Is the world being destroyed?

Reply Wed 13 Oct, 2021 11:13 am
My grandmother didnt work. But all that time she spent running clothes over a washboard doesn't count as leisure time.

That counts as "work", sexist.
Reply Wed 13 Oct, 2021 11:39 am
hightor wrote:

My grandmother didnt work. But all that time she spent running clothes over a washboard doesn't count as leisure time.

That counts as "work", sexist.

Thank you Hightor. You agree with me. That was my point exactly.

If you count this,people did much more work 50 or 100 years ago than they do now.

The amount of leisure time has been fairly stediky increasing.
Reply Thu 14 Oct, 2021 04:08 am
That was my point exactly.

Um...first you state that your grandmother "didn't work". Then in your next post you say, "People did much more work 50 or 100 years ago than they do now."

You claim that you and I are in agreement – but you don't even agree with yourself!
Reply Thu 14 Oct, 2021 04:10 am
Climate change: Carbon emissions from rich countries rose rapidly in 2021
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Reply Thu 14 Oct, 2021 04:13 am
When disaster strikes, developing countries still too vulnerable

Many developing nations remain unprotected against disaster, even though it is accepted that building community resilience has many benefits, beyond saving lives and livelihoods.


That’s the alert from UN Secretary-General António Guterres, who on Wednesday – the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction – urged greater international solidarity for the many countries that are unable to protect themselves.

“Weak governance, growing poverty, biodiversity loss, collapsing ecosystems and unplanned rapid urbanization are all interconnected drivers of disaster risk”, he said in a video message for the day.

Just 24 hours advance warning of a storm or heatwave can reduce the damage by 30 per cent, but many low and middle-income countries don’t have adequate early warning systems.

“And when disaster strikes, weak health systems and infrastructure leave them even more vulnerable. Decades of development gains can be wiped out in an instant”, Mr. Guterres added.

To meet the challenges of the 21st century and safeguard lives, the UN chief asked the world to reduce systemic risks: “Left unaddressed, they aggravate the intensity and frequency of disasters and increase the need for humanitarian assistance.”

Global solidarity

For the Secretary-General, building resilience to climate change and reducing disaster risk is “vital to save lives and livelihoods, eradicate poverty and hunger and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.”

He also highlighted the threat for Small Island Developing States, saying it is a question of survival amid warming oceans, rising seas, and intensifying storms.

Stressing the importance of international cooperation, Mr. Guterres said “it is about ensuring fair and equitable access to vaccines for everyone, everywhere; dramatically increasing funding and support for climate change adaptation and resilience building; and delivering on the Sendai Framework.”

The Framework was adopted in 2015, during the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai, Japan, and outlines seven clear targets and four priorities for action, to prevent new and reduce existing disaster risks.

In 2021, the International Day focuses on “International cooperation for developing countries to reduce their disaster risk and disaster losses”, the sixth of the seven Sendai targets.

For the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction, Mami Mizutori, “UN Member States were absolutely right to include international cooperation to developing countries as one of the seven targets.

“Only together can we make true progress towards a safer and more resilient planet”, she said.


The Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) also marked the International Day, asking governments everywhere to learn the lessons of the COVID-19 crisis, and respond better to future disasters.

In a video message, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that “the pandemic has demonstrated how the consequences of health emergencies and disasters go far beyond the health sector and affect all segments of society.”

“Often, the communities most affected by disasters are those less equipped to deal with them”, he argued.

“The poor, migrants, Indigenous Peoples, and other marginalized communities are disproportionately impacted by health crises, including more doses and injuries, the loss of livelihoods and damage to critical infrastructure, including health facilities.”

He said the best defense against emergencies and disasters of all kinds, is a strong and resilient health system, which is why WHO is working with the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction and other partners to reduce risks in communities.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has caused so much loss, pain, and grief. But if we learn the lessons it's teaching us, we can together create a healthier, safer and more sustainable future”, Tedros concluded.

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Reply Thu 14 Oct, 2021 04:18 am
Fertilizer Group Warns Europe Plant Shutdowns May Turn Permanent

Temporary shutdowns of European fertilizer plants in the face of soaring natural gas prices could become permanent, an industry group warned.

Natural gas, used as a feedstock for nitrogen fertilizers, usually accounts for as much as 80% of production costs, Fertilizers Europe said in a statement Thursday. The current “exceptionally high” prices have already forced numerous plants to cut production, and a toolbox proposed by the European Commission to address the shock doesn’t go far enough to end the problem, it said.

“If this situation is not addressed urgently, there is a real risk that temporary closures will lead to permanent closures or relocation of our sector outside Europe,” said Jacob Hansen, director general at Fertilizers Europe, which represents 17 manufacturers and eight national associations.

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Reply Thu 14 Oct, 2021 07:50 am
You are being petty. But let me patiently explain this to you.

1) Frank claimed that Americans are working more hours than ever. I disagreed.

2) Frank provided data on hours worked by family. Frank was definingnwork as employment in a paying job. This definition specifically mexcludes women tending a house.

3) I provided data showing hours worked by employee dropped, and I.agrued that work done by women in the house should count.

So sorry Hightor. You are agreeing completely with me on this one. I know this upsets you.
Reply Thu 14 Oct, 2021 08:41 am
I agree, in part, with your conclusion but you clearly stated that your grandmother never worked when you should have said she never worked outside the home or at least put "worked" in quotes.

In any case, I'm not so sure that Frank doesn't have a point. You are using the average number of hours worked. Obviously some people work many more hours and some less. And obviously a lot more wives are employed outside the home in order to sustain a level of comfort which used to be achievable with a single income.

The U.S. is the Most Overworked Developed Nation in the World

American Work-Life Balance

According to the Center for American PROGRESS on the topic of work and family life balance, “in 1960, only 20 percent of mothers worked. Today, 70 percent of American children live in households where all adults are employed.”. U.S. Department of Labor statistics back up this data, and notes that 75% of those women working full time. I don’t care who stays home and who works in terms of gender (work opportunity equality for all – it’s a family choice). Either way, when all adults are working (single or with a partner), that’s a huge hit to the American family and free-time in the American household.
The U.S. is the ONLY country in the Americas without a national paid parental leave benefit. The average is over 12 weeks of paid leave anywhere other than Europe and over 20 weeks in Europe.
Zero industrialized nations are without a mandatory option for new parents to take parental leave. That is, except for the United States.

American Work-Life Balance

According to the Center for American PROGRESS on the topic of work and family life balance, “in 1960, only 20 percent of mothers worked. Today, 70 percent of American children live in households where all adults are employed.”. U.S. Department of Labor statistics back up this data, and notes that 75% of those women working full time. I don’t care who stays home and who works in terms of gender (work opportunity equality for all – it’s a family choice). Either way, when all adults are working (single or with a partner), that’s a huge hit to the American family and free-time in the American household.
The U.S. is the ONLY country in the Americas without a national paid parental leave benefit. The average is over 12 weeks of paid leave anywhere other than Europe and over 20 weeks in Europe.
Zero industrialized nations are without a mandatory option for new parents to take parental leave. That is, except for the United States.

American Average Work Hours:

At least 134 countries have laws setting the maximum length of the work week; the U.S. does not.
In the U.S., 85.8 percent of males and 66.5 percent of females work more than 40 hours per week.
According to the ILO, “Americans work 137 more hours per year than Japanese workers, 260 more hours per year than British workers, and 499 more hours per year than French workers.”
Using data by the U.S. BLS, the average productivity per American worker has increased 400% since 1950. One way to look at that is that it should only take one-quarter the work hours, or 11 hours per week, to afford the same standard of living as a worker in 1950 (or our standard of living should be 4 times higher). Is that the case? Obviously not. Someone is profiting, it’s just not the average American worker.

American Paid Vacation Time & Sick Time:

There is not a federal law requiring paid sick days in the United States.
The U.S. remains the only industrialized country in the world that has no legally mandated annual leave.
In every country included except Canada and Japan (and the U.S., which averages 13 days/per year), workers get at least 20 paid vacation days. In France and Finland, they get 30 – an entire month off, paid, every year.


Reply Thu 14 Oct, 2021 05:54 pm
And obviously a lot more wives are employed outside the home in order to sustain a level of comfort which used to be achievable with a single income.

I believe this is factually incorrect. Pick a year, and we can compare the "level of comfort" for a median family. Rich people have always been comfortable. Poor people are better off now then they were 50 or 100 years ago. In addition poverty and homelessness have dropped substantially.

The facts dont match your narrative in the slightest.
Reply Thu 14 Oct, 2021 06:20 pm
And a basic lesson in economics... Productivity is directly correlated to standard of living. It benefits everyone in a society.

Because of increases in productivity, you pay historically low prIces (adjusted for inflation) on everything from cars from printed books to tube socks to airplane tickets.

Productivity means the average American can buy more toasters and window shades and kayaks for fewer hours worked.

And leisure time has unquestionably risen significantly for American workers.
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Reply Fri 15 Oct, 2021 06:09 am
The facts dont match your narrative in the slightest.

I don't understand your point here. My point is that many married women entered the work force because a single income from one wage earner was insufficient. This combined income enabled more families to enter the middle class.
And a basic lesson in economics...

You needn't have bothered.
Because of increases in productivity, you pay historically low prIces (adjusted for inflation) on everything from cars from printed books to tube socks to airplane tickets.

Don't forget the role that massive government subsidies play in reducing prices as well.

And leisure time has unquestionably risen significantly for American workers.

Only for some workers. Over 13 million people are working two or more jobs.
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Reply Fri 15 Oct, 2021 06:30 am
Exposure to common plastic chemical linked to 100,000 early deaths

Researchers from the Grossman School of Medicine at New York University are calling for urgent regulatory action limiting the use of chemicals called phthalates in the production of plastics. The research strikingly estimates up to 100,000 premature deaths in the United States every year could be attributed to phthalate exposure.

Phthalates are chemicals often added to plastics to make them softer and more flexible. They have been used in manufacturing for more than half a century and can be found in thousands of different consumer products.

“Things like shower curtains, boots, and IV tubing are made from that same hard white plastic that a plumber would use, but when you add about 30% by weight to it of a specific phthalate, you get soft pliable vinyl plastic,” explains Russ Hauser, a researcher investigating the health effects of chemical exposure. “Phthalates are also used in many personal care products such as colognes, perfumes, soaps, and shampoos, in the coatings of some medications, and in vinyl tubing used for food processing.”

Phthalates are well known endocrine disruptors, with extensive animal research showing exposure to the chemical can disrupt normal hormone function. The new study, published in the journal Environmental Pollution, set out to investigate the relationship between phthalate exposure and mortality.

The research investigated a nationally representative cohort of 5,303 adults aged between 55 and 64. Urine samples were analyzed to track phthalate levels, and mortality data was gathered from a follow-up period of around ten years.

“Our findings reveal that increased phthalate exposure is linked to early death, particularly due to heart disease,” says Leonardo Trasande, lead author on the new study. “Until now, we have understood that the chemicals connect to heart disease, and heart disease in turn is a leading cause of death, but we had not yet tied the chemicals themselves to death.”

Extrapolating the findings to all those aged between 55 and 64 in the United States, the researchers estimate phthalate exposure could be associated with over 100,000 premature deaths every year. The economic cost of these early deaths is thought to be over US$40 billion dollars.

“Our research suggests that the toll of this chemical on society is much greater than we first thought,” says Trasande. “The evidence is undeniably clear that limiting exposure to toxic phthalates can help safeguard Americans’ physical and financial well-being.”

Another newly published study, from researchers at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle, found phthalate exposure during pregnancy could be linked to altered expressions of 38 different genes in the placenta.

“Our findings suggest exposure to phthalates during pregnancy is associated with changes in gene expression in the placenta,” says Alison Paquette, lead author on the study. “Such changes could affect placental functioning that lead to complications in pregnancy, such as premature birth or miscarriage, and changes in fetal growth and development.”

The relationship between phthalate exposure during pregnancy and abnormal brain development in children is a robustly researched area. A review article on the subject published earlier this year, from a team of researchers around the United States, called for urgent reforms to remove the chemical from most plastic manufacturing.

“Substantial evidence links exposure to phthalates with increased risks for child learning, attention, and behavioral problems,” the article concludes. “We therefore recommend that phthalates be eliminated from products that may lead to exposure of women of reproductive age, pregnant women, infants, and children.”

Russ Hauser, a co-author on this review article calling for phthalate regulation, believes completely eliminating the chemical from all consumer products is a realistic proposition. Most products can simply substitute phthalates with other compounds, Hauser says, while also noting there needs to be thorough study into the risks of any replacement chemicals.

Hauser explains the biggest reason for totally eliminating phthalates from all consumer products is many products contain the potentially harmful chemical but do not need to list it as an ingredient. Personal care products, for example, such as shampoos and soaps can often contain phthalates as part of a scent formulation. And consumers would never know they are being exposed to the chemical.

“If phthalates in the product are considered part of the scent formulation, they don’t need to be listed on the ingredient list, because scents are considered proprietary.” says Hauser. “Even though some products do list phthalates, it’s really hard for consumers to read the labels with these long chemical names. It’s really hard for even a very knowledgeable consumer to buy products and avoid phthalates.”

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Reply Fri 15 Oct, 2021 06:36 am
Unplugged: Abandoned oil and gas wells leave the ocean floor spewing methane

The Gulf of Mexico is littered with tens of thousands of abandoned oil and gas wells, and toothless regulation leaves climate warming gas emissions unchecked.

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Reply Sat 16 Oct, 2021 04:39 am
Thanks to Big Oil, Your Tax Dollars Are Spent Ruining the Climate

The same dynamic keeps playing out over and over: the rich pollute, the poor suffer, and the rich really don’t care

About $11 million a minute. That’s the amount of direct and indirect subsidies the International Monetary Fund calculates the global fossil fuel industry receives to ensure that cooking the planet remains profitable for them. If you do the math, it comes to about $5.9 trillion a year.

As The Atlantic’s Robinson Meyer has pointed out, only $826 billion of that comes from actual price cuts or tax breaks. The rest is calculated from damages caused from the environmental and health costs of carbon pollution. But that’s sorta the point. This is an antiquated industry that is knowingly and willfully poisoning the planet and killing millions of people every year. And governments of the world — which ultimately means you and me and everyone else who pays taxes — are essentially paying them to do it.

It’s no wonder the rallying cry for upcoming demonstrations in Washington D.C. is “People vs. Fossil Fuels.” For decades, the fossil fuel mafia has been pretending to be a good citizen, pretending that it didn’t really understand the risks of climate change, and pretending that fossil fuel consumption is really your problem, not theirs. If the world is burning, it’s because you’re too lazy to switch your lightbulbs, not because the industry has shoveled millions of dollars into lobbying efforts to make sure that the energy that powers our world is generated by coal or gas, even if there are better, cheaper, cleaner alternatives.

The fossil fuel mafia has used money and political muscle to stall and derail action on the climate crisis, and they will do everything they can to draw out the inevitable transition to clean energy as long as possible. Given the stunning decline in the cost of solar and wind power in most of the world, they know their days are numbered. It’s not a question of if they go. It’s a question of how fast. But every day they wait, every delay tactic they come up with, imperils the rest of us.

To put it another way, this is no longer an economic issue. It is a climate justice issue.

“Climate justice is the simple idea that those who have done the most to cause the climate crisis – and who have the most resources – must also do the most to fix it,” Brandon Wu, the director of policy and campaigns at ActionAid USA, has said. “In global terms, this means that wealthy countries like the U.S. must lead by example when it comes to climate action by undertaking urgent emissions reductions at home and providing hugely ramped-up financial support for action in poorer countries.”

An essential opportunity to move the ball on climate justice is coming up fast, in the next round of international climate talks, known as COP26, which will begin in Glasgow on October 31st. Maybe it’s too much to say that life on Earth depends on the outcome of these talks. So let’s just say that climate negotiators have a lot of work to do. A recent U.N. analysis found that even if nations meet their current promises for CO2 emissions reductions, the climate would still warm by 2.7 C by the end of the century — a path U.N. Secretary António Guterres has described as “catastrophic,” dramatically boosting the frequency and intensity of heat waves, wildfires, storms, and drought, as well as increasing the risk of ice sheet collapse in West Antarctica and disrupting planetary-scale systems like the circulation pattern of current in the Atlantic.

Since a central tenet of a just climate transition is that the countries and people most responsible for climate change should take the most responsibility in stopping it, the question then becomes, who is most responsible? A lot of people like to point the finger at China. Just google “CO2 emissions by nation” and you will see why: In 2019, China emitted about 10 billion tons of CO2, which is about 28 percent of the global total. The U.S., in contrast, emitted 5.3 billion tons, or about 15 percent of the global total. The EU is third, with about 10 percent of global total, and India below that with 7 percent.

In addition, Chinese emissions are continuing to rise fast, while U.S. emissions have plateaued and started to decline in recent years. And a lot of China’s emissions growth has come from continued reliance on coal, the dirtiest fossil fuel. Last year, China built more than three times more new coal power capacity than all other countries in the world combined, equal to “more than one large coal plant per week,” according to estimates from the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air in Finland.

What all this means is that without a big commitment from China, there will be no meaningful progress toward the goal of keeping warming below 1.5 C, which is the threshold scientists have identified to maintain some semblance of a stable climate.

Chinese President Xi Jinping seems to understand this. He has promised his country will start reducing CO2 emissions from coal, gas, and oil by 2030 and then stop altogether by 2060. But will they?

Xi has made some moves to show they are serious about addressing the climate crisis. He recently pledged to finance no new coal plants outside of China, which is a big deal. But as John Kerry, President Biden’s international climate envoy, recently pointed out, the Chinese still plan to build 247 gigawatts of new coal power within China. That is nearly six times Germany’s entire coal power capacity. China’s plan “would actually undo the ability of the rest of the world” to avert climate catastrophe, Kerry said.

So if you’re looking for a fall guy in the climate crisis, China fits the bill.

But that’s not the whole picture. China’s current status as the biggest emitter has been very convenient for U.S. politicians who have been protecting the interests of the fossil fuel industry. China has been their perfect “whataboutism” foil. A classic example: During a congressional hearing in 2019, Rep. Garret Graves (R-Louisiana), then the ranking Republican on the Climate Crisis Committee, tried to use the example of China as a reason the U.S should hang back on climate action. “So while in the United States we need to continue investing in innovative solutions and exporting clean energy technologies, it makes no sense for us to be doing it if we’re simply watching for increases in China,” he said.

Jamie Margolin, a teenage climate change activist from Seattle who was testifying before the committee, dismantled Graves’ argument: “When your children ask you: Did you do absolutely everything in your power to stop the climate crisis, when the storms were getting worse and we’re seeing all the effects … Can you really look them in the eye and say, ‘No, sorry, I couldn’t do anything because that country over there didn’t do anything, and if they’re not going to do anything then I’m not.’ That is shameful and that is cowardly, and there is no excuse to not take action. …”

How you judge a nation’s responsibility for the climate crisis also depends on how you count emissions. For one thing, CO2 – the main greenhouse gas – is not like other forms of air pollution, such as sulfur dioxide, which rain out of the sky quickly once you stop emitting them.

Most fossil fuel CO2 stays in the atmosphere for centuries before it is removed by geologic processes. But about 25 percent of it remains in the atmosphere essentially forever. “The climatic impacts of releasing fossil fuel CO2 to the atmosphere will last longer than Stonehenge,” University of Chicago oceanographer David Archer writes in his book The Long Thaw. “Longer than time capsules, longer than nuclear waste, far longer than the age of human civilization so far.”

So when you ask, “Who is responsible for the climate crisis?” what matters is not just current emissions, but also historic emissions. From a strictly scientific perspective, a ton of CO2 emitted in 1921 is just as potent as a ton emitted in 2021.

A new report by Carbon Brief lays all this out. If you do the math this way, the U.S. has done twice as much to cause the problem as China.
(The Carbon Brief calculation also takes into account land use and deforestation, as well as the burning of fossil fuels, which is the main reason why Brazil and Indonesia are high on the list.)

You can see why this gets complicated. U.S. climate negotiators use China’s booming emissions to argue – justifiably – that the climate problem won’t be solved unless China takes dramatic action now to reduce emissions. Furthermore, they argue that weighing historic emissions is unfair, because in, say, 1920, nobody knew anything about climate change. Meanwhile, the Chinese argue – justifiably, also — that because of the U.S.’s large historical emissions, the U.S. has the moral duty to take the lead and make a much bigger contribution to emission cuts.

But in the midst of a climate emergency, when island nations are disappearing beneath the waves, and drought is leaving millions without food and heat waves are killing a billion marine creatures in the Pacific Northwest, it feels almost comically self-destructive to be wasting time doing math and finger-pointing while the world burns. “For us, it is inexplicable the world isn’t taking action and it suggests we in small islands are to remain dispensable and remain invisible,” Mia Mottley, prime minister of Barbados, recently said.

The point is, we need both China and the U.S., and every other big, rich polluter, to go full speed on transitioning off fossil fuels now. But the foot-dragging and the squabbling and the bowing to Big Oil and Big Coal over and over and over again reveals the heartbreaking dynamic at the foundations of the climate crisis: The rich pollute. The poor suffer. And the rich don’t really care.

At the moment, the primary mechanism for dealing with the inequities of the climate crisis is the Green Climate Fund, by which wealthy nations of the world promised $100 billion a year in funding to developing nations to help them transition to clean energy and adapt to climate impacts.

But that isn’t going so well. The latest figures from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development show that in 2019, rich nations channeled $79.6 billion to vulnerable countries, up just 2 percent from $78.3 billion in 2018. An analysis by aid charity Oxfam put the real figure for 2018 much lower, between $19 billion and $22.5 billion, when counting only grants and not loans that have to be paid back. Meanwhile, according to Reuters, the 46 least-developed countries between 2014 and 2018 received just $5.9 billion in total for adaptation.

This is likely to be a key issue in Glasgow. President Biden recently vowed to double the aid the U.S. gives to developing nations to $11 billion, but that is only a fraction of what is needed. African negotiators have already signaled they want to up contributions to $1.3 trillion by 2030. As climate impacts accelerate, the gap between rich and poor, between the saved and the suffering, will only grow.

It may be that Glasgow marks a new turning point in the climate fight, one where the justice and equity finally take center stage and access to power and money shifts from the old to the new. After all, we know now that the climate crisis is not some kind of inadvertent and unfortunate consequence of two centuries of fossil fuel consumption, or because we humans don’t give a **** about the planet we live on. It is the deliberate and willful consequence of a handful of powerful corporations and their political enablers who have knowingly stolen our future and cashed it in for a quick buck. And we have let them get away with it.

Until now, anyway. Just as there are climate tipping points, there are also human tipping points, where the path to a better world suddenly becomes clear and the journey to it becomes unstoppable.

Let’s hope Glasgow is one of them.

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Reply Sat 16 Oct, 2021 04:51 am
Climate regulating ocean plants and animals are being destroyed by toxic chemicals and plastics, accelerating our path towards ocean pH 7.95 in 25 years which will devastate humanity.


Marine plants and animals should still be thriving in ocean waters, but they are not. We have lost 50% of all marine life over the last 70 years. The GOES team has used its collective professional and academic experience to undertake further analysis of the peer reviewed and published data to explore the less obvious reasons for this decline and its implications for climate and humanity. In our view, this loss of marine life is directly related to the drop ocean pH and the ‘chemical revolution’ which began in 1950, a decline which is continuing today at a rate of 1% year-on-year despite there being ideal conditions for growth.

There is no doubt that it is the tiny ocean planktonic plants and animals that regulate our climate, but the planet’s largest ecosystem seems to be ignored as one of the tools to address climate change. Every second breath we take comes from marine photosynthesis, a process which also uses 60-90% of our carbon dioxide. If we have lost 50% of the very thing that regulates the climate, surely it is time to stop, take a fresh look at ocean chemistry and biodiversity and ask ourselves some fundamental questions: “Why have we lost this level of marine life? Why is the decline continuing? What does this mean for our climate and humanity?

Of particular concern from a climate change perspective is the level of carbonic acid in the oceans, which is the result of atmospheric carbon dioxide being dissolved into the oceans. In the 1940’s pH was 8.2, but in 2020, pH had dropped to it 8.04, meaning the ocean is becoming more acidic. If there are no plants to use the ‘carbon’ for photosynthesis, this leaves unused carbonic acid to move the pH downwards. Reports from respected institutes around the globe, flag an acceleration of the ocean acidification process, which will result in the loss of more marine plants and animals, especially those that have carbonate shells and body structures (aragonite) based. These same reports forecast that in 25 years, pH will drop to 7.95 (2045) and with this, they estimate 80% to 90% of all remaining marine life will be lost – that in the GOES team’s opionion is a tipping point; a planetary boundary which must not be exceeded if humanity is to survive.

Let’s be clear: If by some miracle the world achieves Net Zero by 2045, evidence from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) BioAcid report [1] report demonstrates that this reduction will not be enough to stop a drop in ocean to pH 7.95. If the level of marine life (both plants and animal) is reduced, then the oceans’ ability to lockout carbon into the abyss is depleted. It is clear to the GOES team that if we only pursue carbon mitigation strategies and don’t do more to regenerate plant and animal life in oceans, we will reach a tipping point, a planetary boundary from which there will be no return, because all life on Earth depends upon the largest ecosystem on the planet. Humanity will suffer terribly from global warming, but it must be understood that the oceans are already showing signs of instability today at pH8.04, but pH 7.95 represents the tipping point.

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Reply Sat 16 Oct, 2021 05:04 am
The human physiological impact of global deoxygenation


There has been a clear decline in the volume of oxygen in Earth’s atmosphere over the past 20 years. Although the magnitude of this decrease appears small compared to the amount of oxygen in the atmosphere, it is difficult to predict how this process may evolve, due to the brevity of the collected records. A recently proposed model predicts a non-linear decay, which would result in an increasingly rapid fall-off in atmospheric oxygen concentration, with potentially devastating consequences for human health. We discuss the impact that global deoxygenation, over hundreds of generations, might have on human physiology. Exploring the changes between different native high-altitude populations provides a paradigm of how humans might tolerate worsening hypoxia over time. Using this model of atmospheric change, we predict that humans may continue to survive in an unprotected atmosphere for ~3600 years. Accordingly, without dramatic changes to the way in which we interact with our planet, humans may lose their dominance on Earth during the next few millennia.

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Reply Sun 17 Oct, 2021 07:51 am
Scientists discover large rift in the Arctic's last bastion of thick sea ice

A new study documents the formation of a 3,000-square-kilometer rift in the oldest and thickest Arctic ice. The area of open water, called a polynya, is the first to be identified in an area north of Ellesmere Island, Canada's northernmost island, and is another sign of the rapid changes taking place in the Arctic, according to researchers.

In May 2020, a hole a little smaller than the state of Rhode Island opened up for two weeks in the Last Ice Area, a million-square-kilometer patch of sea ice north of Greenland and Ellesmere Island that's expected to be the last refuge of ice in a rapidly warming Arctic.

The polynya is the first one that has been identified in this part of the Last Ice Area, according to a new study detailing the findings in the AGU journal Geophysical Research Letters, which publishes high-impact, short-format reports with immediate implications spanning all Earth and space sciences.

The formation of the polynya was unusual because of its location, off the coast of Ellesmere Island, where the ice is up to five meters thick.

"No one had seen a polynya in this area before. North of Ellesmere Island it's hard to move the ice around or melt it just because it's thick, and there's quite a bit of it. So, we generally haven't seen polynyas form in that region before," said Kent Moore, an Arctic researcher at the University of Toronto-Mississauga who was lead author on the study.

The surprise polynya formed during extreme wind conditions in a lingering anti-cyclone, or a high-pressure storm with high winds that rotate clockwise, Moore found. He combed through decades of sea-ice imagery and atmospheric data and found that polynyas formed there at least twice before, under similar conditions in 2004 and 1988, but no one had noticed.

Extreme wind conditions created the gap by pushing ice aside, which is common, said David Babb, a sea ice researcher at the University of Manitoba who was not involved in the study. But it's unusual for sea ice as thick as in the Last Ice Area to be blown around, especially far from the coast where winds tend to be weaker than near the coast, he said.

The new study shows the region may not be as resilient to climate change as previously thought.

"The formation of a polynya in the area is really interesting. It's sort of like a crack in the shield of this solid ice cover that typically exists in that area. So that this is happening is also really, really highlighting how the Arctic is changing," said Babb.

With Arctic ice getting thinner every year, polynyas could form more frequently, setting off a feedback loop of ice loss.

"The thing about thinning ice is that it's easier to move it around. As the ice gets thinner, it's easier to create these polynyas with less extreme forcing, so there is some evidence that these polynyas may become more common, or become larger, than they were in the past," Moore said. And warmer temperatures mean that lost ice is not likely to be replaced.

Crack in Arctic armor

Polynyas form primarily through two ways: The ice is either blown out of the region or melts, forming the hole. They tend to form in the same locations year after year and typically grow near the coast, where the landscape can channel winds along the shore, blowing steadily in the same spot.

Polynyas are not necessarily bad for their local ecosystem on short timescales. Snow-covered ice doesn't let much light into the water beneath it, limiting how much photosynthesis can occur, and that slows productivity further up the food chain. When the ice parts, the ecosystem perks up.

"When sea ice is around, it's kind of like a desert. But when you get an area of open water, suddenly, all kinds of activity can occur. Seabirds go there to feed, as do polar bears and seals. They're incredibly productive regions," said Moore. That food-web boost historically filtered up to local Inuit populations who hunted in polynyas, according to Babb.

But the short-term boost for the local ecosystem doesn't outweigh the long-term, and irreversible, damage of sea-ice loss.

"There's a transient time where if we start to lose ice, there might be a net gain because it'd be more productive. But over the long term, as ice melts and moves offshore and species like walruses and seabirds, lose access to it, we lose that benefit. And eventually, it gets so warm that species can't survive," Moore said.

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Walter Hinteler
Reply Sun 17 Oct, 2021 10:22 am
Every squirrel, hedgehog and migratory bird knows the principle of precaution: if you don't stock up in autumn, don't eat a layer of fat or don't leave for warmer climes in time, you'll have a problem in winter.

People who are doing well in the present, on the other hand, find it surprisingly difficult to make provisions for the future. Especially when this would somehow involve restrictions or even renunciation. This was the case with climate change, where hardly anyone saw the need for action twenty years ago. Back then, people could not or did not want to imagine what global warming would do to the earth.

Now the whole thing is repeating itself with the worldwide extinction of species.

Species loss leaves humans poorer in every way
They called it the “Lord God Bird,” because onlookers couldn’t help yelping when they saw it: “Lord God, what a bird!”

The ivory-billed woodpecker, which dwelled in the swamp forests of the American South, sent bird lovers into raptures for centuries. But as those old-growth forests disappeared over the years, so did the birds. Scientists, conservationists and admirers spent decades seeking them out — but all, it seems, in vain. The ivory-billed woodpecker was one of 23 endangered species the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently said have disappeared forever.

The world can expect many more such grim announcements. As many as 1 million species are at risk of extinction worldwide, according to the latest, most comprehensive global biodiversity assessment, due largely to human-driven habitat loss and climate change. The warning signs are glaring: In the U.S., salmon stocks in the Yukon River have collapsed, creating an economic emergency in western Alaska. Off the Gulf Coast, stocks of Atlantic bluefin tuna have halved since 1980. The American bumble bee could soon be named an endangered species.

The cause is us. Humans have increased the extinction rate by a thousandfold; many scientists believe we are living through a global mass extinction as profound, in its own way, as the one that befell the dinosaurs. But if humans are the problem, we can also be the solution. The same report that saw up to 1 million species on the verge of extinction also suggested an abundance of policy fixes: adopting sustainable agricultural practices, expanding protected areas, greening infrastructure and more.

There’s every reason to act. Biodiversity offers beauty and spiritual solace. And it’s valuable in hard economic terms, as well. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has calculated that the services biodiversity provides to the world — such as pollinating crops, purifying water and storing carbon — are worth up to $140 trillion a year.

Conservation efforts haven’t been useless. The U.S. Endangered Species Act didn’t save the ivory-billed woodpecker, but only a tiny fraction of the 2,200 species it has protected have actually gone extinct. Many have been brought back from the brink — most famously the bald eagle, which rebounded from a low of about 400 breeding pairs in the mid-20th century to a population of roughly 350,000 today. Global conservation efforts have had similarly partial but real success.

Yet the status quo isn’t good enough. The global push to formally protect 30% of the earth’s land and sea by 2030 — a goal U.S. President Joe Biden aims to meet — is appropriately ambitious. New conservation efforts should also be paired with aggressive action to fight climate change, a key driver of species loss. The timing to underline the connection is right: Global leaders will meet at crucial climate summit at the end of this month.

Could sea otters, gorillas and polar bears go the way of the ivory-billed woodpecker, existing only in natural history museums? How will the world grow crops if still more pollinators disappear? The people of this planet can leave their children a world rich in biodiversity — or one that’s strained, depleted and poorer in every way. It isn’t too late to make the right choice.
Reply Sun 17 Oct, 2021 01:06 pm
@Walter Hinteler,
Humans have the same instinct that animals have to eat to excess in timew of plenty to store up fat for times of scarcity.

This isn't knowledge. It is instinct. And when I feel the urge to eat one more slice of pizza even though I have all the calories I need, it is the same thing.

Animals are often driven by instinct to do things against their own interests. Feynman got ants to march in a circle endlessly.

Humans do the same.
0 Replies
Reply Mon 18 Oct, 2021 07:07 am
OPEC+ Spare Capacity is Insufficient Amid Global Energy Crisis

A decade of underinvestment in traditional energy supply chains has finally caught up to world economies. Surging demand, tightening inventories, and soaring prices are causing energy shortages and blackouts. Coal and natural gas inventories are at dangerously low levels, diesel power generation is switching on, factories are shutting down, and blackouts are already happening in China.

The situation has deteriorated materially since Bison’s “The Myth of OPEC+ Spare Capacity” was published, yet the consensus remains that OPEC+ can tame oil markets at any time by unleashing its abundant spare capacity. In this context, it is timely to provide more insight into OPEC+’s spare capacity shortfall relative to consensus, to share our estimation methodology and to highlight recent developments that support our findings.

A Primer on The Global Energy Crisis

The global energy situation is increasingly dire. Limited natural gas exports from Russia have pushed European prices to all-time highs, with UK and other European alternative energy power generation disappointing and proving unreliable. Shortages of thermal coal and liquefied natural gas (LNG) are forcing major Asian economies to shut down power plants and blackout cities. Additionally, soaring oil prices are exacerbating inflationary pressures across supply chains and reducing affordability of already inefficient diesel power generation. A cold winter could aggravate the situation, and low global inventories of natural gas and coal increase the risk.

Several factors are increasing oil consumption. A post-pandemic economic reopening is underway, which is boosting travel demand as countries loosen restrictions, and likely to continue until exceeding prior levels. Additionally, the IEA estimates that coal-to-oil and natural gas-to-oil switching will likely increase crude demand by at least 0.5MM bbl/d, and send it past pre pandemic highs to 99.6MM bbl/d by Q1 2022[1]. Structurally higher LNG prices are also likely to unlock pockets of oil processing capacity in Bangladesh and Pakistan, which are economically incentivized to restart idle oil-fired power plants:

The trend of suburbanization may continue to be a persistent driver of oil demand, as families who have relocated during the pandemic get accustomed to their new, higher consumption lifestyles, and relocation trends continue. However, economic and population growth in emerging and frontier market countries will likely be the most important and largest driver of rising oil demand over time. Improving living standards beget higher oil consumption and shift the energy mix away from traditional biomass and coal to higher quality sources such as natural gas and oil:

While the energy crisis may shift sentiment away from unreliable alternative energy sources towards more reliable fossil fuels, the short-term outlook for supply remains bleak. Years of underinvestment in the energy sector has withheld capital from many producers, particularly in the exploration of resource and delineation of reserves to replace current production. This may take years to recover from. J.P Morgan estimates that an incremental $600B in capital expenditure is needed just to meet its base case for oil demand over the next decade:

OPEC Production Continues to Disappoint

Politicians, industry analysts and news reports continue to cite substantial OPEC+ spare capacity. Even US president Joe Biden has called on the cartel to increase its production[1]. Yet despite pleas from global leaders, OPEC+ production has languished, with all but 5 member countries missing their production quotas in September.

Bison has been early in voicing concerns about actual OPEC+ spare capacity, and now production issues have been surfacing. Although the cartel has collectively met its target monthly increase of 0.4MM bbl/d for September, it has missed this mark several times recently, including in August, when it was only able to increase production by 0.1MM bbl/d (75% below quota)[1]. Additionally, production increases have been driven by a few countries, with many smaller producers in the cartel failing to keep up—an early warning sign that their spare production may be topping out.

OPEC+ claims that they could surpass 2018 production levels to supply the same percent share of a growing oil market[2]. Bison remains skeptical given lower capital expenditures and drilling activity, large draws from onshore inventories, and recent production missing OPEC+ quotas. Instead, we produced a more reasonable estimate of true spare production capacity, based on market realities, which we outline below.

Procedure for Estimating Spare Capacity

We began by observing the trend for each member country between the month in which it reported its highest production level in 2018 and April 2020. We then projected this trend—expressed as an average monthly gain or decline in total production capacity—from April 2020 out until the end of September 2021.

2018 was the year in which many OPEC+ countries reported their highest ever production levels. It is useful as a “base” year because production has since declined precipitously for many members. April 2020 was a cut-off date because many members slashed production at the onset of the pandemic; including production numbers after this date would not be indicative of true voluntarily production.

We then subtracted the latest September production numbers from our estimate of total capacity, resulting in an estimate spare capacity for each OPEC+ country. Finally, the estimate for each country was “sanity checked” by using a mix of qualitative and quantitative processes. Our procedure is detailed below.

Findings: OPEC+ Spare Capacity is Likely Overstated by 1.8 Million Barrels/Day

The IEA estimates that the OPEC+ cartel has 6.5MM bbl/d of spare capacity as of 2021, including quota-exempt Libya, Iran and Venezuela[1]. Bison estimates that the OPEC+ cartel has anywhere from 3.8MM – 5.2MM bbl/d, well below the IEA estimate.

While OPEC+ has some spare capacity, it is overstated in OPEC+ documents and IEA estimates. We also see that Iran may have approximately 1-1.5MM bbl/d of spare capacity, but its effect is uncertain as there is little visibility on when US sanctions may be lifted or how much oil may already be on the market through undisclosed means. This means the bulk of the overstated spare capacity comes from the core OPEC 10 countries—specifically Saudi Arabia—which aligns with conclusions in Bison’s “The Myth of OPEC+ Space Capacity” white paper.

Model Validation

We used various measures to calculate and validate our estimate. For one, we factored some safeguards and conservatism into to the estimation model itself. We checked for standard potential order of magnitude and bad data flaws such as greater estimated capacity than current production in a given country. We appropriately modeled countries that had no spare capacity based on flat-lined or declining production. And we applied a 15% margin of error to the output, which generates a range of values rather than a point estimate.

We are also used rig count data for each member country to sanity check spare capacity estimates. This rig activity corresponds with our estimates of changes in spare capacity. This data comes from different sources, and we are still verifying reliability of these and estimates. Feedback from former oil services executives who have operated in OPEC+ countries has been helpful. Based on what we have already validated for the core OPEC 10 countries, we observed that the rig count has declined by ~50% since 2018. This indicates that there has been a massive reduction of investment in this period, and supporting the estimate that OPEC+ total production capacity has declined.

Recent Developments are Encouraging

Recently, ex Saudi Aramco EVP Sadad Al-Husseini said that the OPEC has no more than 2.5—3MM bbl/d of spare capacity. This falls in line with our estimate of 2MM—2.75MM for the OPEC 10 and is an external validation of the directional correctness of our estimate.

Additionally, the IEA has recently stated that rapidly falling spare capacity underscores the need for more investment in oil and gas infrastructure[1]. In June, they warned that OPEC+ spare capacity could fall to 5MM bbl/d, an estimate which they revised down from 4MM bbl/d in October[2]. As global oil demand rises and onshore inventories draw, we suspect that there may be further downward revisions in spare capacity estimates by IEA and other agencies—getting closer to Bison’s estimate.

Bison Takeaways

With less OPEC+ oil production spare capacity than claimed by OPEC+ and estimated by the IEA and others, the world oil supply is less certain and potentially closer to insufficient versus rising demand. With observed low elasticity of demand of oil consumption, a tighter oil market than consensus could result in much higher prices if supplies were to be disrupted or demand were to grow more than expected. Having seen this already with European and Asian natural gas and coal, and with a potential surge of oil demand for power generation this winter, the risk of an oil price shock is real and worth serious consideration.


(graphics available at link)
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