Newsdesk – June 24


No System of Government Designed by Human Beings Can Survive What the Climate Crisis Will Bring.  And the window to prevent the worst of it is closing. Fast. On a worldwide scale, the next world wars are going to be fought not over oil, but over water. This is especially true in places like India, which is currently in the middle of a murderous heatwave in which temperatures regularly top out at 120 degrees Fahrenheit, and where hugely populated cities are running out of water.  As described by BBC, in Chennai which is India’s sixth largest city, has been in the grip of a severe water shortage for weeks now. Residents have had to stand in line for hours to get water from government tanks, and restaurants have closed due to the lack of water. The water crisis has also meant that most of the city has to depend solely on Chennai’s water department. And, as the Times of London reports, the combination of heat and drought not only is killing people in cities, but also is emptying villages in the northern part of India. After weeks of temperatures topping 50 degrees, many villagers in the worst-hit areas starved of water have been abandoned and are until the arrival of the monsoon relief. This is a part of the new normal, and it’s coming soon to a theater near you. No system of government devised by human beings can withstand what’s coming – we’re all screwed anyway – Esquire

  • Experts raise alarm over climate change threat to cultural heritage –
  • As Europe braces for a heatwave this week, a Dutchman is swimming the route of the country’s most famed ice skating race, which has not been held for two decades as the climate crisis bites – The Guardian
  • The globe just experienced its second warmest March through May since at least 1880 – Discovery Magazine
  • A growing body of research exposes the environmental hazards posed by the clothing industry – The Guardian
  • EU leaders to debate push for zero emissions by 2050 –
  • Aviation efficiency gains and innovation will not be enough to limit emissions growth. Demand for air travel needs to be damped – stop it to save the planet – The Guardian
  • Scientists shocked by Arctic permafrost thawing 70 years sooner than predicted – The Guardian
The rapid thawing of permafrost causes “mega slumps” that puncture the landscape like the holes in swiss cheese (Credit: Sue Natali)

The poison released by melting Arctic ice. Pollution, anthrax – even nuclear waste – could be released by global warming. The organic-rich permafrost holds an estimated 1,500 billion tonnes of carbon. “That’s about twice as much carbon in the atmosphere, and three times as much carbon than that stored in all the world’s forests”, says Natali, the research fellow studying the effects of thawing permafrost due to climate change. About her trip to Duvanny Yar, Siberia, where she went for the first time in 2012,  she recalls, “I still get chills when I think about it… I just couldn’t believe the magnitude: collapsing cliffs the size of multi-storey buildings … and as you walk along you see what look like logs poking out the permafrost. But they aren’t logs, they are the bones of mammoths and other Pleistocene animals. The rapid change in North American permafrost is equally alarming. “In some places in the Alaskan Arctic, you fly over a swiss cheese of land and lakes formed by ground collapse,” says Natali, whose fieldwork has moved from Siberia to Alaska. What Natali describes is the visible, dramatic effects of a rapidly warming Arctic. The permafrost – up until now, permanently frozen land and soil – is thawing out, and revealing its hidden secrets. Alongside Pleistocene fossils are massive carbon and methane emissions, toxic mercury, and ancient diseases – BBC

Credit: Paul Brennan Pixabay

Rise of the Extinction Deniers. Just like climate deniers, they’re out to obfuscate and debase the scientists and conservationists trying to save the world—and maybe get rid of a few pesky species in the process. The point they are making, that extinction’s not a problem, lately identifies them as “extinction deniers”—people who use the relatively low number of confirmed extinctions to say there’s no such thing as an extinction crisis. These industry shills came out of the woodwork in the wake of the recent Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services report – that predicts the world faces up to one million extinctions in the coming decades due to human activity. This misinformation has been provided by Patrick Moore, a director of a pro-fossil fuels group called the CO2 Commission who always (incorrectly) identifies himself as a cofounder of Greenpeace, the Koch Brothers, and others who aim at the spread of climate denial. For instance, the Heartland Institute’s resident climate denialist Gregory Wrightstone claims that there’s no extinction crisis at all. “In the last 40 years, the average annual extinction rate was two per year,” he wrote. “Not 2,000. Not 200. Two.” That’s the type of mindset and approach that needs to go extinct, amidst a very real extinction crisis affecting species around the globe – Scientific American