From Common Dreams: http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/07/02-9
Published on Tuesday, July 2, 2013 by Common Dreams
An “extinction crisis” is at hand. Roughly 21,000 species, ranging from shrimp to pine trees, are at risk of complete extinction according to an update released Tuesday to an ongoing risk assessment of the world’s 1.82 million species.
According to the Red List of Threatened Species, 20,934 of the roughly 70,000 species assessed thus far are threatened with extinction. This year saw an additional 4,807 species to the list.
Calling the news “alarming,” Jane Smart, of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) which is behind the list, said, “We must use this knowledge to its fullest – making our conservation efforts well targeted and efficient – if we are serious about stopping the extinction crisis that continues to threaten all life on Earth.”
This update “is further evidence of our impact on the world’s threatened biodiversity, further evidence that extinction is real, and that we must all act, and act now, if we are to prevent this most tragic reality for many more of the world’s species,” added Richard Edwards, Chief Executive of Wildscreen, a partner of IUCN.
Among this year’s addition are the results of the first-ever global assessment of freshwater shrimps—animals vital to freshwater ecosystems—of which 28% are threatened with extinction. According to the list, one such species, the Macrobrachium leptodactylus, was declared extinct after it fell “victim of habitat degradation and urban development.”
Continue reading at: http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/07/02-9
From The New York Times: http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/07/01/lets-not-braise-the-planet/?ref=opinion
By MARK BITTMAN
July 1, 2013
According to a report released by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace last month, we are not running out of fossil fuels anytime soon. Since the dawn of the industrial revolution we’ve used around 1.2 trillion barrels of oil; the report estimates that with current technology we can produce roughly five times that much. With future technologies, it may well be that the suffering sky is the limit.
This reduces the issue of conversion to clean energy to one of ethics and intent. Our ability to turn around the rate of carbon emissions and slow the engine that can conflagrate the world is certain. But do we have the will?
The chief economist at the International Energy Agency recommends leaving two-thirds of all fossil fuels in the ground. Makes sense to me, but if you’re an oil executive scarcely being charged for the global damage your industry causes (an effective annual subsidy, says the International Monetary Fund, of nearly $2 trillion, money that would be better spent subsidizing nonpolluting energy sources), responsible to your shareholders and making a fortune, would you start erecting windmills?
Here’s the answer: According to Rolling Stone, just this spring, BP put its $3.1 billion United States wind farm operation up for sale. Last year, ConocoPhillips divested itself of its alternative-energy activities. Shell, with its “Let’s Go” campaign to “broaden the world’s energy mix,” spends less than 2 percent of its expenditures on “alternatives.”Mining oil, gas and coal is making some people rich while braising the planet for all of us. It’s difficult to think ahead, especially with climate change deniers sowing doubt and unfounded fears of unemployment, but we owe quick and decisive action on greenhouse gas reduction not only to ourselves but to billions of people not yet born. “People give less weight to the future, but that’s a brain bug,” the philosopher Peter Singer told me. “We should have equal concern for everyone wherever and whenever they live.”
Mon Jul 01, 2013
Faced with more than two million public comments to review and continuing objections from industry, the Environmental Protection Agency missed its April deadline for completing its proposed rule restricting emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions for yet-to-be-built power plants.
But Monday, less than a week after President Obama made his first-ever speech devoted entirely to climate change, the EPA passed along the rule. It will now be reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget and other agencies before it is returned to the EPA for tweaking. The deadline for that is Sept. 20.
The hold-up in April added nearly three months to what had already been years of delay since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2007 that the agency could curb carbon emissions as pollution under the Clean Air Act. In fact, the EPA is not merely authorized to regulate pollution under the act, it is required to do so.
The new-plant rule was first unveiled after long delays in March 2012. It immediately collided with strong objections from politicians and the coal industry. Its proposed limit of 1,000 pounds of greenhouse gases per megawatt hour of generated electricity would be no problem for new power plants fueled by natural gas, but coal plants using the newest commercially available technology would be hard-pressed to keep emissions below the limit. (Although it varies widely from region to region, the average U.S. home nationwide consumes about 11 megawatt-hours of electricity each year.)
Opposition to the proposed rule at the time was ferocious: