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IMF Slashes Global GDP Forecast For 6th Consecutive Time, Warns “Climate Change” Will Hit Economy

IMF Slashes Global GDP Forecast For 6th Consecutive Time, Warns “Climate Change” Will Hit Economy

After the IMF cut its global economic outlook for 2019 to 2.9% in October, the lowest since the financial crisis, and warned that global trade growth would be “close to a standstill”, moments ago the IMF once again downgraded its forecast for global GDP for 2020 and 2021, its sixth straight reduction, although in a sliver of optimism, global GDP in 2020 is now expected to post a modest rebound from 2.9% to 3.3%, (down from 3.4% in October) and to 3.4% in 2021 (down from 3.6%) as the IMF says “there are now tentative signs that global growth may be stabilizing, though at subdued levels.”

According to the IMF, the downward revision primarily reflects negative surprises to economic activity in a few emerging market economies, most notably India, where 2020 GDP is now expected to rise just 5.8% down from 7.0%, which means that in 2020 China will regain the title of the world’s fastest growing economy. In a few cases, this reassessment also reflects the impact of increased social unrest.

Emerging market debacle aside, the IMF said that on the positive side, market sentiment “has been boosted by tentative signs that manufacturing activity and global trade are bottoming out, a broad-based shift toward accommodative monetary policy, intermittent favorable news on US-China trade negotiations, and diminished fears of a no-deal Brexit, leading to some retreat from the risk-off environment that had set in at the time of the October WEO.”

However, and this will be of particular interest to traders, even the IMF admitted that “few signs of turning points are yet visible in global macroeconomic data.”

And so, in addition to the collapse in India, the IMF also sees continued slowdown in the US and Europe in 2020, both of which were cut by 0.1% to 2.0% and 1.3%, while China saw a modest increase by 0.2% to 6.0%, which however drops to 5.8% in 2021.

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Europe Leads The World In Environmental Protection

Europe Leads The World In Environmental Protection

Earlier this week, the European Union unveiled their European Investment Plan aimed at shifting 1 trillion euros into making the economy more environmentally friendly over the next 10 years.

Statista’s Willem Rpoer reports that the investment plan is in line with European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen’s Green Deal, which looks to make the European continent carbon-neutral by 2050. Since taking office, Von der Leyen has made climate change her top priority.

European countries have typically been leaders in the fight against climate change, with many ranking lowest in carbon emissions globally and highest in environmental quality. The newest trillion-euro investment plan looks to solidify Europe as the global example for combating global warming as other continents like Asia and North America continue to produce high carbon emissions and lag behind in renewable energy sources.

n 2019, Yale University released their Environmental Performance Index (EPI) for all 180 countries in order to gauge which countries had the highest environmental quality and which had the lowest.

Infographic: Europe Leads the World in Environmental Protection | Statista

It’s the hottest decade–ever

It’s the hottest decade–ever 

As the decade comes to a close, environmentalists are looking back over the last ten years of supposedly ‘natural’ disasters and extreme weather. It’s alarming: there are absolutely no signs that the global climate crisis is under control.  

It just keeps on getting hotter. While Canadians are enjoying a balmy winter (which officially started on December 21, when temperatures were way above seasonal in Toronto), Australians are once again being scorched half to death. 

Temperatures peaked on December 21-22 in Victoria and South Australia with  several areas exceeding 48°C.  The heat and bone dry conditions have sparked numerous bushfires. New South Wales has been placed under a total fire ban as firefighters battle to contain more than 100 fires burning around the state, including the 400,000-hectare Gospers Mountain megafire in Wollemi national park in the Blue Mountains.  Across the globe in California, the 2019 fire season, which so far has counted close to 7000 fires, is still not over. Moreover, fires are flaring up in places where they have rarely been seen before—in the Arctic tundra and in Siberia above the Arctic circle. The chart on the left shows the startling spike in carbon emissions from Arctic wildfires that has occurred this year.

Emissions of CO2 from Arctic wildfires

It’s not hard to figure out that the increasing number of wild fires might be sparked and fanned by rising global temperatures. Meteorologists are already saying that 2019 is the planet’s second-warmest year on record, rounding off the hottest decade on Earth since those records begun. Eight of the ten warmest years have occurred this decade, and the other two were just a few years before. The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) headlined their latest assessment by saying that “2019 concludes a decade of exceptional global heat and high-impact weather”.

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Dave Collum’s 2019 Year In Review: “I Fought The Fed, And The Fed Won”

Dave Collum’s 2019 Year In Review: “I Fought The Fed, And The Fed Won”

Authored by David B. Collum, Betty R. Miller Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology – Cornell University (Email: dbc6@cornell.edu, Twitter: @DavidBCollum),

“I hope David comes to his senses.”

~ Nassim Taleb (@nntaleb), best-selling author and Professor at NYU

Every year, David Collum writes a detailed “Year in Review” synopsis full of keen perspective and plenty of wit. This year’s is no exception.

Contents

  • Introduction
  • About the Author–A Brief Autobiography
  • Contents
  • Sources
  • Creation of the Year in Review
  • My Personal Year
  • Investing
  • Almond-Eyed Aliens and Other Conspiracy Theories
  • Gold
  • Bitcoin
  • Modern Monetary Theory
  • The Fed and Repo-Madness
  • Share Buybacks
  • Climate Change
  • The Jeffrey Epstein Affair
  • Thoughts on College
  • Political Correctness–Collegiate Division
  • Political Correctness–Adult Division
  • Political Correctness–Youth Division
  • Political Correctness–Corporate Division
  • Civil Liberties
  • Conclusion
  • Acknowledgments
  • Books

The whole beast can be downloaded as a single PDF here, for those who prefer to do their power-reading offline.

If it happened this year & mattered, it’s covered in here…

Introduction

It is that time of year again when I sit down and, in a frenzied stream of subconsciousness, bang out my view of the world. It’s my 11th chronicling of human folly and anthropogenic global idiocy (AGI).1 It’s like when Forest Gump jogs: I start writing, go on too long, and then just stop. Forty years of writing about organic chemistry has taught me that you do not understand something till you finish writing about it. Constrained by time—you can’t write an annual synopsis in May—I have made sure to sacrifice quality not length.

“Huge fan. Please continue to remain above the din.”

~ Guy Adami (@GuyAdami), trader and commentator on CNBC’s Fast Money

*I am the din, Guy.

Figure 1. An original by Candace E. Cornell (my wife) dedicated to Jeff Macke (my Bud and the Banksy of Wall Street).

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“The UN’s ‘Woke’ Climate Change Propaganda Is An Insult To Science”

“The UN’s ‘Woke’ Climate Change Propaganda Is An Insult To Science”

I was always a ‘middle-grounder’, rather than a ‘denier’ – until I discovered the extent of the dishonesty

The climate change “emergency” is fake news. Many will roll their eyes in exasperation at the conspiratorial bombastry of yet another “denier”. But for years I have been a plastic recycling, polar bear cooing middle-grounder. In fact, Aristotle would probably turn in his grave at the logical fallaciousness of my long-held presumption that the truth must lie somewhere between those two mutually loathing opposites – Scepticism and Armageddon.

But as the doom-mongering acquires the rubber-stamped smell of instutionalised illness, it is impossible to ignore that the “woke” are the new “slept” – too deep in their sugar coma of confected hysteria to realise they are being duped by disinformation.

Before I explain why the climate “emergency” is the most electrifyingly effective propaganda exercise of the 21st century, two clarifications. I have no fight to pick with glaring evidential realities: surface records clearly show the planet is getting warmer. Nor do I have a culture war-bloodied axe to grind with the fundamental chemistry: carbon dioxide indisputably contributes to the greenhouse effect. But I do take issue with how the mainstream debate has become an insult to both the public’s intelligence and basic science. 

This was clearer than ever two weeks ago, as bureaucratic catastrophists kicked up dystopian dust-clouds on their way into the UN Madrid climate change summit. As Greta Thunberg arrived by yacht (after her British skipper likely clocked up 3 tonnes of carbon emissions flying to the US to pick her up), UN Secretary General António Guterres rumbled that, over the horizon, he could see “the point of no return”. Delegates waved the UN’s latest Emissions Gap Report as if it were both a millenarian death oracle and a methodologically indisputable text; in it, the recommendation to cut emissions by at least 7.6 per cent per year for the next decade.

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When Climate Striking Stops ‘Sparking Joy.’ What Comes Next?

When Climate Striking Stops ‘Sparking Joy.’ What Comes Next?

Youth activists pause to plan a fresh wave of action.

JuliaSampson.jpg
Julia Sampson: Striking ‘opened up a window for youth to act.’ Photo by Theresa Duerr-Farrell.

On a cold Friday in Winnipeg two weeks ago, ten people gathered in a circle outside city hall singing “Happy Birthday.” They were celebrating the one-year anniversary of the city’s first student climate strike. 

“We’re all a little burned out,” said Cam Beer, 17, one of the attendees. “We’ve been going at it for a while and some of these things are not sparking joy as they could.” 

The Winnipeg group strikes every Friday and meets every Monday to organize. I got to know many of its members when I helped plan the global climate strike on Sept. 27. In writing this piece I spoke with many more youth strikers in other cities. What I heard repeatedly is they are weary, frustrated with the lack of government response. They are pausing this Christmas to regroup and strategize. 

But they show no signs of stopping. In fact, it feels like they’re only getting warmed up. 

Cricket Guest, 20, an Anishinaabekwe Wiisaakodewikwe land defender and one of the lead coordinators of the Toronto climate strikes, can relate. She said these days she’s mostly angry. 

“The feeling of anger stems from a feeling of deep hurt. Myself and other student climate strikers feel deeply hurt people in power are not taking this issue as seriously as we are. If we are able to take the time out of our day, why is it not a priority for the adults who say they care about our future?”

Greta Thunberg expressed similar frustrations recently, when she told the United Nations, “Of course there is no victory, because the only thing we want to see is real action.”

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

Oilsands Firms ‘Morally Responsible’ for Deaths and Destruction from Climate Disasters

Oilsands Firms ‘Morally Responsible’ for Deaths and Destruction from Climate Disasters

Greenpeace’s Yeb Saño explains what a Philippines human rights investigation means for the fossil fuel industry in Canada.

YebSanoMics.jpg
Greenpeace Southeast Asia executive director Naderev Yeb Saño has long pressed for action against climate change. He led a hunger strike as lead Filipino delegate to the 2013 UN climate summit. Photo: Creative Commons, courtesy tcktcktck.org.

Four years ago, the Philippines Commission on Human Rights began posing an incendiary question. 

Should 47 of the planet’s most polluting companies have to answer legally for the deaths and suffering caused by climate change?

This includes the more than 6,300 Filipinos who died in 2013 during Typhoon Haiyan, which was made more destructive by rising global temperatures. 

Four of the companies named in the investigation are Canadian oilsands producers — Canadian Natural Resources, Encana, Husky and Suncor — and Canadian environmental law experts like York University’s David Estrin presented evidence at hearings held by the commission. 

The commission, established in the Philippines constitution, announced its findings last week at the COP25 climate talks in Madrid.The Tyee is supported by readers like you Join us and grow independent media in Canada

While the commission cannot make legal rulings, it found that the fossil fuel companies under investigation are “morally responsible” for death and destruction linked to their business model. Some legal experts think this could be a starting point for civil and criminal cases against those companies. 

The Tyee spoke with Greenpeace Southeast Asia executive director Naderev Yeb Saño, who was in Madrid for the climate talks, about the implications of the commission’s decision for Canadian oilsands producers and the political leaders, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who support them. The conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

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

Our Entangled Future: Excerpt

Our Entangled Future: Excerpt

Ed. note: This piece is an excerpt from the book Our Entangled Future: Stories to Empower Quantam Social Change, edited by Karen O’Brien, Ann El Khoury, Nicole Schafenacker, and Jordan Rosenfeld. You can find out more about the book and download a free copy here. (Direct quotes and references for this excerpt are referenced in the original text.)

1. Introduction

Anyone who reads the news these days will recognize that climate change is anything but fiction. Real stories of risk, danger, and loss are conveyed to us daily, whether in relation to wildfires, floods, droughts, heatwaves, glacial melting, rising waters, coral bleaching, species losses, or any other type of ecological distress. The protagonists in these stories are many – they include firefighters, farmers, coastal communities, elected officials, scientists, activists, governments, and those of us who have a stake in maintaining a planet that is hospitable to life. The protagonists in climate change are not merely observers; they are also taking action, for a good story always includes action. Our protagonists are marching in the streets, running for public office, standing up in the boardroom, directing theater pieces, organizing meetings and festivals, and introducing alternatives to our energy-intensive, consumer-oriented lifestyles.

The antagonists in today’s climate stories are numerous as well, including the oil industry, capitalism, agribusinesses, mining interests, mass tourism, and “people like us” who have adapted to paradigms of perpetual progress, endless consumption, unlimited growth, or the idea that “technology will save us.” The story of climate change is often told as a heroic battle of good versus evil, right versus wrong, and us versus them. As this plot unfolds, many people are starting to look more closely at the narratives underlying the story of climate change. What kind of stories are we actually telling ourselves and each other about our future in a changing climate? More importantly, what messages are we conveying about our potential to influence the future, right here and now?

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

Our climate is like reckless banking before the crash—it’s time to talk about near-term collapse

Our climate is like reckless banking before the crash—it’s time to talk about near-term collapse

Our food, finance, and logistics systems are worryingly vulnerable to climate shocks, Aled Jones and Will Steffen write. These are not distant existential issues raised by uncertain and abstract models of future climatic risk. They are urgent questions that humanity has been ducking for decades, but now demand urgent answers. 

*****

CC.0 :: Nikita Sypko / Unsplash.com

After a quarter of a century of nations from around the world coming together to discuss progress in dealing with climate change, emissions are still rising. The 25th annual United Nations climate change summit is now underway—and for the sake of the planet, it’s high time it changed its approach.

While climate scientists, policymakers and environmental campaigners have been engaged in a decades-long conversation about the future of the planet, most people on planet Earth see no climate emergency. Put bluntly, the science of global warming has failed spectacularly to emotionally connect with much of society, particularly those in the most powerful positions—rendering policy makers ineffective despite repeated warnings.

The science and the warnings focus on curtailing the emission of heat-absorbing gases into the atmosphere that, left unaddressed, may threaten the viability of contemporary society and worsen a mass extinction event already in motion.

But these warnings are not connected with complex human systems, such as food, finance and logistics, leaving them to evolve as if climate change didn’t exist. Terms such as “tipping points” are on their own technical, distant and abstract, while humans are wired to prioritise the short-term.

This failure to connect the dots means humanity has rapidly entered uncharted territory, pumping out carbon ten times faster than at any point since the extinction of the dinosaurs.

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

Zero carbon Britain: Rising to the climate emergency

Zero carbon Britain: Rising to the climate emergency 

A new report out today from Rapid Transition Alliance founding member the Centre for Alternative technology (CAT) looks at how the UK can cut energy demand by 60% and reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions using current technologies, without relying on unproven carbon capture.

By modelling the changes needed to energy, buildings, transport, industry, diets and land-use, ‘Zero Carbon Britain: Rising to the Climate Emergency’ clearly demonstrates that we already have the tools and technology needed to play our part in leaving a safe and habitable climate for our children and future generations.

Addressing climate breakdown

People all over the world are feeling the effects of climate breakdown, from unprecedented heatwaves, droughts and massive wildfires to some of the most damaging floods and storms ever seen. The warnings from the scientific community are now becoming real life experiences.

The current UK greenhouse gas emissions target of net zero by 2050, though ambitious in comparison to some other countries, does not offer rapid enough reductions to provide a good chance of avoiding extremely dangerous climate breakdown. Neither does it adhere to what might be termed the UK’s ‘fair share’ of the remaining global carbon budget.

Zero Carbon Britain and… A series of independent thought papers on rising to the climate emergency PDF document, 4 MB Download  

By making changes to our buildings, transport systems, land use and behaviour, and by investing in a variety of renewable energy technologies, we can achieve a zero carbon transition while building in a wide range of additional benefits.

CAT’s new report provides a blueprint to open new conversations around the scale and speed of change we need to deliver if we are to rise to the climate emergency. It can be used as a template to help citizens and local and national policymakers develop and deliver zero carbon action plans.

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Countries from Siberia to Australia are burning: the age of fire is the bleakest warning yet

Countries from Siberia to Australia are burning: the age of fire is the bleakest warning yet

It is time not only to think the unthinkable, but to speak it: the world economy, civilisation, and maybe our survival as a species are on the line

Fire front bushfire in the valley, Blue Mountains, Australia
 Realms as diverse and distant as Siberia, Amazonia, Indonesia, Australia and California are aflame. Photograph: Andrew Merry/Getty Images

On any day, between 10,000 and 30,000 bushfires burn around the planet.

Realms as diverse and distant as Siberia, Amazonia, Indonesia, Australia and California are aflame. The advent of “the age of fire” is the bleakest warning yet that humans have breached boundaries we were never meant to cross.

It is time not only to think the unthinkable, but to speak it: that the world economy, civilisation, and maybe our very survival as a species are on the line. And it is past time to act.

It isn’t just fires. It’s the incessant knell of unnatural (human-fed) disasters: droughts, floods, vanishing rivers, lakes and glaciers and the rise in billion-dollar weather impacts.

It is the spate of extinctions, the precipitous loss of sea fish, birds and corals, of forests, mammals, frogs, bees and other insects. It is the march of deserts and the waxing of dead zones in the oceans.

It is an avalanche of human chemical emissions poisoning our air, water, food, homes, cities, farms and unborn babies, slaying nine million a year.

It is the probability there will be no Arctic before the end of this century and rising seas expelling 300 million from their homes.

It is the ominous seepage of methane from the world’s oceans, tundra, swamps and fossil fuels, threatening runaway heating of 7 to 10 degrees or more.

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Economists and climate change: Building castles in the sky

Economists and climate change: Building castles in the sky

Economist John Kenneth Galbraith once said that “the only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable.” Unfortunately, when some economists turn their sights on the economics of climate change, their unreliable methods imperil not just the economic life of humankind but its very existence.

I have written previously about this phenomenon in 2007 about how economists underestimate the critical importance of small (by economic value) but critical parts of the economy such as agriculture, forestry, and energy and in 2012 about how unsuited our current infrastructure is to the unfolding climate.

The trouble is that against all evidence, some climate economists keep building castles in the sky. Nobel Prize winner William Nordhaus is among the most prominent economists working on climate change and its economic effects. In short, Nordhaus, who is mentioned both in my 2007 and 2012 pieces, tells us not to worry too much about climate change. It will be cheaper to adapt to it than to prevent it or slow it down.

The problem with Nordhaus’ thinking (and that of many others like him) is that he cannot conceive of abrupt discontinuities in the workings of the planet or the workings of human society. In short, he cannot conceive that climate change could alter our environment so thoroughly and disrupt our agriculture so completely that it would lead to catastrophic results.

It is for this failure of imagination that economist Steven Keen recently took Nordhaus to task, showing through a careful critique of Nordhaus’ equations, that even those equations demonstrate catastrophe ahead when provisioned with the proper numbers and understanding. When Keen adds in what we know about tipping points in the climate system, he finds that Nordhaus’ own equations reveal that “[a]t 3 degrees, damages are 8 times as high.

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Why Apocalyptic Claims About Climate Change Are Wrong

Why Apocalyptic Claims About Climate Change Are Wrong 

Bill McKibben, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Greta Thunberg, and Zion Lights of Extinction Rebellion
Climate scientists are speaking out against grossly exaggerated claims about global warming.GETTY

Environmental journalists and advocates have in recent weeks made a number of apocalyptic predictions about the impact of climate change. Bill McKibben suggested climate-driven fires in Australia had made koalas “functionally extinct.” Extinction Rebellion said “Billions will die” and “Life on Earth is dying.” Vice claimed the “collapse of civilization may have already begun.” 

Few have underscored the threat more than student climate activist Greta Thunberg and Green New Deal sponsor Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. The latter said, “The world is going to end in 12 years if we don’t address climate change.” Says Thunberg in her new book, “Around 2030 we will be in a position to set off an irreversible chain reaction beyond human control that will lead to the end of our civilization as we know it.” 

Sometimes, scientists themselves make apocalyptic claims. “It’s difficult to see how we could accommodate a billion people or even half of that,” if Earth warms four degrees, said one earlier this year. “The potential for multi-breadbasket failure is increasing,” saidanother. If sea levels rise as much as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts, another scientist said, “It will be an unmanageable problem.” Today In: Business

Apocalyptic statements like these have real-world impacts. In September, a group of British psychologists said children are increasingly suffering from anxiety from the frightening discourse around climate change. In October, an activist with Extinction Rebellion (”XR”) — an environmental group founded in 2018 to commit civil disobedience to draw awareness to the threat its founders and supporters say climate change poses to human existence — and a videographer, were kicked and beaten in a London Tube station by angry commuters. And last week, an XR co-founder said a genocide like the Holocaust was “happening again, on a far greater scale, and in plain sight” from climate change.

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The Coming Big Freeze

The Coming Big Freeze 

The BIG FREEZE is upon us. The volatility in weather that our computer has been forecasting on a long-term basis should result in this winter being colder than the last. In Britain, the snow has hit an already flood-ravaged country as temperatures plunged to -7C. This is part of the problem we face. The ground freezes down and this prevents winter crops. During the late 1700s, the ground froze to a depth of 2 feet according to John Adams. When John Adams set out to travel to Philadelphia, it was bitterly cold and there was a foot or more of snow that covered the landscape that had blanketed Massachusetts from one end of the province to the other. Beneath the snow, after weeks of severe cold, the ground was frozen solid to a depth of two feet. Packed ice in the road made the journey very hazardous. In a letter to his wife, John Adams wrote:

“Indeed I feel not a little out of Humour, from Indisposition of Body. You know, I cannot pass a Spring, or fall, without an ill Turn — and I have had one these four or five Weeks — a Cold, as usual. Warm Weather, and a little Exercise, with a little Medicine, I suppose will cure me as usual. … Posterity! You will never know, how much it cost the present Generation, to preserve your Freedom! I hope you will make a good Use of it. If you do not, I shall repent in Heaven, that I ever took half the Pains to preserve it.”

On September 8, 1816, Jefferson described the weather in a letter to Albert Gallatin:

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Microbes a key factor in climate change

Microbes a key factor in climate change

Preface. The IPCC, like economists, assumes our economy and burning of fossil fuels will grow exponentially until 2100 and beyond, with no limits to growth. But conventional oil peaked and has stayed on a plateau since 2005, so clearly peak global oil production is in sight. As is peak soil, aquifer depletion, biodiversity destruction, and deforestation to name just a few existential threats besides climate change.

The lack of attention to microbes in the IPCC model further weakens their predictions about the trajectory of climate change. As this article notes, diatoms are our friends, they “perform 25–45% of total primary production in the oceans, owing to their prevalence in open-ocean regions when total phytoplankton biomass is maximal. Diatoms have relatively high sinking speeds compared with other phytoplankton groups, and they account for ~40% of particulate carbon export to depth”.

Diatoms didn’t appear until 40 million years ago, and sequester so much carbon that they caused the poles to form ice caps. So certainly scientists should study whether their numbers are decreasing or increasing. But also the IPCC needs to include diatoms and other microbes in their models. It’s a big deal that they haven’t, since microorganisms support the existence of all higher life forms.

* * *

University of New South Wales. 2019. Leaving microbes out of climate change conversation has major consequences, experts warn. Science Daily.

Original article: Cavicchioli, R., et al. 2019. Scientists’ warning to humanity: microorganisms and climate change. Nature Reviews Microbiology.

More than 30 microbiologists from 9 countries have issued a warning to humanity — they are calling for the world to stop ignoring an ‘unseen majority’ in Earth’s biodiversity and ecosystem when addressing climate change.

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

Olduvai IV: Courage
In progress...

Olduvai II: Exodus
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