Capitalism Will Ruin the Earth By 2050, Scientists Say

 A spate of new scientific research starkly lays out the choice humankind faces in coming decades: 

By 2050, we could retain high levels of GDP, at the price of a world wracked by minerals and materials shortages, catastrophic climate change, and a stuttering clean energy transition —paving the way for a slowly crumbling civilization. 

Or, we could ditch the GDP fetish and enter a world of abundance, with energy consumption safely contained within planetary boundaries, and high-tech economies that support jobs, health and education for everyone without costing the earth.

Capitalism is on track to lead the world into mineral shortages and supply bottlenecks that could cut short efforts to decarbonize transport systems, guaranteeing dangerous climate change. 

Letting go of growth 

On the other hand, the authors find that the only scenario in which the world is able to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent in the transportation sector by 2050 involves “a radical shift towards light electric vehicles, shift of road freight to electric train, ambitious recycling mineral levels, drastic reductions in the demand for transportation (especially for those more polluting such as aviation) and a significant decrease in overall economic activity.”  

All this will require what the authors describe as “a profound change in the dominant economic paradigm”—namely, capitalism.  Read More

Plague history shows how a pandemic’s course can be shaped

David Earn, a professor in the department of mathematics and statistics at McMaster and lead author of the research, told CNN that while plague cases in London doubled every six weeks in the 14th century, by the 17th century, they were doubling every week and a half. 
“That’s an enormous difference,” he said. 
But this was not simply a case of the disease becoming more virulent — evolutionary geneticist Hendrik Poinar told CNN that while the spread of the disease accelerated, genetic analysis to date tentatively suggests that it may have become less infectious.
             But he also cautioned that pandemics will continue to threaten humans so long as people encroach 
            on the natural world, something scientists and environmental organizations have repeatedly warned.

“When there are shifts in the epidemiology of the disease, most of the shifts that occur can be translated to human intervention or things that go on outside of the actual genetics of the bug,” Poinar, a professor in the department of anthropology at McMaster and a co-author of the study, said. Read More

Are climate scientists being too cautious when linking extreme weather to climate change?

In this year of extreme weather events—from devastating West Coast wildfires to tropical Atlantic storms that have exhausted the alphabet—scientists and members of the public are asking when these extreme events can be scientifically linked to climate change.
Dale Durran, a professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Washington, argues that climate science need to approach this question in a way similar to how weather forecasters issue warnings for hazardous weather.
In a new paper, published in the October issue of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, he draws on the weather forecasting community’s experience in predicting extreme weather events such as tornadoes, flash floods, high winds and winter storms. If forecasters send out a mistaken alert too often, people will start to ignore them. If they don’t alert for severe events, people will get hurt. How can the atmospheric sciences community find the right balance? 

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Canada’s ‘beautifully surprising’ basic income study shows how business needs to reconsider human nature

Poverty isn’t a lack of character; it’s a lack of cash
Dutch historian Rutger Bregman introduced a version of that phrase in his 2017 Ted Talk, and it’s become a go-to mantra for advocates of basic income.
The core idea is that people who have fallen on hard times aren’t in those circumstances because they’ve somehow failed at life, and are therefore undeserving of basic necessities. Often, “falling on hard times” simply means being born into a life of poverty, as is the case for nearly 10% of the world’s population, or 770 million people, who are currently living on less than $1.90 a day.
Even in the US, one in seven children are born poor, and millions of Americans are just one paycheck or one unexpected hospital bill away from poverty. As Williams wrote in the new study’s impact statement, “While the economic impact of homelessness costs everyone, ultimately it is the human cost that is so devastating.”
As Bregman and other proponents argue, any solution to poverty ought to begin by addressing the circumstances in which poverty flourishes — not correcting the character of those experiencing it.  Read More

Pull investments from companies not committed to environment, pope says

Pull investments from companies not committed to environment, pope says | Reuters
 VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Pope Francis on Saturday urged people to pull investments from companies that are not committed to protecting the environment, adding his voice to calls for the economic model that emerges from the coronavirus pandemic to be a sustainable one.
Francis spoke in a video message for an online event called “Countdown Global Launch, A Call to Action on Climate Change”.
“Science tells us, every day with more precision, that we need to act urgently … if we are to have any hope of avoiding radical and catastrophic climate change,” he said.
The pope listed three action points: better education about the environment, sustainable agriculture and access to clean water, and a transition away from fossil fuels.
“One way to encourage this change is to lead companies towards the urgent need to commit to the integral care of our common home, excluding from investments companies that do not meet (these) parameters … and rewarding those that (do),” he said.  Read More

USCG Patrol Deters Illegal Fishing in the North Pacific

USCG Patrol Deters Illegal Fishing in the North Pacific

 The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Douglas Munro has completed a two-month patrol covering 12,500 miles throughout the North Pacific on an annual mission to detect and deter illegal,  unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing.  
Supported by shoreside intelligence efforts to detect suspicious vessels, the Douglas Munro’s crew conducted at-sea inspections aboard 11 fishing vessels from four different nations and found 14 potential violations, including potentially serious violations aboard three Chinese-flagged squid fishing vessels. Following these boardings, nearly the entire fleet of 31 vessels stopped fishing and fled hundreds of nautical miles west across the Pacific Ocean, avoiding further inspection. 
IUU fishing is a pervasive, far-reaching security threat that undermines international agreements and fisheries conservation measures, jeopardizes global food security and produces destabilizing effects on vulnerable coastal states.  More

5 Things To Know About Hurricanes And Climate Change After The Vice Presidential Debate

5 Things To Know About Hurricanes And Climate Change After The Vice Presidential Debate

Hurricanes are only part of the story. I co-authored a National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine report on attribution of contemporary weather events to climate change. The subject of hurricanes and climate change was a key component of the report. Before I deal with the “frequency” and “intensity” question, it is important to remind readers that hurricanes (Atlantic basin and eastern Pacific) represent only a subset of global tropical cyclones. Climate change impacts are equally relevant to typhoons (western Pacific) and cyclones (Indian Ocean, Australia). I often see people utilize statistics about Atlantic hurricanes (or landfalling U.S. storms) to make broad statements about climate change and tropical cyclones. Such geographically-biased assessments are unfortunate because scientific studies have shown that activity varies as a function of the basin.

Deep-seabed mining lastingly disrupts the seafloor food web: Especially the microbial part of the carbon cycle is affected

 The deep sea is far away and hard to envision. If imagined it seems like a cold and hostile place. However, this remote habitat is directly connected to our lives, as it forms an important part of the global carbon cycle. Also, the deep seafloor is, in many places, covered with polymetallic nodules and crusts that arouse economic interest. There is a lack of clear standards to regulate their mining and set binding thresholds for the impact on the organisms living in affected areas.

Mining can reduce microbial carbon cycling, while animals are less affected
An international team of scientists around Tanja Stratmann from the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology in Bremen, Germany, and Utrecht University, the Netherlands, and Daniëlle de Jonge from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland, has investigated the food web of the deep seafloor to see how it is affected by disturbances such as those caused by mining activities.

Climate Science Denial Network Behind Great Barrington Declaration

Climate Science Denial Network Behind Great Barrington Declaration – Byline Times

 “There are countries who are managing the pandemic relatively well, including South Korea and New Zealand, and their strategies do not include simply letting the virus run wild whilst hoping that the asthmatic community and the elderly can find somewhere to hide for 12 months.”
It is consequently no wonder that some experts see this not as science, but as a form of predatory neoliberal economics in disguise.