By Roger Harrabin BBC environment analyst, 18 January 2018
Manmade climate change is now dwarfing the influence of natural trends on the climate, scientists say.
Last year was the second or third hottest year on record – after 2016 and on a par with 2015, the data shows.
But those two years were affected by El Niño – the natural phenomenon centred on the tropical Pacific Ocean which works to boost temperatures worldwide.
Take out this natural variability and 2017 would probably have been the warmest year yet, the researchers say.
The acting director of the UK Met Office, Prof Peter Stott, told BBC News: “It’s extraordinary that temperatures in 2017 have been so high when there’s no El Niño. In fact, we’ve been going into cooler La Niña conditions.
“Last year was substantially warmer than 1998 which had a very big El Niño.
“It shows clearly that the biggest natural influence on the climate is being dwarfed by human activities – predominantly CO₂ emissions.”
Published on Jan 22, 2016
We rely on antibiotics to treat everything from stomach bugs to skin rashes to bronchitis. In fact, we’ve been overusing them—and in doing so giving rise to new crop of dangerous bacterial infections that can’t be treated by anything we can get at the pharmacy. The more we use antibiotics, the more we help these superbugs build up their resistance. It’s an evolutionary battle, and the humans are losing. The projections are dire: according to some experts, antibiotic-resistant bacteria could kill 10 million people a year by 2050, surpassing cancer deaths.
With their backs to the wall, scientists are now racing to find new natural sources of anti-bacterial compounds. VICE’s Thomas Morton travels along as they search deep in the jungle and deep underground for the life-saving drugs we so desperately need.
Then: palm oil is used in almost all of the foods we eat and most of our household products—everything from packaged bread to cookies to toothpaste and soap. Production of palm oil has surged as a cheap alternative to trans fats. But as demand grows, growers in Indonesia are pushing farther and farther onto rainforest land, torching the forests as they go. The mass-burning of Indonesian jungles poses a major threat to wildlife, indigenous populations, and our global climate.
Three years after the Tohoku earthquake in Japan, citizens and the international community are left wondering if Japan really does have the situation in Fukushima under control. Then, Ryan Duffy talks with veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan who are struggling with mental illness, addiction, and PTSD—often over-prescribed narcotics and other pharmaceuticals that bring their own sets of problems.
Published on Jan 15, 2016
A recent study funded by the Department of Homeland Security found that law enforcement considers domestic right wing groups as two of the top three greatest terrorist threats to America. Nestled within our own borders, these citizens, many of whom are highly trained veterans, are on a mission to protect and defend the rights of the Constitution. After the election of President Obama, the number of these groups skyrocketed by over 800 percent— reaching an all-time high in 2012 with over 1,300 groups. In an effort to understand this phenomenon better, VICE sent host Gianna Toboni to investigate these so-called patriots, training and taking up arms along the border.
Then: during the last six decades, the boom of industrial fishing has nearly wiped out the top level of the marine food chain, depleting about 90 percent of the world’s large predatory fish. While big fishing operations continue to prosper as they go deeper into the ocean, small-scale coastal fishermen continue to seek out new fishing practices to survive. Some have even gone so far as to use such rudimentary practices as dynamite fishing to catch a few fish while wreaking havoc on the ecosystem.
Oceans play a critical role in feeding our growing population: three billion people around the world depend on fish as a major protein source. But with 80 percent of fisheries around the world lacking formal scientific assessments, we’re still just beginning to understand how much damage overfishing has done. VICE sent correspondent Isobel Yeung to the Mozambique Channel and the Gulf of Mexico to get an idea of how much we’ve overfished our oceans and what we can now do to save them.
Genetically modified seeds have been planted around the world and hailed as a solution to global hunger—but these crops, called GMOs for “genetically modified organisms,” have also sparked heated protest around the world. Isobel Yeung traces the path of these super-crops from the headquarters of American agribusiness titan Monsanto to the soy fields of Paraguay, and visits the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, high in the Arctic, to see what’s truly at stake when humans try to improve on nature. Then: India is the largest democracy on Earth, with an advanced economy, a highly educated population, and cutting-edge space and nuclear weapons programs. But like many countries around the world, India hasn’t been able to provide adequate clean water and sanitation systems for its growing population. Open defecation is widespread, and about 80 percent of sewage in India’s cities flows directly into vital waterways like the Ganges. Tania Rashid goes to India to see just how bad the problem is, and why water is such a pressing issue around the world.
Vladimir Putin interviewed by Oliver Stone… Russian leader is misunderstood by the West. Stone attended Yale University in 1964-65 but dropped out after one year. In June of 1965, as the first U.S. troops arrived in Vietnam, Stone taught at the Free Pacific Institute, a Catholic high school in the ethnic Chinese district of Saigon. In 1966, he signed on to the U.S. Merchant Marine, where he worked as a “wiper” in the engine room below deck on several ships. His travels took him from Asia back to Oregon and then Mexico. In Guadalajara, he began writing a first novel, a 1,400-page manuscript entitled “A Child’s Night Dream”. He later reedited the novel down to a manageable 236 pages, which was released 30 years later by St. Martin’s Press (1997). In 1967, Stone enlisted in the United States Army and served in the 25th Infantry Division near the Cambodian border, where he was wounded twice, and then later in the 1st Calvary Division in the northernmost part of Vietnam. He was honored with a Bronze Star for heroism and Purple Heart for his service.
Director Oliver Stone joined Ron Suskind, a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, for a conversation about his upcoming film Snowden. In a both informative and entertaining Forum, Stone explained the artistic process and difficulties of translating the controversial story of Edward Snowden into a film. While answering questions from the audience, Stone touched on his work in prior films, his motivation in telling political stories through cinema, and his views on the state of America’s government surveillance programs.
When NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden leaked details of massive government surveillance programs in 2013, he ignited a raging debate over digital privacy and security. That debate came to a head this year, when Apple refused an FBI court order to access the iPhone of alleged San Bernardino Terrorist Syed Farook. Meanwhile, journalists and activists are under increasing attack from foreign agents. To find out the government’s real capabilities, and whether any of us can truly protect our sensitive information, VICE founder Shane Smith heads to Moscow to meet the man who started the conversation, Edward Snowden.
Welcome to Transition Studies. To prosper for very much longer on the changing Earth humankind will need to move beyond its current fossil-fueled civilization toward one that is sustained on recycled materials and renewable energy. This is not a trivial shift. It will require a major transition in all aspects of our lives.
This weblog explores the transition to a sustainable future on our finite planet. It provides links to current news, key documents from government sources and non-governmental organizations, as well as video documentaries about climate change, environmental ethics and environmental justice concerns.
The links are listed here to be used in whatever manner they may be helpful in public information campaigns, course preparation, teaching, letter-writing, lectures, class presentations, policy discussions, article writing, civic or Congressional hearings and citizen action campaigns, etc. For further information on this blog see: About this weblog. and How to use this weblog.
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