Sunday, January 01, 2023

Scientists reveal Greenland lush ecosystem 10-17°Celsius warmer than today

It shows how trivial is the warming of today. Natural fluctutions can be much larger than any recent changes

Two million-year-old DNA samples revealed the now largely lifeless polar region was once home to rich plant and animal life — including elephant-like mammals known as mastodons, reindeer, hares, lemmings, geese, birch trees and poplars -- when temperatures were between 10 to 17 degrees Celsius warmer than Greenland is today.

The mix of temperate and Arctic trees and animals suggested a previously unknown type of ecosystem that has no modern equivalent — one that could act as a genetic road map for how different species might adapt to a warmer climate, the researchers found.

The finding is the work of scientists in Denmark who were able to detect and retrieve environmental DNA — genetic material shed into the environment by all living organisms — in tiny amounts of sediment taken from the København Formation, in the mouth of a fjord in the Arctic Ocean in Greenland’s northernmost point, during a 2006 expedition. (Greenland is an autonomous country within Denmark.)

They then compared the DNA fragments with existing libraries of DNA collected from both extinct and living animals, plants and microorganisms. The genetic material revealed dozens of other plants and creatures that had not been previously detected at the site based on what’s known from fossils and pollen records.

“The first thing that blew our mind when we’re looking at this data is obviously this mastodon and the presence of it that far north, which is quite far north of what we knew as its natural range,” said study coauthor Mikkel Pedersen, an assistant professor at the University of Copenhagen’s Lundbeck Foundation GeoGenetics Centre, at a news conference.

It smashes the previous record for the world’s oldest DNA, set by research published last year on genetic material extracted from the tooth of a mammoth that roamed the Siberian Steppe more than a million years ago, as well as the previous record for DNA from sediment.

Lush ecosystem

While DNA from animal bones or teeth can shed light on an individual species, environmental DNA enabled scientists to build a picture of a whole ecosystem, said professor Eske Willerslev, a fellow of St John’s College at the University of Cambridge and director of the Lundbeck Foundation GeoGenetics Centre. In this case, the ecological community researchers reconstructed existed when temperatures would have between 10 to 17 degrees Celsius warmer than Greenland is today.

“Only a few plant and animals fossils have been found in the region. It was super exciting when we recovered the DNA (to see) that very, very different ecosystem. People had known from macrofossils that there had been trees, some kind of forest up there, but the DNA allowed us to identify many more taxa (types of living organisms),” said Willerslev, who led the research.

Researchers were surprised to find that cedars similar to those found in British Columbia today would have once grown in the Arctic alongside species like larch, which now grow in the northernmost reaches of the planet. They found no DNA from carnivores but believe predators — such as bears, wolves or even saber-toothed tigers — must have been present in the ecosystem.

Love Dalen, a professor at the Centre for Palaeogenetics at Stockholm University, who worked on the mammoth tooth DNA research but wasn’t involved in this study, said the groundbreaking finding really “pushed the envelope” for the field of ancient DNA.

“This is a truly amazing paper!” he said via email. “It can tell us about the composition of ecosystems at different points in time, which is really important to understand how past changes in climate affected species-level biodiversity. This is something that animal DNA cannot do.”

“Also, the findings that several temperate species (such as relatives of spruce and mastodon) lived at such high latitudes are exceptionally interesting,” he added.

Genetic road map for climate change?

Willerslev said the 16-year study was the longest project of its kind he and most of his team of researchers had ever been involved in.

Extracting the fragments of genetic code from the sediment took a great deal of scientific detective work and several painstaking attempts — after the team established for the first time that DNA was hidden in clay and quartz in the sediment and could be detached from it. The fact that the DNA had binded itself to mineral surfaces was likely why it survived for so long, the researchers said.

“We revisited these samples and we failed and we failed. They got the name in the lab the ‘curse of the København Formation,’” Willerslev said.

Further study of environmental DNA from this time period could help scientists understand how various organisms might adapt to climate change.

“It’s a climate that we expect to face on Earth due to global warming and it gives us some idea of how nature will respond to increasing temperatures,” he explained.

“If we manage to read this road map correctly, it really contains the key to how organisms can (adapt) and how can we help organisms adapt to a very fast changing climate.”


The EPA’s Latest Regulation Could Devastate The Trucking Industry

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized a rule Tuesday that will impose stricter nitrogen dioxide emissions standards on new heavy-duty trucks, a move that will substantially hike operating costs for truckers, experts and industry representatives told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

The EPA’s rule, which is more than 80% stricter than the previous regulation, will require large trucks, delivery vans and buses manufactured after 2027 to cut nitrogen dioxide emissions by nearly 50% by 2045, according to an agency press release. The agency’s rule is intended to push truckers to phase out diesel-powered vehicles and use electric vehicles (EV) instead; however, the compliance costs associated with such rules could suffocate an industry that is not ready to transition to EVs, experts told the DCNF. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: House Republicans Urge EPA To End ‘Completely Arbitrary’ Regulations On Small Fuel Refiners)

“It’s an overreach that is indicative of this administration’s tendency to set aside balance to achieve the goals of activists that they are politically aligned with,” Mandy Gunasekara, a senior policy analyst for the Independent Women’s Forum and former EPA Chief of Staff during the Trump administration, told the DCNF. “It’s going to squeeze out the mid-sized and smaller trucking companies because they’re not going to be able to afford to purchase the new, extremely expensive equipment required to continue to do what they do.”

The new rules are intended to phase out older trucks that emit more nitrogen dioxide and will push drivers to purchase electric trucks or newer models of diesel trucks that do not produce as much nitrogen dioxide when they burn fuel, according to the EPA.

“If small business truckers can’t afford the new, compliant trucks, they’re going to stay with older, less efficient trucks or leave the industry entirely,” Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association President Todd Spencer told trade publication Freight Waves. “Once again, EPA has largely ignored the warnings and concerns raised by truckers in this latest rule.”

EPA Administrator Michael Regan said that the rule would protect “historically overburdened communities,” that are disproportionately affected by trucking emissions as truck freight routes are often located near “vulnerable populations,” according to the press release. Nitrogen dioxide gas can exacerbate respiratory diseases like asthma and form acid rain in the atmosphere which can damage lakes and forests, according to the EPA.

EPA Administrator Michael Regan gives remarks at an event announcing new national clean air standards for heavy-duty trucks near the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Headquarters on December 20, 2022 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

“The EPA is happy to go easy on big trucking since they support regulations that will harm their smaller competitors far more,” Steve Milloy, Energy and Environmental Legal Institute senior legal fellow and former Trump administration EPA transition team member, told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Regan announced the new rule in front of an electric garbage truck produced by Mack Trucks and following his remarks, Mack spokesman John Mies stated that his company supports the administration’s zero emissions targets for trucks and is working to cut “dangerous” emissions produced by diesel trucks, according to CNN.

“Companies have taken the initiative to electrify a certain percentage of their fleet by a certain year and have made plans to build the necessary infrastructure, but they are then told that there isn’t enough power to achieve what they’re seeking,” Texas Trucking Association President John Esparza told the DCNF. “The costs associated with this are also a concern because these are costs that not only the industry will bear … prices will go up for everybody.”

The EPA’s final rule is the first step in its “Clean Trucks Plan” which seeks to heavily regulate trucks’ emissions to push drivers to adopt electric trucks.

Gunesakara echoed Esparza’s comments and said that such targets were a “technological fantasy” that could cost truckers their jobs due to the high price of electric trucks. Gunesakara added that the EPA’s rules would force truck drivers to drive older, more polluting and less efficient vehicles for longer as diesel trucks will be rapidly phased out long before EVs can become a more viable alternative.


An Environmentalist's Tesla Dilemma Is One You'd Expect From a Liberal

You knew this was an issue when Elon Musk bought Twitter. Liberals seethed with rage at the man, a perceived threat to liberal America, but happily bought his products for their green energy value. Musk is the creator of the Tesla, an electric vehicle that doesn’t look ugly. Yet, that was before he was branded a neo-Nazi by the Left after he took over the social media company, promising to make it a bastion of free speech. Now, all these liberals are probably keeping their Teslas hidden in the garage, afraid that if they’re seen by their woke friends driving such a car, they’d be pegged as supporters of a man leftists find worse than Trump. Okay, the last part is an exaggeration, but Musk has driven a healthy number of progressives toward insanity.

So, meet John Blumenthal, a former magazine editor who apparently regrets his Tesla purchase due to Elon Musk’s Twitter takeover. Blumenthal admits he’s a hypocrite: while supporting carbon-neutral initiatives, he continued to hold onto his “sentimental” gas-guzzling car. Pressured by his friends to ditch the vehicle, he bought a Tesla but now is “embarrassed” to drive it. The best part is that while a car designed for the green energy-minded, Blumenthal says if Musk doesn’t change his view to his liking, it would be as “untenable” as his old gas guzzler:

A few years ago, I bought a used Tesla, not because I’m a car nut but because I had been a hypocrite. For years, I had been outspoken about the dangers of carbon emissions. Yet at the same time, I was driving an old gas-powered heap that got about 25 miles per gallon, and that sounded like a rocket launch every time I turned on the ignition.

The car was impractical, but it had sentimental value. My environmental activist friends were not impressed by my assiduous urban composting, LED bulb installations and energy-saving appliances. I needed to do more to diminish my carbon footprint. The icebergs were melting, my friends said, and at least one polar bear was wandering around homeless and hungry because of me.


Because of the recent revelation of Elon Musk’s political views — all of which I abhor — I’m starting to worry about what sort of political statement the car is making. Will people see me as a symbol of right-wing environmentalism, a living oxymoron?

When I bought the car, I had no real opinion on Musk’s somewhat clouded political beliefs. Now that Musk has apparently swung to the far right — banning journalists from Twitter while reinstating neo-Nazis — I’m horrified to be associated with his brand whenever I drive anywhere.


It’s a beautifully designed car with no carbon emission, and initially, I was proud of owning it and being seen driving a vehicle that displayed my concern for the environment. But I’m a liberal, and if Musk’s politics don’t change radically for the better, driving a Tesla will become, at least for me, as hypocritical and untenable as driving a gas guzzler was.

Misery is a hallmark characteristic of liberal America; this isn’t new. But it’s always amazing how they find new ways to make themselves mad. It’s a tiring existence.


Save the planet – ditch environmentalism

Comment from Australia

Since becoming custodians of the environment, left-wing politicians, bureaucracies, and businesses have done little except monetise the rapid expansion of renewable energy which, ironically, is one of the most wasteful and destructive technologies in modern history.

Far from ‘saving the planet’, these environmentalists have made their intentions perfectly clear – and we should listen to them.

‘This is about system change!’ read the banners held aloft by the likes of spiritual leader Greta Thunberg and her pre-pubescent minions. She is the moral guide for a generation of children, teaching them to stand in the street screeching at the sky while the clunk of public money hits the pockets of the elite.

In Climate Book, Greta Thunberg describes the capitalist system as: ‘defined by colonialism, imperialism, oppression, and genocide by the so-called Global North to accumulate wealth that still shapes our current world order.’

Who is going to tell her that capitalism has been the default economic position underpinning human trade since we wandered out of the caves? Would you trust a person who believes the West invented capitalism with the future of human civilisation?

This is a religion to absolve the guilty, not an economic policy.

It could not be clearer that those who lack an education will never be able to save the world from anything, let alone dangerous ideology such as this. The only thing brainwashed children are useful for are the votes they cast in adulthood.

By ‘system change’ what the activists behind the children mean is ‘communism’ – or even a new variation of collectivism that we are beginning to know as eco-fascism. The flavour of destruction depends on which group of activists you come across and what the personal beliefs were of its leaders before the arrival of the #ClimateChange hashtag.

Some environmentalists think a form of communism will ‘save the planet’ because only dictatorial governments have the necessary power over individuals and the economy to carry out ‘uncomfortable change’ (read mass theft of property and rights).

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is one such individual who is warming up to the allure of dictatorship: ‘There’s a level of admiration I actually have for China. Their basic dictatorship is actually allowing them to turn their economy around on a dime.’ Before Trudeau gets too excited, someone should point out that China is the most polluted nation on Earth where the worst man-made famine in human history took place, all under the watch of communism.

Other activists have aligned themselves with international corporations whose influence over global politics dwarfs the democratic process. These are the suited class that sip their way around closed-door lobbying conferences like the World Economic Forum, pretending that innovation rather than political coercion is driving their eco-success. These environmentalists believe that an authoritarian marriage between the State and Corporate can deliver profit at a faster rate than sluggish market forces, held back by concerned citizens.

This magical fountain of money is to be ripped out of the general public via green taxes and unreasonable legislation. Like robbing a bank, no one has a plan for what happens tomorrow when there is no apocalypse and no capitalist economy creating public wealth. Perhaps they’ll start taxing the carbon in our bodies and air in our lungs to make up the difference in their parallel economy…

New Zealand offers a glimpse of the future, with socialist Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern proud of what is, quite literally, a race-based water management policy. Such incoherent madness would have been laughed off last century. Her propensity for hypocrisy allows her to demonise farmers for their emissions while pleading with America to send as many tourists as possible, via plane, to a volcanic sandpit which leaks greenhouses gases like an open valve.

The reason that no particular label accurately defines the modern environmentalist movement as a whole is because they are a fractured group of competing political ideologies, all of which are jumping on the ‘green’ bandwagon to elevate their sphere of power. It is time for rational people to see them clearly. These ideas are the weeds of politics, infesting Western Civilisation with the intent of colonisation and eventual suffocation.

Short-sighted businesses, unaware that the end game does not benefit them, think that ‘going green’ means that the government will both kill off their market competitors via legislation and make available fortunes of public money for ‘investment’ justified by the undefined label of ‘saving the planet’.

Politicians hitched a ride early on, seeing that universities and schools had been inundated by failed communists who, to hide the rapid decline in education standards, now elicit praise for raising ‘responsible global citizens’ (who cannot add, spell, or reason). Not only have political movements capitalised on Millennials, they are pushing to lower the voting age to prop up their regimes with children.

The Greens and Labor have never cared much for economic stability or civil liberty, so it was no surprise to see them lead the charge on this. It was similarly inevitable that a movement like the Teals would emerge comprised of bored, wealthy, affluent women funded by self-interested renewables billionaires. They get to virtue signal to the cafe class while their victims remain quarantined in the poorer suburbs.

What remains astonishing is how easily the Liberals and Nationals burned their principles, buried their morality, and scrambled up after unscrupulous Parliamentarians to get a piece of that green salvation.

To be clear, conservation is admirable – eco-fascism is disgraceful, and all we have seen of our politicians in the last decade is a race to install a carbon prison state.

Australians used to be responsible. Clean up Australia Day was one of those worthy initiatives that taught children to take care of the land. Now, instead of cleaning up their local area, kids are demanding that the world’s worst polluters ramp up operations because their teachers gave them a slogan that was never questioned.

How are children ‘making a better world’ by the installation of millions of solar panels and wind turbines destined for landfill within 20 years? Or hundreds of acres of battery farms that face the same fate?

Did any of them do the cost and environmental calculations on the mining, transport, manufacturing, installation, maintenance, and disposal of these ‘planet saving’ technologies? How many of them know that kids, just like them, are sitting in mud pits mining cobalt while entire nations are having their natural resources financially raped by China’s debt trap diplomacy leaving local residents impoverished?

Do they know that sacred sites and ancient communities throughout China’s ‘autonomous’ region of Tibet are destroyed for renewable mining operations, and that their first nations people are imprisoned if they protest? Are they aware that the oceans are facing danger from rare earths deep sea mining operations, or that rare earths represent the largest mining boom in modern history, triggering huge amounts of devastation?

Because it’s not ‘coal’, it doesn’t make the news… Speaking of fossil fuels, their demonisation is done without mention of the pharmaceutical industry which is wholly reliant on petrochemicals. You cannot have the socialist dream of free healthcare without fossil fuels.

Conservative parties had a duty to Australia to fight against destructive collectivism and to see through the cynical green cloak hiding its red core. Instead, they validated the incoherent, fanciful screeching. In their attempt to win a few elections, the conservatives kicked open the Pandora’s Box that formed the Teals. Affluent blue-ribbon seats never would have waded into this sick game without their friends in politics and business insisting it was ‘the right thing to do’. Those voters believed it without evidence, adopting Tealism as though it were a fashion trend.

Worse, these allegedly conservative politicians are still taking advice from the same green-eyed merchants of misery – the end result of which is Matt Kean.

As for the Nationals, there is no saving a party that sides with an international bureaucracy with policies devoted to the destruction of family agriculture. What farmer is going to vote for a local member who nods along while the United Nations demands herd culling to ‘meet Net Zero goals’? What food grower is going to sit by while Australia tries out the Sri Lankan approach to farming?

2023 is a new year, and if the conservatives want to have both an election future and a clean, environmentally friendly Australia – they have to apologise for adopting Net Zero garbage and immediately start a new course toward a genuinely sustainable future (that means, a future where Australians can afford to heat their homes and buy food for their kids).

Neither communism nor fascism does the environment any favours. Australia was clean and green when it was free of grifting activists rolling around in the hay of big business.

We absolutely should embrace conservation, but that is not going to happen if we impoverish, oppress, and starve Australians in pursuit of a Net Zero utopia. Utopias, by definition, do not exist.

Save the planet – ditch environmentalism.




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