Thursday, November 01, 2018

THE planet has tipped into its sixth mass extinction event and scientists warn we may have passed the point of no return

And we may have done nothing of the sort.  And do they seriously expect us to believe that "humans have wiped out about 60 per cent of the planet’s animal life since 1970"?  It's just speculation based on hokey statistics.  And the "sixth mass extinction event" is just a Greenie invention. And it must be one of the wildest prophecies yet that "more than two thirds of the world’s wildlife could be gone" in two years time.  The whole thing is transparent BS.  You would have to be mad to believe all their fantasy statistics

IT’S not a horror book, but the latest Living Planet report makes for some seriously frightening reading.

Perhaps the scariest statistic: humans have wiped out about 60 per cent of the planet’s animal life since 1970.

Equally worrying: more than two thirds of the world’s wildlife could be gone by 2020 if current trends continue.

The World Wildlife Fund and its various partners have tracked population changes in Earth’s animal species for decades and the details of the latest report are more grim than ever, they warn.

The Living Planet Index tracks more than 4000 species spread across nearly 17,000 populations. From 1970 to 2014, the number of animals with a backbone — birds, reptiles, amphibians, mammals and fish — plummeted across the globe, on average, by about 60 per cent.

For freshwater vertebrates, losses topped 80 per cent. Geographically, South and Central America have been hit hardest, with 89 per cent less wildlife in 2014 than in 1970.

But Australia’s region didn’t fare particularly well either. The report found that Australia’s Koala population is disappearing at a rate of about 20 per cent a decade.

Environmental degradation and what critics say is a lack of government oversight to protect koala habitats led environmentalists to declare the koala was “functionally extinct” in Queensland in 2016.

Australia’s deforestation along the east coast put us among the worst in the world and the only developed country on the list of big deforesters, according to the report.


The index of extinction risk for five major groups — birds, mammals, amphibians, corals and an ancient family of plants called cycads — shows an accelerating slide towards oblivion. Depending on which categories are included, the current rate at which species are going extinct is 100 to 1000 times greater than only a few centuries ago.

By definition, this means that Earth has entered a mass extinction event. It is only the sixth such event in half-a-billion years — and this one has been led by humans.

Louise McRae from the Zoological Society of London worked with the WWF to produce the data which underpins the report. Speaking to ABC radio this morning she said human-led agriculture and exploitation was the overwhelming culprit.

“We can put the cause down to humans in some form or another,” she said.

“We looked at what was threatening these populations and the biggest cause was loss or fragmentation of their habitat, that’s the primary cause and the driving force of that is conversion of land for agriculture.”

The second biggest threat to species was over exploitation such as hunting, over fishing and the illegal wildlife trade.

In fact, the report was released the same day as China announced it is relaxing the ban on trade in rhinoceros and tiger parts for scientific, medical and cultural purposes.

The introduction of invasive species in certain environments was also a factor in the dramatic species decline.

Ms McRae noted the increased role of environmental groups in protecting wildlife habitats and called on world governments to do more to protect the planet’s biodiversity.

“We’ve actually got more land protected than ever before but it’s not enough to stem the decline,” she said. “So what this report is asking for is top level commitments by governments — something similar to the Paris Climate Accord — that is going to take the decline of biodiversity seriously.”


In 2009, scientists weighed the impact of humanity’s expanding appetites on nine processes — known as Earth systems — within nature. Each has a critical threshold, the upper limit of a “safe operating space” for our species.

The do-not-cross red line for climate change, for example, is global warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius, according to a new UN report.

So far, we have clearly breached two of these so-called planetary boundaries: species loss, and imbalances in Earth’s natural cycles of nitrogen and phosphorous (mainly due to fertiliser use).

For two others, climate and land degradation, we have one foot in the red zone. Ocean acidification and freshwater supply are not far behind. As for new chemical pollutants such as endocrine disrupters, heavy metals, and plastics, we simply don’t know yet how much is too much.

More generally, the marginal capacity of Earth’s ecosystems to renew themselves has been far outstripped by humanity’s ecological footprint, which has nearly tripled in 50 years.

“In terms of a tipping point, for certain habitats, for certain ecosystems, for coral reefs for example, they are at a very critical stage. The alarm is quite real for certain areas of the planet,” Ms McRae told the ABC.


DC moves toward getting rid of fossil fuels altogether

They won't.  But being green has become virtue signalling

Washington, D.C., could adopt the nation’s first 100 percent renewable energy bill, in what supporters say would be the most aggressive, fastest-acting climate change legislation in the country.

“This would be strongest climate change legislation anywhere in the country,” Jamie DeMarco, who focuses on state and local policy for Citizens' Climate Lobby, told the Washington Examiner.

A D.C. Council committee on Monday held a public hearing on the bill, which would move the district to 100 percent renewable electricity by 2032, compared to its current policy of obtaining 50 percent of its power from renewables by that year.

The Democrat-dominated states of California and Hawaii also have laws mandating 100 percent electricity from carbon-free sources, but those set a later target date than D.C. is proposing — 2045.

“This bill would be a leading piece of legislation for our country,” Mary Cheh, a Democrat on the D.C. Council who first introduced the bill in July, told the Washington Examiner in the lead-up to the hearing held by the Committee on Business and Economic Development.

Washingtonians are “dismayed at what they are seeing at the national level,” Cheh said. The district, under Mayor Muriel Bowser, a Democrat, is already among the furthest along in transitioning away from fossil fuels and conserving energy.

Little coal is consumed in the District, less than in any state other than Vermont or Rhode Island.

The District uses less energy than any state except Vermont, according to the Energy Information Administration.

Cheh’s bill, which could be voted on by the end of the year, would also create energy efficiency standards for existing buildings, both privately-owned ones and those owned by the District, a first-of-its-kind proposal in the nation.

Tommy Wells, director of the district’s Department of Energy and Environment, told the committee that 74 percent of D.C.'s greenhouse gas emissions come from buildings.

The bill would also allow the District to enact regional agreements with neighboring Virginia and Maryland to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

To help pay for the transition to renewables, the bill would impose a fee on electricity and natural gas consumption that the legislation’s authors say would add $2.10 to D.C. residents’ average monthly gas bills and less than $1 to their average monthly electricity bills.

About 20 percent of the money raised from those fees would be used to provide financial help to low-income D.C. ratepayers. The rest would go to local “sustainability” projects.

More than 100 witnesses were scheduled to testify at Monday’s all-day hearing including representatives from environmental groups, business leaders, and officials from D.C. utilities Pepco and Washington Gas.

Almost all of those who testified spoke positively about the bill, although some suggested changes.

“I haven't heard anyone say kill the bill,” DeMarco noted during his testimony. “That is as close to consensus as humanly possible.”

Erika Wadlington, director of government relations at the D.C. Chamber of Commerce, contested a provision of the bill that would require electricity suppliers to engage in long-term contracts, lasting at least seven years, for renewable energy.

Long-term contracts, supporters say, are intended to encourage the building of new wind and solar — with guaranteed long-term financing — while protecting ratepayers. Buying energy in bulk, so to speak, can help lock in a lower rate.

But Wadlington, along with utility officials, testified that these long-term contracts are inflexible, because the established rate may not reflect changing market conditions.

Wadlington offered praise for the District's energy policy goals, saying “we support and applaud the mayor’s commitment to be carbon neutral by 2050.”

Other witnesses said the legislation should expand to allow for carbon-free “clean” energy sources that aren’t renewable to account for the 100-percent target.

These include advanced nuclear reactors, or carbon, capture, and storage technologies that can collect carbon emissions from fossil fuel plants and store it underground.

Bob Perciasepe, president of the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, and former EPA deputy administrator in the Obama administration, noted that the District currently gets almost half of its electricity from nonemitting sources, a mix that includes nuclear, hydropower, and biomass, along with solar and wind. The rest is mostly natural gas.

Josh Freed, who leads the clean energy program at the center-left think tank Third Way, testified that D.C. could achieve 100 percent carbon-free electricity within a year or two of the law’s passage — a much faster timeline than the renewable-only target set in Cheh’s bill.

Lawmakers in California recently recognized the limitations of a wind- and solar-only approach, passing a bill this summer to require that 100 percent of the state’s electricity come from carbon-free sources by 2045 — allowing nonrenewable sources to qualify.

Hawaii’s 100-percent law, meanwhile, calls for the state’s electricity to come from entirely “clean energy” by 2045.

Cheh, however, insisted that the more aggressive 100 percent renewable energy target is “not pie in the sky.”

A recent United Nations report said global emissions should be net-zero by midcentury to avoid the worst outcomes of climate change, heightening the urgency to act.

“If we want to get there, we have to chart the path to get there,” Cheh told the Washington Examiner. “In D.C., we are doing that.”


'Government Motors' Chief Calls for Electric Mandate   

General Motors CEO Mary Barra wrote an op-ed in USA Today calling for the federal government to step even more heavily into the automobile market and subsidize electric vehicle production.

There was a time long ago when GM was the pinnacle of American industrial might. It was one of the world’s largest companies, and by far the world’s largest automobile producer. Employing hundreds of thousands worldwide, GM was an innovator and a leader. In the 1950s, nearly half of all the cars on America’s roads were produced by General Motors.

Those days are over. Just a few years removed from receiving a massive taxpayer bailout, Barra is looking to the government to make GM great again by forcing consumers to buy electric vehicles.

Because nothing says American greatness like forcing people to buy things. It worked for health insurance, right?


“We are calling for a National Zero Emission Vehicle (NZEV) program to create a comprehensive approach to help move our country faster to an all-electric, zero emissions future,” writes Barra.

This sounds well-intentioned at first glance. GM laid out its vision last year for zero crashes, zero emissions, zero congestion, a plan to increase electric vehicle production while making cars that were safer and more tech friendly for the 21st century. With this plan, you would think GM is looking to become the leading innovator in the automotive industry again. The only difference is this time Barra wants the government and the American taxpayer to do the work.

Barra’s NZEV plan basically nationalizes California’s draconian electric-car mandate. It would call for 7% of all new auto sales to be electric by 2021, with a 25% market share by 2030. She sees this happening by expanding the refundable tax credit for electric car purchases, investing in infrastructure to expand the number of charging stations nationwide, and tightening regulations to steer manufacturers and consumers toward greater production and purchases.

Barra shrugs aside the cost to taxpayers for such a venture. We’ve already spent close to $5 billion to subsidize electric car buyers. Barra would have us believe that if we stop these giveaways, it will stifle the growth of the electric-car market. But if the federal government needs to pay consumers to buy electric cars, then there is no market — or at least one insufficient to achieve Barra’s goal on her timetable.

A CEO of a major company should know better. Instead, Barra touts the NZEV’s potential to reduce carbon emissions, and she makes note that car makers and governments in Europe and Asia are already entering into similar partnerships. “The stakes are high, and time is short,” she insists.

The U.S. is already the world leader in reducing carbon emissions without creating unholy alliances between the private sector and the federal government. And simply stating the tired old argument that “other countries are already doing it” does not highlight the inflated auto markets in those countries, the poor quality of many of their vehicles, or the high taxes that consumers are paying.

The bottom line is that the electric car cannot be forced on the American public. The market has been around for several years, but the cons still outweigh the pros.


Al Gore Proves to Be a False Prophet, Again

Despite the dire warnings, Trump exiting the Paris Agreement hasn't brought greater emissions.

Back in June 2017, Al Gore raged against President Donald Trump’s decision to pull the U.S. out of the Paris Agreement, insisting that the climate deal was “reckless” and “indefensible.” Gore declared, “It undermines America’s standing in the world. It threatens the ability of humanity to solve the climate crisis in time.” But predictably, it is Gore’s dire warnings that have proven to be “reckless” and “indefensible” when applied to real world facts.

Earlier this month the Environmental Protection Agency released a report “showing overall decreases across sectors and that total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions reported decreased by 2.7 percent from 2016 to 2017.” EPA acting administrator Andrew Wheeler noted, “Thanks to President Trump’s regulatory reform agenda, the economy is booming, energy production is surging, and we are reducing greenhouse gas emissions from major industrial sources. These achievements flow largely from technological breakthroughs in the private sector, not the heavy hand of government. The Trump Administration has proven that federal regulations are not necessary to drive CO2 reductions. While many around the world are talking about reducing greenhouse gases, the U.S. continues to deliver, and today’s report is further evidence of our action-oriented approach.”

In fact, U.S. emissions are now at their lowest levels since 1993. So much for needing the Paris Agreement to bring about lower emissions, as the U.S. now has reduced its carbon emissions more than any other country on the planet. And several countries who signed the accord, like Canada, China, Spain and the EU, have actually seen carbon emissions increase, which once again provides proof that the Paris climate deal was little more than a socialist boondoggle primarily designed for wealth redistribution, not combating climate change.

Once again, Gore has been caught crying wolf.


Australia: Endangered Koalas?

More stupid Greenie prophecy. If they ever get a disaster prophecy right will be the time to heed them, and not before.  As it is, this is just another of their old scares.  Scares are their stock in trade.

And it is as dishonest as usual. They say, for instance, that Koalas are "at serious risk of disappearing entirely from some areas".  A more honest statement would be that Koalas are "at serious risk of disappearing entirely from some areas while being in pest proportions in other areas, such as Kangaroo Island in South Australia".  There is no truth in them (John 8:44)

EARTH has lost a staggering 60 per cent of its wildlife populations since 1970, a bleak new report has revealed.

But koala numbers in Australia have declined at an even faster rate, and the beloved national animal is at serious risk of disappearing entirely from some areas.

The group WWF today released its Living Planet Report, a comprehensive study tracking 16,704 populations of 4005 vertebrate species across the world from 1970 to 2014.

It described the global decline in species — an average rate of 13.6 per cent every 10 years, or 60 per cent in total — as a “grim” result of the pressure humans place on nature.

While the figures are alarming, koala populations along Australia’s east coast have plummeted even faster, at a rate of 21 per cent per decade.

That shocking statistic can be explained by another figure in the report — eastern Australia is one of the 11 worst deforestation fronts in the world, and the only developed country on the list.

“It is a wakeup call for our east coast to appear alongside notorious forest destruction hot spots such as the Amazon, Congo Basin, Sumatra and Borneo,” WWF Australia boss Dermot O’Gorman said.

Clearing for livestock is listed as the primary cause of forest loss, with unsustainable logging an important secondary cause.

By 2050, koalas are likely to disappear completely from the wild in NSW, WWF Australia estimates.

The group blames the axing of forest protection laws by the State Government, saying it all but signing the species’ death warrant.

“The Government needs to urgently reverse its recent axing of laws that has led to a tripling of koala habitat destruction in northwest NSW,” Mr O’Gorman said.




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


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