Are U.S. Tax Dollars Financing Destruction of World’s Largest Mangrove Forest?

GR:  We US taxpayers just don’t quit!  We finance wars, subsidize fossil fuels, and sacrifice the environment for profit.  Our education system sucks, but we do have the most expensive health care and we do sell more arms and ammunition than any other nation on Earth.

EcoWatch:  “In conjunction with the Save the Sundarbans protest today at the UN’s headquarters in New York City, we’re revealing in this EcoWatch exclusive that Friends of the Earth U.S. obtained documents that suggest the U.S. Export-Import Bank, Ex-Im Bank, which is supported by taxpayer dollars, is considering financing the Orion-Khulna coal plant near the Sundarbans in Bangladesh.

“The struggle for climate justice in Bangladesh, however, did win an important battle in July. Responding to public pressure from advocacy groups, Ex-Im Bank is no longer considering financing for a coal plant proposed to be built outside Bangladesh’s capital city of Dhaka, one of the largest cities in the world. This coal plant, known as the Orion-Dhaka project, would burn coal just a few miles outside Dhaka, poisoning the air and water of 17 million people. While it remains unclear if the Orion-Dhaka project will move forward without U.S. financing, Ex-Im Bank’s withdrawal represents an important victory for protecting people and the climate.”  Read more at:  Are U.S. Tax Dollars Financing Destruction of World’s Largest Mangrove Forest?

Population Ethics

GR:  Here is a short essay that gives clear reasons for reducing the human population.  Joe Bish sets up the essay, and the delivery is by Travis Rieder.

Joe Bish, Population Media Center: 

“The varied arguments against my views… haven’t changed my conviction that we need to discuss the ethics of having children…”

“Travis Rieder, the Research Scholar at Johns Hopkins’ Berman Institute of Bioethics, is out with a follow-up to his 15-minutes of fame brought on by NPR’s mid-August coverage of his “Population Engineering” paper. Here, he attempts to address some of the common criticisms he endured — all of which population advocates have been dealing with day-in and day-out for many decades. Namely: there is no environmental problem; if there might be a problem it won’t be very bad; people concerned with population must be misanthropic; more people means more creativity; and, the end of population growth might “hurt the economy.”

“One interesting aspect of the Rieder phenomenon was the coverage itself. I certainly won’t be holding my breath for NPR to interview anybody from PMC, the Population and Sustainability Network, or any other group in the trenches on a day-to-day basis. Perhaps we should all don the title of bioethicists? It seems that doing so grounds the conversation in sufficiently abstract terms, such that a major media outlet can advance the theoretical notions of purposeful population stabilization and decrease — without worrying they are talking to anybody actually trying to do this in the real world.

“Below, Rieder notes that he has tackled the population issue because he is “genuinely worried about the future of our planet,” and believes the discussion is crucial to making a future worth having. This reminds me that in some senses, working on achieving population stabilization and decrease is one of the more optimistic careers out there. It presupposes that humanity will somehow navigate the brick wall of limits to growth, due in the late 2020’s (when our population will still be orders of magnitude too large), and come out the other side reformed, willing to behave ourselves, and sized appropriately.”

Here’s the link to Rieder’s succinct essay: Population Ethics.

New Report: ‘Blowtorch’-Like Ocean Warming Advances Killer Seas, Shifts El Nino, Heats Hydrates

GR:  The author of this natural-hazard warning (actually, it’s not natural, it’s a human-made hazard), says the hazard is something that should keep us up at night.  What worries keep us up at night?  Money is a biggie, and so are our interpersonal relationships and our jobs.  In some regions, shortages of food and water, and excesses of bombs also keep us up at night. When we get hazard warnings from reliable sources, we can usually flee or fortify our position.  The hazard discussed in the warning below can’t be handled like that.  It’s global and can’t be fled, and it’s penetrating and can’t be kept out of our homes.

Not all hazard warnings are followed by the occurrence of the hazard, but we have learned to take warnings from credible sources seriously.  The warning below is from a credible source.  (The graph units are zettajoules (ZJ). One ZJ is about the amount of energy released by 200 million Hiroshima bombs.)

“The scale of ocean warming is truly staggering with the numbers so large that it is difficult for most people to comprehend.” — from the IUCN report Explaining Ocean Warming: Causes, scale, effects and consequences.

Now read about the hazard:

“If there’s one simple fact about past Earth climates that should keep you awake at night, it’s this — warming the world ocean eventually produces a killing mechanism that is unrivaled by any other in Earth’s deep past. Great asteroids, gamma-ray bursters, earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanism — none of these can rival the vast damage to life on planet Earth that is resulting from ocean warming.

“There’s a starker message to convey here, one that focuses on this simple yet dire question — how do warming oceans kill? In basic terms, they become toxic and anoxic. Warming oceans melt ocean-contacting glaciers. The glacial melt forces seas to rise and forms a freshwater lid on the global ocean, breaking down ocean conveyor belts and preventing mixing. This freshwater lid also deflects heat toward the ocean bottom. This process in turn helps to thaw methane hydrates. Warm waters that don’t mix and that are filled with bubbling hydrates become very oxygen-poor.

“As the land glaciers bleed out into the oceans, the stratified, oxygen-deprived waters become less and less able to support advanced life. The kinds of life warm, oxygen-deprived waters do support are poison-producing microbes. These microbes thrive in the warm, oxygen-poor waters. If ocean heating continues to progress, the warming seas will eventually fill up with their deadly byproducts. Among the most nasty of these is hydrogen sulfide. If enough of it is produced, it will spill out from the ocean into the nearby air, resulting in land animal mortality as well.

“In microcosm, we saw a mild taste of some of these effects this past year in Florida as toxic algae blooms filled the warming state’s waterways and coastlines, even forcing some riverside marinas to close due to toxic gasses wafting up from the purple-green, oxygen-starved waters. These effects are a snapshot of a possible future for Earth’s oceans if we don’t get our act together yesterday.” –Robert Scribbler.

Read the rest of the hazard warning here: New Report: ‘Blowtorch’-Like Ocean Warming Advances Killer Seas, Shifts El Nino, Heats Hydrates | robertscribbler