Monthly Archives: January 2015

Another Major Climate Breakthrough: China Will Cap its Coal Consumption by 2020

By Barbara Finamore

Barabara Finamore takes a detailed look at the pledges and plans China is putting forth to cutback the nation’s contributions to climate change.From this detailed assessment comes optimism that China will be successful in its campaign to rein in carbon emission:
“We believe that China’s unprecedented climate andcoal cap pledges transmit very powerful signals that will drive domestic action and set thestage for even more ambitious targets going forward. As we’ve seen most recently in the area of wind and solar power development, China has a long history of setting targets that it feels confident it can meet, only to revise them upward repeatedly as its efforts prove successful.”
This post was originally published on the National Resource Defense Council Staff Blog, Switchboard, on November 21, 2014. You can read the entire article here.

Population Redux

2223333Paul R. Ehrlich

At long last, and possibly too late, people are beginning once again to realize that the numbers of people themselves constitute a threat to civilization. However, despite that recognition, many of a new flood of articles clearly demonstrate the continuing failure to understand the situation, even among those who ought to know better. Some of the more prominent errors are that consumption is the problem, not population; that the only difficulty is finding ways to feed an additional 2.5 billion people in the next 35 years; that a spontaneous “demographic transition” will save humanity by producing a stable population; and, of course the old bromide that human ingenuity will develop magical technologies permitting the population to grow forever. Read the rest of this entry

Islands As Harbingers

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Orange-bellied parrot

Paul and Anne Ehrlich

The decline of animal biodiversity in the Pacific discussed in our last blog is hardly confined to birds. Having just finished a book (THE ANNIHILATION OF NATURE, to be published in the Fall) on the extinction of bird and mammal populations and species, we are only too aware that the Pacific situation is just the front line of a global one. Since the islands we visited were, curiously enough, surrounded by water, it seems appropriate to ask whether the marine situation is dramatically different from that on the islands themselves. Our old friend Jack Grove was travelling with us; we first met him in the Galapagos decades ago and helped persuade Stanford Press to publish his fine FISHES OF THE GALAPAGOS ISLANDS.[1] Jack is one of the most experienced ichthyologists working on coral reefs, and his answer to the question was a resounding “no.” He has observed a steady drop in marine diversity over the past three decades, with once abundant sharks becoming rare, populations of large parrot fish disappearing, and a general decline in the abundance of even smaller fishes such as butterfly fishes and bird wrasses on atolls where children hunt them for food. Paul recently swam transects near an atoll in Micronesia without seeing a single butterfly fish — a group whose behavior and community structure we once studied [2]and which fortunately is still common in some areas. Read the rest of this entry

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