background preloader

Earth's resources consumed in ever greater destructive volumes

Earth's resources consumed in ever greater destructive volumes
Humanity is devouring our planet’s resources in increasingly destructive volumes, according to a new study that reveals we have consumed a year’s worth of carbon, food, water, fibre, land and timber in a record 212 days. As a result, the Earth Overshoot Day – which marks the point at which consumption exceeds the capacity of nature to regenerate – has moved forward two days to 1 August, the earliest date ever recorded. To maintain our current appetite for resources, we would need the equivalent of 1.7 Earths, according to Global Footprint Network, an international research organisation that makes an annual assessment of how far humankind is falling into ecological debt. The overshoot began in the 1970s, when rising populations and increasing average demands pushed consumption beyond a sustainable level. Thirty years ago, the overshoot was on 15 October. The day of reckoning is moving nearer, according to Mathis Wackernagel, chief executive and co-founder of Global Footprint Network. Related:  The Only Earth We HaveSustainabilityUh Oh

Trump administration lifts ban on pesticides linked to declining bee numbers | Environment The Trump administration has rescinded an Obama-era ban on the use of pesticides linked to declining bee populations and the cultivation of genetically modified crops in dozens of national wildlife refuges where farming is permitted. Environmentalists, who had sued to bring about the two-year-old ban, said on Friday that lifting the restriction poses a grave threat to pollinating insects and other sensitive creatures relying on toxic-free habitats afforded by wildlife refuges. “Industrial agriculture has no place on refuges dedicated to wildlife conservation and protection of some of the most vital and vulnerable species,” said Jenny Keating, federal lands policy analyst for the group Defenders of Wildlife. Limited agricultural activity is authorized on some refuges by law, including cooperative agreements in which farmers are permitted to grow certain crops to produce more food or improve habitat for the wildlife there. … we have a small favour to ask.

Climate and economic risks 'threaten 2008-style systemic collapse' | Environment The gathering storm of human-caused threats to climate, nature and economy pose a danger of systemic collapse comparable to the 2008 financial crisis, according to a new report that calls for urgent and radical reform to protect political and social systems. The study says the combination of global warming, soil infertility, pollinator loss, chemical leaching and ocean acidification is creating a “new domain of risk”, which is hugely underestimated by policymakers even though it may pose the greatest threat in human history. “A new, highly complex and destabilised ‘domain of risk’ is emerging – which includes the risk of the collapse of key social and economic systems, at local and potentially even global levels,” warns the paper from the Institute for Public Policy Research. The paper stresses the human impacts go beyond climate change and are occurring at speeds unprecedented in recorded history. There are other potential cascades. “There would be repercussions in Europe.

'Suffocating climate of fear' in Turkey despite end of state of emergency Turkey’s two-year state of emergency came to an end at midnight on Wednesday, but as trials of dissidents and journalists continue human rights campaigners have said Ankara must do more to reverse a “suffocating” crackdown on free speech. Critics say the state of emergency, in place since a failed coup attempt in July 2016 that killed 250 people and wounded 1,400, has been used to detain opponents of the president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and his government for lengthy periods without trial and to intimidate dissidents and prosecute media outlets. More than 120,000 people in the police, military, academia, media and civil service have been detained or dismissed from their jobs over their alleged links to Fethullah Gülen, an exiled preacher based in the US whose supporters Ankara blames for the coup. “The lifting of the state of emergency alone will not reverse this crackdown. Critics say the use of the emergency powers went beyond Gülenists linked to the coup.

Record Low for Oil Discovery (≈7bn barrels oil equivalent). Rystad Energy concluded this week that 2017 was yet another record low year for discovered conventional volumes globally. Less than seven billion barrels of oil equivalent has been discovered YTD. “We haven’t seen anything like this since the 1940s,” says Sonia Mladá Passos, Senior Analyst at Rystad Energy. “The discovered volumes averaged at ~550 million barrels of oil equivalent per month. Not only did the total volume of discovered resources decrease – so did the resources per discovered field. The top three countries in terms of discovered volumes in 2017 were Senegal, Mexico and Guyana. In Senegal, Kosmos Energy continued with its exploration success story by discovering the Yakaar gas field. 2017 was also a promising year for Mexico. In Guyana, ExxonMobil achieved a new milestone by adding another 1 billion boe of recoverable resources through its 2017 large discoveries like Payara, Turbot and Snoek. Contacts About Rystad Energy

Internal Server Error. Sockeye salmon are on a mission up B.C.'s Fraser River right now, swimming "a marathon a day" to reach the gravel beds where they'll lay eggs for the next generation. But the waters of the Fraser — historically one of the world's great salmon rivers — have been so warm this week, fisheries officials say the migrating sockeye are in danger of dying before they have a chance to spawn. Daily temperature monitoring by Fisheries and Oceans Canada shows the Fraser hitting 20.7 C near Hope, B.C., for some days this week. "It's very warm," said Mike Lapointe, chief biologist of the Pacific Salmon Commission. "A fish experiencing ... these kinds of temperatures, when they're migrating a marathon a day, it makes a big difference." 'High pre-spawn mortality' As waters warm, every degree matters. At 18 C, the sockeye don't swim as well, according to Fisheries and Oceans Canada. Hit 19 C, they slow and show signs of physiological stress. Warming waters Big run to come?

Concrete: the most destructive material on Earth | Cities In the time it takes you to read this sentence, the global building industry will have poured more than 19,000 bathtubs of concrete. By the time you are halfway through this article, the volume would fill the Albert Hall and spill out into Hyde Park. In a day it would be almost the size of China’s Three Gorges Dam. After water, concrete is the most widely used substance on Earth. The material is the foundation of modern development, putting roofs over the heads of billions, fortifying our defences against natural disaster and providing a structure for healthcare, education, transport, energy and industry. Concrete is how we try to tame nature. Our blue and green world is becoming greyer by the second. All the plastic produced over the past 60 years amounts to 8bn tonnes. This solidity, of course, is what humankind yearns for. Solidity is a particularly attractive quality at a time of disorientating change. It also magnifies the extreme weather it shelters us from.

Jewish nation state: Israel approves controversial bill Media playback is unsupported on your device Israel's parliament has passed a controversial law characterising the country as principally a Jewish state, fuelling anger among its Arab minority. The "nation state" law says Jews have a unique right to national self-determination there and puts Hebrew above Arabic as the official language. Arab MPs reacted furiously in parliament, with one waving a black flag and others ripping up the bill. Israel's prime minister praised the bill's passage as a "defining moment". "A hundred and twenty-two years after [the founder of modern Zionism Theodore] Herzl made his vision known, with this law we determined the founding principle of our existence," Benjamin Netanyahu said. "Israel is the nation state of the Jewish people, and respects the rights of all of its citizens." However, the law risks further alienating Israel's large Arab minority, who have long felt discriminated against. What does the law say? Image copyright Reuters Why was this law created?

Earth Overshoot Day: 2nd August 2017 Humans have already used up their allowance for water, soil, clean air and other resources on Earth for the whole of 2017. Earth Overshoot Day is on 2 August this year, according to environmental groups WWF and the Global Footprint Network. The date, earlier this year than in 2016, means humanity will survive on “credit” until 31 December. “By August 2 2017, we will have used more from Nature than our planet can renew in the whole year,” the groups said in a statement. “This means that in seven months, we emitted more carbon than the oceans and forests can absorb in a year, we caught more fish, felled more trees, harvested more, and consumed more water than the Earth was able to produce in the same period.” According to campaigners, the equivalent of 1.7 planets would be needed to produce enough natural resources to match our consumption rates and a growing population. The Earth Overshoot Day measure has been calculated since 1986 and the day has never fallen so early as in 2017.

Portugal’s skies turn orange as desert air sends temperature soaring | Weather Marcelino Raimundo, 68, has seen many summers in Amareleja, the small Portuguese town that is consistently one of the hottest places in Europe. “Every year we see temperatures rise above 40C,” said Raimundo, his long-sleeved shirt unbuttoned, as the chirps of cicadas reached a climax in the stifling heat. “But the weather is changing: only last week we had 33C, and now it has jumped to 45C. We have thunderstorms in January and October, when previously we would only have them in May.” In the latest phase of a summer of extreme weather that has brought blistering heat to Britain, drought to the Netherlands and deadly wildfires to Greece, the heatwave affecting parts of southern Europe has reached a new intensity this weekend. According to IPMA, the Portuguese weather agency, about a third of the country’s meteorological stations broke temperature records on Saturday. They appeared to be adapting by simply staying indoors: there was little sign of life in the town centre.

Concrete is tipping us into climate catastrophe. It's payback time | Cities Tucked away in volume three of the technical data for Britain’s £53bn high speed rail project is a table that shows 20m tonnes of concrete will have to be poured to build the requisite 105 miles of track, culverts, bridges and tunnels. It is enough, it has been calculated, to pave over the entire city of Manchester. A more modest 3 million tonnes of concrete will be needed to construct the Hinckley B nuclear power station in Somerset, and the proposed new runway at Heathrow will require one million tonnes. Cement, the key component of concrete and one of the most widely used manmade materials, is now the cornerstone of global construction. It has shaped the modern environment, but its production has a massive footprint that neither the industry nor governments have been willing to address. Because of the heat needed to decompose rock and the natural chemical processes involved in making cement, every tonne made releases one tonne of C02, the main greenhouse warming gas.