaweed biomass started to increase along the shores of industrialized countries in the 1970s, and by the 1990s had become a nuisance along many beaches when mass-stranding events of macroalgae became known as green tides…

Climate change: Impacts ‘accelerating’ as leaders gather for UN talks


Beach erosion, Manzanillo, Costa Rica. Photo courtesy of: © Denis Delestrac

Excerpts;

The data, compiled by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), says the five-year period from 2014 to 2019 is the warmest on record.

Sea-level rise has accelerated significantly over the same period, as CO2 emissions have hit new highs.

The WMO says carbon-cutting efforts have to be intensified immediately…

Read Full Article; BBC News (09-22-2019)