Thursday 25th of April 2019

extinction is forever...

life01

global warming is insidious...

One of the greatest ecosystem on the planet is the air we breathe. It is a very thin veneer of gases that brings life all across the planet. We don't understand it well enough. Yet, we throw our wastes in it because we can. It's cheap, invisible and easy. If we're prepared to do the proper sums, our release of EXTRA carbon dioxide into it, is changing its dynamics. We would be fools not to think so, yet there are too many fools amongst us. The increase of CO2 amongst other rubbish we pump into the atmosphere is increasing the heat retention of this thin layer (about 5 miles thick at most — we could easily walk to the edge of the atmosphere, if it was horizontal, in a couple hours or less). The EXTRA heat modifies the potential of humidity, of drought and wind in the atmosphere apart from creeping temperatures.  Some of the CO2 is absorbed by the oceans and increase their "acidity". This changes the animal life, especially that of nano-plankton for which observations has quantified skeletal loss in some species as up to 40 per cent... Global warming is far more insidious than we are ready for...

The symbol e is that which I have created to represent Organica Spiritualia. This is to relate our "spiritual being" to nature. In fact it is our human intelligence (reactive animalistic processing of environmental factors for survival into stylistical actions) that creates our "spirtual being". Our consciousness is organic, based on our memory. Most animals that have a central memorising system of environmental factors can have a consciousness of space and position.

Our individual memory is greater than that of individuals in others species and gives us the ability to invent a lot of solutions, including fake solutions that solve "problems" nonetheless... But beyond these fake solutions, including ethical solutions, there are relationship between our generosity and species that do not really matter to our survival.

Organica spiritualia gives us the power to be generous to nature beyond our needs. But our needs are bathed more and more in greed, another Organica Spiritualia activity with less ethical understanding of where we are at at this point in time — an evolved being from a soup of life on a planet to which we could decide we owe nothing to.

The relationships between human survival and that of other species is often not as important as we could think... But this relationship is more important than our needs, because at this point in time we have evolved to be where we are — together on the planet. It's an ethical choice in which our judgement (or carelessness) of life or death over other species may alter the course of our future history or not... It is a stylistic choice. Extinction of species resulting from our activities is our stylist choice. We can and should choose different and care better.

extinction of species is forever.

bleaching of our brains...

lizardgoanna

 

The global warming controversy is a variety of disputes regarding the nature, causes, and consequences of global warming. The disputed issues include the causes of increased global average air temperature, especially since the mid-20th century, whether this warming trend is unprecedented or within normal climatic variations, whether humankind has contributed significantly to it, and whether the increase is wholly or partially an artifact of poor measurements. Additional disputes concern estimates of climate sensitivity, predictions of additional warming, and what the consequences of global warming will be.

The controversy is significantly more pronounced in the popular media than in the scientific literature, where there is a strong consensus that global surface temperatures have increased in recent decades and that the trend is caused mainly by human-induced emissions of greenhouse gases. No scientific body of national or international standing disagrees with this view, though a few organisations hold non-committal positions.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_warming_controversy

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Gus: I quote: the controversy is significantly more pronounced in the popular media than in the scientific literature, where there is a strong consensus that global surface temperatures have increased in recent decades and that the trend is caused mainly by human-induced emissions of greenhouse gases. No scientific body of national or international standing disagrees with this view, though a few organisations hold non-committal positions.

Gus: obviously, other living creatures on earth (mostly in decline) have not contributed to global warming. But many of them will suffer from it. There are insidious websites that promote the idea that increase of temperature might be "beneficial" — but I say for some humans, possibly (the rich — not those living in Bangladesh) but most other species will suffer greatly. Raising the temperature for example can determine the gender of crocodiles in the nest. Bleaching of coral, now the second such event witnessed in 2010 (this event as big as the last global bleaching event which was 1998)...

-------------------

WASHINGTON  — Animal and plant species have begun dying off or changing sooner than predicted because of global warming, a review of hundreds of research studies contends.

These fast-moving adaptations come as a surprise even to biologists and ecologists because they are occurring so rapidly.

At least 70 species of frogs, mostly mountain-dwellers that had nowhere to go to escape the creeping heat, have gone extinct because of climate change, the analysis says. It also reports that between 100 and 200 other cold-dependent animal species, such as penguins and polar bears are in deep trouble.

“We are finally seeing species going extinct,” said University of Texas biologist Camille Parmesan, author of the study. “Now we’ve got the evidence. It’s here. It’s real. This is not just biologists’ intuition. It’s what’s happening.”

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15828892/

 

 


the (e)conomic way versus the (e)thical way

Forget studying iconic animal species - forget plants - even forget fungi and soil bacteria.

Top of the agenda when it comes to saving nature - at least, here - is the notion of giving economic value to services the big outdoors does for us, and pricing out unsustainable use - Payment for Ecosytem Services.

Here's the thing. According to the draft agreement [1.74MB PDF] before negotiators here at the CDB, safeguarding nature across the planet will cost between $30bn and $300bn per year.

That's between 10 and 100 times more than is spent on it at the moment.

No-one claims, by the way, that these numbers are accurate down to the last dollar - they're indicative only.

And they indicate two things. Firstly, a massive spend would be needed; and secondly, given that most highly biodiverse areas are in the relatively poor countries of the tropics, that spend would mean another transfer of money from the industrialised to the developing world - at its upper end, a vast one, dwarfing both existing overseas development aid and the projected $100bn per year for climate change.

However, when you add a third figure into the mix - the $2-5 trillion per year that loss of nature is costing the global purse, according to The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (Teeb) project - it still looks a good investment.

The key to making it work - at least in the draft agreement here - is to change the economic paradigm.

These are the key clauses - I've somewhat presumptuously taken out the infamous square brackets and tidied things up a bit (something that's much easier for me to do than for negotiators) so as to focus on the general sense:

- by 2020, at the latest, the values of biodiversity are integrated into national accounts, national and local development and poverty reduction strategies and planning processes

- by 2020, at the latest, incentives harmful to biodiversity are eliminated, phased out or reformed in order to minimise or avoid negative impacts and positive incentives for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity are developed and applied.

So if current economics encourages the degradation of nature - change the economics.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/10/from_the_un_convention_on_2.html

-----------------------------

Gus: one of the most important aspect of human desires is our ability for altruistic giving. Approaching the diversity of life on earth from an economic point of view is doomed to failure or to selective rescues only. We need to open our mind to the non-value of diversity for ourselves but immense value for the species themselves. This would be our greatest gift to the earth. We can do it...

I challenge any media organisation, including the ABC, to place, till the end of the year, a small advert (10 seconds for TV — 150 x 80 mm for press) at least once a day or in every edition, warming about the loss of bio-diversity on the planet and our responsibility to do something about it. That would go a long way to let the problem be known. At present there are people in some countries who think biodiversity is some kind of detergent or washing powder. We need the main stream media to be far less lethargic on this subject...

penguin's lament...

Two species of Antarctic penguins have declined sharply over the past 30 years as their chief food source has been devastated by a combination of other predators, over-fishing, and rapidly melting sea ice caused by global warming, according to a new study released on Monday by the National Academy of Sciences.

Based on studies of Adelie and chinstrap penguins and the ecosystems that have sustained them dating back to the 1970s, the report found that dramatic declines in krill, the shrimp-like creatures that depend on sea ice for reproduction, are chiefly responsible for the more than 50 per cent plunge in the flightless birds' populations in the South Shetland Islands.

The Adelie penguins, which favour sea-ice habitat during the winter, have declined at a 2.9 per cent rate a year over the last decade, while chinstrap penguins, which favour open water, have declined by an even greater 4.3 per cent annual rate over the same period, according to the study.

Some scientists had predicted that the decline in sea-ice habitat in the Antarctic caused by warming air and water temperatures would have a more negative impact on the Adelie penguin populations given their greater dependence on sea ice as a habitat.

Under that so-called "sea-ice hypothesis", the chinstrap penguins were expected to increase their population, at least relative to their Adelie cousins.

But the study found that the abundance - or lack - of krill appears to be playing a greater role in reducing the two species' populations.

Krill feed on photoplankton that thrive under sea ice. According to other recent studies, the krill population in the Southern Ocean has declined by as much as 80 per cent since the 1970s.

http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/features/2011/04/2011412133838167981.html

we should be ALARMED... SEE IMAGE AT TOP.

 

polar bear rethink...

Judge Orders Review of Ruling on Polar Bears


By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal judge has thrown out a key section of an Interior Department rule concerning the threat to polar bears posed by global warming.

U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan ruled Monday that the Bush administration did not complete a required environmental review when it said the bear's designation as threatened in 2008 could not be used as a backdoor way to control greenhouse gases blamed for global warming.

The Obama administration agreed with the Bush administration a year later, saying that activities outside of the bear's habitat such as emissions from a power plant could not be controlled using the Endangered Species Act.

The Center for Biological Diversity, an environmental group that filed a lawsuit over the 2008 rule, said the decision puts the fate of the polar bear back in the hands of the Obama administration and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.

"The Obama administration has the chance to do right by the polar bear," said Kassie Siegel, an attorney for the group. "They need to decide whether the polar bear gets all the protections that other endangered species get, or whether they want to re-adopt a flawed Bush administration decision that exempts greenhouse gases" and other pollutants from the Endangered Species Act.

Sullivan's decision directs the Interior Department to respond by Nov. 17 with a timetable for when it will complete the required environmental review. Sullivan left an interim 2008 designation intact while the case continues.

In a related ruling Monday, Sullivan upheld a ban by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to ban imports of sport-hunted polar bears as trophies. Safari Club International and other U.S. hunting groups had sought permission to allow bear carcasses to be imported from Canada.

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2011/10/17/us/politics/AP-US-Polar-Bears-Climate.html?hp=&pagewanted=print

we have entered the sixth mass extinction...

'One of the things I noticed in captive breeding facilities is that there's certainly a lot of care going on, a lot of concern for these birds at the edge of extinction, but coupled with violence,' he says.

'Care is not always rewarding or comforting, so when you go beyond abstract well-wishing to the real labour it's often a very compromised or complex practice.'

Van Dooren says that by using the word 'violent' he is attempting to be provocative and draw attention to the contorted processes of conservation. It's hit the mark. Some of the biologists in the field with him, he admits, have been disturbed by his use of the term. 

'I'm trying to take in a broad sweep of violences. In fact, sometimes it's perpetrated on the species that we're trying to save. Individuals of those species are exposed to violence through things like ongoing artificial insemination, where they're held in a corner and inseminated. There is a lot of stress, so there is often a violence that is very intimate to the care of the species.'

Violent care is not confined to species in triage. Van Dooren is concerned with all environmental losers.

'In addition there is further violence that draws in all of these other species ... potential predators or competitors in the environment who need to be culled or killed, or otherwise thinned out to make room for an endangered species.'

'I'm interested in not allowing the violence slip out of view ... to make it visible so as to make us accountable for it.'

 

 

Perhaps one way to unwind these distortions of care is to walk away from the whole project, un-anthropomorphising our relationships with animals. It's not an approach Van Dooren finds palatable.

'I don't think it's very helpful. What extinction really shows us is that we think that concepts of nature and the natural world are somehow removed from our daily lives, or from what it is to be human. This is very misleading and problematic,' he says.

'I think paying attention to extinctions shows us how we're tangled up with the non-human world in very intimate ways.'

To sum up his outlook Van Dooren likes to borrow a line from eminent feminist theorist Donna Haraway: 'We need to "stay with the trouble".'

It seems a hard road, but as Audra Mitchell argues, if more of us were exposed to the trouble, a shared sense of what's at stake could arise.

'What we need to do is understand how extinction is experienced by a range of lives—not only humans but other beings around the world,' she says.

'That's where techniques like multi-species ethnography come in. It's the kind of work that's necessary to move forward our thinking about the global ethics of mass extinction.'

 

read more: http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/philosopherszone/questioning-the-meaning-of-extinction/5909094

see also: http://www.yourdemocracy.net.au/drupal/node/28124

http://www.yourdemocracy.net.au/drupal/node/11161

bringing back the dead...

 

From: University of Otago


A mammoth task – how do we decide which species to resurrect?

The resurrection of vanished species - through cutting-edge technologies such as gene-editing - should be targeted towards recently extinct species rather than ancient ones, according to a leading University of Otago conservation biologist.

In a guest editorial newly published online in the journal Functional Ecology, Professor Philip Seddon of the University’s Department of Zoology suggests that long-gone species such as the woolly mammoth would not be the best focus for de-extinction efforts.

Professor Seddon says the prospect of resurrecting species through cloning or genetic reconstruction through tools such as CRISPR gene-editing has caught the imagination of scientists and the public alike.

“However, while the idea of resurrecting mammoths, for example, might hold a ‘wow-factor’ appeal, efforts would likely be better directed instead towards species where the conservation benefits are clearer.

“The ecological niches in which mammoths - or moa for instance - once lived, no longer exist in any meaningful way. If we were to bring such species back, apart from just as scientific curios, these animals would likely be inherently maladapted to our modern eco-systems.”

Instead, using cloning techniques to re-establish ‘proxies’ of species that have recently become extinct should be the focus, along with determined efforts to prevent endangered species dying out in the first place, he says.

“The money and considerable effort required to resurrect, reintroduce, and manage in the wild, viable populations of once-extinct species means there will inevitably be fewer resources available to manage threats facing the very many species that are currently at risk of dying out, but could still be saved.”

Professor Seddon suggests that de-extinction projects will inevitably be pursued.

“The reality of the idea is too sexy to ignore, and it could be driven by aesthetic, commercial, scientific, or some other hitherto unanticipated imperatives and motivations,” he suggests.

Commenting on the de-extinction papers appearing in the special issue of Functional Ecology, Professor Seddon concludes that there are two principal messages arising from the articles.

“The first is that the risks and the uncertainties involved will be hugely reduced, and hence the likelihood of achieving a conservation benefit from the production and release of resurrected species will be enhanced, if de-extinction candidates are drawn from the most recent extinctions.

“Second, and perhaps most importantly, extinction of any species marks a significant threshold that once crossed, cannot be fully reversed, despite the apparent promise of powerful new technologies.

“Our primary conservation objective must therefore be, as it always has been, avoiding species loss, and one the most significant contributions to be made by ‘de-extinction technology’ might well be to prevent extinctions in the first place.”

The special issue includes an editorial and six papers:

Editorial: The ecology of de-extinction. Philip Seddon (University of Otago)

Paper 1: Maximising evolutionary potential in functional proxies for extinct species: a conservation genetic perspective on de-extinction. Tammy Steeves (University of Canterbury) et al.

Paper 2: Using palaeoecology to determine baseline ecological requirements and interaction networks for de-extinction candidate species. Jamie Wood (Landcare Research) et al.

Paper 3: Prioritizing revived species: what are the conservation management implications of de-extinction? Gwenllian Iacona(University of Queensland) et al.

Paper 4: A mammoth undertaking: harnessing insight from functional ecology to shape de-extinction priority setting. Douglas McCauley et al.

Paper 5: Pathways to de-extinction: how close can we get to resurrection of an extinct species? Beth Shapiro

Paper 6: De-extinction and evolution. Alexandre Robert et al.

 

read more:

https://www.scimex.org/newsfeed/de-extinction-sci-fi-or-reality

a bad record...

 

Australia is one of seven countries responsible for more than half of global biodiversity loss, according to a study published today.


Key points:


Australia second behind Indonesia for biodiversity loss

Spending on conservation reduced loss

Habitat loss, invasive species drive species decline in Australia

Scientists based their findings on the worsening in conservation status of species between 1996 and 2008 on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red list.


The IUCN red list uses a series of categories to rank how close a species is to extinction, from "least concern" through to "extinct in the wild".


Of the 109 countries studied, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, Malaysia, India, China and the United States (primarily Hawaii) also ranked inside the top seven as the worst offenders on conservation.


The researchers conceded that species native to multiple countries presented an obstacle to their calculations, but lead author Anthony Waldron says they were able to narrow down where the pressures were coming from.


"Once you actually work out [which country] might have been responsible for the loss of diversity, Australia is standing there at number two," Dr Waldron said.Australia is one of seven countries responsible for more than half of global biodiversity loss, according to a study published today.

Key points:

  • Australia second behind Indonesia for biodiversity loss
  • Spending on conservation reduced loss
  • Habitat loss, invasive species drive species decline in Australia

Scientists based their findings on the worsening in conservation status of species between 1996 and 2008 on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red list.

The IUCN red list uses a series of categories to rank how close a species is to extinction, from "least concern" through to "extinct in the wild".

Of the 109 countries studied, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, Malaysia, India, China and the United States (primarily Hawaii) also ranked inside the top seven as the worst offenders on conservation.

The researchers conceded that species native to multiple countries presented an obstacle to their calculations, but lead author Anthony Waldron says they were able to narrow down where the pressures were coming from.

"Once you actually work out [which country] might have been responsible for the loss of diversity, Australia is standing there at number two," Dr Waldron said.Australia is one of seven countries responsible for more than half of global biodiversity loss, according to a study published today.

Key points:
  • Australia second behind Indonesia for biodiversity loss
  • Spending on conservation reduced loss
  • Habitat loss, invasive species drive species decline in Australia

Scientists based their findings on the worsening in conservation status of species between 1996 and 2008 on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red list.

The IUCN red list uses a series of categories to rank how close a species is to extinction, from "least concern" through to "extinct in the wild".

Of the 109 countries studied, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, Malaysia, India, China and the United States (primarily Hawaii) also ranked inside the top seven as the worst offenders on conservation.

The researchers conceded that species native to multiple countries presented an obstacle to their calculations, but lead author Anthony Waldron says they were able to narrow down where the pressures were coming from.

"Once you actually work out [which country] might have been responsible for the loss of diversity, Australia is standing there at number two," Dr Waldron said.`

read more:

http://www.abc.net.au/news/science/2017-10-26/australia-biodiversity-los...

 

And it has gone further down the drain since 2008...

 

crisis is unfolding in plain sight...

Global warming wiped out the Bramble Cay melomys – the first mammalian extinction in the world to be caused by climate change – but a straightforward plan that could have rescued the little rodent was thwarted by red tape and political indifference.

“It could have been saved. That’s the most important part,” says John Woinarski, a professor of conservation biology who was on the threatened species scientific committee that approved a 2008 national recovery plan for the species, endemic to a tiny island in the Torres Strait.

The fate of the melomys is symptomatic of the failures in Australia’s management of threatened species, which has seen the country lose more than 50 animal and 60 plant species in the past 200 years and record the highest rate of mammalian extinction in the world over that period. 

The mammal at the centre of this story was an uncharismatic rodent in a remote part of the country. The key factor for the species’ extinction was almost certainly ocean inundation of the low-lying cay, but recovery efforts were insufficient and hampered by disagreement within government agencies over approaches – in this case captive breeding. And while it was clear urgent action should be taken – and that action was likely to be successful, straightforward and inexpensive – the plan was implemented too late. While the researchers hypothesised the melomys or a close relative might occur in Papua New Guinea, Australia’s only mammal endemic to the Great Barrier Reef has been listed as extinct. 

In the past decade alone, the country has lost two mammal species – the Christmas Island pipistrelle as well as the Bramble Cay melomys – and one reptile, the Christmas Island forest skink.

More than 1,800 plant and animal species and ecological communities (woodlands, forests and wetlands are examples of ecological communities) are currently at risk of extinction, a number that is increasing but which is also likely to be an underestimate of how many are truly vulnerable. 

“We should have learnt the lessons,” Woinarski says of Australia’s failure to arrest its rate of species decline.

Read more: 

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/feb/13/a-national-disgrace-...

 

REad from top

cutting down the trees of life...

The world must thrash out a new deal for nature in the next two years or humanity could be the first species to document our own extinction, warns the United Nation’s biodiversity chief.

Ahead of a key international conference to discuss the collapse of ecosystems, Cristiana Pașca Palmer said people in all countries need to put pressure on their governments to draw up ambitious global targets by 2020 to protect the insects, birds, plants and mammals that are vital for global food production, clean water and carbon sequestration.

 

Read more:

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/nov/03/stop-biodiversity-lo...

 

We have been focused on this subject since day one, on this site. In various other projects, Gus has campaigned heavily since 1979 against the destruction of nature and been involved in the protection of natural habitats in Australia since landing here in 1971.

And of course, the path of homo destructionibus has never stopped. Here the culprits are the participants in Capitalism. Us. By its design capitalism is not a system of social governance but a parasitic ponzi scheme in which MORE is the key word. Growth is essential for this scheme to survive. Like cancer, it eventually kills the host. The host is the little planet we live on.

Diversity is a right for other species to exist. You can cry about our general carelessness, as we cut down the trees of life...

 

Read from top.

 

Read also:

http://www.yourdemocracy.net.au/drupal/node/11311

http://yourdemocracy.net.au/drupal/node/11161

http://www.yourdemocracy.net.au/drupal/node/11434

http://www.yourdemocracy.net.au/drupal/node/11165

http://www.yourdemocracy.net.au/drupal/node/9121

http://www.yourdemocracy.net.au/drupal/node/11159

http://yourdemocracy.net.au/drupal/node/11169

 

And plenty more, including the perennial:

http://www.yourdemocracy.net.au/drupal/node/8011

 

 

 

destroying life on planet australis...

Record numbers of Australia's wildlife species face 'imminent extinction'

Fauna crisis highlights the failure of regional forest agreements, says Wilderness SocietyRegional forest agreements have failed in the 20 years since they were established by stat

Regional forest agreements have failed in the 20 years since they were established by state governments, says a new report, which reveals that record numbers of threatened forest dwelling fauna and many species are heading towards imminent extinction.

The report, Abandoned – Australia’s forest wildlife in crisis, has assessed the conservation status of federally listed forest-dwelling vertebrate fauna species affected by logging and associated roading and burning across Australia’s regional forest agreement (RFA) regions in New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and Western Australia.

Released by the Wilderness Society this week, the report identified 48 federally-listed threatened species of forest-dwelling vertebrate fauna living in areas subject to state-run logging operations.

 

Read more:

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/mar/30/record-numbers-of-au...

 

 

Read from top.

Read also:

http://www.yourdemocracy.net.au/drupal/node/11311

http://yourdemocracy.net.au/drupal/node/11161

http://www.yourdemocracy.net.au/drupal/node/11434

http://www.yourdemocracy.net.au/drupal/node/11165

http://www.yourdemocracy.net.au/drupal/node/9121

http://www.yourdemocracy.net.au/drupal/node/11159

http://yourdemocracy.net.au/drupal/node/11169

and there were only three left...

One of the world's rarest turtles, a Yangtze giant softshell, has died in China, leaving just three known survivors of the species. 

The female turtle (Rafetus swinhoei) died in Suzhou zoo in southern China.

Experts had tried to artificially inseminate the creature, which was over 90 years old, for a fifth time shortly before she died. 

The species has suffered from hunting, overfishing and the destruction of its habitat.

 

Read more:

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-47932731

 

 

Read from top.

our children will pay the bill.

Our children’s generation is going to have to reduce their carbon emissions by 90 percent if we want to avoid being the first species in history to document its own extinction.

Last week, zoologist, environmentalist and broadcaster Sir David Attenborough went global across the media when speaking at the International Monetary Fund, warning that on present trends part of the world would soon become uninhabitable and mass migrations would transform the world. He warned that all governments had to meet their commitments to reduce carbon emissions that they had made at the Paris Climate Change conference in 2015.

Christine Lagarde, the managing director of the IMF, asked David about the link between climate change and migration. He replied “It is happening in Europe. People are coming from Africa because they can’t live where they are.” He warned that the crisis would worsen as temperatures continued to rise: “More parts of the world will become uninhabitable, that’s what will happen. I find it hard to exaggerate the peril. This is the new extinction and we are halfway through it. We are in terrible, terrible trouble and the longer we wait to do something about it, the worse it is going to get.”

Pointing out 70 percent of bird species around the world were extinct, he said “We have time now, ten years, perhaps twenty years, to do something about it. The longer we leave it the more difficult it is going to be and if we leave it too long… the natural system will collapse.”

To save our planet, he said governments have to risk the wrath of voters by ending fossil fuel subsidies and by imposing tax on the use of carbon. “We are supporting and subsidising the very things that are damaging our planet. The natural world is so delicate. It needs all the protection it can get. Sometimes that means governments have to take decisions that are painful and cost money.”

I have been a fan of David ever since I started watching his animal programmes on the TV back in the 1950s, now at the age of 92 he is still campaigning hard to save our world from extinction. The issue of global warming was first raised back in 1975 in an article by Wallace Smith Broecker, a professor at Columbia University. His article predicted that rising carbon dioxide levels would lead to the warming and he urged political action to tackle the problem. In 1984, he told the American Congress of the need for urgent action to tackle greenhouse gases in the air, warning that the system could “jump abruptly from one state to another with devastating effects.” Broecker died just two months ago at the age of 87.

Tragically, politicians around the world are failing to tackle the greatest threat in human history. Last year was the fourth hottest on record with a massive UK heatwave, floods in India, and storms across South East Asia, as well as wildfires in Europe and the US. Greenpeace warned, “A year of climate disasters and a dire warning from the world’s top scientists should have led to so much more. Adopting a set of rules is not nearly enough, without immediate action even the strongest rules will not get us anywhere.” At the same time, Attenborough warned, “We are facing a manmade disaster, our greatest threat in thousands of years. The collapse of our civilisations and the extinction of much of the natural world in on the horizon.”

At the end of last year, United Nations biodiversity chief Cristiana Pașca Palmer warned that unless governments agreed on a new deal to save our planet in the next two years, humanity would be the first species in history to document its own extinction.

We need to force our governments to act and set ambitious world targets by 2020 to protect the plants, mammals, birds, and insects that are the basis of global food production and clean water. “The loss of biodiversity is a silent killer,” Cristiana Pașca Palmer told the Guardian, but people do not notice it in the way they notice climate change. Since 1992, over 30 percent of our planet’s ecological wealth defined by species, rivers, soil and forests has been wiped out with huge consequences for hundreds of millions of people.

In the four billion years of earth’s history, we have seen five mass extinctions caused by decades-long ice ages, massive volcanic eruptions, and the asteroid believed to have wiped out the dinosaurs, but now we face a sixth mass extinction caused by the impact of humanity on our planet. In our brief history, 83 percent of all wild mammals have died out, and in the last 50 years, the populations of mammals, birds, reptiles, and fish have been slashed by 60 percent.

One of the factors that led to so many people migrating has been the dramatic increase in flooding which has become more and more severe. Britain’s Met Office has warned that we will see much wetter winters and summers and our temperature could be 5.4 centigrade higher by 2070. We are now seeing an increase in rainfall leading to flash flooding with the prospect that sea levels could rise by nearly well over one metre by the end of the century. Our government has had to spend £2.6 billion on flood defences in the last five years to try and protect 300,000 homes at risk of flooding.

Two-thirds of the ice in the glaciers of the European Alps will have melted by the end of the century, with the possibility that it could be much worse, with virtually all ice gone by 2100. The same is happening in Asia where ice on the mountains will melt with devastating consequences for the two billion people who live downstream. Cutting emissions from forest fuel burnings is the most important factor in preventing the ice melting.

My children’s generation is going to have to reduce their carbon emissions by 90 percent if we are to avoid the risk of extinction. Fortunately, many young people realise the threat they face, and this has led to a wave of school children striking around the world to protest about climate change.

It is the Western world that has fuelled the worst of this crisis. Each US citizen is on average responsible for an annual carbon emission of 16.5 metric tons, whereas a citizen in India is responsible for just 1.7 tons, yet politicians and businesses seem not to recognise the danger. Just last month, the first new deep coal mine in Britain in 30 years was given permission by Cumbria County Council whilst our government continues to slash funding for green energy.

Climate change isn’t just forcing millions to migrate as rising temperatures make their countries uninhabitable, but many of the tropical diseases will spread to Europe as rising temperatures will allow insects like mosquitoes to move from Africa to Europe and Canada, bringing with them yellow fever, zika, dengue, and chikungunya. The study warning of this can be found in the journal PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases.

Back at the Paris Climate Change Conference, governments from around the world agreed to limit the rise of temperature to just two degrees centigrade, and if possible just 1.5 degrees, but the simple truth is that we have already seen global temperature rise by one degree centigrade, and the catastrophic weather events of recent years have claimed hundreds of thousands of lives, so even keeping the rise to just 1.5 centigrade is going to see tens of millions die over the years to come. Britain’s Met Office warned in February that we could see a 1.5 centigrade rise before 2023.

Although America suffers from a president who is a climate change denier, last November, a US government report warned that climate change is harming Americans’ lives with substantial damage set to occur. The impact of climate change was already being felt across the US with disastrous wildfires, flooding on the east coast, soil loss in the midwest, and coastal erosion in Alaska. The report pointed out that sea levels have risen along the US coast by 23 centimetres in the last 100 years, and that if emissions aren’t reduced, “many coastal communities will be transformed by the latter part of this century.” The report also warned more frequent and larger wildfires portend increasing risks to property and human life, as cited by the Guardian. But even as the report was released, California was devastated by its most deadly wildfire, in history killing over 80 people. Trump, of course, continued to be in denial.

Back in the days when I was mayor of London, I went to lunch with David Attenborough to talk about what is happening to our world, and everything he said is turning out to be true and more worryingly, it’s happening even faster than we originally thought. The simple fact is that all around the world we have to tackle carbon emissions, consume less and waste less, and that will need politicians with the courage to impose new laws which change the way we live in the most dramatic way. That won’t make our lives worse. What is most important in our lives is our relationships with our family and our friends, not how much we can spend and waste. When I look at the spineless and cowardly nature of so many presidents and prime ministers, I think David Attenborough is absolutely right in warning that humanity faces extinction by the turn of this century.

 

Read more:

https://www.rt.com/op-ed/456701-humans-extinction-attenborough-carbon/

 

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And add insecticides and other poisons, of which Novichok is the least of our worries...