Friday, January 01, 2021

Amazon rainforest will dry out and become arid, scrubby plain by 2064 due to climate change and deforestation, scientist predicts

Another stupid prohecy, like many other false prophecies before it. The tiny degree of global warming in the modern era won't change anything

But climate change in Amazonia can readily be traced to human activity there, deforestation etc

South America's Amazon rainforest will be wiped out by 2064 due to deforestation and prolonged droughts from climate change, a scientist predicts in a new paper.

At about 2.3 million square miles, the Amazon is the largest tropical forest on Earth.

As well as reducing air pollution and regulating the world's oxygen and carbon cycles, it creates its own precipitation to sustain local populations with freshwater.

But it stands on the verge of a 'tipping point' as a consequence of human-caused disturbances, 'for which we are all responsible', according to Robert Walker, a professor of geography at the University of Florida.

Professor Walker says the Amazon will transition over the next few decades from a dense, moisture-filled forest to an open savannah, dominated by flammable grasses and shrubs.

He added that the local people's dependency on the Amazon as a source of water means 'the magnitude of the catastrophe will be worse than heretofore imagined' in, at the very most, 44 years' time.

2064 marks the point at which 'a tipping point' is reached, where extreme droughts become too frequent for canopy to completely recover from them (something that currently takes about four years).

A 'collapse' of environmental governance in Brazil and other Amazonian nations has renewed public concerns about the fate of the forest, as highlighted by Professor Walker in his paper, published in the journal Environment.

'It is doubtful that the Amazonian forest will remain resilient to changes in the regional hydroclimate,' he writes.

'The biggest concern involves intensification of drought-based tree mortality stemming from the synergies of fire, deforestation, and logging.

'The development of Amazonia now lies on a collision course not only with the interests of conservation but also with the welfare of the very people it is meant to benefit.'

Deforestation – the permanent removal of trees – is a major environmental issue, causing destruction of forest habitat and the loss of biological diversity.

A big driver of deforestation is the deliberate ignition of the rainforest's canopy to clear space for agricultural crops.

Amazonian fires famously intensified last year – in August 2019, the National Institute for Space Research in Brazil reported more than 80,000 fires across all of the country, a 77 per cent year-on-year increase.

'A generalised collapse of environmental governance in Brazil and other Amazonian nations has renewed public concerns about the fate of the forest,' says Professor Walker.

'These concerns – recently intensified by Amazonian fires in the summer of 2019 –have put the focus on regional climate changes capable of inducing a "tipping point" beyond which the moist forest transitions to a tropical savanna.'

Shortly after the turn of the millennium, effective environmental policies in Brazil reduced deforestation rates in the Amazon Basin, which is home to the rainforest.

But these policies 'began to unravel at almost the same time they proved effective' and deforestation numbers started to climb after reaching a low point in 2012, Professor Walker says.

There is also mounting evidence that deforestation affects regional climate by reducing precipitation and by lengthening the dry season.

The researcher also points to 'waves of in-migrants' that initiated a process of agricultural development in the late 1970s, which has to date consumed about 20 per cent of the Brazilian portion of the original forest.

However, poverty and poor use of government resources ultimately drives much of the deforestation, Professor Walker suggests.

'The people there, they don't worry so much about biodiversity, the environment, when they have to worry about eating their next meal,' he told United Press International.

Meanwhile, more frequent spells of drought caused by global warming are killing off the most vulnerable tree species in the Amazon, arising from water and thermal stress.

What's more, drought severely comprises the ability of surviving trees to do their job as the lungs of the world.

The Amazon rainforest absorbs large amounts of carbon from carbon dioxide (CO2) – a major contributor to climate change.

Scientists estimate that the Amazon takes in as much as one-tenth of human fossil fuel emissions during photosynthesis.

But the rainforest experienced serious episodes of drought in 2005, 2010 and 2015, and studies show its trees absorb a tenth less CO2 from the atmosphere during droughts.

A single season of drought in the Amazon rainforest can reduce the forest's carbon dioxide absorption for years after the rains return.

Dr Adriane Muelbert, an expert from the University of Leeds who was not involved with Professor Walker's research, previously said the ecosystem's response is lagging behind the rate of climate change.

'Droughts that hit the Amazon basin in the last decades had serious consequences for the make-up of the forest, with higher mortality in tree species most vulnerable to droughts and not enough compensatory growth in species better equipped to survive drier conditions,' she said.

If dry seasons in the Amazon continue to lengthen as over the past few decades, the drought of 2005 will become the region's 'new normal' before the end of the century, Professor Walker believes.

The return period of serious drought once gave canopies sufficient time to recover from fire, but the lengthening dry season has 'begun to squeeze away this respite'.

'A forest cannot survive if its canopy needs more than four years to recover from a yearly event,' he says.

'In fact, southern Amazonia can expect to reach a tipping point sometime before 2064 at the current rate of dry-season lengthening.

'By then, the return cycle of severe drought will have dipped below the time needed for the canopy to recover, at which point the forested landscape, denuded by fire, will be permanently invaded by flammable grasses and shrubs.'

Elsewhere in the paper, Professor Walker refers to the Anth­ropocene era – a proposed geological epoch in which human permanently changed the planet.

'The Amazonian environment has proven resilient to long swings of climate change that can be tracked through the geologic record extending over millions of years.

'Even during periods much warmer than today, the forest held its ground, with some encroachment of tropical savanna along the Basin's rim to the south and east, now known as the arc of deforestation.'

'Will the Anth­ropocene act with greater force, triggering a tipping point transgression at basin scale?,' he asks.

'Whatever the answer, the evidence is indisputable that Amazonia’s climate is now changing.'

Organic meat is NO better for the environment than regular meat and produces the same amount of greenhouse gas emissions

Researchers from Germany calculate the emissions produced during the manufacture of regular and organic meat, as well as plant-based foodstuffs.

Organic and regular beef are just as environmentally damaging, they concluded — while organic chicken actually results in slightly more greenhouse emissions overall.

Based on their findings, the team propose that policy measures — 'meat taxes' — are needed to 'close the gap between current market prices and the true costs of food.'

Such taxation, the team said, would call for a 40 per cent increase in regular beef's cost, but only a 25 per cent rise for organic beef, which is already more expensive.

The same amount of greenhouse gas emissions result from the production of organic meat as regular meats, a study has concluded. Pictured, raw meat seen in a butcher's counter +2
The same amount of greenhouse gas emissions result from the production of organic meat as regular meats, a study has concluded. Pictured, raw meat seen in a butcher's counter

In their study, politics and technology researcher Maximilian Pieper of the Technical University of Munich and colleagues worked to calculate the external climate costs — specifically as regards greenhouse emissions — of various foodstuffs.

The team sorted the products that they analysed into one of three-categories. These included conventional meat production, organic meat production and plant-based food production.

They then took an account of the emissions produced during the stages of each production process — including those released during growing and the processing of feed and fertiliser, for example, and methane given off by animals and manure.

The team found that while organic meat saw emissions reductions in some areas — such as by not using fertiliser to grow the necessary animal feed — these savings were typically offset by increased methane emissions from the animals themselves.

This complication arose as a product of both the slower growth rates of the animals and the fact that they tend to produce less meat per individual — meaning that organic farms must raise more animals to meet the same level of demand.

The team found, specially, that organic and regular beef result in the same net level of emissions — while organically-grown chicken actually produces more emissions than when the meat is reared conventionally.

In contrast, however, organic pork was found to result in slightly less emissions than produced by the manufacture of regular pork.

'As the results show, the production of animal-based products — especially of meat — causes the highest emissions,' the researchers wrote in their paper, noting that the findings are consistent with the findings of various previous studies.

'Such high emissions stem from the resource intensive production of meat, because of an inefficient conversion of feed to animal-based products,' they added.

'Organic regulations prescrib[e] a certain amount of land per animal, which is higher compared to average conventional production, as well as a higher living age and lower productivity of organically produced feed and raised animals.'

This counterbalances or even reverses the described positive aspects of organic animal farming,' they concluded.

The full findings of the study were published in the journal Nature Communications.

Biden’s Climate Change Litmus Test

From the looks of former Vice President Joe Biden’s selections for Cabinet positions and other high offices, it seems belief in “climate change” has become a litmus test. Biden appears to have raised climate change to the level of a religious doctrine.

In naming John Kerry a climate “czar,” Rep. Deb Haaland, D-N.M., to head the Department of the Interior—if confirmed Haaland would become the first Native American Cabinet secretary in history, a diversity priority for Biden—and Michael Regan, head of North Carolina’s Department of Environmental Quality, who would be the first black man to lead the Environmental Protection Agency (ditto on diversity), Biden has signaled he is all-in on using government to change the climate, which some believe is already improving because of technology and innovation in the private sector.

Here is a fundamental question: If Biden thinks government has the power to change the climate (it doesn’t), why hasn’t government been able to prevent hurricanes and other natural disasters?

COVID-19 is being used by politicians—nearly all of them Democrats—to erode our liberties. If given the power to dictate what we drive, the type of house we can live in, and other freedoms we have long taken for granted, government will not be able to resist adding even more demands in the name of saving the planet.

At the 2016 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, climate change disciples laid out their vision for America’s future. By 2030, some forecast:

– The U.S. will not be the world’s leading superpower.

– A billion people will be displaced by climate change.

– Polluters will have to pay to emit carbon dioxide.

– There will be a global price on carbon (and) this will help make fossil fuels history.

If these initiatives are enacted, it will turn the United States into something other than what we have enjoyed for two centuries. Some comments by the Davos attendees dismissed the notion that a majority of citizens should decide such crucial matters, leaving decisions instead to unaccountable elites.

This is the stuff of dictatorship, little different from what communist leaders have done in the past, and in the present in China.

Biden has called climate change a “crisis.” How many crises can we deal with at one time? I thought COVID-19 was a crisis. How about getting that under control before we start addressing climate, which is changing, but for the better in many places and provably in the U.S.

According to the International Energy Agency, a Paris-based autonomous intergovernmental organization “committed to shaping a secure and sustainable energy future for all,” “The United States saw the largest decline in energy-related CO2 emissions in 2019 on a country basis—a fall of 140 Mt, or 2.9%, to 4.8 Gt. U.S. emissions are now down almost 1 Gt from their peak in the year 2000, the largest absolute decline by any country over that period.”

Opinion polls have been all over the place on this issue. Prior to the election, an NPR/PBS News Hour Marist poll found climate change taking over the top spot of concerns for Democrats. The economy remained the No. 1 issue for Republicans with climate change not registering among those polled.

The media will join politicians and some “experts” to promote climate change during a Biden administration, including end-of-the-world scenarios with little or no scientific information that contradicts their line.

Two years ago, “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd announced he would not have any guests on who doubted climate change. This is censorship and the promotion of a single point of view constitutes indoctrination.

Implementing the Biden climate doctrine will cost a fortune and result in an outcome most Americans will not like.

Joe Biden’s Climate Czar Gina McCarthy Brings Controversy to the White House

President Elect Joe Biden has picked Gina McCarthy, head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under Barack Obama and president of the leftist environmental group National Resources Defense Council, to become his climate czar. The position does not require Senate confirmation, but would have significant impact across the federal government as McCarthy is expected to guide climate policy at Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and even Treasury.

The Natural Resources Defense Council has sued the Donald J. Trump administration more than 100 times for environmental policies including energy efficiency regulations and protections for threatened species.

But McCarthy does not come to the post without a resume that includes controversies.

Obama nominated McCarthy to head the EPA on March 4, 2013. She was confirmed after a record 136-day confirmation fight.

Toxic Mine Spill

McCarthy was tapped to pursue Obama’s agenda of climate change, global warming, and using regulation to save the environment. But in August of 2015 McCarthy was forced to apologize for an EPA mine cleanup that caused a toxic mix of lead and arsenic to spill from the Gold King Mine in southwestern Colorado, contaminating rivers in that state and waterways in New Mexico and Utah.

“McCarthy said she is ‘deeply sorry’ and it ‘pains me to no end’ to see the orange-colored toxic stream unleashed in the West,” NBC reported. “Calling the spill a ‘tragic and unfortunate accident,’ she took full responsibility for the waste oozing from an abandoned mine into the Animas River.”

“We are going to move as quickly as we can,” McCarthy said to reporters following a speech in Washington, DC, and said her agency was “working around the clock” to prevent the mine waste from moving further downstream.

“It does take time to review and analyze data,” McCarthy said. “As far as I know, we have been thankful that there is no reported cases of anyone’s health being compromised.”

Perjury Prompts Impeachment Probe

Controversy continued the next month when an impeachment effort against McCarthy took place, as USA Today reported in an article subtitled, “Is impeachment the only solution for lack of executive accountability?” According to the report:

Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) has introduced a resolution of impeachment against her because he says she lied during testimony about the EPA’s new clean water rules. Says Gosar: “Perjury before Congress is perjury to the American people and an affront to the fundamental principles of our republic and the rule of law. Such behavior cannot be tolerated. My legislation will hold Administrator McCarthy accountable for her blatant deceptions and unlawful conduct.”

McCarthy is accused of perjuring herself three times, in discussing the scientific and engineering basis for those rules. So, you might wonder, why not just prosecute her for perjury?

The problem is that criminal prosecutions are brought by the executive branch, and there’s not much chance that Obama administration Attorney General Loretta Lynch will bring a perjury prosecution against a fellow member of the administration. And there’s nothing Congress can do to change that. Congress could choose to hold McCarthy in contempt of Congress — as it did, in fact, to Lynch’s predecessor, former attorney general Eric Holder — but contempt of Congress is enforced by the executive branch, too.

Social Media Propaganda Charge

McCarthy survived that effort, but was in the controversy spotlight again in February of 2016, according to a Morning Consult report that said she was trying to influence the outcome of the controversial Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule that included regulating water on private property:

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy says her agency did nothing wrong when it used social media to promote a major water rule during a public comment period. But on Thursday, she also said she would change the agency’s promotion policies after the Government Accountability Office said the EPA illegally engaged in “propaganda.”

“I think the word ‘propaganda’ is always construed as something horrible,” McCarthy testified at a House Agriculture Committee, adding that the EPA disagrees with GAO’s conclusion that the agency broke the law.

That prompted Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-Ohio) to respond, “You were lobbying the people who lobby us.” Republicans have said that in Iowa, the rule would give the EPA authority over about 97 percent of the state’s land. Opponents also say it could lead the EPA to regulate very small water supplies, including farmers’ ditches and man-made ponds. The rule includes exemptions for agriculture, but Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) said he isn’t convinced that a few carve-outs will undo the additional red tape the rule creates.

McCarthy would be the first climate adviser in the White House.




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