Tuesday 30 September 2014

Ocean acidification

Ocean Acidification: The Other Carbon Dioxide Threat

When carbon dioxide is absorbed by the ocean, the water's acid level rises. If this level gets too high, some sea creatures that build protective shells can't grow as fast or even have their shells dissolve, threatening the entire food chain.

Paul Beckwith on climate change

Climate change tipping point tree analogy

When you cut through a tree nothing seems to happen. Then, inevitably you reach a point where the tree starts to fall, and then a loud cracking and toppling occurs, irreversibly, to a new state. I view our climate system as analogous to this, and we are now rapidly cutting through the wood.

Part one

Part two

Part three

METHANE "Single BIGGEST Concern" - Paul Beckwith

The clathrate gun

When it Comes to The Arctic Methane Monster, What We Don’t Know Really Could Kill Us — NASA Model Study Shows Very High Carbon Release Uncertainty

(Can we save humanity from the greatest threat ever? Must-watch video highlights the risks and uncertainties of catastrophic methane release from the Arctic environment.)

29 September, 2014

After millions of years of ice ages, the Arctic has become a vast repository of fossil carbon.

Over the millennia, layer after layer of carbon-based biological material has been locked away in the frozen soil of the Arctic tundras and sea beds. Some of these stores have simply become entombed within the ice. Others, already turned to methane through the slow fluxes of time, underlay the frozen ground and the chilly Arctic sea-bed floor as a kind of fire ice.
An unstable, flammable, and explosive substance called clathrate.
The stores themselves are massive — containing between 2,000 to 3,000 billion tons or more of carbon. Likely more than five times the amount of carbon humans have already emitted into the atmosphere over the past 150 years. An amount that has already likely locked in about 1.8 C of warming short term and 3.6 C worth of warming long-term.
But a thawing Arctic could set off a chain of events leading to far worse warming to come.
In a cold, ice-age world these carbon stores are no threat. Like a sleeping dragon, they remained dormant in the world’s chill zones — unable to break the seal of the ice. But in a world that humans are forcing to rapidly warm through a pace of greenhouse gas emission at least 6 times faster than at any time in Earth’s billions-years history, we risk a major release of this monstrous carbon stockpile.
A Matter of Methane Feedback
We really don’t know how much heat forcing is required to set off a runaway release of this monstrous pile of carbon. But we’ve already warmed the world by at least 0.8 degrees Celsius and many Arctic researchers believe that just 1.5 degrees Celsius global warming is enough to thaw all the Arctic’s tundra.
Such a thaw would certainly expose the massive tundra carbon store to the elements and to microbial action. Increasing an already significant release of Arctic carbon and greatly contributing to the human heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and oceans through greenhouse gas emissions.

Dragon's Breath Jason Box
(In a recent article on his Meltfactor blog, Dr. Jason Box questions whether local anomalies in Arctic methane data involve mini methane outbursts set off by human-caused heating. Dr. Box also, appropriately questioned whether such releases were signs of a potential and larger release due to the human heat forcing of the Arctic environment. Dr. Box, in a manner similar to our own investigation of the Arctic Methane Monster, metaphorically labels these outbursts ‘dragon’s breath.’ Image source: Meltfactor.)
A few years ago, a group of 41 Arctic researchers suggested that even if we stopped emitting greenhouse gasses rapidly, the Arctic release of carbon would equal about 10 percent of human annual human emissions and would continue for a long time into the future. More ominously, these researchers noted that a failure to rapidly draw down human carbon emissions would result in an annual Arctic release of equivalent to 35% or more of the human emission — putting the world on track for a runaway warming scenario.

But the matter of Arctic carbon release is anything but simple or easy to understand. For a significant portion — possibly as much 1/3 to 1/2 of the Arctic carbon store could release as methane. And methane, on very short time scales, is a very potent greenhouse gas. Over the course of 20 years, methane has a global warming potential 86 times that of a similar volume of CO2. If even a very small portion of the Arctic carbon store were to release as methane over a relatively short period — 1, 5, 10 or 50 gigatons out of a total store measuring in the thousands of gigatons — it could greatly exaggerate the already powerful human warming underway or, in the worst case, set off a runaway heating event similar to that of the great Permian and PETM extinctions.
A Poorly Understood Risk
Unhelpfully, there is nowhere near enough direct observation of the Arctic environment to pin down the current rate of carbon release or the likely increase in release rates over the past few decades. We have studies that show more methane emitting from tundra lakes, for example. We have the Semiletov and Shakhova expeditions to the Arctic Ocean which keep providing higher and higher estimates of the methane emissions coming from plumes on the sea floors of the Laptev and East Siberian Seas. We have studies that show increasing CO2 and methane release from the vast carbon stores of Yedoma’s frozen tundra in Siberia. And we have the more disturbing instances of explosive methane outbursts — likely from rapidly thawing clathrates beneath the permafrost — in the Yamal region of Russia this year that resulted in a dramatic cratering of Siberian tundra.
Arctic Methane Overburden
(Large sea-bed methane release ongoing? The Arctic continues to show a very significant overburden of Methane — hinting at larger releases of methane from the Arctic environment. Last year during October, methane readings over the Gakkel Ridge spiked to 2662 parts per billion — or more than 800 parts per billion above the global average — before diffusing into the atmosphere. The above image shows methane over the same region spiking to over 2,400 parts per billion on September 16 of 2014. Link: Arctic News.)

But these studies and instances focus only on subsections of the Arctic. And, in much the way several blind men investigating the various parts of an elephant might disagree on the overall shape of the beast, we have a similar problem with understanding the total shape of the threat posed by Arctic methane and carbon release.

Dr. David Archer, who has developed various model essays of potential Arctic and sea bed methane release claims that there is essentially zero cause for concern for a large-scale methane release this century. A number of Arctic researchers disagree with the chief of these being Peter WadhamsDr Semiletov and Dr Shakhova who all seem very concerned about the potential for a large-scale release soon. A middle ground is populated by a number of researchers like Carolyn Ruppel and Sue Natali from the Woods Hole observatory. These researchers are rationally calling for more data on an issue that is all-too-poorly understood in the science.
NASA’s CARVE Finds Models in Disagreement Over Arctic Carbon Release
This current lack of broader understanding and scientific consensus on the issue of potential Arctic and Earth Systems response to a growing human heating of the atmosphere and ocean was highlighted in last week’s report by NASA’s CARVE study.
The study — aimed at monitoring Arctic Carbon emissions — ran a number of global climate models to try and determine how much carbon is currently being released from the Arctic environment. The study didn’t try to pin down future release scenarios. It just aimed at trying to establish a base line for emissions as they stand now. An understanding required to provide any clear assessment of where Arctic carbon emissions may be going in the future.
The researchers plugged the current spotty Arctic carbon emissions data into 40 global climate models and the models dutifully spit out results that were all across the board. In essence, the models confirmed what we risk analysts already knew — there’s not enough information currently available to provide a clear understanding of potential Arctic carbon release scenarios much less pin down how much carbon is currently being emitted.
From last week’s Science Daily Report:
How much carbon is leaving its thawing soil and adding to Earth’s greenhouse effect? …
A new study conducted as part of NASA’s Carbon in Arctic Reservoirs Vulnerability Experiment (CARVE) shows just how much work still needs to be done to reach a conclusion on this and other basic questions about the region where global warming is hitting hardest.
Lead author Josh Fisher of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, analyzed 40 computer models of the amounts and flows of carbon in the Alaskan Arctic and boreal ecosystems. His team found wide disagreement among the models, highlighting the urgent need for more measurements from the region…
We all knew there were big uncertainties in our understanding, and we wanted to quantify their extent,” said Fisher. That extent proved to be greater than almost anyone expected. “The results were shocking to most people,” he said.
Cause For Rapid Reduction in Greenhouse Gas Emissions Now
(Ocean methane seeps like these recently discovered vents off the US East Coast and those Discovered in the Laptev Sea by the SWERUS C3 expedition are almost always more numerous and energetic than expected — a likely result of increasing human heat forcing. Such releases almost always include destabilized clathrate stores. Image source: Nature-Geoscience.)
It will take years for scientists to more certainly pin down the risk posed by Arctic Carbon and methane release. A risk that now wraps within it the potential to set off a new Permian type hothouse extinction during the coming 1 to 3 centuries. A risk that, altogether, is likely the most dire risk we’ve ever faced as a species.
As such, we can’t wait for absolute certainty on the scope of that risk. Whether there’s enough sensitivity to set off a large Arctic carbon release at 1.5 C or 6 C warming is moot — because we know that continuing to burn fossil fuels eventually gets us there sooner or later.
So as we continue to research what may well be the greatest environmental threat we’ve ever faced it is entirely prudent to begin a rapid reduction of global carbon emissions with a goal to hit zero carbon and net negative carbon emissions as soon as possible. The risks are simply too great to continue to delay action.
Hat Tip to Apneaman
Hat Tip to Colorado Bob

Novorossiya and Ukraine: a historical background


30 September, 2014

Novorossiya map. A highly strategic region., key to many powers to this day.
It has been said that a nation is simply the spiritual body that a people acquires during the course of its history.
Novorossiya or New Russia, so absent in mainstream media and so present in alternative news sources today, is popularly believed to be a fleeting matter, simply a new name created ex-novo for effect by the local militias of southeastern Ukrainians today fighting and defeating the Ukrainian regular army troops invading their territories. In doing so the people of Novorossiya are also shattering the dream of American President Obama. The truth is the people of this region are closely linked to the history of their lands.
According to Alexander Zakharenko, field commander and Prime Minister of the Donetsk Peoples’ Republic (DPR) in southeastern Ukraine speaking at a recent press conference, invaders from West Ukraine run or surrender at the first shot. The American-financed troops, conscripted by force by the puppet state in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev, simply don’t measure up to the warriors of the southeast Ukraine who are defending their lands, their cities and villages, and their families. The point is that the regular army troops are demotivated and scared and want to return to their homes in West Ukraine. Besides, many Ukrainian soldiers do not want to shoot at their fellow countrymen. Therefore they either desert to the so-called Separatists of the DPR, or flee.
People following the US-instigated attack on the now adequately armed and experienced militias of the Donetsk and Lugansk peoples’ republics by troops of the American puppet regime installed in Ukraine after the illegal overthrow of the legal government and “regime change” in Kiev will be surprised to learn that Novorossiya has been the name of the territory north of the Black Sea for over 200 years, long before the Napoleonic invasion of Russia. Since Tsarist Russia annexed the area following the conclusion of the Russo-Turkish War in 1774, the area has been known as Novorossiya. Already in the late 18th century Russians, Ukrainians, Germans, even some Italians, and a mishmash of other peoples colonized the region and established major cities such as beautiful Odessa and Donetsk, now the capital of the Donetsk Peoples’ Republic.
Time passed. Situations altered. Much happened in this area between the Crimean War (1853-55) and today: western interventions in Russia, Nazi Germany’s invasion and defeat in WWII, Cold War, sanctions against Russia in these days, and the West’s unconcealed envy of Russia’s space, one-sixth of the Earth’s surface and its natural resources.
In the historian’s eyes the history of Western relations with Russia has continuously repeated itself since the 1800s into the 1900s and the 2000s. These repetitions, for example the tradition of Allied interventions in Russia, are not the most inspiring aspect of what has happened time and again in our world. A Russian cultural historian, Vladimir Weidlé, whom I once interviewed in Rome, said that the “Slavic-Orthodox world would never be that of Roman-Germanic Europe” because their respective heritages at the outset were so different. He claimed there was not just one Europe, but two Europes, disunited but as strange one to the other as the Arabian world from the world of China.
This division between USA/West Europe and Russia amounts to an absolute schism. That schism has apparently fostered, on the one hand, jealousies and envies one for the other. On the other hand the schism has strangely created a sense of superiority in West Europeans and Americans vis-à-vis Russia. A missionary kind of zeal infects the USA to stamp out the heresy of Socialism in the neocon view still alive in Russia, which, in turn, is the “infection” that has prompted some of the western military interventions in Russia.
For three centuries the West has assaulted Russia with regularity,  in almost 50 year intervals, always seeking to contain her, conquer her, occupy her, exploit her and above all destroy her.
 However, the reality is that Russia is not Oriental, but also part of Europe, in this case however, a Europe of the East. Despite Arab influences in Europe, Cervantes, Weidlé noted as an example, was not a Moor, nor Pushkin a Mongol. In the same manner the centuries of Tartar occupation of Russia, likewise Lenin with his face of Mongolian cast was not a Tartar. Nonetheless, today Russia’s eyes have turned eastwards because of pressures from the West.
Still, the geographical situation of Russia has pointed the path of its expansion and the very shape of the empire, but not the direction its cultural development has taken. Weidlé believed that the invasion of Russia by Asian Tartars changed the very roots of Russia, yet such non-European elements do not really belong to her history but to the raw materials of her nature. The Russian language shows certain analogies to the languages of Turco-Tartary; but Russian developed from Greek, to which was added the influence of the literary languages of Western Europe. The Asiatic influences that appear from time to time in Russia have thus far been fleeting. Here, again, its geographical position on the map assumes important historical importance.
When Tsardom finally collapsed in the early 20th century, it had crushed one revolutionary movement after the other during most of the 19th century. Trotsky wrote in his autobiography, My Life, that “the best elements of that generation went up in the blaze of dynamite warfare” (that is, in the blaze of revolutionary terrorism). Tsardom fell to continuing revolutionary fever spread throughout Russia and to the pressures of WWI and the huge losses Russia suffered. In fact, it was the very force of the history of European capitalism and the Russian Revolution that changed everything in Russia.
Stamp commemorating Kruschev’s role in giving Novorossiya to the Ukraine.

In 1918, the region of Novorossiya—where battles between local militias and regular Ukrainian army troops have raged since last May—was incorporated by the new Soviet government into Russia, which eventually transferred the territory to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. It was a purely administrative move, for it changed nothing since the Ukraine then was an integral part of the USSR. Then following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the term Novorossiya began to be used again in calls for the independence of the region, including the rich Donbass with its great Russian majority corresponding to the historical area of Novorossiya in today’s southeastern Ukraine. (The map accompanying this piece shows clearly the Novorossiya borders on Russia and the Crimean peninsula recently annexed by Russia.)
It must be kept in mind that the borders of the Russian world extend significantly farther than the borders of the Russian Federation. There is Russia and there is also “Greater Russia” in the same manner as our big cities today consist of the city proper and the surrounding metropolitan areas. For example there is Paris—the city proper—and Greater Paris, including regions extending in all directions far from the Place de la Concorde.
As an example of Greater Russia, in a 1994 interview, the head of the separatist state of Socialist/Communist, Russian-speaking Transnistria, a breakaway state from Moldova, also bordering on Novorossiya, said that that state was “an inalienable part of the Russian state’s southern regions”, including also the city of Odessa, the Crimea, and other Ukrainian oblasts, all of which were collectively part of the historical Novorossiya region. Dmitry Trenin of the Carnegie Moscow Center wrote that in 2003 some Russian academics had again discussed the idea of a pro-Russia Novorossiya state being formed out of southeastern Ukraine as a response to the US Drang Nach Osten—including its desire to bring Ukraine into NATO and the occupation of areas bordering Russia.
The former Russian Empire was ultimately vanquished by history. Then also the USSR collapsed because of the economic pressures from the capitalist West during the Cold War, especially the intentional dislocations brought about by the constant arms race.
Today, the self-declared Federal State of Novorossiya is a confederation of the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Lugansk People’s Republic. Though internationally unrecognized, both are breakaway states claiming independence from Ukraine. The envisaged extent of the state will most likely one day encompass not only the Ukrainian administrative areas of Donetsk and Luhansk, (in Russian, Lugansk), but also the present Ukrainian cities and surrounding areas of Kharkov, Kherson, Odessa, Zaporrizhi and Dniepropetrovsk as well as the Russian-speaking Transnistria Republic. All of these areas which the USA/NATO threatens border with Novorossiya.
The Cold War, and its consequent bloated defense spending due to the US-imposed arms race, was an extraordinary burden on the Soviet economy. It stunted its ability to “deliver the goods”, the fruits of revolution to the ordinary citizen, thereby “proving”, as the Americans claimed, that socialism was inferior.  It eventually contributed greatly to the USSR’s implosion.
The Novorossiya territory is internationally considered as sovereign territory of the Ukrainian state. Western media write of a southeastern Ukraine run by “terrorists” and moreover backed by the great “Satan” of Russia, Vladimir Putin. Despite Washington’s frustration because of the failure to bring Ukraine into NATO, its neocons remain intent on intervening in Ukraine against Russia, subduing the Novorossiya independence movement, and placing US/NATO Lily Pad-style military bases along Russia’s borders.
On a trip backwards through the events of over 150 years we arrive at the Crimea recently annexed by Russia and the Crimean War fought by Russia against the intervention of the first major coalition of Western powers in alliance with the Ottoman Empire to attack Russia. No one should believe easy accusations of Russian guilt in the Ukraine crisis. Western intervention against Russia is an old story. A tradition that has continued until today.
Russians had inhabited the territory of southeastern Ukraine between the state of Ukraine and Crimea in the 19th century, shortly after the Crimean War (1853-55) which, by the way, some historians call the real World War I. Also those Russians of the 19th century referred to their home territory as Novorossiya, New Russia.
The descendants of those first colonists in Novorossiya in today’s southeastern Ukraine have declared their independence from the Ukraine of the West and its capital of Kiev and established the “Donetsk Peoples’ Republic”. Last May it joined with the “Lugansk Peoples’ Republic” to form a new Novorossiya as a confederal “Union of Peoples’ Republics”. The lands of Novorossiya are rich in natural resources—light and heavy industry, minerals and agriculture—and borders on both Russia and on the once again Russian Crimean peninsula and other Russian lands such as Transnistria quite near Odessa.
Who today knows much about the almost forgotten Crimean War? In fact that war is often confused with the second Allied Intervention in Russia against the new Communist regime, just the memory of which triggers knee-jerk reactions in Western capitals, especially in Washington where many people and their leaders tend to think of Russians as Communists who fall outside the New World Order. The very idea of Novorossiya constitutes a menace to US strategy for world hegemony. After the Russian Revolution of 1917 while the new regime was struggling for its very survival, the Russian Civil War broke out which pitted the reactionary and privileged Whites—who in general favored the ancien regime of the Tsars—against the Bolshevik-led Reds. The already difficult situation of the revolutionary forces was then further complicated by the second Allied intervention in Russia within a century.
So here a few words about the Crimean War are in order. The Crimean War began as another of the series of 19th century wars between the crumbling Ottoman Empire on the one hand and an expansive Russia seeking an exit from the Black Sea into the Mediterranean on the other. The key part of that war began in September 1854 when the coalition of Britain, France, the Ottomans and later the small Kingdom of Sardinia, the core state of the future Italy, landed troops in Russian Crimea located on the north shore of the Black Sea.
As the historical name indicates, most of the war was fought in Crimea. The Allies began a year-long siege of the Russian fortress of Sevastopol. However, besides Sevastopol, the Anglo-French fleet attacked areas on the adjoining Azov Sea and in the Caucasus. In a forgotten part of the forgotten war, the Allied fleet, obsessed with the destruction of the Russian navy, sailed also to the Baltic Sea to attack the proudest bastion of the Russian Bolshevik, the seaport of Kronstadt near St. Petersburg and to destroy the Russian fleet stationed there. Three British warships then left the Baltic for the White Sea where they spread destruction. Naval skirmishes also occurred in the parts of the Far East where the Anglo-French naval force besieged Russian forces and attempted a land invasion around the Kamchatka Peninsula.
The major Crimean battle fought at Balaclava in the Crimea was commemorated by the great English poet, Alfred Lord Tennyson, in his The Charge of the Light Brigade which, by the way, school children in Great Britain often learn by heart. Tennyson’s poem, published in December of 1854 in The Examiner first praises the bravery of the Brigade:
When can their glory fade?
O the wild charge they made.”
At the same time the poet then mourns the futility of the charge, the futility of war in general:
Not tho’ the soldier knew
Someone had blunder’d.
Finally, on September 11, 1855, the Russians blew up their forts and sank their ships and evacuated Sevastopol, defeated by western armies. They had won the battle of Balaclava but lost the war.
Concerning the causes of the Crimean War, British historian A.J.P Taylor notes that there were deeper causes than blocking Russia’s historical need for an exit from the Black Sea through control of the strait Dardanelles strait near Istanbul:
The Crimean war was predestined and had deep-seated causes. Neither Nicholas of Russia nor Napoleon III of France nor the British government could retreat in the conflict for prestige once it was launched. Nicholas needed a subservient Turkey for the sake of Russian security; Napoleon III needed success for the sake of his domestic position; the British government needed an independent Turkey for the security of the Eastern Mediterranean….Mutual fear, not mutual aggression, caused the Crimean war.”
In the eyes of some historians the major point is that the Allies fought the Crimean war not in favor of the Ottoman Empire, “the sick man of Europe”, but against Russia. Britain feared Russia would modernize its navy and threaten British naval supremacy in the world and was intent on giving Tsarist Russia a lesson. The war might have ended earlier but war fever had been whipped up by the press in Britain and France so that politicians were afraid to propose ending the war.
But with the passage of time public sentiment in Britain changed to anti-war, and France which had suffered major casualties wanted peace. The signing of the Treaty of Paris brought an end to the war but not to Western hostility to Russia. The Black Sea was demilitarized, which weakened Russia, no longer a naval threat to Britain. Sevastopol and other occupied cities were returned to Russia which however had to give up some of its Danubian principalities and its aspirations to unite with its Slavic cousins in Bulgaria and Serbia still under the yoke of the Ottomans.
Meanwhile in Russia great events, world-shaking events, were taking place. Yet for Russia the two preceding centuries of her history were more tragic than glorious. The history of the now more than two centuries was marked by the mingling of Russia and the West, above all by the drive of the West into Russia which ended in the many Western interventions in Russia several of which, as we have seen, were armed interventions that in the long run aimed at the total conquest of that new world. Weidlé notes that though Russia’s history had been full of movement, rich in events and achievements, it had never solved the problem of the integration of the various social groups into a common life. This integration, by the way, was also lacking in ancient Russia, in the new Soviet Russia and again today in a new Russia. Yet Russia attained a blend of order and disorder that fostered the normal development of a nation. In Russia that blend led directly to the Great Russian Revolution, perhaps because of the degree of those old separations of the masses from the hierarchy of the elite. Western observers have noted how in Russia the governing class and the people seem quite distinct. In fact, there have traditionally been two cultures in Russia: that of a very small elite and that of the masses, which lasted until the revolution and the enormous changes it wrought. When thinking of the Russian revolution, you should keep in mind that, desirable or not it eliminated the old elite and formed a new one.
In the decades following the Crimean War revolutionary fever was growing in Russia. Finally Russian Socialists and Social Revolutionaries led the 1905 revolution that forced Tsar Nicolas to grant the establishment of the Duma, a legislative assembly, which marked the start of a kind of Constitutional Democracy and weakened the total power of the Tsarist regime. It seemed that Russia was truly destined to be part of Europe. Trotsky notes that despite the counter-revolution, an industrial boom came in 1910 and with it the strikes. The shooting of workers in 1912 gave rise to protests all over the country and by 1914 beautiful St. Petersburg had become an arena of workers’ barricades. It has been said that governments come and go but the police (soldiers too) remain. Moreover, policemen are conservatives because of the nature of their work. Trotsky knew that new ideas (he was referring to Socialism) always come early.
In reference to the 1917 revolution Trotsky wrote a paragraph that reminds me of Giordano Bruno four centuries earlier, which, I believe, is well worth quoting. I made a very few cuts for purposes of brevity:
Marxism considers itself the conscious expression of the unconscious historical process. But the unconscious historical process, in the historico-philosophical sense of the term, coincides with its conscious expression only at its highest point, when the masses break through the social routine and give victorious expression to the deeper needs of historical development. At such moments the highest theoretical consciousness of the epoch merges with the immediate action of the oppressed masses that are furthest away from theory. The creative union of the conscious with the unconscious is what one usually calls ‘inspiration’. Revolution is the inspired frenzy of history.
In fact, as Trotsky had predicted there began a series of mutinies in the navy and the army. During the revolution, every fresh wave of strikes and of the peasant movement was accompanied by mutinies in all parts of Russia. Already during the revolution some Western Ukrainians became aware of the dangers to the central government in Kiev of the movement for Donetsk separatism from the Ukrainian state. The Novorossiya idea had never died.
UKRAINE – A People but No Nation
Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny “Yat” Yatsenyuk announced to a conference of European politicians meeting in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev that “Putin wants to destroy Ukraine as an independent nation and restore the Soviet Union.” He added that his country is in a state of war and that Putin is the aggressor. “Putin’s aim is not just to take Donetsk and Lugansk. His goal is to take the entire Ukraine. Putin is a threat to the global order and to the security of Europe.” Yat does not want Russian to become the second state language. He wants European Union membership for Ukraine and opposes Ukrainian membership in the new Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia, which Yatsenyuk believes would mean the restoration of the Soviet Union, albeit in a slightly different form and name. He accuses Russia of wanting to construct a new Berlin Wall, this time on the western border of Ukraine and the European Union. Before Russia annexed the Crimea, Yatsenyuk said the decision of Ukrainian membership in the European Union should be decided by referendum.
Ukraine watchers were taken by surprise when Russian President Vladimir Putin used the term “Novorossiya” to refer to some regions in southeastern Ukraine: Kharkiv, Luhansk Donetsk and Odessa. “They were not part of Ukraine in Tsarist times, they were transferred in 1920. Why? God knows.” His idea could have been to ready Ukraine for absorption of those territories into Russia. At the same time “Novorossiya” is also the slogan of pro-Russia activists in southeastern Ukraine where people are chanting the Novorossiya theme. Such an event today would devastate the already shaky economy in Kiev with no money in its coffers. After all irredentism is the effort to reunify lost territories inhabited by ethnic kin with territories also inhabited by ethnic kin. Most certainly the USA, the EU and the IMF would not consider bailing out a country much, much worse off than was Greece. And if came down to the wire, sanctions and resolutions would not stop the unification of areas of ethnic Russians in Novorossiya, or the Transnistria republic and most likely also the whole of Moldova.
As efficacious and unifying as the word “Novorossiya” and its very conception are for ethnic Russians in southeastern Ukraine today, it is a foul and loathsome term for the phantasmal and already disintegrating puppet government and its adherents in Kiev—as well as for Washington, the EU in Brussels and the morally corrupt International Monetary Fund. But only a minority of Americans as well as most of Asia and Africa are even aware of what has happened here: that the USA instigated and organized a coup against the legally elected President of Ukraine and then sent Ukrainian troops to the southeastern part of the nation, where the local militias have beaten the shit out of the regular troops from Kiev. Few people even know the name of Novorossiya and its significance as explained here. As Pope Francis said in a recent sermon, that war in general is pure madness. Yet, he added, the world is unfortunately infected with what he called “the globalization of indifference”

Species decline

If you need ( and you shouldn't) any more proof that we are in a global extinction event that will include us here it is.

" The fastest decline among the animal populations were found in freshwater ecosystems, where numbers have plummeted by 75% since 1970. “Rivers are the bottom of the system,” said Dave Tickner, WWF’s chief freshwater adviser. “Whatever happens on the land, it all ends up in the rivers.”

We have failed to protect the fundamental neccessities of life. Fresh water, air and clean oceans. A combination of Anthropogenic climate change and callous human indifference have signed our fate.

---Kevin Hester

Wildlife numbers plunge by 50% since 1970 
Species across land, rivers and seas decimated as humans kill for food in unsustainable numbers and destroy habitats

29 September, 2014

The number of wild animals on Earth has halved in the past 40 years, according to a new analysis. Creatures across land, rivers and the seas are being decimated as humans kill them for food in unsustainable numbers, while polluting or destroying their habitats, the research by scientists at WWF and the Zoological Society of London found.
If half the animals died in London zoo next week it would be front page news,” said Professor Ken Norris, ZSL’s director of science. “But that is happening in the great outdoors. This damage is not inevitable but a consequence of the way we choose to live.” He said nature, which provides food and clean water and air, was essential for human wellbeing.
We have lost one half of the animal population and knowing this is driven by human consumption, this is clearly a call to arms and we must act now,” said Mike Barratt, director of science and policy at WWF. He said more of the Earth must be protected from development and deforestation, while food and energy had to be produced sustainably.
The steep decline of animal, fish and bird numbers was calculated by analysing 10,000 different populations, covering 3,000 species in total. This data was then, for the first time, used to create a representative “Living Planet Index” (LPI), reflecting the state of all 45,000 known vertebrates.
We have all heard of the FTSE 100 index, but we have missed the ultimate indicator, the falling trend of species and ecosystems in the world,” said Professor Jonathan Baillie, ZSL’s director of conservation. “If we get [our response] right, we will have a safe and sustainable way of life for the future,” he said.
If not, he added, the overuse of resources would ultimately lead to conflicts. He said the LPI was an extremely robust indicator and had been adopted by UN’s internationally-agreed Convention on Biological Diversity as key insight into biodiversity.

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Climate change
Climate change
Habitat degradation/change
Habitat loss
Climate change

A second index in the new Living Planet report calculates humanity’s “ecological footprint”, ie the scale at which it is using up natural resources. Currently, the global population is cutting down trees faster than they regrow, catching fish faster than the oceans can restock, pumping water from rivers and aquifers faster than rainfall can replenish them and emitting more climate-warming carbon dioxide than oceans and forests can absorb.
The report concludes that today’s average global rate of consumption would need 1.5 planet Earths to sustain it. But four planets would be required to sustain US levels of consumption, or 2.5 Earths to match UK consumption levels.
The fastest decline among the animal populations were found in freshwater ecosystems, where numbers have plummeted by 75% since 1970. “Rivers are the bottom of the system,” said Dave Tickner, WWF’s chief freshwater adviser. “Whatever happens on the land, it all ends up in the rivers.” For example, he said, tens of billions of tonnes of effluent are dumped in the Ganges in India every year.
As well as pollution, dams and the increasing abstraction of water damage freshwater systems. There are more than 45,000 major dams – 15m or higher – around the world. “These slice rivers up into a thousand pieces,” Tickner said, preventing the healthy flow of water. While population has risen fourfold in the last century, water use has gone up sevenfold. “We are living thirstier and thirstier lives,” he said.
But while freshwater species such as the European eel and the hellbender salamander in the US have crashed, recoveries have also been seen. Otters were near extinct in England but thanks to conservation efforts now live in every county.
The number of animals living on the land has fallen by 40% since 1970. From forest elephants in central Africa, where poaching rates now exceed birth rates, to the Hoolock gibbon in Bangladesh and European snakes like the meadow and asp vipers, destruction of habitat has seen populations tumble. But again intensive conservation effort can turn declines around, as has happened with tigers in Nepal.
Marine animal populations have also fallen by 40% overall, with turtles suffering in particular. Hunting, the destruction of nesting grounds and getting drowned in fishing nets have seen turtle numbers fall by 80%. Some birds have been heavily affected too. The number of grey partridges in the UK sank by 50% since 1970 due to the intensification of farming, while curlew sandpipers in Australia lost 80% of their number in the 20 years to 2005.
The biggest declines in animal numbers have been seen in low-income, developing nations, while conservation efforts in rich nations have seen small improvements overall. But the big declines in wildlife in rich nations had already occurred long before the new report’s baseline year of 1970 – the last wolf in the UK was shot in 1680.
Also, by importing food and other goods produced via habitat destruction in developing nations, rich nations are “outsourcing” wildlife decline to those countries, said Norris. For example, a third of all the products of deforestation such as timber, beef and soya were exported to the EU between 1990 and 2008.
David Nussbaum, chief executive of WWF-UK said: “The scale of the destruction highlighted in this report should be a wake-up call for us all. But 2015 – when the countries of the world are due to come together to agree on a new global climate agreement, as well as a set of sustainable development goals – presents us with a unique opportunity to reverse the trends.

We all – politicians, businesses and people – have an interest, and a responsibility, to act to ensure we protect what we all value: a healthy future for both people and nature.”

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Netanyahu rattles sabres over Iran

Win battle, lose the war: Photo-wielding Netanyahu puts Iran over ISIS, slams Hamas

Israel's Pri
29 September, 2014

Bigger than the Islamic State threat – Iran and its nuclear program yet again haunted Benjamin Netanyahu’s address at the UN General Assembly. The Israeli PM also has photo-proof with him of Hamas using Palestinian civilians as human shields.

Make no mistake – ISIS (Islamic State) must be defeated. But to defeat ISIS and leave Iran as a threshold nuclear power is to win the battle and lose the war," Netanyahu said at the UN headquarters in New York.

"Iran's nuclear military capabilities must be fully dismantled," he added. 

As for Tehran's recent “charm offensive” for the West, its true purpose is to see the international sanctions lifted "and remove the obstacles to Iran's path to the [nuclear] bomb," the prime minister stressed. 

Netanyahu called Iran's concern about the spread of terrorism – earlier voiced by President Hassan Rouhani, from the same lectern – “one of history's greatest displays of doubletalk.” 

He also slammed the countries, which now fully back US-led airstrikes against ISIS, but used to criticize Israel for their war against Hamas in Palestine. 

The PM stressed that Islamic radicals from ISIS and Hamas share the same task “of imposing militant Islam on the world.” 

Hamas’s immediate goal is to destroy Israel, but it has a broader objective. When it comes to its ultimate goals, Hamas is ISIS, and ISIS is Hamas,” he said.
According to Netanyahu, the 50-day operation in Gaza this summer, which saw 2,100 Palestinians – mainly civilians – killed and some 18,000 homes destroyed, was Israel’s war against “global militant Islam.” 

The head of the Israeli government put the blame for civilian casualties on Hamas, which, he said, committed “the real war crimes” by using ordinary civilians as human shields. 

He refuted claims by Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, who accused Israel of conducting a “war of genocide” in Gaza in his UN address at the weekend. 

Netanyahu believes that Israel can’t be accused of genocide as it gave advance warnings to Palestinians before shelling neighborhoods in the densely populated Gaza area.
Israel “was doing everything to minimize civilian casualties. Hamas was doing everything to maximize civilian casualties” by placing its rocket launchers in homes, schools and children’s playgrounds, he said. 

The PM also blasted the UN Human Right Council, which sends “a clear message to terrorists to use civilians as human shields” by condemning Israel’s actions in Gaza. 

The Human Right Council “turns the war upside down” and is deserved to be called the “Terrorist Rights Council,” he stressed. 

The Prime Minister also said that such common challenges like nuclear Iran and militant Islam provide a historic opportunity for Israel’s relations with the leading nations in the Arab world. 

According to Netanyahu, Palestine can be reached though good relations with Arab world, but not the other way around as many thought before.