August 2020 This is a newsroll page on A Socialist In Canada consisting of headlines with weblinks to published news articles and political analysis. Occasional commentary by the website publisher, Roger Annis, appears in square brackets [ ]. For months preceding August 2020, go to ‘News pages archives’ on the home page of A Socialist In Canada and use the drop-down menu. See also the feature articles on ecology and global warming that are listed in the website category ‘Environment‘ (listed on the main website page). Articles about the politics in Canada of the global warming emergency are listed in the ‘Canada newsroll‘ page of the website. To find past stories on this and other news pages on this website, use the ‘find’ (word search) function on your web browser. Headlines in red denote items published on the main news page of A Socialist In Canada.
Ecology newsroll headlines on A Socialist In Canada, August 2020
Full news and analysis of the ‘SARS-CoV-2’ coronavirus pandemic (‘Covid-19’ illness) is being reported daily on the World news page of A Socialist In Canada website.
This giant climate hot spot in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado is robbing the West of its water, Washington Post, Aug 7, 2020 …This cluster of counties on Colorado’s Western Slope — along with three counties just across the border in eastern Utah — has warmed more than 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (two degrees Celsius) during the paast century, double the global average. Spanning more than 30,000 square miles, it is the largest 2C hot spot in the Lower 48, a Washington Post analysis found… The world has already warmed by one degree Celsius since the industrial revolution, on average. But global warming doesn’t affect the planet uniformly. Ten per cent of it is already at 2C, The Post has found…
Canada’s last fully intact Arctic ice shelf collapses, Nunatsiaq News, Aug 7, 2020 (with detailed map of the Milne Ice Shelf) read also: Reuters, Aug 6, 2020 …The Milne Ice Shelf was considered to be one of the least vulnerable to breakup along the northwest coast of Ellesmere Island as it was roughly twice as thick as other ice shelves and is well-protected in Milne Fiord. “This is definitely a victim of climate change,” said Adrienne White of the Canadian Ice Service…
‘Worst case’ greenhouse emissions scenario is best match for reality, according to Woods Hole Institute researchers, by Climate and Capitalism, Aug 4, 2020
Oil giant BP announces 40 per cent production cut by 2030, Common Dreams, Aug 5, 2020 Green groups say oil giant has much further to go, but announcement marks major industry shift.
Rapid Arctic meltdown in Siberia alarms scientists, Washington Post, Aug 3, 2020
* Oil spill in Russia’s Arctic in May 2020 exposes problems in Moscow’s big plans for the Far North, Washington Post, July 28, 2020
* Wildfires, record warmth and rapidly melting ice: Arctic climate goes further off the rails this summer, Washington Post, July 29, 2020
The evolution of Extinction Rebellion, essay by Matthew Taylor, in The Guardian, Aug 4, 2020
Theoretical physicists say 90% chance of societal collapse within several decades due to deforestation, VICE.com, July 28, 2020
The ‘green bans’ in Australia during the 1970s: When construction workers went on strike for the environment, by Steve Morse, Labor Notes, July 28, 2020
Ecology newsroll headlines on A Socialist In Canada, July 2020
Seven months after the bush fires, Australia’s landscape and wildlife are still devastated, Washington Post, July 30, 2020
Great Lakes surface temperatures are three to five degrees warmer than 30 years ago, reports NOAA, Toronto Star, July 29, 2020
Scientists concerned by ‘record high’ global methane emissions, Carbon Trackers, July 14, 2020 Worldwide emissions of methane have hit the “highest levels on record”, according to an international team of scientists. The finding comes from the latest update to the Global Methane Budget, an international collaboration that estimates sources and sinks of methane around the world. Their estimates for 2017 – the most recent year for which a full budget has been produced – show that annual global emissions hit almost 600m tonnes. That is around 9% higher than the 2000-06 average…
For all its green talk, the International Energy Agency still gives comfort to oil and gas producers, Climate Home News, July 27, 2020
After 40 years, researchers finally see Earth’s climate destiny more clearly, Science Magazine, July 22, 2020 It seems like such a simple question: How hot is Earth going to get? Yet for 40 years, climate scientists have repeated the same unsatisfying answer: If humans double atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) from preindustrial levels, the planet will eventually warm between 1.5°C and 4.5°C—a temperature range that encompasses everything from a merely troubling rise to a catastrophic one. Now, in a landmark effort, a team of 25 scientists has significantly narrowed the bounds on this critical factor, known as climate sensitivity…
Related: A major new climate study rules out less severe global warming scenarios, Washington Post, July 22, 2020 A new analysis finds the most likely range of warming from doubling carbon dioxide in atmosphere to be between 4.1 to 8.1 degrees Fahrenheit
Where will everyone displaced by global warming go?, special report by Abrahm Lustgarten, Pro Publica and New York Times Magazine, July 23, 2020 (photography by Meridith Kohut for The New York Times Magazine)
World’s largest oil and gas firms promise ‘net zero emissions’ but it’s a public relations exercise. Analysis by Inside Climate News, July 16, 2020
Climate-change clock ticking on world’s polar bears, Canadian Press, July 20, 2020 read also: Polar bears could be nearly gone by 2100, study finds, report by Ecowatch, July 21, 2020 A group of Canadian and U.S. scientists say they’ve determined when time will run out for the world’s polar bears due to global warming. In a study published in the journal Nature Climate Change on July 20, the researchers used data on shrinking sea ice and detailed information on what the bears need to stay healthy and rear cubs to project the survival odds for 13 of the world’s 19 bear populations through to the end of the century… The researchers had enough information on projected ice conditions to forecast for eight of the 14 Canadian bear populations. Four groups representing nearly one third of Canada’s total bear population will likely be gone by the year 2040; only a few, in the high Arctic, will survive under a business-as-usual model…
Global fossil burning breaks record in 2019, by Barry Saxifrage, National Observer, July 16, 2020 read the article here in pdf format: Record global fossil burning
The ‘Green Revolution in Africa’ is failing on its own terms, by Timothy Wise, published on Climate and Capitalism, July 14, 2020
More from less? The myth of America’s ‘green growth’, by Jason Hickel, published in Foreign Policy Magazine, June 18, 2018 A celebrated book published in late 2019, ‘More From Less’, shows U.S. capitalism doesn’t need to damage the planet. One problem: Its data is flawed.
The Trump administration is reversing 100 environmental rules. Here’s the full list, New York Times, July 10, 2020
Oil and gas fracking firms in the U.S. fail but reward executives handsomely and leave a legacy of toxic waste and global warming, New York Times, July 12, 2020 and read: ‘Privatize the profit, socialize the mess’: Abandoned fracking wells left spewing climate-killing methane nationwide, Common Dreams, July 13, 2020 Oil and gas companies in the United States are hurtling toward bankruptcy at a pace not seen in years, driven under by a global price war and a pandemic that has slashed demand. In the wake of this economic carnage is a potential environmental disaster — unprofitable wells that will be abandoned or left untended, even as they continue leaking planet-warming pollutants, and a costly bill for taxpayers to clean it all up…
Related: Canadian gov’t announces $1.4 billion bailout of oil and gas industry delinquents with ‘orphan well cleanup’ program, CBC News, Apr 17, 2020
UN report links disease outbreaks to global warming crisis and industrial farming, interview with Delia Grace, broadcast on Democracy Now!, July 9, 2020 (16-minute interview. Delia Grace is the lead author of report by the United Nations Environment Programme and the International Livestock Research Institute.)
Related: Zoonotic diseases and how to break the chain of transmission, report by United Nations Environment Programme and the International Livestock Research Institute, issued on July 6, 2020 (full report, 82-page pdf, is at the weblink)
Think Covid-19 disrupted the food chain? Wait and see what climate change will do, by Georgina Gustin, Inside Climate News, July 7, 2020 The pandemic has revealed deep flaws in the world’s food system. Food leaders are calling for global coordination and climate resilient agriculture.
Related: It’s not just meat: Covid-19 puts all food-system workers in peril, by Stan Cox, published on Literary Hub, June 10, 2020
Degrowth considered, essay and book review by Max Ajl, published in Brooklyn Rail (art magazine), issue of Sept 2018 Reviewing: In Defense of Degrowth: Opinions and Manifestos, by Giorgos Kallis, edited by Aaron Vansintjan (Uneven Earth Press, 2018).
North Atlantic right whales nearing extinction, international nature body says, Canadian Press, July 9, 2020 More than 30 whales have been killed by ships or fishing gear entanglements in the last three years, two-thirds of them in Canadian waters. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) classified right whales as endangered in 2008. Since then, the population has declined more than 15 per cent…
Related: Watchdog accuses Trump’s NOAA of ‘choosing extinction’ for critically threatened right whales by hiding scientific evidence, Common Dreams, July 10, 2020 … Only 400 right whales are left in existence, and fewer than 250 of them are mature, leading the IUCN to add it to its “critically endangered” Red List. According to Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, 100 per cent of North Atlantic right whale fatalities are caused by boats striking them and by entanglements in fishing gear. “The North Atlantic right whale is the world’s first large whale species nearing extinction,” said PEER science policy director Kyla Bennett. “Its extinction is entirely preventable.” …
CO2 in Earth’s atmosphere is nearing levels of 15 million years ago, The Guardian, July 9, 2020 The last time CO2 was at a similar level, global temperatures were 3C to 4C hotter and sea levels were 20 metres higher
The Arctic is on fire and warming twice as fast as the rest of the Earth, Ecowatch, July 7, 2020
Related: June 2020 was shared-second hottest on record as global temperatures soar, Science Focus (BBC), July 7, 2020
* Rapid Arctic meltdown in Siberia alarms scientists, Washington Post, July 3, 2020 …Already this year, springtime fires arrived earlier and with more ferocity compared to last year’s record fire season… In Siberia and across much of the Arctic, profound changes are unfolding more rapidly than scientists anticipated only a few years ago. Shifts that once seemed decades away are happening now, with potentially global implications… Scientists have long maintained that the Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the world. But in reality, the region is now warming at nearly three times the global average…
* New research shows the South Pole is warming faster than the rest of the world, by Kyle Clem (University of Wellington), published in The Conversation, June 29, 2020
* Heatwave trends accelerate worldwide, by the Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes (CLEx) at the Australian Research Council, published in Phys.org, july 3, 2020 The first comprehensive worldwide assessment of heatwaves down to regional levels has revealed that in nearly every part of the world heatwaves have been increasing in frequency and duration since the 1950s. The research published in Nature Communications has also produced a new metric, cumulative heat, which reveals exactly how much heat is packed into individual heatwaves and heatwave seasons. As expected, that number is also on the rise…
Japan’s deadly combination: Global warming and an aging society, New York Times, July 9, 2020 Yet more record-breaking rains this past week in Japan’s southernmost main island killed 62 and showed the vulnerability of people who live in nursing homes.
I’ve seen a future without cars, and it’s amazing, column in New York Times, July 9, 2020 Why do American cities waste so much space on cars?
Spreading rock dust on fields could remove vast amounts of CO2 from air, The Guardian, July 8, 2020
Major oil and gas pipeline projects, backed by Trump, flounder as opponents prevail in court, Washington Post, July 6, 2020 Decisions affecting Atlantic Coast, Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines dismay oil and gas industry, buoy tribal and environmental activists
Related: Owners of the 600 mile ‘Atlantic Coast’ gas fracking pipeline through Virginia and S. Carolina issue ultimatum to get their project pushed through. Reports by mainstream media (Associated Press) and environmental writers (Ecowatch) are declaring the Atlantic Coast pipeline project to be ‘dead’. But is this a case of the owners using blackmail to push through the project? The major owners–Duke Energy and Dominion Energy–say the project remains financially viable… if only troubling environmental guidelines are removed. A recent court case concerning part of the planned route of the pipeline ruled in their favour.]
Record 53.6 million tonnes of e-waste dumped globally in 2019, says UN report, Reuters, July 2, 2020 The Global E-waste Monitor 2020 report released on July 2 finds that the world dumped a record 53.6 million tonnes of e-waste in 2019, an increase of 21 per cent in five years. Just 17.4 per cent of it was recycled.
COVID-19 and catastrophe capitalism: Commodity chains and ecological/epidemiological/economic crises, by John Bellamy Foster and Intan Suwandi, lead essay in the June 2020 issue of Monthly Review, June 01, 2020
[This important and vital essay unfortunately concludes with Monthly Review‘s rote call for “revolutionary reconstitution of society at large”. But rote calls for socially just and ecologically balanced societies (‘socialism’) beg a string of vital questions for revolutionary, transformative change which much of the global and Western left is choosing to ignore. Can a revolutionary reconstitution of existing society take place without a drawdown and supplanting of the growth and expansion imperative that is endemic to capitalist society? What causes this expansion imperative? What kind of government is needed to begin a process of drawdown, carrying through to a radical downsizing of all the excess, waste and plunder which capitalism generates? What alliances of social classes and social forces are possible and necessary to bring about such governments, tasked with combatting the triple threat facing humanity: global warming, rising imperialist militarism and war, and rising social inequities?]
New climate action plan by Democratic Party criticized as woefully inadequate, Common Dreams, June 30, 2020
* Democratic Party majority in House of Representatives releases plan addressing climate crisis, CBS News, June 30, 2020
* House Democrats’ climate plan embraces much of ‘Green New Deal’ aspirations but not a ban on fracking, by Marianne Lavelle, Inside Climate News, July 1, 2020
Plastic recycling from Europe is being dumped in Asian waters, news report published on Science Daily, June 30, 2020 [This news report describes a report by researchers at the National University of Ireland in Galway and the University of Limerick titled ‘Plastic recycling from Europe is being dumped in Asian waters’. The research report is 12 pages and is published in Environment International, issue #142. Read the research report here at Science Direct.
Harvard U researchers reveal more evidence of causal link between air pollution and early death, press release by T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Harvard University, June 26, 2020 Strengthening U.S. air quality standards for fine particulate pollution to be in compliance with current World Health Association (WHO) guidelines could save more than 140,000 lives over the course of a decade, according to a new study from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health…
* The toxic legacy of 60 years of abundant oil in Nigeria, Bloomberg News, June 30, 2020
* In the shadow of shuttered Philadelphia refinery, neighbors recall those lost to decades of pollution, by Sharon Kelly, DeSmog Blog, July 1, 2020
* $40 oil isn’t enough to prevent a wave of shale bankruptcies, Oil Price.com, July 1, 2020
* Supreme Court of Canada dismisses the last of the Indigenous-based appeals against Trans Mountain tar sands pipeline approval, signalling the end of the years-long strategy by the liberal environmental movement of appealing to the non-existing conscience of Canada’s fossil fuel death cult. Report by Canadian Press, July 2, 2020
Fires rage across Amazon rainforest, sparking fears of another disastrous summer season, video news report on France 24, July 2, 2020
Previously reported: Amazon rainforest hit by killer droughts, by Robert Hunziker, CounterPunch, June 25, 2020
Highlights from the preceding month
Affluence is killing the planet, warn scientists in Australia, Britain, Germany, by Thomas Wiedmann, Julia K. Steinberger and Manfred Lenzen, published in The Conversation, June 24, 2020 Affluence trashes our planetary life support systems. What’s more, it also obstructs the necessary transformation towards sustainability by driving power relations and consumption norms. To put it bluntly: the rich do more harm than good. This is what we found in a new study for the journal Nature Communications. Together with co-author Lorenz Keyßer from ETH Zürich, we reviewed recent scientific literature on the links between affluence and environmental impacts, on the systemic mechanisms leading to overconsumption and on possible solutions to the problem. The article is one of a series of Scientists’ Warnings to Humanity…
Related: The affluent are consuming the planet to death: study, by Matthew Rozsa, Salon.com, June 23, 2020 A new study published this month in the academic journal Nature Communications argues that, despite all of the talk about using green technology to address man-made environmental problems, the only way for human consumption to become sustainable is if we rein in the affluent…
Blind economic ‘growth’ must end in the post-pandemic world if we are to solve the ecological crisis, by Joe Herbert and Riccardo Mastini, Common Dreams, June 8, 2020
* Returning to normal in the world capitalist economy?, by Michael Roberts, June 5, 2020
* Fewer hours, less pay and more anxiety greet returning workers across the U.S., Washington Post, June 7, 2020
Save the insects, save the farmers, save ourselves: New global report calls for end of industrial agriculture, Common Dreams, June 9, 2020 ‘The evidence is clear: pesticide use is wiping out insect populations and ecosystems around the world, and threatening food production.
* Global insect collapse driven by industrial farming, says new Insect Atlas, press release by Friends of the Earth Europe, June 9, 2020 …Friends of the Earth Europe and Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung are calling for a new law in Europe to cut pesticide use by 80% by 2030, as well as other measures to prepare the way towards fairer and greener food systems…
Planet of the Humans You can watch the film ‘Planet of the Humans’ here (89 minutes). Read reviews here:
- ‘Planet of the Humans’ and the inconvenient truths of eco-capitalism, film review by Keaton Weiss, published on Due Dissidence, May 5, 2020
- ‘Planet of the Humans’ spears the sacred beliefs of liberal environmentalists, film review by Pete Dolack, published on his website Systemic Disorder, May 6, 2020