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Fish Under Threat As World’s Oceans Continue To Deoxygenate And Acidify

In Uncategorized on February 20, 2017 at 6:05 pm

Callum Roberts, the author of Ocean of Life and a marine conservation biologist at the University of York, is unsurprised by the latest findings. “What we’re seeing is fallout from global warming,” he says. “It’s straightforward physics and chemistry playing out in front of our eyes, entirely in keeping with what we’d expect and yet another nail in coffin of climate change denial.”

Scientists have long predicted ocean deoxygenation due to climate change, but confirmation on this global scale, and at deep sea level, is concerning them. Last year, Matthew Long, an oceanographer at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Colorado, predicted that oxygen loss would become evident “across large regions of the oceans” between 2030 and 2040.” -Susan Simillie

Yes. One of the major sources of animal protein for humans, fish, is having serious issues with oceans that are deoxygenating and acidifying, quite unsurprisingly, faster than expected. Meanwhile….. “Fish is the last wild meal in the human diet, but roughly two-thirds of the world’s major stocks are now fished at or beyond their capacity, and another 10 percent have been harvested so heavily that populations will take years to recover” Hmmm. I wonder how this intractable predicament will play out. Enjoy the fish feed while you can folks.” -OSJ

Written By Susan Simillie @ U.K. Guardian:

The depletion of oxygen in our oceans threatens future fish stocks and risks altering the habitat and behaviour of marine life, scientists have warned, after a new study found oceanic oxygen levels had fallen by 2% in 50 years.

The study, carried out at Geomar Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research in Germany, was the most comprehensive of the subject to date. The fall in oxygen levels has been attributed to global warming and the authors warn that if it continues unchecked, the amount of oxygen lost could reach up to 7% by 2100. Very few marine organisms are able to adapt to low levels of oxygen.

The paper contains analysis of wide-ranging data from 1960 to 2010, documenting changes in oxygen distribution in the entire ocean for the first time. “Since large fish in particular avoid or do not survive in areas with low oxygen content, these changes can have far-reaching biological consequences,” said Dr Sunke Schmidtko, the report’s lead author.

Some areas have seen a greater drop than others. The Pacific – the planet’s largest ocean – has suffered the greatest volume of oxygen loss, while the Arctic witnessed the sharpest decline by percentage. “While the slight decrease of oxygen in the atmosphere is currently considered non-critical, the oxygen losses in the ocean can have far-reaching consequences because of the uneven distribution,” added another of the report’s authors, Lothar Stramma.

It is increasingly clear that the heaviest burden of climate change is falling on the planet’s oceans, which absorb more than 30% of the carbon produced on land. Rising sea levels are taking their toll on many of the world’s poorest places. Warming waters have devastated corals – including the Great Barrier Reef – in bleaching events.

Acidic oceans, caused by a drop in PH levels as carbon is absorbed, threaten creatures’ ability to build their calcium-based shells and other structures. Warming waters have also caused reproductive problems in species such as cod, and triggered their migration to colder climates. Lower oxygen levels in larger parts of the ocean are expected to force animals to seek out ever shrinking patches of habitable water, with significant impacts on the ecosystem and food web.

Callum Roberts, the author of Ocean of Life and a marine conservation biologist at the University of York, is unsurprised by the latest findings. “What we’re seeing is fallout from global warming,” he says. “It’s straightforward physics and chemistry playing out in front of our eyes, entirely in keeping with what we’d expect and yet another nail in coffin of climate change denial.”

Scientists have long predicted ocean deoxygenation due to climate change, but confirmation on this global scale, and at deep sea level, is concerning them. Last year, Matthew Long, an oceanographer at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Colorado, predicted that oxygen loss would become evident “across large regions of the oceans” between 2030 and 2040. Reacting to the German findings, Long said it was “alarming to see this signal begin to emerge clearly in the observational data”, while Roberts said, “We now have a measurable change which is attributable to global warming.”

The report explains that the ocean’s oxygen supply is threatened by global warming in two ways. Warmer water is less able to contain oxygen than cold, so as the oceans warm, oxygen is reduced. Warmer water is also less dense, so the oxygen-rich surface layer cannot easily sink and circulate.

“As the world warms up, the thickness and temperature of the surface layers are increasing,” said Roberts. “This acts like a stronger lid on the world’s oceans, so there’s less oxygen transported down below.”

“Unless we address greenhouse gas emissions urgently we’ll see more and more of this,” said Roberts. “Life will become harder for creatures that live in the sea and for those that depend on them – ie us.”

A CTD-rosette is lowered into the ocean to analyse conductivity, temperature and depth and current oxygen measurements.
A CTD-rosette is lowered into the ocean to analyse conductivity, temperature and depth and measure dissolved oxygen. Photograph: Geomar

Fish that rely on dissolved oxygen will grow more slowly, peak at a smaller body size, and produce fewer offspring. And, Roberts pointed out, larger fish such as tuna, swordfish and sharks will be badly affected given their greater dependence on larger amounts of oxygen – they will be driven into ever narrower bands of oxygen-rich water near the surface, as will much of their prey, leading to more competition for food sources and other changed behaviour.

One knock-on effect is likely to be an increase to overfishing: “The eastern Pacific has huge tuna fisheries already,” he pointed out. “If the tuna can’t dive down where it is uninhabitable, as oxygen deficient areas expand, they have less space at the surface, they’re squeezed into ever tighter spaces and they’re more vulnerable to being caught.”

Scientists Warning Of Mass Extinction Of Species, Including Humans, Within 10 Years

In Uncategorized on February 9, 2017 at 5:20 pm

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Oldspeak: “Even if their findings are bullshit, isn’t it worth a least a little bit of coverage and critical analysis? Why is Trump sucking up still sucking all the air in the room, when we are in all probability facing dire and likely existential threats to continued complex life on earth? The sustained anthropogenic carbon release rate right now is TEN TIME HIGHER than it was during a thermal maximum period 66 million years ago. This paragraph is enlightening:

During the Palaeocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), which occurred 55 million years ago, global temperatures rose as rapidly as by 5°C in ~13 years, according to a study by Wright et al. A recent study by researchers led by Zebee concludes that the present anthropogenic carbon release rate is unprecedented during the past 66 million years. Back in history, the highest carbon release rates of the past 66 million years occurred during the PETM. Yet, the maximum sustained PETM carbon release rate was less than 1.1 Pg C per year, the study by Zebee et al. found. By contrast, a recent annual carbon release rate from anthropogenic sources was ~10 Pg C (2014). The study by Zebee et al. therefore concludes that future ecosystem disruptions are likely to exceed the – by comparison – relatively limited extinctions observed at the PETM.”

We are facing extinction at unprecedented scale. Greater than that which occurred during the Permian-Triassic extinction, or the Great Dying, 252 million years ago. When up to 96% of all marine species and 70% of terrestrial vertebrate species became extinct and temperatures rose by 8 °C (14 °F). Scientists, observing the variety of positive feedbacks that have been triggered in this time, say we could see temperature rises this time in in the 18°F range by 2026.  All the reality show presidents antics  and “climate plans” in the world don’t really have any bearing on this happening. ” -OSJ

Written By Sam Carana @ Arctic News:

 

 

On February 10, 2017, 18:00 UTC it is forecast to be 0.1°C or 32.1°F at the North Pole, i.e. above the temperature at which water freezes. The temperature at the North Pole is forecast to be 30°C or 54°F warmer than 1979-2000, on Feb 10, 2017, 18:00 UTC, as shown on the Climate Reanalyzer image on the right.

This high temperature is expected as a result of strong winds blowing warm air from the North Atlantic into the Arctic.

The forecast below, run on February 4, 2017, shows that winds as fast as 157 km/h or 98 mph were expected to hit the North Atlantic on February 6, 2017, 06:00 UTC, producing waves as high as 16.34 m or 53.6 ft.

A later forecast shows waves as high as 17.18 m or 54.6 ft, as illustrated by the image below.

While the actual wave height and wind speed may not turn out to be as extreme as such forecasts, the images do illustrate the horrific amounts of energy contained in these storms.

Stronger storms go hand in hand with warmer oceans. The image below shows that on February 4, 2017, at a spot off the coast of Japan marked by green circle, the ocean was 19.1°C or 34.4°F warmer than 1981-2011.

As discussed in an earlier post, the decreasing difference in temperature between the Equator and the North Pole causes changes to the jet stream, in turn causing warmer air and warmer water to get pushed from the North Atlantic into the Arctic.

The image below shows that on February 8, 2017, the water at a spot near Svalbard (marked by the green circle) was 12.8°C or 55.1°F, i.e. 11.9°C or 21.4°F warmer than 1981-2011.

Warmer water flowing into the Arctic Ocean in turn increases the strength of further feedbacks that are accelerating warming in the Arctic. Altogether, these feedbacks and further warming elements could trigger a huge abrupt rise in global temperature making that extinction of many species, including humans, could be less than one decade away.


Without action, we are facing extinction at unprecedented scale. In many respects, we are already in the sixth mass extinction of Earth’s history. Up to 96% of all marine species and 70% of terrestrial vertebrate species became extinct when temperatures rose by 8 °C (14 °F) during the Permian-Triassic extinction, or the Great Dying, 252 million years ago.

During the Palaeocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), which occurred 55 million years ago, global temperatures rose as rapidly as by 5°C in ~13 years, according to a study by Wright et al. A recent study by researchers led by Zebee concludes that the present anthropogenic carbon release rate is unprecedented during the past 66 million years. Back in history, the highest carbon release rates of the past 66 million years occurred during the PETM. Yet, the maximum sustained PETM carbon release rate was less than 1.1 Pg C per year, the study by Zebee et al. found. By contrast, a recent annual carbon release rate from anthropogenic sources was ~10 Pg C (2014). The study by Zebee et al. therefore concludes that future ecosystem disruptions are likely to exceed the – by comparison – relatively limited extinctions observed at the PETM.

An earlier study by researchers led by De Vos had already concluded that current extinction rates are 1,000 times higher than natural background rates of extinction and future rates are likely to be 10,000 times higher.

The situation is dire and calls for comprehensive and effective action, as discussed in the Climate Plan.

Links

• Arctic Ocean Feedbacks
http://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2017/01/arctic-ocean-feedbacks.html

• Estimating the normal background rate of species extinction, De Vos et al. (2015)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25159086

• Anthropogenic carbon release rate unprecedented during the past 66 million years, by Zebee et al. (2016)
http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/v9/n4/full/ngeo2681.html

• Evidence for a rapid release of carbon at the Paleocene-Eocene thermal maximum, Wright et al. (2013)
http://www.pnas.org/content/110/40/15908.full?sid=58b79a3f-8a05-485b-8051-481809c87076

• RT America Youtube video
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OSnrDRU6_2g

• RT America Facebook video
https://www.facebook.com/RTAmerica/videos/10154168391051366

Extreme Heat At The North Pole; Could Approach Melting Point, 50 Degrees Above Normal, In Middle Of Winter

In Uncategorized on February 8, 2017 at 6:19 pm
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Abnormally warm air is expected to reach the North Pole by Thursday. Credit: Climate Reanalyzer

Oldspeak: “A massive storm is swirling toward Europe. It’s a weather maker in itself, churning up waves as high as 46 feet and pressure dropping as low as is typical for a Category 4 hurricane as of Monday. The storm is to the southeast of Greenland and its massive comma shape has made for stunning satellite imagery. The storm is expected to weaken as it approaches Europe, but it will conspire with a high pressure system over the continent to send a stream of warm air into the Arctic through the Greenland Sea.

Temperatures are forecast to reach the melting point in Svalbard, Norway, an island between the Greenland and Karas Seas. The North Pole could also approach the melting point on Thursday.”

-Brian Kahn

“As an aside, today, February 8th, 2017 in New York it was a balmy 60 degrees & sunny. Tomorrow, the high is forecast to be almost 30 degrees colder at 34 and a massive winter storm is expected to dump a foot of snow. The temperature in New York, will be about the same as in the North Fucking Pole. The last sentence of this piece should be chilling (pun intended):

It’s the most dramatic example of how carbon pollution is reshaping the planet and scientists are racing to understand what comes next.”

To suppose, that our climate treaties, marches, legislations, taxes, “renewable energy”, and carbon sequestering technofixes will change things for the better at this point, is admirable, but ultimately, useless. These are all human scale responses to a planetary level ecological breakdown. Scientists don’t yet fully understand what’s going on. They do know that what is happening is weird. Strange. Extreme. Unprecedented. Spring one day, winter the next. This is the new normal. We’ll need to get used to it for as long as we can.” -OSJ

Related Story:

More Evidence of “New Feedback” in Arctic? Giant Storm Pushes Warmth to Pole

 

By Brian Kahn @ Climate Central:

Weird. Strange. Extreme. Unprecedented.

These are some of the words that describe what’s been happening in the Arctic over the past year as surge after surge of warm air have stalled, and at times reversed, sea ice pack growth. And the unfortunate string of superlatives is set to continue this week.

Arctic sea ice is already sitting at a record low for this time of year and a powerful North Atlantic storm is expected to open the flood gates and send more warmth pouring into the region from the lower latitudes. By Thursday, it could reach up to 50°F above normal. In absolute temperature, that’s near the freezing point and could further spur a decline in sea ice.

Scientists have said the past year in the Arctic is “beyond even the extreme” as climate change remakes the region. Sea ice hit a record low maximum last winter (for the second year in a row,  no less) and the second-lowest minimum ever recorded last fall. After a fairly rapid refreeze in late September, the region experienced a dramatic shift. Extraordinary warmth has been a recurring theme.

Sea ice growth reversed in November. Temperatures reached the melting point at the North Pole in December. Preliminary data from January indicates the Arctic was up to 35°F above normal in some locations, including a mid-January mild wave.

That brings us to early February, which is setting up for another bout of mild weather in the Arctic.

HRPT providing an excellent visual (https://t.co/4EbJpKnqmc) of the powerful storm, which will result in moisture/heat transport into Arctic pic.twitter.com/yMu4r2pQQA

— Zack Labe (@ZLabe) February 6, 2017

A massive storm is swirling toward Europe. It’s a weather maker in itself, churning up waves as high as 46 feet and pressure dropping as low as is typical for a Category 4 hurricane as of Monday. The storm is to the southeast of Greenland and its massive comma shape has made for stunning satellite imagery. The storm is expected to weaken as it approaches Europe, but it will conspire with a high pressure system over the continent to send a stream of warm air into the Arctic through the Greenland Sea.

Temperatures are forecast to reach the melting point in Svalbard, Norway, an island between the Greenland and Karas Seas. The North Pole could also approach the melting point on Thursday.

It’s just the latest signal that the Arctic is in the middle of a profound change. Sea ice extent has dropped precipitously as has the amount of old ice, which is less prone to breakup. Beyond sea ice, Greenland’s ice sheet is also melting away and pushing sea levels higher, large fires are much more common and intense in boreal forests and other ecosystem changes are causing the earth to hyperventilate.

Together, these all indicate that the Arctic is in crisis. It’s the most dramatic example of how carbon pollution is reshaping the planet and scientists are racing to understand what comes next.

 

 

Westerners Urged To Reduce Carbon Footprint As Streaming Video Demand Drives Up Global CO2 Emissions

In Uncategorized on February 1, 2017 at 7:55 pm
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A major reduction in air travel is a key starting point for cutting emissions. Image: Kirstin Andrus via Flickr

Oldspeak: “As billionaires arrive in Davos on private jets to “solve” inequality while starving children eat ashes in Madacascar, last week, the doomsday clock was moved forward 30 seconds to 2 and a half minutes to midnight. No matter. The Orwellian irony is is those same billionaires schmoosing in Davos, with gargantuan carbon footprints pontificating about reducing inequality, derive their privileged positions in large part by sitting atop a world-threatening carbon economy while complicit media tout their omnicidal madness as good for the world:

The fact is that we live in a world that has been profoundly shaped by empire and its disparities. Differentials of power between and within nations are probably greater today than they have ever been. These differentials are, in turn, closely related to carbon emissions. The distribution of power in the world therefore lies at the core of the climate crisis

From the point of view of a security establishment that is oriented towards the maintenance of global dominance, this is precisely the scenario that is most greatly to be feared; from this perspective the continuance of the status quo is the most desirable of outcomes.” –Amitav Ghosh, “The Great Derangement”

Now, why would anyone in their right minds believe that those who derive the most privilege, power and profit from the current set of living arrangements who are tasked with changing them, to make them more equitable and just for all beings, would actually do it?!?!  Why would anyone, awash in a world of screens full of delightful entertainment, food, transportation, clothing,  etc etc etc at their fingertips at all times voluntarily forgo that potent Soma? Never mind that scientists say global carbon emissions could be cut by a third within a year if well-off westerners changed their lifestyle.  It’s not happening. 1 worlders will March, scream and shout till our vocal cords and feet bleed, but we will continue to be complicit in our own demise for the sake of convenience and comfort. It it when one confronts these harsh realities it becomes all too clear, that our fate is sealed. As long present living arrangements persist, as long as there is belief that there are market based “solutions” to climate change, to inequality and the whole constellation of effects of Industrial Civilization, the business as usual scenario will continue to play out and accelerate until it can’t no more. We’ll just be fucked a little faster than we would be if we got about the business of changing status quo.” – OSJ

Written By Terry Macalister @ Climate News Network:

Global carbon emissions could be cut by one-third within 12 months if affluent westerners changed their way of life, claims a leading climate change scientist.

Kevin Anderson, professor of energy and climate change at Manchester University, in the UK, says a major reduction in personal air travel is a key starting point.

More than half of the carbon dioxide pollution that causes a large part of global warming comes from the 10% best-off people on the planet, he argues.

Carbon footprint

“Let’s be clear about this. If the top 10 high emitters – people like you and me and others – if we reduce our carbon footprint just to the level of the average European, it would be a one-third cut in global emissions.

“I genuinely think we could achieve it in one year, but we would have to think that climate change is a very serious issue, and that has big political implications.”

Anderson, who already avoids flying when he can, made his comments in the run-up to a talk he will give on 9 March at Cambridge University in the UK.

“We need to make sure that we are not
living in larger houses and have many
houses, and drive larger cars”

This is part of the Cambridge Climate Lecture Series, a new town-and-gown initiative, shared between the university and the city and designed to rekindle debate on global warming.

Anderson is convinced that wealthy westerners must act decisively and radically to change their lifestyles.

“Those of us who are high emitters …. need to rapidly curtail how often we fly. We should not be flying on any occasion business class or first class because that has far higher emissions. We need to find alternatives to flying.

“But in addition we need to make sure that we are not living in larger houses and have many houses, and drive larger cars.

“Our high incomes allow us to have status in society and typically have larger carbon footprints. It is a real challenge for us in that position, because we have to significantly change our lives in the short term and find other ways of seeing value for hard work.”

UK commitment

Anderson plans to use his talk to explain what kind of personal, societal and corporate changes need to be made in Britain to meet the UK government’s commitment under the Paris climate change agreement.

He said during the Paris negotiations that he thought there was only a slim chance – less than 10% – that the world could manage to stop temperatures rising by more than 1.5°C over their pre-industrial level. This week the World Meteorological Organisation confirmed that they are already about 1.1°C higher than before the Industrial Revolution.

The Manchester academic will argue for steps to be taken to allow for a rapid reduction in energy demand alongside a ramping up of low-carbon power generation.

Other speakers in the series include Baroness Bryony Worthington, an architect of the UK’s 2008 Climate Change Act and founder of Sandbag, and Anthony Hobley, chief executive of the Carbon Tracker Initiative, a not-for-profit financial thinktank.

The meetings will be chaired by Emily Shuckburgh, deputy head of polar oceans at the British Antarctic Survey and the co-author of a forthcoming book, Climate Change. – Climate News Network

 

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Facebook’s Prineville data centre in Oregon: Demand just goes on growing. Image: Tom Raftery (Flickr) via Wikimedia Commons

Video Demand Drives Up Global CO2 Emissions

Written By Richard Sadler @ Climate News Network:

Sitting back and watching your favourite streamed TV series may seem harmless enough – but video demand is leaving a hefty carbon footprint.

LONDON, 31 January, 2017 – The internet is fast becoming a major source of global carbon emissions – and the main cause is video demand, the increasing popularity of “real time” streamed video content.

Video streaming to internet-enabled TVs, game consoles and mobile devices already accounts for more than 60% of all data traffic – and the latest forecasts suggest this will rise to more than 80% by 2020.

Increasingly, viewers across the world are watching films and TV series in real time through subscriptions to Netflix or Amazon, while social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are offering more and more streamed video content for free.

This is driving a dizzying increase in the amount of information that needs to be stored and transmitted by power-hungry data centres.  Up until 2003 the world had accumulated a total of five exabytes – five billion gigabytes –  of stored digital content. By 2015 that amount was being consumed every two days, as annual consumption reached 870 exabytes.

As more video is streamed and more of the world’s population goes online, annual data traffic is forecast to reach 2,300 exabytes by 2019

Pressure for renewables

The IT sector already consumes around 7% of electricity worldwide, and as data traffic rises, demand from data centres alone could reach 13% of global electricity consumption by 2030. 

Now leading video content providers are coming under increasing pressure to show what proportion of their power derives from fossil fuels.

A recent report by Greenpeace USA acknowledges that social media platform Facebook has made significant progress towards its target for 100% of its electricity to come from renewables, following support from millions of its users for Greenpeace’s  2011 “Unfriend coal” campaign. Google and Apple receive praise for progress towards similar commitments made in 2012.

However, major providers of video streaming content including Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu are criticised for sourcing more than half of their energy from coal or natural gas.

“The dramatic increase in the number of data centres … dominated by utilities that have little to no renewable energy is driving a similarly dramatic increase in the consumption of coal and natural gas”

Cloud computing market leader Amazon Web Services is credited for taking important steps towards renewables but censured for lack of transparency and heavy reliance on new data centres in the state of Virginia powered mainly by fossil fuels.

Elsewhere the lack of access to renewable energy from monopoly utilities in East Asia is seen as a major obstacle towards creating a renewably-powered internet in the region. 

The report concludes: “The dramatic increase in the number of data centres … dominated by utilities that have little to no renewable energy is driving a similarly dramatic increase in the consumption of coal and natural gas.”

Attempting to express the effect of increasing internet traffic in terms of emissions is fraught with difficulty, but one study, published in the journal Environmental Research Lettershas calculated that in 2011 Americans streamed 3.2 billion hours of video.

This would have consumed 25 petajoules of energy (estimated at about the annual consumption of 175,000 US households), resulting in 1.3 billion kilograms of CO2 emissions.

Efficiency limits

The lead author, Arman Shehabi, a research scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California, said the IT sector had so far managed to offset its soaring electricity needs by designing more energy-efficient data centres. But there was a limit to how far energy efficiency could go.

“The growth in video streaming is enormous just based on the size of the companies that are providing these services – but they are still reaching only a small part of the global population and we can imagine that’s going to just keep increasing,” he said.

“You’re still going to have this growth of more and more servers needed. We’ve seen some good efficiency measures but we’re getting close to the end of that – we can’t go out much further – and with video streaming there’s no end in sight.”

He added that another major driver of future growth in data traffic would be the Internet of Things –  remote digital sensors, devices and driverless cars connected to the internet. – Climate News Network

 

 

Study: Dramatic Acceleration In Global Loss Of Wild Forests

In Uncategorized on January 31, 2017 at 7:24 pm
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A forest in Laos, one of four countries in danger of losing all of their natural wild woodland within 20 years. Image: JakobErde via Flickr

Oldspeak: “And is the world listening? Probably not. The planet’s stock of natural wild woodland – the technical term is intact forest landscape – which protects biodiversity, stores carbon and manages the water supply, is dwindling.

A new study calculates that the area of intact forest landscape shrank over the first 13 years of this century by almost 1 million square kilometres, and the rate of loss has accelerated dramatically in the most recent three years.” –Tim Radford

“No the world is not listening. It’s not terribly important apparently that a major part of Earth’s life supporting ecology, is dwindling, and the rate of loss is accelerating. Most 1st world humans are really pissed off at Donald Trump right now… Stomping around in the streets about his inauguration & executive orders. Never mind that Department of Agriculture, Department of Health and Human Services and Environmental Protection Agency  and National Park Service staff are all reportedly subject to gagging orders. Muslim are being banned! SMDH…. As is status quo, forests will continue to be destroyed on an industrial scale, for paper products, palm oil, & industrial agriculture. Profit is Paramount, consumption must continue to grow for this system to continue to function optimally. Unfortunately for us, that omnicidal imperative is incompatible with objective reality. “-OSJ

Written By Tim Radford @ Climate News Network:

Almost 1 million square kilometres of natural forest disappeared between the year 2000 and 2013, along with its ability to absorb carbon and reduce warming.

LONDON, 25 January, 2017 Here is how to turn a forest into a carbon-consuming machine that will help contain global warming. Leave it alone. Let it grow. Do not log it. It will sequester only so much carbon, but there are sure to be other benefits, according to some fresh thinking by a distinguished plant ecologist.

And is the world listening? Probably not. The planet’s stock of natural wild woodland – the technical term is intact forest landscape – which protects biodiversity, stores carbon and manages the water supply, is dwindling.

A new study calculates that the area of intact forest landscape shrank over the first 13 years of this century by almost 1 million square kilometres, and the rate of loss has accelerated dramatically in the most recent three years.

Research such as this is vital because, although the most visible attempts to reduce global warming and mitigate climate change depend on lowering greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel combustion, there is another, parallel, approach: to limit the emissions that spring from land use change, chiefly by preserving natural forests.

Forest carbon

Christian Körner of the University of Basel in Switzerland argues in the journal Science that forest trees will sequester more atmospheric carbon than they release only while they stay alive.

Trees may grow faster in response to rising temperatures and the fertilising stimulus of more available carbon dioxide, but if the lifespan shrinks as a consequence, any gain will be shortlived.

So commercial plantations are not the answer. He and colleagues at Basel have already demonstrated that mature forests are intricate vegetable co-operatives that have devised intricate ways of sharing resources and managing nutrients.

Other studies have separately confirmed that old forest giants paradoxically store more carbon than young, fast-growing competitors, and that natural, highly diverse woodland is a better instrument for atmospheric carbon absorption.

“The most effective way to enhance forest carbon storage,” Professor Körner writes, “is to prevent logging old-growth forests and to extend the forested land area. Once these new forests reach their storage capacity, they will not sequester additional carbon, irrespective of how fast trees grow and turn over carbon.”

Intactness is hard to gain … That is why
intact landscapes should be treated as having
high (or even the highest) conservation value”

So to contain global warming, natural forests must be protected. But forest is being lost: burned, felled, or cleared for farmland or mineral extraction.

Scientists from the US, Russia, Germany and Canada report in Science Advances that they used satellite data to monitor changes from 2000 to 2013 in intact forest landscape.

They define this as “a seamless mosaic of forests and associated natural treeless ecosystems that exhibit no remotely detected signs of human activity or habitat fragmentation and are large enough to maintain all native biological diversity, including viable populations of wide-ranging species”.

And they found that these landscapes dwindled by 919,000 square kilometres over the first 13 years of this century. Altogether, at the beginning of the century, 65 countries could boast these intact forest landscapes.

Russia surrendered 179,000 sq km, Brazil 157,000 sq km and Canada 142,000 sq km: this alone added up to 52% of the total. Romania lost all its intact landscapes; Paraguay 79% of them.

Rate of loss

And, the scientists warn, if this rate of loss continues, Paraguay, Laos, Cambodia and Equatorial Guinea will lose all their intact forest landscapes within the next 20 years.

Logging was the principal agency of loss, and farming expansion came second. Palm oil plantation accounted for just 0.2% of the total loss. Fires linked to human action accounted for 21%. In Australia, 64% of loss could be linked to gold and other mineral exploitation.

The authors warn that the density of stored carbon in tropical climates was far greater in these intact forest landscapes than in the rest of the forest zone.

But these same intact landscapes can be “reduced very rapidly, in a matter of months and years, by increased fragmentation and access, even without changes in tree canopy cover.

On the other hand, intactness is hard to gain, at least within a short time span. That is why intact landscapes should be treated as having high (or even the highest) conservation value.” Climate News Network

“We are running out of time…”Gorillas, Chimpanzees, Orangutans — Our Great Ape Cousins Teeter On The Precipice Of Extinction

In Uncategorized on January 25, 2017 at 7:34 pm
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An assessment of 504 primate species found that 60 percent are on track toward extinction, and 75 percent are decreasing in number. There are roughly 900 remaining mountain gorillas (pictured) on Earth. (Photo: SharonGraySalmons / Flickr)

Oldspeak: “America’s Resident Oranguntan-in-Chief should be paying attention but is probably more concerned with his inauguration crowd size. SO yeah. That’s happening. Lifeforms that share 98% of our DNA are going fucking extinct. If that’s not a canary in the coal mine keeling over I don’t know what is.  We humans are enveloped in this sick delusion that we are somehow exempt from the laws of nature. Not subject to the laws of physics or thermodynamics. But the reality is pretty clear cut. We cannot go on destroying habitat and hunting to extinction other lifeforms indefinitely. There are only so many here. Their habitat is our habitat. Our fates are connected. We cannot go on consuming and poisoning organic biomass, that exists in finite amounts, faster than it can be replenished. “Since the 1970s, humanity has been in ecological overshoot, with annual demand on resources exceeding what Earth can regenerate each year. Today humanity uses the equivalent of 1.6 Earths to provide the resources we use and absorb our waste. This means it now takes the Earth one year and six months to regenerate what we use in a year. We use more ecological resources and services than nature can regenerate through overfishing, overharvesting forests, and emitting more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than forests can sequester.” Our continued willful ignorance of the natural order of this Life giving Great Mother of ours will likely bring about our demise sooner than we know it.” -OSJ

Written By John C. Cannon @ Mongabay:

Gorillas, chimpanzees, orangutans — our great ape cousins teeter on the precipice of extinction. And it’s not much of a secret that we humans have had a lot to do with putting them there.

But what about the other primates? The news isn’t much better, it turns out.

According to a new study, 60 percent of primates — including drills and gibbons, lemurs and tarsiers, bush babies and spider monkeys — face the threat of extinction. Even those not in immediate danger of dying out are at risk, as the numbers of three-quarters of all primate species are trending downward.

“The figures suggest that we may be reaching a tipping point or perhaps we are already there,” said Alejandro Estrada, lead author of the study and a senior research scientist at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, in an email to Mongabay. He and 30 other primatologists published their research in the journal Science Advances.

Estrada said that he and fellow author Paul Garber of the University of Illinois noticed that, for all the research on specific primates in specific areas, what was missing was a broader understanding of conservation and threats for all primates.

But that’s not an easy undertaking. Primates are a huge and diverse group with 504 species by the authors’ count. The only other mammal orders with more species are the bats and the rodents.

The team began by pulling together information from published research, the IUCN Red List, and UN databases to puzzle out where primate populations are headed and why.

2017.1.24.Apes.1

Pied tamarins (Saguinus bicolor), which are listed as endangered by the IUCN, are restricted to around 900,000 hectares of habitat around Manaus, Brazil — an area that has seen significant land cover change over the past decade. Data from the University of Maryland and visualized on Global Forest Watch show the region lost around 6 percent of its tree cover between 2001 and 2014, and its Intact Forest Landscapes — areas undisturbed and large enough to retain their native biodiversity — are fragmented and degrading. (Photo by Stavenn via Wikimedia Commons (CC 3.0) / Range approximated based on data from the IUCN)

The researchers tabulated the threats, statuses and conservation efforts for primates in 90 countries across Central and South America, Asia, mainland Africa, and Madagascar.

“What was surprising from our global analysis is that many species in the four regions are threatened and a higher number have their populations declining,” Estrada said.

For example, nearly 90 percent of Madagascar’s more than 100 primate species are threatened.

Apes in Asia aren’t faring much better, as anyone who studies orangutans will attest. Around 73 percent of primates there face an uncertain future, and the global demand for palm oil has pushed the two species of orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus and Pongo abelii) to the brink of extinction in Southeast Asia.

The statistics for primates in the Americas and continental Africa are marginally less dire as a whole. A little more than a third are considered threatened. But hidden in those figures are extreme cases, like the roughly 900 remaining mountain gorillas (Gorilla beringei beringei).

Monkeys and apes in Africa and Central and South America face the same increasing dangers that have driven down numbers elsewhere in the world. At the top of the list is the expansion of agriculture, which threatens 76 percent of all species worldwide, the researchers write.

Between 1990 and 2010, we humans took over around 1.5 million hectares (about 5,790 square miles) for farming — three times the size of France. And forest cover loss, which is critical habitat for many primates, was even greater at 2 million hectares (7,722 square miles), according to the study.

Logging and ranching have also opened up huge areas that were once primate domain.

And it’s not just the complete destruction of ecosystems that causes problems. When pastures, farms and plantations wedge into primate territory, it can leave groups of the same species on increasingly disconnected islands of livable space. The authors report that we’ve carved up — or fragmented — almost half the world’s tropical forests and 58 percent of its subtropical forests.

“Ultimately, the biggest threat is loss of habitat, without a doubt,” said Martha Robbins, a primatologist at Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, who was not involved in the research. “I don’t think it should be a surprise to anybody that, with increasing human population growth and increasing human consumption, we are just using more and more habitat.”

Robbins praised the extent of the research, adding, “It does an excellent job of summarizing the state of primate conservation.”

In particular, she was happy to see that the team had teased apart not only the direct causes leading toward the extinction of certain primates, such as hunting, which threatens 60 percent of primates (and many other mammal species). They also drilled down to the underlying causes for those activities, such as the pervasive human poverty often found around areas where primates live.

With that framework, the authors put forth more than a dozen potential approaches that could help staunch primate declines, ranging from lowering the market demands in richer countries that enable the trade of primates to campaigns aimed at the next generation on the importance of protecting these animals.

“Deforestation, unsustainable hunting and illegal trade could be rapidly addressed via education programs applicable to children, young adults and adults,” Estrada said.

2017.1.24.Apes.2

The Udzungwa red colobus monkey (Piliocolobus gordonorum) is restricted to Tanzania’s Udzungwa Mountains and is listed by the IUCN as Endangered due primarily to habitat loss. According to data from the University of Maryland, its range lost around 4.5 percent of its tree cover from 2001 through 2014, and the area’s dense forest appears fragmented in satellite imagery. (Photo by Stavage via Wikimedia Commons (CC 3.0) / Range approximated based on data from the IUCN)

But it can’t be just a one-off investment, he said. “This approach would need to be continuous over the long-term, rather than being a short-term effort.”

Robbins pointed out the paradox with many of these keys to protecting primates.

“In some ways, the solutions are extremely easy,” she said. “Don’t chop down the forest, stop illegal trade in animals, find ways of reducing disease.

“All of the solutions in and of themselves are very obvious. It’s just implementing them and really making a change is what is so difficult.”

The study also revealed that for many primates, data is scarce, Estrada said. Even now, scientists are still coming across undiscovered species, like the recently unveiled Skywalker gibbon (Hoolock tianxing), a mountain-dwelling ape that lives in China and Myanmar.

“Our arsenal of scientific knowledge on the natural history, ecology, behavior and biology for most primate species is particularly poor,” Estrada said. “There is an urgent need for many more field studies to gain a clear understanding of species flexibility when faced with anthropogenic threats.”

A big question mark for primatologists is how their study subjects will respond to climate change. In a step toward finding some answers, Estrada and his colleagues compiled a phylogenetic analysis of 340 primates — the largest-ever look at the underlying connections between primate species ever undertaken.

“Usually, closely related species share aspects of their basic biology, such as body size, reproductive physiology, diet, behavior and even geographic distribution,” Estrada said. “Such relatedness may make species sensitive to, for example…natural shifts in the distribution of their habitats, or to human pressures resulting in habitat reduction or loss, hunting, [or] climate change.”

Based on these connections, scientists may be able to use what they know about one species to predict how a threat might impact another.

“Due to their low population numbers and the intensity of threats, we may soon have a cascade of human-driven primate species extinctions,” Estrada said. The new research underscores an urgent need for more nuanced understanding of primates, while at the same time addressing the barrage of pressures we humans level at them.

Estrada said he’s optimistic about our chances of success, but he remains realistic: “We are running out of time for much of this.”

CITATIONS:

  • Estrada, A., Garber, P. A., Rylands, A. B., Roos, C., Fernandez-Duque, E., Di Fiore, A., … Li, B. (2017). Impending extinction crisis of the world’s primates: Why primates matter. Science Advances, 3(1). Retrieved from http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/3/1/e1600946.abstract
  • Greenpeace, University of Maryland, World Resources Institute and Transparent World. “Intact Forest Landscapes. 2000/2013” Accessed through Global Forest Watch on January 18, 2017. http://www.globalforestwatch.org
  • Hansen, M. C., P. V. Potapov, R. Moore, M. Hancher, S. A. Turubanova, A. Tyukavina, D. Thau, S. V. Stehman, S. J. Goetz, T. R. Loveland, A. Kommareddy, A. Egorov, L. Chini, C. O. Justice, and J. R. G. Townshend. 2013. “High-Resolution Global Maps of 21st-Century Forest Cover Change.” Science 342 (15 November): 850–53. Data available on-line from: http://earthenginepartners.appspot.com/science-2013-global-forest. Accessed through Global Forest Watch on January 18, 2017. http://www.globalforestwatch.org

 

 

“We’re anticipating an acceleration of temperature changes on a multi-decadal time scale”: NASA Data Shows Global Warming Accelerating Over Next 20 Years

In Uncategorized on January 23, 2017 at 2:07 pm

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Oldspeak: “While The Big Cheeto instructs his minions to do away with all references to climate change on the WhiteHouse.gov webpage, Our Great Mother gives ZERO FUCKS. Our Girl is likely to be pumpin up the volume BIGLY over the the course of the next 20 years. This, In the wake of news that 2016 marked the 3rd straight hottest year ever; a period of extreme global temperature rise that has the world’s atmosphere and oceans are now hotter than they’ve been in at least the past 100,000 years.  Get set to fry kids!” -OSJ

Written By Brian Johnston @ U.K. Independent:

The idea that global warming “paused” has been comprehensively refuted by the record warm temperatures over the last three years – and the rate of increase could soon start to accelerate, a leading Nasa scientist has warned.

Dr Gavin Schmidt, director of Nasa’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, said some people had been “confused” by temperatures that were below the average rate of increase, mistaking what was simply a blip as the sign of a long-term trend.

But the last three years have each seen successive, record average global temperatures, according to Nasa’s figures, partly fuelled by the natural El Nino effect, but mostly because of human-induced climate change.

This, Dr Schmidt said, was “almost certainly” just another blip as random factors take temperatures above the average rising trend, which remains virtually the same as it has since the late 1990s.

But he also said the rising amount of energy being put into the atmosphere and oceans as a result of greenhouse gas emissions had led scientists to believe the pace of global warming would get faster over the next decades.

Writing on the Real Climate website, Dr Schmidt asked himself whether he had to “mention the ‘pause’”.

“Apparently yes,” he said. “The last three years have demonstrated abundantly clearly that there is no change in the long-term trends since 1998.

“A prediction from 1997 merely continuing the linear trends would significantly under-predict the last two years.

“The difference isn’t yet sufficient to state that the trends are accelerating, but that might not be too far off.”

He said it was perfectly reasonable for scientists to analyse variations in climate on a yearly basis.

But he added that the figures “should serve as a reminder that short-term variations should not be conflated with long-term trends. One is not predictive of the other”.

Speaking to The Independent, Dr Schmidt said discussions about annual changes in temperature before the record warmth of the last three years had been exploited by some in a reference to those known as “sceptics” or “deniers”.

“None of them are going to be jumping up and saying ‘look how much it’s warmed since 2014’, none of them are going to say that,” he said.

“The whole thing was somewhat delusional from the beginning.

“It’s not that today is warmer than yesterday or this year is warmer than last year. It’s the long-term trend – that’s what we’re talking about.

“So this notion that global warming has stopped was bunk from the start.”

While he said the recent high temperatures were equally likely to be statistical noise, studies of how much extra energy is being absorbed by the atmosphere and particularly the oceans suggest global warming is going to gather pace over the next 20 years or so.

“The fact there’s more energy coming into the system than is leaving, we think that’s increasing over time,” Dr Schmidt said.

“The larger that difference gets, the faster we think things will warm. We’re anticipating an acceleration of temperature changes on a multi-decadal time scale.”

 

G20 Agriculture Ministers Seek To Protect Dwindling Water Supplies

In Uncategorized on January 23, 2017 at 1:29 pm

People arrive for the G20 agriculture ministers meeting in Berlin

Oldspeak:”We commit to approaches that improve sustainability of water use in food and agricultural production while ensuring food security and nutrition in accordance with our multilateral trade commitmentsWe will protect water and water-related ecosystems by encouraging water-friendly, sustainable agricultural practices and technologies that enhance the water quality and resilience of water bodiesWe are therefore committed to developing and implementing corresponding strategies at the national level.” -G20 Statement, 1/22/2017

“This my friends is a prime example of Orwellian doublespeak. Sustainable water use is  impossible in a system of unsustainable and ecologically incompatible agricultural production. Food security for all, particularly the worlds poorest, cannot be ensured while “multilateral trade commitments” that create conditions for inequitable and “market-based” distribution of resources are honored. Water cannot be protected while ecosystem killing dams are built. Water cannot be protected while pollution from towns and cities, industry and agriculture directly affect water supplies for people and freshwater ecosystems. Water cannot be protected while oil pipelines crisscross and fracked gas wells are drilled into and around the Earth’s watersheds, poisoning them irreparably. Water cannot be conserved with this many humans on the planet, throwing the ecology further out of balance with each fresh-faced baby born. Water bodies cannot be made more resilient as we use our oceans & rivers for waste dumping grounds. But yes, let our grand exalted & eminent agriculture ministers expend more carbon and resources to continue pontificating disingenuously about protecting water. Such bullshit. Enjoy the Kabuki Theater! ” -OSJ

Written By Michael Hogan @ Reuters:

Greater global efforts should be taken to safeguard precious world water supplies to secure food production, the agriculture ministers of the group of 20 leading economies (G20) said on Sunday.

“We commit to approaches that improve sustainability of water use in food and agricultural production while ensuring food security and nutrition in accordance with our multilateral trade commitments,” they said in a statement after meeting in Berlin.

Climate change, the growing world population and demands for industrialization have put a strain on global water supplies, with the impact felt on rich and poor nations.

The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation warned in December that 12 million people across Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia need food aid as farmers struggle with the impact of repeated droughts, compelling Ethiopia to make major wheat imports.

Saudi Arabia has been ending its crop farming to save precious water and has been importing food instead.

“We will protect water and water-related ecosystems by encouraging water-friendly, sustainable agricultural practices and technologies that enhance the water quality and resilience of water bodies,” the G20 statement on Sunday said.

“We are therefore committed to developing and implementing corresponding strategies at the national level,” it added.

Global farming needs sustainable water supplies to feed the growing world population and provide the basis for world peace and stability, the meeting’s host, German agriculture minister Christian Schmidt, said.

“Agriculture is a part of global security politics,” he said.

The G20 ministers also committed themselves to reducing animal diseases but to prevent the unnecessary use of antibiotic drugs in farming.

Germany took over the presidency of the G20 group of leading economies in late 2016, a platform Chancellor Angela Merkel wants to use to safeguard multilateral cooperation.

(Editing by Greg Mahlich)

Mocking, Marching, Stopping The Hate And Dumping Trump Are Not Enough

In Uncategorized on January 21, 2017 at 3:10 pm

Oldspeak: #StopTheHate. #DumpTrump. #BeUngovernable. #StopTrump and #NotMyPresident and most of the meme stashes and joke repositories do not scare the STATE because they offer no door for people to recognize, let alone question the system, nor the personalities it throws up.

If we aim to build a movement that cannot be co-opted by Democrats again and again, our hashtags, memes and messages have to educate our people, not just eviscerate Trump. Sure denouncing and hitting the streets to make fun of Big Cheeto is just that. It’s fun, and maybe theraputic too. But as good as they make us feel, storms of ridicule failed to drive Ronald Reagan or George W. Bush from office, and our scorn of Reagan didn’t prevent two presidents Bush or Clinton either. Our mocking of “W” didn’t hold Obama accountable either.

Big protests, especially the permitted kind that take place on weekends, marching through canyons of empty office buildings, sometime with hilarious puppets, some of us being chased by police are routine, almost traditional pageantry by now. Mass protests don’t have magical powers. Ten million people hit the streets the weeks before Bush unleashed bombs over Baghdad, and those bombs still fell. Even street actions without permits are not going to trigger anything like general strikes and uprisings. We just are not there yet…

These are the limitations of #StopHateDumpTrump and a hundred other hashtags, petitions and meme stashes. Donald Trump is already the most unpopular president in US history, and he hasn’t even been sworn in. Fixating on Trump’s despicable statements and personal history doesn’t help us target the system that produced him and the next ones after him.” –Bruce A. Dixon

“BEHOLD! The Grand and Fantabulous Illusion Of Participation! On display, around the world, in all it’s majesty and pageantry replete with celebrity appearances! In what amounts to a ginormous transnational 2 Minutes Hate, the disgruntled proles have gathered en masse in the streets with the gracious authorization of the vicious state that brutalizes and dominates them, to march, scream and yell for a few hours, bloviate about hope, people power, voting, resistance, “The Movement”, civil rights & Women’s rights, gleefully consuming incalculable amounts of precious and dwindling resources for commemorative T-Shirts, “Pussy Hats” and protest signs galore, then cheerfully return to their homes to participate in the same omnicidal system that is destroying us and our Great Mother. I  just heard a reporter say “They had to cancel the march part of the march in chicago because there were too many people.” Exactly. This is manufactured dissent par excellence. This event is a perfect example of what Chomsky said:

The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum – even encourage the more critical and dissident views. That gives people the sense that there’s free thinking going on, while all the time the presuppositions of the system are being reinforced by the limits put on the range of the debate.”

“While “protest” is encouraged and authorized by the state, the spectrum of dissent allowed is limited to Trump.  The system that begat him, Obama, Bush, Clinton, Bush, Reagan and the other corprocratic system managers before them is not questioned. Except by those labeled, “radical”, “communist”, “anarchist”, “dissident”, “conspiracy theorist” etc, etc, etc…. Those whose opinions fall outside the acceptable spectrum. And They are generally ignored & ridiculed. Thank You Mr. Dixon. My sentiments EXACTLY. ‘Ignorance Is Strength.'” -OSJ

Written By Bruce A. Dixon @ Black Agenda Report:

#StopTheHate. #DumpTrump. #BeUngovernable. #StopTrump #NotMyPresident – as if any of them ever was. Show up and show out in DC this week, or in your own home town. If there’s no march or demo near you, get on social media (and the phone) and organize one. Sure. We at Black Agenda Report are down with all that. It’s pretty much necessary. But dumping Trump and stopping the hate are far from sufficient. Why?

Our brother and friend Cornel West published a piece last week that spelled out the popular fallacy. He was talking about Obama, but he could have meant the next president too. Cornel said that “character is destiny,” as if we were ruled by replaceable characters rather than a replaceable system.

The truth is that if Hillary was being sworn in Friday instead of Big Cheeto we’d still be spending half the nation’s wealth yearly on a murderous global military empire with over a thousand overseas bases. We’d still be bombing seven countries and operating networks of global torture, kidnapping and secret prisons. If Hillary was president the US would still have the two biggest air forces on the planet, the first being the USAF, the second being the US Navy.

#StopTheHate. #DumpTrump. #BeUngovernable. #StopTrump and #NotMyPresident and most of the meme stashes and joke repositories do not scare the Pentagon because they offer no door for people to recognize, let alone question the system, not the personalities it throws up. They DO allow the lazy and credulous among us to imagine as Democrats tell us, that “character is destiny,” and Democratic operatives to reinforce that message.

But if a Democrat were installed in the White House till 2020 the black unemployment rate would be about the same as it’s been the last half century, about double the white rate. If a Democrat were in the White House hundreds of thousands with full time jobs would still be homeless and millions more an arbitrary paycheck from it. If a Democrat were in the White House we’d still have 2 million plus people in prisons and jails, mostly black and brown, and gentrification of inner cities and privatization of public education and public resources would continue apace. Big Pharma and Big Insurance, military contractors and corporate media monopolies and parasitic hedge funders would get still fatter off privatized nature, racketeering and theft of the commons.

#StopTheHate. #DumpTrump. #BeUngovernable. #StopTrump and #NotMyPresident don’t scare the Democrat billionaires who who backed Clinton or the Republican ones behind Trump. None of them offer ordinary people a handle to recognize the capitalist system as the problem rather than the despicable character of Donald Trump.

If somebody other than Trump were being sworn in the banksters who targeted millions of low income families with predatory loans and were rewarded with bailouts while the homeowners got millions of evictions – thieves would still be too big to fail or jail. Median black family wealth, as consequence of the housing meltdown fell from a tenth to a twentieth the median for white families. Thousands of water shutoffs per week would continue in Detroit, Baltimore and other places. #StopTrump and marches with big puppets don’t encourage us to remember any of that.

Nearly 95% of all the jobs created in the Obama era were part time and/or without benefits. Does anybody believe Hillary “America is already great!” Clinton has any problem with that? Employers steal more of workers wages than the total of all armed robberies, and annually force millions of workers to declare themselves “independent contractors” ineligible for unemployment and other benefits, and not counted among the unemployed when their jobs end or they are fired. That’s one of the reasons the White House can claim a phony 4.5% unemployment rate when only 66% of the eligible workforce is employed and the real rate may be in the 20-25% range.

#StopTheHate. #DumpTrump. #BeUngovernable. #StopTrump and #NotMyPresident don’t invite us to dive into any of the crimes committed by Democrats, only into the character of Trump. Even #SaveOurHealthCare allows Democrats to pretend that the Affordable Care Act was NOT a blanket full of holes that offered skimpy expensive insurance NOT health care to only half the uninsured and fat subsidies to Big Insurance and Big Pharma. It doesn’t lead us to fight for #SinglePayer which Obamacare was actually engineered to prevent.

Ridicule Is Not Enough.

If we aim to build a movement that cannot be co-opted by Democrats again and again, our hashtags, memes and messages have to educate our people, not just eviscerate Trump. Sure denouncing and hitting the streets to make fun of Big Cheeto is just that. It’s fun, and maybe theraputic too. But as good as they make us feel, storms of ridicule failed to drive Ronald Reagan or George W. Bush from office, and our scorn of Reagan didn’t prevent two presidents Bush or Clinton either. Our mocking of “W” didn’t hold Obama accountable either.

Big protests, especially the permitted kind that take place on weekends, marching through canyons of empty office buildings, sometime with hilarious puppets, some of us being chased by police are routine, almost traditional pageantry by now. Mass protests don’t have magical powers. Ten million people hit the streets the weeks before Bush unleashed bombs over Baghdad, and those bombs still fell. Even street actions without permits are not going to trigger anything like general strikes and uprisings. We just are not there yet. And even Hillary Clinton has learned how to use the word “intersectionality” in a sentence.

These are the limitations of #StopHateDumpTrump and a hundred other hashtags, petitions and meme stashes. Donald Trump is already the most unpopular president in US history, and he hasn’t even been sworn in. Fixating on Trump’s despicable statements and personal history doesn’t help us target the system that produced him and the next ones after him.

Worst of all are Democrat stooges, especially black ones like John Lewis and Donna Brazile, who claim without need of any proof, that the Russians hacked the presidential election to install the Donald. These folks are clearly fronting for another, equally reprehensible faction of the US ruling elite, one that knows it can make a lot more money off a cold or hot war with Russia than they do off the shadowy “war against terror.”

It’s crystal clear that Democrats need us to limit ourselves to throwing figurative and personalized rocks at Big Cheeto. When Democrats focus on impeachable offenses they trot out his conflicts of interest, but not the mass surveillance state, the drone wars and the many other offenses he will share in common with Democratic occupants of the White House.

So while mocking Donald Trump is big fun, just like it was with Reagan and “Dubya” Bush, we gotta go deeper. If we aim to change the system and not just the personalities, our hashtags, memes, activism and messaging must do more than just mock the persons and selected stands Trump and his minions. We have to attack the positions he shares with Democrats. Ridicule is indispensable, but targeting persons doesn’t change systems. We need to educate while we eviscerate. If we can’t do that, we’re just warming up crowds for Corey Booker or the next Democrat.

It ’s just #NotEnuff2DumpTrump

Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report and co-chair of the GA Green party. He lives and works near Marietta GA and can be reached via email at bruce.dixon@blackagendareport.com

Study Finds Northeast U.S. Is Warming Much Faster Than Global Average, Could Be At Dangerous 2C Threshold 2 Decades Before Rest Of The World

In Uncategorized on January 18, 2017 at 2:48 pm

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Oldspeak: “UMass geosciences professor Raymond Bradley, an author on the study, said this benchmark lulls many “into a false sense of security, thinking that the 2-degrees C target is somehow a ‘safe’ limit for climate change.”

“But the 2°C number is a global average, and many regions will warm more, and warm more rapidly, than the earth as a whole,” he said in a statement. “Our study shows that the northeast United States is one of those regions where warming will proceed very rapidly, so that if and when the global target is reached, we will already be experiencing much higher temperatures, with all of the related ecological, hydrological and agricultural consequences.

“Our Great Mother, it seems is not without a sense of Irony. The Cradle of Globalized Industrial Civilization where its most toxic fuel, what many native people see as our Great Mother’s blood, crude oil was first extracted on an industrial scale, will burn first. Fitting  then, that Natural Justice is served most expediently here.” -OSJ

Written By Ari Phillips @ Fusion Media:

A new study by researchers at the UMass Amherst Northeast Climate Science Center (NECSC) suggests that temperatures in their neck of the woods will increase much faster than the global average. Published in PLOS ONE, the study found that temperatures across the northeastern United States could reach the critical 2-degrees Celsius warming threshold up to two decades before the rest of the world does.

The Paris Agreement, which was ratified late last year and which President-elect Donald Trump has threatened to undermine, calls for the global community to limit temperature rise to 2°C (3.6°F), and even 1.5°C (1.8°F) if possible.

UMass geosciences professor Raymond Bradley, an author on the study, said this benchmark lulls many “into a false sense of security, thinking that the 2-degrees C target is somehow a ‘safe’ limit for climate change.”

“But the 2°C number is a global average, and many regions will warm more, and warm more rapidly, than the earth as a whole,” he said in a statement. “Our study shows that the northeast United States is one of those regions where warming will proceed very rapidly, so that if and when the global target is reached, we will already be experiencing much higher temperatures, with all of the related ecological, hydrological and agricultural consequences.”

According to the climate models used by Bradley and NECSC postdoctoral researcher Ambarish Karmalkar, the contiguous United States—the lower 48—is projected to cross the 2°C warming threshold about 10 to 20 years earlier than the global mean annual temperature. The Northeast is projected to warm by 3°C (5.2°F) by the time global warming reaches 2°C (3.6°F).

“Although there is uncertainty in the timing of exactly when the 1.5 and 2°C thresholds will be crossed regionally, over 80% of the models project at least 2°C warming by 2050 for all regions for the high emissions scenario,” they write.

They also note that regional precipitation projections for the eastern U.S. under a warmer climate anticipate wetter winters.

Many studies consider the 2°C target of global warming to be overly optimistic as global emissions are still tracking to high-end plausible scenarios, according to the researchers. One recent study found that the 2°C target won’t be met unless clean technologies are developed and implemented at rates 10 times faster than in the past.

Even if countries do meet their pledges under the Paris Agreement, a recent United Nations report found that warming of between 2.9°C to 3.4°C—or up to 6.1°F—is likely by the end of the century if countries don’t commit to cutting another quarter off predicted 2030 greenhouse gas emissions.

In fact, significant warming is already here. The world recently passed the 1°C threshold, and the average global temperature for large parts of 2016 approached the 1.5°C warming threshold agreed to by COP 21 negotiators.

Last year was the second warmest on record in the U.S.— only 2012 was warmer.

“The breadth of the 2016 warmth is unparalleled in the nation’s climate history,” NOAA said in a statement about the news. “No other year had as many states breaking or close to breaking their warmest annual average temperature.”

Maybe if the Northeast gets warm enough soon enough, the steadfast climate change deniers in the region will start to be swayed by the local empirical evidence, since not much else seems to have an impact.

For now, the U.S. is bogged down in confirmation hearings that highlight how low a priority climate change is for the incoming Cabinet and the Trump administration as a whole. On Wednesday, Trump’s pick for secretary of state, former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson, said the risk of climate change does exist, but he dramatically played down the potential consequences.

Tillerson employed a common climate change denier tactic of placing the blame on climate scientists, saying we (they) have a “very limited” ability to predict what is happening to the planet’s climate due to our emissions. With studies like this one on local U.S. temperature changes, scientists are doing their best to predict human impact on the planet. As part of the process, they acknowledge any inherent uncertainty of their research right there in the studies themselves. To brush aside their findings as inconclusive and irrelevant is to insult the scientific process and to ignore reality.