Nature - Page 8

Aussie Glimpse at a 2.4C World

There is a revived fossil fuel fever taking hold of the climate Down Under.

Burning fossil fuels releases CO2, which triggers the release of two other planetary, heat-trapping gases: methane and nitrous oxide. These three gases together are known as CO2 equivalent (CO2eq).

Currently, CO2eq is 495 parts per million and rising. According to the 2007 United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Fourth Assessment Report, Earth is committed to a temperature increase of at least 2.4C (4.3F), which translates into climate instability with more frequent and intense extreme weather e.g. heatwaves, droughts, firestorms, insect epidemics and flooding.

Dead mangroves in Queensland Australia
Photo credit: digitaljournal.com Tatiana Gerus. 200,000 people from 22 towns were affected from extreme weather, torrential rains and flooding, December 30, 2010.

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Toxic Tar Sands Cooking Our Planet

On February 24, 2018, the mercury at the Cape Morris Jesup weather station, northern Greenland, soared to 43 degrees (F), 70 degrees above normal – unprecedented. During that month, temperatures in northern Greenland were above freezing for 61 hours, three times the number of hours in any previous year. Terrifying. Our planetary life support systems are rapidly overheating, deteriorating, dying, and dead.

Emaciated Polar Bear
Photo credit: inhabit.com photographer Kerstin Langenberger
As the Arctic melts, the incidence of starving polars will escalate quickly. How much longer will people turn a blind eye to the death of animals and plants as Earth’s rising temperature accelerates from burning fossil fuels?

The Arctic is warming twice as quickly as any other region on the globe. For example, the Arctic has just experienced its warmest winter on record. February Arctic sea ice cover was 521,000 square miles (almost twice the area of Texas) below its normal – the lowest monthly record ever witnessed. At the South Pole, the summer Antarctic sea ice cover reached its minimum extent, the second lowest since the inception of satellite data.

The missing Arctic sea ice and the heat escaping from the Arctic Ocean into the atmosphere is unhinging the polar jet stream. It’s linked to record-breaking flooding, firestorms, heatwaves, droughts, torrential rains, blizzards and even China’s airpocalypse.

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Amnesty For Lolita – 47 Cruel Years

In a concrete tank four times her length, a 51-year-old apex mammalian predator with a brain more than two times the size of a human, Lolita the orca, paces back and forth exhibiting an indomitable spirit.

Lolita was abducted from the Salish Sea on August 8, 1970 in Penn Cove, Whidbey Island, Washington. She is the only living captive orca, of 45 members from looting the Southern Resident pod, during the gruesome pillage of 1967 to 1973. At least 13 members of her family were brutally suffocated during these ghastly captures.

Orca Capture
The violent and brutal kidnapping of Lolita the orca along with her brothers, sisters and aunties in 1970. Photo credit: Dr Terrell Newby

There is every reason to believe that Lolita is suffering horrendously.

Lolita has been forced to perform for 47 years at the Miami Seaquarium. She exists in a tiny bathtub-like tank in solitary confinement. No human could bear these abhorrent conditions yet still regularly carry on for almost five decades.

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New Skyscrapers Fueling Arctic Meltdown

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* 2017 set a record for the most skyscrapers built in a single year – 144. 2018 is predicted to eclipse it by reaching 160 superstructures. Happy dance. Not.

The fossil fuel energy necessary to produce the concrete and steel in each of those 144 edifices, located in 69 cities (many of which sit empty in China), is cooking our planet alive.

China Concrete Usage
China Used More Concrete in 3 Years than America Used in the 20th Century

In 2018, the Arctic had its warmest winter on record at least 10º(F) above normal. The Arctic is missing 62,000 square miles of ice below last year’s record low.

Minus the ice, the latent heat from the Arctic Ocean transfers immense amounts of energy into the troposphere. It supercharges the polar jet stream which now meanders 10, 20 and even 30º southward, off course. This wayward polar jet stream has unleashed deadly and wild weather around the globe, including recent snowfalls in London and Rome. Keep Reading

Protect the Whales, Save the Planet

LOS ANGELES — Over the past couple of years, I have reported on skyrocketing whale deaths – it is horrific and worrisome.

Let me tell you why:

Whales are farmers of the sea. Their flocculent fecal plumes are rich in iron and nitrogen, which fertilize phytoplankton and prochlorococcus (cyanobacteria). Together, the phytoplankton and bacteria provide almost two-thirds of all the oxygen  we breathe. Oxygen makes up almost 65 percent of human body weight.

Whale on Beach
In June 2015, 337 sei whales were victims of man-made global warming along a remote stretch of Chile in the largest mass stranding of baleen whales ever recorded. Image Credit: ToxicWeb/Flickr

Fossil fuel heat has infused 300 zettajoules of energy into the oceans, half of that has accumulated since 1997. It’s the equivalent energy of detonating one Hiroshima-style bomb every second for 75 straight years. Think about that for just a minute. Hiroshima. Every. Second.

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Strawless in America, Ban Them All

LOS ANGELES — The only way 7.5 billion procreating humans can survive on this planet – our only home – is to mimic Nature. There is no waste in Nature. There is no unemployment in Nature. All life forms are interdependent.

Americans consume 500,000,000 petroleum-based plastic straws daily, or, 1.6 straws per person. That amounts to an unfathomable number of more than 182 billion plastic straws per year.

Plastic straws injure and kill untold numbers of sea birds and many other forms of sea life each year. A couple of years ago, marine biologists in Costa Rica found a distressed olive ridley sea turtle with what they thought was a parasitic worm burrowing into its nose. Using a Swiss army knife (the only tool on the boat) they performed a snap surgery. The biologists were horrified upon extracting the impediment to discover that it was a plastic straw.

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