The Six Scenarios:
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from National Geographic:
One of the World's Biggest Fisheries Is on the Verge of Collapse
Years ago Christopher Tubo caught a 660-pound blue marlin in the South China Sea. The fishing was good there, he says. Tuna fishermen would come home from a trip with dozens of the high-value fish as well as a good haul of other species.... Glancing over at his wife, Leah, and the other children, he says, "It's just chance, whether or not we can feed our families now."... Encompassing 1.4 million square miles (3.7 million square kilometers), the South China Sea is of critical economic, military, and environmental importance: $5.3 trillion in international trade plies its waters annually; in terms of biodiversity, it is thought of as the marine equivalent of the Amazon rain forest; and its fish provide food and jobs for millions in the 10 countries and territories that surround it. Of those, seven--China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Taiwan, Malaysia, Brunei, and Indonesia--have competing claims to the sea's waters and resources. So it's understandable why all eyes have been focused on the political and military wrangling. If war broke out over these claims, it would pit two superpowers, China and the United States--a longtime Philippine ally and guarantor of freedom of navigation in the Pacific Ocean--against each other.
from Science Advances, via CommonDreams:
4 Billion People at Risk as 'Water Table Dropping All Over the World'
Freshwater scarcity is increasingly perceived as a global systemic risk. Previous global water scarcity assessments, measuring water scarcity annually, have underestimated experienced water scarcity by failing to capture the seasonal fluctuations in water consumption and availability. We assess blue water scarcity globally at a high spatial resolution on a monthly basis. We find that two-thirds of the global population (4.0 billion people) live under conditions of severe water scarcity at least 1 month of the year. Nearly half of those people live in India and China. Half a billion people in the world face severe water scarcity all year round. Putting caps to water consumption by river basin, increasing water-use efficiencies, and better sharing of the limited freshwater resources will be key in reducing the threat posed by water scarcity on biodiversity and human welfare.
Landscape pattern analysis reveals global loss of interior forest
Between 2000 and 2012, the world lost more forest area than it gained, according to U.S. Forest Service researchers and partners who estimated a global net loss of 1.71 million square kilometers of forest--an area about two and a half times the size of Texas. Furthermore, when researchers analyzed patterns of remaining forest, they found a global loss of interior forest--core areas that, when intact, maintain critical habitat and ecological functions.... Their analysis revealed a net loss of 3.76 million square kilometers of interior forest area, or about ten percent of interior forest--more than twice the global net loss of forest area. The rate at which interior forest area was lost was more than three times the rate of global forest area loss. All forest biomes experienced a net loss of interior forest area during the study period. Across the globe, temperate coniferous forests experienced the largest percentage of loss, tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests lost the most area of interior forest, and boreal forests and taiga lost interior forest at the highest rate.
from Inside Climate News:
Basic Water Source for Most Alberta Tar Sands Could Run Dry
"We show that the current and projected surface water allocations from the Athabasca River for the exploitation of the Alberta oil sands are based on an untenable assumption of the representativeness of the short instrumental record."... Tar sands projects are already threatened by a slump in oil prices, as well as pending global action to address climate change. Tar sands drilling is a prominent target of environmental groups and climate activists because the oil emits an estimated three to four times more carbon dioxide when burned than conventional crude. Its water use only adds to the environmental costs.
from NASA-funded report, via the National Post:
March, 2014: The utter collapse of human civilization will be 'difficult to avoid,' NASA funded study says
After running the numbers on a set of four equations representing human society, a team of NASA-funded mathematicians has come to the grim conclusion that the utter collapse of human civilization will be "difficult to avoid." The exact scenario may vary, but in the coming decades humanity is essentially doomed to some variant of "Elites" consuming too much, "resulting in a famine among Commoners that eventually causes the collapse of society." That is, unless civilization is ready for one of two "major policy changes": inequality must be "greatly reduced" or population growth must be "strictly controlled."... The study starts by reducing human civilization into four easy-to-toggle factors: Elites, Commoners, nature and wealth. The paper explains that this was done because "ecological strain" and "economic stratification" are the only two things that consistently plague collapsing societies.... "We could posit that this buffer of wealth ... allows Elites to continue 'business as usual' despite the impending catastrophe," it continues, suggesting that these kind of "oblivious elites" destroyed the Mayans and the Romans. The only two scenarios that do not kill everyone, in fact, are the ones in which birth rates are either strictly controlled or "resources are distributed in a reasonably equitable fashion."
from Christian Science Monitor:
World Resource Overdraft: Planet Earth crosses into ecological red
Planet Earth crossed into the ecological red Friday. Thursday marked Earth Overshoot Day - the day when the world's population officially exhausts all the natural resources the Earth can generate in a single year, as defined by the sustainability think tank, Global Footprint Network.... GFN estimates that the current population demands the resources of 1.6 Earths.
21 of 37 Aquifers: The World Is Running Out of Water
Humans are depleting underground aquifers around the world at alarming rates, threatening hundreds of millions of people who rely on them for survival, according to a comprehensive study conducted by researchers from NASA and the University of California, Irvine. Twenty-one of the world's 37 largest aquifers are losing water at a greater rate than they're being refilled, falling victim to population growth and climate change. Thirteen of those diminishing water sources are experiencing "significant distress," including the Arabian Aquifer System, which supplies Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iraq, and Yemen, the Murzuk-Djado Basin in northern Africa, the Indus Basin of India and Pakistan, and the Central Valley Aquifer System in California. "It's very serious," Jay Famiglietti of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and an author of the report told VICE News. "All over the world, we use more water than we have available to us on a renewable basis." ... "There's serious ecological damage being done right now. The ground is sinking in California, streams are being depleted, the water table is falling, wells are running dry, the quality of water is degrading," Famiglietti told VICE News. "We really are past these sustainability tipping points, so it sure as heck would be good to know how much water is left. We're depleting it very quickly."
from Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences:
The most powerful abstract the Docs have ever read
Though recorded just previously, we read the abstract of the article "Human domination of the biosphere: Rapid discharge of the earth-space battery foretells the future of humankind" in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and were astonished: ABSTRACT: Earth is a chemical battery where, over evolutionary time with a trickle-charge of photosynthesis using solar energy, billions of tons of living biomass were stored in forests and other ecosystems and in vast reserves of fossil fuels. In just the last few hundred years, humans extracted exploitable energy from these living and fossilized biomass fuels to build the modern industrial-technological-informational economy, to grow our population to more than 7 billion, and to transform the biogeochemical cycles and biodiversity of the earth. This rapid discharge of the earth's store of organic energy fuels the human domination of the biosphere, including conversion of natural habitats to agricultural fields and the resulting loss of native species, emission of carbon dioxide, and the resulting climate and sea level change, and use of supplemental nuclear, hydro, wind, and solar energy sources. The laws of thermodynamics governing the trickle-charge and rapid discharge of the earth's battery are universal and absolute; the earth is only temporarily poised a quantifiable distance from the thermodynamic equilibrium of outer space. Although this distance from equilibrium is comprised of all energy types, most critical for humans is the store of living biomass. With the rapid depletion of this chemical energy, the earth is shifting back toward the inhospitable equilibrium of outer space with fundamental ramifications for the biosphere and humanity. Because there is no substitute or replacement energy for living biomass, the remaining distance from equilibrium that will be required to support human life is unknown.
from UGA, via DesdemonaDespair:
Continued destruction of Earth's plant life places humankind in jeopardy, says UGA research
Unless humans slow the destruction of Earth's declining supply of plant life, civilization like it is now may become completely unsustainable, according to a paper published recently by University of Georgia researchers in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. "You can think of the Earth like a battery that has been charged very slowly over billions of years," said the study's lead author, John Schramski, an associate professor in UGA's College of Engineering. "The sun's energy is stored in plants and fossil fuels, but humans are draining energy much faster than it can be replenished."... Scientists estimate that the Earth contained approximately 1,000 billion tons of carbon in living biomass 2,000 years ago. Since that time, humans have reduced that amount by almost half. It is estimated that just over 10 percent of that biomass was destroyed in just the last century. "If we don't reverse this trend, we'll eventually reach a point where the biomass battery discharges to a level at which Earth can no longer sustain us," Schramski said.... "I call myself a realistic optimist," Schramski said. "I've gone through these numbers countless times looking for some kind of mitigating factor that suggests we're wrong, but I haven't found it."
from Science, via ScienceDaily:
The oceans can't take any more: Fundamental change in oceans predicted
Our oceans need an immediate and substantial reduction of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. If that doesn't happen, we could see far-reaching and largely irreversible impacts on marine ecosystems, which would especially be felt in developing countries. That's the conclusion of a new review study published today in the journal Science. In the study, the research team from the Ocean 2015 initiative assesses the latest findings on the risks that climate change poses for our oceans, and demonstrates how fundamentally marine ecosystems are likely to change if human beings continue to produce just as much greenhouse gases as before.... "To date, the oceans have essentially been the planet's refrigerator and carbon dioxide storage locker. For instance, since the 1970s they've absorbed roughly 93 percent of the additional heat produced by the greenhouse effect, greatly helping to slow the warming of our planet," explains Prof Hans-Otto Pörtner, co-author of the new Ocean 2015 study....
World arable land per capita, 1961-2012
... Add these numbers, and there are at least 14.5 million hectares per year of wildlands being converted to human uses, probably mostly for agriculture.... Humans are destroying soil at a rate of 12 million hectares per year, and we’re making up for it by destroying forest and wetlands at a comparable rate. But is all of this destruction of the natural world enabling us to keep up with the ever-growing human population?
from Times of London:
GM 'whiffy wheat' fails to deter aphids
A £3 million publicly funded field trial of genetically modified wheat has failed after the crop was shown to be no better at repelling pests than conventional wheat. The "whiffy wheat" project involved plants modified to produce a pheromone that aphids release when under attack from predators. Scientists thought that the scent would cause the aphids to flee and also attract wasps, which prey on them. However, the trial found no significant reduction in aphids, possibly because they learnt to ignore the continuous alarm scent.
from London Independent:
Society will collapse by 2040 due to catastrophic food shortages, says study
A scientific model has suggested that society will collapse in less than three decades due to catastrophic food shortages if policies do not change... "In this scenario, global society essentially collapses as food production falls permanently short of consumption."
Drop by drop: Living through the São Paulo water crisis
According to Sabesp, the Brazilian water company, residents of São Paulo -- more than 10 million people -- should expect five days a week of restrictions and only two days of full service. There was no date given for our access to be restored. If the situation gets worse, people from São Paulo will need to move to other parts of the nation with adequate water. I don't have a wife or kids yet, but this is difficult for everyone. We are all worried we will become refugees. Since October of 2014, I've suffered from water rationing. I know friends and other colleagues who've had these problems since September 2014. This shortage was not an accident, nor an act of God: this is a result of twenty years of government neglecting the ecological management of the water supply.
Sao Paulo - anatomy of a failing megacity: residents struggle as water taps run dry
According to a crisis report published on 9 February by the pressure group Aliança Pela Água (Water Alliance), whereas catastrophic situations like flooding often fosters solidarity, a lack of resources tends to do the opposite, leading to chaos and even violence. In Itu, a city 100km from São Paulo a desperate water shortage in late 2014 led to fighting in queues, theft of water, and the looting of emergency water trucks, which are now accompanied by armed civil guards. These events left many paulistanos wondering how the hardship might play out in their own pressurised and densely populated city.
California suffers dry January, prolonging devastating drought
California has experienced one of the driest Januarys on record, and the lack of rain during a time of year when the weather is usually wet indicates the state is likely headed for a fourth straight year of drought, officials said. A prolonged drought could portend further economic and environmental setbacks for the nation's most populous state, which has already lost both crops and jobs to the dry weather.
from Los Angeles Times:
State's drought having pronounced effect on wildlife
...aby squirrels are just one of many animals fleeing their homes and risking their lives to search for food sources that have been diminished by drought. California Department of Fish and Wildlife officials said drought has forced more bears and deer to venture onto mountain highways, where many are struck and killed by vehicles.
from Reuters, via DesdemonaDespair:
São Paulo taps emergency water reserves which may last for two months - 'If it doesn't rain, we won't have an alternative but to get water from the mud'
São Paulo, Brazil's drought-hit megacity of 20 million, has about two months of guaranteed water supply remaining as it taps into the second of three emergency reserves, officials say. The city began using its second so-called "technical reserve" 10 days ago to prevent a water crisis after reservoirs reached critically low levels last month. This is the first time the state has resorted to using the reserves, experts say.... Brazil's southeast region is suffering its worst drought in at least 80 years after an unusually dry year left rivers and reservoirs at critically low levels.
from Cincinnati Enquirer:
Runners plunder snacks at Thanksgiving charity race in Cincinnati
... After running 10 kilometers, participants are greeted with energy bars, granola bars, yogurt, bagels, fruit and more. There's always enough to go around from first finisher to the last. In fact, there's often so much that the extras are packed up and donated to the Freestore Foodbank. Not this year.... Early finishers of the Thanksgiving Day Race on Thursday wanted more of the post-race snacks than their hands and arms could hold.... After the plundering of the post-race snack zone, many finishers fled as fast as they finished...."All that was left was liquid," Isphording said. "There wasn't any food left for the walkers."
Climate change curbs crops
Farmers have produced less food during the past three decades than they would have done were climate change not happening, according to a study published today1. Global maize (corn) production, for example, is estimated to be about 3.8 percent lower than it would have been in a non-warmed world -- the equivalent of Mexico not contributing to the maize market.
from Kunstler, via Zero Hedge:
Crossing the Frontier of Criticality
... All of these systems have something in common: they've exceeded their fragility threshold and crossed into the frontier of criticality. They have nowhere to go except failure. It would be nice if we could construct leaner and more local systems to replace these monsters, but there is too much vested interest in them. For instance, the voters slapped down virtually every major ballot proposition to invest in light rail and public transit around the country. The likely explanation is that they've bought the story that shale oil will allow them to drive to WalMart forever. That story is false, by the way. The politicos put it over because they believe the Wall Street fraudsters who are pimping a junk finance racket in shale oil for short-term, high-yield returns. The politicos want desperately to believe the story because the background reality is too difficult to contemplate: an American living arrangement with no future. The public, of course, is eager to believe the same story for the same reasons, but at some point they'll flip and blame the story-tellers, and their wrath could truly wreck what remains of this polity. When it is really too late to fix any of these things, they'll beg someone to tell them what to do, and the job-description for that position is dictator....
NASA Bombshell: Global Groundwater Crisis Threatens Our Food Supplies And Our Security
An alarming satellite-based analysis from NASA finds that the world is depleting groundwater -- the water stored unground in soil and aquifers -- at an unprecedented rate.... The groundwater at some of the world's largest aquifers -- in the U.S. High Plains, California's Central Valley, China, India, and elsewhere -- is being pumped out "at far greater rates than it can be naturally replenished." The most worrisome fact: "nearly all of these underlie the word's great agricultural regions and are primarily responsible for their high productivity." And this is doubly concerning in our age of unrestricted carbon pollution because it is precisely these semiarid regions that are projected to see drops in precipitation and/or soil moisture, which will sharply boost the chances of civilization-threatening megadroughts and Dust-Bowlification.
from Mother Jones:
Climate Change Is Kicking the Insurance Industry's Butt
Global warming is increasing the risk of damage to lives and property from natural disasters beyond what many insurers are willing to shoulder. And most insurance companies aren't taking adequate steps to change that trend, the survey found. That's a problem even if you don't live by the coast: When private insurers back out, the government is left to pick up much of the damage costs; already, the federal flood insurance program is one of the nation's largest fiscal liabilities. Ceres, an environmental nonprofit, evaluated the climate risk management policies of 330 large insurance companies operating in the United States. The results are worrying. Only nine companies, 3 percent of the total, earned the highest ranking....
Sao Paulo Running Out of Water Unless Reserve Tapped Now
Latin America's biggest metropolis may run out of water next month. For some of the 20 million residents across Sao Paulo, the nation's financial hub, taps are already running dry. Dilma Pena, chief executive officer of the state-run water utility, told the city council yesterday that supplies are only guaranteed until mid-November unless it can tap the last of the water in its Cantareira reservoir. The four-lake complex that supplies half of Sao Paulo has already been drained of 96 percent of its water capacity amid Brazil's worst drought in eight decades.
from Center for Investigative Reporting:
California water officials aren't following own call for conservation
Mike Soubirous is a prodigious water user, pumping more than 1 million gallons per year at his lushly landscaped home on a hot, windy Southern California hilltop. Soubirous also is a member of the Riverside City Council, which in July voted unanimously to impose tough new water conservation rules in this desert city of 317,000. Yet as California's drought worsened from 2012 to 2013, he consumed enough water to supply eight California households - more than any other top water official in the state, records show.
from Lincoln Journal-World:
Ogallala water continues to pour onto farm fields despite decades of dire forecasts
...The aquifer, a shallow, underground sea under parts of eight states and spanning 174,000 square miles, is the main source of water in the western third of Kansas. Counties on top of the aquifer account for roughly two-thirds of the state's agricultural economic value. Without Ogallala water, significant portions of the region's agriculture and its related businesses could not be sustained, manufacturing could not continue, recreational opportunities would diminish and towns could vanish, state officials say.
Aral Sea Basin Dry for the First Time in Modern History, NASA images show
For the first time in modern history, the eastern basin of the South Aral Sea has gone completely dry, as this NASA satellite image captured in late August shows. The Aral Sea is an inland body of water lying between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan in central Asia. It was once one of the four largest lakes in the world, but it has been shrinking markedly and dividing into smaller lobes since the 1960s, after the government of the former Soviet Union diverted the region's two major rivers to irrigate farmland. One Aral Sea researcher suggested that it has likely been at least 600 years since the eastern basin entirely disappeared. Decreasing precipitation and snowpack in its watershed led to the drying this year, and huge withdrawals for irrigation exacerbated the problem.
Amazon deforestation jumps 29 percent last year
The destruction of the world's largest rainforest accelerated last year with a 29 percent spike in deforestation, according to final figures released by the Brazilian government on Wednesday that confirmed a reversal in gains seen since 2009. Satellite data for the 12 months through the end of July 2013 showed that 5,891 sq km of forest were cleared in the Brazilian Amazon, an area half the size of Puerto Rico. Fighting the destruction of the Amazon is considered crucial for reducing global warming because deforestation worldwide accounts for 15 percent of annual emissions of heat-trapping gases, more than the entire transportation sector. Besides being a giant carbon sink, the Amazon is a biodiversity sanctuary, holding billions of species yet to be studied.
Canada's degradation of pristine, intact forests leads world
The world's precious few remaining large forests are fragmenting at an alarming rate, and the degradation in Canada leads the world, a new analysis shows. The degradation of such pristine "intact" forests threatens species such as Canada's woodland caribou and Asia's tigers that rely on huge unbroken expanses of natural ecosystems in order to survive, said Nigel Sizer, global director of forest programs with the World Resources Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based research institute focused on resource sustainability.
Limits to Growth was right. New research shows we're nearing collapse
The 1972 book Limits to Growth, which predicted our civilisation would probably collapse some time this century, has been criticised as doomsday fantasy since it was published. Back in 2002, self-styled environmental expert Bjorn Lomborg consigned it to the "dustbin of history". It doesn't belong there. Research from the University of Melbourne has found the book's forecasts are accurate, 40 years on. If we continue to track in line with the book's scenario, expect the early stages of global collapse to start appearing soon.... The book's central point, much criticised since, is that "the earth is finite" and the quest for unlimited growth in population, material goods etc would eventually lead to a crash.... It's essentially resource constraints that bring about global collapse in the book. However, Limits to Growth does factor in the fallout from increasing pollution, including climate change. The book warned carbon dioxide emissions would have a "climatological effect" via "warming the atmosphere". As the graphs show, the University of Melbourne research has not found proof of collapse as of 2010 (although growth has already stalled in some areas). But in Limits to Growth those effects only start to bite around 2015-2030.
from Sydney Morning Herald:
Climate change may disrupt global food system within a decade, World Bank says
"The challenges from waste to warming, spurred on by a growing population with a rising middle-class hunger for meat, are leading us down a dangerous path," Professor Kyte told the Crawford Fund 2014 annual conference in Canberra on Wednesday. "Unless we chart a new course, we will find ourselves staring volatility and disruption in the food system in the face, not in 2050, not in 2040, but potentially within the next decade," she said, according to her prepared speech.
from Mother Nature Network:
California's drought? 'Normal' versus 'now' in pix
Situated at the foot of the Sierra Nevadas in Butte County, Lake Oroville is one of the largest reservoirs in California, second only to Shasta Lake. After enduring three straight years of drought, the lake is currently only filled to 32 percent of its capacity.... To get a better idea of the dire situation in the Golden State, continue below for a photo comparison of water levels taken in 2011 and 2014, looking at Lake Oroville and Folsom Lake, another major California reservoir located in Sacramento County that is now filled at 40 percent of its capacity.
from The Conversation, via TruthOut:
The Way the Wind Blows May Not Be Enough to Prevent Ocean "Dead Zones" From Growing
The world's oceans are plagued with the problem of "dead zones", areas of high nutrients (such as nitrogen and phosphorus) in which plankton blooms cause a major reduction of oxygen levels in the water. Sea creatures need oxygen to breathe just as we do, and if oxygen levels fall low enough marine animals can suffocate. This commonly happens around coastlines where fertilisers are washed from fields into rivers and the sea, but also mid-ocean, where currents trap waters in gyres (large systems of rotating ocean currents). To date most studies have shown that these dead zones have been growing with global warming. But a recent study published in Science by Curtis Deutsch and colleagues suggests that the ocean's largest anoxic zone - where there has been a total depletion of oxygen - in the eastern tropical North Pacific, may in fact shrink due to weakening trade winds caused by global warming.... Warming also encourages water stratification, where the water separates into layers based on temperature or salinity, creating a physical barrier that prevents oxygen reaching deeper waters. Previous studies have predicted a weakening of trade winds in tropical areas, but have also forecasted changes to low-pressure weather fronts over coastlines that would lead to stronger winds, sufficient to replace any upwelling effect lost by weaker trade winds.
from Washington Post:
West's historic drought stokes fears of water crisis
When the winter rains failed to arrive in this Sacramento Valley town for the third straight year, farmers tightened their belts and looked to the reservoirs in the nearby hills to keep them in water through the growing season. When those faltered, some switched on their well pumps, drawing up thousands of gallons from underground aquifers to prevent their walnut trees and alfalfa crops from drying up. Until the wells, too, began to fail. Now, across California's vital agricultural belt, nervousness over the state's epic drought has given way to alarm. Streams and lakes have long since shriveled up in many parts of the state, and now the aquifers -- always a backup source during the region's periodic droughts -- are being pumped away at rates that scientists say are both historic and unsustainable.
Beautiful and Sad GIFs that Show what's Happening to the Ocean
Scientist Sylvia Earle (TED Talk: My wish: Protect our oceans) has spent the past five decades exploring the seas. During that time, she's witnessed a steep decline in ocean wildlife numbers -- and a sharp incline in the number of ocean deadzones and oil drilling sites. An original documentary about Earle's life and work premieres today on Netflix.... Below, four ocean infographic then-and-now-gifs from the film. What happened to the coral reefs? -- What happened to tuna, sharks, and cod? -- The number of ocean deadzones then and now -- The number of Gulf Coast oil drilling sites then and now...
from Mother Jones:
Bottled Water Comes From the Most Drought-Ridden Places in the Country
Bottled-water drinkers, we have a problem: There's a good chance that your water comes from California, a state experiencing the third-driest year on record. The details of where and how bottling companies get their water are often quite murky, but generally speaking, bottled water falls into two categories. The first is "spring water," or groundwater that's collected, according to the EPA, "at the point where water flows naturally to the earth's surface or from a borehole that taps into the underground source." About 55 percent of bottled water in the United States is spring water, including Crystal Geyser and Arrowhead. The other 45 percent comes from the municipal water supply, meaning that companies, including Aquafina and Dasani, simply treat tap water--the same stuff that comes out of your faucet at home--and bottle it up. (Weird, right?) But regardless of whether companies bottle from springs or the tap, lots of them are using water in exactly the areas that need it most right now.
from Associated Press:
Codfish numbers at key fishery hits all-time low
PORTLAND, Maine (AP) -- The level of codfish spawning in one of the most critical fisheries in the Northeast U.S. is at an all-time low, putting more pressure on a fishery already dealing with declining catch and dramatic quota cuts. National Marine Fisheries Service scientists say the amount of cod spawning in the Gulf of Maine is estimated to be 3 to 4 percent of its target level. That number declined from 13 to 18 percent three years ago.
from George Monbiot:
The Pricing of Everything
... Problem Two is that you are effectively pushing the natural world even further into the system that is eating it alive. Dieter Helm, the Chairman of the Natural Capital Committee, said the following in the same report I quoted from just a moment ago. "The environment is part of the economy and needs to be properly integrated into it so that growth opportunities will not be missed."(9) There, ladies and gentlemen, you have what seems to me the Government's real agenda. This is not to protect the natural world from the depredations of the economy. It is to harness the natural world to the economic growth that has been destroying it. All the things which have been so damaging to the living planet are now being sold to us as its salvation; commodification, economic growth, financialisation, abstraction. Now, we are told, these devastating processes will protect it. (Sorry, did I say the living planet? I keep getting confused about this. I meant asset classes within an ecosystem market.)... Among the most famous of these was its valuation of mangrove forests. It maintained that if a businessman or businesswoman cuts down a mangrove forest and replaces it with a shrimp farm, that will be worth around $1,200 per hectare per year to that person. If we leave the mangrove forest standing, because it protects the communities who live on the coastline and because it is a wonderful breeding ground for fish and crustaceans, it will be worth $12,000 per hectare per year(12). So when people see the figures they will conclude that it makes sense to save the mangrove forests, and hey presto, we have solved the problem. My left foot! People have known for centuries the tremendous benefits that mangrove forests deliver. But has that protected them from being turned into shrimp farms or beach resorts? No, it hasn't. And the reason it hasn't is that it might be worth $12,000 to the local impoverished community of fisher folk, but if it's worth $1,200 to a powerful local politician who wants to turn it into shrimp farms, that counts for far more. Putting a price on the forest doesn't in any way change that relationship. You do not solve the problem this way. You do not solve the problem without confronting power. But what we are doing here is reinforcing power, is strengthening the power of the people with the money, the power of the economic system as a whole against the power of nature....
from Washington Post:
Water utilities charge more to offset low-flow toilets, faucets and shower heads
Federally mandated low-flow toilets, shower heads and faucets are taking a financial toll on the nation's water utilities, leaving customers to make up the shortfall with higher water rates and new fees that have left many paying more for less. Utility officials say they understand that charging more for water because demand has dropped might seem to violate a basic premise of Economics 101. But utilities that generally charge by the number of gallons used are beginning to feel the financial pinch of 20 years of environmentally friendly fixtures and appliances, as older bathrooms and kitchens have been remodeled, utility experts say.
from Washington Post:
Study: Colorado River Basin drying up faster than previously thought
Seven Western states that rely on the Colorado River Basin for valuable water are drawing more heavily from groundwater supplies than previously believed, a new study finds, the latest indication that an historic drought is threatening the region's future access to water. In the past nine years, the basin -- which covers Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona and California -- has lost about 65 cubic kilometers of fresh water, nearly double the volume of the country's largest reservoir, Lake Mead. That figure surprised the study's authors, who used data from a NASA weather satellite to investigate groundwater supplies..."We really don't know how much water is down there. We've already depleted a lot of it. There could be more, but when we have to start to dig deeper to access it, that's a bad sign," Castle said. "If [ground water basins] continue to be depleted, they don't come back up."
from Global Oceans Commission, via DesdemonaDespair:
Global fishing fleet capacity and productivity, 1975-2005
The main drivers leading to overfishing on the high seas are vessel overcapacity and mismanagement. However, measures to improve management alone will not succeed without solving the problem of overcapacity caused by subsidies, particularly fuel subsidies. Overcapacity is often described as "too many boats trying to catch too few fish". Indeed, the size of the world's fleet is currently two-and-a-half times what is necessary to sustainably catch global fish stocks. But it is not only the number of vessels that is of concern, it is also the type of vessel. Many argue that having fewer vessels, when they have larger engines and use more-destructive industrial fishing gear, is of equal weight to the number of vessels fishing as a driver of overcapacity.
from Telegraph (UK):
The race to stop Las Vegas from running dry
America's most decadent destination has been engaged in a potentially catastrophic gamble with nature and now, 14 years into a devastating drought, it is on the verge of losing it all. "The situation is as bad as you can imagine," said Tim Barnett, a climate scientist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. "It's just going to be screwed. And relatively quickly. Unless it can find a way to get more water from somewhere Las Vegas is out of business. Yet they're still building, which is stupid." The crisis stems from the Las Vegas's complete reliance on Lake Mead, America's largest reservoir, which was created by the Hoover Dam in 1936 - after which it took six years to fill completely.... Mr Barnett predicts it may be a "dead pool" that provides no water by about 2036. The lake currently looks as if someone has removed a giant plug from it. Around its edges a strip of bleached rock known locally as the "bath tub ring" towers like the White Cliffs of Dover, showing where the water level used to be. Pyramid-shaped mountains rise from the shallow waters.
from GOC, via CommonDreams:
Global Ocean Commission says rescue needed within five years
The world's oceans face irreparable damage from climate change and overfishing, with a five-year window for intervention, an environmental panel said Tuesday. Neglecting the health of the oceans could have devastating effects on the world's food supply, clean air, and climate stability, among other factors. The Global Oceans Commission, an environmental group formed by the Pew Charitable Trust, released a report (PDF) addressing the declining marine ecosystems around the world and outlining an eight-step "rescue package" to restore growth and prevent future damage to the seas. The 18-month study proposes increased governance of the oceans, including limiting oil and gas exploration, capping subsidies for commercial fishing, and creating marine protected areas (MPAs) to guard against pollution, particularly from plastics.... Government subsidies for high seas fishing total at least $30 billion a year and are carried out by just ten countries, the report said. About 60 percent of such subsidies encourage unsustainable practices like the fuel-hungry "bottom trawling" of ocean floors -- funds that could be rerouted to conservation efforts or employment in coastal areas.
Half of US is experiencing some degree of drought, analysis finds
Half of the United States is in the midst of a drought, a recent analysis from the U.S. National Drought Monitor found, with nearly 15 percent of the nation in extreme to exceptional drought. Dry conditions are pushing north rapidly, along with warmer temperatures, and soil moisture and groundwater levels are low far in advance of the agricultural peak demand season, according to the National Drought Mitigation Center. Much of the Southwest and Great Plains regions have been in a persistent drought for several years, and as this map prepared by federal agencies shows, an exceptional drought is currently plaguing parts of those regions.
from The Canadian Press, via HuffingtonPost:
Northern Gateway Pipeline Rejected By B.C. First Nation
A group of First Nations with territory covering a quarter of the route for the proposed Northern Gateway oil pipeline met with federal representatives Friday to officially reject the project.... "We do not, we will not, allow this pipeline," Peter Erickson, a hereditary chief of the Nak'azdli First Nation, told the six federal bureaucrats. "We're going to send the message today to the federal government and to the company itself: their pipeline is dead. Under no circumstances will that proposal be allowed. "Their pipeline is now a pipe dream."... The bands said the project is now banned from Yinka Dene territories, under their traditional laws. Members young and old of the Nadleh Whut'en, Nak'azdli, Saik'uz, Takla Lake, Tl'azt'en and Wet'suwet'en communities were unanimous. They said the decision by the four clans marks the end of negotiations.
from UC Davis, via EurekAlert:
Field study shows why food quality will suffer with rising CO2
For the first time, a field test has demonstrated that elevated levels of carbon dioxide inhibit plants' assimilation of nitrate into proteins, indicating that the nutritional quality of food crops is at risk as climate change intensifies.... "[T]his is the first study to demonstrate that elevated carbon dioxide inhibits the conversion of nitrate into protein in a field-grown crop," he said. The assimilation, or processing, of nitrogen plays a key role in the plant's growth and productivity. In food crops, it is especially important because plants use nitrogen to produce the proteins that are vital for human nutrition. Wheat, in particular, provides nearly one-fourth of all protein in the global human diet.
from National Geographic News:
In California, Demand for Groundwater Causing Huge Swaths of Land to Sink
Extensive groundwater pumping is causing a huge swath of central California to sink, in some spots at an alarming rate, the U.S. Geological Survey reports. With California in the throes of a major drought and demand for groundwater rising, officials and landowners are racing to respond to the process known as subsidence. Some areas of the San Joaquin Valley, the backbone of California's vast agricultural industry, are subsiding at the fastest rates ever measured, said Michelle Sneed, a U.S. Geological Survey hydrologist and lead author of the recent report.
World unprepared for climate damage to food security - Oxfam
A key U.N. report on climate change, due out early next week, will show that the impacts of rising temperatures on food security will be more serious and hit earlier than previously thought, a situation the world is "woefully unprepared" to cope with, aid group Oxfam warned on Tuesday... Whether or not measures are taken to help farmers adapt to climate change, median crop yields will decline by up to 2 percent during the rest of the century, while crop demand grows 14 percent each decade until 2050...
from NASA, via The Guardian:
Nasa-funded study: industrial civilisation headed for 'irreversible collapse'?
The two key solutions are to reduce economic inequality so as to ensure fairer distribution of resources, and to dramatically reduce resource consumption by relying on less intensive renewable resources and reducing population growth: "Collapse can be avoided and population can reach equilibrium if the per capita rate of depletion of nature is reduced to a sustainable level, and if resources are distributed in a reasonably equitable fashion." The NASA-funded HANDY model offers a highly credible wake-up call to governments, corporations and business - and consumers - to recognise that 'business as usual' cannot be sustained, and that policy and structural changes are required immediately.
Brutal Drought Could Drain More Than Brazil's Coffee Crop
Brazil, a country usually known for its rainforests, has been facing a severe drought in its breadbasket region, leaving people in the cities without water and farmers in the countryside with dying crops. Global prices for coffee, in particular, have been affected. Scientists in Brazil say the worst is yet to come -- yet no one in the government, it seems, is listening.... "All of us have never seen a drought that's been so prolonged and so aggressive as this one," Polidor says. "In 49 days, we got maybe 11 millimeters of rain."... Juliano Jose Polidor, the corn farmer in the Brazilian countryside, doesn't have strong political views and doesn't know much about the debate about climate change. He says he just knows what he sees. "I think we are getting to the hour where it's not just me who needs to be worried, but the whole world," says Polidor. "We will have to decide what to do about what is happening."
from Ohio State University:
Drug trafficking leads to deforestation in Central America
Add yet another threat to the list of problems facing the rapidly disappearing rainforests of Central America: drug trafficking... Traffickers are slashing down forests, often within protected areas, to make way for clandestine landing strips and roads to move drugs, and converting forests into agribusinesses to launder their drug profits, the researchers say. Much of this appears to be a response to U.S.-led anti-trafficking efforts, especially in Mexico, said Kendra McSweeney, lead author of the Science article and an associate professor of geography at The Ohio State University.
from LA Times:
California snowpack hits record low
Even with the first significant storm in nearly two months dropping snow on the Sierra Nevada, Thursday's mountain snowpack measurements were the lowest for the date in more than a half-century of record keeping. At 12 percent of average for this time of year, the dismal statewide snowpack underscored the severity of a drought that is threatening community water supplies and leaving farm fields in many parts of California barren.
from Center for American Progress:
Devastating Drought Continues to Plague California
As California enters its third consecutive dry winter, with no sign of moisture on the horizon, fears are growing over increased wildfire activity, agricultural losses and additional stress placed on already strained water supplies. The city of Los Angeles has received only 3.6 inches of rain this year--far below its average of 14.91 inches, USA Today reported. And San Francisco is experiencing its driest year since record keeping began in 1849. As of November, the city had only received 3.95 inches of rain since the year began.
from Midwest Energy News:
"Saudi Arabia of coal" Study says peak may already be past
It has often been said that the U.S. is the "Saudi Arabia of coal." However, a new report drawing on copious data from government agencies challenges that concept, noting that given global economic and energy trends, the amount of U.S. coal that will be economical to extract is much smaller than previously thought.
from University of Maryland:
First Detailed Map of Global Forest Change
A University of Maryland-led, multi-organizational team has created the first high-resolution global map of forest extent, loss and gain. This resource greatly improves the ability to understand human and naturally-induced forest changes and the local to global implications of these changes on environmental, economic and other natural and societal systems, members of the team say... In a new study, the team of 15 university, Google and government researchers reports a global loss of 2.3 million square kilometers (888,000 square miles) of forest between 2000 and 2012 and a gain of 800,000 square kilometers (309,000 square miles) of new forest.
The ocean is broken
What was missing was the cries of the seabirds which, on all previous similar voyages, had surrounded the boat. The birds were missing because the fish were missing. Exactly 10 years before, when Newcastle yachtsman Ivan Macfadyen had sailed exactly the same course from Melbourne to Osaka, all he'd had to do to catch a fish from the ocean between Brisbane and Japan was throw out a baited line. "There was not one of the 28 days on that portion of the trip when we didn't catch a good-sized fish to cook up and eat with some rice," Macfadyen recalled. But this time, on that whole long leg of sea journey, the total catch was two. No fish. No birds. Hardly a sign of life at all.... "I've done a lot of miles on the ocean in my life and I'm used to seeing turtles, dolphins, sharks and big flurries of feeding birds. But this time, for 3000 nautical miles there was nothing alive to be seen."
from The Independent:
Coral alert: destruction of reefs 'accelerating' with half destroyed over past 30 years
The rapid decline of the world's coral reefs appears to be accelerating, threatening to destroy huge swathes of marine life unless dramatic action is swiftly taken, a leading ocean scientist has warned. About half of the world's coral reefs have already been destroyed over the past 30 years, as climate change warms the sea and rising carbon emissions make it more acidic.... "Our oceans are in an unprecedented state of decline due to pollution, over-fishing and climate change. The state of the reefs is very poor and it is continuing to deteriorate," said Professor Hoegh-Guldberg, of the University of Queensland. "This is an eco-system that has been around for tens of millions of years and we are wiping it out within a hundred. It's quite incredible."
from National Resources Defense Council (via EcoWatch):
U.S. Becomes Largest Wood Pellet Exporter, Clearcutting Forests and Destroying Wetlands
When you think about burning wood to heat your home, you might imagine a cozy fireplace, not a giant power plant. Unfortunately, utility companies in Europe are making massive investments to convert their power plants to burn wood -- known as "biomass" -- as a replacement for coal and other fossil fuels. This is despite the fact that recent research shows that burning whole trees in power plants actually increases carbon emissions relative to fossil fuels for many decades -- anywhere from 35 to 100 years or more. It also emits higher levels of multiple air pollutants. The result of this new demand has been the explosive growth of wood pellet exports from North America, most of which originate in our Southern forests here in the U.S., putting into peril some of the most valuable ecosystems in the world.
Kunstler on impending worldwide financial collapse
The world is swiftly moving to the dangerous place where nations won't be able to do business with each other because they don't trust the institutions that control wealth, which includes central banks, commercial banks, and governments. It will happen when the purveyors of international commodities, oil especially, refuse to accept the letters of credit issued by untrustworthy intermediaries. And when that dark moment arrives, nations will throw tantrums. The USA may be the loudest baby in the playpen.... When it does blow, at least the NSA will have its prepared "to-do" list, and then perhaps all the unemployed can be enlisted at $8 an hour to harass the rest of the people trying to go about their daily lives. The roar you hear in the distance this September will be the sound of banks crashing, followed by the silence of business-as-usual grinding to a halt. After that, the crackle of gunfire.
from KSU, via PNAS and ScienceDaily:
Future Water Levels of Crucial Agricultural Aquifer Forecast
If current irrigation trends continue, 69 percent of the groundwater stored in the High Plains Aquifer of Kansas will be depleted in 50 years. But immediately reducing water use could extend the aquifer's lifetime and increase net agricultural production through the year 2110.... The study investigates the future availability of groundwater in the High Plains Aquifer -- also called the Ogallala Aquifer -- and how reducing use would affect cattle and crops. The aquifer supplies 30 percent of the nation's irrigated groundwater and serves as the most agriculturally important irrigation in Kansas.
from The Vancouver Sun:
Nestle's extraction of groundwater near Hope riles First Nations
First Nations chiefs are calling on the province to start protecting their interests, claiming Nestle Waters Canada extracted millions of litres of groundwater, for free, from their traditional territory without consultation or compensation....The Chawathil First Nation is laying claim to 265 million litres of water Nestle takes every year from a well in their traditional territory in Hope. They're backed by the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, which is broadening the claim to get the province to consult with First Nations about water in B.C.
from Associated Press:
Scott says state will sue Georgia over water
Gov. Rick Scott, saying it's time to fight for the economic future of the Apalachicola Bay region, announced Tuesday that Florida will file a lawsuit against Georgia over its consumption of freshwater in a river system that serves three Southeastern states. The decision by Florida's governor to proceed with a lawsuit directly against Georgia is an escalation in a legal dispute lasting more than two decades. Scott charged that Georgia has been unwilling to come up with a reasonable approach to sharing water that flows downstream from Georgia into Alabama and Florida.
from London Guardian:
A Texan tragedy: ample oil, no water
...Across the south-west, residents of small communities like Barnhart are confronting the reality that something as basic as running water, as unthinking as turning on a tap, can no longer be taken for granted. Three years of drought, decades of overuse and now the oil industry's outsize demands on water for fracking are running down reservoirs and underground aquifers. And climate change is making things worse. In Texas alone, about 30 communities could run out of water by the end of the year, according to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.
from Environment 360:
With Tar Sands Development, Growing Concern on Water Use
Opposition to the mining of Alberta's tar sands -- and the Keystone and Gateway pipelines that would carry their oil to the Gulf of Mexico and Pacific Ocean -- has largely been focused on the project's greenhouse gas emissions and threats to pristine environments along the pipeline rights-of-way. But another serious issue is coming to the fore -- the massive amounts of freshwater being used by the industry. In 2011, companies mining the tar sands siphoned approximately 370 million cubic meters of water from the Athabasca River alone, which was heated or converted into steam to separate the viscous oil, or bitumen, from sand formations. That quantity exceeds the amount of water that the city of Toronto, with a population 2.8 million people, uses annually.
Newly available wind power often has no place to go
The windswept prairies of the Midwest are undergoing an energy transformation the electric grid can't handle. Wind turbines tower over rural vistas in the heartland, where the clean energy source is becoming increasingly popular with utility companies that face state-mandated renewable energy standards. Unfortunately, the nation's aging power grid is hampering those efforts. At the end of last year, installed wind-generation capacity totaled 60 gigawatts nationwide -- 5 percent of the nation's production capacity -- according to data from the U.S. Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Another 135 gigawatts of potential wind production awaits development and connection to the grid, according to industry data.
from Grantham Research Institute/Carbon Tracker:
Investing in vapor: financial risks of stranded fossil fuel investments (PDF)
... The modelling used in previous analyses by Carbon Tracker and the IEA showed that the carbon budget for a 2 degree C scenario would be around 565 - 886 billion tonnes (Gt) of carbon dioxide (CO2) to 2050.... This budget, however, is only a fraction of the carbon embedded in the world's indicated fossil fuel reserves, which amount to 2,860Gt CO2. A precautionary approach means only 20 percent of total fossil fuel reserves can be burnt to 2050. As a result the global economy already faces the prospect of assets becoming stranded, with the problem only likely to get worse if current investment trends continue - in effect, a carbon bubble.
from New York Times:
Power companies wake to 'existential threat'
For years, power companies have watched warily as solar panels have sprouted across the nation's rooftops. Now, in almost panicked tones, they are fighting hard to slow the spread. Alarmed by what they say has become an existential threat to their business, utility companies are moving to roll back government incentives aimed at promoting solar energy and other renewable sources of power. At stake, the companies say, is nothing less than the future of the American electricity industry.
from The Independent:
Ancient wood to be felled for quarry
An area of ancient woodland the size of 16 football pitches in Kent will be destroyed to make way for a ragstone quarry after the government ruled that the commercial benefits of the development outweighed the habitat loss. In a ruling that raises fears for the future of more than 300 ancient woods around the country, local government secretary Eric Pickles yesterday waived through an application to extend a ragstone quarry into the 400-year old Oaken Wood near Maidstone. The resulting deforestation is thought to represent the largest loss of ancient woodland in the UK in the past five years. It would destroy about a sixth of the sweet chestnut coppice, which supports a range of plants and rare animals but is best known for two bat species - the Common Pipstrelle and the Natterer's bat.... "With just 2 per cent of ancient woodland cover remaining, we cannot afford to lose any more," she added, saying that the cover has been steadily declining in the 15 years since her group started recording the woodlands at risk from development.
from Foreign Policy:
Oh, Canada: How America's friendly northern neighbor became a rogue, reckless petrostate.
For decades, the world has thought of Canada as America's friendly northern neighbor -- a responsible, earnest, if somewhat boring, land of hockey fans and single-payer health care. On the big issues, it has long played the global Boy Scout, reliably providing moral leadership on everything from ozone protection to land-mine eradication to gay rights. The late novelist Douglas Adams once quipped that if the United States often behaved like a belligerent teenage boy, Canada was an intelligent woman in her mid-30s. Basically, Canada has been the United States -- not as it is, but as it should be.... But a dark secret lurks in the northern forests. Over the last decade, Canada has not so quietly become an international mining center and a rogue petrostate. It's no longer America's better half, but a dystopian vision of the continent's energy-soaked future. That's right: The good neighbor has banked its economy on the cursed elixir of political dysfunction -- oil. Flush with visions of becoming a global energy superpower, Canada's government has taken up with pipeline evangelists, petroleum bullies, and climate change skeptics. Turns out the Boy Scout's not just hooked on junk crude -- he's become a pusher. And that's not even the worst of it.
from Scientific American:
The Colorado Is Pronounced America's Most Endangered Waterway
The river that carved the Grand Canyon and supplies 36 million Americans with drinking water is in trouble, according to American Rivers... "The Colorado River...is so over-tapped that it dries up to a trickle before reaching the sea." Indeed, 36 million of us drink water from the Colorado. The river responsible for cutting the Grand Canyon irrigates nearly four million acres of farmland where some 15 percent of the nation's crops are grown. But according to American Rivers, over-allocation and drought have placed significant stress on water supplies and river health--and another summer drought is on the way. A 2013 study by the federal Bureau of Reclamation finds that there isn't enough water in the Colorado to meet current demands and that the flow will be as much as 30 percent less by 2050 due to climate change. That reduced flow threatens not only endangered fish and wildlife but also the river system's $26 billion recreation economy.
Shale gas won't stop peak oil, but could create an economic crisis
One internal EIA document said oil companies had exaggerated "the appearance of shale gas well profitability" by highlighting performance only from the best wells, and using overly optimistic models for productivity projections over decades. The NYT reported that the EIA often "relies on research from outside consultants with ties to the industry."... Independent studies published over the last few months cast even more serious doubt over the viability of the shale gas boom.... "Shale gas can continue to grow but only at higher prices and that growth will require an ever escalating drilling treadmill with associated collateral financial and environmental costs - and its long term sustainability is highly questionable."
from McGill, via EurekAlert:
Study of oceans' past raises worries about their future
A McGill-led international research team has now completed the first global study of changes that occurred in a crucial component of ocean chemistry, the nitrogen cycle, at the end of the last ice age. The results of their study confirm that oceans are good at balancing the nitrogen cycle on a global scale. But the data also shows that it is a slow process that may take many centuries, or even millennia, raising worries about the effects of the scale and speed of current changes in the ocean.... "We are changing the planet in ways we are not even aware of," says Galbraith. "You wouldn't think that putting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere would change the amount of nitrogen available to fish in the ocean, but it clearly does. It is important to realize just how interconnected everything is."
from Texas Tribune, in New York Times:
Experts Urge Focus on Aquifers in Push for Water From Mexico
At least 20 aquifers stretch across the United States-Mexico border, said Gabriel Eckstein, a professor at the Texas Wesleyan University School of Law and the director of the International Water Law Project. Some are being mined at a record pace, he said. "I know you have a lot of agricultural interests in the Valley yelling and screaming about water in the Rio Grande; that is going to continue," he said. But of the 14 million people living within 50 miles of the border, "80 or 90 percent of them get their water from aquifers." "I would suggest that focusing on just the rivers is a mistake," he said. "Every state is pumping based on its own rules without actually quantifying how much water is in the aquifers."
from Tom Englehardt:
Terracide: The Biggest Criminal Enterprise in History
We have a word for the conscious slaughter of a racial or ethnic group: genocide. And one for the conscious destruction of aspects of the environment: ecocide. But we don't have a word for the conscious act of destroying the planet we live on, the world as humanity had known it until, historically speaking, late last night. A possibility might be "terracide" from the Latin word for earth. It has the right ring, given its similarity to the commonplace danger word of our era: terrorist.... And yes, when it comes to terror attacks, the Boston Marathon bombings weren't pretty either. But in both cases, those who committed the acts paid for or will pay for their crimes. In the case of the terrarists -- and here I'm referring in particular to the men who run what may be the most profitable corporations on the planet, giant energy companies like ExxonMobil, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, BP, and Shell -- you're the one who's going to pay, especially your children and grandchildren. You can take one thing for granted: not a single terrarist will ever go to jail, and yet they certainly knew what they were doing.
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