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

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No More Genocidal American Thanksgivings

In Uncategorized on November 24, 2016 at 1:44 pm
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This 1890 watercolor by Charles Reinhart depicts Lieutenant Lion Gardiner and his forces clashing with Pequot warriors at Saybrook Fort.

Oldspeak: “On the occasion of yet another day set aside for gleefully gluttonous hyperconsumption, I thought it important that the true origins of this “holiday” be illuminated. Thanksgiving was originally meant to be a day upon which genocidal European colonizers commemorated the savage and merciless massacre of the Pequot Indians’ Tribe, most of them women, children and elders. In 1637, this Happened:

William Bradford, the former Governor of Plymouth and one of the chroniclers of the 1621 feast, was also on hand for the great massacre of 1637:

“Those that escaped the fire were slain with the sword; some hewed to pieces, others run through with their rapiers, so that they were quickly dispatched and very few escaped. It was conceived they thus destroyed about 400 at this time. It was a fearful sight to see them thus frying in the fire…horrible was the stink and scent thereof, but the victory seemed a sweet sacrifice, and they gave the prayers thereof to God, who had wrought so wonderfully for them, thus to enclose their enemies in their hands, and give them so speedy a victory over so proud and insulting an enemy.”

The rest of the white folks thought so, too. “This day forth shall be a day of celebration and thanksgiving for subduing the Pequots,” read Governor John Winthrop’s proclamation. The authentic Thanksgiving Day was born.” –Glen Ford

Seriously. FUCK THANKSGIVING. Say a solemn prayer for the water protectors at Standing Rock and the countless other Native Nations resisting imperialist colonial violence all across Turtle Island, right now, 500 hundred years after America’s truly deplorable original sins, on what should be a national day of mourning. Not celebration.” -OSJ

Related Story

Native American Historian On Thanksgiving: “It’s never been about celebrating Native Americans

 

Written By Glen Ford @ Black Agenda Report

This article originally appeared in the November 27, 2003, issue of The Black Commentator, which Glen Ford co-founded and edited.

Nobody but Americans celebrates Thanksgiving. It is reserved by history and the intent of “the founders” as the supremely white American holiday, the most ghoulish event on the national calendar. No Halloween of the imagination can rival the exterminationist reality that was the genesis, and remains the legacy, of the American Thanksgiving. It is the most loathsome, humanity-insulting day of the year – a pure glorification of racist barbarity.

We at  are thankful that the day grows nearer when the almost four centuries-old abomination will be deprived of its reason for being: white supremacy. Then we may all eat and drink in peace and gratitude for the blessings of humanity’s deliverance from the rule of evil men.

Thanksgiving is much more than a lie – if it were that simple, an historical correction of the record of events in 1600s Massachusetts would suffice to purge the “flaw” in the national mythology. But Thanksgiving is not just a twisted fable, and the mythology it nurtures is itself inherently evil. The real-life events – subsequently revised – were perfectly understood at the time as the first, definitive triumphs of the genocidal European project in New England. The near-erasure of Native Americans in Massachusetts and, soon thereafter, from most of the remainder of the northern English colonial seaboard was the true mission of the Pilgrim enterprise – Act One of the American Dream. African Slavery commenced contemporaneously – an overlapping and ultimately inseparable Act Two.

The last Act in the American drama must be the “root and branch” eradication of all vestiges of Act One and Two – America’s seminal crimes and formative projects. Thanksgiving as presently celebrated – that is, as a national political event – is an affront to civilization.

Celebrating the unspeakable

White America embraced Thanksgiving because a majority of that population glories in the fruits, if not the unpleasant details, of genocide and slavery and feels, on the whole, good about their heritage: a cornucopia of privilege and national power. Children are taught to identify with the good fortune of the Pilgrims. It does not much matter that the Native American and African holocausts that flowed from the feast at Plymouth are hidden from the children’s version of the story – kids learn soon enough that Indians were made scarce and Africans became enslaved. But they will also never forget the core message of the holiday: that the Pilgrims were good people, who could not have purposely set such evil in motion. Just as the first Thanksgivings marked the consolidation of the English toehold in what became the United States, the core ideological content of the holiday serves to validate all that has since occurred on these shores – a national consecration of the unspeakable, a balm and benediction for the victors, a blessing of the fruits of murder and kidnapping, and an implicit obligation to continue the seamless historical project in the present day.

The Thanksgiving story is an absolution of the Pilgrims, whose brutal quest for absolute power in the New World is made to seem both religiously motivated and eminently human. Most importantly, the Pilgrims are depicted as victims – of harsh weather and their own naïve yet wholesome visions of a new beginning. In light of this carefully nurtured fable, whatever happened to the Indians, from Plymouth to California and beyond, in the aftermath of the 1621 dinner must be considered a mistake, the result of misunderstandings – at worst, a series of lamentable tragedies. The story provides the essential first frame of the American saga. It is unalloyed racist propaganda, a tale that endures because it served the purposes of a succession of the Pilgrims’ political heirs, in much the same way that Nazi-enhanced mythology of a glorious Aryan/German past advanced another murderous, expansionist mission.

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Thanksgiving is quite dangerous – as were the Pilgrims.

Rejoicing in a cemetery

The English settlers, their ostensibly religious venture backed by a trading company, were glad to discover that they had landed in a virtual cemetery in 1620. Corn still sprouted in the abandoned fields of the Wampanoags, but only a remnant of the local population remained around the fabled Rock. In a letter to England, Massachusetts Bay colony founder John Winthrop wrote, “But for the natives in these parts, God hath so pursued them, as for 300 miles space the greatest part of them are swept away by smallpox which still continues among them. So as God hath thereby cleared our title to this place, those who remain in these parts, being in all not 50, have put themselves under our protection.”

Ever diligent to claim their own advantages as God’s will, the Pilgrims thanked their deity for having “pursued” the Indians to mass death. However, it was not divine intervention that wiped out most of the natives around the village of Patuxet but, most likely, smallpox-embedded blankets planted during an English visit or slave raid. Six years before the Pilgrim landing, a ship sailed into Patuxet’s harbor, captained by none other than the famous seaman and mercenary soldier John Smith, former leader of the first successful English colony in the New World, at Jamestown, Virginia. Epidemic and slavery followed in his wake, as Debra Glidden described in IMDiversity.com:

In 1614 the Plymouth Company of England, a joint stock company, hired Captain John Smith to explore land in its behalf. Along what is now the coast of Massachusetts in the territory of the Wampanoag, Smith visited the town of Patuxet according to “The Colonial Horizon,” a 1969 book edited by William Goetzinan. Smith renamed the town Plymouth in honor of his employers, but the Wampanoag who inhabited the town continued to call it Patuxet.

The following year Captain Hunt, an English slave trader, arrived at Patuxet. It was common practice for explorers to capture Indians, take them to Europe and sell them into slavery for 220 shillings apiece. That practice was described in a 1622 account of happenings entitled “A Declaration of the State of the Colony and Affairs in Virginia,” written by Edward Waterhouse. True to the explorer tradition, Hunt kidnapped a number of Wampanoags to sell into slavery.

Another common practice among European explorers was to give “smallpox blankets” to the Indians. Since smallpox was unknown on this continent prior to the arrival of the Europeans, Native Americans did not have any natural immunity to the disease so smallpox would effectively wipe out entire villages with very little effort required by the Europeans. William Fenton describes how Europeans decimated Native American villages in his 1957 work “American Indian and White relations to 1830.” From 1615 to 1619 smallpox ran rampant among the Wampanoags and their neighbors to the north. The Wampanoag lost 70 percent of their population to the epidemic and the Massachusetts lost 90 percent.

Most of the Wampanoag had died from the smallpox epidemic so when the Pilgrims arrived they found well-cleared fields which they claimed for their own. A Puritan colonist, quoted by Harvard University’s Perry Miller, praised the plague that had wiped out the Indians for it was “the wonderful preparation of the Lord Jesus Christ, by his providence for his people’s abode in the Western world.”

Historians have since speculated endlessly on why the woods in the region resembled a park to the disembarking Pilgrims in 1620. The reason should have been obvious: hundreds, if not thousands, of people had lived there just five years before.

In less than three generations the settlers would turn all of New England into a charnel house for Native Americans, and fire the economic engines of slavery throughout English-speaking America. Plymouth Rock is the place where the nightmare truly began.

The uninvited?

It is not at all clear what happened at the first – and only –  “integrated” Thanksgiving feast. Only two written accounts of the three-day event exist, and one of them, by Governor William Bradford, was written 20 years after the fact. Was Chief Massasoit invited to bring 90 Indians with him to dine with 52 colonists, most of them women and children? This seems unlikely. A good harvest had provided the settlers with plenty of food, according to their accounts, so the whites didn’t really need the Wampanoag’s offering of five deer. What we do know is that there had been lots of tension between the two groups that fall.  John Two-Hawks, who runs the Native Circle web site, gives a sketch of the facts:

“Thanksgiving’ did not begin as a great loving relationship between the pilgrims and the Wampanoag, Pequot and Narragansett people.  In fact, in October of 1621 when the pilgrim survivors of their first winter in Turtle Island sat down to share the first unofficial ‘Thanksgiving’ meal, the Indians who were there were not even invited!  There was no turkey, squash, cranberry sauce or pumpkin pie.  A few days before this alleged feast took place, a company of ‘pilgrims’ led by Miles Standish actively sought the head of a local Indian chief, and an 11 foot high wall was erected around the entire Plymouth settlement for the very purpose of keeping Indians out!”

It is much more likely that Chief Massasoit either crashed the party, or brought enough men to ensure that he was not kidnapped or harmed by the Pilgrims. Dr. Tingba Apidta, in his “Black Folks’ Guide to Understanding Thanksgiving,” surmises that the settlers “brandished their weaponry” early and got drunk soon thereafter. He notes that “each Pilgrim drank at least a half gallon of beer a day, which they preferred even to water. This daily inebriation led their governor, William Bradford, to comment on his people’s ‘notorious sin,’ which included their ‘drunkenness and uncleanliness’ and rampant ‘sodomy.’”

Soon after the feast the brutish Miles Standish “got his bloody prize,” Dr. Apidta writes:

“He went to the Indians, pretended to be a trader, then beheaded an Indian man named Wituwamat. He brought the head to Plymouth, where it was displayed on a wooden spike for many years, according to Gary B. Nash, ‘as a symbol of white power.’ Standish had the Indian man’s young brother hanged from the rafters for good measure. From that time on, the whites were known to the Indians of Massachusetts by the name ‘Wotowquenange,’ which in their tongue meant cutthroats and stabbers.”

What is certain is that the first feast was not called a “Thanksgiving” at the time; no further integrated dining occasions were scheduled; and the first, official all-Pilgrim “Thanksgiving” had to wait until 1637, when the whites of New England celebrated the massacre of the Wampanoag’s southern neighbors, the Pequots.

The real Thanksgiving Day Massacre

The Pequots today own the Foxwood Casino and Hotel, in Ledyard, Connecticut, with gross gaming revenues of over $9 billion in 2000. This is truly a (very belated) miracle, since the real first Pilgrim Thanksgiving was intended as the Pequot’s epitaph. Sixteen years after the problematical Plymouth feast, the English tried mightily to erase the Pequots from the face of the Earth, and thanked God for the blessing.

Having subdued, intimidated or made mercenaries of most of the tribes of Massachusetts, the English turned their growing force southward, toward the rich Connecticut valley, the Pequot’s sphere of influence. At the point where the Mystic River meets the sea, the combined force of English and allied Indians bypassed the Pequot fort to attack and set ablaze a town full of women, children and old people.

William Bradford, the former Governor of Plymouth and one of the chroniclers of the 1621 feast, was also on hand for the great massacre of 1637:

“Those that escaped the fire were slain with the sword; some hewed to pieces, others run through with their rapiers, so that they were quickly dispatched and very few escaped. It was conceived they thus destroyed about 400 at this time. It was a fearful sight to see them thus frying in the fire…horrible was the stink and scent thereof, but the victory seemed a sweet sacrifice, and they gave the prayers thereof to God, who had wrought so wonderfully for them, thus to enclose their enemies in their hands, and give them so speedy a victory over so proud and insulting an enemy.”

The rest of the white folks thought so, too. “This day forth shall be a day of celebration and thanksgiving for subduing the Pequots,” read Governor John Winthrop’s proclamation. The authentic Thanksgiving Day was born.

Most historians believe about 700 Pequots were slaughtered at Mystic. Many prisoners were executed, and surviving women and children sold into slavery in the West Indies. Pequot prisoners that escaped execution were parceled out to Indian tribes allied with the English. The Pequot were thought to have been extinguished as a people. According to IndyMedia, “The Pequot tribe numbered 8,000 when the Pilgrims arrived, but disease had brought their numbers down to 1,500 by 1637. The Pequot ‘War’ killed all but a handful of remaining members of the tribe.”

But there were still too many Indians around to suit the whites of New England, who bided their time while their own numbers increased to critical, murderous mass.

Guest’s head on a pole

By the 1670s the colonists, with 8,000 men under arms, felt strong enough to demand that the Pilgrims’ former dinner guests the Wampanoags disarm and submit to the authority of the Crown. After a series of settler provocations in 1675, the Wampanoag struck back, under the leadership of Chief Metacomet, son of Massasoit, called King Philip by the English. Metacomet/Philip, whose wife and son were captured and sold into West Indian slavery, wiped out 13 settlements and killed 600 adult white men before the tide of battle turned. A 1996 issue of the Revolutionary Worker provides an excellent narrative.

In their victory, the settlers launched an all-out genocide against the remaining Native people. The Massachusetts government offered 20 shillings bounty for every Indian scalp, and 40 shillings for every prisoner who could be sold into slavery. Soldiers were allowed to enslave any Indian woman or child under 14 they could capture. The “Praying Indians” who had converted to Christianity and fought on the side of the European troops were accused of shooting into the treetops during battles with “hostiles.” They were enslaved or killed. Other “peaceful” Indians of Dartmouth and Dover were invited to negotiate or seek refuge at trading posts – and were sold onto slave ships.

It is not known how many Indians were sold into slavery, but in this campaign, 500 enslaved Indians were shipped from Plymouth alone. Of the 12,000 Indians in the surrounding tribes, probably about half died from battle, massacre and starvation.

After King Philip’s War, there were almost no Indians left free in the northern British colonies. A colonist wrote from Manhattan’s New York colony: “There is now but few Indians upon the island and those few no ways hurtful. It is to be admired how strangely they have decreased by the hand of God, since the English first settled in these parts.” In Massachusetts, the colonists declared a “day of public thanksgiving” in 1676, saying, “there now scarce remains a name or family of them [the Indians] but are either slain, captivated or fled.”

Fifty-five years after the original Thanksgiving Day, the Puritans had destroyed the generous Wampanoag and all other neighboring tribes. The Wampanoag chief King Philip was beheaded. His head was stuck on a pole in Plymouth, where the skull still hung on display 24 years later.

This is not thought to be a fit Thanksgiving tale for the children of today, but it’s the real story, well-known to the settler children of New England at the time – the white kids who saw the Wampanoag head on the pole year after year and knew for certain that God loved them best of all, and that every atrocity they might ever commit against a heathen, non-white was blessed.

There’s a good term for the process thus set in motion: nation-building.

Roots of the slave trade

The British North American colonists’ practice of enslaving Indians for labor or direct sale to the West Indies preceded the appearance of the first chained Africans at the dock in Jamestown, Virginia, in 1619. The Jamestown colonists’ human transaction with the Dutch vessel was an unscheduled occurrence. However, once the African slave trade became commercially established, the fates of Indians and Africans in the colonies became inextricably entwined. New England, born of up-close-and-personal, burn-them-in-the-fires-of-hell genocide, led the political and commercial development of the English colonies. The region also led the nascent nation’s descent into a slavery-based society and economy.

Ironically, an apologist for Virginian slavery made one of the best, early cases for the indictment of New England as the engine of the American slave trade. Unreconstructed secessionist Lewis Dabney’s 1867 book “A Defense of Virginia” traced the slave trade’s origins all the way back to Plymouth Rock:

The planting of the commercial States of North America began with the colony of Puritan Independents at Plymouth, in 1620, which was subsequently enlarged into the State of Massachusetts. The other trading colonies, Rhode Island and Connecticut, as well as New Hampshire (which never had an extensive shipping interest), were offshoots of Massachusetts. They partook of the same characteristics and pursuits; and hence, the example of the parent colony is taken here as a fair representation of them.

The first ship from America, which embarked in the African slave trade, was the Desire, Captain Pierce, of Salem; and this was among the first vessels ever built in the colony. The promptitude with which the “Puritan Fathers” embarked in this business may be comprehended, when it is stated that the Desire sailed upon her voyage in June, 1637. [Note: the year they massacred the Pequots.] The first feeble and dubious foothold was gained by the white man at Plymouth less than seventeen years before; and as is well known, many years were expended by the struggle of the handful of settlers for existence. So that it may be correctly said, that the commerce of New England was born of the slave trade; as its subsequent prosperity was largely founded upon it. The Desire, proceeding to the Bahamas, with a cargo of “dry fish and strong liquors, the only commodities for those parts,” obtained the negroes from two British men-of-war, which had captured them from a Spanish slaver.

Thus, the trade of which the good ship Desire, of Salem, was the harbinger, grew into grand proportions; and for nearly two centuries poured a flood of wealth into New England, as well as no inconsiderable number of slaves. Meanwhile, the other maritime colonies of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, and Connecticut, followed the example of their elder sister emulously; and their commercial history is but a repetition of that of Massachusetts. The towns of Providence, Newport, and New Haven became famous slave trading ports. The magnificent harbor of the second, especially, was the favorite starting-place of the slave ships; and its commerce rivaled, or even exceeded, that of the present commercial metropolis, New York. All the four original States, of course, became slaveholding.

The Revolution that exploded in 1770s New England was undertaken by men thoroughly imbued with the worldview of the Indian-killer and slave-holder. How could they not be? The “country” they claimed as their own was fathered by genocide and mothered by slavery – its true distinction among the commercial nations of the world. And these men were not ashamed, but proud, with vast ambition to spread their exceptional characteristics West and South and wherever their so-far successful project in nation-building might take them – and by the same bloody, savage methods that had served them so well in the past.

At the moment of deepest national crisis following the battle of Gettysburg in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln invoked the national fable that is far more central to the white American personality than Lincoln’s battlefield “Address.” Lincoln seized upon the 1621 feast as the historic “Thanksgiving” – bypassing the official and authentic 1637 precedent – and assigned the dateless, murky event the fourth Thursday in November.

Lincoln surveyed a broken nation, and attempted nation-rebuilding, based on the purest white myth. The same year that he issued the Emancipation Proclamation, he renewed the national commitment to a white manifest destiny that began at Plymouth Rock. Lincoln sought to rekindle a shared national mission that former Confederates and Unionists and white immigrants from Europe could collectively embrace. It was and remains a barbaric and racist national unifier, by definition. Only the most fantastic lies can sanitize the history of the Plymouth Colony of Massachusetts.

”Like a rock”

The Thanksgiving holiday fable is at once a window on the way that many, if not most, white Americans view the world and their place in it, and a pollutant that leaches barbarism into the modern era. The fable attempts to glorify the indefensible, to enshrine an era and mission that represent the nation’s lowest moral denominators. Thanksgiving as framed in the mythology is, consequently, a drag on that which is potentially civilizing in the national character, a crippling, atavistic deformity. Defenders of the holiday will claim that the politically-corrected children’s version promotes brotherhood, but that is an impossibility – a bald excuse to prolong the worship of colonial “forefathers” and to erase the crimes they committed. Those bastards burned the Pequot women and children, and ushered in the multinational business of slavery. These are facts. The myth is an insidious diversion – and worse.

Humanity cannot tolerate a 21st Century superpower, much of whose population perceives the world through the eyes of 17th Century land and flesh bandits. Yet that is the trick that fate has played on the globe. We described the roots of the planetary dilemma in our March 13 commentary, “Racism & War, Perfect Together.

The English arrived with criminal intent – and brought wives and children to form new societies predicated on successful plunder. To justify the murderous enterprise, Indians who had initially cooperated with the squatters were transmogrified into “savages” deserving displacement and death. The relentlessly refreshed lie of Indian savagery became a truth in the minds of white Americans, a fact to be acted upon by every succeeding generation of whites. The settlers became a singular people confronting the great “frontier” – a euphemism for centuries of genocidal campaigns against a darker, “savage” people marked for extinction.

The necessity of genocide was the operative, working assumption of the expanding American nation. “Manifest Destiny” was born at Plymouth Rock and Jamestown, later to fall (to paraphrase Malcolm) like a rock on Mexico, the Philippines, Haiti, Nicaragua, etc. Little children were taught that the American project was inherently good, Godly, and that those who got in the way were “evil-doers” or just plain subhuman, to be gloriously eliminated. The lie is central to white American identity, embraced by waves of European settlers who never saw a red person.

Only a century ago, American soldiers caused the deaths of possibly a million Filipinos whom they had been sent to “liberate” from Spanish rule. They didn’t even know who they were killing, and so rationalized their behavior by substituting the usual American victims. Colonel Funston, of the Twentieth Kansas Volunteers, explained what got him motivated in the Philippines:

“Our fighting blood was up and we all wanted to kill ‘niggers.’ This shooting human beings is a ‘hot game,’ and beats rabbit hunting all to pieces.” Another wrote that “the boys go for the enemy as if they were chasing jack-rabbits …. I, for one, hope that Uncle Sam will apply the chastening rod, good, hard, and plenty, and lay it on until they come into the reservation and promise to be good ‘Injuns.'”

Last week in northern Iraq another American colonel, Joe Anderson of the 101st Airborne (Assault) Division, revealed that he is incapable of perceiving Arabs as human beings. Colonel Anderson, who doubles as a commander and host of a radio call-in program and a TV show designed to win the hearts and minds of the people of Mosul, had learned that someone was out to assassinate him. In the wild mood swing common to racists, Anderson decided that Iraqis are all alike – and of a different breed. He said as much to the Los Angeles Times.

“They don’t understand being nice,” said Anderson, who helps oversee the military zone that includes Mosul and environs. He doesn’t hide his irritation after months dedicated to restoring the city: “We spent so long here working with kid gloves, but the average Iraqi guy will tell you, ‘The only thing people respect here is violence…. They only understand being shot at, being killed. That’s the culture.’ … Nice guys do finish last here.”

Col. Anderson personifies the unfitness of Americans to play a major role in the world, much less rule it. “We poured a lot of our heart and soul into trying to help the people,” he bitched, as if Americans were God’s gift to the planet. “But it can be frustrating when you hear stupid people still saying, ‘You’re occupiers. You want our oil. You’re turning our country over to Israel.’” He cannot fathom that other people – non-whites –  aspire to run their own affairs, and will kill and die to achieve that basic right.

What does this have to do with the Mayflower? Everything. Although possibly against their wishes, the Pilgrims hosted the Wampanoag for three no doubt anxious days. The same men killed and enslaved Wampanoags immediately before and after the feast. They, their newly arrived English comrades and their children roasted hundreds of neighboring Indians alive just 16 years later, and two generations afterwards cleared nearly the whole of New England of its indigenous “savages,” while enthusiastically enriching themselves through the invention of transoceanic, sophisticated means of enslaving millions. The Mayflower’s cultural heirs are programmed to find glory in their own depravity, and savagery in their most helpless victims, who can only redeem themselves by accepting the inherent goodness of white Americans.

Thanksgiving encourages these cognitive cripples in their madness, just as it is designed to do.

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Scientist: “It’s pretty crazy.” The North Pole Is An Insane 36 Degrees Warmer Than Normal As Polar Night Descends; Arctic Sea Ice At Record Low

In Uncategorized on November 24, 2016 at 1:27 am

1.jpgOldspeak: “Abnormally warm air has flooded the Arctic since October. Richard James, a meteorologist who pens a blog on Alaska weather, analyzed 19 weather stations surrounding the Arctic Ocean and found that the average temperature was about 4 degrees (2 Celsius) above the record set in 1998.

Since November, temperatures have risen even higher. “It is amazing to see that the warmth has become even more pronounced since the end of October.” –Chris Mooney & Jason Samenow

“Winter is Coming…. NOT. At a time when the sun is never up and it should be getting much colder and icier in Earth’s northern air conditioner, it’s way hotter than normal. even though a vast area of  cold polar air has been displaced over Siberia. Meanwhile, it’s gonna be a balmy 62 degrees in New York next Monday and Tuesday to ring in December. THIS. IS. NOT. GOOD. And the hits just keep oooonnnnn comin.” –OSJ

Related Story:

Here’s How Much CO2 will make the Arctic Ice Free

 

Written By Chris Mooney & Jason Samenow @ The Washington Post:

Political people in the United States are watching the chaos in Washington in the moment. But some people in the science community are watching the chaos somewhere else — the Arctic.

It’s polar night there now — the sun isn’t rising in much of the Arctic. That’s when the Arctic is supposed to get super-cold, when the sea ice that covers the vast Arctic Ocean is supposed to grow and thicken.

But in fall of 2016 — which has been a zany year for the region, with multiple records set for low levels of monthly sea ice — something is totally off. The Arctic is super-hot, even as a vast area of cold polar air has been displaced over Siberia.

At the same time, one of the key indicators of the state of the Arctic — the extent of sea ice covering the polar ocean — is at a record low. The ice is freezing up again, as it always does this time of year after reaching its September low, but it isn’t doing so as rapidly as usual.

In fact, the ice’s area is even lower than it was during the record-low 2012:

Twitter’s expert Arctic watchers also are stunned. Zack Labe, a PhD student at the University of California at Irvine who studies the Arctic, tweeted out an image on Wednesday from the Danish Meteorological Institute showing Arctic temperatures about 20 degrees Celsius higher than normal above 80 degrees North Latitude.

“Today’s latest #Arctic mean temperature continues to move the wrong direction . . . up. Quite an anomalous spike!,” Labe wrote. Here’s the figure:

(Danish Meteorological Institute)

Daily mean temperatures for the Arctic area north of the 80th northern parallel. (Danish Meteorological Institute)

As you can see, temperatures north of 80 latitude were around -5 degrees Celsius — still below freezing, but not by that much — instead of the normal of around -25 degrees C.

“Despite onset of #PolarNight, temperatures near #NorthPole increasing. Extraordinary situation right now in #Arctic, w/record low #seaice,” added Daniel Swain, a climate scientist at UCLA.

This is the second year in a row that temperatures near the North Pole have risen to freakishly warm levels. During 2015’s final days, the temperature near the Pole spiked to the melting point thanks to a massive storm that pumped warm air into the region.

So what’s going on here?

“It’s about 20C [36 degrees Fahrenheit] warmer than normal over most of the Arctic Ocean, along with cold anomalies of about the same magnitude over north-central Asia,” Jennifer Francis, an Arctic specialist at Rutgers University, said by email Wednesday.

“The Arctic warmth is the result of a combination of record-low sea-ice extent for this time of year, probably very thin ice, and plenty of warm/moist air from lower latitudes being driven northward by a very wavy jet stream.”

Francis has published research suggesting that the jet stream, which travels from west to east across the Northern Hemisphere in the mid-latitudes, is becoming more wavy and elongated as the Arctic warms faster than the equator does.

“It will be fascinating to see if the stratospheric polar vortex continues to be as weak as it is now, which favors a negative Arctic Oscillation and probably a cold mid/late winter to continue over central and eastern Asia and eastern North America. The extreme behavior of the Arctic in 2016 seems to be in no hurry to quit,” Francis continued.

Francis cited the work of Judah Cohen, a forecaster with Atmospheric and Environmental Research, who has linked odd jet stream behavior with cold air over Siberia.

Indeed, another Arctic expert, James Overland with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said that the jet stream at the moment is well configured to transport warmth northward into the Arctic. “There is strong warm advection into the Arctic, especially northern-central Canada, in through the Atlantic,  and east Siberian/Chukchi Sea,” Overland said.

The whole situation is pretty extreme, several experts agreed.

“Both the persistence and magnitude of these temperature anomalies are quite unusual,” Labe added by email. “Large variability in temperatures is common in the Arctic (especially during the cold season), but the duration of this warm Arctic — cold Siberia pattern is unusual and quite an impressive crysophere/sea ice feedback.” (The “cryosphere” refers to that part of the Earth’s system that is made up of ice.)

Abnormally warm air has flooded the Arctic since October. Richard James, a meteorologist who pens a blog on Alaska weather, analyzed 19 weather stations surrounding the Arctic Ocean and found that the average temperature was about 4 degrees (2 Celsius) above the record set in 1998.

Since November, temperatures have risen even higher. “It is amazing to see that the warmth has become even more pronounced since the end of October,” James wrote on his blog.

Mark Serreze, who heads the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colo., agrees that something odd is going on. Not only are air temperatures unusually warm, but water temperatures are as well.  “There are some areas in the Arctic Ocean that are as much as 25 degrees Fahrenheit above average now,” Serreze said. “It’s pretty crazy.”

What’s happening, he explains, is sort of a “double whammy.” On the one hand, there is a “very warm underlying ocean” due to the lack of sea ice forming above it. But, at the same time, kinks in the jet stream have allowed warm air to flow northward and frigid Arctic air to descend over Siberia.

“The sea ice is at a record low right now, for this time of year, that’s one thing,” Serreze said. “And why it’s so low — again, there’s so much heat in the upper ocean in these ice-free areas, the ice just can’t form right now. The ocean’s just got to get rid of this heat somehow, and it’s having a hard time doing so.”

The situation this winter could set the Arctic’s ice up for very thin conditions and a possible record low next year, Serreze said, although it’s too soon to say.

The weather in the Arctic can change swiftly. Temperatures could cool and the ice could rebound.

But the record-low sea ice extent and unprecedented warmth in the region fit in well with recent trends and portend even more profound changes in the coming years.

 

 

 

Study: Land Use Trends Suggest Earth’s Soils Will Soon Be A Net Contributor To CO2 Emissions, No Longer A Carbon Sink

In Uncategorized on November 24, 2016 at 12:42 am
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Soil could become significant CO2 contributor in near future. Photo by UPI/Gary C. Caskey | License Photo

Oldspeak: “The planet’s top layer could become a significant CO2 contributor in coming decades if current trends in modern land use continue unabated.

The only way to maintain soil’s role as a carbon sink would be to convert more land into grass or forest. That’s unlikely to happen, scientists say. Every year, more land is cleared and plowed to house and feed the world’s growing population.” -Brooks Hayes

” That’s just fucking GREAT. So not only are forests, the lungs of the planet, switching from carbon sinks to carbon sources, in the near future, but so is the fucking soil they’re growing out of. It’s a Brave New World Kids! In the Old World, these critical ecosystems helped to sustain and support us. In the New World they’re gonna help us choke on our toxic exhaust. Serves us fucking right though. Sigh. Anywho, enjoy Turkey Murder Day!”

-OSJ

Written By Brooks Hayes @ UPI:

Earth’s soil currently absorbs and stores more carbon than it emits, but that could soon change, according to a new paper published in the journal Scientific Reports.

The planet’s top layer could become a significant CO2 contributor in coming decades if current trends in modern land use continue unabated.

The only way to maintain soil’s role as a carbon sink would be to convert more land into grass or forest. That’s unlikely to happen, scientists say. Every year, more land is cleared and plowed to house and feed the world’s growing population.

Researchers populated soil carbon models with land use data and climate change predictions. Their simulations suggest a dramatic loss of soil carbon by the end of the century.

Scientists say governments must do more to ensure land use decisions consider impacts on carbon storage and climate change.

“A reduction in anthropogenic CO2 levels is crucial to prevent further loss of carbon from our soils,” lead study author Jeroen Meersmans, from the University of Exeter, said in a news release. “However, promotion of land use changes and management that contribute to soil carbon sequestration remains essential in an integrated strategy to protect soil functions and mitigate climate change.”

Efforts to slow urban and agricultural development through sustainable practices are vital, researchers argue.

“Purposeful, targeted land use and agricultural practice changes would be needed if climate change mitigation is to be maximized,” added Dominique Arrouays of the French National Institute for Agricultural Research. “Therefore, the efforts to enhance carbon sequestration in soils, as proposed by France during the COP21, should be promoted immediately.”

 

Why ”Climate Change” Must Become a Promise to Decolonize

In Uncategorized on November 19, 2016 at 7:29 pm
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Police march into the Standing Rock camp near Cannon Ball, North Dakota, to disrupt a protest against the Dakota Access pipeline on October 10, 2016. (Photo: Ellen Davidson)

Oldspeak: “It’s an ill bird that fouls it’s own nest.”

Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds.”

Robert Nesta Marley

climate change” must become a promise to speak everywhere and all the time of our altered climate — and even our “extreme weather events” — in terms that conjure (for example) conquest, colonialism, settlers, genocide, apartheid, reservations, indentured servitude, rape, Bantustans, Jim Crow, racial segregation, annexation, partition, national liberation, neocolonialism, Western-propped dictatorships, proxy wars, neoliberalism, policing, regime change and treaty violations.

Ultimately, however, “climate change” must be a commitment to undertake a radical politics of decoloniality — to dismantle the murderous, nihilistic colonial power matrix against which the Sioux are courageously fighting and which is assailing Indigenous communities wherever fossil fuel exists, all the while driving millions of life forms to extinction.

Alycee Lane

“OOOOOOOFFFFF. Powerful stuff here. These ideas need to be spread. Understanding climate change and Earth’s 6th great mass extinction as an inevitable result of the diabolical machinations of the sociopathic systems of globalized industrial civilization we’re enmeshed in. Seeing colonialism and capitalism as the most potently pervasive, destructive & omnicidal  forces ever created by mankind. As a devastating mental illness, what Natives peoples call “Wetiko“. While the most important issues being discussed by thought controlled elites and proles alike are “divesting from fossil fuels”, “negotiating a climate agreement” & “transitioning to a “green economy”, we need to start seeing the big picture. Industrial civilization is toxic to everything it comes in contact with. De-growth and dismantling this madness fueled system is the only sane way forward at this time. It’s high time we ill birds heal ourselves & free our minds in order to see beyond the illusions of our “culture”. -OSJ

 

Written By Alycee Lane @ Truthout:

The actions taken recently by law enforcement at the Dakota Access pipeline site have made it plain that the climate crisis cannot be adequately addressed until we come to terms with the history that climate change and the policing of communities of color share. That history requires us both to understand climate change as powered in great measure by the pursuit of policies and practices done to people of color, and to see our radically altered global atmosphere itself as part of the felt experience of people of color, and of continued repression and exploitation.

Like the racist policing we witnessed at the Dakota Access pipeline (and have been witnessing throughout the nation), climate change was, as feminist philosopher Chris J. Cuomo reminds us, “manufactured in a crucible of inequality.” Specifically, it is “a product of the industrial and the fossil-fuel eras, historical forces powered by exploitation, colonialism and nearly limitless instrumental use of ‘nature.'”

In other words, the processes by which the colonial powers created their wealth and warmed the planet were, as legal scholar Carmen G. Gonzalez notes, inextricable from the oppressive practices they used to both transform the “subsistence economies” of the Global South “into economic satellites of Europe,” and to dominate and exploit people of color around the globe.

Though we live now in a postcolonial world, it is nevertheless true, as Leonardo Helland and Tim Lindgren argue, that “long-standing patterns and forms of power” continue to be “reproduced throughout the world as an ongoing consequence of colonization.” After all, the “structures” that were “put in place” over the course of “450 years did not evaporate with … decolonization.” We “continue to live under the ‘colonial power matrix,'” to which the repressive policing of people of color and the extraction of fossil fuels — often done hand-in-hand — are as crucial as they were before decolonization. In this regard, climate change continues to be manufactured in a crucible of inequality — though the production of our altered climate is something in which most of us the world over are complicit — and our carbon-saturated atmosphere continues to bear the marks of repression and exploitation.

We could say that the colonial power matrix is literally in the air.

Indeed, it was in the air when G4S — the private security team hired by Dakota Access, LLC — set its dogs on the Standing Rock Sioux as they resisted the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline on their land because the pipeline will contaminate their drinking water, destroy or harm sacred sites, and ultimately contribute to climate change. It was in the air when machine gun-wielding and riot-outfitted local police descended upon, maced, clubbed, arrested and strip-searched pipeline protesters. And it was in the air during the military checkpoints conducted by the National Guard deployed outside of the Standing Rock Sioux reservation.

In fact, the radically altered atmosphere in which the pipeline struggle has been taking place is actually a thing that Dakota Access LLC’s private security and the state are literally defending on behalf of people who — in the tradition of colonial settlers of the past — believe they are entitled to disregard at will Indigenous rights as well as treaty obligations. For it is not the mere construction of a pipeline that these security forces hope to safeguard for Dakota Access LLC and other corporate interests. It is, more critically, the actual burning or release of fossil fuels and thus the manufacture of a chemically altered atmosphere — because therein lies the profit.

The pipeline project actually requires the exploitation of Native lands (as opposed to land occupied primarily by whites), the repression of the Sioux, the fouling of natural resources and, finally, the burning or release of fossil fuels. Ultimately, the Dakota Access pipeline is a project in which rising global temperatures are the necessary end result.

“Climate change” cannot contain any longer the history of exploitation that produced our radically altered atmosphere and the politics of domination that continue to produce it.

In fact, “climate change” must become a promise to speak everywhere and all the time of our altered climate — and even our “extreme weather events” — in terms that conjure (for example) conquest, colonialism, settlers, genocide, apartheid, reservations, indentured servitude, rape, Bantustans, Jim Crow, racial segregation, annexation, partition, national liberation, neocolonialism, Western-propped dictatorships, proxy wars, neoliberalism, policing, regime change and treaty violations.

Ultimately, however, “climate change” must be a commitment to undertake a radical politics of decoloniality — to dismantle the murderous, nihilistic colonial power matrix against which the Sioux are courageously fighting and which is assailing Indigenous communities wherever fossil fuel exists, all the while driving millions of life forms to extinction.

 

Climate Disruption’s Legacy: Megadroughts, Extinctions, Megafires, Obituaries for Reefs

In Uncategorized on November 18, 2016 at 8:20 pm
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More than one-fifth of the Great Barrier Reef died off this year during a major bleaching event — and there is nothing to indicate that ocean waters will not continue to warm apace. (Photo: dave / Flickr)

Oldspeak: “Dahr Jamail’s latest climate dispatch. Sigh… It sucks. But these are things we need to be aware of. I wish more journalists would have the courage to be present with & bear witness to the calamity we’re experiencing. Maybe with these things in mind we could set aside the petty differences and contrivances we busy ourselves getting worked up about and come together to face what it is we’ve wrought .  ” -OSJ

Written By Dahr Jamail @ Truthout:

Look around.

Look outside your window.

It doesn’t take much effort to notice the radical changes happening to the planet, if one only pays attention.

September of this year saw Earth pass a dramatic threshold — one that signifies our entrance into a new era of anthropogenic climate disruption (ACD). September 2016 will now be remembered as the month that Earth passed the threshold of 400 ppm of CO2 in the atmosphere permanently, according to scientists.

That means that no one currently alive on the planet will ever again see an atmosphere with less than 400 ppm CO2.

A recently published paper by former NASA senior climate scientist James Hansen and 11 other experts showed that Earth is now the hottest it has been for 115,000 years. According to the paper, the planet has not seen temperatures this high since the last interglacial era, a time when global sea levels were 20 to 30 feet higher than they are right now.

We are watching giant pieces of our planet’s biosphere die before our eyes.

Recently, Outside Magazine ran a heart-wrenching piece titled Obituary: Great Barrier Reef (25 million BC-2016). More than one-fifth of the reef died off this year during a major bleaching event. Of course, much of it remains alive, but there is nothing to indicate that ocean waters will not continue to warm apace, and corals around the world won’t continue to die off from ocean acidification and increasingly severe bleaching events.

In fact, just six months after the bleaching event wiped out one-fifth of the Great Barrier Reef, another report was released showing that the devastation on the northern half of the reef is worse than previously believed. “On the reefs we surveyed close to Lizard Island [off the coast of Cooktown, in far-north Queensland], the amount of live coral covering the reef has fallen from around 40 per cent in March to under 5 percent now,” one of the scientists said.

It is continuing to die.

The Great Barrier Reef obituary is a sign of our times, and we must brace ourselves for more tragedies like it — for coral reefs, glaciers, ice fields, forests, lakes, rivers, and of course, species.

The recently released UK State of Nature report shows that 56 percent of all the species in the UK have declined since 1970 and nearly 1,200 species are now threatened with extinction.

As has been true for every one of these monthly climate dispatches, the planet only continues to warm. September set yet another global temperature record, according to NASA, virtually ensuring that this year will be the warmest ever in the agency’s 136 years of record-keeping.

Even in late October, Arctic sea ice hit a new record daily low extent, underscoring the fact that this year’s record low readings are three million square kilometers below the same day readings (October 23) of that day in 1981.

Earth

A recently published report on Earth’s biodiversity revealed that global wildlife numbers have fallen by 58 percent since just 1970. The report — called The Living Planet assessment — produced by the Zoological Society of London and the World Wildlife Fund also said that if trends continue, this decline will likely reach two-thirds among vertebrates in only four more years. The report lists ACD as one of the driving factors of the great dying.

The report confirms what many of us have been watching for a number of years now — that we are bearing witness to the collapse of wildlife. We are so obviously living in the Anthropocene: the era in which humans exert the dominant influence over Earth and its destiny.

“We are no longer a small world on a big planet,” Johan Rockström, executive director of the Stockholm Resilience Centre, wrote in the foreword of the report. “We are now a big world on a small planet, where we have reached a saturation point.”

A report by the Audubon Society recently showed that vanishing summer sea ice in the Arctic is forcing Arctic birds into new ways of living as they adapt to warmer weather and shifting food sources. Some birds are having to travel further in order to find food since the sea ice is melting away, while others are becoming prey to starving polar bears.

In Hawaii, seven species of a bee native to the islands have become the first bees to be added to the US federal list of endangered and threatened species.

Evidence of the impacts of invasive species, fueled in part by ACD, continues to abound. A study recently published in the journal Nature Communications, which canvassed more than 700 other recent studies for data, shows that invasive insects now cause at least $77 billion in damage every year. However, the study also added that this figure “grossly underestimated” the real number, because the study only covered a fraction of the globe.

Meanwhile, another recent study has prompted US wildlife officials to propose more protections for two rare insects in Glacier National Park. These insects — the western glacier stonefly and the meltwater lednian stonefly — are struggling to survive: Warming temperatures caused by ACD are drying up the mountain streams in which they live.

Glacier is not the only national park facing a crisis. A recent report showed that ACD is causing spring to come earlier, by several weeks, in at least three-quarters of all US National Parks. It noted that this phenomenon is causing invasive species to become more difficult to manage.

Water

This month, as usual, ACD-fueled dramatic changes in water-related phenomena abound.

A recently published study found that multi-decade megadroughts due to ACD are “virtually certain” across the US Southwest.

Perhaps this has already begun as by late October, over 120 million people (28 percent of the population of the lower 48 states) were experiencing drought. California entered the sixth year of its drought.

Things are looking grim for the Mediterranean region as well, as another study warned that even if the Earth only warmed 2C (which is a laughably low estimate at this point) widespread desertification will overtake huge swaths of this lush region and render the ecosystem there “unrecognizable.”

At the other end of the extreme water event spectrum, Louisiana is struggling to figure out what to do about rising seas. This recent report shows what that state will look like in 50 years if nothing is done, and it’s not pretty. The coastline of Louisiana is already disappearing faster than all of the other coastal states in the contiguous 48 combined, and the state map is already in desperate need of revision, as the geographic reality already looks very different from the maps on its road signs or textbooks.

A report published in the New Scientist shows that islands around the world will not only lose land along their coasts, but will also lose their fresh-water supply as it is pushed upwards by the rising seas, and will evaporate atop the island.

A study published in the journal Science showed that as the planet’s oceans continue to warm, oceanic algal blooms will worsen, causing deleterious impacts to marine life across the world.

Meanwhile, another new study shows that the Western Antarctic Ice Sheet is being undermined by warm, dense saltwater from below, threatening to destabilize the entire shelf, which would increase global sea levels from between four and 15 feet. One kilometer of ice has vanished in just the last seven years, and there is nothing to indicate that this frightening trend will not continue.

Sea level rise is already hammering low-lying Bangladesh where the rise as well as intensifying tropical cyclones have turned the drinking water increasingly saline, making life there very challenging.

Along those lines, the UN warned recently that ACD is already well into the process of killing East Africa’s water resources.

Back on land, melting glaciers are causing other kinds of problems.

In Bolivia, glaciers are melting so quickly that they are threatening to wash away entire towns. Glaciers there have shrunk by nearly 50 percent in just the last four decades alone.

In the US, another report warned that Hurricane Matthew’s destructive storm surge is likely to become the new normal. The only question is whether state governments will react accordingly, or continue to rebuild in areas that are clearly going to be uninhabitable in the future.

Underscoring that point, a story published by Climate Central based on a study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that Hurricane Sandy’s surge, as extreme as it was, will also likely be a commonplace occurrence as ACD continues to intensify.

Air

Evidence that conditions in the atmosphere are worsening continues to unfold.

A study recently published in Nature shows that, thanks to leaks from oil and gas activities around the world being far more persistent and larger than previously believed, methane emissions from that industry are likely 60 percent higher than estimated. Methane is 22 times more potent a greenhouse gas than CO2.

Meanwhile, on October 15, the far-north village of Barrow, Alaska set a new record for the latest date ever without snow cover. This came five months after a record-early spring snowmelt, during what is most certainly going to be the hottest year ever recorded since record keeping began.

Fire

Given that this year saw the hottest summer ever recorded, it comes as no surprise that there has been a preponderance of fires, many of which persisted well into the fall season.

Massive fires covering millions of acres across Russia prompted many residents to sign a petition to Vladimir Putin, in which they complained of suffocating from the smoke. According to independent satellite analysis from experts, huge fires across Siberia have burned millions of acres year after year, and have caused a dramatic uptick in the number of fires facing that region.

In Australia, the Bureau of Meteorology recently released a report stating that that country is experiencing more extreme fire weather and hotter days as ACD progresses. Fire season there has been extended by several weeks, according to the agency, and that trend is expected to continue to increase.

In the US, a study recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that ACD is what is behind the recent surge in wildfires across the west, as the research ties them directly to escalating temperatures.

Up in Alaska, a late-season wildfire burned north of Palmer along the Glenn Highway, as another wildfire burned up spruce and tundra in the far northwestern region near the village of Noorvik.

These fires are both present-day disasters and dramatic signs of events to come.

Denial and Reality

Anyone still in denial about the fact that Canada’s government is pro-fossil-fuel (even though it is now led by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau) had some help letting go of said denial recently when the Trudeau government approved what has been referred to as a “carbon bomb.” The “bomb” is in the form of a $36 billion liquefied natural gas project called the Pacific Northwest LNG Project.

Meanwhile, those who are in denial about Hillary Clinton’s climate policies have also had their opinions tested by several strong doses of reality this month. Documents were revealed showing Clinton boasting about how she has pushed for more fracking around the world, while carefully opposing the Keystone XL pipeline out of political necessity.

ACD denial was bolstered by every presidential and vice presidential debate, as, stunningly, not one question about it was ever brought up by a moderator.

Clinton’s obligations to the fossil fuel industry have been on glaring display recently with Bernie Sanders openly calling for a halt to the Dakota Access Pipeline, while Clinton keeps silent, despite the draconian crackdowns on the Indigenous water protectors blocking the pipeline.

Another obvious act of denial comes in the form of housing reconstruction in New Jersey, happening right in the path of rising seas and where the next hurricane will eventually make landfall.

It was also recently revealed that several Minnesota-based companies that had signed on to the Obama administration’s American Business Act on Climate Pledge last year — in which they promised to make significant reductions to their carbon emissions and water use — have continued to give hundreds of thousands of dollars to ACD deniers. The companies are Target, Best Buy, General Mills and Cargill.

However, on the reality front, renowned economist Lord Nicholas Stern, author of the Stern Review on climate change in 2006, warned that the entire global economy could very well “self-destruct” if the world continues to burn fossil fuels as it is doing right now.

Meanwhile, a top general and chairman of the Global Military Advisory Council On Climate Change warned recently that climate disruption wars are coming, and they will generate millions of refugees around the world.

Given what has been made abundantly clear in this dispatch — along with every one that I’ve written — we know that it is not just the economy that will “self-destruct.” Even more importantly, we are witnessing the destruction of the biosphere of the planet, a process which is already well underway.

 

 

 

 

While Governments Negotiate On Climate Change, Meteorological Scientists Warn That Global Warming Situation Is Rapidly Deteriorating

In Uncategorized on November 18, 2016 at 3:50 pm
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Devastation in Haiti in the aftermath of the deadly Hurricane Matthew last month. Image: Logan Abassi/UN Photo via Flickr

Oldspeak: “While infotainment networks continue non-stop broadcasts of revenue generating Trump Porn, in a grim continuing trend, 2016 is set to be the hottest year on record. Extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and deadly. Sea level rise is accelerating. Arctic sea ice is disappearing. Fast. Ditto for Greenland Ice. Antarctic ice shelves are destabilizing. Oceans are record breaking hot and acidifying.  Mass animal deaths are on the rise. 19.2 million  people have been displaced because of weather, water, climate and physical hazard in 113 countries. This was more than twice as many as displaced by conflict and violence (increasingly the product of extreme weather events like drought, famine, flood and desertification of farmland). Climate change give zero fucks about who won the election, “climate negotiations”, economies, civilization, or anything else humans slavishly pay attention to. The laws of physics are the only ones that matter. And they’re not in our favor right now and for the forseeable future.” -OSJ

Written By Paul Brown @ Climate News Network:

LONDON, 15 November, 2016 − As summers get hotter, seas get warmer and extreme wind and rainstorms inflict ever-greater loss of human life and property, the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) is trying to develop and early warning system for vulnerable countries and regions.

In a report yesterday to governments at the UN’s COP22 climate talks in Marrakesh, Morocco, the WMO said that 2016 was almost certain to be the warmest year on record, and detailed the “considerable socio-economic losses in all regions of the world” that has resulted.

The deadliest event so far in 2016 has been Hurricane Matthew, which was Haiti’s worst humanitarian disaster since the 2010 earthquake, killing 546 people and injuring 438.

Petteri Taalas, the WMO secretary-general, said: “Another year, another record. The high temperatures we saw in 2015 are set to be beaten in 2016.

Continued global warming

“The extra heat from the powerful El Niño event has disappeared, but the heat from global warming will continue.”

“In parts of Arctic Russia, temperatures were 6°C to 7°C above the long-term average. Many other Arctic and sub-Arctic regions in Russia, Alaska and northwest Canada were at least 3°C above average. We are used to measuring temperature records in fractions of a degree, and so this is different.

“Because of climate change, the occurrence and impact of extreme events has risen. ‘Once in a generation’ heatwaves and flooding are becoming more regular. Sea level rise has increased exposure to storm surges associated with tropical cyclones.”

Taalas added: “The WMO is working to improve monitoring of greenhouse gas emissions to help countries reduce them. Better climate predictions over timescales of weeks to decades will help key sectors such as agriculture, water management, health and energy plan for and adapt to the future.”

“More impact-based weather forecasts and early warning systems will save lives both now and in the years ahead. There is a great need to strengthen the disaster early warning and climate service capabilities, especially of developing countries. This is a powerful way to adapt to climate change.”

It is ironic that just days after the US chose the extreme climate change sceptic Donald Trump − who has described climate change as a Chinese hoax as president-elect. the WMO chose to quote the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society to show how bad the effects of global warming are.

“There is a great need to strengthen the disaster
early warning and climate service capabilities,
especially of developing countries”

The report said that of 79 studies published more than half found that human-induced climate change contributed to the extreme event in question. The probability of extreme heat caused by global warming increased tenfold or more.

For the first time, the WMO included the consequences of climate change fed in from other UN agencies, including the UN High Commission for Refugees.

This data shows that in 2015 − the latest year for which figures are available − there were 19.2 million people displaced because of weather, water, climate and physical hazard in 113 countries. This was more than twice as many as displaced by conflict and violence.

Of these, weather-related hazards triggered the movement of 14.7 million people. South and East Asia dominated in terms of the highest absolute figures, but no region of the world was unaffected.

The report shows that global temperatures for January to September 2016 were 1.2°C above pre-industrial levels. Temperatures were above the 1961-90 average over the vast majority of land areas. In parts of Arctic Russia, around the Ob River estuary and Novaya Zemlya, they were 6°C to 7°C above average.

Many other Arctic and sub-Arctic regions in Russia, Alaska and northwest Canada were at least 3°C above average. More than 90% of Northern Hemisphere land areas outside the tropics were at least 1°C above average.

There were a number of major heatwaves during 2016. The year started with extreme heat in southern Africa, exacerbated by the ongoing drought. Many stations set all-time records, including 42.7°C at Pretoria and 38.9°C at Johannesburg, South Africa, on 7 January.

Record temperatures

By April, Thailand had seen a national record of 44.6°C, and a new record for India of 51.0°C was recorded in Phalodi, Rajasthan, on 19 May.

Record or near-record temperatures occurred in parts of the Middle East. Mitribah, in Kuwait, recorded 54°C on July 21, which, subject to ratification through standard WMO procedures, will be the highest temperature on record for Asia. The following day, 53.9°C was recorded at Basra, Iraq, and 53°C at Delhoran, Iran.

Temperatures were above normal over most ocean areas. This contributed to significant coral bleaching and disruption of marine ecosystems in some tropical waters, including the Great Barrier Reef off the east coast of Australia, and Pacific island countries such as Fiji and Kiribati. Coral mortality of up to 50% was reported in parts of the Great Barrier Reef.

Remarkably, global sea level rose by 15 millimetres between November 2014 and February 2016 as a result of El Niño. This is a record high, well above the post-1993 trend of 3-3.5 mm per year.

Arctic sea ice is currently well below normal after a near record shrinkage in the summer. Melting of the Greenland ice cap was well above average, with the worst being recorded in July. − Climate News Network

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UNEP Report: Despite Paris Climate Agreement, After 24 Years Of “Negotiations” We Are Hurtling Towards A 3.5 Degree World, Which Will Be Catastrophic For Millions

In Uncategorized on November 4, 2016 at 6:38 pm
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“Despite all the science-based evidence, rich countries are failing to do their fair share of emissions reductions,” said Dipti Bhatnagar of Friends of the Earth International. (Photo: Danicek/Shutterstock)

If international leaders fail to step up, UNEP warns, “we will mourn the loss of biodiversity and natural resources. We will regret the economic fallout. Most of all, we will grieve over the avoidable human tragedy; the growing numbers of climate refugees hit by hunger, poverty, illness and conflict will be a constant reminder of our failure to deliver.

Oldspeak: “This just in from the Department of No Shit Sherlock: Humans wasted 24 years, generating ever more emissions to get to and from their yearly run of Kabuki Theater a.k.a. Conference Of Parties, “Climate Negotiations” (seductive Newspeak, there is no such thing as negotiating with with Earth’s climate. Life adapts until it can’t. Then it goes extinct. End of negotiation.), to glad hand corprocrats, schmoose and attend grand galas, and craft toothless and unenforcable agreements that do precisely FUCK ALL, to significantly reduce human emissions. Contrary to the above UNEP warning, We ARE mourning the loss of biodiversity and natural resources. We ARE regretting the economic fallout. We ARE grieving over the avoidable human tragedies; the growing numbers of climate refugees hit by hunger, poverty, illness and conflict. RIGHT NOW. This on the heels of a recent report that the fantasy to geoengineer our way out of extinction is dead. SO, we have no more ways to fix this. It has been acknowledged. So, I’m wondering; why bother to keep meeting at this point? You know what you’re negotiating is not enough. You officially know it’ s literally a waste of time. If international leaders have not stepped up to do what is necessary to curb emissions in the last 24 years, why expect them to now? When it’s already too late?  I don’t understand. Hopium is a helluva drug!” -OSJ

By Nika Knight @ Common Dreams:

Global warming is on track to top 3° Celsius, the United Nations warned this week, because today’s climate pledges are “not nearly enough” to prevent dangerous levels of warming.

That’s according the latest annual “Emissions Gap Report” (pdf) from the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP), which concluded that pledges to cut emissions will result in a global temperature rise of 3.4ºC above pre-industrial levels, far above the 2º limit and 1.5º goal agreed to under last year’s Paris climate accord.

“Current commitments will reduce emissions by no more than a third of the levels required by 2030 to avert disaster,” two UNEP leaders warn in the report’s introduction.

“This is a stark warning that cannot be ignored—tougher action on climate change is urgently needed to prevent the world speeding towards catastrophe,” Asad Rehman, a climate campaigner with Friends of the Earth (FOE) International, told the Guardian. “Governments are drinking in the ‘last chance saloon’ if the lofty goals of the Paris climate agreement are to be met.”

“After 24 years of negotiations we are hurtling towards a 3.5 degree world, which will be catastrophic for millions across the world,” added Dipti Bhatnagar, a climate justice and energy coordinator also at FOE International. “Despite all the science-based evidence, rich countries are failing to do their fair share of emissions reductions as well as provide much-needed finance to drive energy transformation in developing countries.”

UNEP releases its analysis of global fossil fuel emissions and climate pledges to reduce them each year, and “[t]he 2016 assessment is especially significant for three reasons,” observes John H. Cushman Jr. at InsideClimate News:

It is being published just as the treaty enters into force, as countries are starting to plan their next steps. It is the first assessment to calculate the emissions that will occur under all the pledges made last year. And it is the first to hold those pledges up not only to the long standing 2-degree goal, but to the new 1.5-degree goal that was a central accomplishment of the Paris meeting last December.

Now that the treaty has been signed by enough countries to enter into force on November 4—much sooner than many had expected—delegates arriving in Marrakech for next week’s conference of parties are keen to keep the momentum building.

If international leaders fail to step up, UNEP warns, “we will mourn the loss of biodiversity and natural resources. We will regret the economic fallout. Most of all, we will grieve over the avoidable human tragedy; the growing numbers of climate refugees hit by hunger, poverty, illness and conflict will be a constant reminder of our failure to deliver.”

“None of this will be the result of bad weather. It will be the result of bad choices by governments, private sector, and individual citizens,” the agency heads note. “Because there are choices.”

The challenge is stark: the report finds that global annual greenhouse gas emissions need to be cut by an additional 12 billion-14 billion metric tons by 2030 in order to limit warming to 2ºC. “To put the challenge into perspective,” U.S. News & World Report observes, “UNEP noted that the gap is 12 times the annual emissions of the 28-nation European Union’s transport sector, including aviation.”

As heads of state from around the world descend on Marrekech, Morocco, for the COP22 climate conference set to begin on November 7, UNEP hopes the report will be “a wakeup call to the world.”

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Like A Candle Burning At Both Ends: Polar Heatwaves Have Ice In Retreat At Both Ends Of The Planet

In Uncategorized on November 4, 2016 at 4:33 pm
amaps

Credit: NASA GISS

Oldspeak: “Two words that in the Old World would never be in the same sentence. Polar and Heatwave. Yet another blaring alarm bell. I don’t know that there is any more blatant indication that we’ve entered and new and unheard of era in human history. The New World is here. Polar fucking heatwaves at both poles at the same time has sea ice extent at record lows. Scientists are now predicting a completely sea ice free North Pole by 2030 (probably very conservative estimates, I’d round that down to 2020-25, given the reality that changes around the globe have consistently been occurring MUCH FASTER than expected.) Pretty freaky given that a few years ago, many scientists saw an ice-free arctic happening far off into the future. And just as a refresher, the significance of this development is; the more sea ice melts, the more dark ocean waters are exposed to absorb sunlight, which leads to more sea ice melting which leads to more dark ocean sunlight absorption, which leads to…. heating the ocean ad infinitum and by extension the planet…  you get the irreversible and non-linear nature of this particularly nasty positive feedback loop.  Basically, in the next few years there will be no polar sea ice in the Arctic.  Above average temperatures are predicted for the next 1-2 weeks.  I wonder how much more significantly arctic methane seeps will increase in these next 2 weeks. One scientist as recently as last month said : The area of spread of methane mega-emissions has significantly increased in comparison with the data obtained in the period from 2011 to 2014, These observations may indicate that the rate of degradation of underwater permafrost has increased.’ Oye. Now, BOTH planetary air conditioners are on the fritz. Not good atal…. Shit’s gonna get REAL UNCOMFORTABLE around here when the planet’s air conditioners start clicking off for longer and longer stretches of the year. How long before the candle burns out?” -OSJ

 

Written By Peter Hannam @ The Sydney Morning Herald:

Climate change has a habit of throwing up some surprising outcomes and this has to be one of them: sea ice is now at record low levels at both ends of the planet.

To be sure, the tale of disappearing Arctic ice has been told before.

Thirty years of Arctic ice decay

Incredible animated video released by NASA shows the drastic change of the Arctic ice shelves over thirty years.

But the big melt has lately not been the story of Antarctic sea ice. And it’s certainly unusual for record lows to be plumbed for this time of the year at both of the world’s extremities simultaneously.

This year, US agencies registered the second-smallest area covered by Arctic sea ice on record, with abnormal air and ocean temperatures to blame.

Zachary Labe, a PhD student tracking Arctic conditions from the University of California, Irvine, said the typical recovery of the sea ice in the region as it plunges into wintry darkness has been markedly slow, especially in October.

The area covered by ice is now more than 500,000 square kilometres less than its previous record low for this time of year, as he noted on Twitter:

“The thin [young] ice from earlier in the season – and previous years – has pre-conditioned the ice to be more susceptible to low extent and thickness,” Mr Labe told Fairfax Media.

Record low sea ice in the Arctic has an impact on species such as polar bears which need it to survive.
Record low sea ice in the Arctic has an impact on species such as polar bears which need it to survive. Photo: Nick Cobbing / Greenpeace

Predicting what happens next, weatherwise, can be difficult – not least because of the limited observation sites in the Arctic.

Still, “given the current computer model predictions of more above normal temperatures over the next 1-2 weeks in addition to the unusually warm ocean temperatures, it is likely sea ice extent will remain well below normal for the foreseeable future,” Mr Labe said.

Indeed, according to the University of Maine’s Climate Reanalyzer website, the Arctic region as a whole continues to be very warm – as much as 6.1 degrees above average – with the anomalous warmth covering almost all of the Arctic Circle:

As Mark Serreze, director of the National Snow and Ice Data Centre, told the Washington Post’s Capital Weather Gang recently, a time when there is no Arctic sea ice for at least part of the year may not be that far off.

“The overall trajectory is clear – sometime in the next few decades, maybe as early as 2030, we’ll wake up to a September with no Arctic sea ice,” Dr Serreze said.

Mr Labe said it was “definitely possible that by 2030 we see an ice-free summer” but there remains high uncertainty, not least whether nations act to curb greenhouse gas emissions levels.

“[It] is more important to focus on the overall trends, and they are the loss of extent, thinning ice, and loss of multi-year old ice,” he said. “The effects of these changes in Arctic climate and sea ice are already being felt.”

A recent paper in Nature found that the so-called polar vortex – a persistent, deep low-pressure zone – has shifted towards Europe and Asia, bringing more days of bitter cold temperatures in February and March, with the loss in Arctic sea ice partly to blame.

Antarctic oddity

If the Arctic is experiencing relative warmth, so too is much of Antarctica.

According to the US National Snow & Ice Data Centre, the area of sea ice extent reached its maximum on August 31, at 18.44 million square kilometres, the earliest in the year since satellite records began in 1979.

The maximum area occurs on average more than three weeks later, on September 23-24.

While the largest extent was the 10th lowest in record, the region – as with the Arctic – hasn’t been behaving like previous years. In fact, Antarctic sea ice is also at a record low, the centre said. (See chart below. Red line is 2016, green line is 2014, black line is average.)

The record low Antarctic sea ice comes just two years after it reached the opposite outcome – record large coverage.

Scientists attributed that record size to strengthening winds around the continent as well as accelerating glaciers, pushing out more ice into nearby waters.

In fact, the tale has always been more nuanced than in the Arctic.

As the Bureau of Meteorology and the CSIRO noted in their State of the Climate report for 2016, released last week, some regions – particularly the Ross Sea area – have seen increases in extent and duration of sea ice.

By contrast, the west of the Antarctic Peninsula, such as the Bellingshausen Sea, has tended to have less.

While scientists ponder the significance of the latest twist in the Antarctic, the near-term forecast points to more unusual warmth in the region. Temperatures are currently about 4 degrees above average, the University of Maine estimates. (See chart below).

Having less sea ice means less solar radiation is reflected directly back to space, and the oceans absorb more of the heat.

As the bureau and CSIRO report notes, sea-ice changes have little effect on sea level. That comes mostly from melting land-based ice, and the story isn’t a promising one there, either.

Melting of the Greenland ice sheet has increased “dramatically over the last 25 years”, their report notes, accelerating from 34 billion tonnes a year in 1992-2001 to 215 billion tonnes from 2002-11.

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“Looking at all the signs, it is clear the ecosystem will collapse.” – As Californians Fight Over Fresh Water, The Largest Western U.S. Estuary, San Francisco Bay Is Dying

In Uncategorized on November 4, 2016 at 2:16 pm
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San Francisco, Oakland, and the Bay Bridge, 2014. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

““To try to return a major portion of these rivers to in-stream uses after developing an economy and a lifestyle and a livelihood for so many people will be bad for just about everybody but the fish,” says Chris Scheuring, a farmer and lawyer for the California Farm Bureau Federation. The federation’s members fear that restrictive flow plans will force the idling of more than 200,000 working acres across the state.”

Oldspeak: “The sentiment expressed above, is the part of the reason why in all probability the San Francisco Bay  ecosystem will collapse and die. Human “economies” (the ultimate Orwellian doublespeak; there is nothing economical about our economies), lifestyles and livelihoods trump EVERYTHING ELSE THAT LIVES. Never mind the stark reality that:

In California, freshwater ecosystems as a whole are in a state of severe distress due to burgeoning human populations as well as carbon pollution. A 2015 study published in PLoS One describes the problem precisely:

Water allocations are currently five times the state’s mean annual runoff and, in many of the state’s major river basin, rights to divert water lay claim to up to 1,000% of natural surface water supplies. Recent studies have highlighted dramatic declines of California native fishes with 80% either extinct or threatened with extinction within 100 years.

As things stand today, most of the state’s fish, including many in its biggest estuary, have no future.”

80% fucking percent of California’s native fish populations have gone or are going extinct. Yet, anthropocentrists like Mr. Scheuring are of the mind that equitable sharing and use of irreplaceable, rapidly depleting fresh water will be bad for everyone but the fish. What about the shrimp, crabs, smelt, salmon, and many small but supremely important invertebrates? The cormorants, pelicans, geese, ducks, whales, & seals who depend on a healthy and abundant bay for their very survival? The current set of living arrangements are pretty fucking bad for them right now. There have been sharp declines of shrimp and salmon populations. There are dangerous algae blooms and degraded water quality. There’s increasing sediment deprivation and beach erosion. a catastrophe is brewing  for migratory birds and beloved marine mammals. Unfortunately for them, the average human is oblivious to the horrors we visit on other lifeforms. Primary in our consciousness is a conveniently packaged, easily accessible and uninterrupted flow of consumables, a steady job, and pleasant, entertaining lifestyle. Nevermind the increasingly toxic wastes we’re pumping into & poisoning the ecology  with via our toxic and unsustainable food production and resource extraction industries. In many peoples minds the natural world upon which we depend for survival  gets zero consideration. Above all else, We must have our food, always more and always available. We must have our babies. We must have our stuff. And our stuff will be the death of us.” -OSJ

Written By Jimmy Tobias @ Pacific Standard:

Drought, industrial-scale agriculture, and an outdated water rights system are killing the largest estuary in the American West, according to a new report.

The San Francisco Bay is an estuary — an ecological mixing bowl where salty waters from the Pacific Ocean meet the fresh runoff that flows down from the high sierra through the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers and eventually to the sea. The brackish blending together of these aquatic inputs produces one of the most abundant ecosystems on the planet. Shrimp, crabs, smelt, salmon, and many small but supremely important invertebrates swim (or scuttle) in its mild waters. Cormorants, pelicans, geese, and ducks galore wing overhead or waddle along its shores. Mammals, including whales, seals, and some humans too, depend on its productivity for their very survival. It is the beating heart of its urban namesake, that West Coast capital we call the Bay Area.

But the Bay is in a very bad way. According to a major recent report, thousands of dams and ditches that supply irrigation and drinking water to industrial farms and dense cities throughout California now deprive the estuary of as much as 70 percent of its freshwater inflow during the crucial winter and spring months each year. Even before the present debilitating dry spell, it had experienced its own man-made drought for decades. The largest estuary in the American West is being starved of fresh water, while its life-supporting brackish zone shrinks in the face of increasing salinity. The complex relationships that keep the ecosystem intact are fraying every day.

Jonathan Rosenfield is a conservation biologist with the Bay Institute and the lead author of the report “The San Francisco Bay: The Freshwater-Starved Estuary.” Commissioned by the quasi-governmental San Francisco Estuary Partnership, it is a meticulous description of disaster: The report speaks of sharp declines of shrimp and salmon populations. It speaks of dangerous algae blooms and degraded water quality. It speaks of sediment deprivation and beach erosion. It speaks of commercial fishery closures and the loss of thousands of jobs in recent decades. It speaks of a brewing catastrophe for migratory birds and beloved marine mammals.

“Looking at all the signs,” Rosenfield says, “it is clear the ecosystem will collapse.”

This year, however, Californians have a chance — a rare and controversial opportunity — to clean up their act.

The foremost reason for the San Francisco Bay’s woes, according to the report, is large-scale farming that relies on an antiquated and over-allocated water rights system. In fact agricultural irrigation, a traditionally water-intensive form of land use, accounts for approximately 80 percent of the fresh water diverted from the Bay watershed each year. Drinking water provision for cities like Sacramento, San Francisco, Merced, and Modesto makes up much of the rest.

Agriculture’s excessive share of the Bay’s fresh water, however, may soon be subject to a shrinking. The California State Water Resources Control Board — a government agency that enforces clean water standards and oversees the allocation of the state’s scarce life-giving liquid — is in the midst of revising regulations that control how much water is removed from the Sacramento and San Joaquin watersheds. These rivers and their tributaries are the principle source of the Bay’s fresh water supply. This sort of regulation rewrite is rare — the last meaningful update took place in 1996.

“The water quality control plan update is the biggest thing in California water policy that will happen in our generation,” says Rosenfield, whose team published its report in part to inform this bid for regulatory reform.

“To try to return a major portion of these rivers to in-stream uses after developing an economy and a lifestyle and a livelihood for so many people will be bad for just about everybody but the fish.”

In September, the State Water Resources Control Board, or the Board, put forward a draft proposal that could keep intact 40 percent of the San Joaquin watershed’s natural flow during the crucial winter and spring months. (As it now stands, as much as 90 percent of the water from the San Joaquin and its tributaries is requisitioned by human users during the wet season.) And though it has not yet put out any proposals for the Sacramento River, the Board has released a scientific report that suggests the possibility of leaving as much as 75 percent of that river system’s natural flow untouched during the same winter-spring timeframe.

Such reforms are essential if the decrepit estuary and its withering fish populations are to heal. But the response to these ideas has been “polarized,” Rosenfield says. Some people, he says, “think the sky is falling.”

Agricultural interests, for instance, have already denounced the San Joaquin draft proposal as well as the Sacramento scientific report.

“To try to return a major portion of these rivers to in-stream uses after developing an economy and a lifestyle and a livelihood for so many people will be bad for just about everybody but the fish,” says Chris Scheuring, a farmer and lawyer for the California Farm Bureau Federation. The federation’s members fear that restrictive flow plans will force the idling of more than 200,000 working acres across the state.

Agriculture is not alone of course. The city of San Francisco also sees the Board’s draft policy as a threat. In an October op-ed in the San Francisco Chronicle, Bay Area water officials fretted over the idea of leaving 40 percent of the San Joaquin’s winter and spring flow unused. The city, after all, gets its drinking water supply from one of the river’s large tributaries.

“With the proposal,” they wrote, “we can expect more severe and more frequent water rationing.”

Water advocates, conservationists, and commercial fishermen, meanwhile, support the Board’s overall goals, though some say its recent proposal doesn’t go far enough.

“People would still be able to divert between 50 and 70 percent of [the San Joaquin system’s] flow,” says Doug Obegi, a senior attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council. “That is substantially more diversion than what the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and other agencies have recommended as necessary to restore the health of these rivers.”

Jonathan Rosenfield agrees. “When we look at the [Board’s] proposal, it is very clear that it is not what science from agencies, independent experts, and the board itself has indicated will be necessary to restore populations of salmon as the law requires,” he says.

As this once-in-a-generation struggle to change California water allocation continues in the coming years, it’s wise to remember the debate’s broader context. Like one tale in a larger tome, the San Francisco estuary’s unraveling is embedded in more comprehensive crises.

In California, freshwater ecosystems as a whole are in a state of severe distress due to burgeoning human populations as well as carbon pollution. A 2015 study published in PLoS One describes the problem precisely:

Water allocations are currently five times the state’s mean annual runoff and, in many of the state’s major river basin, rights to divert water lay claim to up to 1,000% of natural surface water supplies. Recent studies have highlighted dramatic declines of California native fishes with 80% either extinct or threatened with extinction within 100 years.

As things stand today, most of the state’s fish, including many in its biggest estuary, have no future.

And the Golden State is just one front in the quiet quotidian war on wildlife and wild systems. As the Guardian recently reported, a new study by the Living Planet Index found that the number of wild animals on planet Earth is on track to decline as much as two-thirds by 2020. The major industries driving this ineffable loss include logging and, you guessed it, agriculture.

If you want to catch a first-hand glimpse of this galling global catastrophe, the Bay is Exhibit A.

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