Newsletter 26: More news

Real Climate critique of the recent report on the climate benefits of mass tree planting. It seems the effect would be more like ⅕-⅓ of carbon sequestration over 50-100 years rather than the stated ⅔ and ‘this proportion will decrease if emissions continue to grow’. In other words it’s still worth doing (sensitively according to the local variables) but curbing emissions is still the most important thing to do.

Deer, sparrows and magpies are all at ‘substantial extinction risk’ because they may not be able to adapt fast enough to the changing climate. ‘What is worrisome is that our study species are mainly common ones, so that the conclusions for rare species will likely be even more pessimistic.’ Indeed, the extinction crisis keeps getting more dire, with 28,000 species at risk including the scaly foot snail, the ‘first species at risk of extinction from deep sea mining’.

That report (pdf) on XR by UK thinktank ‘Policy Exchange’ is worth reading if only to see the writing on the wall for the likely state, police and media response in the times to come, especially if we continue to expand on our effectiveness. This Open Democracy article looks at the background to the thinktank and the author Richard Walton and points out that the funding sources of the report haven’t been revealed. Relevant reading: the ‘divide and conquer’ strategy revealed by the STRATFOR leaks in which industry bodies are advised to ‘isolate the radicals, “cultivate” the idealists and “educate” them into becoming realists. Then co-opt the realists.’

We Are In The Underworld And We Haven’t Figured It Out Yet’ – thought-provoking mythological interpretation of our time by Martin Shaw, objecting to the ‘titillation of extinction’ when unaccompanied by a serious grieving process and evaluation of privilege. ‘[W]hen we prematurely claim doom we have walked out of the movie fifteen minutes early, and we posit dominion over the miraculous. We could weave our grief to something more powerful than that. Possibility.’

Finally an inspiring story of a retired teacher who built a ‘secret world’ for seahorses by Long Beach, California. They arrived on a plume of unusually warm water from the South and apparently appreciated the welcome, choosing to stay on where other species didn’t. ‘It feels like I’m reading a book, the book of their life, and I can’t put it down’. If you only fight for what you love, this guy knows where his battles will be.

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