Friday, October 22, 2010

Friday Soylent Green Blogging

Another week has gone by and optimism is still in short supply. Friday's on the radio show are for reviewing the most important stories of the week (IMHO of course) and this week it seemed to me that stories about Global Warming fit that bill -- so let Friday Soylent Green blogging begin!


 Now the stories that really don't get enough coverage in the MSM and are the most likely to have a long term on all our lives were blogged yesterday and are about disappearing fresh water resources and the deteriorating state of global habitats. So there's no need to repeat them, but here's a link to a story about record warming and melting in the Arctic this year that shows perhaps these stories will soon begin to break through the MSM in ways that will get everyone paying attention again. Even though no one's entitled to their own facts the deniers have long been having their way as far as the media spin is concerned and that's illustrated by this pre-debunked op-ed in the formerly reliable Christian Science Monitor.

There was an interesting story from over at Science Daily about how various species respond differently to the same amount of warming making it more difficult for ecologists to predict future biological effects of climate change, and plan for these effects. While not as alarming as some of the studies I've posted, there's still lots here to be concerned about.

After studying the growth and survival of tens of thousands of individual plants over six years, the research shows a complex and somewhat unpredictable pattern of responses. There are opposing trends which show that under current conditions, even across the huge range of conditions studied, some populations of plants are doing equally well across 30 degrees of latitude.
"Up to a point we may see little effect of warming for many organisms. But past a climatic tipping point, the balance of opposing effects of warming will likely cease, leading to subsequent rapid declines in populations."
While this tipping point will be different for each species, responses of natural populations to gradual shifts in climate will not necessarily in turn be gradual.
Here in Canada representatives of the Pembina Institute, Environmental Defence and Équiterre were on hand in Ottawa Wednesday calling on the federal government to institute clear guidelines governing oilsands development. Currently the Athabasca oilsands in northern Alberta produces about 1.7 million barrels of crude per day, but soon that will jump to in excess of 7.5 million barrels per day.

Environmental Defence executive director Rick Smith says that "A tripling or quadrupling of output, unchecked, is a disaster waiting to happen." He's quick to make assurances that they are not against development of the dirty oils, which they view as a transitional fuel source, but are simply worried about the pace and scale of the project as well as making sure the industry takes full responsibility for cleaning up whatever messes it creates. There's no call for new regulations, they simply want, ...Ottawa to use regulations already in place in the Fisheries Act, the Species At Risk Act and the Canadian Environmental Protection Act to ensure sustainable development of the oilsands.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has no problem with Canada's dirty oil either, ...saying she was "inclined" to back the project, which would carry crude oil nearly 2,000 miles from tar sands in Alberta, Canada, to Port Arthur, Texas, via Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma.

Some of her remarks on the subject were refreshingly honest:
"We're either going to be dependent on dirty oil from the Gulf or dirty oil from Canada," Clinton said after an Oct. 15 speech at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco. "And until we can get our act together as a country and figure out that clean, renewable energy is in both our economic interests and the interests of our planet" the United States will remain dependent on oil, she said.
UPDATE: It needs mentioning that the point of blogging about all the peer reviewed science that is being reported in the assorted stories I've pointed to about AGW (anthropogenic global warming) is that while the evidence mounts and the climate models become more frightening, the fossil fuel industry and their bought and paid for shills continue to deny and do all they can to block legislation and prevent action.

WikiLeaks!

The much awaited dump of some 390,000 documents relating to the Iraq war has finally taken place and not surprisingly a grim picture emerges from this war of choice that the US and their "coalition of the willing" took part in.

 Last week a report released by the Pentagon made the specious claim that "only" 77,000 civilians had been killed in the war. An absurd claim on its face that doesn't gibe with alarming figures that show 1 out of every 6 Iraqis is an orphan. How many were killed in this brutal war, where the most powerful nation on the face of the earth rained down "shock and awe" on what was essentially a 3rd world nation, is still unknown.

Some of the details that have emerged include how US authorities failed to investigate hundreds of reports of abuse, torture, rape and even murder by Iraqi police and soldiers whose conduct appears to be systematic and normally unpunished. Also ...numerous reports of detainee abuse, often supported by medical evidence, describe prisoners shackled, blindfolded and hung by wrists or ankles, and subjected to whipping, punching, kicking or electric shocks. Six reports end with a detainee's apparent death.

Included in the whistleblowing leaks is the cataloguing of more than 15,000 civilian deaths in previously unknown incidents. US and UK officials have insisted that no official record of civilian casualties exists but the logs record 66,081 non-combatant deaths out of a total of 109,000 fatalities. And that in no way covers the actual deaths as for example in the battle of Falluja, ...the site of two major urban battles in 2004, no civilian deaths are recorded. Yet Iraq Body Count monitors identified more than 1,200 civilians who died during the fighting.

There are numerous examples of crimes and abuses committed by the invading and occupying forces, hell bent on revenge for something that had nothing to do with Iraq, sent by the bloody minded Bush jr. administration. In the end as you'll no doubt recall they tried to pretend the war was about national security and WMD's -- a claim that also rings falsely over all the years and death.

 And as these revelations come to light they are once again invoking national security as they did during the last round of leaks accusing WikiLeaks ...of possibly having "blood on their hands" over the previous Afghan release by redacting too few names. But the military recently conceded that no harm had been identified.

To avoid such charges this time the whistleblowing activists say they have deleted all names from the documents that might result in reprisals. In a just world this would never be an issue and in that same fictional setting GWB jr. and Dick Cheney would have been impeached and prosecuted for crimes against humanity.

Happy WkiLeaks dump day everybody!