"In a time of universal deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

Humanity Just Burned Through The Planet’s Annual Resource Budget Faster Than Ever, And It’s Only August

In Uncategorized on August 15, 2016 at 12:35 pm

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Humanity’s annual demand on the natural world has exceeded what the Earth can renew in a year since the 1970s. This “ecological overshoot” has continued to grow over the years, reaching a 50 per cent deficit in 2008. This means that it takes 1.5 years for the Earth to regenerate the renewable resources that people use, and absorb the CO2 waste they produce, in that same year.  How can this be possible when there is only one Earth? Just as it is possible to withdraw money from a bank account faster than to wait for the interest this money generates, renewable resources can be harvested faster than they can be re-grown. But just like overdrawing from a bank account, eventually the resource will be depleted. At present, people are often able to shift their sourcing when this happens; however at current consumption rates, these sources will eventually run out of resources too – and some ecosystems will collapse even before the resource is completely gone. The consequences of excess greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are also already being seen, like climate change and ocean acidification. These place additional stresses on biodiversity and ecosystems. The decline in biocapacity per capita is primarily due to an increase in global population. More people have to share the Earth’s resources. The increase in the Earth’s productivity is not enough to compensate for the demands of this growing population.” –World Wildlife Foundation, 2014

“Ah yes, the big ungainly elephant in the room. Overshoot. Rarely discussed in polite society.  And the rate of ecological overshoot is INCREASING EVERY YEAR. When you view the  high-tech “solutions” like carbon capture and storage and “divesting from fossil fuels, and  “green economy” fantasies for “fighting climate change” presented to us in this context, you realize that it’s all just a bunch of hot air. Pun intended. None of these things address fundamental problems with industrial civilization. Things like infinite growth, hyperconsumption, environmental destruction, and overpopulation. They’re part of a civilization level “extend and pretend” fantasy. The reality is, there are only a finite amount of essential resources on earth. In a little over 50 years, we’ve managed to go from consuming  less than 100 percent of the world resources yearly, to consuming 160% of the worlds yearly resources in 8 months. Our rapacious greed and largely disposable civilization, has created untold toxic waste and consumed incalculable resources that cannot be replaced or recycled. The sociopathic system we live in, globalized industrial civilization, requires that the status quo be maintained. Profit is paramount. More and more profit is required for optimal functioning. Though now, We’ve begun to see signs of systems failure all around the world. And the system is killing the world. This overdrawing of Earth’s resources can only continue  for so much longer before the resources required for this madness are expended completely. Then what?” -OSJ

Written By Nadia Prupis @ Common Dreams:

Earth Overshoot Day—the day on which people worldwide have officially used up more natural resources like air, food, and water than the planet can regenerate in a year—has come early.

The 2016 threshold was hit on Monday, making it the fastest pace yet, according to a new report by the Global Footprint Network, which measures the dubious milestone every year.

That’s five days earlier than last year, about five weeks earlier than in 2003, and months earlier than it was in 1987, when it fell on December 19. In 1961, the global population didn’t even use up 100 percent of the world’s natural resources, according to the network. But the next decade propelled the planet into an era of overconsumption, the group said.

“This is possible because we emit more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than our oceans and forests can absorb, and we deplete fisheries and harvest forests more quickly than they can reproduce and regrow,” Global Footprint Network said in a statement.

To figure out the annual date, the group analyzes United Nations statistics on thousands of economic areas like fisheries, forests, and energy production, among others. The group’s co-founder Mathis Wackernagel told Deutsche Welle on Monday that there is a clear climate villain in the midst—fossil fuels.

“Currently the carbon footprint makes up more than 60 percent of humanity’s ecological footprint. Our economy is built very heavily on fossil fuels, and that’s the challenge we face. We have agreed that moving over 2 degrees Celsius is an unacceptable target for humanity. That translates into very clear physical constraints,” he said.

“That means we cannot have more than 20 years at current emissions levels. That means, in a very short time frame, we will have to move out of fossil fuel use,” he explained.

 

“There is really only one word for this parade of shattered climate records: grim.” NOAA State Of The Planet Report 2015 – ‘Earth’s Fever Is Rising’

In Uncategorized on August 12, 2016 at 2:00 pm
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In this July 20, 2015 file photo, a boat floats through light reflected from the illuminated Ada Bridge over the Sava river in Belgrade, Serbia. Earth’s fever got worse last year, breaking dozens of climate records, 450 international scientists diagnosed in a massive report nicknamed the annual physical for the planet. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic, File)

Oldspeak: “From the Department of Holy SHIT It’s Hot!!!!, (feels like 106 in Brooklyn today) we have a massive report written by 450 scientists detailing the obivious: Earth’s fever got worse last year, breaking dozens of climate records. That hellish trend has continued unabated, with climate records continuing to be shattered through the first 6 months of 2016. As massive wildfires burn worldwide, Earth’s lungs, The Amazon start to fail, bleeding CO2 and methane into the atmosphere instead of absorbing it, we have to wonder how hot this greenhouse will get. And with heat mitigating ecosystems like forests, oceans and ice caps failing, how fast. Meanwhile, Top 5 trending topics on Yahoo right now?

 

Tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick… ” -OSJ

Written By Seth Borenstein @ The Associated Press:

Earth’s fever got worse last year, breaking dozens of climate records, scientists said in a massive report nicknamed the annual physical for the planet.

Soon after 2015 ended, it was proclaimed the hottest on record . The new report shows the broad extent of other records and near-records on the planet’s climatic health. Those include record heat energy absorbed by the oceans and lowest groundwater storage levels globally, according to Tuesday’s report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

“I think the time to call the doctor was years ago,” NOAA climate monitoring chief Deke Arndt, co-editor of the report, said in an email. “We are awash in multiple symptoms.”

The 2015 State of the Climate report examined 50 different aspects of climate , including dramatic melting of Arctic sea ice and glaciers worldwide. A dozen different nations set hottest year records, including Russia and China. South Africa had the hottest temperature ever recorded in the month of October: 119.1 degrees Fahrenheit (48.4 degrees Celsius).

Even though it was a relatively quiet hurricane year in the Atlantic, there were 36 major tropical cyclones worldwide — 15 more than average, said NOAA climate scientist Jessica Blunden, co-editor of the report published Tuesday in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society.

And at the heart of the records is that all three major heat-trapping greenhouse gases — carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide — hit record highs in 2015, Blunden said.

“There is really only one word for this parade of shattered climate records: grim,” said Georgia Tech climate scientist Kim Cobb, who wasn’t part of the report, but called it “exhaustive and thorough.”

But it’s more than just numbers on a graph. Scientists said the turbo-charged climate affected walrus and penguin populations and played a role in dangerous algae blooms, such as one off the Pacific Northwest coast. And there were brutal heat waves all over the world, with ones in Indian and Pakistan killing thousands of people. One-third of Earth’s land mass had some kind of drought last year.

Much of the intense record-breaking and record-flirting weather was because of a combination of a natural El Nino — the periodic warming of parts of the Pacific that changes weather globally — and ever increasing man-made global warming.

“This impacts people. This is real life,” Blunden said.

Oklahoma University meteorology professor Jason Furtado said in an email that the report, which he wasn’t part of, illustrates the combined power of nature and humans on Earth’s climate: “It was like injecting an already amped-up climate system with a dose of (natural) steroids.”

About 450 scientists from around the world helped write the report and in it NOAA highlighted one of the lesser-known measurements, ocean heat content. About 93 percent of the heat energy trapped by greenhouse gases — such as carbon dioxide from the burning of coal, oil and gas — goes directly into the ocean, the report said. And ocean heat content hit record levels both near the surface and deep.

NOAA oceanographer Gregory C. Johnson, a study co-author, said the oceans are storing more heat energy because of man-made climate change with an extra El Nino spike.

Johnson summed up Earth’s climate in a haiku, published deep inside the report:

“El Niño waxes,

warm waters shoal, flow eastward,

Earth’s fever rises.”

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Online:

Report: https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/bams/2015

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Follow Seth Borenstein at http://twitter.com/borenbears and his work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/seth-borenstein

 

 

Grim Climate Reality: Every Second, One Person Is Displaced By Natural Disaster

In Uncategorized on August 10, 2016 at 12:39 pm
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Land degradation – Sustainable land management: do nothing and you will be poorer. Credit: UNEP

Oldspeak:”On average, 26 million people are displaced by disasters such as floods and storms every year. That’s one person forced to flee every second…by far exceeding the total of all the unfortunate and unjustifiable victims of all terrorist attacks combined. However, the unstoppable climate crisis receives just a tiny fraction of mainstream media attention.

We have never had so many complex and protracted humanitarian emergencies now happening simultaneously from West Africa all the way to Asia, with very few spots in between which do not have some issue. We have today 40 million forcibly displaced people and 20 million refugees, the greatest number of uprooted people since the Second World War.”

“The other day I was watching some inane political pablum on one of the major infotainment streams with a friend and she wondered aloud “Are we being distracted? I feel like we’re being distracted from something….” The answer of course is yes, we’re most certainly being distracted. From grim reality like that described below. The ranks of climate victims worldwide continues to grow, as uncontrollable wildfires blaze, biblical rains flood, famine spreads, droughts drag on, glaciers melt away and sea levels rise, literally every second. As our attention is focused on grisly police shootings, sociopathic politicians and corporate sponsored Olympic games, Our planet seems to be changing into a place less and less hospitable to life with each passing second. Yet if you pay attention on any mainstream infotainment networks, Trump calling for Hillary’s assassination is the biggest news of the day. SIGH. “Ignorance Is Strength.” -OSJ

Written Bahel Kamal @ Inter Press Service:

ROME, Jul 27 2016 (IPS) – Climate change and related extreme weather events have devastated the lives and livelihoods of tens of millions of most vulnerable people worldwide– by far exceeding the total of all the unfortunate and unjustifiable victims of all terrorist attacks combined. However, the unstoppable climate crisis receives just a tiny fraction of mainstream media attention. See these dramatic facts.

“Every second, one person is displaced by disaster,” the Oslo-based Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) reports. “In 2015 only, more than 19.2 million people fled disasters in 113 countries. “Disasters displace three to ten times more people than conflict and war worldwide.”

As climate change continues, it will likely lead to more frequent and severe natural hazards; the impact will be heavy, warns this independent humanitarian organisation providing aid and assistance to people forced to flee.

“On average, 26 million people are displaced by disasters such as floods and storms every year. That’s one person forced to flee every second.”

“Climate change is our generation’s greatest challenge,” says Jan Egeland, Secretary General of the Norwegian Refugee Council, which counts with over 5,000 humanitarian workers across more than 25 countries.

The climate refugees and migrants add to the on-going humanitarian emergency. “Not since World War II have more people needed our help,” warned the secretary general of the Norwegian Refugee Council Jan Egeland, who held the post of UN undersecretary general for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief (2003-2006).

Egeland –who was one of the most active, outspoken participants in the World Humanitarian Summit (Istanbul May 23-24)– also stressed that the humanitarian sector is failing to protect civilians.

“I hope that world leaders can ask themselves if they can at least stop giving arms, giving money to those armed groups that are systematically violating the humanitarian law, and bombing hospitals and schools, abusing women and children,” he said to IPS during the World Humanitarian Summit.

For its part, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) forecasts 200 million environmental migrants by 2050, moving either within their countries or across borders, on a permanent or temporary basis. Many of them would be coastal population.

On this, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) warns that coastal populations are at particular risk as a global rise in temperature of between 1.1 and 3.1 degrees C would increase the mean sea level by 0.36 to 0.73 meters by 2100, adversely impacting low-lying areas with submergence, flooding, erosion, and saltwater intrusion.

An estimated 83,100 people remain displaced and in need of humanitarian assistance in Wau, South Sudan. Credit: OIM

In a recent interview with IPS Nairobi correspondent Manipadma Jena, the director general of the International Organisation for Migration, William Lacy Swing, said that coastal migration is starting already but it is very hard to be exact as there is no good data to be able to forecast accurately.

“We do not know. But it is clearly going to figure heavily in the future. And it’s going to happen both in the low-lying islands in the Pacific and the Caribbean, and in those countries where people build houses very close to the shore and have floods every year as in Bangladesh.”

“It is quite clear that we will have more and more conflicts over shortages of food and water that are going to be exacerbated by climate change,” Lacy Swing warned.

Political crises and natural disasters are the other major drivers of migration today, he said to IPS in the interview.

Lacy Swing confirmed the fact that climate victims now add to record 60 million people who are fleeing war and persecution.

“We have never had so many complex and protracted humanitarian emergencies now happening simultaneously from West Africa all the way to Asia, with very few spots in between which do not have some issue. We have today 40 million forcibly displaced people and 20 million refugees, the greatest number of uprooted people since the Second World War.”

On 25 July, the United Nations General Assembly unanimously adopted a resolution approving an agreement to make the International Organisation for Migration part of the UN system.

Founded in the wake of the World War II to resettle refugees from Europe, OIM celebrates its 65th anniversary in December of this year.

AFAO and UNHCR prepared a handbook that will help mitigate the impact of displaced people on forest resources. The handbook aims to help displaced people access fuel for cooking food while reducing environmental damage and conflicts with local communities. Credit: FAO/UNHCR

“Migration is at the heart of the new global political landscape and its social and economic dynamics. At a time of growing levels of migration within and across borders, a closer legal and working relationship between the United Nations and IOM is needed more than ever,” said the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in a statement welcoming the Assembly’s decision.

IOM, which assisted an estimated 20 million migrants in 2015, is an intergovernmental organisation with more than 9,500 staff and 450 offices worldwide

“We are living in a time of much tragedy and uncertainty. This agreement shows Member States’ commitment to more humane and orderly migration that benefits all, where we celebrate the human beings behind the numbers,” IOM Director General William Lacy said.

Through the agreement, the UN recognises IOM as an “indispensable actor in the field of human mobility.” IOM added that this includes protection of migrants and displaced people in migration-affected communities, as well as in areas of refugee resettlement and voluntary returns, and incorporates migration in country development plans.

The agreement paves the way for the agreement to be signed by Secretary-General Ban-Ki Moon and Swing at the UN Summit for refugees and migrants on 19 September, which will bring together UN member states to address large movements of refugees and migrants for more humane and coordinated approach.

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