Addressing Climate Change Will Not “Save the Planet”

Exposing the Big Game

The dismal reality is that green energy will save not the complex web of life on Earth but the particular way of life of one domineering species.

Christopher Ketcham

December 3 2022, 4:00a.m.


A boiler tower is surrounded by mirrors at the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System in the Mojave Desert on August 26, 2022 near Nipton, California.

A boiler tower surrounded by mirrors at the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System in the Mojave Desert, Calif., on Aug. 26, 2022.

Photo: David McNew/Getty Images

CONSERVATION BIOLOGY FINDSitself in a terrifying place today, witness to mass extinction, helpless to stop the march of industrial Homo sapiens, the pillage of habitat, the loss of wildlands, and the impoverishment of ecosystems. Many of its leading figures are in despair. “I’m 40 years into conservation biology and I can tell you we are losing badly, getting our asses kicked,” Dan Ashe, director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service under President Barack Obama, told me recently. “There are almost no reasons to be optimistic.”

This might explain…

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An AI Found an Unknown ‘Ghost’ Ancestor in The Human Genome

HUMANS27 November 2022


An entrance to a cave in Siberia.Denisova Cave in Siberia, Russia. (Cheburgenator/ CC-BY-SA-4.0/Wikimedia Commons)

Nobody knows who she was, just that she was different: A teenage girl from over 50,000 years ago of such odd uniqueness she appeared to be a ‘hybrid’ ancestor to modern humans that scientists hadn’t seen before.

Only recently, researchers have uncovered evidence she wasn’t alone. In a 2019 study analyzing the tangled mess of humanity’s prehistory, scientists used artificial intelligence (AI) to identify an unknown human ancestor species that modern humans encountered – and shared dalliances with – on the long trek out of Africa millennia ago.

“About 80,000 years ago, the so-called Out of Africa occurred, when part of the human population, which already consisted of modern humans, abandoned the African continent and migrated to other continents, giving rise to all the current populations,” explained evolutionary biologist Jaume Bertranpetit from the Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Spain.

As modern humans forged this path into the landmass of Eurasia, they forged some other things too – breeding with ancient and extinct hominids from other species.

Up until recently, these occasional sexual partners were thought to include Neanderthals and Denisovans, the latter of which were unknown until 2010.

But in this study, a third ex from long ago was isolated in Eurasian DNA, thanks to deep learning algorithms sifting through a complex mass of ancient and modern human genetic code.

Using a statistical technique called Bayesian inference, the researchers found evidence of what they call a “third introgression” – a ‘ghost’ archaic population that modern humans interbred with during the African exodus.

“This population is either related to the Neanderthal-Denisova clade or diverged early from the Denisova lineage,” the researchers wrote in their paper, meaning that it’s possible this third population in humanity’s sexual history was possibly a mix themselves of Neanderthals and Denisovans.

In a sense, from the vantage point of deep learning, it’s a hypothetical corroboration of sorts of the teenage girl ‘hybrid fossil’ identified in 2018; although there’s still more work to be done, and the research projects themselves aren’t directly linked.

“Our theory coincides with the hybrid specimen discovered recently in Denisova, although as yet we cannot rule out other possibilities,” one of the team, genomicist Mayukh Mondal from the University of Tartu in Estonia, said in a press statement at the time of discovery.

That being said, the discoveries being made in this area of science are coming thick and fast.

Also in 2018, another team of researchers identified evidence of what they called a “definite third interbreeding event” alongside Denisovans and Neanderthals, and a pair of papers published in early 2019 traced the timeline of how those extinct species intersected and interbred in clearer detail than ever before.

There’s a lot more research to be done here yet. Applying this kind of AI analysis is a decidedly new technique in the field of human ancestry, and the known fossil evidence we’re dealing with is amazingly scant.

But according to the research, what the team has found explains not only a long-forgotten process of introgression – it’s a dalliance that, in its own way, informs part of who we are today.

“We thought we’d try to find these places of high divergence in the genome, see which are Neanderthal and which are Denisovan, and then see whether these explain the whole picture,” Bertranpetit told Smithsonian.

“As it happens, if you subtract the Neanderthal and Denisovan parts, there is still something in the genome that is highly divergent.”

The findings were published in Nature Communications.

A version of this article was originally published in February 2019.

The next pandemic? UK facing worst bird flu outbreak on record

November 25, 2022

Christmas is coming, the geese are getting sick, and the world may be three mutations away from the next pandemic: the avian bird flu

A recent article in the Guardian suggests a poultry-based Christmas dinner may be off the cards for many Brits due to the colossal avian influenza (bird flu) outbreak.

The UK is currently facing the worst bird flu outbreak on record, with over 70 reported outbreaks in October alone. In past years, cases of bird flu tailed off in the spring, but this year has been unprecedented, with more than 230 outbreaks over the last 12 months.

Millions of birds have been culled

Millions of birds have been culled, including those at Suffolk-based Gressingham Foods – a leading duck, turkey and geese supplier – who have been hit with 46 cases of bird flu in the last two months. A recent report states they’ve lost their entire flock of Christmas geese and have begun urging consumers to buy birds early and freeze.

Other suppliers significantly reduced the number of poults they ordered, opting to rear fewer birds for the Christmas market due to increasing concerns regarding the prevalence of bird flu. Now attention-grabbing headings suggest Christmas is about to be ruined as a result, but the impact of bird flu is far more wide-ranging and should be taken far more seriously.

Poultry is a major factor responsible for the spread of bird flu

The general public is largely unaware of the realities of factory farming and the dangers that confining thousands upon thousands of birds indoors presents. Chickens and turkeys, for example, are raised in closed, filthy, stressful and crowded industrial facilities, with little or no natural light – an important consideration as UV light harms viruses. These environments present the perfect opportunity for pathogens to mutate into more deadly forms – a perfect storm of our own making.

The poultry industry likes to blame the spread of bird flu on migratory birds. However, whilst wild birds may contribute to the local spread of the virus, human commercial activities, particularly those associated with poultry, are the major factors responsible for the global spread of bird flu. The 2007 H5N1 outbreak in Sussex, for example, was traced to the trading of hatching eggs, birds and poultry products between the UK and Hungary.

Bird flu viruses have coexisted with wild water birds, doing them no harm for hundreds or thousands of years. However, when birds were taken out of the water to farms or markets, the virus that coexisted with them could no longer spread in water, so had to either mutate or die. In poultry farms and live-poultry markets, the virus spread via infected birds’ faecal, nasal, oral, and eye secretions.

In 1996, a deadly strain of H5N1 emerged in farmed geese in China, killing more than 40 per cent of infected birds. By 1997, it had spread to poultry farms and live-poultry markets in Hong Kong. Eighteen people were infected, and six died. The Hong Kong government ordered the slaughter of the entire one-and-a-half million poultry population to prevent further spread.

Containing these birds drastically increases the chances of viruses mutating, which poses a huge risk to the public. With the Covid-19 pandemic still lingering and one human case of H5N1 (the highly pathogenic type of bird flu sweeping the nation) reported in the South West of England, we may be dangerously close to experiencing another crippling global pandemic. Bird flu viruses are among the most dangerous viruses affecting humans, with a case fatality rate ranging from around 30 to 60%.

Factory farming: a disaster on every level

In May this year, Viva! released shocking footage from inside a duck egg facility in Lincolnshire, reported by an ex-worker for its extreme acts of animal cruelty and appalling biosecurity standards; our investigators saw pigeons roosting in the barns and mice running in and out. Thousands of ducks were found crammed together with no access to water deep enough to dip their heads. Lame birds dragged themselves over excreta-ridden bedding using their wings, and workers were filmed brutally killing ducks by dislocating their necks – a shockingly legal practice – and leaving lame, sick and blind birds to suffer in pain.

Crowded ducks inside a Lincolnshire farm supplying eggs to major supermarkets
Crowded ducks inside a Lincolnshire farm supplying eggs to major supermarkets © Amy Jones

Workers were filmed brutally killing ducks by dislocating their necks

This is the reality of factory farming, hidden behind closed doors. But free-ranging birds don’t have it much better. In November 2020, Viva! filmed at two Gressingham facilities rearing geese – one of which has had two cases of bird flu since then. The geese were found in sodden overgrazed paddocks, covered in mud and without access to ponds. Boredom was clear as the birds pecked at the dead bodies farm workers failed to collect during their rounds.

Many farmed animals are confined indoors for their entire lives, and soon the government will likely issue a housing order, meaning that all captive birds in the UK will have to be moved indoors. Keeping animals inside for their entire lives is an ethical disaster. Even those who proclaim that animal farming and eating meat is natural can surely see the problems with confining animals indoors: a process that is so far removed from nature.

Factory farms pose a very real pandemic threat, as large numbers of animals are forced to spend their short, miserable lives in confinement. They also release vast volumes of greenhouse gases, contributing to the climate crisis, while the large quantities of waste produced pollute waterways. In 2021, a Viva! poll showed that 85% of Brits want an end to factory farming. Therefore, it is a step in the wrong direction to force more animals indoors.

Bird flu and the future of farming

This year’s sheer scale of the bird flu outbreak is a worrying foreboding of what’s to come. Scientists have warned us for years about the pandemic threat posed by factory farms and wildlife markets, with many fearing that the next pandemic will be caused by a bird flu virus, making the jump to humans from poultry or pigs. At the moment, H5N1 isn’t easily spread between people, but this virus may be as few as three mutations away from becoming more easily transmissible.

We’ve been here before; Covid-19, Ebola, HIV, SARS and MERS are all examples of zoonotic diseases that spread to humans from animals. These ‘spillover’ events can occur when humans invade wildlife habitats, at wet markets – where many different wild and domesticated animals are sold live and slaughtered – and in factory farms, where large numbers of animals are crammed into sheds in horrific conditions.

With the current economic and social fallout from Covid-19 still having massive repercussions for many countries, the last thing the world needs is another pandemic causing widespread illness, death and lockdowns. It’s clear that poultry farming is unsustainable. Factory farming is collapsing under the weight of the billions of birds that are confined and killed each year, leading to hazardous conditions.

Moreover, the concept of ‘free range’ poultry or eggs could soon become nonexistent. Many consumers choose ‘free range’ options because they believe the animals have a better quality of life when they are allowed to roam outside. If all birds are under a housing order to be kept indoors, ‘free range’ becomes a thing of the past. Of course, anyone who looks into the real living conditions that ‘free range’ birds endure knows that the label is nothing more than a marketing ploy used by the poultry industry to increase profits and feed consumers a fake idyllic picture of UK farming.

Put your money where your mouth is and go vegan

If factory farming continues, we will see more bird flu outbreaks, more deadly diseases, and more pandemics. We cannot carry on exploiting billions of animals without facing the consequences. So, what can you do? Put your money where your mouth is and go vegan. We must End Factory Farming Before It Ends Us.

Deadly Bird Flu Outbreak Is The Worst In U.S. History

Exposing the Big Game


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Story by Hilary Hanson•2h ago

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An ongoing outbreak of a deadly strain of bird flu has now killed more birds than any past flare-up in U.S. history.

The virus, known as highly pathogenic avian influenza,has led to the deaths of 50.54 million domestic birds in the country this year, according to Agriculture Department datareported by Reuterson Thursday.That figurerepresents birds like chickens, ducks and turkeys from commercial poultry farms, backyard flocks and facilities such as petting zoos.

The count surpasses the previous record of 50.5 million dead birds from a 2015 outbreak, according to Reuters.

Separately,USDA datashowsat least 3,700confirmed cases among wild birds.

Turkeys in a barn on a poultry farm.©Provided by HuffPost

Turkeys in a barn on a poultry farm.

On farms, some birds die from the flu directly, while in other…

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Greta Thunberg Sues Her Native Sweden for Failing on Climate



  • Greta Thunberg

Niclas Rolander

Fri, November 25, 2022 at 2:47 AM·2 min read

In this article:

  • Greta ThunbergGreta ThunbergSwedish climate protection activist

(Bloomberg) — A group of children and young adults including Greta Thunberg have filed a class action lawsuit against the Swedish state for failing to take adequate measures to stop climate change.

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The lawsuit is part of an international wave of climate-related legal action, some of it targeting national governments.


It follows a high-profile case in the Netherlands, where the country’s highest court ruled in 2019 that the government had a legal obligation to take action to mitigate global warming.

The Swedish suit involves Thunberg, possibly the world’s best known climate activist, and more than 600 others who claim that Sweden’s climate policies violate its constitution as well as the European Convention on Human Rights.

“The Swedish state fails to meet the constitutional requirement to promote sustainable development leading to a good environment for present and future generations,” the group said in a statement.

In 2017, Sweden adopted a climate law that requires the government to work to reduce emissions of planet-warming gases toward a net-zero target set for 2045.

Cutting greenhouse gas emissions is key to meeting the 2015 Paris Agreement target of keeping global warming below 2C by the end of the century.

However, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February triggered a scramble for energy that’s set back efforts and this year’s UN-sponsored climate talks in Egypt failed to step up ambitions.

In an interview with Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter, Thunberg said she believes climate laws should be tightened.

“We don’t have laws that provide long-term protection from the consequences of climate and environmental crises, but we need to use the methods at our disposal and do everything we can,” she said.

The lawsuit, which has been in the works for two years, comes as the new Swedish government’s policies on climate change face intense scrutiny.

The cabinet, which assumed power following elections in September, has announced plans to scrap the environment ministry altogether. Its 2023 budget has been criticized for including measures that are set to increase emissions from the transport sector.

“The Swedish state has never treated the climate crisis as the crisis it is, and the new government has clearly signaled that it won’t do that either,” 20-year-old Anton Foley, who is formally the main plaintiff in the case, said in a statement.

The lawsuit, filed in Stockholm on Friday, urges the court to require that the government undertake its “fair share” of global measures to keep greenhouse gas emissions consistent with the Paris Agreements goals.

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Thousands of wild birds dead across Oregon: bird-flu outbreak blamed

Summer Lake
Snow geese flock by the thousands at Summer Lake in southern Oregon. An outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza in both wild birds and backyard flocks has killed thousands of wild and domesticated birds throughout the state, including some migrating snow geese. Terry Richard/The Oregonian

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An outbreak of highly pathogenic avian flu in both wild birds and backyard flocks has killed thousands of birds throughout the state, Oregon wildlife and agriculture officials say.

The disease, typically known as bird flu, has been detected in almost every county in Oregon. Its current strain is especially deadly for wild birds, which are dying in larger numbers than during previous outbreaks.

The number of backyard flocks – which include chickens, ducks and other domesticated birds – that have been impacted also has been much larger than in recent outbreaks. While turkeys are especially susceptible to the disease, only a handful have died locally since Oregon isn’t a turkey producing state, officials said.

Sick birds act like they are drunk. They’re uncoordinated and lethargic; they shake, swim in circles and fly into the sides of houses. Those that show symptoms usually die within 72 hours.

“It’s definitely serious,” said Ryan Scholz, state veterinarian with the Oregon Department of Agriculture.

Bird-flu viruses occur naturally in the environment, and avian influenza doesn’t always cause mortality or even illness in birds. Some birds, like mallard ducks, have developed immunity to the disease, even its highly pathogenic strains. They suffer no symptoms, but they spread the disease, most commonly through feces.

The virus typically arrives to the U.S. from Europe or Eurasia, carried by the waterfowl that fly thousands of miles. The birds spread the disease each time they touch down to rest.

Deadlier strains of bird flu have been on the rise in recent years. Highly pathogenic avian influenza has devastated wild birds and the poultry industry across the globe. The virus is now endemic in Europe and Asia.

This year may prove even deadlier than usual. The virus typically peters out with dry and hot weather, as low pathogenic strains of the disease naturally outcompete it. That happened in 2014-15, the last major outbreak in the U.S. in domestic birds.

But birds did not stop getting sick this summer in the Pacific Northwest. They continued to die during the hottest months and well into the fall – an anomaly to how the virus usually operates.

In recent weeks, wild birds have been getting sick and dying from the Fernhill Wetlands in Forest Grove to the Tualatin River Wildlife Refuge to the Willamette Valley Wildlife Refuges. It’s impossible to know exactly how many wild birds have been impacted, said Colin Gillin, State Wildlife Veterinarian.

“If I said it was in the thousands, it would be an under-estimate,” Gillin said.

About 17 percent of waterfowl that’s been tested have registered positive for the disease, which is “a substantial number,” Gillin said. The species currently most affected is cackling geese, but the disease is also killing numerous bald eagles, hawks, owls and herons.

Songbirds and wild turkeys have not been impacted, Gillin said, because they don’t typically interact with waterfowl and aren’t a scavenger species.

There’s also concern for snow geese after nearly 400 sick or dead geese were found at Wiser Lake in western Washington state a few days ago and several tested positive for avian flu. Many of the dead birds were snow geese. Those birds are just starting to arrive in Oregon, so many more could die in coming weeks in our state, Gillin said.

In other states, avian influenza also has been detected in mammals such as skunks, foxes and coyotes — usually in younger animals.

The disease does not pose a high risk to humans, though some have been infected with bird flu viruses. Still, it’s a mutating disease, officials said, so hunters should wear protective gear like masks and gloves to safely handle wild birds, and they should change clothes when they get home. Hunters should not kill birds that look sick. They also should minimize dogs’ interactions with waterfowl.

Some hunters worry whether the die-offs will impact duck- and goose-hunting seasons, which are now open.

“I’m seeing quite a few dead geese on Sauvie Island and quite a few sick ones as well,” local hunter Eric Strand said via email.

But Brandon Reishus, Oregon’s migratory bird coordinator, said it’s too early to predict. “We have no plans to close hunting down. But it’s an evolving situation.”

The Oregon Department of Agriculture said 16 cases have been confirmed this year in smaller flocks of domesticated birds. That’s a significant increase from the two confirmed cases in 2014-2015 outbreak, said Scholz, the Department of Agriculture veterinarian. More flocks are being tested after an uptick in calls over the past week.

About two thousand domesticated birds have been euthanized or died of avian flu in Oregon this year in reported cases, said Scholz. Some backyard flock owners only use birds or their eggs for home consumption, while others have hundreds of birds and sell their products to the public. The state has imposed several avian flu quarantines this summer and fall to prevent the sale of meat or eggs from virus-impacted areas.

There have been no cases reported in commercial farms – farms with much larger flocks that often are raised in large barns — likely because they have strict biosecurity measures, Scholz said.

The sick flocks have ranged from 4 to 500 in size. The bigger the flocks, the more birds die quickly – so the risk of the disease to larger farms is significant. In the case of one large backyard farm with about 400 chickens, Scholz said, the birds started dying on Saturday and by Monday there were “barrels of dead birds.” Agricultural officials had to euthanize the rest.

And it’s not just a chicken problem. In addition to hundreds of dead chickens, the outbreak this year has claimed domestic ducks, quail, pheasants, even a couple of emus.

With colder weather and wild-bird migration hitting the high point in coming weeks, the environment is ripe for transmission, Scholz said.

“This kind of weather… it’s a setup for a perfect storm,” he said.

Wildlife officials say it’s OK to double-bag and dispose of one to two dead wild birds in the trash. People can also shallowly bury birds or just leave them where they’re found in the wild. Officials said people should be careful about handling the birds and should never transport them.

As for domestic birds, responsible owners can help prevent their flocks’ exposure to wild waterfowl by fencing off access to farm ponds or grassy fields, Scholz said.

Domestic flock owners should call the Department of Agriculture if more than one bird in their flock dies in rapid succession, officials said. Reported cases are reviewed by a veterinarian and samples are collected for testing. If the disease is confirmed, all birds are euthanized, said Scholz.

“Avian influenza is 100 percent fatal” for domestic birds, which have not developed the immunity that some wild birds have, he added. “All the birds are going to die from the disease. We would much rather humanely euthanize them then wait for them to get sick and die.”

– Gosia Wozniacka;; @gosiawozniacka

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The World Could Be Entering a New Era of Climate War

Runaway climate change once seemed like it could spur violence. Now a different risk has emerged.By Robinson Meyer

An image of Biden and Xi Jinping

NOVEMBER 23, 2022, 11:18 AM ETSHARE

Back in 2015, when I started covering climate change, climate war meant one thing. At the time, if someone said that climate change posed a threat to the world order, you would assume they were talking about the direct impacts of warming, or its second-order consequences. Analysts and scholars worried over scenarios in which unprecedented droughts or city-destroying floods would prompt mass migrations, destabilizing the rich world or giving rise to far-right nationalism. Or they worried that a global famine could send food prices surging, triggering old-fashioned resource wars. Or they fretted over social science showing that weather fluctuations could lead to revolutions and civil wars.

The world of 2015 is not the world of 2022. Countries have made remarkable progress averting worst-case climate scenarios since then: Canada taxes carbon pollution, Europe has its Green Deal, and the United States somehow passed the Inflation Reduction Act. What’s more, elected leaders have run on these policies and won. Thanks to a global turn away from coal power, the world will likely not warm 9 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the century, as had once seemed possible.

The success of the past seven years was driven home for me when I saw a German public service announcement last month that added decarbonization to the old Enlightenment trinity: “Demokratie, Vielfalt & Klimaschutz. Du Bist Europa,” it read: “Democracy, diversity, and climate protection. You are Europe.” What a victory. And what a complicated one. Since 2015, the risks of climate war have not entirely decreased. Instead the risks have shifted. As more countries have integrated the energy transition into their economies, a chance now exists that efforts to address climate change could encourage conflict in their own right.

This shift has not happened intentionally, to be clear. It’s the result of a process that climate advocates, to their credit, were among the first to note: that batteries, renewables, and zero-carbon energy are the next rung on the technological ladder. Climate hawks have rightly celebrated the news of Ukrainians using ebikes and electric drones for recon or to raid Russian tanks. But that only drives home that these innovations are “dual use”—they can be deployed in civilian and in military contexts, and thus are non-optional for countries pursuing their security.

Conflict over dual-use technologies is already at the center of U.S.-Chinese trade spats. Last month, the Biden administration effectively banned the sale of any modern semiconductor-manufacturing equipment to China. It also forbade “U.S. persons”—a group that comprises American citizens and green-card holders—from working in the Chinese semiconductor industry. As Eric Levitz writes in New York magazine, the policy amounts to a type of economic war, because “it is now official U.S. policy to prevent China from achieving its development goals.”

This is a dangerous logic when you consider that semiconductors are crucial for decarbonization: The shift to electricity all but necessitates greater use of semiconductors. Computer chips govern nearly every part of how electric cars, scooters, water heaters, induction stoves, and more use energy or preserve it. One of the major ways that electric-vehicle makers secure a competitive advantage is by eking out tiny improvements from the computer chips and software that govern a car’s battery pack. Now, the type of semiconductors affected by Biden’s policies is far more advanced than the cheaper kind needed for decarbonization. But you can see how trying to prevent the other country’s development can cascade from an economic disagreement into a military one.

Part of what makes this dynamic tricky to manage is that the U.S. and China are productively using climate policy as a venue for their own diplomatic competition. Perhaps the most important international climate announcement of the past few years was President Xi Jinping’s pledge that China would aim to reach net zero by 2060. He announced the goal less than 2 months before the 2020 U.S. presidential election, and it was widely understood as a “pointed message” for—if not a rebuke of—the United States and the Trump administration. “It demonstrates Xi’s consistent interest in leveraging the climate agenda for geopolitical purposes,” Li Shuo, a Greenpeace analyst, told The New York Times then.

Competition has improved American policy, too. Thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act—a law that passed in part because American legislators did not want to cede the clean-tech industry to China—the United States is about to subsidize domestic solar-panel manufacturing at a massive scale. It’s possible that a decade from now we will have more cheap solar panels than we know what to do with. And while that may cause substantial economic deadweight loss, it’s probably good, on net, for the climate. If geopolitical competition leads America to subsidize a solar industry, then competition is probably helping climate action, not hindering it. Flooding the world with cheap solar power will not only speed up decarbonization, but also push companies to find new and creative ways to use solar panels.

The most likely trigger—possibly the only trigger—of a full-blown war between China and the United States remains Taiwan, but we should be attentive to how conflict over trade, even when it emerges from politicians’ virtuous desire to have a domestic clean-tech industry, can degrade relations between countries and push them toward zero-sum thinking. And the greatest risk from mitigation-fueled violence is not, we should be clear, to citizens of America or China or Europe. Over the past month, the Democratic Republic of Congo has seen its heaviest rebel fighting in a decade as groups allegedly backed by Rwanda try to lay claim to the country’s minerals, The Wall Street Journal recently reported. Congo produces two-thirds of the world’s cobalt and has the largest reserves of tantalum, a metallic element used in capacitors.

At the same time, the old idea of a climate war has not vanished either. The past year has shown how much climate impacts, such as drought, can drive up the price of key commodities, fueling inflation in the rich world and food shortages elsewhere. Conventional energy sources, such as fossil fuels, are far more likely than renewables or climate technology to trigger such a conflict, Dan Wang, a technology analyst at the China-based economic-research firm Gavekal Dragonomics, told me. China remains dependent on oil and natural gas from abroad; the U.S. has become a large and growing exporter of natural gas to the country. Were the U.S. to cut off those exports—as it did with oil to Japan in the run-up to World War II—then the risks of a bigger conflict could be far graver.

For years, climate advocates argued that their issue deserved to be at the center of economic and social policy making. Climate is everything, they said. Well, to a degree, they won: Decarbonization is now at the center of how the U.S., China, and Europe conceive of the future of their economies. Climate advocates have won a seat at the table where the life-and-death matters of state and society are decided. What progress the world has made; what a long way we still have to go.

Avian Flu Outbreak in NYC Live Animal Markets Sparks Renewed Calls for Their Closure

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In a letter to the New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets, local and national animal protection organizations are calling on Commissioner Richard Ball to suspend operations at the 87 live animal markets across the state that sell live animals to the public and slaughter them on the premises. The calls come amid an avian flu outbreak at a Queens live poultry market that led to the temporary closure of 34 similar markets in New York and New Jersey. Approximately 170 birds were killed in the Queens facility where the flu was found.

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Expert identifies what caused a massive die-off of Alaska’s snow crabs

  • Published: Oct. 21, 2022, 5:03 p.m.
A boat with a big tub of crab piled on each other is sorted by roughly four people.
Deckhands aboard the crab boat Arctic Hunter in the Bering Sea off Alaska separate male and female snow crab, March 21, 2013. There will be no Bering Sea red king crab or snow crab harvests this year.Steve Ringman/The Seattle Times/TNS

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Last week, there was mass confusion as to why Alaskan snow crabs have disappeared.

This week, there may be a plausible answer as to why crab legs will be so hard to get your hands on.

According to Yahoo, climate change may be the prime suspect in a mass die-off of Alaska’s snow crabs, experts say, after the state took the unprecedented step of canceling their harvest this season to save the species.

Here’s the thing.

There’s an annual survey of the Bering Sea floor carried out by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which estimates that the crustaceans’ total numbers fell to about 1.9 billion in 2022, down from 11.7 billion in 2018, or a reduction of about 84 percent, Yahoo reported.

For the first time ever, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced the Bering Sea snow crab season will remain closed for 2022-23, saying in a statement efforts must turn to “conservation and rebuilding given the condition of the stock.” The state’s fisheries produce 60% of the nation’s seafood.

So in other words, there’s an extreme scarcity of tasty crustaceans, and it’s all because of climate change.

According to Yahoo, Erin Fedewa, a marine biologist with the Alaska Fisheries Science Center, told AFP the shocking numbers seen today are the result of heatwaves in 2018 and 2019.

The “cold water habitat that they need was virtually absent, which suggests that temperature is really the key culprit in this population decline,” she said.

The thing is, Alaska is the fastest warming state in the country, this according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and it’s losing billions of tons of ice each year — critical for crabs that need cold water to survive, the outlet reported.

“Environmental conditions are changing rapidly,” Ben Daly, a researcher with ADF&G, told CBS News. “We’ve seen warm conditions in the Bering Sea the last couple of years, and we’re seeing a response in a cold adapted species, so it’s pretty obvious this is connected. It is a canary in a coal mine for other species that need cold water.”

For what it’s worth, cold water is historically an abundant resource in the Bering Sea and their loss is considered a bellwether of ecological disruption, the outlet reported.

Read more via Yahoo.

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