The “Pro-Life” Movement’s Response to COVID-19 Reveals Its Hypocrisy

As communities reel from the devastating impacts of COVID-19, conservative politicians and lawmakers in an alarming number of states have capitalized on the fear and scarcity surrounding the pandemic. They are using legitimate health concerns as a smokescreen to enact anti-choice abortion bans. They have done so under the pretense of public safety, but their actions jeopardize the health and well-being of their communities.

Abortion clinics in Texas have been locked in a legal battle with the state government in recent weeks, leaving vulnerable patients in limbo, after Gov. Greg Abbott deemed abortion a “non-essential” medical procedure. This was purportedly a decision made in the interest of public health, and yet Abbott has also asserted that religious services conducted in “churches, congregations, and houses of worship” are “essential” and therefore should not be subject to stay-at-home orders. He has also openly talked about his plans to re-open the economy as soon as possible, via executive order. This calls his actual commitment to the preservation of life into question.

Likewise, Kentucky’s state legislature just moved to grant Attorney General Daniel Cameron the authority to enforce abortion bans and shut down clinics. He has justified this ban as an effort to “conserve medical supplies” — never mind the fact that medical abortions require little to no personal protective equipment (PPE). Additionally, continuing a pregnancy and giving birth would require significantly more PPE and doctor’s visits than a one-time abortion. While Cameron also claimed that the bans are meant to “follow social distancing protocols,” he then went on to override local officials who tried to ban drive-in church services for Easter weekend. These officials felt that the sheer number of people gathered would pose too big of a health risk, but Cameron disagreed. A similar dynamic is happening in Mississippi, where Gov. Tate Reeves has vowed to shut down the state’s one remaining abortion clinic under the guise of public health, yet instructed Greenville Mayor Errick Simmons to lift his ban on drive-in church services.

Life Tabernacle Church in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, made headlines when Rev. Tony Spell openly defied state orders by continuing to hold church services, boasting about attendances of upwards of 1,000 parishioners. He justified these gatherings by pointing out that Planned Parenthood was staying open, and said that if Planned Parenthood were to shut down, “we’d save more lives than would be taken by the coronavirus.” Recently, an elderly member of the church died from COVID-19, yet Reverend Spell continues to show little remorse or responsibility, claiming that the cause of death is a fabrication. Life Tabernacle Church’s lawyer, Jeff Wittenbrink, has also been diagnosed with COVID-19 and is currently hospitalized.

Even worse, there are clergy who are opposing stay-at-home orders while also engaging in clinic protests. Kentucky’s Shelbyville Church of God, led by Pastor Joshua Nunley, continues to attend in-person protests at a Louisville abortion clinic. The protesters have come within inches of clinic staff and patients, invading their personal space, compromising their safety, and engaging in intimidation tactics such as yelling. Some clinic escorts have actually stopped volunteering due to fears of contracting COVID-19 from the protesters.

Another congregation in Merrillville, Indiana, has gone so far as to travel out of state to protest abortion clinics in Kentucky. While they affirm the right to make decisions based on their own religious beliefs and sensibilities, once again, they do not extend that same respect for others.

The Fairway Christian Church in Ocala, Florida, plays a leading role in a crisis pregnancy center (CPC), Alpha Center for Women. CPCs like this one function as ploys to manipulate vulnerable pregnant people into giving birth no matter what, often through lies, misinformation, fraud and scare tactics. The Alpha Center claims to “offer life affirming choices to those experiencing unplanned pregnancies” and “educate, equip, support, restore, and empower moms and dads to choose life.” Meanwhile, the church continues to conduct their worship services in person, with worship leaders themselves sitting, standing, singing and preaching in such close proximity to one another that it belies their “pro-life” stance.

While abortion clinics are being kneecapped left and right in places like Texas, Ohio and Alabama, crisis pregnancy centers have been allowed to remain open in those very same states. For example, in Texas, the Houston Pregnancy Help Center has announced an intention to stay open throughout the course of the pandemic.

Thomas Glessner, president of National Institute of Family and Life Advocates, an organization that heads up CPCs across the country, was quoted in VICE News stating that, “the health resources provided by these dedicated life-affirming ministries are absolutely essential” and that “abortion is deadlier than the coronavirus.”

Crisis pregnancy centers do not provide actual health care and they do not offer clients the full range of reproductive health care options. Oftentimes, staff members will pose as medical professionals and give false medical advice. Even though other public establishments (like movie theaters, restaurants, book shops, etc.) have had to close, CPCs have effectively granted themselves the status of providing “essential” medical services, and some state governments are allowing them to remain in operation.

The actions of anti-choice politicians and religious communities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic have elucidated the hypocrisy of the “pro-life” movement that, from its inception, has been more interested in preserving political power than promoting human flourishing. This has always been true, but it has never been more apparent.

Here’s how a wavy jet stream is screwing up weather all over the US this weekend

A National Weather Service map shows where freeze warnings (navy) are in effect for this weekend.

A National Weather Service map shows where freeze warnings (navy) are in effect for this weekend.
(Image: © NWS)

Temperatures are expected to drop to record lows for this time of year across much of the northern U.S east of the Rocky Mountains. The culprit? A low-pressure mass of Arctic air is making its way down through Ontario, Canada, according to the National Weather Service (NWS).

“Temperatures will be quite chilly for middle May, a good 20 degrees below normal,” on Saturday (May 9), the New York NWS wrote in a Friday forecast discussion. Rain is likely, and flurries are possible, though the mid-May sun makes them unlikely, according to the NWS.

A map shows snowfall predictions for the weekend.

A map shows snowfall predictions for the weekend. (Image credit: NWS)

Farther north and west, things will be colder, with freeze warnings in place across parts of the Great Plains, Appalachians and the Northeast. Several inches of snow are possible in northern Appalachia, according to the national forecast. Lake-effect snow is possible by the Great Lakes, and high winds are expected across the Northeast as the low-pressure system turns into a bona fide storm system.

The air mass making its way south is part of what’s often called the “polar vortex,” a swirl of frigid air usually confined to the Arctic by the circulating atmospheric current known as the jet stream. Sometimes, wobbles in the jet stream allow some of that Arctic air to escape south, according to the NWS.

A National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration graphic shows how disturbances to the jet stream produce extreme weather.

A National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration graphic shows how disturbances to the jet stream produce extreme weather. (Image credit: NOAA)

The relationship between polar vortex escapes like this and climate change isn’t yet fully understood, but many studies (summarized in this paper published in the journal Science Advances in 2018) have found climate change effects can disturb the jet stream and lead to extreme weather events.

The Weather Channel reported that this weekend should see multiple low-temperature and possibly low-pressure records fall. Meanwhile, a high-pressure block of lower-latitude air “bulging” northward to the west should bring extreme heat to the other side of the Rocky Mountains.

In other words, it will be an extreme weather weekend all over the country, not fully clearing up after Mother’s Day on Sunday (May 10).

Climate experts call for ‘dangerous’ Michael Moore film to be taken down

Planet of the Humans, which takes aim at the green movement, is ‘full of misinformation’, says one online library

Planet Of The Humans - film still
A still from Planet of the Humans, which has provoked a furious reaction. Photograph: Erik Pedersen/Handout
[I haven’t seen it yet, but this message I happen to agree with: “…the film, has suggested that unrestrained economic and population growth should be the target of environmentalists’ efforts rather than technological fixes.”]

A new Michael Moore-produced documentary that takes aim at the supposed hypocrisy of the green movement is “dangerous, misleading and destructive” and should be removed from public viewing, according to an assortment of climate scientists and environmental campaigners.

The film, Planet of the Humans, was released on the eve of Earth Day last week by its producer, Michael Moore, the baseball cap-wearing documentarian known for Fahrenheit 9/11 and Bowling for Columbine. Describing itself as a “full-frontal assault on our sacred cows”, the film argues that electric cars and solar energy are unreliable and rely upon fossil fuels to function. It also attacks figures including Al Gore for bolstering corporations that push flawed technologies over real solutions to the climate crisis.

Planet of the Humans has provoked a furious reaction from scientists and campaigners, however, who have called for it be taken down. Films for Action, an online library of videos, temporarily took down the film after describing it as “full of misinformation”, though they later reinstated it, saying they did not want accusations of censorship to give the film “more power and mystique than it deserves”. A free version on YouTube has been viewed more than 3m times.

letter written by Josh Fox, who made the documentary Gasland, and signed by various scientists and activists, has urged the removal of “shockingly misleading and absurd” film for making false claims about renewable energy. Planet of the Humans “trades in debunked fossil fuel industry talking points” that question the affordability and reliability of solar and wind energy, the letter states, pointing out that these alternatives are now cheaper to run than fossil fuels such as coal.

Michael Mann, a climate scientist and signatory to Fox’s letter, said the film includes “various distortions, half-truths and lies” and that the filmmakers “have done a grave disservice to us and the planet by promoting climate change inactivist tropes and talking points.” The film’s makers did not respond to questions over whether it will be pulled down.

Planet of the Humans has been shown at Moore’s Traverse City film festival, where the producer said it was “perhaps the most urgent film we’ve shown in the 15-year history of our film festival”. Jeff Gibbs, who wrote and directed the film, has suggested that unrestrained economic and population growth should be the target of environmentalists’ efforts rather than technological fixes.

Climate activist Bill McKibben, one of the targets for the film for allegedly being influenced by corporate money and for supporting the burning of biomass such as wood chips for energy, said the characterisations are untrue. McKibben has previously changed his views on biomass energy, which he now sees as being detrimental to climate action, and claims he has “never taken a penny in pay” from any environmental group.

“I am used to ceaseless harassment and attack from the fossil fuel industry, and I’ve done my best to ignore a lifetime of death threats from rightwing extremists,” McKibben said. “It does hurt more to be attacked by others who think of themselves as environmentalists.”

Renewable energy has long been portrayed as expensive and unreliably intermittent by oil and gas companies and their lobby groups, which have spent several decades questioning the veracity of climate science and undermining efforts to radically reduce planet-heating emissions.

In fact, the technology used for wind and solar energy has improved markedly in recent years, while the costs have plummeted. While electric cars often require fossil fuel-generated energy to produce them and provide the electricity to fuel them, research has shown they still emit less greenhouse gas and air pollutants over their lifetime than a standard petrol or diesel car.

Generating all power from renewables will take significant upgrades of grid infrastructure and storage but several researchers have declared the goal feasible, most likely with carbon-capture technology for remaining fossil fuel plants. Scientists say the world must reach net zero emissions by 2050 to head off disastrous global heating, which would likely spur worsening storms, heatwaves, sea level rise and societal unrest.

Wildlife Collapse From Climate Change Is Predicted to Hit Suddenly and Sooner

Scientists found a “cliff edge” instead of the slippery slope they expected.

A sea turtle hatchling headed for the ocean in Aceh Province, Indonesia.
Credit…Chaideer Mahyuddin/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Climate change could result in a more abrupt collapse of many animal species than previously thought, starting in the next decade if greenhouse gas emissions are not reduced, according to a study published this month in Nature.

The study predicted that large swaths of ecosystems would falter in waves, creating sudden die-offs that would be catastrophic not only for wildlife, but for the humans who depend on it.

“For a long time things can seem OK and then suddenly they’re not,” said Alex L. Pigot, a scientist at University College London and one of the study’s authors. “Then, it’s too late to do anything about it because you’ve already fallen over this cliff edge.”

The latest research adds to an already bleak picture for the world’s wildlife unless urgent action is taken to preserve habitats and limit climate change. More than a million plant and animal species are at risk of extinction because of the myriad ways humans are changing the earth by farming, fishing, logging, mining, poaching and burning fossil fuels.

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The study looked at more than 30,000 species on land and in water to predict how soon climate change would affect population levels and whether those levels would change gradually or suddenly. To answer these questions, the authors determined the hottest temperature that a species is known to have withstood, and then predicted when that temperature would be surpassed around the world under different emissions scenarios.

ImageCoral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef. Scientists say recent bleaching events suggest that major die-offs in tropical seas are already underway.
Credit…James Cook University Australia/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

When they examined the projections, the researchers were surprised that sudden collapses appeared across almost all species — fish, reptiles, amphibians, birds and mammals — and across almost all regions.

“It’s not that it happens in some places,” said Cory Merow, an ecologist at the University of Connecticut and one of the study’s authors. “No matter how you slice the analysis, it always seems to happen.”

If greenhouse gas emissions remain on current trajectories, the research showed that abrupt collapses in tropical oceans could begin in the next decade. Coral bleaching events over the last several years suggest that these losses have already started, the scientists said. Collapse in tropical forests, home to some of the most diverse ecosystems on earth, could follow by the 2040s.

But if global warming was held to below 2 degrees Celsius, the number of species exposed to dangerous climate change would drop by 60 percent. That, in turn, would limit the number of ecosystems exposed to catastrophic collapse to about 2 percent.

“The benefits of early and rapid action are massive and prevent the extinction of thousands of species,” said Christopher H. Trisos, a scientist at the University of Cape Town and one of the study’s authors.

The study does not take into account other factors that could help or hurt a species’ survival. For example, some species may tolerate or adapt to higher temperatures; on the other hand, if their food sources could not, they would die off just the same.

Climate Fwd: What on earth is going on? Get the latest news about climate change, plus tips on how you can help.

“It provides yet another, critical wake-up call about the massive repercussions of a rapidly warming world,” said Walter Jetz, an ecologist at Yale University who did not participate in the study. He added that it was more evidence of the importance of following through on the pledges that nations around the world made in the Paris Agreement on climate change. The Trump administration is in the process of withdrawing from that commitment.

The study suggested that even keeping global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius, in accordance with the Paris Agreement, would still leave many people and ecosystems vulnerable.

“If we take action now, we limit this abrupt disruption to 2 percent of the planet,” Dr. Trisos said. “But that two percent of the planet still has a lot of people living there in tropical regions. And they need our help.”

Catrin Einhorn reports on wildlife and extinction for the Climate desk. She has also worked on the Investigations desk, where she was part of the Times team that received the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for its reporting on sexual harassment. @catrineinhorn

A version of this article appears in print on , Section A, Page 19 of the New York edition with the headline: Study Sees ‘Cliff Edge’ Of Die-Offs Over Climate. Order Reprints | Today’s Paper | Subscribe

Abrupt Warming – How Much And How Fast?

SATURDAY, MAY 13, 2017

https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2017/05/abrupt-warming-how-much-and-how-fast.html

How much could temperatures rise? As the image shows, a rise of more than 10°C (18°F) could take place, resulting in mass extinction of many species, including humans.

How fast could such a temperature rise eventuate? As above image also shows, such a rise could take place within a few years. The polynomial trend is based on NASA January 2012-February 2017 anomalies from 1951-1980, adjusted by +0.59°C to cater for the rise from 1750 to 1951-1980. The trend points at a 3°C rise in the course of 2018, which would be devastating. Moreover, the rise doesn’t stop there and the trend points at a 10°C rise as early as the year 2021.

Is this polynomial trend the most appropriate one? This has been discussed for years, e.g. at the Controversy Page, and more recently at Which Trend Is best?

The bottom part of above image shows the warming elements that add up to the 10°C (18°F) temperature rise. Figures for five elements may be overestimated (as indicated by the ⇦ symbol) or underestimated (⇨ symbol), while figures in two elements could be either under- or overestimated depending on developments in other elements. Interaction between warming elements is included, i.e. where applicable, figures on the image include interaction based on initial figures and subsequently apportioned over the relevant elements.

A closer look at each of these warming elements further explains why abrupt warming could take place in a matter of years. As far as the first two elements are concerned, i.e. the rise from 1900 and the rise from 1750 to 1900, this has already eventuated. The speed at which further warming elements can strike is depicted in the image below, i.e. the rise could for a large part occur within years and in some cases within days and even immediately.

Assessing the Danger

The danger can be looked at on three dimensions: timescale, probability and severity. On the severity dimension, a 10°C temperature rise is beyond catastrophic, i.e. we’re talking about extinction of species at massive scale, including humans. On the probability dimension, the danger appears to be progressing inevitably toward certainty if no comprehensive and effective action is taken.

In terms of timescale, a 10°C temperature rise could eventuate within a matter of years, which makes the danger imminent, adding further weight to the need to start taking comprehensive and effective action, as described in the Climate Plan.

The Threat

With little or no action taken on global warming, it appears that the Antropocene will lead to extinction of the very human beings after which the era is named, with the Anthropocene possibly running from 1950 to 2021, i.e. a mere 71 years and much too short to constitute an era. In that case a better name for the period would be the Sixth Extiction Event, as also illustrated by the image below.

[ See: Feedbacks in the Arctic and the Extinction page ]

In conclusion, it’s high time that homo sapiens starts acting as genuinely wise modern human beings and commit to comprehensive and effective action as discussed at the Climate Plan.

Further reading

Read more about the threat here. Warming elements are discussed in more detail at the Extinction Page, while specific elements are also discussed in posts, e.g. methane hydrates are discussed at Methane Erupting From Arctic Ocean, decline of the snow and ice cover and associated feedbacks is discussed at Arctic Ocean Feedbacks and less take-up by oceans of CO₂ and heat from the atmosphere is discussed at 10°C or 18°F warmer by 2021? and at the new post High Waves Set To Batter Arctic Ocean.

The situation is dire and calls for comprehensive and effective action as described in the Climate Plan.

Links

• Climate Plan
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/climateplan.html

• Feedbacks
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/feedbacks.html

• Extinction
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/extinction.html

• The Threat
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/threat.html

• Controversy
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/controversy.html

• Which Trend Is best?
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2017/03/which-trend-is-best.html

• 10°C or 18°F warmer by 2021?
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2017/04/10c-or-18f-warmer-by-2021.html

• Arctic Ocean Feedbacks
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2017/01/arctic-ocean-feedbacks.html

• Methane Erupting From Arctic Ocean
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2017/03/methane-erupting-from-arctic-ocean-seafloor.html

• High Waves Set To Batter Arctic Ocean
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2017/06/high-waves-set-to-batter-arctic-ocean.html

• Warning of mass extinction of species, including humans, within one decade
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2017/02/warning-of-mass-extinction-of-species-including-humans-within-one-decade.html

2°C crossed

FRIDAY, MARCH 13, 2020

https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2020/03/2c-crossed.html

It’s time to stop denying how precarious the situation is.

Remember the Paris Agreement? In 2015, politicians pledged to hold the global temperature rise to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pledged they would try and limit the temperature rise to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. Well, an analysis by Sam Carana shows that it was already more than 1.5°C above pre-industrial when the Paris Agreement was reached.

In Sam Carana’s analysis, the year 1750 is used as the baseline for pre-industrial. The analysis shows that we meanwhile have also crossed the 2°C threshold (in February 2020) and that the temperature rise looks set to rapidly drive humans and eventually most if not all species on Earth into extinction.

Yet, our politicians refuse to act!

Accelerating temperature rise

Indeed, there are indications that the recent rise is part of a trend that points at even higher temperatures in the near future, as also discussed at this analysis page. Polynomial trends can highlight such acceleration better than linear trends. The 1970-2030 polynomial trend in the image below is calculated over the period from 1880 through to February 2020. The trend points at 3°C getting crossed in 2026.

In above image, the January 2020 and February 2020 anomalies are above the trend. This indicates that the situation might be even worse.

A polynomial trend calculated over a shorter period can highlight short-term variation such as associated with El Niño events and can highlight feedbacks that might otherwise be overlooked. The 2010-2022 trend in the image below is calculated with 2009-Feb.2020 data. The trend indicates that 2°C was crossed in February 2020, and looks set to keep rising and cross 3°C in 2021, more specifically in January next year, which is less than a year away.

Such a steep rise is in line with unfolding developments that are causing the aerosol masking effect to fall away, such as a decrease in industrial activity due to COVID-19 fears. The image below shows a potential rise of 18°C or 32.4°F from 1750 by the year 2026.

Above image was posted more than a year ago and illustrates that much of this potentially huge temperature rise over the next few years could eventuate as a result of a reduction in the cooling now provided by sulfates. In other words, a steep temperature rise could result from a decline in industrial activity that is caused by fears about the spread of a contagious virus, as also discussed in the video at an earlier post.

The situation is dire and calls for immediate, comprehensive and effective action, as described in the Climate Plan.

Links

• Analysis: Crossing the Paris Agreement thresholds
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/crossing.html

• A rise of 18°C or 32.4°F by 2026?
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2019/02/a-rise-of-18c-or-324f-by-2026.html

• How much warming have humans caused?
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2016/05/how-much-warming-have-humans-caused.html

• Arctic Ocean January 2020
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2020/02/arctic-ocean-february-2020.html

• Climate Plan
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/climateplan.html

In the video below, Guy McPherson discusses the situation.

Jacksonville beaches reopen in Florida as states begin easing stay-at-home restrictions

Jacksonville, Florida (CNN)Beaches and parks in Jacksonville, Florida, reopened Friday afternoon as more states consider easing restrictions put in place to battle the coronavirus pandemic.

The scene at Jacksonville Beach wasn’t one of caution in the middle of a worldwide pandemic. Crowds cheered and flooded the beach when police took the barriers down. People were seen swimming, biking, surfing, running and fishing.
Social distancing seemed to be the last thing on anyone’s mind Friday. Some residents told CNN not being able to go to the beach was “torture.” People were out with their towels, coolers and sunbathing. There were very few masks.
Beaches will be open from 6 to 11 a.m. and from 5 to 8 p.m. daily with some restrictions, according to Jacksonville’s website. Recreational activities such as running, biking, hiking and swimming will be permitted during this soft reopening, the city’s website said.
Despite the scene at the beach Friday, the city’s website said activities such as sunbathing or any type of group activity will not be allowed at beaches during the restricted hours and items like towels, blankets, chairs, coolers and grills will not be permitted on the beach.
“This can be the beginning of the pathway back to normal life,” Mayor Lenny Curry said. “Please respect and follow these limitations. Stay within the guidelines for your safety as well as for the safety of your neighbors.”
People were excited to be able to get back out onto the sand.
“I’m planning on going and riding my bicycle or surfing,” Elliott Toney told CNN affiliate WJXT
But not everyone thought reopening the beaches was a good idea.
“There’s a potential for the virus to blow into the air, so I think it’s a risk,” Lisa Mancini told the affiliate.
Officials aren’t afraid to pull the plug on beachgoers if they don’t abide by the social distancing rules and beach restrictions, Atlantic Beach Mayor Ellen Glasser said at a press conference Friday.
“This not a time to lounge. This is not a time to party. This is a time where you need to exercise, keep moving and then go home,” Glasser said.
Parks will resume regular hours but the city’s order limiting gatherings to fewer than 50 people remains in effect.
Gov. Ron DeSantis was criticized back in March for his handling of spring break and not closing the beaches sooner. As a result, he issued a “Safer at Home” order that went into effect April 3 and is in effect until April 30. The order limits movement outside homes to providing or getting essential services or carrying out essential activities and applies to interaction with other people outside of residents’ homes.
close dialog
DeSantis supported the idea of reopening beaches, parks and other public spaces as long as social distancing is practiced, WJXT reported.
“You look at how this disease is transmitted, it’s transmitted overwhelmingly when you are in close, sustained contact with people, usually in an indoor environment,” DeSantis said. “Going forward, we got to be promoting people to get exercise, do it in a good way, to do it in a safe way.”

Recipe For Disaster

Consider this blog a chronicle of mankind’s last days. What were humans thinking when they took this incredibly beautiful, fragile, planet down—in the name of greed, selfishness, arrogance, sport or self-esteem?

Some of the articles I post might seem unrelated, off-topic or out of place when examined alone. But they are all part of the bigger picture which someday may be viewed by a higher intelligence who comes across it in their quest to know just how one species—out of so many—thought they had the right to exploit all others, carte blanc, under the narcissistic delusion that non-human lives on Earth had no rights at all.

Whether or not mankind survives the assault they’re putting the planet through is a non-issue for me. Personally, I hope they don’t. They do not deserve a second chance to rule this vibrant, watery orb any more than they deserved the first chance to steal Nature, abuse and forever change her.

But why all this on an anti-hunting blog? Because hunting, and ultimately meat-eating, is where humans first started screwing things up. For a plant-eating primate to leave the trees, take weapon in hand, turn carnivorous and claim the planet and everything that walks, crawls, swims or flies as their own was a recipe for disaster…

‘The only uncertainty is how long we’ll last’: a worst case scenario for the climate in 2050

The Future We Choose, a new book by the architects of the Paris climate accords, offers two contrasting visions for how the world might look in thirty years (read the best case scenario here)

 Christiana Figueres, author: ‘This is the decade and we are the generation’

Red clouds in a dark sky
 ‘The air can taste slightly acidic, sometimes making you feel nauseated.’ Photograph: Arctic-Images/Corbis

It is 2050. Beyond the emissions reductions registered in 2015, no further efforts were made to control emissions. We are heading for a world that will be more than 3C warmer by 2100

The first thing that hits you is the air. In many places around the world, the air is hot, heavy and, depending on the day, clogged with particulate pollution. Your eyes often water. Your cough never seems to disappear. You think about some countries in Asia, where, out of consideration, sick people used to wear white masks to protect others from airborne infection. Now you often wear a mask to protect yourself from air pollution. You can no longer simply walk out your front door and breathe fresh air: there might not be any. Instead, before opening doors or windows in the morning, you check your phone to see what the air quality will be.

Fewer people work outdoors and even indoors the air can taste slightly acidic, sometimes making you feel nauseated. The last coal furnaces closed 10 years ago, but that hasn’t made much difference in air quality around the world because you are still breathing dangerous exhaust fumes from millions of cars and buses everywhere. Our world is getting hotter. Over the next two decades, projections tell us that temperatures in some areas of the globe will rise even higher, an irreversible development now utterly beyond our control. Oceans, forests, plants, trees and soil had for many years absorbed half the carbon dioxide we spewed out. Now there are few forests left, most of them either logged or consumed by wildfire, and the permafrost is belching greenhouse gases into an already overburdened atmosphere. The increasing heat of the Earth is suffocating us and in five to 10 years, vast swaths of the planet will be increasingly inhospitable to humans. We don’t know how hospitable the arid regions of Australia, South Africa and the western United States will be by 2100. No one knows what the future holds for their children and grandchildren: tipping point after tipping point is being reached, casting doubt on the form of future civilisation. Some say that humans will be cast to the winds again, gathering in small tribes, hunkered down and living on whatever patch of land might sustain them.

More moisture in the air and higher sea surface temperatures have caused a surge in extreme hurricanes and tropical storms. Recently, coastal cities in Bangladesh, Mexico, the United States and elsewhere have suffered brutal infrastructure destruction and extreme flooding, killing many thousands and displacing millions. This happens with increasing frequency now. Every day, because of rising water levels, some part of the world must evacuate to higher ground. Every day, the news shows images of mothers with babies strapped to their backs, wading through floodwaters and homes ripped apart by vicious currents that resemble mountain rivers. News stories tell of people living in houses with water up to their ankles because they have nowhere else to go, their children coughing and wheezing because of the mould growing in their beds, insurance companies declaring bankruptcy, leaving survivors without resources to rebuild their lives. Contaminated water supplies, sea salt intrusions and agricultural runoff are the order of the day. Because multiple disasters are often happening simultaneously, it can take weeks or even months for basic food and water relief to reach areas pummelled by extreme floods. Diseases such as malaria, dengue, cholera, respiratory illnesses and malnutrition are rampant.

The aftermath of a wildfire in northern California, November 2018.
Pinterest
 The aftermath of a wildfire in northern California, November 2018. Photograph: Noah Berger/AP

You try not to think about the 2 billion people who live in the hottest parts of the world, where, for upwards of 45 days per year, temperatures skyrocket to 60C (140F), a point at which the human body cannot be outside for longer than about six hours because it loses the ability to cool itself down. Places such as central India are becoming increasingly challenging to inhabit. Mass migrations to less hot rural areas are beset by a host of refugee problems, civil unrest and bloodshed over diminished water availability.

Food production swings wildly from month to month, season to season, depending on where you live. More people are starving than ever before. Climate zones have shifted, so some new areas have become available for agriculture (Alaska, the Arctic), while others have dried up (Mexico, California). Still others are unstable because of the extreme heat, never mind flooding, wildfire and tornadoes. This makes the food supply in general highly unpredictable. Global trade has slowed as countries seek to hold on to their own resources.

Countries with enough food are resolute about holding on to it. As a result, food riots, coups and civil wars are throwing the world’s most vulnerable from the frying pan into the fire. As developed countries seek to seal their borders from mass migration, they too feel the consequences. Most countries’ armies are now just highly militarised border patrols. Some countries are letting people in, but only under conditions approaching indentured servitude.

A young boy picks material from a rubbish dump in Taez, Yemen.
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 A young boy picks material from a rubbish dump in Taez, Yemen. Photograph: Ahmad Al-Basha/AFP via Getty Images

Those living within stable countries may be physically safe, yes, but the psychological toll is mounting. With each new tipping point passed, they feel hope slipping away. There is no chance of stopping the runaway warming of our planet and no doubt we are slowly but surely heading towards some kind of collapse. And not just because it’s too hot. Melting permafrost is also releasing ancient microbes that today’s humans have never been exposed to and, as a result, have no resistance to. Diseases spread by mosquitoes and ticks are rampant as these species flourish in the changed climate, spreading to previously safe parts of the planet, increasingly overwhelming us. Worse still, the public health crisis of antibiotic resistance has only intensified as the population has grown denser in inhabitable areas and temperatures continue to rise.

The demise of the human species is being discussed more and more. For many, the only uncertainty is how long we’ll last, how many more generations will see the light of day. Suicides are the most obvious manifestation of the prevailing despair, but there are other indications: a sense of bottomless loss, unbearable guilt and fierce resentment at previous generations who didn’t do what was necessary to ward off this unstoppable calamity.

 This is an edited extract from The Future We Choose: Surviving the Climate Crisis by Christiana Figueres and Tom Rivett-Carnac, published by Manilla Press (£12.99). To order a copy go to guardianbookshop.com. Free UK p&p over £15

 Christiana Figueres and Tom Rivett-Carnac will be in conversation at a Guardian Live event at the Royal Geographical Society, London SW7, on Tuesday 3 March, 7pm

Scientists show solar system processes control the carbon cycle throughout Earth’s history

Scientists show solar system processes control the carbon cycle throughout Earth's history
Geologists studying the Lower Jurassic (Pliensbachian) Belemnite Marl Member mudstone succession in Dorset, UK, showing orbitally paced variations of the sediment composition similar to the studied core in Wales. Credit: Dr Micha Ruhl

https://phys.org/news/2020-02-scientists-solar-carbon-earth-history.html

The world is waking up to the fact that human-driven carbon emissions are responsible for warming our climate, driving unprecedented changes to ecosystems, and placing us on course for the sixth mass extinction event in Earth’s history.

Using chemical data from ancient mudstone deposits in Wales, an international team involving scientists from Trinity College Dublin discovered that periodic changes in the shape of Earth’s orbit around the Sun were partly responsible for changes in the carbon-cycle and global climate during and in between the Triassic-Jurassic Mass Extinction (around 201 million years ago, when around 80% of the species on Earth disappeared forever) and the Toarcian Oceanic Anoxic Event (around 183 million years ago).

In addition, volcanic activity released large amounts of greenhouse gases into the oceans and atmosphere at that point in time, which resulted in major global carbon cycle perturbations as well as  and environmental change.

Dr. Micha Ruhl, Assistant Professor in Sedimentology at Trinity, said:

“Our work shows that for the 18 million years or so in between the Triassic-Jurassic mass extinction and the Toarcian Oceanic Anoxic Event, Earth’s global carbon-cycle was in a constant state of change.”

Scientists show solar system processes control the carbon cycle throughout Earth's history
Eccentricity of the Earth’s orbit around the Sun. The fluctuation between a nearly circular and elliptical orbit drives cyclic changes in the Earth’s environment, including the global carbon cycle. Credit: Marisa Storm

“Periodic changes in the shape of Earth’s orbit around the sun impacted on the amount of energy received by Earth from the sun, which in turn impacted climatic and environmental processes, as well as the carbon-cycle, on local, regional and global scales.”

“Although this phenomenon is well known for having caused the glacial cycles in more recent times, the present study shows that these external forcing mechanisms on Earth’s systems were also operating, and controlling Earth’s carbon cycle in the distant past, even during non-glacial times when Earth was marked by hot-house climate conditions.”

Present-day orbital configurations and solar system processes should have resulted in a future return to glacial conditions. However, anthropogenic carbon release will likely have disrupted this natural process, causing rapid global warming, rather than a steady return to cooler climates.

The study of past global change events, such as the end-Triassic mass extinction and the Toarcian Oceanic Anoxic Event, as well as the time in between, allows scientists to disentangle the different processes that control global  cycle change and constrain tipping points in Earth’s climate system.

A major international research team, made up of scientists from across Europe, North and South America and China, and including Dr. Micha Ruhl and other researchers from Trinity, will soon commence drilling a 1 km deep borehole to retrieve rock samples.

These samples will comprise detailed climatic and environmental information and allow for further improved understanding of the processes that led to past major global change events and mass extinctions. Drilling of this borehole will occur as part of the International Continental Drilling Program.