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The Ten Big Lies of Traditional Western Politics

The Ten Big Lies of Traditional Western Politics

Photo Source DieselDemon | CC BY 2.0

Public lands managed by the federal government loom large in western politics, a defining topic dictating the political debate. Corporate interests – logging, grazing, and mineral extraction most prominently – have often succeeded in dominating that debate through their good-old-boy network of legislators, county commissioners, lobby groups, and captive agencies. This powerful group largely controls the imaginary “custom and culture” of the West, a myth which reflects an attitude of dominion over nature, an anti-regulation mindset, and an obsession with economic profit regardless of social or ecological consequences. But in reality, westerners in large numbers don’t actually share these values. With the influx of tech companies and professional workers from other regions, this extraction-centric worldview is becoming a tinier and tinier minority viewpoint in a West that increasingly prizes unspoiled scenery, abundant wildlife, and recreational values above extractive uses of public lands.

As they sense their deathgrip on the public debate slipping, those seeking to maximize exploitation and marginalize conservation on western public lands are becoming increasingly strident in their insistence on a variety of fictional assertions about the West. Here is a list of some of the most outrageous misinformation being peddled through the media and via political channels.

1) Industrial oil and gas drilling is compatible with healthy wildlife populations

Big Oil has been trying for decades to sell America on the idea that it is not a dirty industry, and that whatever its latest environmental disaster happened to be, it was a rare occurrence that will never happen again. Drilling rigs, pipelines, and the spiderweb of dusty access roads can exist side-by-side with abundant native wildlife, they assert.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Scientists Warn World Facing Major Famine, Could “Lead To Severe Shocks To Global Food System”

Researchers from Washington State University have published a new report of the Great Drought, the most destructive known drought of the past 800 years – and how it sparked the Global Famine that claimed the lives of 50 million people. The scientists warn that the Earth’s current warming climate could spark a similar drought, but even worse.

One of the lead researchers, Deepti Singh, a professor in WSU’s School of the Environment, used rainfall records and climate reconstruction models to characterize the environmental conditions leading up to the Great Drought, a period in the mid-1870s known for widespread crop failures across Asia, Brazil, and Africa. The drought was connected to the most extreme manifestation of the El Nino supercycle ever recorded.

“Climate conditions that caused the Great Drought and Global Famine arose from natural variability. And their recurrence — with hydrological impacts intensified by global warming — could again potentially undermine global food safety,” lead author Singh and her colleagues wrote in the Journal of Climate, published online Oct. 04.

The release of the study came days before the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned that global warming could cause intense droughts, floods, extreme heat and poverty for hundreds of millions of people.

WSU says Global Famine was among the worst humanitarian disasters in modern time, comparable to the influenza epidemic of 1918-1919, World War I and World War II. As an environmental disaster, it was the worst.

“In a very real sense, the El Nino and climate events of 1876-78 helped create the global inequalities that would later be characterized as ‘first’ and ‘third worlds’,” writes Singh, who was influenced by “Late Victorian Holocausts: El Nino Famines and the Making of the Third World,” which detailed the social impact of the Great Drought and additional droughts in 1896-1897 and 1899-1902.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

UN Climate Change Report: A Choice between “Mad Max and Hunger Games”

UN Climate Change Report: A Choice between “Mad Max and Hunger Games”

Humanity, we’re essentially told, is doomed lest people concede their freedom to the experts, lawmakers, and bureaucrats who can save us.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) this week released a special report detailing all the ways climate change is predicted to wreak havoc on humans.

The report is about 800 pages long, so I’ll offer a summary to save you some time:

  • Global temperatures today are 1.0°C above pre-industrial temperatures.
  • We’re seeing an increase in extreme weather and other negative consequences as a result of the increase, including receding sea ice in the Arctic and rising global sea levels.
  • A 1.5°C increase will be (much) worse than a 1.0 increase; 2°C would be much worse than that.
  • We’re currently on track to exceed 3°C.
  • Only broad and drastic changes in the world economy can prevent global calamity.

The report’s glum findings were announced at a press conference by a United Nations panel in Incheon, South Korea. Panelists tried to sound optimistic, but there was no sugar-coating the report’s key finding.

“If you would like to stabilize global warming to 1.5°C, the key message is that net CO2 emissions at the global scale must reach zero by 2050,” said panelist Valerie Masson-Delmotte, a French climate scientist and research director at the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission. “That’s the most important finding of the report.”

Barring these substantial reductions, we’re told, millions will die. Literally.

The report made it clear that fossils fuel—oil, gas, and coal—which the world heavily depends on, must be phased out to achieve this goal: especially coal.

“Coal will have to be reduced very, very substantially by the middle of the century,” said Jim Skea, a Scottish academic and IPCC panelist. “Coal has the highest carbon content of all the fossil fuels.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The New IPCC Report Offers Climate Solutions That Depend on Magic

THE NEW IPCC REPORT OFFERS CLIMATE SOLUTIONS THAT DEPEND ON MAGIC

To solve the crisis, we’d have to slow growth. And no one wants to admit that.
Ice floes in Iceland

(Photo: Roxanne Desgagnés/Unsplash)

Over the past couple of decades, climate scientists have warned government leaders that global warming could pose an extinction-level threat to humanity. In response, policymakers have asked climate scientists for recommendations to stave off catastrophic global warming, just as long as these recommended policies wouldn’t curtail economic growth. Climate scientists, in turn, have come up with a series of proposals that are the equivalent of magic: They deliver desired results, but only if you believe in miracles. For the most part, everyone involved in this magic show has the right intentions. The problem is that we’re betting our entire future on fairy dust.

A case in point is the just-released Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C, drafted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change at the request of the United Nations. The purpose of the report is to explore the differences between a 2 degrees Celsius maximum target for global warming and a 1.5 degree target, and to identify ways to achieve that lower target. The reason for working to limit warming below the more ambitious threshold is that a number of low-lying nations (on whose approval the Paris Agreement depended) will literally be underwater if temperatures rise beyond that limit. As solutions, the report discusses ways to capture and sequester carbon dioxide, or ways of pulling CO2 out of the air. The report also suggests that we can continue to grow gross domestic product (GDP) while decreasing energy use.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

UK growers warn of shortages of onions, potatoes and other vegetables after extreme weather decimates crops

Yields are down and sizes are down for many vegetables following challenging growing conditions. Onions have been hit particularly hard

Vegetable yields have fallen by as much as 50 per cent in some parts of the UK, following a year of extreme weather events.

Farmers have warned of the likelihood of shortages of major crops including potatoes, onions, carrots, leeks, parsnips, cabbages and Brussels sprouts, with consumers and retailers expected to see biggest impacts in the new year.

The year began with the “Beast from the East”, which brought freezing weather to the UK in February, followed by an unusually wet spring that delayed planting. Then a record-breaking summer heatwave took its toll on growing crops.

British Growers Association chief executive Jack Ward said the conditions were “absolutely the antithesis of what a plant needs to grow properly”, and said the industry was looking at an overall drop in yields of about 20 per cent.

But among certain producers the crop shortfall is much worse.

James Pearson, of Suffolk Produce, which grows about 10 per cent of the UK’s onions, and is also a major supplier of potatoes, carrots and parsnips, told The Independent their farms have seen yields fall by 50 per cent for onions, and by 20-30 per cent for potatoes.

He said: “The weather being so hot this summer has also caused a number of quality issues. So there are increased levels of bacteria.

“When crops were coming in we stuck a temperature probe into them and some were reading 40C.”

He added: “The stress this has put on the crops has not really been seen before and nobody really knows how well things are going to store.”

Why Economists Can’t Understand Complex Systems: Not Even the Nobel Prize, William Nordhaus

Why Economists Can’t Understand Complex Systems: Not Even the Nobel Prize, William Nordhaus

The “base case” scenario of “The Limits to Growth” 1972 report to the Club of Rome. The strong non-linearity of the behavior of complex systems — including the global economy — is nearly impossible to understand for people trained in economics. William Nordhaus, the recent Nobel prize winner in economics, is no exception to the rule. In this post, I’ll report how, at the beginning of his career, Nordhaus criticized “The Limits to Growth”, showing in the process that he had understood nothing of the way complex systems work.

After having been awarded the Nobel prize in economics of this year, William Nordhaus has been often presented as some sort of an ecologist (see, e.g. this article on Forbes). Surely, Nordhaus’ work on climate has merit and he is one of the leading world economists who recognize the importance of the problem and who propose remedies for it. On the other hand, Nordhaus’ approach on climate can be criticized: he tends to see the problem in terms of costs and solvable just by means of modest changes.
Nordhaus’ approach to climate change mitigation highlights a general problem with how economists tend to tackle complex systems: their training makes them tend to see changes as smooth and gradual. But real-world systems, normally, do what they damn please, including crashing down in what we call the Seneca Effect.
On this point, let me tell you a little story of how Nordhaus started his career at Yale by an all-out attack against system dynamics, the method used to prepare the 1972 study “The Limits to Growth,” showing in the process that he had understood nothing on the way complex systems work.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Western Civilization No Longer Exists

Western Civilization No Longer Exists

Societal Collapse awaits in the wings if climate change and nuclear war don’t finish us off first

The Cheney-Bush and Obama regimes destroyed due process, with the result that American citizens were detained in prison indefinitely without evidence and murdered without evidence or trial. In violation of US and international laws, the US government used torture to produce “terrorists,” who were not terrorists, in order to justify Washington’s wars, wars that have nothing whatsoever to do with “fighting terrorism.”

The Democratic Party’s Identity Politics’ successful demonization of white heterosexual males has made American universities unsafe for white heterosexual males. Any woman can accuse them of rape, and despite the absence of any evidence, and even in the face of complete evidence to the contrary, the university, in total violation of all known rules of due process, can convict the accused—indeed, conviction on accusation alone is mandatory in American universities—and destroy the reputation of the accused along with his ability to continue his education.

In the article below federal courts confronted with these mandatory university convictions of white males have overturned them, ruling against the universities’ violations of due process. The corrupt university administrations are serving Identity Politics, not justice.

Just imagine that if the Democrats, who in their glory represented the working class, were to achieve political power and appoint federal judges. No white heterosexual male would be safe. Under the Democrats’ Identity Politics, white heterosexual males are automatically guilty. Due process is not needed. By definition, white heterosexual males are racists, misogynists, and rapists. No evidence is needed.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Climate catastrophe: The median is NOT the message

Climate catastrophe: The median is NOT the message

Anyone who has followed the climate change issue in the last 30 years knows that official forecasts provided by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) are quickly upended by developments and have often been obsolete before they were issued.

The latest report from the IPCC is the first, however, to abandon the measured tone of its previous ones and foretell what it considers a climate catastrophe for human civilization unless the world makes an abrupt U-turn and begins dramatic reductions in greenhouse gas emissions almost immediately.

And yet, even this forecast is probably too conservative in its pronouncements. That’s according to Michael Mann, a climate researcher whose famous “hockey stick” graph has been central to understanding the rise in global temperatures and has been replicated again and again using other measures of historical worldwide temperatures.

What is little understood by the public is that humans have been underestimating the pace and impact of climate change since Swedish chemist Svante Arrhenius first suggested in 1896 that the globe was warming due to emissions of carbon dioxide.

Which brings me to a broader point: The public tends to hear most often about the median values or middle-of-the road scenarios in any forecast, sometimes called the reference case. (Very little emphasis is put on the range of possibilities. For example, the IPCC in 2000 forecast that global average temperature could be 1.4 to 5.8 degrees Centigrade higher than the 1990 level by 2100.)

Today, we find ourselves fretting that going beyond a 1.5-degree increase from pre-industrial times will spell catastrophe involving global agriculture, severe weather, sea-level rise, and disease epidemics. Previously, 2 degrees was thought to be the threshold for severe irretrievable consequences resulting from climate change.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Climate Crisis is Upon Us

Climate Crisis is Upon Us

One of the more useful allusions hidden in plain sight in the recent IPCC / UN report on climate crisis is the distinction between the pre-industrial and industrial ages that defines the era of climate crisis. Industrial capitalism, a/k/a capitalism, is the cause of climate crisis. Plenty of pseudo-scientific rubbish about human caused and Anthropocene can be found in the report’s text. But industry— the integration of science and technology in capitalist production, is identified as the cause. No longer are goat herders in Turkmenistan as responsible as the executives of Exxon-Mobil for the unfolding debacle.

The report is striking in its urgency. Feedback loops and tipping points contradict any straight-line assurances of an orderly and knowable path forward. Behind pages of stark calculations can be found Gaia, the unknowable relations of Mother Earth that make a mockery of scientific certainty beyond the understanding that the environment of the planet is being destroyed and needs to be fixed. Missing is any semblance of a political program to move resolution forward. But also missing is the usual subtext of technocrats meeting in swank hotels to eat four-star meals, swap resumes and network. The stakes are now apparently too high.

Identification of the industrial age— capitalism, as the cause of climate crisis brings with it a host of related revelations. Capitalist wealth becomes a crude measure of its reciprocal in environmental devastation. The relation of wealth to political power makes timely and / or peaceful resolution improbable. Capitalist accumulation will hereafter be a measure of informed socio-pathology. The writing is on the wall. The American political ‘choice’ between the wealthy or their technocratic servants is a formula for environmental annihilation. The system crisis is a metaphor for the political crisis that makes resolution so intractable.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

How A Carbon Tax Would Be Implemented

How A Carbon Tax Would Be Implemented

oil

There are no solutions to complex problems – except when the problem becomes so complex it must have a simple solution.

That is the paradox thrown up by global warming and the shattering report of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The report cries out for dramatic, simple remediation of the amount of carbon pumped into the atmosphere every day by industrial society.

The complex solution is a case-by-case, country-by-country, industry-by-industry, polluter-by-polluter remediation: power plants, automobiles, trucks, trains, ships, aircraft and manufacturers.

The simple solution to this complex problem is to tax carbon emissions: a carbon tax. Make no mistake, it would be tough. Some industries would bear the brunt and their customers would carry the burden — initially a light burden growing to a heavier one.

The obvious place to start is with electric utilities. Those burning coal would get the heaviest penalty. Those burning natural gas – the fuel favored by its low price and abundance in the nation — some penalty, but not as heavy.

Nuclear, which is having a hard time in the marketplace at present, would be the big winner of the central station technologies, and solar and wind would continue to be favored.

When it comes to transportation and farming, the pain of carbon taxation rises. The automobile user has choices like a smaller car, an electric car or simply less driving. But heavy transportation, using diesel or kerosene, is where the pain will be felt: buses, trucks, tractors, trains, aircraft and ships. The burden here is direct and would push up prices to consumers quickly.

Jets are a particularly vexing problem. Although they represent about 3.5 percent of pollution, it is the altitude at which they operate (above 30,000 feet) that makes them particularly lethal greenhouse gas emitters.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Hurricane Michael’s Impact On Gasoline Demand

Hurricane Michael’s Impact On Gasoline Demand

Fuel pump

Gasoline demand increased in the Florida Panhandle, southern Georgia, and South Carolina ahead of Hurricane Michael’s arrival to the areas, but repercussions to demand appeared to focus on rack cities in the direct path of the storm, according to our Supply Side daily rack volume data. The increased rack activity provided some uplift to PADD 1C demand Oct. 7 to 10. Daily rack activity on Oct. 9 jumped to the highest daily level since the approach of Hurricane Florence to the Carolinas in September.

Michael’s long-term ramifications to supply are not yet obvious. Ports along the upper Gulf Coast and southern Atlantic Coast closed either completely or to inbound traffic starting Oct. 9. Restrictions on ports in Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, North Carolina, and Virginia remained as of Oct. 12, with Savannah and Charleston reopening Oct. 11. Gasoline supply in these five states relies upon waterborne barge movements from the U.S. Gulf Coast (PADD 3) and cargo imports. To add to the constrained inflows, Colonial Pipeline reported power outages at delivery facilities in southern Georgia on Oct. 11. Colonial assessed damages and impacts to Line 17, which runs from Atlanta to Bainbridge, GA, off Colonial’s 2.6mn bpd mainline system.

Hurricane Michael made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane on Oct. 10 near Mexico Beach, FL, with maximum sustained winds of 155 mph—the strongest tropical cyclone to hit the Florida Panhandle in recorded history and the fourth strongest Atlantic tropical cyclone to hit the U.S. mainland. When Michael moved into Georgia on the evening of Oct. 10, the storm became the most intense disturbance to hit the state since 1898. The cyclone made its way through Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia. As of Oct. 12, Michael was a post-tropical cyclone off the coast of Delaware, heading northeast towards open water.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

‘Vast Blind Spot’: IPCC Accused of Ignoring ‘Decades Long’ Fossil Fuel Misinformation Campaign on Climate

‘Vast Blind Spot’: IPCC Accused of Ignoring ‘Decades Long’ Fossil Fuel Misinformation Campaign on Climate

Charles Koch

The United Nations (UN) climate science panel is being accused of ignoring research into fossil fuel-funded misinformation campaigns that have been key to holding back action on global warming.

The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) — an assessment of more than 6,000 research papers — found global warming caused largely by fossil fuel burning would have severe impacts even if limited to 1.5°C (2.7°F).

Described by the IPCC as “one of the most important climate change reports ever published,” the report is designed to inform policy makers and the public around the world.

But several researchers are angry the report did not take account of academic research into the “decades-long misinformation campaign” funded and promoted by fossil fuel interests and so-called “free market” conservative think tanks that has been a major brake on progress.

Several researchers say the lack of consideration of academic research into misinformation campaigns was a vital but missed opportunity to educate the public and policy makers. The groups that have colluded with the fossil fuel industry have been credited with pushing President Donald Trump to pledge to pull the U.S. from the UN‘s Paris Agreement.

A Vast Blind Spot

This is an important barrier to climate action, but it is never addressed,” said Professor Robert Brulle of Drexel University, who has published research on the funding and influence of climate science denial efforts.

A large existing literature on this was ignored by the IPCC,” he added.

The IPCC special report showed that keeping global warming to 1.5°C would require a rapid phase-out of fossil fuel use between now and the middle of the century.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

When a warming climate threatens your dinner plate

Introducing Understanding Food and Climate Change : A suite of free digital resources

Whether you’re a student in Osaka, Japan, tucking into a bento box of salted fish and edamame, a University professor in Dakar munching on Senegalese yassa, or an American steelworker unwrapping a hamburger, chances are you sit down several times a day to a plate of food, no matter who or where you are. You may not be aware of all the ways your choices at mealtimes are affecting the climate, but they are, and greatly.

Our understanding of the links between food systems and climate change is growing, but public awareness of the importance of this relationship is not widespread. Even people who accept that anthropogenic climate change is occurring are more likely to think first about home energy or focus on transportation. Fewer people consider the impact of the dinner on their plates, but the connections between climate change and food systems are deep and wide-ranging—the food choices we make; the ways we grow, raise, transport, process, store, prepare, and serve food; how we manage food waste. The Center for Ecoliteracy is making great strides toward shifting this awareness.

The Center for Ecoliteracy recently released a suite of free digital resources with two parts: a collection of essays, and an interactive guide that offers videos, original animations, interactive pages, photography, and sample activities to help explore the relationships between food and climate change. The suite is generating broad interest among students, educators, campaigners, environmental advocacy organizations, and food producers. The resources serve as a primer on the principles of ecology as well as an inquiry on what it means to think in terms of systems and relationships when it comes to our personal lifestyle choices and the impact they have on a changing planet.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

We Need an Ecological Civilization Before It’s Too Late

We Need an Ecological Civilization Before It’s Too Late

In the face of climate breakdown and ecological overshoot, alluring promises of “green growth” are no more than magical thinking. We need to restructure the fundamentals of our global cultural/economic system to cultivate an “ecological civilization”: one that prioritizes the health of living systems over short-term wealth production. 

We’ve now been warned by the world’s leading climate scientists that we have just twelve years to limit climate catastrophe. The UN’s International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has put the world on notice that going from a 1.5° to 2.0° C rise in temperature above preindustrial levels would have disastrous consequences across the board, with unprecedented flooding, drought, ocean devastation, and famine.

Oxfam_East_Africa_-_A_mass_grave_for_children_in_Dadaab
A global crisis of famine and mass starvation looms unless we can turn around the trajectory of our civilization

Meanwhile, the world’s current policies have us on track for more than 3° increase by the end of this century, and climate scientists publish dire warnings that amplifying feedbacks could make things far worse than even these projections, and thus place at risk the very continuation of our civilization. We need, according to the IPCC, “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society.” But what exactly does that mean?

Last month, at the Global Climate Action Summit (GCAS) in San Francisco, luminaries such as Governor Jerry Brown, Michael Bloomberg, and Al Gore gave their version of what’s needed with an ambitious report entitled “Unlocking the Inclusive Growth Story of the 21st Century by the New Climate Economy.” It trumpets a New Growth Agenda: through enlightened strategic initiatives, they claim, it’s possible to transition to a low-carbon economy that could generate millions more jobs, raise trillions of dollars for green investment, and lead to higher global GDP growth.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Inevitable De-Industrialisation of Europe

EU ministers agreed to binding cuts in CO2 emissions of 35% by 2030. The German auto industry won’t be able to deliver.

Hamburg was first in May. Stuttgart, home of Mercedes and Porsche, was second in July.

A diesel ban in Frankfurt came third.

Only older cars that do not meet emission standards are banned, but diesel is now toxic. No one wants to buy diesel.

Merkel Can No Longer Protect Car Makers

Adding to the woes, Merkel has lost control. She is no longer able to protect German industry.

The European Parliament just voted to cut CO2 emissions by 40%. The European ministers voted for a 35% reduction. The latter is binding.

Car sales dropped sharply in September.

Eurointelligence on Autos and German Industry

The German government – backed by its usual eastern European allies – fought in vain to head off the tougher standards.

Germany’s environment minister Svenja Schulze deliberately – and astonishingly – weakened her own negotiating position by making clear that her personal preference would have been for tougher targets than those she was officially defending as her government’s position.

An administrative court in Berlin decided yesterday that the city of Berlin needs to ban diesel cars – compliant with Euro norms five and earlier – in important areas of the city, including Friedrichstrasse and Leipziger Strasse. There is no ban for petrol cars as the emissions in question are nitrogen oxide. The ban will have to be implemented by July 2019 at the latest. The plaintiff was a German environmental NGO, which had sued for a city-wide ban of diesel.

Car Sales Plunge

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai IV: Courage
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