Politics

Spotlight on Green News & Views: Karuk people fight climate crisis; Mt. Kilimanjaro ablaze

CRITTERS AND THE GREAT OUTDOORS

OceanDiver writes—BackyardBirdRace/Daily Bucket combo: September-into-October tally: “There are no “rules” for the BirdRace beyond what you set for yourself. Some ideas for information that you might share here as part of the conversation, any combination of: • a total list of birds you’ve seen • new birds you’ve seen, since the last tally • interesting behavior you’ve seen • any patterns or changes in patterns • general location in the country • type of habitat. If you move during the year, it would be very interesting to compare the backyard birds you see in the different settings!” 

OceanDiver writes—The Daily Bucket – wasps n flies on windfall pears: “Fall 2020. Pacific Northwest. Weather has turned chilly and stormy in the PacificNorthwest lately but until recently we were seeing the typical fall gorging on fallen fruit in the backyard, by insects. We don’t begrudge them the food since we won’t be eating pears and apples on the ground we weren’t quick enough to pick up. I have three pear trees. Also one apple but it was done a month ago. I don’t remember the names of my fruit trees except for this one pear: Orcas. Named after a local island in the Salish Sea, bred for our local climate. The wasps have been less active than usual this year, for whatever reason. Didn’t have to put out yellowjacket traps.

giddy thing writes—Dawn Chorus: Birds of the National Bison Range: “This past summer I got to roam the National Bison Range, albeit at safe social distances from its namesake mammals. I was issued a special use permit by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to survey the Bison Range for milkweed and breeding monarch butterflies, but regularly got distracted by the phenomenal bird life on this 18,000-acre refuge at the south end of the scenic Mission Valley in northwest Montana. Today’s diary features some of the birds encountered during my wanderings from June to September. Established in 1908 by President Theodore Roosevelt, the National Bison Range has played an important role in the recovery and conservation of bison. The refuge supports a diverse ecosystem of native Palouse prairie, Douglas-fir and ponderosa pine forests, mountain shrubs, and lowland riparian areas dominated by black cottonwood, quaking aspen, and Rocky Mountain juniper.” 

CaptBLI writes—The Daily Bucket – After the storm mushrooms: “I don’t have much to say, so I will show the lovely things that popped up in the yard Sunday after Hurricane Delta passed through.  If you want to name any of them, feel free.  I enjoyed the colors and textures.” 

A side view of an opening into the rock ahead - is it a cave?

lostintheozarks writes—The Daily Bucket – Buffalo National River and Other Places: “Douglas County, Missouri. October 13, 2020. I haven’t been totally satisfied with the colors of Fall we have been experiencing this year, so since the leaves here are already falling from the trees and turning brown I suggested that maybe a day trip to the south was in order. My nagging was eventually successful and it was decided that yesterday would be our annual “searching for Fall” day-trip. We had some errands to run first and that brought us to Ava, Missouri, about twenty-five miles from our home. Ava is also known as ‘The Treasure of the Ozarks,’ a good starting point for the search for Fall. Keeping in mind that we did not have time to go someplace unfamiliar, we followed the same route we had taken a few times before. There was one scenic overlook along highway 412 between Gassville and Yellville, AR. This was not a particularly scenic day. The sun was shining brightly and the Fall colors were muted. The view of the White River below is almost completely hidden.

Lenny Flank writes—Photo Diary: Another Set of Florida Critters: “Seen during recent walks in St Pete FL.

ibises, ibis

CLIMATE CHAOS

Dan Bacher writes—Karuk Tribe leads effort to fight racism and climate change with fire: “The day after Indigenous Peoples Day was celebrated worldwide, the indigenous-led Western Klamath Restoration Partnership (WKRP) announced it is organizing its annual Klamath River Prescribed Fire Training Exchange (KTREX).  though organizers said it will look very different from past years. ‘Organizers believe this is all the more urgent as the United States (and the World) reckon with the hard truths of how hundreds of years of ecological injustices have shaped our present threat of increasingly severe catastrophic wildfire in the West,’ according to a press release from the WKRP and the Karuk Tribe. ‘This event occurs each fall and builds local capacity to utilize lower intensity prescribed fire as a fuels-reduction tool,’ the partnership stated. ‘Although KTREX has only been happening for the last six years, Karuk (and other Indigenous People have been using prescribed fire since time immemorial. Burning is a cultural and spiritual practice that serves numerous vital functions to the natural resources on which Karuk People depend. For example, frequent burning increases the quality and quantity of basketry materials, acorn crops, fish and wildlife habitat, and ensures the community’s safety during wildfire season by reducing fuels’.”  

ClimateDenierRoundup writes—Two New Climate Denial Books Out, In Case You Prefer To Read Blog Posts Offline: “Over the summer we saw Bjorn Lomborg and Michael Shellenberger do the conservative media circuit to promote their books, but these most recent two works probably won’t get that high-profile a reception. What they are getting is the usual lip service from their fellow deniers, specifically a pair of posts on WUWT from Anthony Watts last week. The first was a post cobbled together from the Amazon page and a press release for an updated version of “Climate Change: The Facts” for 2020. It’s a climate compendium from Australia’s leading tobacco/mining/oil/etc.-funded free-market climate denial organization, the Institute of Public Affairs. Every few years they aggregate what they think is effective climate propaganda from the usual slate of disinformers (paid and amateur alike), and do the thing conservative groups do where they publish a Potemkin book to make it look like their ideology has a rigorous intellectual foundation instead of being a flimsy oil-funded facade of an argument.” 

ClimateDenierRoundup writes—Deniers In The Real World: Libertarians Can’t Bear The Burden Of Actually Governing: “In describing the Earth’s atmosphere through the ages, Dr. Wally Broecker once famously said that ‘the climate system is an angry beast and we are poking it with sticks.’ With wildfires and hurricanes and 144 straight days of temperatures above 100F in Phoenix fueling the hottest September on record (the 429th straight month of global temperatures above the 20th century average) one might think that even deniers would start noticing that the angry beast is waking up. Unfortunately, the odds are slim that’s going to happen, and even if it did, it’s not like politicians who are staunchly opposed to regulations are suddenly going to have an about-face. In fact, we know that even when confronted head-on with literal, actual, real-life beasts, the libertarian worldview will still resort to denial and inaction. We know this, because it’s happened.

Extreme Weather & Natural Phenomena

Pakalolo writes—Mount Kilimanjaro is on fire: “The highest free-standing mountain on earth is on fire—Mount Kilimanjaro (elevation 19,341above sea level) located in Tanzania.  Africa’s tallest peak consists of three dormant volcanic cones—Kibo, Mawenzi, and Shira. Wildfires have been increasing in number and intensity across the entire planet. This fire is especially cruel as wildlife may not flee in time as increased winds and drought have created a tinder box. The fire is within Kilimanjaro National Park. […]  The cause of the inferno which is believed to be occurring hundreds of metres above sea level is yet to be established. Eyewitnesses say efforts by local communities to extinguish the wild fires are underway but this is hampered by the altitude of the blaze. The flames could easily be seen from as far as Moshi town which is some tens of kilometers away from the mountain.”

ENERGY

Dan Bacher writes—CA regulators issue 6 new fracking permits today, bringing the total this year to 54: “The Gavin Newsom Administration on Friday afternoon issued a memo to environmental groups revealing that CalGEM, the oil and gas regulators in California, will be approving six fracking (well stimulation treatment) applications for Aera Energy in Belridge, California. The agency approved the permits after an independent technical review by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories, according to Matt Baker, Deputy Secretary for Energy of the California Natural Resources Agency. The permits and assessments are available here: https://www.conservation.ca.gov/calgem/Pages/Well-Stim-National-Lab-Scientific-Review.aspx. Baker also attached an update on actions underway by CalGEM as ‘part of the state’s efforts to align oil production policies with our broader climate change goals and mandates to protect human health and environment.’ The 6 new permits, combined with the 48 other fracking permits approved to date this year, amount to 54 new fracking permits approved in California since April.”

OCEANS, WATER, DROUGHT

Dan Bacher writes—Un-Dam the Klamath River Day of Action October 23, 2020: “This #IndigenousPeoplesDay let’s remember the Klamath River dams are also monuments of racism and colonization. @GavinNewsom @WarrenBuffett @PacifiCorp remove these dams! https://bit.ly/2GAyt7T SIGN http://chng.it/2D2ZDPfwnX FOLLOW @CaliSalmon RETWEET #UndamTheKlamath. Here’s a story for #IndigenousPeoplesDay: @WarrenBuffett’s @PacifiCorp owns the dams that are killing #KlamathSalmon. The dams cause fish diseases & toxic algae. Tribes cannot feed their families. @PacifiCorp promised to remove dams. Now they are backing out #UnDamtheKlamath. ” 

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annieli writes—stop water from reaching the ocean, vote Trump, because it’s for the little tiny fishes: “Will Trumpian domestic terror’s “strategy of tension” for the next decade ultimately be predicated upon the little tiny fishes, or the strawberries, or the tow target. ‘California is gonna have to ration water. You wanna know why? Because they send millions of gallons of water out to sea, out to the Pacific. Because they want to take care of certain little tiny fish, that aren’t doing very well without water’.”

CANDIDATES, STATE AND DC ECO-RELATED POLITICS

GoodNewsRoundup writes—Biden will be a champion of sustainable farming: Day 84 out of 100 days of Loving Joe Biden: “Farming has always been a tough. noble, and essential profession.  Farmers have suffered under Trump’s tariffs and bad stewardship. Biden has plans to help the American farmers and help the planet at the same time. Biden plans to: Stand up for our farms and ranches. Biden will bring back America’s advantage in agriculture, create jobs, and build a bright future for rural communities by investing in the next generation of agriculture and conservation; providing opportunities to new farmers and ranchers, including returning veterans and minorities, to enter the economy; and making it easier to pass farms and ranches onto the next generation … ” 

Meteor Blades writes—Wednesday Night Owls: As with other questions, Barrett stonewalls on her views about climate crisis: “During her Senate confirmation hearing on Tuesday, October 13, Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett trotted out a tired and dismissive refrain from climate deniers, saying, ‘I’m certainly not a scientist’ when Senator John Kennedy (R-LA) asked specifically about her views on climate change. After Barrett said she doesn’t have “firm views” on the subject, Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) pressed her on those views during the hearing Wednesday, where she continued to dodge the question. ‘I don’t think that my views on global warming or climate change are relevant to the job I would do as a judge,’ Barrett said, adding, ‘I haven’t studied scientific data. I’m not really in a position to offer any informed opinion on what I think causes global warming.’ Her use of the ‘not a scientist’ line, and her subsequent doubling down on the idea, drew swift criticism from activists, journalists, politicians, and other professionals engaged with the issue of climate change.

Alan Singer writes—Barrett Concedes Smoking Causes Cancer, Refuses to take a Position on Climate Change:I assembled these interchanges between Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Judge Amy Coney Barrett and Senator John Kennedy (R-LA) and Barrett at the Senate Supreme Court confirmation hearings from multiple sources. I am not sure of the exact sequence, but the questions and answers are accurate. Barrett has been a federal judge for only three years so has virtually no judicial record. Barrett’s father, Michael E. Coney, was an attorney for Shell Oil and an active member of the American Petroleum Institute, the oil and gas trade organization that challenges the science behind climate change. Climate activist Greta Thunberg tweeted a response after Barrett’s testimony.” 

Mark Sumner writes—Trump turns down California’s disaster request, hands farmers record subsidies: “Right now in California, the largest wildfire to ever strike the state is still burning. Overall, the situation may not be quite so dire as it was a few weeks ago—so long as temperatures and winds cooperate—but at this moment the state estimates that over 4.1 million acres have burned in over 8,500 individual fires. Triggered by climate change that has brought both rising temperatures and shifting rainfall patterns, the incredible wash of flames has also destroyed over 5,000 homes, created some of the worst air conditions on the planet, led to regular power outages for millions … and left eight people dead. In fact, the lives directly lost in the flames are only a small part of the toll. Healthcare experts attribute thousands of premature deaths and tens of thousands of illnesses to the air pollution generated by the fires. And in this pandemic season, the thousands of cases of COVID-19 that are springing up in California each day can be directly connected to the large numbers of displaced citizens, many of whom were forced into temporary housing—or no housing at all—in conditions that promoted the spread of the disease. Against that backdrop, it seems particularly shocking, if not simply vile, that on Thursday evening, Donald Trump turned down California’s request for a disaster declaration. With billions of dollars in damage, including over $200 million’s worth of state infrastructure, a disaster declaration might seem automatic. What does it take to get a disaster declaration from Trump? Let North Carolina explain.”

Dan K writes—Trump Admin Tells California We Can Just Burn: “I’m just going to cut and paste a couple of ‘graphs and go hide under the covers. (CNN)The Trump administration has rejected California’s request for a disaster declaration for six destructive wildfires that burned hundreds of thousands of acres across the state, including a massive central California wildfire that has become the single largest in state history. ‘The request for a Major Presidential Disaster Declaration for early September fires has been denied by the federal administration,’ Brian Ferguson, a spokesperson for the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, confirmed to CNN. The state plans to appeal the decision.” 

ClimateDenierRoundup writes—RealClear Publishes Industry Propaganda On SCOTUS, California and 2022’s President Kamala Harris: “For sake of clarity and length, we tend to focus here on just one or two pieces of denial content a day. But it seems like every time we check in on RealClear Energy, there are at least three new, spectacularly stupid, obviously advertorial, and fossil-fuel-funded pieces on the website, just begging for ridicule. This week is no different, with the Koch- and industry-funded website publishing a fossil-fueled take on fossil fuel litigation, a completely imagined look at 2022, and Big Oil’s opinion on California’s moves to end combustion-powered cars and fracking. Here’s a spoiler: they don’t like it! Any potential readers will certainly be shocked and educated by Frank Macchiarola of the American Petroleum Institute’s opposition to California Governor Newsom’s recent Executive Order on electric vehicles and a phase out of fracking in the state. Although the oil man used a lot of words to defend oil, it can really be best summarized by his quotation of a headline from the rightwing Onion rip-off the Babylon Bee: ‘State with No Electricity Orders Everyone to Drive Cars on Electricity’.

AndySchmookler writes—The Blatant Lack of Character Barrett Just Showed Should Be Enough to Disqualify Her from the Court: “Kamala Harris showed her shrewd prosecutorial skills in setting up her question to Judge Barrett on climate change. After Senator Harris got Judge Barrett to affirm that 1) yes, the coronavirus is infectious and 2) smoking causes cancer, she proceeded to the real question: would Judge Barrett likewise affirm that ‘climate change is happening and it’s threatening the air we breathe and the water we drink.’ But here, Barrett drew an indefensible line. She refused to affirm the reality of climate change — which is just as scientifically established as the other two matters about which Senator Harris had asked her. Her reason? That climate change is ‘a very contentious matter of public debate, and I will not do that, I will not express a view on a matter of public policy, especially one that is politically controversial.’ Now, it is true that climate change is politically controversial. But it is not scientifically controversial. Since when is it allowed for a Justice on the Supreme Court to let political considerations erase factual reality?”

TRANSPORTATION & INFRASTRUCTURE

GoodNewsRoundup writes—Biden has big plans for the auto industry: Day 86 out of 100 days of loving Joe Biden: “11 years ago, Joe Biden helped save the auto industry. Today, the industry once again faces a crisis. Not only has Trump overseen a manufacturing recession on his watch, but through neglect and failed trade policies, he has allowed China to race ahead in the competition to lead the auto industry of the future. China is on track to command more than four times the global market share compared to the U.S. in electric vehicle production, even as the Chinese government’s approach threatens to slow down or set back the long-term prospects of clean vehicle innovation. Biden plans to: Use the power of federal procurement to increase demand for American-made, American-sourced clean vehicles. As part of his historic commitment to increasing procurement investments, Biden will make a major federal commitment to purchase clean vehicles for federal, state, tribal, postal, and local fleets, making sure that we retain the critical union jobs involved in running and maintaining these fleets.

AGRICULTURE​, FOOD & GARDENS

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The dahlias

beaky writes—Saturday Morning Garden Blogging vol 16.42, Where Did Summer Go?Well, Fall is here. The pool is closed and the leaves are everywhere. Some plants are still blooming and the berries are ripening. I have some bulbs and tubers to plant. I tend to leave plants alone and cut them back in Spring. I like to leave the seeds for the birds. I am so excited about these Doll’s Eyes. I have three plants. I’m looking forward to them bushing out in the next few years. I just love the white berries and the red stems. They glow in shade. […] The dahlias are still going strong in the front garden. I need to do a better job staking them next year. This is my first time growing dahlias so I’m still on a learning curve. I’m going to plant them in containers next year because they are susceptible to verticillium wilt which has infected the cottage garden.

NAT’L FORESTS, PARKS, MONUMENTS & OTHER PUBLIC LANDS

dfrankle writes—Bullock’s Fight to Protect Montana’s Public Land: “Last month, a federal judge ruled to remove William Perry Pendley from his position as Director of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) after Montana Governor Steve Bullock sued over Pendley’s succession order. In 2019, Pendley was appointed deputy director of the U.S. BLM, but there was never a confirmed director. Instead, he created a succession order which made him acting director during a vacancy. During his time as director, Pendley approved two resource management plans which would reduce protections for fish and wildlife habitat, cultural resources, and recreational uses, while opening 95% of federal land in Montana to oil and gas development. Pendley has been highly criticized by both Republicans and Democrats over his advocacy for selling federal public land and his support for rancher Cliven Bundy, who led the largest armed standoff against the federal government over the use of public land.” 

MISCELLANY

Meteor Blades writes—Earth Matters: Schools save big time with solar power; tardigrades turn blue for UV protection: “Large methane leaks up 32% rise in first eight months of 2020: According to Kayrros, a data analytics company, satellite data showed hotspots—leaks of more than 5 metric tons an hour—linked to oil and gas operations. Over 20 years, methane is 84-86 times more potent as a green house gas than carbon dioxide. Pledges to cut methane emissions are obviously not working. In 2019, the largest emitters were the United States, Russia, Algeria, Turkmenistan, Iran and Iraq, Kayrros President Antoine Rostand said. This year so far, leaks in Algeria, Russia and Turkmenistan were higher than the global average. “Such increases in methane emissions are concerning and in stark contradiction to the direction set in the Paris Agreement of 2015 [to keep global warming below 1.5 degree Celsius],” Rostand said. “Despite much talk of climate action by energy industry stakeholders, global methane emissions continue to increase steeply. In 2019 alone, our technology tracked a combined volume of visible large methane leaks of 10 million [metric] tons, equivalent to over 800 million tons of CO over a 20-year period.”




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