The plastic polluters won 2019 – and we’re running out of time to stop them | John Vidal
Further steps have been taken to clean up beaches and seas in 2019 – but much more needs to be done Source: The Guardian
Incendies : en Australie, le « monstre » est hors de contrôle
3 janvier 2020 / Gaspard d’Allens (Reporterre)
Depuis quatre mois, l’Australie lutte contre les pires incendies de son histoire, accentués par le dérèglement climatique. Près de 55.000 kilomètres carrés de terres ont brûlé. Les dommages humains et écologiques sont colossaux. Pourtant, le Premier ministre n’envisage nullement de renoncer au charbon, dont le pays est un gros producteur.
Interrogé par la chaîne australienne ABC, Rob Rogers, le commissionnaire adjoint au Rural Fire Service (RFS), a reconnu une forme d’impuissance : « Même 10.000 pompiers sur le terrain ne pourraient pas éteindre ces feux. Nous ne sommes plus capables de les contenir. Nous devons juste nous assurer qu’il n’y ait plus personne sur leur chemin. »
Alors que le mécontentement grandit dans l’opinion publique, Scott Morisson a dû écourter ses vacances de Noël à Honolulu, à Hawaï. Son inaction climatique est vilipendée. Le 19 décembre, à Sydney, des milliers de manifestants ont défilé sous les nuages de l’incendie pour réclamer l’arrêt de l’utilisation du charbon. En septembre, dans tout le pays, ils étaient plus de 250.000 à manifester.
La fronde monte mais Scott Morisson ne bouge pas d’un iota. Si cet évangéliste bénit l’action des pompiers, à majorité volontaire, il continue de favoriser l’implantation d’industries minières, très polluantes et émettrices de CO2, près de la barrière de corail. « Nous n’allons pas nous engager dans des objectifs irresponsables, destructeurs d’emploi et nuisibles pour l’économie », a-t-il répété sur les chaînes d’info nationales. « Je ne vais pas rayer de la carte l’emploi de milliers d’Australiens en m’éloignant des secteurs traditionnels. »(...)
Méga feux : « Nous ne vivons pas seulement dans l’Anthropocène mais dans le Pyrocène »
4 janvier 2020 / Entretien avec Joëlle Zask
(...) Quels liens faites-vous entre ces multiples incendies à travers le monde ?
Dans mon livre, je les ai rassemblé autour du terme de « méga feux ». Ces dernières années, le régime du feu a évolué. Les incendies sont devenus, selon les commentateurs, « extrêmes », « very large », « inextinguibles ». On parle de « monstre » en Australie, de « bête » en Californie. Ils sont incontrôlables. Quel que soit le nombre de personnes qu’on met sur le terrain, on ne peut plus les éteindre. On n’arrive même plus à protéger les logements. On fait simplement fuir les gens. La stratégie militaire qui déclare « la guerre au feu », à grand renfort de techno science, est impuissante.
Les incendies éclatent partout. Même le Groenland a brûlé en 2017. Des plaines enneigées ont pris feu. À l’été 2018, c’était au tour de la Lettonie et de la Suède jusqu’au cercle polaire. On ne peut pas les arrêter. En Sibérie, il a fallu attendre le changement de saison et la pluie pour que les feux s’éteignent. En Corse, on a des saisons du feu qui durent cinq mois.
Certains scénarios de la Nasa envisagent un embrassement des terres émergées. Quand on regarde le planisphère des feux, on se rend compte que leurs foyers se rapprochent de plus en plus les uns des autres. On estime qu’en 2050, 50 % des municipalités françaises seront exposés aux méga feux. (...)
Pardonnez-moi si je m’excuse mais je me permets de relayer cet article d’une officine incubatrice de « jeunes pousses » qui ont pris le parti de capitaliser sur la #catastrophe_durable, lequel article explique le phénomène des « dragons cracheur de feu » ou pyro-cumulonimbus :
Une autre source avec un petit croquis qui va bien (mais en accès abonné·es « only ») :
Et cet autre article du Guardian où des experts confirment que ces « méga-feux » sont bien des conséquences du réchauffement climatique avec une carte interactive qui permet de rapporter à un territoire connu l’étendue des ravages :
Par curiosité, quelques infos sur Cabramurra, la ville mentionnée par l’article ci-avant. En fait une cité-dortoir pour les employé·es de la centrale hydro-électrique.
Et sur le massif montagneux des Snowy Mountains, zone montagneuse la plus élevée de l’Australie et la mieux enneigée pendant l’hiver austral, laquelle zone a fait l’objet d’une surexploitation de la ressource en eau (barrages, déviations de cours d’eau) pour irriguer les terres arides. L’Australie : un pays qui donne l’ampleur du fiasco de la #géoingénierie à l’arrache et de l’#extractivisme propulsé par la rentabilité des #privatisations
Et un reportage qui relate l’exil contraint des résidents permanents pour laisser la place à une main d’œuvre mobile :
J’ai vu quelque part une comparaison des feux en Californie (petit point), Amazonie (petite tache) et Australie (grosse tache) pour aider à prendre la mesure du truc. Mais avec un certain site web qui fait écran sur le nom des recherches sur l’Amazonie, je ne retrouve pas cette infographie.
ça ? (tu remplaces Amazon par Brazil,…)
(ce n’est pas l’original puisqu’issu d’un site de compils)
apparemment issu de Reddit le 31/12/19
au passage, en juillet 2019, les incendies en Sibérie couvraient 5,1 millions d’hectares soit 12,6 millions d’acres (un poil plus grand que pour l’Australie et le double de ce qui est indiqué pour la Sibérie, mais ce n’est pas fini en Australie)
Feux en Australie : 24 morts, 100.000 personnes évacuées, un demi-milliard d’animaux morts
6 janvier 2020 / Gaspard d’Allens (Reporterre)
A-Z of climate anxiety: how to avoid meltdown | Environment | The Guardian
With the climate emergency putting our mental health at risk, Emma Beddington presents an everyday guide to eco wellbeing
Despite overwhelming evidence, truly terrifying institutional denial of the climate crisis continues. The Trump administration has blocked a congressional testimony warning about climate change, suppressed peer-reviewed government-funded studies on its effects, and fired a scientist who refused to alter reports to downplay its human causes. Worse, the administration likes to have its climate cake and eat it, denying the science while simultaneously pointing to the advanced state of ecological devastation as justification for not blocking fossil-fuel projects, whose incremental impact, they argue, would be negligible.
Meanwhile, President “Come back global warming, we need you” Trump has confirmed the US withdrawal from the Paris Agreement if he’s re-elected.
Oceans losing oxygen at unprecedented rate, experts warn | Environment | The Guardian
Oxygen in the oceans is being lost at an unprecedented rate, with “dead zones” proliferating and hundreds more areas showing oxygen dangerously depleted, as a result of the climate emergency and intensive farming, experts have warned.
Sharks, tuna, marlin and other large fish species were at particular risk, scientists said, with many vital ecosystems in danger of collapse. Dead zones – where oxygen is effectively absent – have quadrupled in extent in the last half-century, and there are also at least 700 areas where oxygen is at dangerously low levels, up from 45 when research was undertaken in the 1960s.
Recycling isn’t working – here are 15 ways to shrink your plastic footprint | Environment | The Guardian
Only 9% of plastics get recycled, and significant reductions will require systemic change – but there are easy tips for individuals to cut back
Fossil fuel lobbyists push to dilute EU anti-greenwash plan | Environment | The Guardian
Fossil fuel lobbyists are trying to water down planned EU rules to stop “investment greenwashing’ by setting science-based criteria for any investment which lays claim to being environmentally sustainable.
A report from lobbyist watchdog InfluenceMap has found that although some investors support the “green labelling” rules, 98% of Europe’s 50 largest investors are members of lobby groups trying to weaken the proposals.
The new “green taxonomy” law would enable the EU to set science-based criteria for what kind of investments can be marketed as “environmentally sustainable”.
The Struggle to Save #Heirloom Rice in India
Long-forgotten varieties of the staple crop can survive flood, drought and other calamities. The challenge is bringing them back
“...the long-term #sustainability of #rice farming depends crucially on the restoration of traditional #farming practices based on #biodiversity and use of the full diversity of crop varieties that have survived the onslaught of industrial farming.”
Why India’s farmers want to conserve indigenous heirloom rice
India was once home to 100,000 rice varieties, but high-yield, less hardy hybrids have taken over encouraging farmers to safeguard more resistant strains.
India is rice country: the cereal provides daily sustenance for more than 60% of the population. Half a century ago, it was home to more than 100,000 rice varieties, encompassing a stunning diversity in taste, nutrition, pest-resistance and, crucially in this age of climate change and natural disasters, adaptability to a range of conditions.
Today, much of this biodiversity is irretrievably lost, forced out by the quest for high-yield hybrids and varieties encouraged by government agencies. Such “superior” varieties now cover more than 80% of India’s rice acreage.
The Koraput region in the state of Odisha in India’s east was historically among the world’s leading areas of rice diversification. In the 1950s, an official survey found farmers here growing more than 1,700 different rice varieties. Now, more than 1,400 farmers in the region are at the heart of a movement to safeguard what remains of this genetic wealth.
The effort is anchored by a small conservation team led by ecologist Dr Debal Deb. Almost 200 of the 1,200 varieties in Deb’s collection have been sourced from Koraput’s farmers, indicating that villagers have not abandoned their native seeds for modern varieties. Anxious that his collection not end up as the last repository of endangered local varieties, Deb asked some farmers to grow them and circulate their seeds to help safeguard them from extinction.
Several farmers outlined economic reasons for not abandoning indigenous heirloom varieties, which they refer to as “desi dhaan”, as opposed to modern hybrids, “sarkari dhaan”, quite literally, “government rice”. “With hybrids, we have to keep spending money on buying them,” one farmer said. “With desi, we store our seeds carefully and use them the following season.”
Other farmers wanted to get off the pesticide treadmill to reduce costs and stem the visible ill-effects of chemicals on soil quality and biodiversity. “Hybrids demand ever-increasing pesticide applications and our costs go up in an unsustainable way,” said farmer Duryodhan Gheuria.
Gheuria cultivated four desi varieties – Kolamali, Sonaseri, Tikkichuri, Kosikamon – “just like generations of my family”. After encountering Deb’s team, Gheuria began growing three more endangered heirlooms: Samudrabaali, Raji and Governmentchuri.
Heirloom varieties, adapted over centuries to local ecologies, also proved hardier in the face of problems such as pests and drought, the farmers said. In contrast, modern varieties bred in faraway labs were designed for the neat routines of intensive agriculture. They were tailored for mechanised farming, intended to absorb large doses of chemical fertilisers and predictable supplies of water. But farmers reported that such varieties were unsuited for the variable conditions they cultivated in, from undulating land to increasingly unpredictable weather.
The nephew and uncle farming team Laxminath and Sadan Gouda said that on flood-prone land along a riverbank like theirs, modern varieties fared poorly. “They barely grow, pests attack them … we face a world of trouble. But desi dhaan grow well, which is why we will never abandon them.”
Many farmers reported that some heirloom varieties were able to withstand cyclones better than the modern ones, while others could cope better in conditions of drought or low rainfall.
Farmers had other reasons to prefer desi varieties. Their taller paddy stalks yielded valuable byproducts: fodder for cattle, mulch for the soil, and hay for thatching the roofs of their homes, unlike the short-statured modern varieties.
And then there is the universal motivation of taste. Scented varieties like Kolaajeera and Kolakrushna has a sweet aroma, making cooking and eatingthe rice a pleasurable experience.
“With sarkaari rice, even if you have three vegetables accompanying it, it does not taste that good,” laughed farmer Gomati Raut. “Our desi rice, you can eat it by itself.”
Deb has said that having a huge number of rice varieties is not an end in itself. “Rice conservation is a handle to ask ourselves, how do we build sustainability in our societies?” he said.
It is a question India must increasingly confront, with increasingly depleted water tables, infertile soils, greenhouse emissions and debt that pushes farmers to suicide.
Meanwhile, hundreds of farmers in Koraput embody an alternative model of agricultural development. Drawing on centuries of knowledge and skills, these farmers sustain 200 rice varieties. In the process, they are reducing their dependence on external agencies, from the seed company and the pesticide seller to the government subsidy and bank loan.
By reviving seeds, they are also reviving food, taste, ritual, nutrition, and sustainability – attributes often forgotten as a result of the obsession with yield. Attributes that make rice more than just a bundle of calories and starch.
Climate crisis: 11,000 scientists warn of ‘untold suffering’ | Environment | The Guardian
Use energy far more efficiently and apply strong carbon taxes to cut fossil fuel use
Stabilise global population – currently growing by 200,000 people a day – using ethical approaches such as longer education for girls
End the destruction of nature and restore forests and mangroves to absorb CO2
Eat mostly plants and less meat, and reduce food waste
Shift economic goals away from GDP growth
World Scientists’ Warning of a Climate Emergency
William J Ripple, Christopher Wolf, Thomas M Newsome, Phoebe Barnard, William R Moomaw, BioScience, biz088 (2019)
Climate crisis: 11,000 scientists warn of ‘untold suffering’ | Environment | The Guardian
The world’s people face “untold suffering due to the climate crisis” unless there are major transformations to global society, according to a stark warning from more than 11,000 scientists.
“We declare clearly and unequivocally that planet Earth is facing a climate emergency,” it states. “To secure a sustainable future, we must change how we live. [This] entails major transformations in the ways our global society functions and interacts with natural ecosystems.”
There is no time to lose, the scientists say: “The climate crisis has arrived and is accelerating faster than most scientists expected. It is more severe than anticipated, threatening natural ecosystems and the fate of humanity.”
Et moi, je viens de trouver mon petit animal préféré... le # Costasiella_kuroshimae
Amazing sea slug eats so much algae it can ‘photosynthesize’
Amazon rainforest ’close to irreversible tipping point’ | Amazon rainforest | The Guardian
Forecast suggests rainforest could stop producing enough rain to sustain itself by 2021
Why we’re rethinking the images we use for our climate journalism | Environment | The Guardian
Guardian picture editor Fiona Shields explains why we are going to be using fewer polar bears and more people to illustrate our coverage of the climate emergency
’It’s a crisis, not a change’: the six Guardian language changes on climate matters
A short glossary of the changes we’ve made to the Guardian’s style guide, for use by our journalists and editors when writing about the environment
In addition to providing updated guidelines on which images our editors should use to illustrate the climate emergency, we have updated our style guide to introduce terms that more accurately describe the environmental crises facing the world. Our editor-in-chief, Katharine Viner, said: “We want to ensure that we are being scientifically precise, while also communicating clearly with readers on this very important issue”. These are the guidelines provided to our journalists and editors to be used in the production of all environment coverage across the Guardian’s website and paper:
1.) “climate emergency” or “climate crisis” to be used instead of “climate change”
Climate change is no longer considered to accurately reflect the seriousness of the overall situation; use climate emergency or climate crisis instead to describe the broader impact of climate change. However, use climate breakdown or climate change or global heating when describing it specifically in a scientific or geophysical sense eg “Scientists say climate breakdown has led to an increase in the intensity of hurricanes”.
2.) “climate science denier” or “climate denier” to be used instead of “climate sceptic”
The OED defines a sceptic as “a seeker of the truth; an inquirer who has not yet arrived at definite conclusions”. Most “climate sceptics”, in the face of overwhelming scientific evidence, deny climate change is happening, or is caused by human activity, so ‘denier’ is more accurate.
3.) Use “global heating” not “global warming”
‘Global heating’ is more scientifically accurate. Greenhouse gases form an atmospheric blanket that stops the sun’s heat escaping back to space.
4.) “greenhouse gas emissions” is preferred to “carbon emissions” or “carbon dioxide emissions”. Although carbon emissions is not inaccurate, if we’re talking about all gases that warm the atmosphere, this term recognises all of the climate-damaging gases, including methane, nitrogen oxides, CFCs etc.
5.) Use “wildlife”, not “biodiversity”
We felt that ‘wildlife’ is a much more accessible word and is fair to use in many stories, and is a bit less clinical when talking about all the creatures with whom we share the planet.
6.) Use “fish populations” instead of “fish stocks”
This change emphasises that fish do not exist solely to be harvested by humans – they play a vital role in the natural health of the oceans.
Since we announced these changes, they have been reported widely, shared across social media channels, and even prompted some other media outlets to reconsider the terms they use in their own coverage.
The update to the Guardian’s style guide, originally announced earlier this year, followed the addition of the global carbon dioxide level to the Guardian’s daily weather pages – the simplest measure of how the mass burning of fossil fuels is disrupting the stable climate. To put it simply, while weather changes daily, climate changes over years and decades. So alongside the daily carbon count, we publish the level in previous years for comparison, as well as the pre-industrial-era baseline of 280ppm, and the level seen as manageable in the long term of 350ppm.
In order to keep below 1.5C of warming, the aspiration of the world’s nations, we need to halve emissions by 2030 and reach zero by mid century. It is also likely we will need to remove CO2 from the atmosphere, perhaps by the large-scale restoration of nature. It is a huge task, but we hope that tracking the daily rise of CO2 will help to maintain focus on it.
Viner said: “People need reminding that the climate crisis is no longer a future problem – we need to tackle it now, and every day matters.”
Top investment banks provide billions to expand fossil fuel industry | Environment | The Guardian
The world’s largest investment banks have provided more than $700bn of financing for the fossil fuel companies most aggressively expanding in new coal, oil and gas projects since the Paris climate change agreement, figures show.
The financing has been led by the Wall Street giant JPMorgan Chase, which has provided $75bn (£61bn) to companies expanding in sectors such as fracking and Arctic oil and gas exploration, according to the analysi
First meat grown in space lab 248 miles from Earth | Science | The Guardian
Lab-grown meat has been successfully cultured in space for the first time.
The Israeli food technology startup #Aleph°Farms grew the meat on the International Space Station, 248 miles (399 km) away from any natural resources.
Bovine cells were harvested on Earth and taken to space, where they were grown into small-scale muscle tissue using a 3D bioprinter. The method relies on mimicking a natural process of muscle-tissue regeneration occurring inside a cow’s body.
The experiment took place on 26 September on the Russian segment of the space station, and involved the assembly of small-scale muscle tissue in a 3D bioprinter under controlled microgravity conditions. In future the technique could be used to provide meat for people living on the space station.
10 mois après la première terrestre
World’s first lab-grown steak revealed – but the taste needs work | Environment | The Guardian
The first steak grown from cells in the lab and not requiring the slaughter of a cow has been produced in Israel.
The meat is not the finished article: the prototype costs $50 for a small strip, and the taste needs perfecting, according to its makers. But it is the first meat grown outside an animal that has a muscle-like texture similar to conventional meat.
Israeli test-tube steak smells real, feels real... and may even be kosher | The Times of Israel (14/12/18)
Regarding religious dietary requirements, Toubia said there is disagreement as to whether the product is considered meat — and thus a religiously observant person would have to abide by the Jewish dietary requirement of not eating it with milk products — or whether it is pareve, i.e., neither meat or milk.
“That is the most significant question” for the considerations of the kosher consumer, Toubia said. “I believe that technically it is a meat product, because it is made from cells and we reproduce the same taste and texture. Some rabbis think it should be pareve, but we don’t necessarily agree.”
In 2013, Rabbi Menachem Genack, CEO of the Orthodox Union’s kosher division, said that meat from a lab-grown hamburger could be consumed with dairy products.
Obviously, to be kosher, the cells need to come from an animal that is considered kosher – so no pig meat would be allowed yet, Toubia said. Other considerations that need to be taken into account when considering kosher consumption is where the cells are taken from. If they come from a slaughtered animal, then the slaughtering process should have been a kosher process. Also relevant is how the cells are cultured; all the added ingredients must be kosher.
“We don’t disclose how we get our cells, but we are not taking cells from dead animals,” Toubia said.
’Plastic recycling is a myth’: what really happens to your rubbish? | Environment | The Guardian
You sort your recycling, leave it to be collected – and then what? From councils burning the lot to foreign landfill sites overflowing with British rubbish, Oliver Franklin-Wallis reports on a global waste crisis
Philippines is deadliest country for defenders of environment | Environment | The Guardian
The Philippines has replaced Brazil as the most murderous country in the world for people defending their land and environment, according to research that puts a spotlight on the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.