Posts

Showing posts from April, 2020

11,000 air pollution-related deaths avoided in Europe as coal, oil consumption plummet

Image
CREA Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air A PinP photo. The measures to combat the coronavirus have led to an approximately 40% reduction in average level of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) pollution and 10% reduction in average level of particulate matter pollution over the past 30 days. This has resulted in 11,000 avoided deaths from air pollution. Story here.

Meteorologists say 2020 on course to be hottest year since records began

Image
The Guardian A PinP photo. Global lockdowns have lowered emissions but longer-term changes needed, say scientists.  Story here.

WARNING: LANGUAGE IN THIS VIDEO MAY BE OFFENSIVE TO SOME. Bill Mahr reminds us how our contempt for nature and the way we produce food is biting us back.

Image

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney tours Fort MacMurray, site of major spring flooding - fails to see his own handiwork amid the damage. (Opinion)

Image
by Larry Powell K enney was out inspecting the town of Fort MacMurray and region  (above)  this morning, where major flooding has resulted in a mandatory evacuation order going out for the entire downtown area. Big trucks and low-lying buildings are reportedly submerged.  This is the same Premier who "dissed" a reporter recently for daring to ask if this might be the time to transition away from fossil fuels to renewable, sustainable energy. Kenney was especially shocked that the journalist was a member of the Calgary press core, who are apparently all supposed to be cozy little members of the same club, parroting Kenny's anti-science lies about the consequences of continuing to exploit the tar sands.  Fort Mac - 2016. A Creative Commons photo. This is also the same Premier who is spending millions of tax dollars from his own citizens, including desperate, unemployed oil workers, to fund a "war room," spreading mis-information about the consequences of a c

Beyond Covid 19 - Defeating the virus is just the beginning!

Image
by Larry Powell The task of  building a safer, healthier planet, surely, will only begin anew once we have defeated this beastly pandemic. So, are there lessons we can learn from Covid that we can actually use to blunt the assault of that other existential threat - manmade climate change? Smoke obscures the sun in one of the increasing number of wildfires in recent years - infernos which are starting earlier, lasting longer and burning more intensely. A Wikimedia photo. The steps being implemented globally to counter the deadly virus, Covid 19, have surely been sweeping, drastic and unprecedented.  And rightly so. While we could argue over which crisis is more grave, one important reality seems clear. As with every other contagion to have attacked human civilization in past, Covid 19, too,   will pass.  Sadly, if we do not take steps which are similarly drastic to the ones now happening during the pandemic,  that will not be the case with the climate crisi

Some Canadian hog producers are euthanizing their own pigs because Covid-19 has rendered them almost worthless. Is it happening in Manitoba, too?

Image
by Larry Powell These carcasses were spotted on a side road not far from the Decker Hutterite Colony. According to the farm newspaper, the Western Producer, some Canadian producers are killing their own hog stocks and disposing of them, without putting them on the market.  Many meat-plant workers have been infected with Covid-19 and several packing plants in Canada and the U.S. have closed, as a result. Packers are therefore not accepting as many hogs as before and supplies are backing up throughout the production chain.Piglets normally raised in Canada and sold to finishing operations in the 'States are said to be worthless. Photos by PinP. News reports suggest, only animals in eastern Canada are known to have been euthanized, so far.  However, I spotted and photographed two large dumpsters filled with the carcasses of mature hogs two days ago (see above). They were near the Decker Hutterite Colony in southwestern Manitoba, site of a major hog producing oper

End park mining in Manitoba. (Video)

Image
The Wilderness Committee

Whether famous or obscure, Earth's wild creatures cannot hide from the hand of man.

Image
Just months ago, billions of animals, including iconic kangaroos and cuddly koalas, perished in Australia's calamitous bushfires,  found by scientists to have been worsened by manmade climate change.   Now, researchers say, one of the Amazon's least-known species could be all but gone, too in scant decades. Its habitat is being relentlessly slashed and burned to make way for agriculture.  by Larry Powell The elusive short-eared dog  ( Atelocynus microtis ) .   This rare photo was  captured  on a camera-trap,   deep in the Amazon rainforest.  Photo credit:  Guido Ayala and Rob Wallace.  Most of us know there are wild dogs living in remote places of the world. Australia's dingo probably leaps to mind first.  But did you also know that a cousin of the dingo (above) has been roaming quietly through vast areas of Amazon rainforests, in Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Brazil for a long time? Atelocynus microtis -  the "short-eared" dog  is the

Torrential rains triggered the disastrous volcanic eruptions in Hawaii two years ago; Study.

Image
Nature Research Will a changing climate make such events more frequent?  The answer? S ee footnote ! Lava flow from Kilauea south of Hawai'i Volcanoes Nat'l. Park. Photo by Ekrem Canli. A paper appearing in in  Nature today,  suggests, t he 2018 eruption of the Kīlauea Volcano in Hawai’i may have been activated by extreme rainfall.  The findings indicate that rainfall should be taken into account when assessing volcanic hazards. Rainfall is known to trigger seismic events and can alter volcanic activity. However, observations of such effects are limited to the shallow subsurface of the volcano, and it is unknown whether rainfall can activate deep magma movement. The eruption of the Kīlauea Volcano in Hawai’i was complex and multi-stage, but its trigger has been unknown. From May to August 2018, rifts opened around Kīlauea and the summit exhibited explosive eruptions and caldera collapse.  Jamie Farquharson and Falk Amelung examined the impact of rainfall on the

Defending climate in the age of Covid 19.

Image
by Larry Powell An Australian sun, shrouded in bushfire smoke. A public domain photo. As Kermit the frog famously said, “It isn’t easy being green.” And, in a world which is, by necessity, now consumed in the battle against a pandemic, it’s even harder. It’s almost as if that other “existential threat,” manmade climate change, has been forgotten, even tho it never really received the attention it deserved in the first place!   It’s both encouraging and bewildering to watch just how this latest, terrible and unprecedented chapter in our history, is playing out;   E ncouraging because so many of us are actually heeding the advice of our best minds in epidemiology by hand-washing, physical-distancing and self-isolating. This is surely saving countless lives from the deadly maw of the “Covid beast.” By contrast, our climatologists - who’ve been warning us for a generation that our planet is on a dangerous trajectory toward “hothouse Earth” if we don’t eliminate or drasticall

What does conservation have to do with Covid-19?

Image
WORLD  LAND  TRUST Bush meat for sale in Togo. Photo by  PGskot As the news continues to be dominated by the Covid-19 crisis, CEO Jonathan Barnard reflects on the conversations about conservation that have arisen from the pandemic. Story here.

Bushfires damaged Australian rainforest that is home to Earth's only living specimens of ancient species

Image
PHYS ORG Rainforest foliage in Nightcap National Park, NSW Wales, an international heritage site hit hard by the bushfires. Photo by Naught101 Recent wildfires in Australia torched more than 48,000 square miles of land (for context, more than 40 Riding Mountain National Parks). The fires impacted ecologically sensitive regions, including an area called the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Site. This region contains a vast concentration of living plants with fossil records from tens of millions of years ago, according to Peter Wilf. Story here. RELATED: The hand of man shows through once again in another climate catastrophe.

Catastrophic changes Planet Earth is undergoing today likely mirror many of those which happened hundreds of millions of years ago. The big difference? Volcanoes - not humans - were likely the main drivers of the changes back then.

Image
NATURE The amount of CO 2  released into the end-Triassic atmosphere from volcanic eruptions was likely comparable to the projected total amount of anthropogenic (manmade) CO 2  that will be emitted during the 21 st  century. The findings are published in  Nature Communications . Such large volumes of volcanic CO 2  likely contributed to end-Triassic global warming, sea level rise, and ocean acidification. The end-Triassic extinction (approximately 201 million years ago) resulted in the demise of large proportions of all marine and terrestrial species. It is thought that this extinction was caused by dramatic climate change and rising sea levels which, are known to have occurred at that time. Volcanic CO 2  released during the large volume Central Atlantic Magmatic Province eruptions has been considered as an important contributor to the process, but this is debated. Manfredo Capriolo and colleagues found evidence of abundant CO 2  in basaltic rocks from the end-Triassic Ce

Urgent changes needed to reduce environmental costs of ‘fast fashion’

Image
Nature Reviews Earth & Environment . Stefan Müller (climate stuff) from Germany Fundamental changes to the fashion business model, including an urgent transition away from ‘fast fashion’, are needed to improve the long-term sustainability of the fashion supply chain, argue Kirsi Niinimäki and colleagues in a Review published in  Nature Reviews Earth & Environment . The fashion industry is the second largest industrial polluter after aviation, and accounts for up to 10% of global pollution. However, the industry continues to grow, despite rising awareness of the environmental impacts, in part owing to the rise of fast fashion, which relies on cheap manufacturing, frequent consumption, and short-lived garment use. The authors identify the environmental impacts of the fashion supply chain, from production to consumption, focusing on water use, chemical pollution, CO 2  emissions and textile waste. For example, the industry produces over 92 million tonnes

COVID-19: only about 6% of actual infections have likely been detected worldwide

Image
University of Göttingen Actual number of infections may already have reached several tens of millions. Story here.

Bush-fire smoke linked to hundreds of deaths

Image
nature Bushfire smoke shrouds the Blue Mountains, as seen from Sydney Harbour Bridge, Dec.,2019. Photo by Sardaka. The first study to estimate health effects from Australia’s extreme fires suggests that several thousand extra people were admitted to hospital. Story here.