Climate Change

Bananas: Another Victim Of Growing Climate Crisis

By Tom Levitt HuffPost (6/11/19) There’s a reason why bananas are the world’s favorite fruit. They are cheap to buy, soft and easy to eat and full of fat-free nutrients. Frequently found in our lunchboxes, breakfast mix and often one of the first foods babies eat, they are a household staple. More than two-thirds of U.S shoppers include them in their regular grocery shopping. But the much-loved banana is in trouble. Two damaging diseases are destroying our favorite yellow food and threatening to wipe out the bananas eaten by consumers in the U.S. “Banana production as it stands is facing an…

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Missed Opportunity: Why Do The Democrats Refuse To Hold A Climate Change Debate?

By Andy Kroll Rolling Stone (6/10/19) WASHINGTON — The Democratic National Committee is facing a growing backlash in the wake of its refusal to host a 2020 presidential debate focused solely on solving the climate crisis. Last week, the DNC not only dismissed the idea of hosting a debate on the existential threat of our time but vowed to bar any 2020 candidate who participates in a non-DNC climate debate from participating in future official debates, according to Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, who was the 2020 Democratic candidate to call for a climate-only debate. Inslee called the DNC’s decision “extremely disappointing” and the blacklist “totally unacceptable.”…


Youth Climate Case Against The Government Moves Forward

Third or fourth flooding of kids playground in Ferryville, Wi., Vernon County, spring 2019. By John Schwartz New York Times (6/4/19) Three federal judges heard arguments Tuesday about whether young people have a constitutional right to be protected from climate change. In the lively, hourlong hearing, the judges, from the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, pushed skeptically on the arguments of both sides. The closely watched lawsuit, Juliana v. United States, was scheduled to begin last October, but the court granted the Trump administration an unusual pretrial appeal. Their decision could have important implications for this and other attempts to use…


DNC Betrays Base & The Young: Despite Clear Threat Of Climate Crisis, Declares No Debate On The Issue & Tries To Silence Inslee

DNC threatened not to invite him to future debates if he participated in any other climate change debate. By Anthony Adragna Politico (6/5/19) Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said Wednesday the Democratic National Committee informed him it will not dedicate one of its presidential primary debates to the issue of climate change. The decision comes despite a furious push from progressive and environmental advocates for a climate change debate, as well as strong support across the Democratic ideological spectrum. At least half a dozen Democratic candidates, including Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and former Obama…


Why The Guardian Is Reforming The Language It Uses To Report On The Environmental Crisis

From now on, house style guide recommends terms such as ‘climate crisis’ and ‘global heating’. By Damian Carrington, Environment editor The Guardian (5/17/19) The Guardian has updated its style guide to introduce terms that more accurately describe the environmental crises facing the world. Instead of “climate change” the preferred terms are “climate emergency, crisis or breakdown” and “global heating” is favoured over “global warming”, although the original terms are not banned. “We want to ensure that we are being scientifically precise, while also communicating clearly with readers on this very important issue,” said the editor-in-chief, Katharine Viner. “The phrase ‘climate change’, for…


From Greta Thunberg To Parkland: Courageous Young Citizen Activists Rattle The Right-Wing Smear Machine

They are citizens with rights who deserve to be heard. By Christian Christensen Common Dreams (5/20/19) I recently hit the age of 50, but let me tell you one thing I don’t think as I enter the second half-century of my life: that younger citizens around me are lazy, apathetic, entitled snowflakes, ensconced in cocoons of political correctness. Younger citizens—and, yes, they are citizens even though they can’t vote—must navigate a social universe of public-ness, information overload and surveillance unthinkable to those of us who grew up in the pre-Internet, pre-social media era. And, they must do this while dealing with…


Plastics Are A Massive Threat To Global Climate At Each Point Of Lifecycle, Report Finds

By Madison Dapcevich EcoWatch (5/17/19) Plastic pollution across the globe is suffocating our planet and driving Earth toward catastrophic climatic conditions if not curbed significantly and immediately, according to a new report by the Center for International Environmental Law (CEIL). As first reported by The Guardian, a review of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) at each stage of the plastic lifestyle finds that increasing plastic and petrochemical industries expected to accelerate in the next ten years are threatening the ability to keep global temperature rise below 1.5°C degrees if the world does not immediately act. This year alone, the production and incineration of plastic…


Half Measures Won’t Do: If We Want To Save The Planet We Need To Go All The Way

Our measuring stick is not politics; it is physics, and the urgent demands of justice for all on the frontlines of climate disaster. By Varshini Prakash The Guardian (5/2/19) When Beto O’Rourke launched his presidential campaign, I was impressed. On multiple occasions, including as recently as April, O’Rourke backed calls to effectively zero out all domestic emissions of the greenhouse gases that cause climate change by 2030, and said we’re screwed if we aim for anything less. On Monday, he shifted the goalposts back. He released a detailed climate plan, his first policy proposal of his campaign. There’s a lot to like. He…


David Wallace-Wells: Earth At 2° Hotter Will Be Horrific. Now Here’s What 4° Will Look Like

  Think Big (3/14/19) This is what the world will be like if we do not act on climate change. The best-case scenario of climate change is that world gets just 2°C hotter, which scientists call the “threshold of catastrophe”. Why is that the good news? Because if humans don’t change course now, the planet is on a trajectory to reach 4°C at the end of this century, which would bring $600 trillion in global climate damages, double the warfare, and a refugee crisis 100x worse than the Syrian exodus. David Wallace-Wells explains what would happen at an 8°C and…


Erik Prince Reportedly Wants His Piece Of The Action From The Venezuelan Corporate Coup

For Prince, the unlikely gambit represents the latest effort in a long campaign to privatize warfare. By Aram Roston & Matt Spetalnick Reuters (4/30/19) WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Erik Prince – the founder of the controversial private security firm Blackwater and a prominent supporter of U.S. President Donald Trump – has been pushing a plan to deploy a private army to help topple Venezuela’s socialist president, Nicolas Maduro, four sources with knowledge of the effort told Reuters. Over the last several months, the sources said, Prince has sought investment and political support for such an operation from influential Trump supporters and wealthy…


The Rural Vote: Factory Farms Are Polluting Our Drinking Water With Hog Manure. Democrats Should Take Note

Corporate agriculture is often an overlooked issue for those appealing to the Democratic party base. [Editor’s Note: When you link to the full article you will find specifics about the growing industrial farming threat in Wisconsin. — Mark L. Taylor] By George Goehl The Guardian (4/26/19) Donald Trump is banking on riding his hardline stance on immigration to re-election in 2020. Tough talk of a wall makes headlines, but it’s a less discussed issue that could play a deciding role for voters in swing states and early primary states: the influx of factory farms and the devastating impact they have on…


Why Has Climate Crisis Become So Politicised?

  By Michael Blastland The Why Factor / BBC (4/22/19) People on the left are more likely to accept climate change than those on the right in the USA, Australia and much of Western Europe. But it’s a question that starts with little more than a thermometer, a measurement of the temperature at the earth’s surface. Why does a science question divide people along party lines? Was it the oil industry, fuelling doubt about the science? Or something deep in our psychology, that causes us to push the science aside in favour of belonging to a tribe, a feeling that…


Alarm Grows As Study Shows How Microplastics Are Blown To Even The Most Remote Areas Of The Globe

  By Damian Carrington The Guardian (4/15/19) Microplastic is raining down on even remote mountaintops, a new study has revealed, with winds having the capacity to carry the pollution “anywhere and everywhere”. The scientists were astounded by the quantities of microplastic falling from the sky in a supposedly pristine place such as the French stretch of the Pyrenees mountains. Researchers are now finding microplastics everywhere they look; in rivers, the deepest oceans and soils around the world. Other recent studies have found microplastics in farmland soils near Shanghai, China, in the Galápagos Islands, a Unesco world heritage site, and in rivers in the Czech Republic. Humans and other…


Chris Hedges: Saying Goodbye To Planet Earth

“Too late, too late you see the path of wisdom.” By Chris Hedges TruthDig (8/19/18) The spectacular rise of human civilization—its agrarian societies, cities, states, empires and industrial and technological advances ranging from irrigation and the use of metals to nuclear fusion—took place during the last 10,000 years, after the last ice age. Much of North America was buried, before the ice retreated, under sheets eight times the height of the Empire State Building. This tiny span of time on a planet that is 4.5 billion years old is known as the Holocene Age. It now appears to be coming…


Protest Repression: Big Oil Warps Legislatures To Redefine Criminality

Is it “criminal” for an industry to drive the global climate crisis in order to reap profits? Or is it “criminal” to (literally) get in the way? By Sarah Lazare & Simon Davis-Cohen In These Times (4/16/19) Researchers concluded in January that humanity has a hope, a 64 percent chance, of keeping the temperature rise below the international target of 1.5 degrees Celsius—if the phaseout of fossil fuel infrastructure begins now and every car, plane and power plant in existence gets replaced by a zero-carbon alternative at the end of its life span. “We are basically saying we can’t build anything…


Only Rebellion Will Prevent An Ecological Apocalypse

The time for excuses is over. The struggle to overthrow our life-denying system has begun. By George Monbiot The Guardian (4/15/19) Had we put as much effort into preventing environmental catastrophe as we’ve spent on making excuses for inaction, we would have solved it by now. Everywhere I look, I see people engaged in furious attempts to fend off the moral challenge it presents. The commonest current excuse is this: “I bet those protesters have phones/go on holiday/wear leather shoes.” In other words, we won’t listen to anyone who is not living naked in a barrel, subsisting only on murky water….


Author David Wallace-Wells: ‘Why climate change is gravely worse than feared’

  ITV News (2/19/19) According to American author David Wallace-Wells, there is a jarring gap between academic research and how climate change is represented in the media. His new book, worryingly titled, ‘The Uninhabitable Earth’ is a warning that simply more can and must be done. In a wide-ranging interview with ITV News Science Editor Tom Clarke, Wallace-Wells describes how he became a “quasi-activist” during his research; how an alarmist approach can be effective; the damning failure of the Paris Agreement and how China could play a key role in reducing global warming. Link to 23-Minute Video


‘Losing Earth’ Explores How Oil Industry Played Politics With The Planet’s Fate

‘Losing Earth’ Explores How Oil Industry Played Politics With The Planet’s Fate. By Terry Gross Fresh Air / WHYY (4/8/19) Climate change is often thought of as a partisan issue in the United States, but New York Times journalist Nathaniel Rich says that wasn’t always the case. Rich says that from 1979 until 1989, climate change was viewed as a bipartisan problem — then the the oil industry “descended and bared its fangs” and everything changed. In his new book, Losing Earth, Rich writes that in the late 1980s, the American Petroleum Institute began paying scientists to write op-eds questioning climate science. He describes the…


For A Flooded Midwest, Climate Chaos Forecasts Warn Of Dramatic Changes

The U.S. Midwest is located in a convergence zone where prevailing winds blowing from the east and west meet. By Shuang-Ye Wu The Conversation (3/29/19) Flooding in the Midwest, triggered by an intense “bomb cyclone,” has devastated parts of the region, which has been plagued by flood events in recent decades. Floods are triggered by extreme rainfall events, often combined with ground conditions, such as saturated or frozen ground, that make it harder for water to percolate down into soil, which increases runoff. Global warming has the potential to intensify the Earth’s water cycle, which will alter the quantity, frequency, intensity and duration…


As Climate Chaos Worsens: Recording Reveals Oil industry Execs Chortling Over Their Direct Access To Trump

The oil lobby has had ready access to top administration officials, both inside the Interior Department and out. By Lance Willims Center for Investigative Reporting / Reveal (3/22/19) Gathered for a private meeting at a beachside Ritz–Carlton in Southern California, the oil executives were celebrating a colleague’s sudden rise. David Bernhardt, their former lawyer, had been appointed by President Donald Trump to the powerful No. 2 spot at the Department of the Interior. Just five months into the Trump era, the energy developers who make up the Independent Petroleum Association of America, or IPAA, already had watched the new president…


Our Great Lakes Feeling The Burn From Growing Effects Of Deadly Climate Chaos

  By Dan Kraker MPR (3/21/19) People living around the Great Lakes can expect to see more harmful algae blooms, warmer water temperatures and declining ice cover, more huge rain storms flushing runoff from farm fields and parking lots, and more coastal erosion and beach closures. That’s the assessment of a new study commissioned by an environmental advocacy group analyzing the impacts of climate change on the world’s largest supply of fresh water. Taking decisive steps to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and mitigate the effects of climate change could have profound impacts on the health of the Great Lakes. Many…


The Rapid Decline Of The Natural World Is A Crisis Even Bigger Than Climate Chaos

Animal populations have declined by 60 percent since 1970, driven by human actions, according to a recent World Wildlife Fund study. By John Vidal HuffPost (3/15/19) Nature is in freefall and the planet’s support systems are so stretched that we face widespread species extinctions and mass human migration unless urgent action is taken. That’s the warning hundreds of scientists are preparing to give, and it’s stark. The last year has seen a slew of brutal and terrifying warnings about the threat climate change poses to life. Far less talked about but just as dangerous, if not more so, is the…


Aldo Leopold On The Penalty Of The ‘Ecological Education’

“One of the penalities of an ecological education is that one lives alone in a world of wounds. An ecologist must either harden his shell and make believe that the consequences of science are none of his business, or he must be the doctor who sees the marks of death in a community and believes itself well and does not want to be told otherwise.” — Aldo Leopold, “A Sand County Almanac” (1949).


On Contact: Climate Emergency With ‘End Of Ice’ Author Dahr Jamail

  Chris Hedges On Contact (2/23/19) The glaciers in Alaska alone are losing an estimated 75 billion tons of ice every year. The oceans, which absorb over 90 percent of the excess heat trapped by greenhouses gases in the atmosphere, are warming and acidifying, melting the polar ice caps and resulting in rising sea levels and oxygen-starved ocean dead zones. We await a 50-gigaton burp, or “pulse,” of methane from thawing Arctic permafrost beneath the East Siberian Arctic Shelf, which will release about 2/3 of the total carbon dioxide pumped into the atmosphere since the beginning of the industrial era….


Why Southeast Asia Is Flooded With Plastic Garbage From America And Other Wealthy Nations

  Capitalism, greed and inequality have created a crisis in the global recycling system. By Dominique Mosbergen HuffPost (3/8/19) IPOH, Malaysia ― Bales of plastic garbage, stacked 15 feet high, shimmered in the 100-degree heat. Theygave off a faint chemical smell as they warped and softened under the equatorial sun. A canary-yellow Walmart clearance tag poked out from one of the dirty heaps. Wrappers and packages from American products were visible nearby. These items had likely traveled 10,000 miles to this unmarked and apparently unauthorized dumpsite in a quiet industrial neighborhood in northwestern Malaysia. The Capitalist The bale with the…


Dems Shunning Green New Deal Took Far More Money From Oil & Gas Interests

None of the top 25 Democratic recipients of oil- and gas-linked money in the 2018 election are among the 69 Democrats sponsoring the Green New Deal bill.  By Donald Shaw Sludge (2/28/19) House Democrats who so far have declined to co-sponsor Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s (D-N.Y.) Green New Deal bill took, on average, 2.8 times more money from oil and gas PACs and individuals who work in the industry during the 2018 election than those co-sponsoring it, according to a Sludge analysis of campaign finance data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics. The bill, which currently has 68 Democratic co-sponsors, calls…


Our Five Biggest Delusions About Climate Change

Climate change is not happening slowly, as we were once told, but terrifyingly fast. By David Wallace-Wells Los Angeles Times (2/27/19) The extreme weather of the last year has been so terrifying, and so very extreme, that it is tempting to look at the string of disasters around the world and think: Climate change is here. Certainly that’s what Jerry Brown meant when he described the wildfires ravaging California in the fall as “the new abnormal.” It will only get more so. We have already exited the environmental conditions that allowed the human animal to evolve in the first place, in…


‘A World Without Clouds. Think About That a Minute’: New Study Details Possibility Of Devastating Climate Crisis Feedback Loop

  By Jessica Corbett Common Dreams (2/25/19) As people across the globe mobilize to demand bold action to combat the climate crisis and scientific findings about looming “environmental breakdown” pile up, a startling new study published Monday in the journal Nature Geoscience warns that human-caused global warming could cause stratocumulus clouds to totally disappear in as little as a century, triggering up to 8°C (14°F) of additional warming. Stratocumulus clouds cover about two-thirds of the Earth and help keep it cool by reflecting solar radiation back to space. Recent research has suggested that planetary warming correlates with greater cloud loss, stoking fears about a feedback loop that could spell disaster. “There are…


Climate Crisis & Environmental Risk Is The Externalized Cost Of A Rigged Energy Industry

We need a new politics that creates a new economy. By Tom Crofton The Commoner Call (2/25/19) Now that the Green New Deal has been widely discussed the naysayers are lining up to trash the idea. This has been expected. Outside of the climate crisis deniers — fortunately an increasingly small group — the largest push is coming from the “free market” advocates who do not want to lose their gravy train of “return on investment” on fossil fuels and its related industry. When modern capitalists bring out the old saw about markets being the best way to regulate business…


‘Terrifying’: Rapid Loss Of Biodiversity Placing Global Food Supplies At Risk Of ‘Irreversible Collapse’

“This should be at the top of every news bulletin and every government’s agenda around the world.” By Julia Conley Common Dreams (2/22/19) A groundbreaking report by the United Nations highlighting the rapid, widespread loss of many of the world’s plant and animal species should be on the front page of every newspaper in the world, argued climate action and food access advocates on Friday. The global grassroots organization Slow Food was among the groups that called for far greater attention by world leaders to the “debilitating” loss of biodiversity and the disastrous effects the decline is having on food…


The Real Threat To The Green New Deal—And The Planet—Comes From Corporate-Owned Neoliberal Democrats

A party that responds to a challenge of this magnitude with stratagems, political calculations, cynicism, and half measures will not inspire voters; one that leads us toward a literal salvation, will. By John Atcheson Common Dreams (2/16/19) Predictably, Trump came out against the Green New Deal with a bombastic – and ill-informed – rant in a campaign style rally in El Paso. Here’s what he had to say: “I really don’t like their policy of taking away your car, of taking away your airplane rights, of ‘let’s hop a train to California,’ of you’re not allowed to own cows anymore!” Meanwhile,…


The (Un)scientific Method: Courageous Govt. Contract Scientist Who Resisted Censorship Of Climate Report Lost Her Job

  Caffrey said she asked her supervisor at the park service, “Is this because of the climate change stuff?” She said he told her, “I don’t want to answer that.” By Elizabeth Shogren Reveal /Center for Investigative Journalism (2/14/19) For several years, climate change scientist Maria Caffrey led a trailblazing study outlining the risks of rising seas at national parks. After Friday, she’ll be out of a job. Caffrey, who worked under a contract with the National Park Service, resisted efforts by federal officials to remove all references to human causes of climate change in her scientific report. After Reveal…


The End Of Ice: Journalist Dahr Jamail On The Climate Disruption Crisis From The Melting Himalayas To Insect Extinction

“The future that we’ve all thought was going to be so much further down the line, or 2100, and catastrophic, it’s already happening now.” Democracy Now! (2/12/19) A new report finds at least a third of the Himalayan ice cap will melt by the end of the century due to climate change, even if the world’s most ambitious environmental reforms are implemented. The report, released by the Hindu Kush Himalaya Assessment earlier this month, is the culmination of half a decade’s work by over 200 scientists, with an Things are happening. They’re accelerating. And it’s very, very clear where we…


Ambassadors From Our Climate Crisis: 50 Polar Bears Searching For Food Invade Russian Town, Terrifying Residents

    By Carla Baranauckas HuffPost (2/12/19) In what is being called a consequence of climate change, more than 50 polar bears have invaded a Russian settlement in the Arctic, forcing terrified residents to stay in their homes, according to news reports. The settlement, Belushya Guba, is on the Novaya Zemlya archipelago off Russia’s northeast coast and has a population of about 2,500. Officials declared a state of emergency on Saturday after reports of bears attacking people and entering homes, CNN said. “People are scared,” local administrator Alexander Minayev told CNN. “They are frightened to leave homes, and their daily routines…


Opportunities & Benefits Of Wisconsin Clean Energy Production: The Economic & Health Benefits Of 100% In-State Energy Production

By David Abel & Katya Spear COWS (2/4/19) Wisconsin has a current energy spending deficit of $14.4 billion ($14.4 billion in expenditures leaves the state annually). With no substantial in-state fossil fuel resources, reliance on fossil fuels is hurting the Wisconsin economy. Transitioning to in-state energy resources would bring dollars and jobs back to the state of Wisconsin and provide a win-win-win strategy for economic growth, social well-being, and environmental protection. Full report here. From the report by David Abel and Katya Spear. Prepared for Nick Nichols, Sustainability Coordinator for the Office of Sustainability, La Crosse County, Wisconsin. Link to Article & PDF Link (Commoner Call…


Time For Bravery: Dear Democrats, On Health Care & Climate Change Stop Substituting The So-Called “Possible” For What’s Morally Necessary

    By John Atcheson Common Dreams (2/3/19) In a recent column in the New York Times, David Leonhardt cites a Kaiser survey on Medicare for all, and concludes that supporting it would be an “unforced error” for Democrats. Sherrod Brown, a genuine progressive, made the same observation. Richard Eskow, writing in Common Dreams last week shows why Kaisers’ survey is flawed. But there is a bigger flaw embedded in Leonhardt’s and Brown’s assumption—specifically, the entire notion that Democrats should only run on things that poll well. This perspective is shared by the party’s leadership, by most of the media, and virtually all of the political consultants and contributors….


Bipartisan Ethical Conflict: Members Of House Committee Overseeing The Environment Have Millions Invested In Fossil Fuels

By Alex Kotch Sludge (1/30/19) The House Committee on Energy and Commerce oversees environmental protection, clean air, climate change, energy policy, and drinking water safety. But many of its members appear heavily conflicted: nearly half are personally invested in companies that produce, distribute, or facilitate the distribution of oil, gas, and coal—fossil fuels that are among the biggest threats to the health of the planet and the future of the human species. A Sludge analysis of financial documents has found that 22 of the 55 members of the 116th Congress’ Energy and Commerce Committee have disclosed investments in fossil fuel…


Doomsday Scenario Of Foreign Power Shutting Down Power System Or Natural Gas During A Future Polar Vortex

“The Russians and Chinese are in our networks and they can shut things down if they wish to.” — Rebecca Smith, Wall Street Journal energy reporter. By Bob Brigham The Raw Story (1/30/19) MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow on Tuesday showed video of a parking lot light pole “shivering” as a fatal polar vortex grips the upper midwest. “Now imagine — imagine the impact — if in these conditions somebody hostile to the United States decided to knock out the power and the heat on purpose, and they wouldn’t turn it back on,” Maddow said. Maddow reported on the World Threat Assessment…


Empty Words & Emptier Action: Majority Of Congressional Democrats Support GOP Climate Crisis Deniers

The Democrats are afraid to treat climate change as the crisis it is. We must make them afraid not to. By Branko Marcetic Jacobian (1/28/19) Imagine for a second that the scientific community has just told the world in no uncertain terms there is a meteor headed to Earth that will almost certainly wipe out most, if not all, life on the planet. One of the major political parties in the US is skeptical. They cast aspersions on the scientists, call the whole thing a hoax, repeat meteor-denying propaganda even as the enormous space rock becomes more visible in the…


A Commoner Writes: Media Mum On Any Questions Regarding Corporate Line On Decommissioned Genoa Nuke Plant

  It’s always amazing to me how reporters can take company press releases that have been massaged and sterilized to reduce concerns about a viable risk to human and environmental health and reduce that threat to the equivalent of eating a hot dog: “No foul, no risk, but we are required to report.” From the Monday (1/28) La Crosse Tribune: Report: Source of radioactive groundwater located; no contamination of drinking water, Mississippi River. I wonder how the people of Genoa feel? The workers at the plant? Were there any real questions to people outside the self-interested PR department of Dairyland Power…