Climate Change Earns Nobel Prize For Economists

Sustainability Pushed Back Into Spotlight

William Nordhaus and Paul Romer, pioneers in adapting the western economic growth model to focus on environmental issues and sharing the benefits of technology, won the 2018 Nobel Economics Prize.

In a joint award that turned the spotlight on a rapidly shifting global debate over the impact of climate change, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said the duo’s work helps answer questions about promoting long-term, sustainable prosperity.

Romer, of New York University’s Stern School of Business and best known for his work on endogenous growth – a theory rooted in investing in knowledge and human capital – said he had been taken by surprise by the award, but offered a positive message.

“I think one of the problems with the current situation is that many people think that protecting (the) environment will be so costly and so hard that they just want to ignore them,” he told a news conference via telephone.

“We can absolutely make substantial progress protecting the environment and do it without giving up the chance to sustain growth.”

Hours before the award, the United Nations panel on climate change said society would have to radically alter the way it consumes energy, travels and builds to avoid the worst effects of global warming.

climate change and extreme weather

U.S. President Donald Trump has repeatedly called climate change a hoax, and last year announced that he would withdraw the United States from a global pact to combat it reached in 2015 – calling the deal’s demands for emissions cuts too costly.

Nordhaus, a Professor of Economics at Yale University, was the first person to create a quantitative model that described the interplay between the economy and the climate, the Swedish academy said.

“The key insight of my work was to put a price on carbon in order to hold back climate change,” Nordhaus was quoted as saying in a Yale publication this year. “The main recipe …is to make sure governments, corporations and households face a high price on their carbon emissions.”

Nobel committee chair Per Stromberg told Reuters Monday’s award was honoring research into the negative effects of growth on the climate and to make sure that this economic growth leaves prosperity for everyone.

Romer had shown how economic forces govern the willingness of firms to innovate, helping some societies grow many times faster than others. By understanding which market conditions favor the creation of profitable technologies, society can tailor policies to promote growth, the academy said.

While on leave from the Stern School, Romer served as chief economist and senior vice president at the World Bank until early this year. His work on endogenous growth theory is not universally admired.

Read More About The Economics of Climate Change

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Florida’s Red Tide Fueled By Sewage

Wastewater Treatment Plants Dumping Sewage On Farms, Open Space

Florida Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency for seven counties in Southwest Florida over an unusually severe red tide outbreak. Unfortunately, red tide is now another symptom of sewage mismanagement on land. Florida, like most states, now thinks of sewage as fertilizer.

Red tide, which scientists call a harmful algae bloom, is partly caused by a naturally occurring alga (a plant-like microorganism) called Karenia brevis or K. brevis. When K. brevis appears in large quantities – typically in the Gulf of Mexico – it can turn ocean water red, brown or green. K. brevis is fueled by some of the harmful toxins that it encounters in the ocean, much of which comes from sewage and surface water runoff from cities and rural areas alike. The toxins absorbed by red tide can impact the nervous systems of fish, birds and mammals (including humans).

Ironically, at least one form of agriculture fertilizer also attacks the nervous system—human sewage. Some health advocates believe that water runoff from these farms and dumping sites are fueling the red tide and the rise in neurodegenerative disease around the world.

Red tides are not unusual in the Gulf of Mexico and the western coast of Florida. The strong smell; eye, nose, and throat irritation; and large fish kills related to the event have been documented as far back as the 1840s. Red tides are caused by tiny algae that grow on the surface of the ocean, occasionally giving it a reddish-brown tint. Thus, scientists can use satellite imagery to map the extent of red tides and monitor how they spread over time. Satellites detect changes in the way the sea surface reflects light. These changes can be linked to concentrations of chlorophyll, showing where algae and other ocean plants are concentrated in the ocean.

red tide Florida

In his declaration, Gov. Scott’s office made two points: The state is supporting communities struggling with the scourge, and in an attempt to defend the agriculture industry he said that the siege of seafaring microorganisms is “naturally occurring.” Unfortunately, the problem and the solution aren’t that simple.

The declaration will provide money and resources to address a problem that’s lingered since October in Charlotte, Collier, Hillsborough, Lee, Manatee, Pinellas and Sarasota counties.

At 10 months, the current bloom is testing the resilience of communities and the priorities of government. Red tides have lasted as long as 24-months in southwestern Florida since the turn of the century. The frequency and the duration of these deadly tides appears to be rising.

Indeed, scientists and historians note fish kills triggered by the infestations dating back as early as the 1500s. While scientists today acknowledge the natural roots of Florida’s red tides, they also are investigating the possibility that persistent blooms, like the one besetting the Gulf Coast this summer, might be getting a “booster shot” from man-made pollutants that spill into the ocean.

Both the coastal red tide and the inland blue-green algae have beset South Florida through the summer, killing vast numbers of fish and other wildlife, including dozens of dolphins, manatees, sea turtles, sharks and eels. Humans also have been sickened by brevetoxins, which are emitted by the tiny organisms — karenia brevis — that create the red tide. Breathing the fallout can constrict the lungs’ bronchioles and send asthmatics to emergency rooms with coughs and shortness of breath.

Scott last month declared an emergency because of the blue-green algae bloom that began in giant Lake Okeechobee, before spreading to multiple rivers and canals. 

The declaration helped pave the way for assistance, including the deployment of biologists and other scientists from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to rescue wildlife and to clear away the innumerable creatures that could not be saved.

Along with Scott’s action comes a $900,000 grant to Lee County, home to Fort Myers and the epicenter of the red tide, to help cope with the cleanup. That brings the total amount granted to the county, where some tourists have cut short their summer vacations, to $1.3 million.

Another $500,000 will go to Visit Florida, so the agency can support local tourism officials in mounting a campaign to try to bring visitors back to the red tide zone — which stretches more than 100 miles from Sarasota nearly to the tip of the state.

“We will continue to deploy all state resources and do everything possible to make sure that Gulf Coast residents are safe and area businesses can recover,” Scott said in a statement.

The red tide initially tends to thrive in low-nutrient environments, where it does not have to compete with other organisms. But when the blooms take hold and move closer to shore, they can thrive on nitrogen and other elements that could be fueled by pollution.

One researcher recalled his recent sampling trip along the coast, seeing the pollutants that brought the blue-green algae to the Caloosahatchee River spill into the Gulf just a couple miles from where the red tide exploded, near Fort Myers.

“It seems pretty damned obvious there is a connection,” Mitsch said, adding a cautionary note: “But that doesn’t mean there actually is one. That is why we are investigating. We have to dig deeper.”

Farming fertilizers already are blamed for fueling another Florida plague — the blue-green algae that chokes inland lakes, rivers and canals in the south part of the state, including giant Lake Okeechobee. This farm runoff also includes tons of human sewage, which has been pawned off on farmers as fertilizer since the early 1990s. Wastewater treatment plants throughout the east and southeast are paying farmers and other managers of open space, including golf courses, parks and playgrounds, to dump this toxic, infectious waste (biosolids). Florida and other states in the southeast get more than their share. It’s killing more than fish.

Such a finding likely would reinvigorate calls for greater regulation of the prime source of the pollutants —agricultural runoff from sugar cane and other farms in South Florida.

Read The Full Story About Florida’s red Tide

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Teens Discuss Climate Change

Students Produce Films About Global Warming

At the end of June, 15 middle and high school students from across southern Colorado and New Mexico journeyed to the University of Colorado Boulder to explore—in film—the effects of environmental change on their lives and in their communities. Through an immersive, CIRES-hosted science-education experience, these Upward Bound Math Science students took a deeper look at climate change topics, and used their new knowledge to create short, educational movies.

The Lens on Climate Change (LOCC) program, funded by the National Science Foundation’s Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST), targets students who may be the first in their families who are college-bound. The workshop asked them to think harder about the effects of climate change on their everyday lives. CIRES and Colorado Film School mentors worked closely with the students throughout the week, as they explored critical environmental issues through creative brainstorming, research, and film-making.

lens on climate change

Students split themselves into teams based on common interests. One team formed from a group of outdoors enthusiasts: all four team members shared a love for outdoor recreation like hiking, camping, and fishing. They also shared some key observations about local water sources in their individual communities, which span southern Colorado and New Mexico.

“I used to go fishing all the time, but things have changed over the past decade—there isn’t enough water to sustain the fish we used to catch,” said Erik Morales, a student from Gadsden High School in Anthony, New Mexico. Morales traveled over 600 miles to participate in the program.

Supported by two graduate students—CIRES’ Patrick Chandler (CU Boulder Environmental Science) and Catherine Sullivan (Colorado Film School)—the students put their observations under the spotlight to investigate the role of climate change on water resources and outdoor recreation in the West. They worked together to create a concept map and script for their film. The students interviewed CIRES scientist Jeff Lukas, a researcher in CIRES’ Western Water Assessment program. They also toured Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s Bellvue Watson Fish Hatchery to learn about sustainable fishing practices.

“The students quickly found a topic that they all truly cared about and were not afraid to bring their emotion and vulnerability into the film,” said Chandler, a graduate researcher working with CIRES Fellow and CSTPR director Max Boykoff. “Although it would be admirable to see a group of any age do so, it was especially meaningful for a group of high school boys to come together and create something with open hearts and minds in order to produce the best film they could.”

To celebrate the students’ accomplishments, the LOCC team held a public film screening on Saturday, June 30. About 40 people, including mentors, students, and members of the community, watched the films the students had created. Topics ranged from water quality in Flint, Michigan to drought in the West. View the videos here.

“LOCC is about giving middle and high school kids the tools to investigate climate change effects in their community and start dialogues about those effects,” said Erin Leckey, program manager of LOCC. “We hope that through making their films that kids learn to be change makers and build resilience for their communities. The empowerment is as important as STEM skills they gain.”

The workshop was the first of three LOCC programs happening this summer. For the next sessions, the CIRES Education & Outreach team will travel to both the Coldharbour Institute in Gunnison, Colorado, and to Arecibo, Puerto Rico to educate and inspire local students.

Climate Change and Future Generations

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States Leading America Through Climate Change

Time For U.S. Government To Back Paris Agreement

By Governors Jerry Brown, Andrew Cuomo and Jay Inslee

The 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change was a landmark moment in human history. It crystallized decades of negotiations into a framework embraced by every country in the world to confront the existential threat of climate change and work together to solve the challenge.

President Trump’s announcement exactly one year ago that he intended to withdraw from the Paris Agreement raised global concerns that the agreement could weaken or unravel. Instead, Trump’s retreat has catalyzed leaders in America and around the world to stand shoulder to shoulder and press forward with climate solutions.

climate change policy

June 1 is not the anniversary of an end to one of the world’s greatest acts of consensus; it is a celebration of what Americans have done to fill the federal void. On the same day Trump abdicated climate leadership last year, we formed the U.S. Climate Alliance to uphold the Paris Agreement commitment in our states. In just one year, the alliance has grown into a bipartisan coalition of 17 governors representing 40 percent of the U.S. population and a $9 trillion economy — larger than that of every country in the world but the U.S. and China.

President Trump’s announcement last year centered on his allegation that the Paris Agreement hurts the U.S. economy. The fact that our collective economies are stronger than the states not in the alliance proves just the opposite. Alliance states are not only reducing emissions more rapidly than the rest of the country, but we are also expanding our per capita economic output  twice as fast. Alliance states are attracting billions of dollars in climate and clean energy investments that have created 1.3 million clean energy jobs. The Alliance states are not alone: meeting the most ambitious goals of the Paris Agreement is projected to save the world $30 trillion in avoided economic damages.

While the Paris Agreement is one of the greatest tests in global collaboration, this interstate effort stands as one of the biggest and most important experiments in American policymaking. From modernizing power grids to scaling up renewable energy and reducing pollution, we are saving money and cleaning our air.

We will do everything in our power to defend and continue our climate actions. This includes continuing to oppose any federal proposal to cancel the Clean Power Plan, weaken clean car and appliance standards or expand offshore drilling. One year after President Trump’s abdication, the rapid economic growth of states within the U.S. Climate Alliance remain a beacon to all Americans and to every other nation that Americans are still in the Paris Agreement and will not retreat.

climate change and extreme weather

Despite President Trump’s Paris Agreement decision, the world continues to move forward and not backward on climate. One year after the president’s announcement, every other nation on earth has signed onto the Paris Agreement.

China canceled plans for more than 100 coal-fired power plants in 2017, offshore wind energy is competing without subsidy in northern Europe, and several countries are making plans to shift cars from gas and diesel to electric, including China, France, India, the Netherlands, Norway and the United Kingdom. 

We will work in lockstep with the nations of the world and continue our work to uphold the Paris Agreement. However, it is clear that we cannot meet the climate challenge alone. We need commitment from every U.S. state and we need the federal government to get back in the game. We invite others to join us and mark June 1 not as an anniversary of retreat, but as the moment when a bold, new movement of climate action took root in America.

Democratic Govs. Jerry Brown of California, Andrew Cuomo of New York and Jay Inslee of Washington are co-chairs of the U.S. Climate Alliance.

Read The Full Letter From The Governors

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Insurance Companies Not Ignoring Climate Change

Climate Change Risks Spark New Types Of Insurance Policies

Coral reefs, mangroves and even some fish could soon have their own insurance policies as the industry seeks new ways to boost protection for those affected by the ocean changes wrought by climate change.

Warmer sea temperatures have led to more intense storms in the Atlantic Ocean, contributing to $320 billion in disaster losses from weather and climate-related events last year, according to the World Meteorological Organization. Only about a quarter of these were insured.

climate change and extreme weather

But despite high payouts, industry experts speaking at the Ocean Risk Summit in reinsurance hub Bermuda said so-called “ocean risk” – which encompasses storms and hurricanes as well as marine diseases and declines in fish stocks – can present opportunities for insurers if the risks are modeled correctly.

One way to increase coverage is to devise new financial instruments to insure “green infrastructure” – such as coral reefs, mangroves and salt marshes that act as natural barriers against storms and can reduce devastating losses on land.

“There is a new role for insurance companies in the context of development strategies for countries most vulnerable to ocean risk,” said Falk Niehörster, director of Climate Risk Innovations, a risk management consultancy.

Niehörster has urged the creation of new insurance products to cover the $1.5 trillion global “blue economy” including fisheries, marine transport and other sectors.

Mark Way, a former reinsurance official who helped Swiss Re implement a policy for dozens of kilometers of coral reef and beach in Mexico this year – a world first – said his charity was inundated with calls from other insurers after the concept was announced.

sustainable cities and climate change

“There’s a lot of capital looking for investment opportunities so there are incentives to find innovative new ways to provide cover,” Way, head of global coastal risk and resilience for The Nature Conservancy, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation on the sidelines of the summit last week.

Governments also have a keen interest in such insurance policies since they can reduce the human and infrastructure losses on land that devastated parts of the Caribbean last year. Kedrick Pickering, deputy premier of the British Virgin Islands, which was hit by Hurricane Irma last year, said reef insurance was something the country would consider.

The Mexican reef insurance model works by automatically triggering payouts once storm-force winds hit a certain level. The same concept theoretically could be applied to damage to fish stocks causes by El Niño, based on changes to water current. Payouts would go to fishermen in that case.

“There is a whole host of ideas and we are just scraping the surface,” Way said.

However, some risks – such as pollution and overfishing, which scientists say could contribute to the loss of as much as 90 percent of global reefs by 2050 – are not covered under the novel Mexican insurance model.

And many species that have an enormous value to ocean ecosystems, such as crucial oxygen-generating bacteria, do not have easily quantifiable benefits to humanity, so are difficult to insure.

“Insurance can’t solve all the problems and we need to be mindful of the blindspots,” said Rashid Sumaila, director of the fisheries economics research unit at the University of British Columbia Fisheries Centre.

But so far even clearly identified threats to established markets remain largely uninsured. The nearly $23 billion a year northeastern US fisheries market, which includes high-value species such as lobster, scallops and cod, is expected to suffer from rising sea temperatures but so far remains largely uninsured, for instance.

Experts say more data and research on the oceans, such as plans to map the ocean’s resources as well as an ambitious project to create an ocean risk index by the end of this year, may help provide the missing pieces for insurers.

“Insurers are already developing products in response to ocean risk but an index could accelerate and deepen their engagement,” said Robert Powell, a senior consultant with the Economist Intelligence Unit, which is formulating the risk index.

Creating insurance products for marine assets could also build incentives to protect them against threats, or at least the ones local communities can control, Way said.

“If you can make the case successfully that it’s worth investing in an insurance policy then why spend that money if you are going to kill the reef through nutrient run off or pollution?” he asked.

Still, conservationists say there is a limit to what insurance can do and other protection will have to come from regulation, such as reducing illegal fishing and implementing a UN goal to transform 10 percent of the world’s oceans into protected areas by 2020.

Another shortcoming is that insurers, who tend to offer policies on short time horizons, are only likely to be interested in providing coverage against ocean risks in milder global warming scenarios.

Under the Paris Agreement on climate change, countries aim to hold average global temperature risk to “well below” two degrees Celsius, with an aim of one and a half degrees. So far, however, inadequate global plans to cut emissions suggest temperatures could rise three degrees or more.

“At three-degrees [temperature increase] you are looking at a structural challenge for billions of people that creates a whole new level of economic and social challenges for which insurance may not have all the answers,” said Rowan Douglas, head of capital, science and policy practice at global advisory firm Willis Towers Watson.

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Cities Celebrate Earth Day

Cities Part Of Environmental Problems, Solutions

When Earth Day began in 1970, the dire state of cities had a lot to do with it. Urban industrialism had literally become lethal: During a particularly warm Thanksgiving weekend in 1966, the smog in New York City killed nearly 200 people.

A lot has changed in the intervening decades. The Environmental Protection Agency was formed after the first Earth Day, and the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species acts followed. Cities have cleaned up their air and water, and many have stepped up as forces for environmental progress. San Francisco is now striving for zero waste by 2020, and Portland, Oregon, is working toward cutting the city’s carbon emissions 40 percent by 2030.

sustainable cities

According to Kathleen Rodgers, the president of Earth Day Network, thousands of events will happen around the world this weekend in honor of Earth Day, which is officially on Sunday. They are intended to draw public attention to issues that environmentalists wrestle with year-round: climate change, habitat loss, and plastic pollution, to name a few.

But for many city dwellers, the goal is a little simpler: to engage with their communities in an Earth-friendly way and have a good time. Here are a few of the more unusual ways that American cities will be advocating for a healthy planet this weekend.If you live in Baltimore, you may have spotted Thomas Dolby driving his motorboat around the city’s harbor. “I don’t have a car, but I have a little motorboat, and I use that to get around,” Dolby told CityLab. “You’ll often see me out there on my way to Safeway to get groceries, or on my way to Fells Point to get breakfast.”

Those who don’t know Dolby from his jaunts around the Baltimore Harbor may remember the British musician’s 1982 hit, “She Blinded Me With Science.” Baltimore’s Peabody Heights Brewery has partnered with Dolby to release a new Belgian wheat ale.” Fittingly, the label will feature an image of Professor Trash Wheel, the newest googly-eyed trash-collecting device on the Inner Harbor. Proceeds from the beer will benefit the Healthy Harbor Initiative, whose goal is to make the harbor swimmable and fishable by 2020. The beer will be released in Baltimore and around the region on Saturday, just in time for Earth Day.

“I think people should get enjoyment out of their harbor,” said Dolby, who is currently a professor of the arts at Johns Hopkins University. “The harbor is already a great center of gravity for Baltimore events … but it would certainly be nice if there were a beach or two.”

trees a climate change solution

There are plenty of other untraditional Earth Day celebrations happening around the country. In Milwaukee on Saturday night, REmodel Resale Fashion Boutique will host an Earth Day Fashion Show to promote recycling and refurbishing clothing. In Dallas, thousands of Tesla owners will gather on Saturday at the city’s EarthX conference to admire each other’s cars and endorse the benefits of electric vehicles. In Monterey, California, a group of divers plans to remove a dumpster’s worth of garbage from the sea. And on Sunday in Corpus Christi, Texas, there’s going to be a Plogging Party, where runners will pick up garbage while jogging through town.

“We don’t use the word ‘celebration’ inside Earth Day, though we recognize that people use Earth Day to connect with each other or do things that are cool or funny,” Rogers said. “For the most part, our work is entirely focused on getting communities to make commitments around what they’ll do for the next 365 days.”public affairs and public relations firmCrossbow Communications is an international marketing and public affairs firm. It specializes in issue management and public affairs. It’s also promoting sustainable, resilient and livable cities. Please contact Gary Chandler at gary@crossbow1.com to join our network.

Shell Offers Proposal To Tackle Climate Change

Company Supports Paris Climate Agreement

By Christopher Mooney and Steven Mufson, Washington Post

Royal Dutch Shell just outlined a scenario in which, by 2070, we would be using far less of the company’s own product — oil — as cars become electric, a massive carbon storage industry develops, and transportation begins a shift toward a reliance on hydrogen as an energy carrier.

The company’s Sky scenario was designed to imagine a world that complies with the goals of the Paris climate agreement, managing to hold the planet’s warming to “well below” a rise of 2 degrees Celsius, or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, above pre-industrial levels. Shell has said that it supports the Paris agreement.

The scenario, which finds the world in a net-zero emissions state by 2070, is based on the idea that “a simple extension of current efforts, whether efficiency mandates, modest carbon taxes, or renewable energy supports, is insufficient for the scale of change required,” the oil company document reads.

trees a climate change solution

“The relevant transformations in the energy and natural systems require concurrent climate policy action and the deployment of disruptive new technologies at mass scale within government policy environments that strongly incentivize investment and innovation.”

The company also cautioned that Sky is only a scenario — a possible future dependent on many assumptions — not a reality that will definitely be realized.

Shell is one of the globe’s largest publicly traded oil companies and produced 3.7 million barrels of oil equivalent per day last year. But the company’s own recent investments reflect a slight change in focus or, at least, a hedging of its bets. In October, it purchased NewMotion, an electric-vehicle charging company. Shell now operates a small number of stations providing hydrogen fuel to vehicles in the United States and Europe, and is involved in pursuing carbon capture and storage technologies through its Quest project in the Canadian oil sands and the enormous Gorgon project in Australia.

The company has also acquired BG Group, a major natural gas company, as part of placing greater emphasis on producing natural gas, which releases fewer greenhouse gases during combustion than oil or coal. The company is being pressured by some shareholders to do more on climate change, though some investors support the current state of the company.

“Anytime we see a forecast looking out many decades, it can be an interesting talking point but does not seriously influence investor decisions,” said Pavel Molchanov, energy analyst at the investment firm Raymond James, said in an email. “Even for long-term-oriented investors, that is simply too distant a time frame.”

Royal Dutch Shell chief executive Ben van Beurden in past interviews with The Washington Post has acknowledged that “climate change is real” and that “action is needed” but has asserted that the world will need to keep burning fossil fuels even if renewable energy catapults forward.

“It doesn’t mean we have to kiss hydrocarbons goodbye. In fact, we can’t,” he said.

In November, the company said it would cut the carbon footprint of making (not burning) its own petroleum products by 20 percent by 2035 and by about half by 2050. Shareholder groups, however, have noted that if Shell increases its overall fossil fuel production, then it will undercut some of those gains. Last year, shareholders overwhelmingly rejected a proposal by an environmental group calling for Shell to set and publish annual targets to reduce carbon emissions.

In the Sky scenario, the world’s consumption of oil would rise through 2025 before starting to decline. Global oil consumption would begin to drop in 2030 and fall below current levels in 2040.

“Liquid hydrocarbon fuel consumption almost halves between 2020 and 2050 and falls by 90 percent by 2070 in the sector,” the document says.

“It is striking that a company built on energy flow commodities sees them declining permanently after 2040,” said Peter Fox-Penner, director of the Institute for Sustainable Energy at Boston University, in an emailed comment on the scenario.

Other changes are just as massive. Nuclear power would triple, the total use of electricity would expand fivefold, and the world would be equipped with 10,000 carbon capture and storage (CCS) installations.

Read The Full Story At http://sacredseedlings.com/shell-unveils-pr…e-climate-change/

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Recycling Humans Via Sewage, Biosolids

Bodies Liquified, Dumped In City Sewers, Dumped On Food Crops

By Natural News

A new recycling technology has added new meaning to the phrase “you are what you eat.”

Bio-cremation liquefies the dead, then dumps their liquid remains into city sewers where solid and liquid waste are collected as sewage sludge and reclaimed wastewater to be dumped on food crops and much more. Those crops, in turn, are fed back to humans as part of the mainstream food supply.

In a shocking true story that’s part The Matrix and part Soylent Green, a company based in Smith Falls, Ontario has devised a bio-cremation system that it calls an “eco-friendly alternative to flame-based cremation or casket burials,” reports Canada’s CBC News. The company is called Hilton’s Aquagreen Dispositions and touts its approach to dissolving dead bodies as “eco-friendly alkaline hydrolysis.”

wastewater treatment and disease

According to CBC News, dead bodies are liquefied with a “process that blends water with an alkali solution…” The company’s website describes the body liquefaction process as follows:

Bio Cremation creates a highly controlled and sophisticated environment that uniquely combines water, alkali, heat and pressure. This process biochemically hydrolyzes the human body, leaving only bone fragments. During a typical Bio Cremation cycle, the body is reduced, bone fragments are rinsed and the remaining by-product is a sterile (but not benign) fluid.

There’s no mention of handling the mercury and other toxic heavy metals that would survive such a process, of course. Those metals would obviously end up in the city’s sewer system.

“The company came under fire in 2016 when it was revealed the liquid byproduct is then drained into the town’s sewage system,” reports CBC News.

Cities across North America — including Toronto — collect sewage into so-called “biosolids” or “biosludge,” which is trucked out of the city’s sewage treatment center and dumped on food crops in rural areas.

sewage sludge treatment and disposal

In effect, the practice of “bio-cremation” means that dead humans would be liquefied and fed to plants which are then eaten by other humans. This process is almost militantly called recycling by proponents of biosludge and bio-cremation operations. It’s all pushed under the agenda of “green living.”

On the other hand, the current practice of pumping dead bodies full of toxic chemical preservatives and burying them in cemeteries inside overpriced wooden caskets also seems insane. It makes us wonder: Why hasn’t modern civilization come up with a dignified, eco-friendly way to honor the dead without either contaminating the soil or eating their remains?

It turns out the real answer is as old as human life itself: Bury your loved ones without injecting them with toxic chemicals first, and let nature reclaim the molecules with the help of soil microbes. It requires no electricity, no pressure chamber, no added heat, no artificial chemicals, no overpriced casket and no makeup for the body. Oh yeah, it’s also the way people have handled dead bodies for nearly the entire history of human civilization.

Read The Full Story About Recycling Humans and Sewage.

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Jakarta Sinking Below Sea Level

Threats Rising Due To Climate Change, Development

By Michael Kimmelman, New York Times

With climate change, the Java Sea is rising and weather here is becoming more extreme. Earlier this month another freakish storm briefly turned Jakarta’s streets into rivers and brought this vast area of nearly 30 million residents to a virtual halt.

One local climate researcher, Irvan Pulungan, an adviser to the city’s governor, fears that temperatures may rise several degrees Fahrenheit, and the sea level as much as three feet in the region, over the coming century. That, alone, spells potential disaster for this teeming metropolis.

But global warming turned out not to be the only culprit behind the historic floods that overran Rasdiono’s bodega and much of the rest of Jakarta in 2007. The problem, it turned out, was that the city itself is sinking.

Indonesia Jakarta climate change

In fact, Jakarta is sinking faster than any other big city on the planet, faster, even, than climate change is causing the sea to rise — so surreally fast that rivers sometimes flow upstream, ordinary rains regularly swamp neighborhoods and buildings slowly disappear underground, swallowed by the earth. The main cause: Jakartans are digging illegal wells, drip by drip draining the underground aquifers on which the city rests — like deflating a giant cushion underneath it. About 40 percent of Jakarta now lies below sea level.

Coastal districts, like Muara Baru, near the Blessed Bodega, have sunk as much as 14 feet in recent years. Not long ago I drove around northern Jakarta and saw teenagers fishing in the abandoned shell of a half-submerged factory. The banks of a murky canal lapped at the trestle of a railway bridge, which, until recently, had arched high over it.

Climate change acts here as it does elsewhere, exacerbating scores of other ills. And in Jakarta’s case, a tsunami of human-made troubles — runaway development, a near-total lack of planning, next to no sewers and only a limited network of reliable, piped-in drinking water — poses an imminent threat to the city’s survival.

Sinking buildings, sprawl, polluted air and some of the worst traffic jams in the world are symptoms of other deeply rooted troubles. Distrust of government is a national condition. Conflicts between Islamic extremists and secular Indonesians, Muslims and ethnic Chinese have blocked progress, helped bring down reform-minded leaders and complicated everything that happens here, or doesn’t happen, to stop the city from sinking.

“Nobody here believes in the greater good, because there is so much corruption, so much posturing about serving the public when what gets done only serves private interests,” as Sidney Jones, the director of the local Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict, put it. “There is no trust.”

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Hydrologists say the city has only a decade to halt its sinking. If it can’t, northern Jakarta, with its millions of residents, will end up underwater, along with much of the nation’s economy. Eventually, barring wholesale change and an infrastructural revolution, Jakarta won’t be able to build walls high enough to hold back the rivers, canals and the rising Java Sea.

And even then, of course, if it does manage to heal its self-inflicted wounds, it still has to cope with all the mounting threats from climate change.

As far the eye can see, 21st-century Jakarta is a smoggy tangle of freeways and skyscrapers. Spread along the northwestern coast of Java, this capital of the nation with the world’s largest Muslim population used to be a soggy, bug-infested trading port for the Hindu kingdom of Sunda before local sultans took it over in 1527.

They named it Jayakarta, Javanese for victorious city.

Dutch colonists arrived a century later, establishing a base for the East India territories. Imagining a tropical Amsterdam, they laid out streets and canals to try to cope with water pouring in from the south, out of the forests and mountains, where rain falls nearly 300 days out of the year. Thirteen rivers feed into the city.

After independence in 1945, the city began to sprawl. Today, it is virtually impossible to walk around. Parks are rarer than Javan rhinos. A trip to the nearest botanical garden requires the better part of a day in bumper-to-bumper traffic.

“Living here, we don’t have other places to go,” said Yudi and Titi, a young professional couple who one recent Sunday had made the roughly hour’s round trip from western Jakarta to the center of the city just to spend a few minutes walking up and down a chaotic, multilane freeway briefly closed to traffic. “Without cars, at least you can breathe for a few minutes,” Titi said.

The most urgent problems are in North Jakarta, a coastal mash-up of ports, nautically themed high-rises, aged fish markets, abject slums, power plants, giant air-conditioned malls and the congested remnants of the colonial Dutch settlement, with its decrepit squares and streets of crumbling warehouses and dusty museums.

Some of the world’s most polluted canals and rivers weave a spider’s web through the area.

It is where the city is sinking fastest.

That’s because, after decades of reckless growth and negligent leadership, crises have lined up here like dominoes.

Jakarta’s developers and others illegally dig untold numbers of wells because water is piped to less than half the population at what published reports say are extortionate costs by private companies awarded government concessions.

The aquifers aren’t being replenished, despite heavy rains and the abundance of rivers, because more than 97 percent of Jakarta is now smothered by concrete and asphalt. Open fields that once absorbed rain have been paved over. Shores of mangroves that used to help relieve swollen rivers and canals during monsoons have been overtaken by shantytowns and apartment towers.

There is always tension between immediate needs and long-term plans. It’s a similar story in other sinking giants like Mexico City. Here, all of the construction, combined with the draining of the aquifers, is causing the rock and sediment on which Jakarta rests to pancake.

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Crossbow Communications is an international marketing and public affairs firm. It specializes in issue management and public affairs. It’s also promoting sustainable, resilient and livable cities. Please contact Gary Chandler at gary@crossbow1.com to join our network.

White House Approves Report On Climate Change

Human Activities Causing Global Warming

The climate of the United States is strongly connected to the changing global climate. The statements below highlight past, current, and projected climate changes for the United States and the globe.

Global annually averaged surface air temperature has increased by about 1.8°F (1.0°C) over the last 115 years (1901–2016). This period is now the warmest in the history of modern civilization. The last few years have also seen record-breaking, climate-related weather extremes, and the last three years have been the warmest years on record for the globe. These trends are expected to continue over climate timescales.

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This assessment concludes, based on extensive evidence, that it is extremely likely that human activities, especially emissions of greenhouse gases and deforestation, are the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century. For the warming over the last century, there is no convincing alternative explanation supported by the extent of the observational evidence.

In addition to warming, many other aspects of global climate are changing, primarily in response to human activities. Thousands of studies conducted by researchers around the world have documented changes in surface, atmospheric, and oceanic temperatures; melting glaciers; diminishing snow cover; shrinking sea ice; rising sea levels; ocean acidification; and increasing atmospheric water vapor.

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For example, global average sea level has risen by about 7–8 inches since 1900, with almost half (about 3 inches) of that rise occurring since 1993. Human-caused climate change has made a substantial contribution to this rise since 1900, contributing to a rate of rise that is greater than during any preceding century in at least 2,800 years. Global sea level rise has already affected the United States; the incidence of daily tidal flooding is accelerating in more than 25 Atlantic and Gulf Coast cities.

Global average sea levels are expected to continue to rise—by at least several inches in the next 15 years and by 1–4 feet by 2100. A rise of as much as 8 feet by 2100 cannot be ruled out. Sea level rise will be higher than the global average on the East and Gulf Coasts of the United States.

Changes in the characteristics of extreme events are particularly important for human safety, infrastructure, agriculture, water quality and quantity, and natural ecosystems. Heavy rainfall is increasing in intensity and frequency across the United States and globally and is expected to continue to increase. The largest observed changes in the United States have occurred in the Northeast.

Heatwaves have become more frequent in the United States since the 1960s, while extreme cold temperatures and cold waves are less frequent. Recent record-setting hot years are projected to become common in the near future for the United States, as annual average temperatures continue to rise. Annual average temperature over the contiguous United States has increased by 1.8°F (1.0°C) for the period 1901–2016; over the next few decades (2021–2050), annual average temperatures are expected to rise by about 2.5°F for the United States, relative to the recent past (average from 1976–2005), under all plausible future climate scenarios.

The incidence of large forest fires in the western United States and Alaska has increased since the early 1980s and is projected to further increase in those regions as the climate changes, with profound changes to regional ecosystems.

water shortages and drought

Annual trends toward earlier spring melt and reduced snowpack are already affecting water resources in the western United States and these trends are expected to continue. Under higher scenarios, and assuming no change to current water resources management, chronic, long-duration hydrological drought is increasingly possible before the end of this century.

The magnitude of climate change beyond the next few decades will depend primarily on the amount of greenhouse gases (especially carbon dioxide) emitted globally. Without major reductions in emissions, the increase in annual average global temperature relative to preindustrial times could reach 9°F (5°C) or more by the end of this century. With significant reductions in emissions, the increase in annual average global temperature could be limited to 3.6°F (2°C) or less.

The global atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration has now passed 400 parts per million (ppm), a level that last occurred about 3 million years ago, when both global average temperature and sea level were significantly higher than today. Continued growth in CO2 emissions over this century and beyond would lead to an atmospheric concentration not experienced in tens to hundreds of millions of years. There is broad consensus that the further and the faster the Earth system is pushed towards warming, the greater the risk of unanticipated changes and impacts, some of which are potentially large and irreversible.

The observed increase in carbon emissions over the past 15–20 years has been consistent with higher emissions pathways. In 2014 and 2015, emission growth rates slowed as economic growth became less carbon-intensive. Even if this slowing trend continues, however, it is not yet at a rate that would limit global average temperature change to well below 3.6°F (2°C) above pre-industrial levels.

New observations and new research have increased our understanding of past, current, and future climate change since the Third U.S. National Climate Assessment (NCA3) was published in May 2014. This Climate Science Special Report (CSSR) is designed to capture that new information and build on the existing body of science in order to summarize the current state of knowledge and provide the scientific foundation for the Fourth National Climate Assessment (NCA4).Since NCA3, stronger evidence has emerged for continuing, rapid, human-caused warming of the global atmosphere and ocean. This report concludes that “it is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century. For the warming over the last century, there is no convincing alternative explanation supported by the extent of the observational evidence.”The last few years have also seen record-breaking, climate-related weather extremes, the three warmest years on record for the globe, and continued decline in arctic sea ice. These trends are expected to continue in the future over climate (multidecadal) timescales. Significant advances have also been made in our understanding of extreme weather events and how they relate to increasing global temperatures and associated climate changes. Since 1980, the cost of extreme events for the United States has exceeded $1.1 trillion; therefore, better understanding of the frequency and severity of these events in the context of a changing climate is warranted.

climate change and extreme weather

Periodically taking stock of the current state of knowledge about climate change and putting new weather extremes, changes in sea ice, increases in ocean temperatures, and ocean acidification into context ensures that rigorous, scientifically-based information is available to inform dialogue and decisions at every level. This climate science report serves as the climate science foundation of the NCA4 and is generally intended for those who have a technical background in climate science.

This report discusses climate trends and findings at several scales: global, nationwide for the United States, and for ten specific U.S. regions (shown in Figure 1 in the Guide to the Report). A statement of scientific confidence also follows each point in the Executive Summary. The confidence scale is described in the Guide to the Report. At the end of the Executive Summary and in Chapter 1: Our Globally Changing Climate, there is also a summary box highlighting the most notable advances and topics since NCA3 and since the 2013 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report.

Global and U.S. Temperatures Rising

Long-term temperature observations are among the most consistent and widespread evidence of a warming planet. Temperature (and, above all, its local averages and extremes) affects agricultural productivity, energy use, human health, water resources, infrastructure, natural ecosystems, and many other essential aspects of society and the natural environment. Recent data add to the weight of evidence for rapid global-scale warming, the dominance of human causes, and the expected continuation of increasing temperatures, including more record-setting extremes.

Click Here For The Entire Report On Global Warming

public affairs and public relations firm

Crossbow Communications is an international marketing and public affairs firm. It specializes in issue management and public affairs. It’s also promoting sustainable, resilient and livable cities. Please contact Gary Chandler at gary@crossbow1.com to join our network.