Tuesday, September 01, 2020

Loss of biodiversity through the destruction of the world's forests will 'unleash more pandemics' scientists warn

This is not very logical.  If there are fewer species then surely there are fewer species to infect us with stuff. Lost species would take their bugs with them

Conservationists have warned that environmental destruction, such as deforestation and the exploitation of wild animals, could lead to increasing numbers of pandemics.

A UN summit on biodiversity, being held in New York in September, will be told by biologists there is evidence of a strong link between loss of biodiversity and deadly new diseases, such as Covid-19.

Scientists will warn world leaders that the rapid rate of deforestation and the uncontrolled expansion of farming is providing a 'perfect storm' for diseases to pass from wildlife to humans, The Guardian reported.

Stuart Pimm, professor of conservation at Duke University, said: 'There are now a whole raft of activities – illegal logging, clearing and mining – with associated international trades in bushmeat and exotic pets that have created this crisis.'

He added that 'urgent action is needed' as coronavirus has killed 'almost a million people' and cost 'trillions of dollars'.

Conservationists said that as a result of land use change, such as deforestation, five or six new epidemics could soon affect the world each year.

They claimed that almost a third of all emerging diseases have originated through such land use change.

In the process, the destruction of wild animals, which are hosts to many unknown viruses and bacteria, can lead to humans or livestock being accidentally infected.

These 'spillovers' can lead a new disease in humans if the viruses thrive and spread, or lead to transmission, to other individuals.

It has been estimated that an average rate of deforestation is around 10million hectares each year.

This decreased from an average of 16million hectares per year in the 1990s, as it is thought new forests, both naturally and man-made, are being established.

But before human civilisations, the Earth was originally covered by 60million sq km of forest.

But now, following deforestation accelerated due to human activity, there is said to be less than 40million sq km remaining.

It is used for farm cattle, to extract oil and provide access to mines and mineral deposits.

In a paper published in Science last month, scientists and economists have proposed setting up a scheme to monitor wildlife and reduce deforestation.

The researchers added the programme, which could cost more than $20billion a year, would also be able to help the fight against climate change.

The scientists said: 'Postponing a global strategy to reduce pandemic risk would lead to continued soaring costs. Society must strive to avoid the impacts of future pandemics.'

The HIV virus originally spread from chimpanzees and gorillas, which were slaughtered for bushmeat in West Africa, to men and woman.

Other viruses which spread from wild animals to humans include the 2009 swine flu epidemic and Ebola fever, which is passed on by bats.

But zoologist David Redding, of University College London, stressed that not every emerging disease is caused by a single 'spillover event'.

He said: 'Bats, rodents and other pests carrying strange new viruses come from surviving clumps of forests and infect farm animals – who then pass on these infections to humans.'

Lassa fever, which was first discovered in Nigeria in 1969, is spread by the rodent Mastomys natalensis.

The rodent was widespread in Africa's forests but colonises in homes and farms, spreading the disease it carried to humans.

Andy Dobson, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at Princeton University, said that during land use change, workers who chop down rainforest trees do not take food with them.

Instead, he said, the workers eat 'what they can kill' which can expose them to a number of infections.

He added that humans are outnumbered by infections, as there are probably 'ten times more' species of viruses than mammals.

This comes after physicists claimed that human civilisation stands a 90 per cent chance of an 'irreversible collapse' due to deforestation.

Last month it was claimed that within the next two to four decades, Earth may no longer be able to sustain a large human population, according to a peer-reviewed paper published in Nature Scientific Reports.

The study, written by Dr Gerardo Aquino and Professor Mauro Bologna, states that if the rate of deforestation continues 'all the forests would disappear approximately in 100–200 years'.

This trajectory would result in the loss of planetary life-support systems necessary for human survival including carbon storage, oxygen production, soil conservation and water cycle regulation.

It is thought this would ultimately result in the collapse of human civilization as 'it is highly unlikely to imagine the survival of many species, including ours, on Earth without [forests]'.

The paper, which was published in May this year, states: 'The progressive degradation of the environment due to deforestation would heavily affect human society and consequently the human collapse would start much earlier.'

'Calculations show that, maintaining the actual rate of population growth and resource consumption, in particular forest consumption, we have a few decades left before an irreversible collapse of our civilization,' the paper concludes.


British climate skeptic is a lockdown skeptic too

Jeremy Corbyn's brother Piers has been handed the first £10,000 fine in London for an illegal gathering after he organised a march claiming coronavirus is a hoax.

The 73-year-old meteorologist led more than 10,000 anti-lockdown protesters who believe coronavirus is a hoax at the 'Unite for Freedom' rally in Trafalgar Square on Saturday.

Mr Corbyn, the older brother of the former Labour leader, was seen being hauled off by officers after the event and his Twitter account has since confirmed he was slapped with the colossal fine and 'held for ten hours.'

He was among eight other offenders who were fined across the rest of England under new lockdown measures imposed on Friday which are designed to stop gatherings of more than 30 people.

The others that were fined had all been organising raves or house parties.

The hefty fine is now being wielded by police forces across the country to discourage people from meeting in groups of more than 30.

On Saturday and into the early hours of Sunday, four people were fined £10,000 each for spearheading a rave in Headingly and another was fined the same for a house party in Leeds.

Two DJs were also fined £10,000 each and had their equipment seized by officers in Burley, West Yorkshire Police said.

The arrest of Mr Corbyn in Trafalgar Square was the third time the divisive anti-lockdown campaigner has been arrested since the pandemic started. He was carted out of Hyde Park by officers on May 16 and May 30. 

The Unite for Freedom rally started at noon in the capital and they demonstrators marched past Downing Street towards the Houses of Parliament.

Pictures from the demonstration showed Trafalgar Square packed with protesters - none of whom wore masks - holding signs that branded the pandemic as a 'hoax'. 

Other signs claimed masks reduce immunity and likened the restrictions to 'child torture'. One person held a homemade placard on which he had scrawled 'no to mandatory vaccines.'

Video from the scene showed organisers label the Government 'terrorists who are waging a war on the people of this country'.

One man says: 'This is a political agenda to commit mass genocide on the population. That is their agenda.'

A poster advertising the event read: 'Nothing is more important as time is very short - the Government are voting for a two-year extension of their emergency Covid-19 powers in September 2020. 'The first six months was a disaster - this must not be allowed to continue! We have to take a stand.'

It lists its priorities as 'no more lockdowns, no social distancing, no masks. No track and trace, no health passports. No mandatory vaccinations, no 'new normal'. Restore all human rights that have been violated.'

The poster lists 'top world class doctors and nurses speaking out with real truth on Covid-19 against GMC constraints'.

Mr Corbyn was arrested on May 16 after he used a megaphone to say 'vaccination is not necessary' and '5G towers will be installed everywhere', adding: '5G enhances anyone who's got illness from Covid, so they work together.'

There is no evidence to link 5G and Covid-19 and scientists fear that a rise in measles among children can be attributed in part to unfounded fears about vaccines.

He was then arrested again on May 30 at a protest in which he also spoke through a megaphone.

There was one coronavirus death in the United Kingdom on Sunday and another 1,715 new cases were recorded. The death toll from the disease now stands at 41,499 and there have been 334,467 cases.


Cold-weather accounts for almost all temperature-related deaths

With the number of extreme weather days rising around the globe in recent years due to global warming, it is no surprise that there has been an upward trend in hospital visits and admissions for injuries caused by high heat over the last several years. But cold temperatures are responsible for almost all temperature-related deaths, according to a new study published in the journal Environmental Research.

According to the new study by researchers at the University of Illinois Chicago, patients who died because of cold temperatures were responsible for 94% of temperature-related deaths, even though hypothermia was responsible for only 27% of temperature-related hospital visits.

“With the decrease in the number of cold weather days over the last several decades, we still see more deaths due to cold weather as opposed to hot weather,” said Lee Friedman, associate professor of environmental and occupational health sciences in the UIC School of Public Health and corresponding author on the paper. “This is in part due to the body’s poorer ability to thermoregulate once hypothermia sets in, as well as since there are fewer cold weather days overall, people don’t have time to acclimate to cold when those rarer cold days do occur.”

Hypothermia, or a drop in the body’s core temperature, doesn’t require sub-arctic temps. Even mildly cool temperatures can initiate hypothermia, defined as a drop in body temperature from the normal 98.7 degrees to 95 degrees Fahrenheit. When this occurs, organs and systems begin to shut down in an effort to preserve the brain. The process, once started, can be very difficult to get under control; however, people who are more regularly exposed to lower temperatures are better able to resist hypothermia.

“People who were experiencing homelessness in the records we looked at were less likely to die from temperature-related injury,” Friedman said. “Because they have greater outdoor exposure, they acclimate better to both heat and cold.”

Heat-related issues are more likely to self-resolve by getting to a cooler place or by hydrating, Friedman said.

The researchers looked at inpatient and outpatient heat- and cold-related injuries that required a hospital visit in Illinois between 2011 and 2018. They identified 23,834 cold-related cases and 24,233 heat-related cases. Among these patients, there were 1,935 cold-related deaths and 70 heat-related deaths.

Friedman said government data systems that track temperature-related deaths significantly undercount these deaths.

“We found five to 10 times more temperature-related deaths by linking the hospital data to data from the National Weather Service and medical examiner’s data,” he said. “There are a lot more people dying from temperature-related injuries than is generally reported.”

Friedman and his colleagues also found that cumulative costs associated with temperature-related hospital visits were approximately $1 billion between 2011 and 2018 in Illinois.

Adults older than age 65 and Black people were almost twice as likely to be hospitalized due to temperature-related injuries. Individuals who visited a hospital due to cold temperatures also commonly had multiple health issues, including electrolyte disorders, cardiovascular disease and kidney failure.

“Currently, the public health community focuses almost exclusively on heat injury. Our data demonstrate that improved awareness and education are needed around the risk for cold injuries, especially since there are fewer but more severe cold weather days — leaving less chance for acclimation, which can be protective against hypothermia,” Friedman said.


Oil and Natural Gas Industry Provides High-Paying Careers for Americans without College Degrees

North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU), a building trade federation in the United States and Canada, has released two new studies it commissioned detailing that construction jobs for the oil and natural gas industries provide better pay, benefits, and career opportunities than those in other sectors and are providing “a vital pathway to middle class careers and living standards” for those without a college education.

Cross-Industry Comparison

One NABTU study, Perspectives and Comparisons of Job Quality Across the US Energy Industries, conducted by the Cicero Group, examined government and industry data and conducted in-depth interviews and focus groups with workers in the energy industries and building and manufacturing trades, as well as a 1,600-person online survey. The data and the self-reporting from trades people show oil and natural gas workers receive better wages and benefits than workers on “renewable” energy projects such as wind and solar.

“Tradespeople report noteworthy differences between projects in renewable energy and oil and natural gas projects,” the study states. “They report better project variety, trades opportunities, skill development, and project consistency in oil and natural gas construction.

“Many of the trades that work on oil and natural gas projects are not as prevalent on renewables projects, indicating that skilled trade jobs are not highly interchangeable between industries,” reports the study.

No College, No Problem

The finding of a second NABTU study, The Quality of Jobs in Construction and Oil-and-Gas for High School Graduates, conducted by Peter Phillips, a scholar at the Institute for Construction Economics Research and a professor of economics at the University of Utah, shows the oil and gas industry provides well-paying jobs even for people lacking college degrees.

“The construction and oil & natural gas industries rely heavily on high school graduates to staff about 45 percent of all the jobs in these two industries,” Phillips writes. “Relative to many other high school graduates with no college education, high school graduates in construction, oil & natural gas are paid better while receiving more health insurance and pension coverage.

“This is both true for blue-collar and white-collar high school graduates in these two industries,” writes Phillips.

Advanced Education, No Debt

The training the oil and gas industry gives its workers amounts to advanced education while being paid, reports Phillips.

“Because these industries rely upon on-the-job training, industry specific short courses and apprenticeship training, effectively high school workers in these two industries go on to higher education through their work, earning while they learn,” Phillps says. “There is no student debt, and no one is too poor to go on with their schooling even if that schooling is not college, takes place at a workshop, or at a job site, or at an apprenticeship facility.”

“Because of this industry located higher education, wages for high school graduates in construction, oil and natural gas rise more quickly and farther than compared to high school graduates in the overall economy,” Phillips says.

‘Reach the Middle Class’

In the move from the manufacturing to the service economy, the oil and gas industry provides jobs for those lacking an advanced education to attain middle-income status, concludes Phillips.

“As the overall economy shifts from goods production to a service economy, …  most young people are urged to go to college [and] those who stopped at high school are seen as trapped in low paying jobs, [b]ut those who go into construction and the oil and natural gas industries can, in fact, reach the middle class,” Phillips writes.

The oil and gas industry provides better pay and benefits to its workers than they could earn in comparable jobs in renewable energy development, said Sean McGarvey, president of North America’s Building Trades Unions, in a press statement on the two studies’ release.

“The findings outlined in these reports demonstrate that today’s oil and natural gas jobs are better for energy construction workers across the country in both the short and long term,” said McGarvey. “The research confirms what our members tell us: the career opportunities for renewables are nowhere near what they are in gas and oil, and domestic energy workers highly value the safety, reliable duration and compensation of oil and gas construction jobs.”



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


No comments: