This is a newsroll page on A Socialist In Canada, commencing September 2017. It consists of headlines and weblinks, with occasional news summary and brief analysis by A Socialist In Canada [in square brackets]. For months preceding August 2019, go to ‘News pages archives’ on the home page of A Socialist In Canada and use the drop-down menu. See also the feature articles on ecology and global warming that are listed in the website category ‘Environment‘ (listed on the main website page). To find past stories on this and other news pages on this website, use the ‘find’ (word search) function on your web browser. Headlines in red denote items published on the main news page of A Socialist In Canada.
Articles about the politics in Canada of the global warming emergency are listed in the ‘Canada newsroll‘ page of the website.
Ecology newsroll headlines, September 2019
World to become hotter than expected report updated climate models by French scientists, Bloomberg News, Sep 17, 2019 and read: related reports in Common Dreams, Sep 17, 2019 and in Phys.org, Sep 17, 2019
The Democratic Party’s Green New Deal is ‘transformative’ says Naomi Klein in CBC Radio interview’, interview with Naomi Klein, broadcast on CBC Radio One‘s ‘The Current’, Sep 17, 2019 (interview begins at 23’30” mark) [In this wide-ranging interview, Naomi Klein makes the liberal environmental argument that a world awash in fossil-fueled excess can be salvaged by replacing fossil fuels with ‘renewable’ energies. She says that in the October 21 Canadian election, the NDP and the Green Party are advancing “pretty good plans” and she hopes to see a Liberal-NDP-Green government result.] Related: In new book, Naomi Klein makes the case for a Green New Deal to save the planet, interview with Naomi Klein, broadcast on Democracy Now!, Sep 17, 2019 (34-minute interview, with transcript) ‘I think, fundamentally, the Green New Deal is a transformational approach to the climate crisis that is on the scale of the crisis itself‘
Predatory climate deniers are a threat to our children, by Tim Flannery, published in The Conversation, Sept 16, 2019
Fossil fuels are an existential threat. Stop messing around and make laws to ban them, by Thomas Nash, guest writer, The Spinoff (New Zealand), Sep 17, 2019
On climate and food, what’s the lesson we insist on missing?, by Frances Moore Lappé, Truthout.org, Sept 17, 2019
Indonesia battles forest fires and condemnations from neighbours over toxic haze, ABC.net.au, Sep 16, 2019
Related: Palm oil was supposed to help save the planet. Instead it unleashed a catastrophe, by Abrahm Lustgarten, New York Times Magazine, Nov 20, 2018 A decade ago, the U.S. mandated the use of vegetable oil in biofuels, leading to industrial-scale deforestation — and a huge spike in carbon emissions.
Naomi Klein invents ‘eco-fascism’ as part of publicity boost for new book, comment by Roger Annis, Sep 16, 2019
Naomi Klein and other liberal environmentalists have spent years ignoring the rising threat of fascism in Ukraine and neighbouring eastern European countries. This despite the fact that the U.S., UK and Canada are arming and training extremist paramilitiaries and ‘regular’ armed forces in Ukraine and the Baltic countries while their allies in the European Union and NATO military alliance are chipping in providing essential political support to Ukraine. The West’s new cold war against Russia includes a U.S.-led renewal of a nuclear arms race. But the liberal environmentalists are silent on these threats. Instead, Klein is warning us of the nebulous and confusing concept of ‘eco-fascism’ (see: The dawn of climate fascism, in The Intercept, Sep 16, 2019 and Ecofascism: Naomi Klein warns the far right’s embrace of white supremacy is tied to climate crisis, interview on Democracy Now!, Sep 17, 2019). It is common for academics such as Professor Klein (Rutgers U) to invent concepts and categories in order to polish their academic credentials. Think, for example, of the term ‘neoliberalism’ which became all the rage beginning in the 1980s even though it obscured–and continues to obscure–the reality of the rise in the late 1970s and 1980s of today’s globalized capitalism. ‘Eco-fascism’ is a convenient mechanism for left-wing thinkers (evidently steeped in anti-Russia prejudices if not if not anti-China prejudices, too) to avoid the ‘uncomfortable’ subject of the rise of imperialist militarism and war and its related new cold war against Russia and China.]
Oil and gas companies approve $50 billion of major projects that undermine climate targets and risk shareholder returns, press release by Carbon Tracker, Sep 5, 2019 …This first study to identify individual projects that are inconsistent with the 2015 Paris Agreement on global warming finds that no major oil company is investing to support the agreement’s goals of keeping global warming “well below” 2°C and to “pursue efforts” to limit it to a maximum of 1.5°C.
…Since the start of 2018, all major oil and gas companies have approved project that are not consistent with the Paris goals. Carbon Tracker highlights $50 billion of investment in 18 major projects that are not even consistent with a 1.7-1.8°C pathway (IEA’s Sustainable Development Scenario). They include Shell’s $13 billion liquefied natural gas project in Canada…
Read the full report here.
For liberal and radical environmentalists alike, the concept of ‘degrowth’ remains a ‘no-go’ area, comment by Roger Annis, Sep 15, 2019
An editor of Green Social Thought website has published an essay debunking a central plank of the greenwashing, ‘Green New Deal’ of liberal environmentalists who advocate ‘alternative energies’ to replace fossil fuel energies. They argue that transitioning to ‘alternative energies’ and various offshoots such as electric vehicles is the path to salvation from the grim future that the global warming emergency holds for humanity. In his essay, Don Fitz provides 15 compelling arguments why ‘alternative energies’ will do little to alleviate the accelerating global warming crisis. The essay is published in Resilience.org on September 12.
The author borrows the argument of degrowth advocates when he writes “the only form of truly clean energy is less energy”. But nowhere in his essay does he acknowledge or identify with the pioneering work of degrowth advocates, for example the work of Jason Hickel and Giorgos Kallis. Instead, we get a de-facto acknowledgement of degrowth doctrine but silence as to its actual existence and implications.
The Marxian journal Monthly Review has until now acted similarly. On August 30, its online news and analysis service MR Online published the weblink to an essay by Jason Hickel: Degrowth: a theory of radical abundance. All well and fine. But the MR Online notification of the essay comes five months after the original publication of Hickel’s essay. In an introductory note, the editors say they find Hickel’s essay to be “interesting” and worthy of notification to readers.
Why the reluctance to accept the societal and environmental imperative of degrowth? For liberal environmentalists, the reason is clear: degrowth, properly understood, is an anti-capitalist doctrine proposing radical economic and social transformation. Liberal environmentalists such as Naomi Klein (“I think Bernie [Sanders’] campaign has done a very good job of articulating what the U.S. piece of a global Green New Deal would look like”; the Democrats’ Green New Deal is “transformational“) and Extinction Rebellion shrink from an anti-capitalist program (even if Monthly Review and other Marxian environmentalists present Klein as a voice of anti-capitalism). For their part, radical environmentalists, including the Marxians, simply lack a political doctrine founded in class struggle. What forms of government should the working class and allies strive for in order to tackle the triple threat facing humanity: rising imperialist war and militarism, global warming emergency, and deepening social and economic inequities? What are the class alliances that are needed to achieve such governments, and what are the step-by-step measures they must initiate to lead human society back from the precipice? The radicals do not ask the questions, leave alone answer them. Instead, they are content with a doctrine consisting of abstract slogans: ‘revolution’, ‘socialism‘, etc.
In interview with Guardian, Naomi Klein slams Western left for inattention to consumerism while endorsing Democratic Party’s ‘Green New Deal’ that promotes ‘green consumerism’. Interview published in the pro-imperialist Guardian daily, Sep 14, 2019 Q: Do you feel encouraged by talk of the Green New Deal? A: I feel a tremendous excitement and a sense of relief, that we are finally talking about solutions on the scale of the crisis we face… [In her answer to the question, Klein says nothing about the actual content of the Democratic Party’s Green New Deal.]
North and South Korea oppose Japan’s plan to release radioactive Fukushima water into the ocean, Deutsche Welle, Sep 12, 2019
Related: Fukushima: Japan may have to dump radioactive water into the sea, environment minister says, ABC.net.au, Sep 10, 2019
Public Services International labor federation with 30 million member-affiliates calls on all unions to join Sept 20-27 global climate strikes, by Jake Johnson, Common dreams, Sep 12, 2019
The limits of clean energy, by Jason Hickel, Foreign Policy Magazine, Sept 6, 2019 ‘If the world isn’t careful, renewable energy could become as destructive as fossil fuels. The only truly clean energy is less energy.’
What if we stopped pretending that catastrophic change due to global warming can still be prevented?, by Jonathan Franzen, The New Yorker, Sep 8, 2019 (Jonathan Franzen is a widely acclaimed U.S. novelist. His latest book is The End of the End of the Earth (2018), a collection of essays.) …Some of the global warming denial, however, is more willful. The evil of the Republican Party’s position on climate science is well known, but denial is entrenched in progressive politics, too, or at least in its rhetoric. The Green New Deal, the blueprint for some of the most substantial proposals put forth on the issue, is still framed as our last chance to avert catastrophe and save the planet, by way of gargantuan renewable-energy projects. Many of the groups that support those proposals deploy the language of “stopping” climate change, or imply that there’s still time to prevent it. Unlike the political right, the left prides itself on listening to climate scientists, who do indeed allow that catastrophe is theoretically avertable. But not everyone seems to be listening carefully. The stress falls on the word theoretically…
In report, ‘world leaders’ call for effective ‘adaptation’ to the global warming crisis they helped create, press release by UN Environment, Sep 10, 2019 and read: report in pro-imperialist Guardian daily, Sep 10, 2019
Carbon emissions in British Columbia rose 1.2 per cent in 2017, showing no overall decrease in the past ten years, Vancouver Sun, Sep 9, 2019 [Liberal environmentalists around the world have praised British Columbia’s carbon tax, introduced in 2008. But the tax is a distraction and propaganda showcase: greenhouse gas emissions in BC have now increased in five of the last seven years. They are back to the 2007 level of 64.8 million tonnes. By far the largest source of emissions–from the provinces forests–are not even included in gov’t estimates! (see related report).] Related: Rising clearcutting, forest fires, insect infestations: Carbon emissions from BC forests are kept out of official gov’t emissions tally, CBC News, Jan 28, 2019 …Data released by the B.C. Ministry of Environment and Climate Change measured 64.46 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions in 2017 compared to 64.76 million tonnes in 2007. [Climate-warming carbon emissions released from B.C. forests in both 2017 and 2018 were more than three times higher than from all other sources combined in 2016, the report from Sierra Club BC (six pages) estimates. Forest fire in 2017 caused an estimated 190 million tonnes of CO2 emissions; even more forest territory burned in 2018. Logging and slash burning add close to 50 million tons annually.]
In Brazil’s rainforests, ongoing deforestation means the worst fires are likely still to come, by Robert Walker, The Conversation, Sep 9, 2019 The number of fires this year in the Amazon is the highest since 2010, reaching more than 90,000 active fires. Farmers and ranchers routinely use fires to clear the forest. But this year’s number reflects a worrisome uptick in the rate of deforestation, which had started to drop around 2005 before rebounding earlier this decade. Many people blame the Brazilian government and its pro-agriculture policies for the current crisis. But as an environmental researcher who has worked in the Amazon for the past 25 years, I can say the seeds were planted before the election of President Jair Bolsonaro in 2018…
While the Amazon and the rest of the world burns, Cuba is increasing its forested area, Telesur, Sep 5, 2019 The socialist island is a rare example of large scale reforestation, whereas the rest of the world moves in the opposite direction … The report published in the Cuban daily Granma points to figures from the Forestry Department of the Ministry of Agriculture showing an increase of over 22,000 hectares of forested area in the last year, a small increase of 0.26 percent. Forest now makes up almost one third of the country’s surface area, just over 31 per cent. This is in stark contrast to 1959, prior to the revolution, when just 13 per cent of Cuba was covered by forest…
Bolivia’s president Evo Morales providing leadership in the face of fires burning the Amazon region, Granma (Cuba daily), Sep 5, 2019
Bahamas storm damage is ‘as though a nuclear bomb was dropped’ says head of U.S. Aid, by Aristos Georgiou, Newsweek, Sept 9, 2019
* In Bahamas, battered residents ask: Where is our government?, by Kirk Semple, Frances Robles, Rachel Knowles and Elisabeth Malkin, New York Times, Sep 7, 2019 [The tiny island nation of 400,000 residents has been overwhelmed by the catastrophic Hurricane Dorian. Its residents are losing patience with their government’s response. The death toll as of September 12 is 50, with 1,300 listed as missing.].
* Bahamians lash out at government over disaster response, CBS News, Sept 6, 2019 [In January 2010, the imperialist governments in the West along with their aid/charity nexus promised to ‘build back better’ in Haiti following the devastating earthquake on January 12 of that year that killed some 40,000 to 70,000 people (not the ‘250,000’ or ‘300,000’ numbers thrown around by Western governments and media, aid agencies and even United Nations agencies in order to garner more money for their work). Since 2010, the people of Puerto Rico and now The Bahamas are learning cruel lessons that proper disaster preparation and response in a warming world is ephemeral and reserved for those with money or influence.]
Ocean creeps ever closer to coastal houses in New Zealand, by Alex Braae, published as ‘The Bulletin’ (daily news summary), The Spinoff (New Zealand), Sep 9, 2019
ABC, CBS and NBC covered climate crisis connection to Hurricane Dorian only once in 216 segments on storm, Common Dreams, Sep 7, 2019
A globalised solar-powered future is wholly unrealistic – and our economy is the reason why, by Alf Hornborg (professor of human ecology at Lund University in Sweden), published in The Conversation, Sep 6, 2019
…Among most champions of sustainability, such as advocates of a Green New Deal, there is an unshakeable conviction that the problem of climate change can be solved by engineers…
Those who remain sceptical to the promises of technology – such as advocates of radical downshifting or degrowth – tend to be marginalised from politics and the media. So far, any politician who seriously advocates degrowth is not likely to have a future in politics…
So the general consensus seems to be that the problem of climate change is just a question of replacing one energy technology with another. But a historical view reveals that the very idea of technology is inextricably intertwined with capital accumulation, unequal exchange and the idea of all-purpose money. And as such, it is not as easy to redesign as we like to think. Shifting the main energy technology is not just a matter of replacing infrastructure – it means transforming the economic world order…
Climate change and the other horrors of the Anthropocene don’t just tell us to stop using fossil fuels – they tell us that globalisation itself is unsustainable.
Will deforestation and warming push the amazon to a tipping point?, interview with Carlos Nobre, by Fen Montaigne, published in Yale Environment 360, Sep 4, 2019 Carlos Nobre is Brazil’s leading expert on the Amazon and climate change. In this interview, he discusses the key perils facing the world’s largest rainforest, where a record number of fires are now raging, and lays out what can be done to stave off a ruinous transformation of the region.
Agribusiness against the Amazon, by Roger Maioli, published in Dissent Magazine, Sep 5, 2019 (Roger Maioli is a Brazilian professor of English at the College of the Liberal Arts and Sciences of the University of Florida.) …Widespread attempts to dismiss the crisis in the Amazon, including by Western media and the current Brazil government, are seriously misleading. They betray, at best, a misunderstanding about Brazilian environmental policies since the early 2000s. These years witnessed unsustainably high levels of forest fires in the Amazon; the fact that 2019 is above that average means that international concern over the fires is fully warranted…
The Amazon’s forest fires are a global peril – but so are Canada’s, op-ed commentary by Arno Kopecky, in The Globe and Mail, Sep 6, 2019 (Arno Kopecky is an environmental journalist in Vancouver. He is the author of The Devil’s Curve: A Journey into Power and Profit at the Amazon’s Edge (2012) and The Oil Man and the Sea: Navigating the Northern Gateway (2014). )
Related: So what’s a progressive voter to?, by Arno Kopecky, The Tyee, Sep 9, 2019 …Wherever you live, whatever you believe in, whichever leader you most love or loathe, you likely share a belief that things have already gone so far in the wrong direction that society — hell, civilization — now finds itself tiptoeing along several tipping points at the same time. For those of us who consider ourselves ‘progressive’ …these many points of no return fall under three broad headings of equal and codependent magnitude: climate change, inequality, and racism… [Has imperialist war and militarism disappeared from the Earth? If not, why is this not identified as one of the ‘points of no return’ for humanity?]
Climate minimizers don’t deny climate change, but they find endless reasons to reject Bernie Sanders’ plan to stop it, by Esha Krishnaswamy, Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR.org), Sep 6, 2019 Climate change is an existential threat to human civilization. If only corporate media acted like it. While the majority of corporate media do not outright deny the reality of the human-caused climate crisis, they are filled with another brand of insidious ideologues that I call climate minimizers…
Related: CNN’s televised town hall went deep on climate crisis, but was anyone listening?, by Julie Hollar, Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR.org), Sep 6, 2019
Getting lost on the road to communist utopia: A response to Aaron Bastani’s ‘Fully Automated Luxury Communism’, by Gabriel Levy, published on his website People and Nature, Sep 3, 2019
Phosphate fertiliser ‘crisis’ threatens world food supply, by Damian Carrington, environment editor, The Guardian (pro-imperialist UK daily), Sep 6, 2019 Use of essential rock phosphate has soared, but scientists fear it could run out within a few decades
Related: How the great phosphorus shortage could leave us all hungry, by Charly Faradji (Marie Curie Research Fellow, School of Chemistry, University of Bristol) and Marissa de Boer (Researcher VU Amsterdam, Project Manager SusPhos, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, published in The Conversation, Feb 11, 2016
Large majority of Canadians want ‘action’ from governments on global warming, latest polling shows, by Abacus Data, Sep 6, 2019
As Brazil burns, Northern media deploy a strategy of deflection, by Brian Mier, Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting, Sep 5, 2019
Your guide to the carbon sucking tech we need to save the planet, by Michael Le Page, New Scientist (weekly), print issue of Aug 10, 2019 Humans have emitted so much carbon dioxide that we must find ways of sucking it from the air. But planting a trillion trees isn’t quite the climate panacea it might seem. Read the article here in pdf format: Carbon removal from atmosphere
Outshining fossil fuel: Your guide to the revolution in solar energy, by Tom Shivers, New Scientist, print issue of Aug 10, 2019 Solar power is getting so cheap it is overtaking fossil fuels – and that’s without next-generation photovoltaic technology and artificial photosynthesis Read the article here in pdf format: Guide to the revolution in solar power
Twenty dead, more deaths expected and ‘total devastation’ on some Bahamas islands following passing of Hurricane Dorian, Associated Press, Sep 4, 2019 and view: Aerial video of the destruction on the Abacos Islands of The Bahamas, here. Before and after video of the destruction is here on New York Times.
China’s Belt and Road Initiative could drive warming to 2.7 degrees, in ‘360 Digest’, Yale Environment 360, Sep 4, 2019
Ecology newsroll headlines, August 2019
French city of Dunkirk tests out free transport, and it works, France 24, Sep 1, 2019
The vanishing Amazon rainforest, and not just in Brazil, by Simon Romero, New York Times, Aug 30, 2019 …Deforestation at breakneck rates is depleting vast expanses of Amazon forest contained in South American countries neighboring Brazil. Forest loss in those nations, which host roughly 40 per cent of the Amazon, underscores how the fires now ravaging parts of Brazil and provoking global alarm are just one piece of a broader regional crisis. The push by land speculators, ranchers and miners into forests around the Amazon basin also shows how advances in political stability and economic integration can drive deforestation, especially when safeguards remain weak…
* UN’s head of biodiversity Cristiana Pasca Palmer warns the burning of the Amazon could lead to ‘cascading collapse of natural systems’, Common Dreams, Aug 30, 2019
* Amazon versus Africa forest fires: Is the world really ablaze?, by Antonio Cascais, Deutsche Welle, Aug 30, 2019
Greta Thunberg arrives in New York for UN climate conference, calling for an end to the ‘war against nature’ and highlighting the global climate strikes to commence in September, Common Dreams, Aug 29, 2019
* ‘No time left for business as usual’: Climate activists plan day of mass civil disobedience to #shutdowndc, Common Dreams, Aug 28, 2019
* One month ahead of global climate strikes, thousands pledge support, press release by 350.org, Aug 20, 2019
Oceans are turning from friend to foe, warns forthcoming UN report on oceans and the cryosphere, original report by Agence France presse, in Press TV, Aug 29, 2019 and read: Leaked UN draft report warns rising, warming oceans ‘poised to unleash misery’ worldwide, Common Dreams, Aug 29, 2019
* Breaching a carbon threshold that unleashes ‘runaway’ ocean acidification and threatens a new, mass extinction event, press release by Jennifer Chu, MIT News Office, July 8, 2019 …Daniel Rothman, professor of geophysics and co-director of the Lorenz Center in MIT’s Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, has found that when the rate at which carbon dioxide enters the oceans pushes past a certain threshold — whether as the result of a sudden burst or a slow, steady influx — the Earth may respond with a runaway cascade of chemical feedbacks, leading to extreme ocean acidification that dramatically amplifies the effects of the original trigger… and read: Study warns that carbon-saturated oceans are headed toward a tipping point the could unleash a mass extinction event, by Julia Conley, Common Dreams, July 10, 2019
* World oceans heating up at accelerating pace, Press TV, Jan 11, 2019 and read: Oceans are warming even faster than previously thought, reports new study, press release by University of California-Berkeley, published in EurekAlert! (American Association for the Advancement of Science) Jan 10, 2019 The new analysis, published on January 11 by Science Magazine, shows that trends in ocean heat content match those predicted by leading climate change models, and that overall ocean warming is accelerating. Lijing Cheng of the Chinese Academy of Sciences is the lead author on the paper.
Everything you need to know about the fires in the Amazon, by Justine Calma, The Verge, Aug 28, 2019 [See the ‘World news headlines’ page on A Socialist In Canada website for news and analysis of the fires burning in Amazonia in August-September 2019.]
What does ’12 years to act on climate change’ (now 11 years) actually mean?, by Bob Berwyn, Inside Climate News, Aug 27, 2019 We’ve been hearing variations of the phrase “the world only has 12 years to deal with climate change” a lot lately. Senator Bernie Sanders put a version of it front and center of his presidential campaign last week, saying we now have “less than 11 years left to transform our energy system away from fossil fuels to energy efficiency and sustainable energy, if we are going to leave this planet healthy and habitable.” But where does the idea of having 11 or 12 years come from, and what does it actually mean? …
Trump regime planning to gut industry restrictions on potent methane emissions, Common Dreams, Aug 28, 2019
Karachi’s livability is falling’, by Saba Imtiaz, New York Times, Aug 29, 2019 …Karachi produces about 12,000 tons of waste every day. The city’s resources and infrastructure have not kept up with the pressure of constant expansion, population growth and lifestyle changes among its 15-million-plus residents. And it is suffering from the same vulnerability to climate change issues that is hitting the rest of Pakistan so intensely…
Related: Pakistan test fires ‘Ghaznavi’ surface-to-air missile as it presses for control of Kashmir, Hindustan Times, Thursday Aug 29, 2019 Pakistan carried out a night training launch of surface-to-surface ballistic missile Ghaznavi early on Thursday, a move that coincides with its scaled-up effort to internationalise the Kashmir issue.
Indonesia to move capital from sinking Jakarta to Borneo, Associated Press, Aug 26, 2019
* Three things to consider before moving Indonesia’s capital from Jakarta, by Nirarta Samadhi, Arief Wijaya, Reidinar Juliane and Dean Yulindra Affandi, WRI Indonesia, Aug 7, 2019
* Jakarta is sinking so fast it could end up under water, by Michael Kimmelman, New York Times, Dec 21, 2017
Siberia just experienced wildfires on a staggering scale. Russia is rethinking how to fight them, by Sabra Ayres, Moscow correspondent, LA Times, Aug 21, 2019 …This year’s fires in Siberia have been especially brutal. According to Russian authorities, they have burned more than 11,500 square miles [three million hectares] of Siberian forest, including areas north of the Arctic Circle. Greenpeace disputes those figures, saying the burn area was nearly 21,000 square miles… [By way of comparison, the record wildfire year of 2018 in British Columbia, Canada burned 1.4 million hectares of land, surpassing the previously held historic record of 1.2 million hectares burned… in 2017 (!) . source. In California, .7 million hectares burned in 2018 and .5 million hectares in 2017. source] Related: Forest fires in Siberia are sending ash into the Arctic, by Andrej Flis, Severe Weather EU, Aug 22, 2019
Background: Capsule summaries of the state of the world’s forests:
* How French forests are being scarred as heatwaves bring bark beetle infestation, CBC News ‘The World this Weekend’, four-minute audio report, Sep 6, 2019
* Germany’s forests on the verge of collapse due to drought, winter storms and bark beetle infestations, Deutsche Welle, July 20, 2019
* Climate change to blame as bark beetles ravage central Europe’s forests, Reuters, April 26, 2019
* Chinese companies cut down Siberia’s forests, provoking tensions with local Russian residents, by Andrew Kramer, New York Times, July 25, 2019 …Russia regularly leads the world in forest depletion — 16.3 million acres last year, compared to 9.1 million acres lost in the Amazon. But Russia’s boreal forest is allowed to grow back after logging and fires, making the process less damaging than clearing tropical rain forest for farming or ranching. So far, according to Peter Potapov, a professor at the University of Maryland who leads global forest monitoring projects, scientists have not been able to reach consensus on whether fires and logging release more carbon dioxide than is reabsorbed by areas growing back… [By comparison, forest companies in Canada ‘harvested’ 1.9 million acres of forest in the year 2016. source].
* Under Brazil’s far right president Bolsonaro, Amazon protections are slashed and forests fall, by Letícia Casado and Ernesto Londoño, New York Times, July 27, 2019 The destruction of the Amazon rainforest in Brazil has increased rapidly since the nation’s new far-right president took over (late 2018, Wikipedia) and his government scaled back efforts to fight illegal logging, ranching and mining…
* Forest cover and % of total land area of the ten leading countries:
1 Russia 8,149,300 sq km (49.4% of territory)
2 Canada 4,916,438 (49.2%)
3 Brazil 4,776,980 (56.1%)
4 U.S. 3,100,950 (33.8%)
5 China 2,083,210 (21.8%)
6 Australia 1,250,000 (16.0%)
7 Dem. Rep. of the Congo 1,172,704 (50.0%)
8 Argentina 945,336 (34.0%)
9 Indonesia 884,950 (46.5%)
10 India 802,088 (24.7%)
Note: According to the Food and Agricultural Organization, the total area of the world devoted to forest plantations in the year 2000 was 1.9 million square kilometers. (source)
David Koch was the ultimate climate change denier, op-ed by Christopher Leonard, New York Times, Aug 23, 2019 David Koch was a playboy billionaire who built a political army to defend his fossil fuel empire. (Christopher Leonard is the author of Kochland: The Secret History of Koch Industries and Corporate Power in America.)
Michael Moore’s and Jeff Gibbs’ new documentary film ‘Planet of the Humans’ challenges the ‘green energy’ claims of liberal environmentalists. Interviews with Michael Moore and director Jeff Gibbs, re-broadcast on Non-Fiction Film, Aug 11, 2019 The new documentary film directed by Jeff Gibbs and executive produced by Michael Moore argues that human society is on the precipice of a “human apocalypse” if we don’t immediately address over-consumption and over-population. Gibbs and producer Ozzie Zehner believe we’ve put false hope in magic solutions to controlling carbon emissions that have warmed the planet to an alarming degree. Green energy, touted by Al Gore, Bill McKibben and others as seemingly the way out of this dilemma, won’t get us there, Gibbs argues. The problem is larger than that, he maintains, and relates to an unsustainable pursuit of continuous growth.
The Amazon is burning at record rates—and deforestation is to blame, by Sarah Gibbens, National Geographic, Aug 21, 2019 The blazes are so huge that smoke can be seen from space. Experts say the fires could have major climate impacts.
* #PrayForAmazonia goes viral as Twitter users call attention to ‘international emergency’ of fires devastating Brazil’s rainforest, by Jake Johnson, staff writer, Common Dreams, Aug 20, 2019
* Brazil forest fires rage as farmers push into the Amazon, Deutsche Welle, Aug 21, 2019
Siberia just experienced wildfires on a staggering scale. Russia is rethinking how to fight them, by Sabra Ayres, Moscow correspondent, LA Times, Aug 23, 2019
Scientists have been underestimating the pace of climate change, by Naomi Oreskes, Michael Oppenheimer and Dale Jamieson, Scientific American, Aug 19, 2019 …Because the oceans cover three fifths of the globe, this correction implies that previous estimates of overall global warming have been too low. Moreover it was reported recently that in the one place where it was carefully measured, the underwater melting that is driving disintegration of ice sheets and glaciers is occurring far faster than predicted by theory—as much as two orders of magnitude faster—throwing current model projections of sea level rise further in doubt…
The Green New Deal battles business as usual. Both will doom us, by Andrew Nikiforuk, contributor, The Tyee, Aug 21, 2019 (Andrew Nikiforuk is an award-winning journalist and author who has been writing about the energy industry for two decades.)
* The realism and unrealism of the Green New Deals, by Pete Dolack, published on his website Systemic Disorder, Aug 21, 2019
* Senator Bernie Sanders unveils ten-year environmental plan, Common Dreams, Aug 22, 2019 and read report by Reuters, Aug 22, 2019
One month ahead of global climate strike, thousands pledge to attend rallies across planet to ‘turn up the political heat’ and demand action, by Julia Conley, staff writer, Common Dreams, Aug 20, 2019 ‘Time is running out. This decade is our last chance to stop the destruction of our people and our planet… This is why we strike.’
Microplastics discovered in ‘extreme’ concentrations in the North Atlantic, CNN, Aug 20, 2019
British Columbia’s dirty natural gas fracking secret, by Peter McCartney, National Observer, Aug 13, 2019 ‘Flying over northest British Columbia is the only way to fully grasp the scale. Fracking infrastructure blankets the region from the Alberta border to the Rocky Mountains. Gas plants, compressor stations, well pads, flare stacks, pipelines, wastewater ponds — it just goes on and on and on. I was horrified at just how much farmland and wilderness have been lost to fracking infrastructure… And all of this is about to get worse. Three lliquefied natural gas (LNG) projects in Squamish [Vancouver region] and Kitimat [north coastal BC] would require over 13,000 new fracking wells over the next 30 years between them…’
Trump’s rollback of tighter auto emissions standards shows signs of disarray, New York Times, Aug 19, 2019
Global climate report for July 2019, by the National Centers for Environmental Information (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administraton (NOAA), August 2019
* July 2019 was the hottest month ever recorded on Earth, Deutsche Welle, Aug 5, 2019 June 2019 was the hottest month of June ever recorded
* July 2019 matched and maybe broke the record for the hottest month since analysis began, by World Meteorological Organization, Aug 1, 2019
Update on global energy subsidies (largely fossil fuels), by the International Monetary Fund, May 2, 2019 …Globally, subsidies remained large at $4.7 trillion (6.3 percent of global GDP) in 2015 and are projected at $5.2 trillion (6.5 percent of GDP) in 2017. The largest subsidizers in 2015 were China ($1.4 trillion), United States ($649 billion), Russia ($551 billion), European Union ($289 billion), and India ($209 billion)…
Massive reductions (‘degrowth’) needed in the production and consumption of all the wasteful and harmful commodities by expansionist capitalism, but few governments and not even left-wing environmentalists are voicing this burning need
In October 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reported to the world that human society must reduce greenhouse gas emmissions by half by the year 2030 in order to have a reasonable chance of keeping global temperature increases below 1.5 degrees Celsius (baseline year of 1850). As the accompanying chart shows, the world will easily soar way beyond that limit–it is being dragged in an entirely opposite direction. The global warming death cult which governs the world’s leading countries (aka expansionist capitalism) has no intention of respecting the warnings of scientists. The 25 or so imperialist countries (North America, western Europe, Japan, Australia/New Zealand) are particularly guilty of the monstrous crime against humanity that has brought the world to the edge of the precipice. They are the primary source of the triple threat facing humanity–rising war and militarism (including a new, nuclear arms race), global warming and rising social and political inequities.
Caribou and other Arctic mammal species threatened by extinction, but Canada planning billion dollar road to Arctic coast to open ever more territory to mining and shipping. Report by Bob Weber, Canadian Press, Aug 15, 2019
* Across Canada, caribou are on course for extinction, a prominent expert warns, by Ivan Semeniuk, science reporter, Globe and Mail, Oct 29, 2018 (with chart and map) At a conference in Ottawa this week, Justina Ray will lay out grim predictions for animals First Nations have depended on for generations. She is a conservation biologist and Canadian president of the Wildlife Conservation Society and has co-led the work on behalf of the independent body that advises the Canadian government on the status of endangered wildlife. … scientists are recommending that the barren-ground caribou in northern Canada be listed as threatened, while the eastern migratory caribou – whose numbers have plummeted from more than one million to about 225,000 animals – qualify as endangered, the highest level of threat. … the Natural Resources Defense Council, based in Washington, is calling on Ottawa to employ a “safety net order” that would supersede provincial authority to protect boreal caribou habitat. … The caribou are among the most visible of the approximately 16,700 species that have suffered an average 60-per-cent decline since 1970, according to a new World Wildlife Fund report released on October 29…
* Finding a lifeline for Canada’s threatened Arctic caribou, by Carol Linnitt, The Narwhal, Jan 19, 2017 (with map)
Australia rejects calls by Pacific Island countries hard hit by global warming to ditch coal production and energy reliance, Bloomberg News, Aug 13, 2019
* New Zealand PM says Australia ‘has to answer’ to Pacific island countries but won’t criticize its stance on coal, report in The Guardian, Aug 14, 2019
* New Zealand’s deputy PM Winston Peters defends Australia amid Pacific nations’ attack over climate policies, ABC.net.au.net, Aug 14, 2019
Trump weakens endangered species protections, making it harder to consider effects of climate change, by Sabrina Shankman, Inside Climate News, Aug 12, 2019 and read: Trump administration announces weakening of the Endangered Species Act, Yale Environment 360, Aug 12, 2019
Global warming is changing the winds off Antarctica, driving ice melt, by Bob Berwyn, Inside Climate News, Aug 12, 2019
‘Climate Change and Land’: New IPCC report says land being exhausted by human consumption and global warming, report by Deutsche Welle, Aug 8, 2019 The stark connection between how land is used and its effect on climate change is the focus of the latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), titled ‘Climate Change and Land’ (43 pages) and published on August 8. At the center of the report is how, in a sort of vicious circle, unhealthy soils and forests exacerbate climate change, while climate change, in turn, negatively impacts the forests and soils’ health…
* Climate change threatens the world’s food supply, United Nations warns, by Christopher Flavelle, New York Times, Aug 8, 2019 The world’s land and water resources are being exploited at “unprecedented rates” a new United Nations report warns, which combined with climate change is putting dire pressure on the ability of humanity to feed itself. The report, prepared by more than 100 experts from 52 countries and released in summary form in Geneva on August 8, finds that the window to address the threat is closing rapidly. A half-billion people already live in places turning into desert, and soil is being lost between 10 and 100 times faster than it is forming, according to the report… The IPCC is writing a series of climate reports, including one last year on the disastrous consequences if the planet’s temperature rises just 1.5 degrees Celsius above its preindustrial levels as well as an upcoming report on the state of the world’s oceans…
* Land is a critical resource, says report by the UN’s IPCC presented to meeting of the world’s governments in Geneva, news report by IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), Aug 8, 2019
* Examining the IPCC’s special report on climate change and land, by Carbon Brief, Friday, Aug 9, 2019 This morning in Geneva, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published its special report on climate change and land. The land provides the “food, feed, fibre, fuel and freshwater” without which human society and its economy “could not exist”, the report says. This provision is under threat from rising global temperatures and “unprecedented” rates of land and freshwater exploitation in recent decades, the report warns…
Beekeeping is booming in Berlin, but the threats to pollinating insects can’t be solved by hobbying, report in New York Times, Aug 11, 2019
New Michael Moore-backed documentary tackles false promises of alternative energies, by Lindsey Bahr, Associated Press, Aug 8, 2019
Architects and engineers call for a ban on glass skyscrapers to save energy in climate crisis, The Guardian, July 28, 2019 …The International Energy Agency estimates that about 40% of global carbon dioxide emissions come from constructing, heating, cooling and demolishing buildings. Air conditioning is a growing proportion of this: energy used on cooling has doubled since 2000 and accounts for about 14% of all energy use now…
How much will the U.S. Way of Life© have to change?, by Max Ajl, published by Uneven Earth, June 10, 2019 On the future of farming, socialist science, and utopia
Redwashing capital, by Rob Wallace, published by Uneven Earth, July 11, 2019 Left-wing tech bros are honing Marx into a capitalist tool
Amazon deforestation rises rapidly under the new, right-wing president Bolsonaro, report by Deutsche Welle, Aug 7, 2019 Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon has surged to record levels according to new, official data released on August 6. Figures by the National Institute for Space Research (INPE) show Brazilian authorities removed 2,254 square kilometers of rainforest in July 2019, a 278 per cent increase over July 2018.
* Head of Brazil’s deforestation monitor is forced out by Bolsonaro after agency reports sharp rise in logging, Associated Press, Aug 2, 2019
* Under Brazil’s far right president Bolsonaro, Amazon protections are slashed and forests fall, by Letícia Casado and Ernesto Londoño, New York Times, July 27, 2019 The destruction of the Amazon rainforest in Brazil has increased rapidly since the nation’s new far-right president took over (late 2018, Wikipedia) and his government scaled back efforts to fight illegal logging, ranching and mining…
An ‘insect ‘apocalypse’ in the United States, being driven by 50-fold increase in toxic pesticide use by agro-industry, by Stephen Leahy, National Geographic, Aug 6, 2019 America’s agricultural landscape is now 48 times more toxic to honeybees, and likely other insects, than it was 25 years ago, almost entirely due to widespread use of so-called neonicotinoid pesticides, according to a new study published today in the journal PLOS One…
Nearly one quarter of the world’s population is facing a crisis of water supply, by Carla Casssella, Science Alert, Aug 7, 2019
Dengue epidemic declared in Philippines, Asia Times, Aug 6, 2019 From January to July 20 this year, the health department of the Phillippines has recorded some 146,000 dengue cases across the country, double the same period in 2018. The outbreak has caused 622 deaths. And read: report in The Straits Times, Aug 6, 2019
The terrible truth of climate change, by Joëlle Gergis, Common Dreams, Aug 5, 2019 We still have time to try and avert the scale of the disaster, but we must respond as we would in an emergency. (Joëlle Gergis is an award-winning climate scientist and writer based at the Australian National University. She is the author of Sunburnt Country: The History and Future of Climate Change in Australia.)
Walloped by heat wave, Greenland sees massive ice melt, Associated Press, Aug 2, 2019
* Historic Greenland melt is a ‘glimpse of the future’ say climate scientists, by Chelsea Harvey, E&E News (Scientific American), Aug 2, 2019 A major heat wave pushed melting into areas of the ice sheet that normally stay frozen year-round
* Heat waves are changing the landscape of Greenland, by Sabrina Shankman, Inside Climate News, Aug 1, 2019 The Greenland ice sheet is in the midst of one of its most extreme melts on record, with worrying consequences for Greenland’s people and the planet.
Arctic fires threaten more dark days in the North, by Carie Tait, Globe and Mail, Aug 1, 2019 Unusually aggressive wildfires in the Arctic are releasing waves of greenhouse gases, lasting longer, reaching deeper and burning at higher latitudes than in previous years, and experts say this is fuelled by climate change… The global land temperature in June was the highest in at least 140 years, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Nine of the Earth’s warmest Junes have occurred since 2010, the U.S. agency said in its monthly report…
Environmentalists are risking their lives to save the planet, opinion column by Amy Goodman and Denis Moynihan, published on Democracy Now!, Aug 1, 2019
Ancient Earth reveals terrifying consequences of future global warming, by Graham Lawton, New Scientist, July 1, 2019 (subscriber only, read the article here in pdf format: Ancient Earth reveals terrifying consequences of runaway global warming Lessons from the deep past reveal that human-induced warming could create more extreme conditions than Earth has ever experienced