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Thursday, March 31, 2016

Severe Global Overpopulation = Growing More with Less?


If the world is to have another Green Revolution to feed its

 soaring population, it must be far more sustainable than 

the first one.

Yale Environment 360

New Green Challenge: How to 
Grow More Food on Less Land 

For researchers trying to figure how to feed a world of 10 billion people later in this century, the great objective over the past decade has been to achieve what they call “sustainable intensification.” It’s an awkward term, not least because of conventional agricultural intensification’s notorious record of wasting water, overusing fertilizers and pesticides, and polluting habitats. But the ambition this time is different, proponents say: To figure out almost overnight how to grow the most food on the least land and with the minimal environmental impact. The alternative, they say, is to continue plowing under what’s left of the natural world. Or face food shortages and political unrest.

Russia’s Ultimate Lethal Weapon

What we had as a result was a tectonic geopolitical shift; the reconfiguration of the entire world balance of power as Russia and China deepened their strategic partnership, based on a mutual external threat coming mostly from the US, with the EU as accessories. Russian intelligence now knows the alliance makes Russia and China invulnerable, whereas separately they could easily fall victim to US Divide and Rule.

Is Climate Change Putting 
World's Microbiomes at Risk?

Researchers are only beginning to understand the

 complexities of the microbes in the earth’s soil and the role 

they play in fostering healthy ecosystems. Now, climate 

change is threatening to disrupt these microbes and the key 

functions they provide.

In 1994, scientists at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory moved soil from moist, high-altitude sites to warmer and drier places lower in altitude, and vice versa. In 2011, they returned to the sites and looked again at the soil microbes and found that they had done little to adapt functionally to their new home. That's a bad sign, experts say, for a world convulsed by a changing climate.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

India's Farmers' Suicide Rate Increases as WATER Crisis Persists

Suicide rate of Indian farmers rise as country faces urgent water crisis


Bone-dry India’s water crisis seems to bringing the 2015 blockbuster film “Mad Max” to life. Apart from a deteriorating quality of life, countless diseases and loss of economic opportunities, India’s lack of water is also causing a plethora of social ills.
Two successive years of droughts have resulted in India’s water crisis worsening by the minute, with a whopping 75.8 million Indians -- five percent of the country’s population -- currently lacking access to clean water.
Here’s another horrifying fact -- almost all of India’s water is contaminated by sewage, which means those cut off from clean water have two options: purchase water at the high price of 72 cents for 50 litres; or use supplies contaminated with sewage and chemicals.

How Barack Obama Turned His Back On Saudi Arabia And Its Sunni Allies

A widely held sentiment inside the White House is that many of the most prominent foreign-policy think tanks in Washington are doing the bidding of their Arab and pro-Israel funders. One administration official refer to Massachusetts Avenue, the home of many of these think tanks, as ‘Arab-occupied territory’. Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the Gulf monarchies were briefly convinced that they would get their wish and the US was going to do their work for them by overthrowing President Bashar al-Assad. They claimed this would be easy to do, though it would have happened only if there had been a full-scale American intervention and it would have produced a power vacuum that would have been filled by fundamentalist Islamic movements as in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya. By refusing to bomb Syria, Obama “broke with  ‘the Washington Playbook’. This was his liberation day”.

Globally as in Australia, residential solar is a people-led revolution

Surge in renewable energy reduces world greenhouse gas emissions. Falling coal use in China and the US and a shift towards renewable energy globally saw energy emissions level for the second year running,

China Is Getting Serious About Kicking Its Coal Addiction

China is halting construction of hundreds of coal-fired power plants across the country, a major move that highlights the sudden and accelerating death throes of the fuel that powered the creation of the modern world.

One crop breeding cycle from starvation

Transgenic tobacco seedlings were the proof of concept that showed enhancing photosynthetic processes can increase yield in high CO2 conditions.

URBANA, Ill. - In the race against world hunger, we're running out of time. By 2050, the global population will have grown and urbanized so much that we will need to produce 87 percent more of the four primary food crops - rice, wheat, soy, and maize - than we do today.
At the same time, the climate is projected to change over the next 30 years, with warmer temperatures and more carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere. Crop plants can adapt to change through evolution, but at a much slower rate than the changes we are causing in the atmosphere. Furthermore, the land available for growing crop plants is unlikely to expand to accommodate the predicted rise in demand. In fact, land suited to food crop production is being lost on a global scale.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

"Frackquakes" Threaten Millions

What the FRACK?

Mark Petersen, chief of the USGS National Seismic Hazard Mapping Project, said that "by including human-induced events, our assessment of earthquake hazards has significantly increased in parts of the U.S.."

Common Dreams

Drilling-Induced 'Frackquakes' Threatening Millions Across Central US

For the first time, USGS includes human caused seismicity in predictive map

"Today’s report once again highlights the dangers the fracking cycle poses to our communities," declared Dan Chu, director of Sierra Club’s Our Wild America campaign, on Monday. (Photo: Owen Crowley/cc/flickr)

Oil and gas drilling has made parts of the central United States as dangerous as the most earthquake-prone regions of California, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), exposing millions of people to the risk of human-induced earthquakes, known as "frackquakes."

According to new maps released on Monday by the USGS, roughly 7 million people who live and work in parts of Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arkansas face "potential for damaging shaking from induced seismicity," which the USGS notes is triggered primarily by wastewater disposal from oil and gas drilling activities.


Russia’s Ultimate Lethal Weapon

What we had as a result was a tectonic geopolitical shift; the reconfiguration of the entire world balance of power as Russia and China deepened their strategic partnership, based on a mutual external threat coming mostly from the US, with the EU as accessories. Russian intelligence now knows the alliance makes Russia and China invulnerable, whereas separately they could easily fall victim to US Divide and Rule.

Is capitalism driving climate change?

We speak to author Naomi Klein, and ask UN Climate Chief Christiana Figueres if the Paris deal is too little, too late.

Globally as in Australia, residential solar is a people-led revolution

Surge in renewable energy reduces world greenhouse gas emissions. Falling coal use in China and the US and a shift towards renewable energy globally saw energy emissions level for the second year running,

Bloomberg Carbon Clock 
In the 800,000 years before industrialization, the CO2 level hovered around 280 ppm. But the 20th century saw a sharp increase that continues today. The CO2 level is now around 400 ppm. The danger zone? 450 ppm, which we may hit by 2040. Beyond that, the warming Earth and its inhabitants will likely experience extreme weather events, increased sea-level rise, and their consequent ecological and economic impacts.

What the Clock Shows
Fossil-fuel burning and deforestation are the main drivers of global warming. The CO2 they give off makes up more than 75 percent of annual climate pollution. The Bloomberg Carbon Clock is a real-time estimate of the global monthly atmospheric CO2 level.
The following methodology is a nontechnical explanation of how the carbon clock works. The full version, which includes all the math and science underpinning the project, can be found HERE.
The graphic draws on CO2 data released from the NOAA Mauna Loa Observatory. The Scripps Institution of Oceanography pioneered CO2 monitoring in March 1958 at the observatory in Hawaii. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration started a parallel effort there in May 1974. Today, NOAA maintains a global network of observatories, sampling towers, flights, and flasks to measure the composition of the atmosphere.

Monday, March 28, 2016

64% of Americans Concerned About Climate - Hitting New Gallup Poll High

What Me Worry?

"Several years of unseasonably warm weather -- including the 2011-20122012-2013 and 2015-2016 winters -- has potentially contributed to this shift in attitudes. If that's true, continuation of such weather patterns would likely do more than anything politicians and even climate-change scientists can to further raise public concern."


U.S. Concern About Global Warming at Eight-Year High

PRINCETON, N.J. -- Americans
 are taking global warming more seriously than at any time in the past eight years, according to several measures in Gallup's annual environment poll. Most emblematic is the rise in their stated concern about the issue. Sixty-four percent of U.S. adults say they are worried a "great deal" or "fair amount" about global warming, up from 55% at this time last year and the highest reading since 2008.

160316GlobalWarming_1 (1)


Putin exposes danger of vaccines

“We as a species have the choice to continue to develop our bodies and brains in a healthy upward trajectory, or we can follow the Western example of recent decades and intentionally poison our population with genetically altered food, pharmaceuticals, vaccinations, and fast food that should be classified as a dangerous, addictive drug. We must fight this. A physically and intellectually disabled population is not in our interests,”

15 Children Sue Obama for Lack of Climate Change Action

A group of teenagers went head to head against the US government and the fossil fuel industry after the Oregon-based nongovernmental organization Our Children's Trust opened a lawsuit against President Obama and a number of federal agencies for inaction on climate change. The group are demanding the government “cease their permitting, authorizing and subsidizing of fossil fuels and, instead, move to swiftly phase out CO2 emissions,” 

Brazil Is Engulfed by Ruling Class Corruption

Brazil is suffering its worst economic crisis in decades. An enormous graft scheme has hobbled the national oil company. The Zika epidemic is causing despair across the northeast. And just before the world heads to Brazil for the Summer Olympics, the government is fighting for survival under the cloud of scandal.

How the World's Biggest Polluters are Two Trade Deals Away from Steamrolling Climate Protections

"45 of the 50 private corporations historically responsible for the most climate-disrupting emissions" would be emboldened to challenge climate protections

When TransCanada announced at the start of the year that it that it was demanding compensation under North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) rules for the Obama administration's decision to reject the Keystone XL pipeline, many observers saw it as a sign of things to come.
Indeed, critics of two pending trade deals—the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)—have already warned that other corporations could take similarly take advantage of the same mechanism to exert their power before private tribunals, demanding compensation for lost profits while supplanting democracy and trampling on workers' rights and environmental protections.

Now, a new report from the Sierra Club reveals just how many fossil fuel corporations the two deals would embolden to use these tribunals, thereby undermining U.S. commitments made under Paris climate agreement and efforts to keep fossil fuels in the ground.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Mercury Rapidly Spreads to Land Foods

Dartmouth-led study illuminates pollutant's movement from aquatic to land food webs

You taste like mercury, said the spider to the fly

HANOVER, N.H. - More mercury than previously thought is moving from aquatic to land food webs when stream insects are consumed by spiders, a Dartmouth College-led study shows.
The findings, which appear in the journal Ecological Applications, shed new light on the influence of dissolved organic carbon in the spread of mercury contamination. A PDF is available on request.
Mercury concentrations in aquatic environments have increased globally, exposing consumers of aquatic organisms to high mercury levels. Exposure to mercury depends on their food sources as well as environmental factors influencing mercury's bioavailability. The majority of the research on the transfer of methylmercury, a toxic and bioaccumulating form of mercury, between aquatic and terrestrial food webs has focused on land carnivores that primarily eat fish. But a gap exists in our understanding of the factors regulating methylmercury bioaccumulation by other terrestrial predators, specifically consumers of adult aquatic insects.

Labor Protests Multiply in China as Economy Slows

After more than two decades of breakneck growth, strikes and labor protests have erupted across the country. Factories, mines and other businesses are withholding wages and benefits, laying off staff or shutting down altogether. Worried about their prospects in a gloomy job market, workers are fighting back with unusual ferocity.

Beef Ban Hysteria: Two Men Lynched To Death In Jharkhand

Two Muslims herding eight buffaloes to a local market were bashed and hanged from a tree in Jharkhand state of India. The locals claimed the assailants were Hindu radicals. The men were subjected to extreme levels of brutality. One Government Minister has said that “Muslims can continue to live in this country, but they will have to give up eating beef because the cow is an article of faith here”.

Seafood Slaves

Indonesia, Myanmar and Thailand investigation into slavery in the multi-billion dollar seafood industry shows thousands of migrants from Cambodia, Myanmar and Laos in search of higher-paying jobs were lured onto Thai fishing boats with empty promises about jobs "on the other side" and into years of ongoing seaborne labour.

Renewable energy investments: Major milestones reached, 

New World Record Set

For first time, developing world investments in renewables (up 19 percent in 2015) topped developed nations' (down 8%); World record total of $286 billion invested in renewables last year, makes $2.3 trillion over 12 years

Frankfurt / Nairobi -- Coal and gas-fired electricity generation last year drew less than half the record investment made in solar, wind and other renewables capacity -- one of several important firsts for green energy announced today in a UN-backed report.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Austerity Caused Flint Water Crisis: Rich vs Poor?

This Was Done, Like So Many Things These Days, So the Rich Could Get a Big Tax Break. 

When Gov. Snyder took office in 2011, one of the first things he did was to get a multi-billion dollar tax break passed by the Republican legislature for the wealthy and for corporations. But with less tax revenues, that meant he had to start cutting costs. So, many things—schools, pensions, welfare, safe drinking water—were slashed. Then he invoked an executive privilege to take over cities (all of them majority black) by firing the mayors and city councils whom the local people had elected, and installing his cronies to act as “dictators” over these cities. 

 Michael Moore

Congressman: 'Obsession With Austerity' Triggered Flint Water Crisis

An obsession around governmental really dangerous and that's really the lesson we had all better learn really fast'

Image result for flint michigan

The congressman who represents Flint, Michigan has lambasted what he says is at the heart of his city's water crisis: austerity.

Speaking at the White House Water Summit, which took place Tuesday, U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee (D) said, "I think the story of Flint, in part, is a story about water infrastructure. Because when we have aging infrastructure, particularly in Flint with so many lead service lines, we are at risk."

"But, the other part of the story, which is really the trigger to the crisis in Flint, is a story about the effect or the consequence of a brand of governmental austerity that is really dangerous," the Flint native continued.

"That backdrop [of aging infrastructure], with the overlay of governmental austerity that minimizes the need for robust enforcement of environmental protection, by essentially making it a second almost afterthought at the state level, and essentially defunding direct support for the city itself, created a series of almost unbelievable decisions to go from using the Great Lakes—the greatest surface fresh water source on the planet, which is only a few miles away from Flint, to the Flint river as a temporary water source, untreated," he said.

The Bernie Sanders voters who would choose Trump over Clinton 

Both Trump and Sanders are non-establishment candidates not bought by the special interests. Both are outsiders who understands that the government and the economy are broken.

Analysis Of The Russian Military Pullout From Syria

The Russian intervention is a stunning success, that is indisputable, with a small force and  limited goals: the legitimate authority of the Syrian government has been stabilized and the conditions for a political compromise have been created. 

Putin Shuns Syrian ‘Quagmire’

Gambling that President Obama will cooperate in seeking peace for Syria, Russian President Putin called back much of Russia’s military force dispatched to Syria last fall

Russia’s Military Aims Achieved, Putin Switches To Diplomacy

Benign' Fossil Fuels? McKibben Says There's No Such Thing.

Far from being a bridge to the future,' McKibben tells Common Dreams, 'natural gas turns out to have been a costly detour.'

"If we're serious about doing anything about climate change, we actually have to get off fossil fuels," environmentalist Bill McKibben told Common Dreams on Wednesday. (Photo: Elvert Barnes/flickr/cc)

With a new piece in The Nation, environmental leader Bill McKibben upends widely held assumptions not just about President Barack Obama's climate legacy, but about the so-called "natural gas revolution" that was once considered a "savior" in the fight against global warming.
The author and co-founder points to "an explosive paper" published last month in Geophysical Research Letters, in which Harvard researchers "concluded that the nation as a whole is leaking methane in massive quantities."

"Fossil fuels don’t come in good and bad flavors."
—Bill McKibben
As Common Dreams reported at the time, the study showed that methane emissions in the U.S. rose more than 30 percent over the 2002–2014 period, and that increase could account for 30–60 percent of the global growth of atmospheric methane seen in the past decade.

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