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Author Topic: Pluto in Cap, the climate, ecology and environment topic  (Read 143169 times)
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« Reply #1125 on: Jul 07, 2014, 07:10 AM »

Rolling Coal: Conservatives ‘screw’ Obama by modifying trucks to spew toxic black smoke

By David Edwards
Monday, July 7, 2014 9:03 EDT

Conservatives who detest President Barack Obama and EPA clean air regulations are modifying their vehicles to purposefully spew black smoke into the atmosphere.

So-called “coal rollers” install smoke stacks and special equipment in their diesel trucks that makes the engine think that it needs more fuel, resulting in plumes of black smoke.

According to Slate’s Dave Weigel, the phenomenon is not new, but it is becoming more popular among conservatives who want to protest the president and his efforts to clean up the environment.

“I run into a lot of people that really don’t like Obama at all,” a smoke stack seller in Wisconsin told Weigel. “If he’s into the environment, if he’s into this or that, we’re not. I hear a lot of that.”

“To get a single stack on my truck—that’s my way of giving them the finger,” he added. “You want clean air and a tiny carbon footprint? Well, screw you.”

In June, Vocativ reported on the trend of “coal rollers” using their toxic exhaust as revenge against “nature nuffies” who drive environmentally friendly cars, like the Toyota Prius.

“The feeling around here is that everyone who drives a small car is a liberal,” a South Carolina truck owner named Ryan explained. “I rolled coal on a Prius once just because they were tailing me.”

“It’s bad for the environment. That’s definitely true,” he admitted. “And some of the kids that have diesel trucks can look like tools. And you can cause a wreck, but everything else about it is pretty good.”

The Clean Air Task Force estimates that pollutants from diesel vehicles “lead to 21,000 premature deaths each year and create a cancer risk that is seven times greater than the combined risk of all 181 other air toxics tracked by the EPA.”

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« Reply #1126 on: Jul 09, 2014, 05:58 AM »

Why whale poop could be the secret to reversing the effects of climate change

By Philip Hoare, The Guardian
Wednesday, July 9, 2014 3:29 EDT

I have been at the wrong end of a defecating sperm whale: it smells, it’s nutrient rich, and could just save the world

The first success of the environmental movements of the 1960s was to save the whale. Now, with deep irony, whales may be about to save us with their poo. A new scientific report from the University of Vermont, which gathers together several decades of research, shows that the great whales which nearly became extinct in the 20th century – and are now recovering in number due to the 1983 ban on whaling – may be the enablers of massive carbon sinks via their prodigious production of faeces.

Not only do the nutrients in whale poo feed other organisms, from phytoplankton upwards – and thereby absorb the carbon we humans are pumping into the atmosphere – even in death the sinking bodies of these massive animals create new resources on the sea bed, where entire species exist solely to graze on rotting whale. There’s an additional and direct benefit for humans, too. Contrary to the suspicions of fishermen that whales take their catch, cetacean recovery could “lead to higher rates of productivity in locations where whales aggregate to feed and give birth”. Their fertilizing faeces here, too, would encourage phytoplankton which in turn would encourage healthier fisheries.

Such propositions speak to our own species’ arrogance. As demonstrated in the fantastical geoengineering projects dreamed up to address climate change, the human race’s belief that the world revolves around it knows no bounds. What if whales were nature’s ultimate geoengineers? The new report only underlines what has been suspected for some time: that cetaceans, both living and dead, are ecosystems in their own right. But it also raises a hitherto unexplored prospect, that climate change may have been accelerated by the terrible whale culls of the 20th century, which removed hundreds of thousands of these ultimate facilitators of CO2 absorption. As Greg Gatenby, the acclaimed Canadian writer on whales told me in response to the Vermont report, “about 300,000 blue whales were taken in the 20th century. If you average each whale at 100 tons, that makes for the removal from the ocean of approximately 30m tons of biomass. And that’s just for one species”.

There’s another irony here, too. American whaling, as celebrated in Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick (1851), declined in part because of the discovery of mineral oil wells in the second half of the 19th century. One unsustainable resource – the whale oil which lit and lubricated the industrial revolution – was replaced by another. By killing so many whales, then turning to carbon-emitting mineral oil, humans created a double-whammy for climate change. (Conversely, and perhaps perversely, some US commentators have claimed that capitalism saved the whales rather than environmentalists. They contend that our use of mineral oil actually alleviated the pressure on whale populations – proof, they say, that human ingenuity has the ultimate power to solve the planet’s problems).

The 10 scientists who jointly contributed to the new paper note the benefits of “an ocean repopulated by the great whales”. Working on a whalewatching boat off Cape Cod last month, I witnessed astonishing numbers of fin whales, humpbacks and minkes feeding on vast schools of sand eels. I watched dozens of whales at a time, co-operatively hoovering up the bait – and producing plentiful clouds of poo in the process. (Having been at the receiving end of a defecating sperm whale, I can testify to its richly odiferous qualities.)

Observers in the Azores have reported similarly remarkable concentrations of cetaceans this summer. And with a 10% increase in humpback calves returning to Australian waters each year, and blue whales being seen in the Irish Sea, a burgeoning global population of cetaceans might not just be good for the whalewatching industry, they may play a significant role in the planet’s rearguard action against climate change.

It would certainly be a generous return on their part, given what we’ve inflicted on them. Indeed, as Melville imagined in his prophetic chapter in Moby-Dick, Does the Whale’s Magnitude Diminish?, the whale might yet have the last laugh, regaining its reign in a flooded world of the future to “spout his frothed defiance to the skies”. © Guardian News and Media 2014

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« Reply #1127 on: Jul 09, 2014, 06:50 AM »

U.S., China ink coal and clean energy deals in climate ‘cooperation’

By Reuters
Wednesday, July 9, 2014 3:03 EDT

The United States and China on Tuesday signed eight partnership pacts to cut greenhouse gases, bringing the world’s two biggest carbon emitters closer together on climate policy.

The deals, which involve companies and research bodies, were signed in Beijing ahead of a two-day visit to China by top Obama administration officials, including Secretary of State John Kerry, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz.

The signing was attended by Xie Zhenhua, vice chairman of China’s influential economic planner, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), Todd Stern, the lead U.S. climate treaty negotiator at the U.S. State Department, Obama adviser John Podesta and Lee Zak, director of the U.S. Trade and Development Agency.

In one of the memoranda of understanding (MOUs), China’s Huaneng Clean Energy Research Institute, a subsidiary of state-owned power company China Huaneng and Washington-based Summit Power Group agreed to share information on clean coal power generation technology.

Huaneng is part of a Chinese consortium operating a 400-MW pilot integrated gasification combined cycle plant in Tianjin.

Under the pact, Huaneng will share information with Summit Power, which is expected to soon break ground on a similar project in Texas after it secures engineering and procurement support from Petrochina and Chinese engineering firm Huanqiu Contracting and Engineering.

The MOU is expected to be signed on Wednesday in Beijing.

Summit, in turn, will share information and technology for recovering oil from captured carbon.

“This (pact) accelerates sharing of information on carbon capture and storage for power,” said Julio Friedmann, deputy assistant Secretary for Clean Coal for the U.S. Department of Energy.

The partnership will be a boon to both countries, said Laura Miller, a former mayor of Dallas who now manages the Texas Clean Energy Project.

“We will be sharing expertise, years of development experience and non-proprietary technology on both projects, all while making giant steps forward for the world’s environment,” she said in an interview.

Another project partners West Virginia University with Yanchang Petroleum on an industrialized demonstration of ultra-cleaning technology in northern Shaanxi province.

The University of Kentucky, another coal state university, will partner with Shanxi Coal International Energy Group and Air Products and Chemicals Inc on a project feasibility study for a 350MW supercritical coal-fired power plant that can capture 2 million tonnes of CO2 a year.

At a news briefing in the Chinese capital on Wednesday, the NDRC’s Xie welcomed the closer partnership of the world’s top two CO2 emitters, but said more was needed in areas such as technological cooperation.

“Developing countries are most concerned that they get funds and technological support from developed countries,” he said. “On this issue, we are still having great difficulties and we have to put forth more effort.”

China has led the way in trying to persuade developed countries to set up financing mechanisms to help poorer nations cut emissions and adapt to climate change.

The issue remains a major stumbling-block in talks on a new global accord, with the United States and others reluctant to commit funds.

Xie told Chinese media on Tuesday that wider two-way talks would include a special high-level meeting on climate change, focused on discussing domestic and international policies and possible cooperation.

The U.S. delegation is in China for the sixth round of the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue, which are high-level meetings on cooperation in areas from security to agriculture.

(Additional reporting by Michael Martina and Kathy Chen in Beijing; Editing by Ros Krasny and Clarence Fernandez)

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« Reply #1128 on: Jul 09, 2014, 06:52 AM »

Doctors look to technology — including Jeopardy-winning supercomputer — to battle Ebola outbreak

By Monica Mark, The Guardian
Wednesday, July 9, 2014 3:35 EDT

From supercomputers to smartphones, technology could play greater role in combating spread of disease in west Africa

A Jeopardy-winning supercomputer is among technologies that could help prevent future Ebola epidemics such as the outbreak that has killed more than 460 people in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia.

Doctors have called for greater use of emerging technologies to curb the outbreak, and said many cases were going undetected as victims opted for self-help or traditional cures.

“Emerging technologies can help early-warning systems, outbreak response and communication between healthcare providers, wildlife and veterinary professionals,” four doctors at the Mercy hospital research laboratory in the Sierra Leone city of Bo wrote in the Lancet.

The team, headed by a US-based specialist, Karen Jacobsen, said smartphones should play a greater role in combating the disease.

“Our laboratory and others in the region have shown that routine syndromic surveillance systems can be designed to rely on mobile phones which have become ubiquitous in west Africa,” they wrote. Researchers forecast that mobile internet use in Africa will increase 20-fold in the next five years – double the rate of growth in the rest of the world.

Doctors – numbering as few as one per 10,000 patients in rural Guinea – have struggled to contain the spread of Ebola, which can have a fatality rate of up to 90%. Almost four decades after its discovery, the virus has no cure or vaccine.

This year IBM announced a $100m project to use its Watson supercomputer to help solve African problems. Watson has been used to help treat cancer patients in the US and understands human language well enough that it was able to beat two champions on the US TV quiz show Jeopardy in 2011. Its ability to “learn” after rapidly analysing huge amounts of data sets it apart from conventional supercomputers that focus on number crunching.

IBM’s west Africa director, Taiwo Otiti, said: “The beauty about Watson is it’s a community computer. You could feed it information about Ebola cases, for instance, and then you could ask it questions, and it will give you a prognosis and suggest the best treatment for a particular patient based on that data.”

Access to the system could enable poorer parts of Africa to “leapfrog” stages of development in much the same way that mobile phones took off across the continent in places lacking landline infrastructure, Michel Bézy, a Rwanda-based technology professor who helped develop the Watson system, told the Guardian at the project’s launch.

Other technology is being adopted to help curb diseases such as measles and malaria still epidemic in Africa. Researchers in Burkina Faso use satellite data to track Saharan dust storms and their connection with meningitis, an airborne disease transmitted more easily in dusty conditions.

And simple text messages have played a vital role in health education. Fiona Mclysaght, Sierra Leone director of NGO Concern, said: “It’s a very useful medium to dispel myths and help change attitudes, and we’ve been using it a lot in urban areas.” © Guardian News and Media 2014

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« Reply #1129 on: Jul 10, 2014, 06:25 AM »

Poland a challenge to EU 2030 climate goals, warns Ed Davey

UK energy secretary says Poland opposing new climate goals because of reliance on coal, reports RTCC

Megan Darby for RTCC, part of the Guardian Environment Network, Thursday 10 July 2014 09.17 BST      

Poland is “the real challenge” to a European agreement on carbon cutting targets for 2030, the UK energy secretary has warned.

Brussels is aiming to agree a 2030 climate and energy package by October, that can contribute to global negotiations in Lima scheduled for December. Draft proposals published by the European Commission in January included a 40% carbon reduction target.

Meanwhile, Europe is also working on policy to boost energy security, after tensions in the Ukraine sparked concern over the bloc’s reliance on Russian fossil fuel imports.

Ed Davey, UK energy and climate change secretary, told a parliamentary committee there is “huge overlap” between security of supply and climate change policies. ”Energy efficiency is the most important policy for both. Having home grown energy, whether nuclear or renewables, is one of the best ways of having energy security.”

Poland is an exception, he said, due to its dependence on polluting coal for energy. ”From a Polish perspective, coal gives them energy security. That is why you have got to put yourself in the shoes of the Polish government and Polish industry.”

Davey has been engaging “extremely actively” with Poland and the other central European countries that form the Visegrad Group: Hungary, Czech Republic and Slovakia.

These countries teamed up with Bulgaria, Croatia and Romania in May to demand compensation for the “excessive burden” of climate targets imposed by Europe.

In the 2020 framework Europe is currently working towards, some member states were given a more demanding share of the overall target than others. Davey said that approach could be extended. Backing Poland to develop carbon capture and storage could also help, he suggested.

Subject to Poland coming round, Europe should “at least” be able to agree on a 40% emissions cut, Davey told the House of Lords. ”I would regard 40% as a good outcome but I would not leave it there.”

Davey said Europe needs to be more ambitious to limit global temperature rises to 2C. ”We were never going to get there in one go, that is realpolitik, but in the context of a global deal we could go to 50%.”

Recent developments in China and the USA are “really heartening”, Davey said. He will also be discussing the matter with India, which has just elected new prime minister Narendra Modi. ”If prime minister Modi is prepared to move India into a deal, that would be very helpful.”

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« Reply #1130 on: Jul 10, 2014, 06:48 AM »

China makes new electric cars tax-free

Buyers of fully electric, hybrid and fuel cell cars will not have to pay purchase tax from September to the end of 2017

AFP, Thursday 10 July 2014 10.03 BST   

China will exempt electric cars and other types of "new energy" vehicles from purchase tax, the government said, as it seeks to reduce pollution and conserve resources.

The State Council, or cabinet, said that buyers of new energy vehicles – fully electric, hybrid and fuel cell cars –would not have to pay the levy from September to the end of 2017, according to a statement.

The tax is 10% of the net value of the vehicle, according to state media.

"For achieving industrial development and environmental protection, this is a win-win," the state council said in a statement on Wednesday.

The exemption applies to imported vehicles as well as domestically produced ones, the statement said, adding the government would compile a catalogue of eligible models.

China has sought to increase ownership of electric and hybrid vehicles to ease chronic pollution and reduce reliance on oil imports, but high prices, lack of infrastructure and consumer reluctance have been obstacles.

The government has set a target of having five million new energy vehicles on the streets by 2020.

But China has only 70,000 currently in use, the China Daily newspaper reported on Thursday.

The central government also offers outright subsidies for electric passenger car buyers, which were set at $5,700 to $9,800 last year, while local incentives can bring the price down further.

Lack of charging stations and the desires of Chinese consumers - many first time owners - for big, flashy vehicles have hurt electric car sales.

Policymakers are seeking to move away from state spending to domestic consumption as a key driver of the economy, which has been slowing.

Several foreign auto makers have announced plans to develop environmentally-friendly vehicles in China, despite the currently small market.

US electric car maker Tesla Motors has also caused a stir with aggressive marketing and by pitching its imported vehicles to luxury buyers in China, although analysts say they might only find a niche market.

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« Reply #1131 on: Jul 12, 2014, 05:59 AM »

Miami will be swallowed as sea levels rise, but the climate change deniers who run it look the other way

By Robin McKie, The Observer
Friday, July 11, 2014 5:51 EDT

A drive through the sticky Florida heat into Alton Road in Miami Beach can be an unexpectedly awkward business. Most of the boulevard, which runs north through the heart of the resort’s most opulent palm-fringed real estate, has been reduced to a single lane that is hemmed in by bollards, road-closed signs, diggers, trucks, workmen, stacks of giant concrete cylinders and mounds of grey, foul-smelling earth.

It is an unedifying experience but an illuminating one – for this once glamorous thoroughfare, a few blocks from Miami Beach’s art deco waterfront and its white beaches, has taken on an unexpected role. It now lies on the front line of America’s battle against climate change and the rise in sea levels that it has triggered.

“Climate change is no longer viewed as a future threat round here,” says atmosphere expert Professor Ben Kirtman, of Miami University. “It is something that we are having to deal with today.”

Every year, with the coming of high spring and autumn tides, the sea surges up the Florida coast and hits the west side of Miami Beach, which lies on a long, thin island that runs north and south across the water from the city of Miami. The problem is particularly severe in autumn when winds often reach hurricane levels. Tidal surges are turned into walls of seawater that batter Miami Beach’s west coast and sweep into the resort’s storm drains, reversing the flow of water that normally comes down from the streets above. Instead seawater floods up into the gutters of Alton Road, the first main thoroughfare on the western side of Miami Beach, and pours into the street. Then the water surges across the rest of the island.

The effect is calamitous. Shops and houses are inundated; city life is paralysed; cars are ruined by the corrosive seawater that immerses them. During one recent high spring tide, laundromat owner Eliseo Toussaint watched as slimy green saltwater bubbled up from the gutters. It rapidly filled the street and then blocked his front door. “This never used to happen,” Toussaint told reporters. “I’ve owned this place eight years and now it’s all the time.”

Today, shop owners keep plastic bags and rubber bands handy to wrap around their feet when they have to get to their cars through rising waters, while householders have found that ground-floor spaces in garages are no longer safe to keep their cars. Only those on higher floors can hope to protect their cars from surging sea waters that corrode and rot the innards of their vehicles.

Hence the construction work at Alton Road, where $400m is now being spent in an attempt to halt these devastating floods – by improving Miami Beach’s stricken system of drains and sewers. In total, around $1.5bn is to be invested in projects aimed at holding back the rising waters. Few scientists believe the works will have a long-term effect.

“There has been a rise of about 10 inches in sea levels since the 19th century – brought about by humanity’s heating of the planet through its industrial practices – and that is now bringing chaos to Miami Beach by regularly flooding places like Alton Road,” says Harold Wanless, a geology professor at Miami University. “And it is going to get worse. By the end of this century we could easily have a rise of six feet, possibly 10 feet. Nothing much will survive that. Most of the land here is less than 10 feet above sea level.”

What makes Miami exceptionally vulnerable to climate change is its unique geology. The city – and its satellite towns and resorts – is built on a dome of porous limestone which is soaking up the rising seawater, slowly filling up the city’s foundations and then bubbling up through drains and pipes. Sewage is being forced upwards and fresh water polluted. Miami’s low topography only adds to these problems. There is little land out here that rises more than six feet above sea level. Many condos and apartment blocks open straight on the edge of the sea. Of the total of 4.2 million US citizens who live at an elevation of four feet or less, 2.4 million of them live in south Florida.

At Florida International University, geologist Peter Harlem has created a series of maps that chart what will happen as the sea continues to rise. These show that by the time oceans have risen by four feet – a fairly conservative forecast – most of Miami Beach, Key Biscayne, Virginia Key and all the area’s other pieces of prime real estate, will be bathtubs. At six feet, Miami city’s waterfront and the Florida Keys will have disappeared. The world’s busiest cruise ship port, which handles four million passengers, will disappear beneath the waves. “This is the fact of life about the ocean: it is very, very powerful,” says Harlem.

Miami and its surroundings are facing a calamity worthy of the Old Testament. It is an astonishing story. Despite its vast wealth, the city might soon be consumed by the waves, for even if all emissions of carbon dioxide were halted tomorrow – a very unlikely event given their consistent rise over the decades – there is probably enough of the gas in the atmosphere to continue to warm our planet, heat and expand our seas, and melt polar ice. In short, there seems there is nothing that can stop the waters washing over Miami completely.

It a devastating scenario. But what really surprises visitors and observers is the city’s response, or to be more accurate, its almost total lack of reaction. The local population is steadily increasing; land prices continue to surge; and building is progressing at a generous pace. During my visit last month, signs of construction – new shopping malls, cranes towering over new condominiums and scaffolding enclosing freshly built apartment blocks – could be seen across the city, its backers apparently oblivious of scientists’ warnings that the foundations of their buildings may be awash very soon.

Not that they are alone. Most of Florida’s senior politicians – in particular, Senator Marco Rubio, former governor Jeb Bush and current governor Rick Scott, all Republican climate-change deniers – have refused to act or respond to warnings of people like Wanless or Harlem or to give media interviews to explain their stance, though Rubio, a Republican party star and a possible 2016 presidential contender, has made his views clear in speeches. “I do not believe that human activity is causing these dramatic changes to our climate the way these scientists are portraying it. I do not believe that the laws that they propose we pass will do anything about it, except it will destroy our economy,” he said recently. Miami is in denial in every sense, it would seem. Or as Wanless puts it: “People are simply sticking their heads in the sand. It is mind-boggling.”

Not surprisingly, Rubio’s insistence that his state is no danger from climate change has brought him into conflict with local people. Philip Stoddard, the mayor of South Miami, has a particularly succinct view of the man and his stance. “Rubio is an idiot,” says Stoddard. “He says he is not a scientist so he doesn’t have a view about climate change and sea-level rise and so won’t do anything about it. Yet Florida’s other senator, Democrat Bill Nelson, is holding field hearings where scientists can tell people what the data means. Unfortunately, not enough people follow his example. And all the time, the waters are rising.”

Philip Stoddard is particularly well-placed to judge what is happening to Miami. Tall, thin, with a dry sense of humour, he is a politician, having won two successive elections to be mayor of South Miami, and a scientist, a biology professor at Florida International University. The backyard of the home that he shares with his architect wife, Grey Reid, reflects his passion for the living world. While most other South Miami residences sport bright blue swimming pools and barbecues, Stoddard has created a small lake, fringed with palms and ferns, that would do justice to the swampy Everglades near his home. Bass, koi and mosquito fish swim here, while bright dragonflies and zebra lapwing butterflies flit overhead. It is a naturalists’ haven but Stoddard is under no illusions about the risks facing his home. Although several miles inland, the house is certainly not immune to the changes that threaten to engulf south Florida.

“The thing about Miami is that when it goes, it will all be gone,” says Stoddard. “I used to work at Cornell University and every morning, when I went to work, I climbed more elevation than exists in the entire state of Florida. Our living-room floor here in south Miami is at an elevation of 10 feet above sea level at present. There are significant parts of south Florida that are less than six feet above sea level and which are now under serious threat of inundation.”

Nor will south Florida have to wait that long for the devastation to come. Long before the seas have risen a further three or four feet, there will be irreversible breakdowns in society, he says. “Another foot of sea-level rise will be enough to bring salt water into our fresh water supplies and our sewage system. Those services will be lost when that happens,” says Stoddard.

“You won’t be able to flush away your sewage and taps will no longer provide homes with fresh water. Then you will find you will no longer be able to get flood insurance for your home. Land and property values will plummet and people will start to leave. Places like South Miami will no longer be able to raise enough taxes to run our neighbourhoods. Where will we find the money to fund police to protect us or fire services to tackle house fires? Will there even be enough water pressure for their fire hoses? It takes us into all sorts of post-apocalyptic scenarios. And that is only with a one-foot sea-level rise. It makes one thing clear though: mayhem is coming.”

And then there is the issue of Turkey Point nuclear plant, which lies 24 miles south of Miami. Its operators insist it can survive sea surges and hurricanes and point out that its reactor vessel has been built 20 feet above sea level. But critics who include Stoddard, Harlem and others argue that anciliary equipment – including emergency diesel generators that are crucial to keeping cooling waters circulating in the event of power failure – are not so well protected. In the event of sea rise and a major storm surge, a power supply disruption could cause a repeat of the Fukushima accident of 2011, they claim. In addition, inundation maps like those prepared by Harlem show that with a three-foot sea-level rise, Turkey Point will be cut off from the mainland and will become accessible only by boat or aircraft. And the higher the seas go, the deeper it will be submerged.

Turkey Point was built in the 1970s when sea level rises were not an issue, of course. But for scientists like Ben Kirtman, they are now a fact of life. The problem is that many planners and managers still do not take the threat into account when planning for the future, he argues. A classic example is provided by the state’s water management. South Florida, because it is so low-lying, is criss-crossed with canals that take away water when there is heavy rainfall and let it pour into the sea.

“But if you have sea level rises of much more than a foot in the near future, when you raise the canal gates to let the rain water out, you will find sea water rushing in instead,” Kirtman said. “The answer is to install massive pumps as they have done in New Orleans. Admittedly, these are expensive. They each cost millions of dollars. But we are going to need them and if we don’t act now we are going to get caught out. The trouble is that no one is thinking about climate change or sea-level rises at a senior management level.”

The problem stems from the top, Kirtman said, from the absolute insistence of influential climate change deniers that global warming is not happening. “When statesmen like Rubio say things like that, they make it very, very hard for anything to get done on a local level – for instance for Miami to raise the millions it needs to build new sewers and canals. If local people have been told by their leaders that global warming is not happening, they will simply assume you are wasting their money by building defences against it.

“But global warming is occurring. That is absolutely unequivocal. Since the 1950s, the climate system has warmed. That is an absolute fact. And we are now 95% sure that that warming is due to human activities. If I was 95% sure that my house was on fire, would I get out? Obviously I would. It is straightforward.”

This point is backed by Harold Wanless. “Every day we continue to pump uncontrolled amounts of greenhouse gas into the atmosphere, we strengthen the monster that is going to consume us. We are heating up the atmosphere and then we are heating up the oceans so that they expand and rise. There doesn’t look as if anything is going to stop that. People are starting to plan in Miami but really they just don’t see where it is all going.”

Thus one of the great cities of the world faces obliteration in the coming decades. “It is over for south Florida. It is as simple as that. Nor is it on its own,” Wanless admits.

“The next two or three feet of sea-level rise that we get will do away with just about every barrier island we have across the planet. Then, when rises get to four-to-six feet, all the world’s great river deltas will disappear and with them the great stretches of agricultural land that surrounds them. People still have their heads in the sand about this but it is coming. Miami is just the start. It is worth watching just for that reason alone. It is a major US city and it is going to let itself drown.” © Guardian News and Media 2014

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« Reply #1132 on: Jul 12, 2014, 06:39 AM »

CDC Reports Five Incidents Of Pathogen Mishandling In Past Decade

By Susie Madrak
July 11, 2014 10:07 am

“These events should never have happened,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, in a call with reporters.
CDC Reports Five Incidents Of Pathogen Mishandling In Past Decade

UPDATE: The CDC reports at least two of the vials found earlier this week contain live smallpox.

You can't keep starving government and expect that we have enough people to do this kind of work properly. You just can't, and President Obama should be screaming that from the rooftops instead of looking for compromise:

    Federal government laboratories in Atlanta improperly sent highly dangerous pathogens, including anthrax, potentially lethal botulism bacteria, and deadly bird flu virus to other laboratories in five separate incidents in the past decade, officials said Friday.

    The incidents, which raise troubling questions about the federal government’s ability to safely store and transport potentially deadly pathogens, prompted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to halt operations at two labs and impose a moratorium on biological material leaving multiple labs at its Atlanta headquarters.

    “These events should never have happened,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, in a call with reporters. The American people “may be wondering whether we’re doing what we need to do to keep them safe and to keep our workers safe,” he said. “I’m disappointed and frankly I’m angry about it.”

    The CDC disclosed the incidents in a report Friday detailing safety lapses that occurred last month ,when as many as 84 workers may have been exposed to live anthrax after employees unknowingly sent live samples of the bacteria from one CDC lab to other CDC labs.

    As part of its internal investigation, the CDC found that “this is not the first time an event of this nature has occurred,” according to the report. “At the time of this writing, CDC is aware of four other such incidents in the past decade.”

    Frieden said most distressing was the discovery Wednesday that on March 13, shipments of “highly pathogenic” H5N1 influenza virus were inappropriately sent from the CDC to a U.S. Department of Agriculture laboratory in Georgia. It took six weeks for staff to report the discovery.
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« Reply #1133 on: Jul 12, 2014, 06:41 AM »

Climate Deniers Come Up With Something New: Denying The Temperature On Mars

By John Amato
July 9, 2014 6:01 pm

The average Martian temperature is -81 degree Fahrenheit, but the committee was just getting warmed up.

Conservatives all over this country are down-right nuts when it comes to science. What is their problem with scientific facts? This story isn't even about a religious myth so what's the hubbub, bub?

    State lawmakers' discussion Thursday of the effect of new EPA carbon emission regulations on Kentucky focused more on political attacks than hard science.

    While committee members railed against the Obama Administration and the EPA regulations they admittedly don’t fully understand — the document is about 700 pages — many lawmakers saw fit to attack the science behind climate change.

    “I won’t get into the debate about climate change," said Sen. Brandon Smith, a Hazard Republican. “But I’ll simply point out that I think in academia we all agree that the temperature on Mars is exactly as it is here. Nobody will dispute that. Yet there are no coal mines on Mars. There’s no factories on Mars that I’m aware of.”

    Smith owns a coal company on Earth.

    The average Martian temperature is -81 degree Fahrenheit, but the committee was just getting warmed up.

    State Rep. Kevin Sinnette, a Democrat from Ashland, said climate change didn’t kill the dinosaurs, so human beings should be just fine.

    “The dinosaurs died, and we don’t know why, but the world adjusted. And to say that this is what’s going to cause detriment to people, I just don’t think it’s out there," Sinnette said.
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« Reply #1134 on: Jul 15, 2014, 06:01 AM »

Parts of Yellowstone National Park closed after massive supervolcano beneath it melts roads

By Scott Kaufman
Monday, July 14, 2014 9:50 EDT

Tourists at Yellowstone National Park are being barred from areas of the park because the massive underground supervolcano beneath it is melting the asphalt roads.

“It basically turned the asphalt into soup. It turned the gravel road into oatmeal,” Yellowstone spokesman Dan Hottle said. In particular, Hottle said that the road between the park’s most popular attraction, Old Faithful, and Madison Junction has been dangerously compromised.

Park officials also asked tourists not to hike into the affected areas, as the danger of stepping through what appears to be solid soil into boiling-hot water was “high.”

“There are plenty of other great places to see thermal features in the park,” park spokesman Al Nash told The Weather Channel. “I wouldn’t risk personal injury to see these during this temporary closure.”

It is not known when the road, which services the three million people who visit the park every year, will be reopened.

The last time the supervolcano beneath Yellowstone actually erupted was 640,000 years ago, U.S. Geological Survey records show.

Late last year, geologists discovered that the supervolcano was more than twice as large as previously thought.

“We found it to be about two-and-a-half times larger than we thought,” the University of Utah’s James Farrell told National Geographic. “That’s not to say it’s getting any bigger,” he added, “just that our ability to see it is getting better.”

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« Reply #1135 on: Jul 16, 2014, 06:02 AM »

Germany pledges $1bn to UN climate change fund

Green Climate Fund, designed to help poorer countries deal with global warming, receives boost from Angela Merkel, reports AlertNet

Megan Rowling for AlertNet, Tuesday 15 July 2014 16.34 BST   
Aid group Oxfam has called on other rich nations to follow the example of Germany, which has promised €750m ($1bn) for the UN's fledgling Green Climate Fund.

"This announcement ends the deafening silence we've had so far around the empty Green Climate Fund that is supposed to support poor countries in the battle against climate change. Now others must follow suit," Oxfam Germany's Jan Kowalzig said.

"If rich countries such as the US, France, the UK, Japan and others manage to collect at least $15 billion in pledges ahead of the upcoming UN climate negotiations in Lima at the end of the year, this could give the talks a significant boost," he added in a statement.

The announcement by Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday at the Petersberg Climate Dialogue in Berlin, where some 35 ministers from around the world are meeting to discuss international climate action, is the only large pledge of money for the Green Climate Fund so far.

The fund was agreed at UN climate talks in 2010 but has been hampered by wrangling over its design. Now its operating rules have been settled, it will hold a first pledging conference for potential donors in the second half of November, before the UN climate conference in Peru.

Norwegian Foreign Minister Boerge Brende told Reuters earlier this month that Oslo will unveil its preliminary pledge for the fund - a "substantial contribution" - at a summit on climate change organised by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in New York on 23 September.

The fund aims to help poor nations pursue clean development and adapt to climate change impacts, including more floods, droughts, heatwaves and rising sea levels. It is regarded as a key part of the puzzle in securing a new global deal to tackle climate change due to be agreed in Paris in late 2015.

The fund so far has $55m, mainly for its own administration and to help countries plan to receive the climate finance it will distribute, including $10m from Seoul.

After a recent meeting in Oslo of senior officials from 24 developed and developing countries interested in contributing to the fund, Brende said the process of securing the fund's first capitalisation had "got off to a good start".

"Important progress was made in paving the way for pledges this year. I believe we are on the right track towards making the Fund a game changer in the response to climate change,” he said in a statement.

Developing nations say they want $15 billion in pledges from the rich this year to fund projects like solar power, geothermal energy or ensuring water supplies. The UN's top climate official, Christiana Figueres, has called for "at least an initial $10bn" for the Green Climate Fund.

The fund is expected to channel a large portion of the $100bn a year wealthy countries have promised to mobilise by 2020 to help vulnerable states adapt to climate change and pursue low-carbon growth.

Oxfam's Kowalzig said rich countries must ensure that money pledged to the Green Climate Fund contributes to rising overall levels of climate finance. At last November's UN climate talks in Warsaw, governments adopted a decision urging developed countries continuously to boost climate finance through to 2020, he noted.

"So far rich countries have failed to confirm that such increases are actually happening or (are) planned for the future," he said.

Wealthy governments have provided climate aid worth roughly $10bn a year since 2010, but there are fears that amount may be on the decline at a time of budget austerity.

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« Reply #1136 on: Jul 16, 2014, 06:44 AM »

July 16, 2014 5:00 amJuly 16, 2014 5:00 am   

Fishing in South India’s Troubled Waters


Selvaprakash Lakshmanan thought he had embarked on a human rights project when he visited coastal communities in South India, where traditional Indian fishermen had clashed with the Sri Lankan Navy. Hundreds of fishermen had been killed in the contested waters of the narrow straits separating the two nations. Thousands more had been attacked, and scores were missing.

It was as much an environmental project as a human one, he discovered. As he learned while making “Life in Troubled Waters,” the harrowing issues facing these communities encompassed many symbolic and complex problems that resonate in the globalized 21st Century.

Mr. Lakshmanan was educated about the environmental issues while serving as a participant journalist for the Fojo Institute’s Coastal Management program. “With most of my stories before, it was more people-centric,” he said. “And the cause made me look, holistically, at how it is closely connected to the environment and the social, geopolitical, and economic issues. Each issue is interconnected, either in a direct or indirect way.”

While interviewing residents of villages in Tamil Nadu, he learned that an increase in shoddy industrial construction on the shoreline had led to erosion, which threatened the fishermen’s houses. Several of his photographs documented homes falling back into the sea and the attempts to build storm walls that buttressed against its power. Rising tides, a byproduct of climate change, presumably played a part too.

In Idinthakarai, the residents watched as a Russian-designed nuclear power facility was built upon neighboring shores. This has led to contentious protests, which Mr. Lakshmanan has also documented. In late June, police reportedly broke up a riot there in which competing protesters lobbed homemade bombs at each other.

While the nuclear plant provides jobs and much-needed, dependable energy to the regions’ inhabitants, their fears of a disaster — as happened in Fukushima, Japan — have outweighed their desire for electricity. Recalled Mr. Lakshmanan: “One of the fishermen I met said, ‘We are all going to die. Either by the radiation, or the local government authority for protesting against this nuclear plant. So I decided to choose the local government authority, not the nuclear radiation.’

“That is the strength of the story; the energy that makes me work on the project,” Mr. Lakshmanan said.

Mr. Lakshmanan lives in inland Bangalore, where he works as a photographer for the local Time Out magazine. Aside from a fellowship he received in 2011, his entire project has been self-financed. It takes him six or seven hours by train or bus to reach the coast — he can’t afford to drive. Even so, he has so far photographed more than 1,000 miles of coastline, along the way encountering a variety of cultures, languages, and deep and complicated concerns.

Since most of India’s massive population lives in inland cities, the coastal areas he’s investigating are typically underreported and overlooked. It is Mr. Lakshmanan’s mission to bring awareness of what’s going on in those areas. He has seen the effects of coal-fueled, thermal power plants spewing fly ash into the ocean. And salt mines that raise the salinity of the soil, destroying mangrove forests, which leads to further erosion. In addition, he said, “human waste and urban sewage systems go directly into the sea.”

Despite the dangers posed by the Sri Lankan Navy, the fishermen persist in their jobs. “In India,” he said, “each caste has a job. So fishermen belong to a particular caste. They will do the fishing until the fish are gone.”

Or until the fishermen are tortured or killed, as has happened all too often. One of his photographs depicts a man with a plastic bag over his head, as he describes a torture process in which diesel fuel was poured over the bag before members of the Sri Lankan Navy threatened to light his head on fire.

But rather than present the fishermen as blameless, Mr. Lakshmanan was quick to point out why the Sri Lankans are so angered by the poaching. Apparently, the Tamil Nadu fishermen use a technique called bottom trawling, which has been banned in Sri Lanka but not India. In this type of fishing, nets are dragged along the seabed, which destroys fragile Sri Lankan coral reef ecosystems.

This was confirmed earlier in the year by Dr. Rajitha Senaratne, the Sri Lankan Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Development, who said, “Because of this method of fishing, the bottom of our Northern sea and the marine environment get completely destroyed. In the future there will be no fish left in the North.”

Ironically, most of the catch for which these Tamil Nadu fishermen risk their lives is then shipped out internationally or to the voracious urban markets in India. From there comes the sewage that pollutes the water, forcing the fish further out to sea where the fishermen follow, to their peril. It is a baroque tale that befits our intricately woven globalized society and perhaps a harbinger of larger resource wars to come.

Mr. Lakshmanan hopes to raise funds to document all 4,400 miles of India’s coastline, and, eventually, to produce a book. When asked if he might utilize a crowdfunding site such as Kickstarter to help further the project, he demurred saying that system was poorly established in India. When it was suggested he might mine social networks in the Western world to raise money, his spirits brightened.

“The fish is eaten by the Europeans too,” he said. “You do have the responsibility.”

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« Reply #1137 on: Jul 17, 2014, 05:04 AM »

Mysterious giant hole in Siberia likely caused by global warming, not UFOs or meteors

Siberian Times
Wednesday, July 16, 2014 11:41 EDT

A mysterious giant hole has appeared in northern Siberia, prompting wild speculation about meteors, UFOs, and underground cities.

The likely explanation is less supernatural, scientists say, but no less extraordinary.

The Siberian Times reported the hole – which is more than 260 feet across and of unknown depth – was spotted from helicopters flying over the gas-rich Yamal Peninsula.

A team of Russian scientists is on its way to investigate the crater, which is apparently large enough for several Mi-8 helicopters to fly into – although none have.

Conspiracy theory websites have speculated the crater was caused by alien spacecraft or related to the “hollow Earth” theory.

Aerial video footage shows debris and apparent signs of an explosion or impact around the massive crater, which is about 18 miles from the area’s biggest gas field, Bovanenkovo.

Dr. Chris Fogwill, a polar scientist from the University of New South Wales, said the crater was most likely caused by a geological phenomenon called a pingo.

A pingo is a block of ice that forms under frozen arctic hillsides that can eventually push through the earth and leave an exposed crater once it melts away.

Fogwill said the permafrost can be hundreds or even thousands of feet thick, allowing for very large ice formations.

“This is obviously a very extreme version of that,” Fogwill said, “and if there’s been any interaction with the gas in the area, that is a question that could only be answered by going there.”

The crater is located within the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug oil and gas region, which was discovered in 1972 and developed in 2012 by Russian oil company Gazprom.

Fogwill said global warming may cause more pingos – which are sometimes so large they can be seen from space – as permafrost and other arctic ice formations melt.

“We’re seeing much more activity in permafrost areas than we’ve seen in the historical past,” Fogwill said. “A lot of this relates to this high degree of warming around these high arctic areas which are experiencing some of the highest rates of warming on Earth.”

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« Reply #1138 on: Jul 17, 2014, 05:47 AM »

Environmentalists Decry Repeal of Australia’s Carbon Tax

JULY 17, 2014

SYDNEY, Australia — Opposition politicians and environmentalists in Australia reacted with dismay Thursday to the country’s repeal of laws requiring large companies to pay for carbon emissions, saying that it made Australia the first country to reverse progress on fighting climate change.

The Senate voted 39 to 32 on Thursday to repeal the so-called carbon tax after Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s conservative government secured the support of a number of independent senators. The House of Representatives had voted earlier in the week to repeal the unpopular measure, which has been a highly contentious issue in Australian politics for seven years.

The tax was devised to penalize hundreds of Australia’s biggest producers of carbon emissions, setting a price of 23 Australian dollars, or $21.50, per metric ton of carbon dioxide when it was put into effect in 2012 under then-Prime Minister Julia Gillard of the Labor Party, which is now in the opposition. The price rose to 25 Australian dollars this month.

Mr. Abbott, of the conservative Liberal Party, who took office in September, made repealing the tax a central pledge of his election campaign, arguing that ending it would reduce electricity prices and enhance economic growth. But he struggled twice to get the measure through the Senate before the vote Thursday. The government now plans to introduce a range of measures that it says will encourage business to reduce pollution, rather than penalizing polluters.

After the vote Thursday, Mr. Abbott characterized the tax as a “useless, destructive tax, which damaged jobs, which hurt families’ cost of living and which didn’t actually help the environment.” He called it a “9 percent impost on power prices, a $9 billion handbrake on our economy,” and said the repeal would save the average household 550 dollars a year.

Australia is among the world’s biggest producers of carbon emissions on a per capita basis. The government is committed to reducing emissions to 5 percent below levels recorded in 2000 by 2020.

Politicians from Labor and the smaller Greens party said the repeal would undermine Australia’s efforts to address climate change. The Labor leader, Bill Shorten, described Mr. Abbott as an “environmental vandal.”

“Today, Tony Abbott has made Australia the first country in the world to reverse action on climate change,” Mr. Shorten said. Christine Milne, a senator from Tasmania and leader of the Greens party, said, “History will judge Tony Abbott harshly for his denial of global warming and his undermining of Australia’s effort to address it.”

John Connor, chief executive of the Climate Institute, a Sydney-based advocacy group, said that some governments had pulled back from carbon reduction targets, including Japan after the Fukushima nuclear reactor disaster in 2011, but that “no one else in the world has repealed a working, functioning carbon pricing mechanism.”

“We are taking a monumentally reckless backward leap even as other countries are stepping up to climate action,” Mr. Connor said in an interview. He said that Australia is the highest per capita emitter of carbon in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the group of developed countries, and that it ranks in the top 20 globally, emitting around 25 metric tons of carbon dioxide per person every year. “Australia’s economy is much more carbon-intensive than the U.S. economy,” Mr. Connor said.

Mr. Abbott has said that the repeal will lead to lower energy costs for consumers. But Mr. Connor said that while Australian electricity prices have indeed risen, that was due in part to power companies investing in infrastructure. “The government effectively used the carbon tax as the scapegoat for higher energy costs,” he said.

But representatives of major industries, including agriculture and mining, said that the costs passed along to other businesses because of the emissions penalty were high. While the agriculture sector was exempt from directly paying the tax, its costs “hit Australian farmers every time they paid for essential electricity, fertilizer, chemicals and fuel supplies,” Brent Finlay, president of the National Farmers’ Federation, said in a statement.

Brendan Pearson, head of the Minerals Council of Australia, said in a statement that the removal of “the world’s biggest carbon tax is an important step towards regaining the competitive edge that Australia lost over the last decade.” The council estimated that the tax cost the mining industry 1.2 billion dollars per year.

A representative of independent grocers also applauded the repeal, saying that the cost of electricity and refrigerant gases had skyrocketed since the carbon tax was introduced. “A small, corner store operator will save about 17,000 Australian dollars a year,” said Jos de Bruin of Master Grocers Australia, which represents about 2,400 independent supermarkets.

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« Reply #1139 on: Jul 17, 2014, 06:58 AM »

Corporate Greed Exacerbates Drought: Nestle Believes Water Is Not a Basic Human Right

By: Rmuse
Wednesday, July, 16th, 2014, 9:11 pm   

There are few things as fundamentally crucial to the existence of human beings and, indeed, all life on Earth as water. It is difficult to believe any human being thinks water is privately-owned, a commodity, to use for profit at the expense of human life, but Americans know there are entities that will go to any lengths to feed their corporate greed. In several states in this country, climate change is wreaking havoc on the people in the form of severe, multi-year droughts. So, with extreme water shortages, what do two industries do with the vanishing precious resource? They either mix it with deadly carcinogens and pump it, under extremely high pressure, back into the ground, often directly over active earthquake faults, or draw it out of the ground, bottle it, and sell it for profit. It is a wealthy corporations’ ideal business model; free raw materials and a product no human being can survive without.

California, like many states primarily in the southwestern United States, is facing one of its most severe droughts on record. The conditions are so severe that in January Governor Jerry Brown declared a drought state of emergency in preparation for water shortages that are especially dangerous during the summer months. The critically severe drought has entered its third year of a projected decade (at least) long drought, and throughout California water restrictions are having a profound impact on agriculture. In fact, the water shortage is so severe that farmers in some of the most agricultural-rich areas of the country are being forewarned there may be no water within two years at best; that is if the extreme conservation measures work.

However, while the rest of the state is attempting to conserve what little life-sustaining water California has left, the Nestle Company ignores the emergency measures the state adopted because its water bottling plant is conveniently located on a Native American reservation. Like all N.A. reservations, it is considered a sovereign nation by the US government. It is a water-theft enterprise any greedy corporation would lust after because unlike farmers, individual Californians, and every municipality in the state, Nestle is exempt from complying with any water-saving state or federal regulations. To make matters worse, Nestle is depleting what precious water reserves lie deep underground in the aquifer and pumping it directly to its bottling plant and selling it for profit. This is not a new endeavor for Nestle, and their blatant disregard for Californians’ need for basic survival was best expressed by Nestle’s CEO and Chairman.

According to the former CEO and now Chairman of the largest food product manufacturer in the world, Nestle, corporations own every drop of water on the planet, and because he believes water is not a basic human right; if human beings get thirsty, they have to pay or die. It is the ultimate privatization insult to mankind, and worse because Nestle is intent on privatizing water the world over; a natural resource that falls from the sky and seeps into the Earth for man to use for survival. In the case of California, and other regions around the world, what precious little water remains for basic survival is being stolen by a filthy corporation to sell to those who can afford to survive, and they are being assisted by Native Americans claiming to be good stewards of the Earth. Maybe this is Native American vengeance on the white man for invading their sovereign land, massacring them, and sending the survivors to permanent interment camps with high-sounding names like “sovereign nations.” But that is another story altogether; this is about Nestle draining California’s water.

The Nestle Arrowhead Mountain Spring Water bottling plant is located on the Morongo Band of Mission Indians reservation and drains water from a Mojave Desert oasis at the base of the San Bernardino Mountains 85 miles from Los Angeles where just three inches of rain falls each year. Their little enterprise prevents water from seeping downhill to fill aquifers of nearby towns struggling for water during the drought, and prior to 2009, about when the drought began, Nestle submitted annual reports to local water districts detailing how much groundwater they were extracting for profit. Since the drought began, neither Nestle nor the Morongo tribe submitted any forms; likely because it would be bad for business to tell local residents how much of their precious water they are being forced to buy to increase Nestle’s profits.

Nestle already has a history of showing blatant disregard for the human race according to Corporate Watch. The company regularly barges into struggling rural areas and extracts groundwater to sell in bottles “completely destroying the water supply without any compensation,” and in fact “actually makes rural areas in the United States foot the bill.” However, Nestle is not focusing only on Americans’ water as reported by Corporate Watch that has documented Nestle and former CEO Peter Brabeck-Letmathe’s long history of disregarding public health and abusing the environment for profit to the tune of $35 billion annually from water bottle sales alone. Corporate Watch states that “Nestlé production of mineral water involves the abuse of vulnerable water resources. In the Serra da Mantiqueira region of Brazil, home to the “circuit of waters” park whose groundwater has a high mineral content and medicinal properties, over-pumping has resulted in depletion and long-term damage.”

One wonders if when the Morongo Band of Indians runs out of water themselves and is forced to buy water they allowed Nestle to deplete for profits, they will still consider themselves good stewards of the Earth or that Nestle is a “valued partner.” California is home to the largest Nestle water bottling operation near Mount Shasta that is suffering the drought as much as any other part of the state with nearby Shasta Lake unrecognizable as a lake. Still, the piece of human filth, Nestle CEO, condemned non-governmental organizations like the United Nations and other humanitarian organizations for perpetuating the “extremist idea that drinking water is a human right” that should not have a market price to enrich the Nestle corporation.

Although the extreme California drought is just one reason to take action against Nestle, the point is the giant corporation is pillaging a basic necessity for human life all over the world with little opposition and relative impunity. The company touts job creation as validation for draining the water supply dry and selling it back to thirsty Americans, but when they have exhausted the water supply, no amount of jobs or money will sustain life devoid of water. There is no end to the disregard for human life that corporations have made their overriding mission after profit taking, and at least in one California region, there is no possibility of holding a truly vile and inhumane corporation accountable for a crime against humanity; stealing their dwindling water supply and selling it back for profit because they set up shop in a sovereign nation inside drought-stricken California.

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