Saturday, August 21, 2010

Mainly bad news

A few things our new government largely ignores*

Total disaster: "Scientists estimate that 150-200 species of plant, insect, bird and mammal become extinct every 24 hours. This is nearly 1,000 times the "natural" or "background" rate and, say many biologists, is greater than anything the world has experienced since the vanishing of the dinosaurs nearly 65m years ago. [...] The loss of biodiversity compounds poverty. Destroy your nature and you increase poverty and insecurity."

Big coal gets bigger: a bet that there will be no serious cost placed on carbon emissions.

Mangrove losses worse than thought. Less than 7% of remaining mangroves are protected.

Antarctica ought to be World Heritage listed.

Conservative conservation in the UK: a false dawn?

Mackerel wars: and Mackerel are often considered something a "success story" in the prevention of overfishing.

Scientists claim almost 80% of Gulf spill is still in the water, contradicting the government claim that most has been skimmed, burned, collected, evaporated or digested by microbes. See also here.

Corals dying: coral reefs are among the most threatened ecosystems on the planet. Rising ocean temperatures, falling oxygen levels, rising acidity, falling fisheries, rising plastics - the bad news is pretty bad for corals.

Consumerism means "Earth Overshoot Day" arrives earlier every year. This year, the date on which we use all the resources that can be replenished in a year will be 27th September.

Desertification: "An area the size of Greece, or of Nepal, is lost every year to desertification and soil erosion, the world body said, equivalent to $42-billion in annual income."

The wake-up call: when my alarm goes, I usually hit snooze and roll over.

Now here's one biofuel I can get behind: made from whisky byproducts, it reduces the ecological footprint of water of life by reusing waste materials.

A small piece of "good" news: plummeting levels of phytoplankton might inhibit hurricane formation.

Priceless collection of crop biodiversity "saved" by Twitter. I'm not entirely sure whether this is good news (Russians are considering a halt to gross stupidity) or bad news (it took Twitter to achieve this).
*This post was scheduled a few days ago and this claim is more or less true on either outcome.


Meredith said...

Isn't unbelieveable. We've been watching the count in amazement. What do you think of Bob Brown's call for proportional representation?

Michael Westmoreland-White said...

Bad news, indeed. I thought it was only U.S. pols who were this clueless. Sigh.

Stuart Heath said...

Thought you might like this Alain de Botton article (on the right-hand side):

byron smith said...

Meredith - we already have PR in the Senate. I'm undecided about the merits or otherwise of extending this to lower house as well. I like the fact that the upper and lower houses have quite different systems and that the upper house is very difficult to gain a majority in. That said, it is indeed noteworthy that Greens can receive more than 11.39% of the vote and receive one seat while the Nationals won 7 seats with only 3.87% of the national vote.

byron smith said...

Michael - Unfortunately, you guys have no monopoly on greed and short-sightedness.

Stuart - Thanks! What an excellent little article. I will be blogging on it shortly as it expresses a number of important ideas quite succinctly and with AdB's usual flair.

byron smith said...

Guardian: Desertification increasing.

"Severe land degradation is now affecting 168 countries across the world, according to new research released by the UN Desertification Convention "

"[...] land degradation is now costing US$490 billion per year and wiping out an area three times the size of Switzerland on an annual basis."