Daily Archives: February 12, 2019

Pentagon slush fund discovered

Who will feed China’s growing middle class?

Who’s behind the Chinese takeover of a U.S. pork producer?

The farming robots of tomorrow are here today | The Future IRL

Chicago wrapped in ice after freezing rain

Climate Change & Our Health with STEVEN MILES

Report: 40% of Insects May Go Extinct in Near Future

Feb 12, 2019

In science news, a shocking new report warns the rapid decline of the world’s insect population could lead to the “catastrophic collapse of nature’s ecosystems.” The report, published in the journal Biological Conservation, estimates 40 percent of insect species are in decline and could go extinct in the next few decades. Insects are vital for their role in pollinating plants, purifying the soil and water, recycling natural waste and protecting crops from pests. The report says that unsustainable, pesticide-dependent industrial agriculture is the main cause of the die-off, but the report also cites warming temperatures as a factor.

See:

The End of Ice: Dahr Jamail on Climate Disruption from the Melting Himalayas to Insect Extinction

Democracy Now!

Published on Feb 12, 2019

https://democracynow.org – A new report finds at least a third of the Himalayan ice cap will melt by the end of the century due to climate change, even if the world’s most ambitious environmental reforms are implemented. The report, released by the Hindu Kush Himalaya Assessment earlier this month, is the culmination of half a decade’s work by over 200 scientists, with an additional 125 experts peer reviewing their work. It warns rising temperatures in the Himalayas could lead to mass population displacement, as well as catastrophic food and water insecurity. The glaciers are a vital water source for the 250 million people who live in the Hindu Kush Himalaya range, which spans from Afghanistan to Burma. More than 1.5 billion people depend on the rivers that flow from the Himalayan peaks. We speak with Dahr Jamail, independent journalist and author of the new book “The End of Ice: Bearing Witness and Finding Meaning in the Path of Climate Disruption.”

Environment in multiple crises – report – BBC News

By Roger Harrabin BBC environment analyst

Politicians and policymakers have failed to grasp the gravity of the environmental crisis facing the Earth, a report claims.

The think-tank IPPR says human impacts have reached a critical stage and threaten to destabilise society and the global economy.

Scientists warn of a potentially deadly combination of factors.

These include climate change, mass loss of species, topsoil erosion, forest felling and acidifying oceans.

The report from the centre-left Institute for Public Policy Research says these factors are “driving a complex, dynamic process of environmental destabilisation that has reached critical levels.

“This destabilisation is occurring at speeds unprecedented in human history and, in some cases, over billions of years.”

So what is needed?

The IPPR warns that the window of opportunity to avoid catastrophic outcomes is rapidly closing.

The authors urge three shifts in political understanding: on the scale and pace of environmental breakdown; the implications for societies; and the subsequent need for transformative change.

They say since 2005, the number of floods across the world has increased by 15 times, extreme temperature events by 20 times, and wildfires seven-fold.

…(read more).

Global insect decline may see ‘plague of pests’ – BBC News

By Matt McGrath Environment correspondent  11 February 2019

A scientific review of insect numbers suggests that 40% of species are undergoing “dramatic rates of decline” around the world.

[Urgent scientific report: listen to BBC Newshour report, 11 February 2019:]

The study says that bees, ants and beetles are disappearing eight times faster than mammals, birds or reptiles.

But researchers say that some species, such as houseflies and cockroaches, are likely to boom.

The general insect decline is being caused by intensive agriculture, pesticides and climate change.

Insects make up the majority of creatures that live on land, and provide key benefits to many other species, including humans.

They provide food for birds, bats and small mammals; they pollinate around 75% of the crops in the world; they replenish soils and keep pest numbers in check.

Many other studies in recent years have shown that individual species of insects, such as bees, have suffered huge declines, particularly in developed economies.

But this new paper takes a broader look.

Published in the journal Biological Conservation, it reviews 73 existing studies from around the world published over the past13 years.

The researchers found that declines in almost all regions may lead to the extinction of 40% of insects over the next few decades. One-third of insect species are classed as Endangered.

…(read more).