By J. Mijin Cha and Manuel Pastor
You may not know it, but Democrats and Republicans share a growing concern about the climate and environment. With extreme weather events becoming more common, many young Republicans now question their allegiance to a party that denies the reality of climate change. After the destructive environmental policies of the Trump administration, there are high hopes among many Americans that progress will be possible under a new administration — even if Biden's reluctant to abandon fracking or adopt all the language of a "Green New Deal."
But to envision a path forward on environmental policy, we should remember some key lessons from the original New Deal, the 1930s-era policies that pulled the United States out of the Great Depression through a combination of relief programs, public-works projects, financial reforms and progressive regulation.
The first key lesson: The New Deal was implemented in DC, but many of its policies emerged from earlier state experiments. A second point: The space for progressive presidential action was opened up by labor and grassroots organizing that didn't just rely on elected leaders but shifted the political calculus of what was possible.
We should also be careful not to repeat past mistakes. For the New Deal had a major Achilles' heel: In an attempt to secure support from Southern Democrats, many of its programs left Black Americans and other people of color behind (such as by excluding domestic and agricultural workers from Social Security).
For a new national environmental policy to be successful, we need to lift up state experimentation, provide political pressure and political cover for doing what's right, and be sure to center, not derail, racial equity.
Our scholarship has been looking at just these issues for the past few years, examining how some states are trying to transition off fossil fuel in a way that protects workers and communities and addresses environmental injustice. Known as "just transition," this notion focuses not only on the technical and policy aspects of power generation but also on the nitty-gritty of power-building to organize for change.
There's good news to report from states and localities. For example, in keeping with its ambitious approach to greenhouse gas reduction over the past decade and a half, California recently declared that the state would phase out the sale of gas-powered cars by 2035, creating impetus for a market in electric and other zero-emission vehicles. Meanwhile, in New York, more than 200 groups have come together as NY Renews and won the most ambitious climate protection bill in the nation. Passed in 2019, it will dramatically limit emissions, invest in vulnerable communities, and chart a path to 100% carbon-free electricity.
Part of what's making such policy change possible is power-building among those whose voices have traditionally been sidelined. As a NY Renews coalition member told us, "Power is built when you stand shoulder-to-shoulder and when you stand up for someone else, not just yourself." So the group built a broad coalition, ranging from labor unions to environmental justice organizations to faith-based organizations, that aimed not just to reduce emissions but to support vulnerable communities.
A similar success story can be found in Arvin, California, a small town in the southern San Joaquin Valley, where local advocates have shown how to dig in against Big Oil. After launching a multifaceted campaign to keep new oil and gas drilling 300 feet from residential or commercial properties, Arvin quickly became a battleground pitting over-polluted residents against the behemoth fossil fuel industry. Despite the pressure, advocates launched a full-scale electoral push that brought in a new, progressive mayor and a wave of young Latina city council members who passed the first setback ordinance in California.
These are examples of state and local innovation — inspired by grassroots activism and multiracial and multisector coalitions — that should now make their way to the federal level, much as the New Deal picked up ideas such as unemployment insurance, minimum wages and labor protections from experiments in New York, Wisconsin and Massachusetts.
The combination of state experimentation, local power-building and attention to racial justice is all the more urgent now because we also need to make our way to a post-climate, post-COVID world. Both our environmental and public health challenges have some common themes and present an opportunity for a new narrative: In each arena we need to prioritize those with the highest risks, act to shield those we may never know, and learn to replace "me" — the spirit of self-interest — with "we," the impulses of solidarity with people and the planet.
On the policy side, we can clearly learn from state efforts to address climate change. But just as important will be learning from state and local organizing. The secret sauce is not in the technology: moving away from an oil- and coal-fueled power grid to a people-driven power structure will require the science of coalition-building.
Power must be built to hold a new administration accountable, push it further toward bold climate policy and economic and racial justice, and create the political space for a massive federal investment in public health and clean energy. The future of America and the planet depend on it.
J. Mijin Cha is an assistant professor of urban and environmental policy at Occidental College.
Manuel Pastor is a professor of sociology at the University of Southern California and the director of USC's Equity Research Institute.
The opinions expressed above are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of The Revelator, the Center for Biological Diversity or their employees.
Reposted with permission from The Revelator.
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By Rich Collett-White
Facebook is "fuelling climate misinformation" through its failure to get to grips with misleading content, according to a new report that calls on companies to boycott the platform until significant action is taken.
Campaign group Stop Funding Heat, which produced the report, warns that the problem is likely to escalate in the coming months as the next major UN climate summit, COP26, approaches and wants to see action taken against "repeat offenders."
The social media giant recently announced its operations were now running on 100 percent renewable energy and it had reached "net zero" emissions. But the new report argues this counts for far less than the role Facebook plays in allowing climate misinformation to spread on its platform.
Bringing together existing research on the issue, the report calls on the company to incorporate climate misinformation into its policies governing use of the social media platform, which do not make explicit mention of climate change currently.
Lead Researcher Sean Buchan told DeSmog: "This year sees the most important UN climate summit since the Paris Agreement in 2015. Important events like this have been derailed by disinformation campaigns before — as seen with "climategate" in 2009 and the recent UN Compact for Migration. Facebook needs to take action before misinformation escalates on its platform at this crucial time."
"People should certainly be free to say and post what they want, but freedom of speech does not equate to freedom of reach. Facebook has control of how much it spreads harmful content and our recommendations all focus on reduction, not censorship. The exception is paid adverts, because we firmly believe that no organization, Facebook included, should directly receive money to spread climate misinformation," he added.
Last year, DeSmog revealed a Facebook page called Eco Central, linked to a number of pro-Brexit Conservative MPs, had been running paid adverts claiming climate change was a "hoax."
Stop Funding Heat, a spin-off from the Stop Funding Hate campaign, which aims to pressure companies into pulling its adverts from papers spreading "hate and division," says there has been a disproportionately small amount of attention paid to misleading climate-related content on the platform, compared with other forms of "false news" — Facebook's term for misinformation.
A petition has been launched based on the report calling on the platform to ban climate denialist pages from running paid adverts, close "fact-checking loopholes" whereby politicians are exempt from climate-related fact-checks, and open up its internal research on climate misinformation to researchers and journalists.
The report also argues that efforts to tackle the problem so far by Facebook, the world's largest social media company, are "insufficient". It argues that despite the use of third-party fact-checkers to add labels to misleading content and the launch of a "Climate Science Information Centre," people exposed to climate misinformation are not always guided to a relevant fact-check.
When the center was launched last year, Facebook's Vice President of Global Affairs and former UK Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said the company only removed content when there was an "obvious link to immediate and impending real world harm," which did not apply to climate change.
Facebook has hit back at the criticism, however, pointing to the work it has already done to tackle the problem.
Speaking to DeSmog, a company spokesperson said:
"We combat climate change misinformation by connecting more than 100,000 people every day to reliable information from leading organizations through our Climate Science Information Center and working with a global network of independent fact-checking partners to review and rate content."
"When they rate this content as false, we add a warning label and reduce its distribution so fewer people see it. We also take action against Pages, Groups, and accounts that continue to share false claims about climate science."
Facebook also said its own analysis had found that misinformation makes up a small proportion of the overall content about climate change on its platforms and that it did not allow adverts rated false by its fact-checkers.
It rejected a claim in the report that its "machine-learning" models do not help identify new forms of climate misinformation for its fact-checking partners to review.
Rich Collett-White is Deputy Editor of DeSmog. He joined the organisation in December 2018 as a UK researcher and reporter, having previously worked in communications for the climate charity Operation Noah.
Reposted with permission from DeSmog.
There's no better way to show your dog that you love them than by keeping them healthy. In addition to exercise, a healthy diet, grooming, and regular checkups at the vet, you can also help support your dog's wellbeing with CBD dog treats. Learn how CBD oils and treats can benefit your four-legged friend and see which brands made our list of the best CBD treats for dogs.
How CBD Treats and Chews Can Help Dogs (and Other Pets)
Cannabidiol, or CBD, is one of the many naturally occurring compounds found in the hemp plant. CBD oil is derived from the leaves, flowers, and stems of the cannabis plant. This important cannabinoid compound has been found to possess both medical as well as therapeutic benefits in both humans and animals.
Like humans, dogs possess an endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS plays a role in the body's natural processes related to mental function, mood, inflammation, pain, appetite, energy, digestion, and more.
Some of the potential benefits of CBD for dogs include support for:
- Separation anxiety and stress
- Chronic inflammation
- Arthritis and joint pain
- Digestive issues
- Seizures, tremors, or spasms
With so many potential benefits, more and more pet owners are seeking CBD for dogs as a natural way to help keep them healthy.
Related: Best CBD Oils for Dogs of 2021
Top 6 CBD Dog Treats Online
Each product featured here has been independently selected by the writer. You can learn more about our review methodology here. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.
- Best Overall - Joy Organics Premium CBD Dog Chews
- Best for Anxiety - Charlotte's Web Calming Chews for Dogs
- Best for Mobility - Zesty Paws CBD Mobility Bites Soft Chews
- Best for Skin & Coat - R+R Medicinals Hemp Extract Dog Chews
- Best Flavor - FAB CBD Calm & Cool Dog Treats
- Best Hard Chew - Paw CBD Dog Treats
How We Review CBD Treats for Dogs
To select the best CBD dog treats, we considered specific factors around the CBD, the ingredients, the flavoring, and the brands themselves. Here are more details about how we reviewed each of CBD treats for dogs that made our list.
Source of CBD
Just like with CBD products for people, we only choose brands that use CBD from safe and trustworthy sources. We prefer brands that use CBD from hemp plants grown in the U.S., and we also look to see if the CBD is grown organically or naturally. The extraction process also matters, especially if they use clean CO2 extraction. This helps determine the type of CBD contained in their products, whether it's full spectrum, broad spectrum, or CBD isolate.
In addition to the CBD, we look to see what other ingredients go into each dog treat. The best brands use all-natural ingredients and flavorings and avoid fillers or allergens like corn, wheat, and soy. We also look for additional healthy ingredients like sweet potato, flaxseed, turmeric, passionflower, sunflower oil, and more, that are known to promote better health in dogs.
A CBD dog treat won't do much good if you're dog won't eat it! We select products that come in appetizing flavors that dogs will love. It's important that these come from natural ingredients instead of artificial flavoring. We also chose different types of treats, both soft and hard chews, to give you more options depending on your dog's preferences.
We only recommend CBD dog treats from brands that we trust. All of the best CBD brands include third-party lab testing on all of their products to ensure the strength and purity of their CBD. Certain brands also offer veterinarian-formulated pet CBD treats, or are certified by the National Animal Supplement Council (NASC). We also look for brands that offer affordable prices and money back guarantees.
Our Top Picks for Dog CBD Treats
Best Overall: Joy Organics Premium CBD Dog Chews
These Joy Organics Premium CBD Dog Chews are made with premium grade broad spectrum CBD. That means they contain all of the beneficial terpenes and cannabinoids to help promote wellness without any THC. Joy Organics also uses water-soluble CBD powder for these chews, making them faster and easier to absorb. They are certified organic, non-GMO, cruelty-free, and third-party lab tested for purity.
Why buy: Joy Organics CBD dog chews are our favorites overall because they include real ingredients like beef liver, brewers yeast, flax oil, and sweet potato powder, as well as broad spectrum CBD. These treats are easy to digest, making them a great option for dogs with sensitive stomachs.We also love that Joy Organics offers carbon neutral shipping.
Best for Anxiety: Charlotte's Web Calming Chews for Dogs
Charlotte's Web Calming Chews combine full spectrum CBD from U.S. grown hemp with natural botanicals like valerian root, chamomile, and passionflower extract to help relax and calm your dog. Each chew contains 2.5 mg of CBD and other cannabinoids to help promote a balanced emotional state in your pet, especially for stressful situations like boarding, traveling, or vet visits. While we wish the offered a little more information on the ingredient breakdown, as a certified B corp we trust Charlotte's Web overall.
Why buy: We love that these calming chews include so many natural botanicals to help dogs manage stress and anxiety. Charlotte's Web CBD dog treats are also NASC certified and undergo independent third-party lab testing for quality assurance. These are great for nervous or anxious adult dogs.
Best for Mobility: Zesty Paws CBD Mobility Bites Soft Chews
Zesty Paws CBD Mobility Bites Soft Chews are made with CBDistillery broad spectrum CBD. They use non-GMO industrial hemp plants grown naturally in the U.S. and extract the CBD oil solely from aerial plant parts. The Hip & Joint formula also includes glucosamine, chondroitin, and OptiMSM to support joint lubrication, cartilage formation, and muscular function. Each soft chew includes 5 mg of CBD to help improve your dog's mobility.
Why buy: We recommend these chews for dogs with joint or hip pain as they can both help relieve pain and support joint health. We love that they are NASC certified, contain no grain, corn, or soy derivatives, and are made with an organic vegetarian roast beef flavor.
Best for Skin & Coat: R+R Medicinals Hemp Extract Dog Chews
These CBD dog chews from R+R Medicinals contain full spectrum hemp extract for a potent blend of natural plant compounds including terpenes, flavonoids, and antioxidants. Each chew contains 5 mg of CBD from Colorado grown hemp to promote mental and physical wellness. Plus the natural chicken flavor offers a savory taste your dog will love.
Why buy: We love R+R Medicinals Hemp Extract Dog Chews because they are made with real, natural ingredients like sweet potato, flax seed, and chicken liver. They also include grapeseed oil to promote a healthy coat and skin. These CBD treats are ideal for natural overall health.
Best Flavor: FAB CBD Dog Treats
FAB CBD Dog Treats are a great baked treat option for dogs who prefer some crunch. They include 3 mg of broad spectrum CBD per treat, and are baked without any corn, wheat, soy, or dairy. These Calm & Cool treats are also made to help dogs relax from anxiety or stress, and include natural ingredients like passionflower and chamomile to promote calm.
Why buy: We love that these baked CBD dog treats from FAB come in a peanut butter and apple flavor that most dogs won't be able to resist. We also like that they use organically grown hemp extract with no THC. These treats are a great way to help support a calmer dog naturally.
Best Hard Chew: Paw CBD Dog Treats
Paw CBD Dog Treats are veterinarian formulated hard chews made with cbdMD broad spectrum hemp extract. They come in two different flavors, baked cheese and peanut butter, and three different strengths so you can choose the right amount of CBD for the size of your dog. All Paw CBD Dog Treats are THC-free and contain no artificial preservatives or colors.
Why buy: We love that these hard chews not only provide CBD to help support your dog's wellbeing, they also offer a satisfying crunch that can help clean their teeth too. These CBD dog treats are perfect if your pet doesn't go for soft chews. Plus, cbdMD offers a 60 day money back guarantee.
What's the Difference Between CBD Oil and CBD Dog Treats?
CBD for dogs can come in several different forms. Some brands offer CBD oil for dogs, which comes as an oil tincture that you measure using a dropper. CBD oil can either be administered orally or mixed in with your dog's food. This provides a fast way for your dog's body to absorb the CBD and to experience the mental and physical benefits. CBD oils for dogs also typically contain fewer ingredients than some other pet CBD products, just the CBD and a carrier oil, so it's easier for you to know exactly what you give to your dog.
CBD dog treats are soft or hard chews made with CBD and are meant to be more palatable for dogs than oils. Some dogs do not enjoy the earthy or natural flavor of CBD oil and respond better to a savory treat. These products also typically include other natural ingredients meant to promote your dog's health, including sweet potato and flax seed. Treats make it easier to know exactly how much CBD you give to your dog each time, as every treat will contain the same amount of CBD. Dog treats with CBD are typically an easier, less messy option than oils.
What the Experts Say About CBD and Dogs
Research has found that CBD can provide a number of different benefits for dogs, from calming dogs with separation anxiety to helping older dogs that suffer from chronic joint pain.
A 2018 study concluded that CBD oil "can help increase comfort and activity" in dogs with osteoarthritis. Another study conducted in 2019 found that CBD could help dogs with epilepsy by potentially reducing the frequency of seizures when added to their existing medication.
In addition to joint pain and epilepsy, CBD is also frequently used to help relieve anxiety and stress in dogs. Recent research has shown that CBD can help to reduce aggression in some dogs, especially through calming dogs in stressful settings like shelters.
What to Look for in CBD Dog Products
While there are a lot of CBD dog products out there, not all of them are safe or effective. Here are the things to look for when evaluating CBD for dogs.
There are a few signs that can tell you if a CBD dog treat or oil is a quality product.
First, always look to see that the product has undergone independent third-party lab testing to ensure its potency and safety. Second, try to choose CBD products that are sourced from hemp grown in the United States. Third, you can always look for the National Animal Supplement Council (NASC) seal that indicates a product or brand meets strict standards for safety and testing.
Additionally, look for labels and certifications that you trust like USDA organic, non-GMO, and products made without wheat, corn, or soy.
How to Read Labels
When comparing CBD dog treats, make sure to check the labels for a few key pieces of information.
Type of CBD
Make sure you know what type of CBD is in the product. Full spectrum CBD offers the complete profile of cannabinoids and plant compounds found in hemp. For some, this provides more benefits and stronger relief. Broad spectrum CBD, meanwhile, all of the same cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids as full spectrum, but it is THC-free. This can be important if your dog is especially sensitive or does not react well to full spectrum products.
Amount of CBD
Next, look to see how much CBD is contained in each treat or serving. This will help you determine the right product for your dog based on their size. Some brands include serving guides on their packaging to help make sure you give your dog the appropriate amount of CBD.
List of Ingredients
Check the ingredients list as well to make sure that the CBD dog treat does not contain anything your dog might be allergic to. You can also note if the treat is made with all natural ingredients. Depending on your dog, you can also look for treats that contain additional ingredients that are good for specific health concerns, like sweet potato, turmeric, passionflower, and flax seed.
How Many CBD Treats Should Your Dog Take?
The amount of CBD contained in each treat will determine how many you should give your dog at one time. As with humans, it's best to start with a small dose, monitor your dog's response, and gradually increase slowly from there. The same rule of thumb applies for dogs and other pets: start low and go slow.
Most CBD dog treats will include a recommended serving guide based on the size of your dog. For example, for dogs under 10 lbs you may only want to give them 1.5 mg of CBD daily. If a treat contains 3 mg of CBD total, you should only give them half of a treat per day. Dogs over 60 lbs, however, may need two treats a day, or 6 mg of CBD, to experience the desired benefits. Again, start with a small amount to make sure that your dog responds positively to CBD before gradually increasing the number of treats.
Possible Side Effects
As with any natural supplement or prescription medication for your dog, there is the possibility for certain side effects. Some of the more common side effects that dogs can experience include:
- Excessive panting
- Loss of balance
If you notice that your pet is experiencing any of these symptoms, then you may have given them too much CBD, as these are signs of toxicity. If your dog is experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, it's best to call your veterinarian right away.
CBD can offer a number of potential benefits for dogs. For those who don't want the mess of oil tinctures, or for dogs who don't like the taste of oils, CBD dog treats offer an easy and tasty solution. Whether you want to help your dog with anxiety and stress or mobility issues due to joint pain, you can find a CBD dog treat that you both will love.
In Parting Blow to Climate Science, Trump Admin Removes Expert in Charge of National Climate Assessment
The National Climate Assessment, which is released every four years, combines the expertise of 13 federal agencies along with independent scientists, The New York Times explained. The last assessment, released in 2018, said unequivocally that the impacts of climate change were already being felt in the U.S. and would get worse if nothing was done to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Trump administration tried to bury the report by releasing it Thanksgiving weekend, and President Donald Trump claimed that he did not believe it. Now, there is concern the administration is trying to influence the findings of the next assessment.
"Even in their final days, they are continuing to attempt to bury the overwhelming scientific consensus on climate change," Union of Concerned Scientists senior climate scientist Rachel Licker told The New York Times.
The administration on Friday reassigned Michael Kuperberg, a climate scientist who runs the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP), which produces the report. The move was confirmed to The Washington Post by one current federal official and one former White House official, both of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity. Don Wuebbles, a University of Illinois climate scientist and friend of Kuperberg's, who directed the Fourth National Climate Assessment, also confirmed the news.
"Mike called me on Saturday and said he was just notified that he was let go, that his detail was over and that he should go back to the Department of Energy," Wuebbles told The Washington Post.
Kuperberg had led USGCRP since 2015 and had expected to continue to oversee the completion of the Fifth National Climate Assessment. Two people close to the administration told The New York Times he would likely be replaced by David Legates, a new appointment to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) who has worked with climate denying groups and argued that carbon dioxide is "plant food and not a pollutant."
"It might be a short-term appointment," Competitive Enterprise Institute Director and former member of Trump's transition team Myron Ebell, who approves of Legates' appointment, told The New York Times. "If he only directs it for two months and a week, then he may not get very far, but let's see what can get done in two months. Maybe the next administration will throw it all away, but maybe some changes will be adopted, who knows."
One concern is that, if Biden replaces Trump's new appointment, it could further delay the next climate assessment, which was due in 2022 but has been pushed back to 2023. The new appointee could also influence the writers of the report, POLITICO pointed out. Nominations for report authors are due Nov. 14, and the new USGCRP head could select people who deny mainstream climate science. However, a mainstream U.S. Geological Survey climate scientist named Betsy Weatherhead has been put in charge of coordinating the assessment itself, according to The Washington Post.
"I would be more concerned if Trump had won the election," Kathy Jacobs, who ran the Third National Climate Assessment and now directs the Center for Climate Adaptation Science and Solutions at the University of Arizona, told The Washington Post. "If USGCRP is rudderless for a few months, I don't consider that a devastating situation. The question is: What are they going to do in the interim?"
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Less than three years after California governor Jerry Brown said the state would launch "our own damn satellite" to track pollution in the face of the Trump administration's climate denial, California, NASA, and a constellation of private companies, nonprofits, and foundations are teaming up to do just that.
Under the umbrella of the newly-formed group Carbon Mapper, two satellites are on track to launch in 2023. The satellites will target, among other pollution, methane emissions from oil and gas and agriculture operations that account for a disproportionate amount of pollution.
Between 2016 and 2018, using airplane-based instruments, scientists found 600 "super-emitters" (accounting for less than 0.5% of California's infrastructure) were to blame for more than one-third of the state's methane pollution. Now, the satellite-based systems will be able to perform similar monitoring, continuously and globally, and be able to attribute pollution to its source with previously impossible precision.
"These sort of methane emissions are kind of like invisible wildfires across the landscape," Carbon Mapper CEO and University of Arizona research scientist Riley Duren said. "No one can see them or smell them, and yet they're incredibly damaging, not just to the local environment, but more importantly, globally."
For a deeper dive:
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Update, June 29: This post has been updated to include a comment from Facebook.
Facebook is coming under fire again for aiding climate change deniers. The platform opened a fact-checking loophole that allows misinformation to spread widely, even with opposition from scientists.
The conservative group believes that climate change fears are overblown and that burning more fossil fuels will ultimately help the planet. They have increasingly used Facebook to reach a bigger audience, E&E News reported, and Executive Director Caleb Rossiter said that the current "battle" over climate-related posts serves as a microcosm in the overall "war" over how to reach an audience outside of conservative media.
"You can reach so many people both with your posts and your advertisements," Rossiter said in the news report. "We're kind of like Donald Trump. We're not happy with the treatment we're getting from the mainstream media, we resort to social media. That's where our action is in larger part."
While the most recent commotion was triggered by a viral column Rossiter wrote in the Washington Examiner, Facebook already had a complicated history with climate deniers and fact-checking.
In May 2018, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg hired a right-wing think tank known for climate misinformation to "figure out whether Facebook displays a liberal bias," Think Progress reported. In July of the same year, Zuckerberg took additional steps towards allowing misinformation on his platform, saying that "while he won't block fake news from appearing on his site, his fact-checkers would stop it from spreading widely," the news report said.
In a dilution of that "check-and-balance," Facebook hired fact-checkers with conservative biases and a history of climate misinformation in fall of 2017 and again in April 2019.
Climate scientists were encouraged when Facebook partnered with Science Feedback last year in an expansion of their third-party fact-checking program to bring in teams of Ph.D. climate scientists to verify the accuracy of content and to lessen the platform's role in driving viral misinformation, a Science Feedback release stated.
That optimism was short-lived.
In August 2019, five Science Feedback scientists reviewed a Washington Examiner column by CO2 Coalition's Rossiter and Patrick Michaels. The column, titled The great failure of the climate models, called climate models showing warming and increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide from fossil fuels "inaccurate," Newsweek reported.
All five scientists agreed that the piece "cherry-picks data and misleads readers" and tagged it as "biased" and "inaccurate" for Facebook. The piece was blocked from sharing as "false" and the coalition was prevented from running ads, reported E&E News.
Then came the loophole.
Facebook re-labeled Rossiter's piece as "opinion," allowing it to fall under a new fact-checking exception that overruled the climate scientists' "false" finding, reported E&E News. It became shareable, promotable with advertising and went viral.
The news report claimed a "conservative Facebook employee" can be credited with opening the door for the coalition and groups that attack mainstream climate science to leverage the "opinion" label to avoid fact-checking and spread misinformation.
CO2 Coalition, which requested the successful change, is celebrating the outcome. Rossiter noted to E&E News that after the "false" label was removed from his climate models piece, the coalition was allowed to buy ads again. They have since done so, with messages distorting climate change and claiming that they are "saving the people of the planet from the people who claim they are saving the planet." Those ads have received more than 50,000 impressions, Facebook data shows, as reported by E&E News.
The coalition and similar groups will look to Facebook to get their message to a larger audience because traditional news media "rarely seek comment on climate science from groups that reject consensus research," Rossiter said, the news report added.
Andrew Dessler, one of the five Science Feedback climate scientists who originally fact-checked CO2 Coalition's article, criticized Facebook and other social media for exempting "opinion" articles from even basic fact-checking.
"It's a powerful way to misinform people, since these groups can't win in the actual scientific arena, so they only can win in these media environments where they can pay to promote stuff," Dessler told E&E News. "It allows people to live in a bubble where you don't ever have to confront ideas that you don't want to deal with.
In response to a request for comment, a Facebook spokesperson told EcoWatch, "Our long-standing guidance to the independent fact-checkers has been that clear opinion content is not subject to fact-checking on Facebook; unsurprisingly, that includes opinion editorials." The spokesperson explained, " As our policy states clearly, if publishers want to dispute a fact-check rating, they are to do so directly with the fact-checker. Facebook's third-party fact-checkers can rate climate-related content; there has never been a prohibition on their doing so."
Additionally, Facebook posted a company blog Thursday titled Providing People With Additional Context About Content They Share. A "context" button, first created in 2018, "provides information about the sources of articles in News Feed," the blog said, and is meant "to ensure people have the context they need to make informed decisions about what to share on Facebook." Notifications will include "timeliness" and "information about the source of the link."
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Exxon Mobil will lay off an estimated 14,000 workers, about 15% of its global workforce, including 1,900 workers in the U.S., the company announced Thursday.
Analysts said the layoffs are part of an effort by the beleaguered company to maintain its stock dividend despite sharply reduced demand during the coronavirus pandemic.
While other oil majors have leaned into reducing emissions and building out renewable energy, Exxon has doubled down on oil.
It plans to increase its greenhouse gas pollution in the coming years.
News of the layoffs comes as a former Exxon employee, who consistently received strong performance reviews and was widely respected by his colleagues, says he was pushed out of the company after he raised Exxon's climate denial in a Q&A session with company executives.
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First, David Legates, a University of Delaware professor who has questioned the scientific consensus that human activity drives the climate crisis and has argued carbon dioxide emissions are actually beneficial, was named deputy assistant secretary of commerce for environmental observation. Now, the Trump administration is in the process of appointing meteorologist Ryan Maue to serve as the agency's chief scientist, two NOAA officials confirmed to The Washington Post Monday. Maue, who runs the site weathermodels.com, does accept that the burning of greenhouse gases is impacting the global climate. However, he has spoken out against worst-case-scenario climate predictions and criticized activists for using extreme weather events to argue for reducing the burning of fossil fuels.
"For the second time this month, a person who misrepresents, distorts, and disagrees with climate science is being placed in a science position at NOAA," professor Katharine Hayhoe tweeted in response to the news.
Maue previously served as an adjunct scholar with the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank that questioned mainstream climate science, The Washington Post pointed out. He co-wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal challenging the climate predictions of NASA scientist James Hansen, which have been supported by peer-reviewed studies. Most recently, he has lashed out against California Gov. Gavin Newsom and his supporters for linking the climate crisis to the state's record-breaking wildfire season.
"Seems the Democrats have coordinated their efforts to use the devastating California fires as an opportunity to score political points in the upcoming election by blaming them solely on climate change (and Trump)," he wrote in a deleted tweet recovered by The Washington Post.
However, a number of studies have shown that changes to the climate are making the state's fires more frequent and more intense.
As chief scientist, Maue would influence NOAA's research agenda for oceanic and atmospheric science, as well as its scientific integrity policy. He still has to pass ethics and security reviews, but would not require Senate confirmation.
Other scientists questioned whether Maue had the credentials for the role.
"Normally, when people are chosen for high-profile positions relating to climate change, I've heard of them. I have no idea who this person is, other than I've seen him saying things about climate that are wrong on social media and in op-eds. I suspect that he has the one and only necessary qualification for the job: a willingness to advance the agenda of climate deniers," Texas A&M climate scientist Andrew Dessler tweeted in reaction to Maue's likely appointment. "To me, this emphasizes how thin the climate deniers' bench is. I'm sure they'd prefer to have someone with actual credentials take the job, but this shows that credentialized experts who dispute mainstream climate science simply don't exist."
Maue told E&E News he believes in "lukewarming."
"Lukewarming is not climate denial," Maue said. "Most of us on this side of the issue believe in lower climate sensitivity. We don't believe there's going to be 5° of warming; we figure it's at the lower end of 1.5°."
However, most scientists think the world could hit 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels within the next two decades and then continue to heat up.
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By Julia Conley
Climate scientists were aghast Monday at the news that David Legates, a University of Delaware professor who has repeatedly questioned the scientific consensus that human activity is causing the climate crisis and has claimed that carbon dioxide emissions are beneficial, has been named by the Trump administration to a top leadership role at the federal government's climate research agency.
Legates was appointed—without the knowledge of several NOAA officials, according to one person at the agency—to serve as deputy assistant secretary of commerce for environmental observation and prediction and will report directly to acting NOAA Administrator Neil Jacobs.
Gretchen Goldman of the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) called the appointment "a slap in the face to NOAA scientists who work daily to conduct and communicate climate science to the public and decision makers."
"Until now, NOAA has largely evaded the kind of anti-science political appointees that have devastated the EPA and Interior," Goldman told the Washington Post. "With Dr. Legates we risk seeing the same kind of politicization of science and corruption of ethics."
Oh my word. NOAA taps David Legates, professor who questions the seriousness and severity of global warming, for to… https://t.co/CyvTD2OtLS— Kalee Kreider (@Kalee Kreider)1600053194.0
Legates served from 2005 to 2011 as Delaware's state climatologist, and stepped down under pressure from former Democratic Gov. Ruth Ann Minner when it came to her attention that his views on the climate were "not aligned with those of [her] administration."
"I am directing you to offer any future statements on this or other public policy matters only on behalf of yourself or the University of Delaware, and not as state climatologist," Minner wrote to Legates in 2007 after he wrote an amicus brief in agreement with the Competitive Enterprise Institute, which opposed Delaware's attempt to force the federal regulation of greenhouse gases.
The appointment, which one anonymous NOAA official referred to as a surprising "midnight hire over the weekend," comes as the agency is monitoring the approach of Hurricane Sally. The storm rapidly strengthened on Monday and was expected to cause an "extremely dangerous and life-threatening storm surge" on the Gulf Coast.
NOAA's National Weather Service has also been issuing warnings to the west coast about the wildfires that have overwhelmed the region in recent days, killing more than 30 people. Agency scientists have contributed to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) reports on the climate crisis and the warming of the globe, including the 2018 study which warned that greenhouse gas emissions will pose an increasing threat to human life if they are not drastically reduced in the next 10 to 20 years.
The appointment of Legates to help lead the agency undermines that message, critics say, considering he counts among his climate science work a paper called "The IPCC Reconsidered," a Heartland Institute-funded project which called for more, not fewer, fossil fuel emissions.
"The juxtaposition of the apocalyptic wildfires and the announcement of David Legates' appointment is mind-boggling," Jane Lubchenco, who served as NOAA administrator under President Barack Obama, told the Post. "Just at the time when we need continued truth from the nation's lead climate agency, a climate denier is hired. This is a travesty."
In his new role, Lubchenco warned, Legates will "be in a position to squelch the free flow of accurate scientific information to the public, to distort or manipulate scientific findings, curtail monitoring and research, and create an overall chilling atmosphere for the high-quality science and scientists that the nation needs."
Other examples of Legates' work include a 2007 paper—partially funded by Koch Industries, the American Petroleum Institute, and ExxonMobil—which questioned whether the climate crisis is destroying polar bears' habitats as temperatures in the Arctic rise twice as fast as the global average, and sea ice vanishes at a rate of 4% per decade.
Along with former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, Legates spoke in 2016 at a panel discussion on Capitol Hill—when both chambers of Congress were controlled by Republicans—about the documentary "Climate Hustle," which called into question the existence of the scientific consensus regarding human-caused climate change. The panel addressed the question: "Are [scientists] trying to control the climate...or you?"
Brian Kahn, managing editor of Earther, tweeted about a talk Legates gave at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in 2018 in which the professor posited that the heating of the planet holds benefit for humans and wildlife, such as the growth of larger crabs.
NOAA just hired David Legates, a man who has legitimately said with a straight face that climate change is fine bec… https://t.co/AZh6AY5iaG— Brian Kahn (@Brian Kahn)1599943117.0
Anyways, here's the crab love CO2 slide from when he gave the talk at CPAC. This man is being paid with the public'… https://t.co/kpQ84CNkZB— Brian Kahn (@Brian Kahn)1599943717.0
Legates' presentation was a "total cesspool of misinformation about how carbon dioxide is good, actually," tweeted Kahn.
"He's not just in left field—he's not even near the ballpark," Lubchenco told NPR.
Reposted with permission from Common Dreams.
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By Jessica Corbett
With temperatures across the globe — and particularly in the Arctic — rising due to lackluster efforts to address the human-caused climate crisis, one of the coldest towns on Earth is throwing its hat in the ring to host the 2032 Summer Olympics.
Salla is located in Finland's Lapland region and touts the tagline, "in the middle of nowhere." The average temperature is below freezing and the area boasts a ski resort, reindeer park, Arctic Circle safaris, and even a snow and ice hotel.
With support from Fridays for Future — the youth-led movement launched by Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg — Salla announced its Olympic bid to build awareness about "the consequences of global warming and the need for urgent action."
"Our intention here is clear: we want to keep Salla as it is, and our winters cold and full of snow," said Salla Mayor Erkki Parkkinen. "So, there was this crazy idea: to host the Summer Games in one of the coldest towns on the planet."
"If we stand back and do nothing, letting global warming prevail," Parkkinen warned, "we will lose our identity, and the town we love — as well as many others around the world — will cease to exist as we know it."
The campaign, detailed at www.savesalla.com, includes a short video.
"Despite the obviousness of the global warming, the ideology of climate change denial is gaining traction all over the world and increasing every year," the campaign website says. "So, we've created this bid to raise attention about the climate emergency. Salla is changing. The whole planet is changing. Not in a good way."
As Common Dreams has reported, while projections for the entire planet are dire if policymakers don't urgently work to "effect unprecedented transitions in all aspects of society, including energy, land and ecosystems, urban and infrastructure as well as industry," the Arctic is particularly at risk.
"We have only one planet to live in and an immense responsibility to future generations. We can all make a difference. What we cannot do under any circumstances is deny the problem and omit ourselves. The risks will be severe and unavoidable," said Joe Hobbs, a Fridays For Future activist and operations director for Climate Cardinals. "Global warming does not have to be a self-fulfilling prophecy and everyone can make a significant and decisive contribution to stop this process."
Hobbs joined Parkkinen and multiple experts for a press conference about the campaign on Tuesday.
The event came a day after a new study that showed ice loss worldwide is increasing at a record rate. Lead author Thomas Slater of Leeds' Centre for Polar Observation and Modeling said that "although every region we studied lost ice, losses from the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets have accelerated the most."
"The ice sheets are now following the worst-case climate warming scenarios set out by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change," Slater added. "Sea-level rise on this scale will have very serious impacts on coastal communities this century."
Also on Monday, Thunberg delivered an address to the World Economic Forum's annual meeting — held digitally rather than in Davos, Switzerland this year because of the raging coronavirus pandemic. She told political and business leaders that "when it comes to facing the climate emergency, the world is still in a state of complete denial."
"Safeguarding the future living conditions and preserving life on Earth as we know it is voluntary. The choice is yours to make," the 18-year-old Swede said. "But I can assure you this: You can't negotiate with physics. And your children and grandchildren will hold you accountable for the choices that you make."
Reposted with permission from Common Dreams.
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By John R. Platt
Let's be honest: This has been a truly exhausting year.
We started 2020 already worn thin by three years of the Trump administration, with its constant assaults on the environment and human decency on display almost every single day — and it got worse from there.
In February the coronavirus pandemic hit and took off like a wildfire, killing hundreds of thousands of people in this country and leaving millions underemployed or without jobs, healthcare, homes or beloved family and friends.
The virus would have been bad enough on its own, but the willful, outrageous failure of the Trump administration to address it, and the failure of many state and local elected officials as well, made it all much worse — and so much more exhausting.
But then, that failure shouldn't have come as a surprise. The denial of climate science from just about everyone on the far right — fueled by corporate influencers, Fox News, social-media platforms and their soul-draining ilk — had already showed us that science denial could rear its ugly head the next time we faced a crisis.
And it did, in spades.
Of course, COVID-19 wasn't the only thing to sap our strength this year. The pandemic came alongside seemingly countless racial injustices, angry protests, violence and intimidation by right-wing extremists, and the worst election season this country has ever seen — one characterized more than anything else by a bloviating, habitual liar seeking reelection.
His performance in the first presidential debate — like watching a rabid dog on stage — may be what pushed my own exhaustion past the breaking point. From then on the election kept going downhill, my doomscrolling went into hyperdrive, and our collective grief continued to swell while more and more people got sick and died.
And yet it kept getting worse. Spurred on by Trump's lies about the virus, people and communities "debated" whether they should or should not wear masks, stay home, stop partying, stop coming to the office — an endless fuel of "free-dumbness" driven once again by the increasingly righter-than-ever right-wing media and what passes for leadership in the Grand Old Party.
And through it all, the world experienced record temperatures, species went extinct, millions were displaced by the world's worst hurricane season and endless fires, and…and…and…
…and a record 81 million people stood up and voted for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. More voters turned out this year than any election in history, and many of us had to fight to get our votes and our voices recognized.
Maybe we weren't so exhausted, after all? Or maybe we tapped into some final reserve of strength, saved for just such an emergency.
So here's where we are now: Although the shockwaves of 2020 will be felt for a long time, and we're all obviously still exhausted, this devastating year is nearly over. Now's the time to heal, to rest, and to take all the energy we would normally have poured into the holidays and pour it into taking care of ourselves and our loved ones.
And while we're at it, stay safe and physically distant, wear masks, share scientifically accurate information, and help others to recover from the ravages of the pandemic so we can get back to the greater task of saving the planet.
And the Biden win — assuming it's not stolen at the last minute by Trump operatives and Republican legislators committed to a coup — sets us up for a lot of success.
"Biden has put forward a bold climate plan with ambitious targets for reducing carbon emissions and support for both regulatory and market-driven policy measures," climate scientist Michael C. Mann tells me. "If Democrats take back the Senate, there is real opportunity for meaningful climate action by the U.S. — and not a moment too soon. A Biden win will stop the hemorrhaging, but there is a lot of work that will need to be done in repairing our reputation on the world stage."
Heck, there's still a lot of work and repairing to do in general — more than ever, in fact, since we're now four years behind where we should have been by this point.
But that work won't be possible without taking care of ourselves. That's why our team here at The Revelator is about to take a couple of weeks off to recuperate and recharge. We've published hundreds of articles and commentaries over the past year and we're going to do it again next year — but if we don't rest up now, we won't make it very far.
I sincerely hope you also get a chance to rest the final few weeks of the year. I know that kind of rest is a privilege not everyone has.
So do our best to reboot and meet back here the first week of January. We already have a lot of good stories in development for the New Year, and we're excited to share them with you.
Of course, before we get that far, we'll have one more source of exhaustion to contend with: the drawn-out, sore-loser end of the Trump era. Just as the post-election period was filled with Trump shenanigans, malarkey and the attempted reversal of the election, so will the very last weeks be a chance for the outgoing White House occupants and their enablers to tear every bite they can out of the government and the environment.
So keep an eye out for tomfoolery — we will, too.
Rest up, exhausted readers. The fight to save our planet and everything that lives here will keep up in 2021 — and far beyond.
John R. Platt is the editor of The Revelator. An award-winning environmental journalist, his work has appeared in Scientific American, Audubon, Motherboard, and numerous other magazines and publications. His "Extinction Countdown" column has run continuously since 2004 and has covered news and science related to more than 1,000 endangered species. He is a member of the Society of Environmental Journalists and the National Association of Science Writers. John lives on the outskirts of Portland, Ore., where he finds himself surrounded by animals and cartoonists.
Reposted with permission from The Revelator.
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By Andy Rowell
Five years ago, the leading climate denial organization in the UK, the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF), published a pamphlet entitled: Carbon Dioxide, the good news.
The paper reiterated many of the climate deniers' favorite, but long discredited, arguments. In many ways, the GWPF's claims on climate science would be laughable if the ramifications were not so serious. They boil down to two main arguments: firstly, that there has been no warming and secondly, even if there has been warming, carbon dioxide is good for you.
The paper was written by Indur Goklany, described as "an independent scholar and author."
He stated that the "benefits of increasing carbon dioxide have been under-estimated" and that "the risks from increasing carbon dioxide have been overestimated."
Goklany continued: "there is little or no empirical evidence that the warming that has occurred — or any changes it may have caused — since the end of the last ice age or since the putative start of manmade warming around 1950is actually causing net harm or diminishing human or environmental wellbeing."
And also that: "the direct effects of higher carbon dioxide levels may benefit mankind and the natural world."
How anyone can describe tens of thousands of peer-reviewed research papers, along with numerous reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, along with hundreds if not thousands of other scientific assessments by Governmental panels or scientific bodies, plus thousands of credible reports by NGOs all describing our increasing climate crisis and the role that man-made emissions of carbon dioxide have had, as "no empirical evidence" — is beyond me. It is just plain stupid.
The deniers have long argued that CO2 is good for plant growth, and I had heard it in the early nineties at an OPEC conference, spoken by Dr. Richard Lindzen. At the time, the OPEC delegates lapped it up as a simplistic and fundamentally flawed argument that would allow them to carry on drilling with a so-called clean conscience.
Goklany has also written papers for other denier organizations such as the Cato Institute and the Heartland Institute. Over a decade ago, he appeared in a film entitled Policy Peril: Why Global Warming Policies are More Dangerous than Global Warming Itself.
But for years, Goklany's day job has been an official at the U.S. Interior Department. You can understand why someone like Goklany, with his die-hard denial views, would flourish well under Trump. And so when Trump was elected, he was promoted to the Office of the Deputy Secretary, with responsibility for reviewing the agency's climate policies.
Therefore, today's New York Times story is on the one hand not surprising, but at the same time, deeply worrying.
The paper notes that Goklany "embarked on a campaign that has inserted misleading language about climate change — including debunked claims that increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is beneficial — into the agency's scientific reports."
According to the Times, the misleading language appears in at least nine reports, and became so embedded in documents that it was colloquially known as "Goks uncertainty language." The Times outlined how in Interior Department emails to scientists, Goklany pushed "misleading interpretations of climate science" reminiscent of his GWPF briefing:
"Firstly, that we "may be overestimating the rate of global warming, for whatever reason," and secondly that rising CO2 was beneficial because it "may increase plant water use efficiency" and "lengthen the agricultural growing season."
As the Times points out: "Both assertions misrepresent the scientific consensus that overall, climate change will result in severe disruptions to global agriculture and significant reductions in crop yields."
Samuel Myers, a research scientist at Harvard University's Center for the Environment told the Times that the language "takes very specific and isolated pieces of science, and tries to expand it in an extraordinarily misleading fashion."
But that is what the climate deniers do: set out to mislead and confuse. The reviewers for Goklany's GWPF paper, included known climate skeptics Craig Idso and Will Happer. Both men authored a petition sent to Trump in 2017, asking him to withdraw the United States from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
Trump, Goklany, Lindzen, Idso, and Happer exist in a denial echo chamber. They will continue to deny the evidence as the earth warms and burns around them. We must resist this — with a new energy and vigor. In this new decade, we must ensure that the deniers' day is finally done. As Greta Thunberg and the millions of young climate activists demand every week: it is time to listen to the science.
Reposted with permission from Oil Change International.
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By Jessica Corbett
In an example to the rest of the scientific community and an effort to wake up people — particularly policymakers — worldwide, 17 scientists penned a comprehensive assessment of the current state of the planet and what the future could hold due to biodiversity loss, climate disruption, human consumption and population growth.
"Ours is not a call to surrender — we aim to provide leaders with a realistic 'cold shower' of the state of the planet that is essential for planning to avoid a ghastly future," according to the perspective paper, co-authored by experts across Australia, Mexico, and the United States, and published in the journal Frontiers in Conservation Science.
Co-author Paul R. Ehrlich of Stanford University's Center for Conservation Biology — who has raised alarm about overpopulation for decades — told Common Dreams his colleagues "are all scared" about what's to come.
"Scientists have to learn to be communicators," said Ehrlich, citing James Hansen's warning about the consequences of "scientific reticence." Hansen, a professor at Columbia University's Earth Institute and former director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, testified to Congress about the climate crisis in 1988.
Ehrlich was straightforward about how "extremely dangerous things are" now and the necessity of a "World War II-type mobilization" to prevent predictions detailed in the paper: "a ghastly future of mass extinction, declining health, and climate-disruption upheavals (including looming massive migrations), and resource conflicts."
"What we are saying might not be popular, and indeed is frightening. But we need to be candid, accurate, and honest if humanity is to understand the enormity of the challenges we face in creating a sustainable future," said co-author Daniel T. Blumstein of the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability at the University of California, Los Angeles, in a statement about the paper.
"By scientists' telling it like it is, we hope to empower politicians to work to represent their citizen, not corporate, constituents," he said in an email to Common Dreams.
The paper, Ehrlich and Blumstein pointed out, comes in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic — which, according to Johns Hopkins University, has killed nearly two million people. Over the past year, the Co-19 crisis has provoked calls for humanity to end its destruction of the natural world to prevent future public health catastrophes.
"We're all seeing the shocks to our global systems now from Covid and the rise of authoritarian leaders," Blumstein said. "Because our current ways of life are ecologically unsustainable (we're living in an ecological Ponzi scheme), we fully anticipate more — and more deadly — pandemics in the future. We expect civil unrest, wars, and famines. We are all shaken by the likelihood of the collapse of civilization as we know it."
From extreme hurricanes to droughts to wildfires, the climate crisis killed 262 people and cost $95 billion last ye… https://t.co/RwowWVlBZ9— Friends of the Earth (Action) (@Friends of the Earth (Action))1610505003.0
The new warning from scientists, Blumstein noted, cites over 150 other papers "documenting the diverse and shocking decline in biodiversity and planetary 'health' and their consequences." Among the cited sources is a World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) report that in September revealed an "average 68% decrease in population sizes of mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, and fish between 1970 and 2016."
"In the midst of a global pandemic, it is now more important than ever to take unprecedented and coordinated global action to halt and start to reverse the loss of biodiversity and wildlife populations across the globe by the end of the decade, and protect our future health and livelihoods," WWF International director general Marco Lambertini said at the time.
The co-authors — including William J. Ripple of Oregon State University, who last year led thousands of scientists in declaring a climate emergency and earlier this month led a call for "a massive-scale mobilization to address the climate crisis" — echoed Lambertini's message while also underscoring the importance of increasing awareness about what's actually needed.
"Humanity is causing a rapid loss of biodiversity and, with it, Earth's ability to support complex life. But the mainstream is having difficulty grasping the magnitude of this loss, despite the steady erosion of the fabric of human civilization," the paper says.
Biodiversity is the thread of life on Earth. 🦠️🦩🐜🍄🌱🦧🌽🍂🥦🐦🌺🐇🐝🌴🦒🌿🐋🌏 Learn more about what #biodiversity is and why… https://t.co/I5kht3RYnj— UN Biodiversity (@UN Biodiversity)1610179680.0
"In fact, the scale of the threats to the biosphere and all its lifeforms is so great that it is difficult to grasp for even well-informed experts," said lead author Corey Bradshaw of Australia's Flinders University in a statement. "The problem is compounded by ignorance and short-term self-interest, with the pursuit of wealth and political interests stymieing the action that is crucial for survival."
The paper explains that "while suggested solutions abound, the current scale of their implementation does not match the relentless progression of biodiversity loss and other existential threats tied to the continuous expansion of the human enterprise." According to its authors, "That we are already on the path of a sixth major extinction is now scientifically undeniable."
"With such a rapid, catastrophic loss of biodiversity, the ecosystem services it provides have also declined," the paper explains. Consequences include "reduced carbon sequestration, reduced pollination, soil degradation, poorer water and air quality, more frequent and intense flooding and fires, and compromised human health."
Highlighting estimates that the human population will near 10 billion by 2050, the scientists lay out how "large population size and continued growth are implicated in many societal problems," from food insecurity, soil degradation, biodiversity loss, and an increased chance of pandemics, to crowding, joblessness, deteriorating infrastructure, and bad governance.
The paper also details the planetary impacts of dirty energy and carbon-intensive food production, and says that "while climate change demands a full exit from fossil fuel use well before 2050, pressures on the biosphere are likely to mount prior to decarbonization as humanity brings energy alternatives online."
A section on failed international goals declares that "stopping biodiversity loss is nowhere close to the top of any country's priorities, trailing far behind other concerns such as employment, healthcare, economic growth, or currency stability."
"The dangerous effects of climate change are much more evident to people than those of biodiversity loss, but society is still finding it difficult to deal with them effectively," the scientists note, while decrying "utterly inadequate" efforts by governments to even try to meet the targets of the landmark Paris climate agreement.
They further decry the recent rise of right-wing, anti-environment agendas in countries including Australia, Brazil, and the United States — which recently denied President Donald Trump a second term. Ehrlich expressed hope that President-elect Joe Biden will work to deliver on the climate promises he made as a candidate.
Biden's vow to rejoin the Paris agreement "is positive news," but "it is a minuscule gesture given the scale of the challenge," Ehrlich said in a statement.
The president-elect "is moving in the right direction," Ehrlich told Common Dreams, pointing to the selection of former Secretary of State John Kerry as his climate envoy. However, "the Paris goals are increasingly looking inadequate," and "Biden's political opportunities to do anything major may be greatly constrained," he added.
What can Joe Biden do on climate change once he takes office? @DashaBurns looks into what he can accomplish with e… https://t.co/wBn29Ms1UX— NBC News NOW (@NBC News NOW)1610491169.0
Blumstein stressed that "recycling, using less plastic, eating less meat, taking public transportation, and flying less, while all important, will simply not create the rapid change we need now to save much of the Earth's biodiversity and our lives."
According to Blumstein, "We need rapid political change."
He urged voters to elect leaders who will end fossil fuel use as well as "eliminate perpetual economic growth and properly price externalities so that the environmental costs are built into the price of a product." He also emphasized the importance of access to education and reproductive control, and the need to rein in corporate lobbying and enact campaign finance reform so politicians serve citizens' needs.
"Ultimately," Blumstein added, "we must focus on making equity and well-being society's goals — not the constant accumulation of more junk."
In their paper, the UCLA scientist and his 16 co-authors "contend that only a realistic appreciation of the colossal challenges facing the international community might allow it to chart a less-ravaged future."
It is "incumbent on experts in any discipline that deals with the future of the biosphere and human well-being to eschew reticence, avoid sugar-coating the overwhelming challenges, ahead and 'tell it like it is,'" they conclude. "Anything else is misleading at best, or negligent and potentially lethal for the human enterprise at worst."
Reposted with permission from Common Dreams.