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Eating the Earth. #auspol #qldpol Food for thought #StopAdani

A rough transcript of my speech at the Oxford Farmers’ Conference debate, on the motion “This House Believes Eating Meat Will Be A Thing of the Past by 2100”

By George Monbiot, delivered at the Oxford Union, 4th January 2018

I always speak without notes, so this is not a verbatim transcript. But these are the notes I more or less memorised. You can watch the video of the debate here

I know that what I’m about to say is as welcome as a Jehovah’s Witness at the door during the World Cup Final.

We don’t expect to win the vote tonight. But I would ask you to try to judge this case on its merits, rather than on how it might affect your own immediate interests, difficult as this might be.

The reason I’m standing here now is that in 2017 I had a realisation. It is that climate breakdown is only the third most urgent of the environmental crises we face. This is not because it has become less urgent, but because two other issues have emerged as even more pressing. They are the ecological cleansing of both land and sea to produce the food we eat.

The speed and scale of change beggars belief. All over the world, habitats and species are collapsing before our eyes. The world population of wild vertebrates – animals with backbones – has fallen by 60% since 1970.

Animals that until recently seemed safe – ranging from lions to house sparrows – are now in danger.

Insect populations are collapsing, with untold implications for both human beings and the rest of the food chain.

Soil is being stripped from the land. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, at current rates of soil loss, the world has just 60 years of harvests left.

Ground water is being drained so rapidly that some of the world’s most important aquifers are likely to disappear within a generation.

We are facing an existential crisis. And it is caused, in large part, by the unsustainable ways in which we feed ourselves.

If we are to prevent both ecological meltdown and mass starvation, we must take these issues seriously – very seriously indeed – and address them as effectively and quickly as possible.

While there is no single solution, by far the biggest one is switching from an animal-based to a plant-based diet.

Why? Because a plant-based diet requires less land and fewer resources.

When we feed animals on crops, we greatly reduce the number of people that an area of cropland can support. This is because, on average, around two-thirds of the food value of the crops fed to livestock is lost in conversion from plant to animal.

This is why the UK has a farmland footprint over twice the size of its agricultural area. We eat, on average, our bodyweight in meat each year, and we cannot do that within our own borders. We rely on other people to feed us.

With a growing world population and the rapid degradation of farmland, feeding animals on food that humans could eat is a luxury the world simply cannot afford.

Of course, there’s a second way of producing livestock: allowing them to find their own food, in a field or range. The problem here is that while we are not competing with other forms of food production, we are competing, massively, with the rest of the living world.

Grazing is an astonishingly wasteful system. It arguably has the highest ratio of destruction to production of any industry on Earth. Huge areas of land, that could otherwise support rich ecosystems and wildlife, are used to produce an appreciable amount of meat.

Let me give you a couple of figures to illustrate this.

Roughly twice as much of the world’s surface is used for grazing as for growing crops, yet animals fed entirely on pasture produce just 1 gram out of the 81 g of protein consumed per person per day.

Sheep in this country occupy roughly 4m ha – more or less equivalent to all the arable and horticultural land in the UK. Yet they produce just 1.2% of the calories we consume here.

Gareth is a lovely man, and entirely sincere. He will tell you about the Carneddau ponies on his land, the birds and the flowers, and he will do it beautifully. But what you see in the sheep pastures of Britain is a mere remnant of an ecosystem. A thriving living system contains large predators. A healthy stock of wild herbivores. A rich mosaic of vegetation. The land where Gareth farms would most likely, were it not for sheep grazing, be covered in Atlantic rainforest, punctuated by pockets of other habitats: a system many times more diverse than the one that prevails there today.

Around the world, marshes are drained, trees are felled and their seedlings grazed out, predators are exterminated, wild herbivores fenced out and other lifeforms gradually erased as grazing systems intensify. Astonishing places – such as the rainforests of Madagascar and Brazil – are laid waste to make room for yet more farm animals.

In an age of ecological collapse, this is an astonishing extravagance, which I believe is unjustified.

An analysis by the livestock farmer Simon Fairlie suggests that were we to switch to a plant-based diet in Britain, we could feed all the people of this country on just 3m of our 18m hectares of farmland. Alternatively, we could use the land here to feed 200m people. In a world threatened by starvation and ecological collapse, it seems perverse to do otherwise.

I don’t blame livestock farmers for this any more than I blame coal miners for the problems with coal. They are simply trying to survive, and God knows it’s hard enough. But the nature of this production is simply incompatible with a prosperous future for humanity. I would like to see people in Gareth’s position paid from the public purse to restore nature. And with his energy and enthusiasm, I’m sure he would be brilliant at it.

So far I’ve been considering whether meat should be a thing of the past by 2100. But the motion asks whether meat will be a thing of the past by 2100.

And the answer, again, is yes.

The reason is simple: technological change.

It might seem obscure and marginal today, just as the motorcar did in 1880 and the personal computer did in 1970, but cultured meat is coming as inexorably as those technologies.

Today, like all technologies in their infancy, it is extremely expensive

In two decades it will be merely expensive

In about four decades, it is likely to reach cost parity with processed meat.

And, like everything that can be mass produced, the price will keep falling.

It will do what the motorcar did to the horse and carriage

And the telephone did to the telegram

And the computer did to the typewriter

And in doing so it will become entirely normal.

When that happens, we will see something that has also happened many times before: technological change creating an ethical tipping point.

When hydrocarbons provided a substitute for whale oil, we began asking ourselves why we were killing these magnificent beasts.

When automation undercut child labour, we started wondering why children were working in factories.

When there is a cheaper and kinder alternative, what was permissible becomes unacceptable.

Researchers at this university have shown that cultured meat will reduce water use by at least 82% and land use by 99%. This is because it is made of plant protein, not animal protein.

It will relieve the pressure on the living planet, allowing habitats and species to flourish once more. It will reduce the pressure on world food supplies, enabling everyone to be fed.

So will meat eating by 2100 be a thing of the past? It should be. And it will be.

Thank you.

http://www.monbiot.com

Press link for more: Monbiot.com

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#ClimateChange “All Hell will break loose!” #StopAdani #auspol #qldpol

When will we listen to the scientists?

To invest in new coal mines and ignore science is Criminal Negligence.

It is putting our children and future generations at extreme risk.

People all over the planet are demanding change.

We must declare a CLIMATE EMERGENCY

#ClimateChange America’s most pressing threat. #StopAdani #auspol #qldpol

America’s Most Pressing Threat? Climate Change

The Trump administration is ignoring a huge threat to national security and global stability.

By James Stavridis

11 January 2018, 11:00 pm AEST

A truly global foe. Photographer: Ricardo R. Guzman/U.S. Navy via Getty Images

When the newest U.S. National Security Strategy was released last month, many intelligence, military and foreign-policy professionals considered it a pleasant surprise.

It hits most of the mainstream concerns facing the U.S.: the significant challenges we face from China, Russia, North Korea and Iran; the necessity of better homeland security against terrorist attacks; the importance of working with allies, partners and friends; and the need to determine sensible levels of defense spending.

I called it “shockingly normal” in a Bloomberg View column.

But it misses the mark in one particularly worrisome area: the threats related to climate change and global warming, which were all but ignored.

Early reports indicate that a similar report expected to soon be released by the Pentagon, the National Defense Strategy, will make the same error of omission.

Unfortunately, this is not surprising, given President Donald’s Trump’s campaign rhetoric expressing extreme skepticism about climate change, the appointment of an Environmental Protection Agency administrator who doesn’t believe man-made global warming is real, and the Trump administration’s foolish decision to pull out of the Paris climate accord.

By following this path, the U.S. is not only surrendering a position of global leadership on this crucial issue, but it’s laying itself open to real security risks in the decades ahead.

What makes climate change so pernicious is that while the effects will only become catastrophic far down the road, the only opportunity to fix the problem rests in the present.

In other words, waiting “to be sure climate change is real” condemns us to a highly insecure future if we make the wrong bet.

We are in danger of missing not only the vast forest of looming climate change, but the ability to see some of the specific trees that will cause us the most problems.

Some of the most obvious and pressing concerns include:

Water scarcity, droughts and resource struggles leading to wars and terrorism. Many studies have confirmed the broad effect of drought and water scarcity in driving violence across a wide variety of countries and regions. Syria, Sudan, Mali and the broad Arab world continue to be battered by rising temperatures and droughts. Resulting famines and economic hardship provide a breeding ground for recruiting disaffected, unemployed youth. You can drop a plumb line from global warming to terrorism and strife in many parts of the world.

Rising sea levels that swamp our ports and coastlines. A brilliant new novel, “The American War” by Omar El Akkad, is set in a 21st-century U.S. where rising sea levels have swamped much of Florida and led to a second Civil War. While this is evocative fiction, the grain of truth is that the seas are rising as the polar caps melt, and over time lower-lying areas of the country — including some of our most vital military bases — are at risk of flooding and eventually disappearing.

Arctic melting, rising geopolitical tension and competition.

The recent viral video of the starving polar bear whose hunting grounds were literally melting away was heart-rending, but the true geopolitical significance of what is happening in the Arctic is far more significant. As the ice inexorably melts, it will open not only shipping routes, but also vast areas of the ocean floor to hydrocarbon extraction. This will generate geopolitical competition between Russia and the five NATO countries that sit on the so-called Arctic Porch, creating high tension in the “High North.”

Economic impact that undermines our ability to spend on defense.

As climate change and global warming hurt the economy by requiring restoration of communities devastated by flooding and the loss of ports and arable land, budgets will be stretched thinner and thinner. Defense spending will be undermined, reducing our overall ability to ensure we are prepared for global military action when required.

Extreme weather. Many experts believe the past hurricane season — with devastating hits from Harvey (Texas), Irma (Florida) and Maria (Puerto Rico) — are just a small taste of what is to come. In each of those crises, the U.S. military was forced to divert enormous resources — hugely expensive ships, soldiers, aircraft and the like — away from other vital tasks in order to respond. Over time, more such responses will continue to reduce overall defense readiness.

We must address these challenges — now — in three key ways.

First, we need to acknowledge the problem.

The vast weight of scientific data supports the view that climate change and global warming are real, with immediate effects that will only grow with time. While debate is always valid for any issue of such great policy importance, we must hedge against the extremely high probability that we have a serious challenge and address it with concrete steps — reducing carbon emissions, investing in renewables, and searching for technologies to reverse damage that has already occurred.

Second, the U.S. must re-take a leadership role.

We are still the largest economy in the world, have by far the greatest military capability and — despite some missteps by the Trump administration — have the greatest number of allies, partners and friends of any nation on earth.

Washington needs to invest some of that international capital in helping create a sensible, balanced and fair global regime.

Far better that we stay inside the tent of climate negotiations than try to drive events from outside it.

And third, the U.S. needs to break out of its traditional stove-piped structure and try to address climate change coherently across all agencies and departments.

If the White House is going to leave the issue out of the National Security Strategy for domestic political reasons, the Departments of Defense, State and Homeland Security must drive it back into their long-term plans.

The federal government is the largest carbon emitter in the country, and simply by undertaking responsible in-house policies to reduce carbon and pursue renewables, it can move the needle significantly.

Both the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations understood the reality of climate change and that it poses a major national security threat.

If the Trump White House insists on ignoring the inevitable, the professionals at the relevant departments and agencies have to take it upon themselves to develop real strategies, and put real resources, into keeping the U.S. and its global interests secure far into an uncertain future.

Press link for more: Bloomberg.com

Depleting Nature’s stocks. #StopAdani Australia uses 5.4 times what earth can provide. #auspol

Humanity uses 70% more of the global commons than the Earth can regenerate

Mathis Wackernagel, CEO and co-founder of Global Footprint Network

Persistent ecological overuse inevitably depletes nature’s stocks. Photograph: NASA/REX/Shutterstock

Households and governments who want to succeed track both expenditure and income. Businesses similarly keep a keen eye on their balance sheets.

So what does the physical balance sheet of our biggest household – the Earth – look like?

The income side would tell us how much our planet provides in matter and energy.

The expenditure side would tell us how much material and energy people use – or what we call humanity’s ecological footprint.

Ecological footprint accounting was developed to address the question: how much of the biosphere’s regenerative capacity – or biocapacity – does human activity demand?

Global Footprint Network measures this human demand for ecosystem services by adding up the space occupied by food, fibre and timber provision, space occupied by infrastructure, and the absorption of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Indeed, carbon dioxide emissions take up approximately 60% of humanity’s ecological footprint.

Australians use 5.4 times

This audit can be done at any scale.

Analysing the accounts for the entire world enables us to compare the material demands of humanity against the size of the global commons.

Global Footprint Network’s most recent data show that humanity overshoots the regenerative capacity of our global commons, and now demands about 70% more than what the biosphere can regenerate.

In other words, we are using 1.7 Earths.

Keeping humanity’s ecological footprint within the planet’s biocapacity is the minimum threshold for sustainability.

That threshold can be exceeded for some time, just as households can spend more money than they earn by dipping into savings, thereby depleting their assets.

But persistent ecological overuse inevitably depletes nature’s stocks, through the collapse of fisheries, soil loss, freshwater overuse, over harvesting of forests – or leads to climate change from the accumulation of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

The Stockholm Resilience Centre has identified nine planetary boundaries, required to maintain the integrity of healthy, productive ecosystems. The UN sustainable development goals (SDGs) bring together a vision for safeguarding the health of the global commons while ensuring flourishing lives and wellbeing for everyone. The Stockholm Resilience Centre calls this vision the safe operating space.

Oxford University economist Kate Raworth adds the social dimensions and calls it doughnut economics – with the outer circle of the doughnut representing the ecological boundaries within which we need to operate, and the inner one the social necessities required for thriving lives for all.

The core idea of socially and ecologically safe operating space was quantified for the first time in 2002 by Aurélien Boutaud.

He combined the Ecological Footprint and United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP)’s Human Development Index (HDI) to track sustainable development outcomes country by country, city by city. His approach has evolved into the HDI footprint diagram. His framework has been used widely, by those including UNDP, UN Environment, PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, and WWF’s Living Planet Report. It even serves as the foundation of the Philips sustainability programme.

Figure 1: Mapping sustainable development outcome: HDI and the Footprint of nations, in 2013

One axis of the diagram is sustainability – or to what extent development can be supported within the Earth’s means. It is measured by the ratio between what people take compared to what the global commons can renew. The second axis, development, is measured by HDI, which captures income, access to basic education, and longevity.

Global sustainable development occurs where these two dimensions intersect. Available biocapacity is now 1.7 hectares per person. Some of this, however, is needed to support wildlife – and we also need to leave room for a growing human population. So the average ecological footprint per person worldwide needs to be significantly smaller if we are to live within nature’s means.

The figure above shows the latest results for most countries of the world (2013), comparing their footprints per person against the world’s per capita biocapacity, to show how far their development models could be replicated worldwide.

Most countries do not meet both minimum requirements. Since every country has different amounts of biocapacity within its natural boundaries, this analysis can be adapted to each country.

Using a scale from zero to one, UNDP considers an HDI of more than 0.7 to be “high human development”, with 0.8 “very high”.

For global sustainable development to occur, the world average would need to be in the marked panel at the bottom right (the global sustainable development quadrant). This is defined by an average footprint of less than 1.7 global hectares per person and an HDI score of more than 0.7. Yet the quadrant is ominously empty.

The HDI score of the UK is 0.9, but its ecological footprint per person is five global hectares, high above the sustainable development quadrant.

India has an HDI score of 0.6, and an ecological footprint per person of 1.1 global hectares, suggesting the need to increase the quality of life of citizens and the footprint.

Global sustainable development is necessary for a thriving future.

The SDGs give us strategies on how to get there.

Global Environment Facility’s (GEF) global commons initiative makes obvious the dependence on Earth’s physical health. It reminds us that our fabulous planet enables the wellbeing of all, if we manage it carefully.

Measuring whether we are achieving these desired outcomes enables us to take charge of the future we want.

We can explore countries’ resource balances, and compare them with what would be in their economic self interest. And we can allocate our budgets and choose our development strategies more effectively so that they serve the goals we have wisely chosen through the SDGs and the Paris Climate Agreement.

Therefore, Global Footprint Network firmly endorses the GEF’s initiative, which stimulates the collaborative effort needed to create a world where all thrive within the means of the planet’s regenerative capacity.

Press link for more: The Guardian

#StopAdani We can’t afford the damage bills! #ClimateChange record $306 Billion in U.S. 2017

Natural disasters caused record $306 billion in damage to U.S. in 2017

Doyle RiceUpdated 4:46 p.m. ET Jan. 8, 2018

AUSTIN — A trio of monster hurricanes and a ferocious wildfire season led to the costliest year for natural disasters on record in the U.S. in 2017, with nearly a third of a trillion dollars in damage, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Monday.

The U.S. endured 16 separate weather and climate disasters with losses that each exceeded $1 billion last year, with total costs of about $306 billion, a new record for the country. It broke the previous record set in 2005, when Hurricane Katrina and other disasters caused $215 billion in damage to the U.S.

Last year’s disasters killed 362 people in the U.S., including Puerto Rico, NOAA said. However, NOAA climatologist Adam Smith said the death toll could increase based on information that continues to come in from Puerto Rico.

It was also the most expensive hurricane season on record at $265 billion and the costliest wildfire season on record at $18 billion, Smith said.

The news comes only weeks after the House passed an $81 billion disaster aid package. The Senate did not take up the bill and is working on its own version.

Hurricane Harvey racked up total damage costs of $125 billion, second only to Hurricane Katrina in the 38-year period of record keeping for billion-dollar disasters. Rainfall from Harvey caused massive flooding that displaced more than 30,000 people and damaged or destroyed more than 200,000 homes and businesses, NOAA said.

Hurricanes Maria and Irma totaled $90 billion and $50 billion in damage, respectively. Maria now ranks as the third-costliest weather and climate disaster on record for the nation and Irma ranks as the fifth-costliest.

The total of last year’s disaster costs is nearly the same as Denmark’s gross domestic product, which the World Bank tallied at $306.9 billion in 2016.

Climate change is “playing an increasing role in the increasing frequency of some types of extreme weather that lead to billion-dollar disasters, most notably the rise in vulnerability to drought, lengthening wildfire seasons and the potential for extremely heavy rainfall and inland flooding,” Smith said.

Another expert, University of Georgia meteorology professor Marshall Shepherd, said that “while we have to be careful about knee-jerk cause-effect discussions, the National Academy of Science and recent peer-reviewed literature continue to show that some of today’s extremes have climate change fingerprints on them.”

The announcement came at the annual meeting of the American Meteorological Society in Austin.

As for temperatures in 2017, the U.S. sweltered through its 3rd-warmest year on record, trailing only 2012 and 2016, NOAA said.

For the third consecutive year, every state across the contiguous U.S. and Alaska was warmer than average.

Five states — Arizona, Georgia, New Mexico, North Carolina and South Carolina — experienced their warmest year on record. Thirty-two additional states, including Alaska, had annual temperatures that ranked among the 10 warmest on record.

“While the weather can change on a dime, our climate is steadily warming,” said Shaun Martin of the World Wildlife Fund. “Each year provides another piece of evidence in what science has already confirmed — the consequences of rising temperatures are putting people and wildlife at risk.”

“In the U.S., we’re seeing more severe droughts, wildfires, crop losses and more frequent coastal storms with deadly impacts,” Martin added.

Global temperature data for 2017 will be released on Jan. 18 by NOAA and NASA.

Press link for more: USA TODAY

Sydney Hottest Day in 78 years. #StopAdani #ClimateChange #auspol #qldpol #nswpol

Temperatures In Australia Hit 117 Degrees As Sydney Sees Hottest Day In 78 Years

The extreme weather melted one area’s roads. Elsewhere in the world, record low temperatures were seen.

Nina Golgowski

A brutal heat wave in Australia skyrocketed temperatures in Sydney on Sunday to 117 degrees Fahrenheit (47.3 Celsius), making it the hottest weather New South Wales’ capital has seen in 78 years, weather officials said.

The bizarre forecast follows record low temperatures in other parts of the world.

The worst of the weekend’s heat was recorded in the Sydney suburb of Penrith where the triple-degree temperature was just slightly lower than a 118-degree (47.8 C) reading recorded in the town of Richmond in 1939, according to the New South Wales’ Bureau of Meteorology.

James D. Morgan via Getty Images

Crowds cool off in water at Yarra Bay in Sydney, Australia, on Sunday amid a heat wave.

Temperatures became so hot across southern Australia that police in the neighboring state of Victoria warned drivers on Twitter that a 6-mile freeway was “melting.”

Fire warnings and bans were also issued across Sydney in response to the high heat threat that has caused multiple wildfires. There was also an air quality warning issued by the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage for higher than normal ozone levels, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.

Adding to some of the misery felt, a power outage left thousands of people in Sydney without electricity on Sunday evening as temperatures stayed between 91 and 113 degrees Fahrenheit, the local news site reported.

A spokeswoman for local electricity provider Ausgrid, speaking to Australia’s Special Broadcasting Service, partially blamed the outage on a surge in power use.

The bizarre weather isn’t just in Australia, however.

Across the Pacific, Alaska has experienced unusually warm temperatures in recent days, roughly 10 to 20 degrees above average, prompting concerns about ice levels, NPR reported.

Last week, temperatures in Anchorage were warmer than in northern Florida, which saw snow.

The U.S.′ northeast has also endured unseasonably cold temperatures, with the mercury dipping below zero in many places. At New York City’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, the area saw an all-time low on Saturday of 8 degrees F, meteorologist Bob Oravec of the Weather Prediction Center, told Reuters.

Temperatures are expected to rise to above normal temperatures for much of the United States in the middle of January, the National Weather Service said on Sunday.

Meanwhile, World Meteorological Organization spokesperson Clare Nullis pointed out on Friday that Europe is also experiencing unusual temperatures.

“The French national average on Wednesday was 11.5 degrees Celsius [52.7 degrees Fahrenheit], so that’s about 6 degrees Celsius above the normal, so as I said, lots of extreme weather,” she said during a United Nations session, according to Newsweek.

Press link for more: Huffington Post

1.5C a missed Target #ClimateChange #auspol #qldpol #StopAdani

Leaked Draft of Landmark Climate Change Report Pours Cold Water on 1.5°C Goal

Missed Targets

Bar a concerted global effort to reduce emissions and remove carbon from the atmosphere, the world is highly likely to exceed the most ambitious climate goal set by the Paris Agreement by the 2040s, according to a leaked draft of an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report obtained by Reuters.

The IPCC is expected to release the final version of their highly anticipated Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C in October.

The preliminary version obtained by Reuters was submitted to a small group of experts and government officials for review and was not meant for public release.

Every few years, the IPCC publishes an Assessment Report containing the available research about the current state of climate change.

This year’s special report is the first focused on what is possibly the Paris Agreement’s most controversial climate goal: limiting global temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels.

Though some countries are in strong support of taking action to ensure the world meets this climate goal, research has shown that we are highly unlikely to do so.

The draft of the special report obtained by Reuters seems to confirm this low probability of success: “There is very high risk that […] global warming will exceed 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels [should emissions continue at the current pace].”

The draft also states that meeting the climate goal would require an “unprecedented” leap from fossil fuels to renewable sources of energy and extensive reforms everywhere from industry to agriculture.

Additionally, while curbing global temperatures would help reduce some of the worst impacts of climate change, including sea level rise and droughts, it would not be enough to protect the planet’s most fragile ecosystems, including polar ice caps and coral reefs.

Political Motives?

While the findings currently included in the report confirm what the public may consider the worst-case scenario, scientists who have read the report are not surprised by its contents.

“The report is unexceptional,” Peter Wadhams, Professor of Ocean Physics at the University of Cambridge, told Futurism. “It was already clear to every climate scientist that a 1.5 degrees Celsius warming limit would be breached by 2050 (in fact, probably much earlier) in the absence of drastic carbon capture measures.”

Gabriel Marty, a climate change analyst and former U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) delegate for France, told Futurism that it’s too soon to speculate on the content of the final report.

However, once it is released, he said readers should note the treatment of the uncertainties and risks of the so-called “bio-energy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS)” technologies designed to suck carbon emissions out of the atmosphere.

The risks associated [with heavily relying on these technologies] must be clearly outlined,” said Marty. “They do not exist yet, the scale that would be needed would be enormous, and the adverse impacts on land and water resources would likely be huge.”

According to sources familiar with the IPCC’s proceedings, the panel has been criticized in the past for being too coy about the limitations of BECCS and for understating their risks in order to present the 2 degrees Celsius target as “still viable.”

Wadhams also mentioned the possibility that the IPCC’s hesitation to release the special report itself could be politically motivated.

“The IPCC has long since become a political rather than a scientific organization, so their secretiveness and sensitivity about a perfectly ordinary report has some political motive,” he told Futurism.

““A lot could still change between now and the final version.”

Roz Pidcock, head of communications for the IPCC Working Group 1, told Futurism that that’s not the case. She said the fact that the special report is currently confidential has nothing to do with a lack of transparency on the part of the panel — they simply aren’t finished with it yet.

“All of the expert and government review comments that come in over the next few weeks are taken on board […] Just to give an idea of what that involves, the first draft of this report received 12,895 comments from nearly 500 expert reviewers around the world,” said Pidcock. “A lot could still change between now and the final version.”

We will need to wait until October for the IPCC’s final take on the viability of the extremely ambitious 1.5 degrees Celsius limit, but whatever the contents of the report, we can’t let it discourage us from taking the strongest action possible to prevent further damage to our planet.

Press link for more: Futurism.com

Climate Change Has Quadrupled Ocean ‘Dead Zones,’ #ClimateChange #StopAdani #auspol

The size of oxygen-starved ocean “dead zones,” where plants and animals struggle to survive, has increased fourfold around the world, according to a new scientific analysis.

The growth of the zones is yet another consequence of global warming — including increasing ocean temperatures — triggered by greenhouse gases and, closer to the coasts, contamination by agricultural runoff and sewage.

Our suffocating oceans: Red dots mark spots along coasts where oxygen has plummeted to 2 milligrams per liter or less. Blue areas mark varying levels of low oxygen in the open ocean.

“Rising nutrient loads coupled with climate change — each resulting from human activities — are changing ocean biogeochemistry and increasing oxygen consumption,” says the study published in the journal Science.

Ultimately, such changes are “unsustainable and may result in ecosystem collapses, which ultimately will cause societal and economic harm.”

The analysis of the oxygen-starved zones was conducted by a team of scientists from the Global Oxygen Network (GO2NE),  created in 2016 by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of the United Nations.

Researchers determined that open-ocean “oxygen-minimum” zones have expanded since 1950 by an area roughy equivalent to the size of the European Union.

The volume of ocean water completely devoid of oxygen has more than quadrupled in that time, the study found.

The number of hypoxic, or oxygen depleted, zones along coasts has increased up to 10 times, from less than 50 to 500.

Denise Breitburg, a marine ecologist at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center and lead author of the study, called the plunge in ocean oxygen “among the most serious effects of human activities on the Earth’s environment.” Oxygen is “fundamental to life in the oceans,” she said in a statement.

“If you can’t breathe, nothing else matters,” Breitburg told The Associated Press. “As seas are losing oxygen, those areas are no longer habitable by many organisms.”

But the threat isn’t just to life in the oceans, which account for about half of the oxygen on the planet.

Major extinction events in Earth’s history have been associated with warm climates and oxygen-deficient oceans,” the study warns.

Consequences for ocean life can be significant even in areas where oxygen is merely low. Sea life may be stunted and immune responses impaired in such areas, resulting in poor survival rates and a decrease in healthy diversity, scientists warn.

The scientists recommend salvaging oxygen-starved areas by tackling climate change and nutrient pollution, focusing on protecting particularly vulnerable sea life with no-catch or no-fishing zones, and increasing and improving surveillance of areas where oxygen is plummeting.

Breitburg concedes that addressing global warming can seem daunting, but she says focused local efforts to protect areas can be effective. She points to changes in the Chesapeake Bay, where nitrogen pollution dropped 24 percent from its worst levels after sewage treatment and protections mandated by the Clean Air Act began. Areas of the bay with zero oxygen zones have nearly vanished, according to Breitburg.

Even with “ambitious emission reductions,” however, numerical models project “further oxygen declines during the 21st century,” the study warns.

Press link for more (including video) Huffington Post

U.N./WHO work together on environmental health risks. #StopAdani #AirPollution & #ClimateChange

UN Environment and World Health Organization agree to major collaboration on environmental health risks | UNFCCC

UN Environment and the World Health Organization have agreed a new, wide-ranging collaboration to accelerate action to curb environmental health risks that cause an estimated 12.6 million deaths a year.

Yesterday in Nairobi, Mr. Erik Solheim, head of UN Environment, and Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO, signed an agreement to step up joint actions to combat air pollution, climate change and antimicrobial resistance, as well as improve coordination on waste and chemicals management, water quality, and food and nutrition issues. The collaboration also includes joint management of the BreatheLife advocacy campaign to reduce air pollution for multiple climate, environment and health benefits.

Although the two agencies cooperate in a range of areas, this represents the most significant formal agreement on joint action across the spectrum of environment and health issues in over 15 years.

“There is an urgent need for our two agencies to work more closely together to address the critical threats to environmental sustainability and climate – which are the foundations for life on this planet. This new agreement recognizes that sober reality,” said UN Environment’s Solheim.

He added: “Most of these deaths occur in developing countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America where environmental pollution takes its biggest health toll.”

The new collaboration creates a more systematic framework for joint research, development of tools and guidance, capacity building, monitoring of Sustainable Development Goals, global and regional partnerships, and support to regional health and environment fora.

The two agencies will develop a joint work programme and hold an annual high-level meeting to evaluate progress and make recommendations for continued collaboration.

The WHO-UN Environment collaboration follows a Ministerial Declaration on Health, Environment and Climate Change calling for the creation of a global “Health, Environment and Climate Change” Coalition, at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) COP 22 in Marrakesh, Morocco in 2016.

Just last month, under the overarching topic “Towards a Pollution-Free Planet”, the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA), which convenes environment ministers worldwide, adopted a resolution on Environment and Health, called for expanded partnerships with relevant UN agencies and partners, and for an implementation plan to tackle pollution.

Click here to read the press release.

#FNQ Scientist warns Humanity in danger. #ClimateChange #StopAdani #auspol #qldpol

A NORTH Queensland scientist has warned human life on Earth is in danger if immediate action is not taken.

Jeffery Sayer

Cairns-based professor Jeff Sayer made the stark warning after research was published which showed the global scale of agricultural production had already breached two crucial “boundaries” that could endanger human existence.

The professor is part of an international team examining agricultural production in relation to nine “planetary boundaries”, which if breached could destabilise the Earth’s ecosystem.

The research examines threats to human life including climate change, the biosphere, biochemistry, freshwater and land systems.

“Agricultural production occupies 40 per cent of the land surface of the Earth that isn’t covered by ice, and that’s expected to increase by another 8 per cent by 2050,” Prof Sayer said.

He said agriculture was already overwhelmingly responsible for breaching accepted biogeochemical limits — the flow of chemicals such as nitrogen and phosphate between living and non-living organisms.

Cairns-based professor Jeff Sayer is warning of a threat to human life from global scale of agricultural production.

Even if that doesn’t kill us off other threats will eventually extinguish human life including the sun turning into a red giant. Photo: Fsgregs

The nine Planetary Boundaries

1. Land-system change (increasing risk)

2. Freshwater use (increasing risk)

3. Biogeochemical flows (breached)

4. Change in biosphere integrity (breached)

5. Climate change (increasing risk)

6. Ocean acidification (safe)

7. Stratospheric ozone depletion (safe)

8. Atmospheric aerosol loading (safe)

9. Introduction of novel entities (safe)

Prof Sayer said the best way to prevent catastrophe was to make more efficient use of chemical inputs to agriculture — pesticides and fertilisers — for the biogeochemical flows and to manage protected areas to conserve biosphere integrity.

“However the full answers to these questions are much more complex and context dependent — and they need a lot of research and innovation in agricultural and land management systems,” he said.

End of the Earth

Although the professor’s paper has dire warnings for human life on Earth, life in general is expected to last for another 100 million years.

But many things could potential destroy life on Earth including a massive volcanic eruption.

Also an enormous asteroid could split the Earth in to pieces. That could happens within 450 million years.

Anytime within the next million years, a wandering star could pass close to the Earth, destroying life on the planet.

Eventually the sun will expand and swallow the Earth.

Scientists predict that will happen between 1 and 7.5 billion years from today.

Hopefully by that time humans will have developed technology to enable us to colonise other planets.

The Earth’s core could solidify, which could take about three to four billion years.

Read the paper yourself here.

Press link for more: Townsville Bulletin