Could the Loss of Net Neutrality Harm the Environmental Movement?
Could internet regulations suppress our voices? Or undermine our ability to read articles like this?
First, what is net neutrality? It’s the idea that no providers of legal Internet content should face discrimination in providing their content to people like you. It also means that you should have equal access to see (or hear) any legal Internet content you choose.
But the speculation out there is that the net neutrality—or open Internet—continues to be in jeopardy. Some goes as far as to say that the Federal Communications Commission net neutrality proposal, which is due to go public May 15, would destroy the Internet.
Broadband companies continue to push for the right to build special, faster lanes for companies that can pay for it. That would guarantee their content reaches end users ahead of those who don’t pay.
The loss of net neutrality could mean the end of the Internet as we know it.
We certainly don’t have deep enough pockets to move our content into the internet fast lanes ahead of the Monsantos of the world. The average person’s access to environment and climate change news—topics that are even now under-reported—could be forever altered.
According to the LA Times:
Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler strongly defended rules he has proposed for the Internet that critics fear would result in preferential treatment for big companies and place too much power in the hands of the nation’s broadband providers.
“Let me be clear. If someone acts to divide the Internet between ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots,’ we will use every power at our disposal to stop it,” Wheeler said Wednesday in remarks at the National Cable & Telecommunications Assn.’s annual convention in Los Angeles.
Let’s hope what he’s saying holds true. Until then, you can take action.
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By Jeff Masters, Ph.D.
Earth had its second-warmest year on record in 2020, just 0.02 degrees Celsius (0.04°F) behind the record set in 2016, and 0.98 degrees Celsius (1.76°F) above the 20th-century average, NOAA reported January 14.
Figure 1. Departure of temperature from average for 2020, the second-warmest year the globe has seen since record-keeping began in 1880, according to NOAA. Record-high annual temperatures over land and ocean surfaces were measured across parts of Europe, Asia, southern North America, South America, and across parts of the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific oceans. No land or ocean areas were record cold for the year. NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information
Figure 2. Total ocean heat content (OHC) in the top 2000 meters from 1958-2020. Cheng et al., Upper Ocean Temperatures Hit Record High in 2020, Advances in Atmospheric Sciences
Figure 3. Departure of sea surface temperature from average in the benchmark Niño 3.4 region of the eastern tropical Pacific (5°N-5°S, 170°W-120°W). Sea surface temperature were approximately one degree Celsius below average over the past month, characteristic of moderate La Niña conditions. Tropical Tidbits
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