As countries build more hydropower projects, new research warns that massive dams pose an extinction threat to mammals, birds, and tortoises—at least in the Amazon. “We’re watching extinction unfold right in front of us,” says co-author Carlos Peres, a Brazilian professor at the university’s School of Environmental Sciences. “We uncovered astounding local extinction rates,” he says, even in areas that belong to a biological reserve and are protected from hunting. –Wendy Koch, National Geographic, 1 July 2015
Ever more evidence is piling in these days to show how one of the oddest anomalies of our time is the astonishing extent to which the dream of “renewable, carbon-free” energy is creating one environmental disaster after another. Like so many of the great crimes of history, this one is being perpetrated by people who imagine they are doing something praiseworthy. In fact [they are] doing as much as anyone to destroy the very things they kid themselves they are trying to save. –Christopher Booker, The Sunday Telegraph, 5 July 2015
Beijing last week formally submitted its 2030 goals for generating energy from non-fossil fuels, garnering international praise as nations prepare for the Paris climate summit in December. The White House welcomed the announcement, which it said would pave the way for a “successful climate agreement” in France. But the goals cement China’s commitment to another round of dams in southwest, central and far-western China, which would seal the fate of the few remaining free-flowing rivers — some of them sources for vitally important river systems within China and in neighbouring countries. “By the end of the 13th five-year plan the rivers in southwest China will be basically gone,” said Stephanie Jensen-Cormier, spokeswoman for NGO International Rivers, referring to China’s industrial blueprint for the five years until 2020. –Lucy Hornby, Financial Times, 6 July 2015
Drainage of peatlands to cultivate oil palm in Malaysia’s Rajang Delta is causing land subsidence that will bring large-scale floods in coming decades, making the land unusable, a problem also expected to affect Indonesia, researchers warned. Substantial areas of the river delta in Sarawak, eastern Malaysia, are already experiencing drainage problems, according to a study commissioned by Wetlands International, a Netherlands-based conservation group. –Megan Rowling, Reuters, 6 July 2015
There has been an unfortunate and bewildering array of unintended consequences [of climate policy] that refute the ‘ethical’ label for the framework: clearing of rainforests; human rights abuses; hunger and starvation; destruction of valued landscapes; slaughter of wildlife; waste; transfers of wealth from poor to rich; fuel poverty and death; pollution; destruction of jobs; higher-than-necessary carbon emissions. –Andrew Montford, Global Warming Policy Foundation, January 2015
In the past few years, the UN has warned that global warming will increase food insecurity across the world. “All aspects of food security are potentially affected by climate change, including food access, utilization, and price stability,” the UN reported in its latest report on global warming. Yet, a new report by the UN’s agriculture arm predicts food prices will decrease in the next decade and demand growth slows and production increases. “In real terms, prices for all agricultural products are expected to decrease over the next 10 years, as production growth, helped by on-trend productivity growth and lower input prices, outpaces slowing demand increases,” the UN’s new report found, adding that while food will get cheaper “prices are projected to remain at a higher level than in the years preceding the 2007-08 price spike.” –Michael Bastasch, Daily Caller News, 6 July 2015
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