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Counting the hidden costs of energy

Counting the hidden costs of energy | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
By Martin Nicholson and Barry Brook. This article was first published on The Conversation. A response was then published on Business Spectator. It is worth reading both pieces, and the comments tha...
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News that effects the sustainability of life on Earth
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Stupidity Is Not A Valid Defense For Us - The Automatic Earth

Stupidity Is Not A Valid Defense For Us - The Automatic Earth | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it

If we can't plead stupidity, what else is there? How do we live with ourselves? Is it all the stuff we buy that manages to numb our brains and consciences?

 

When I see a headline like this one at Bloomberg today, World Needs Record Saudi Oil Supply as OPEC Convenes, there’s just one thought that pops into my head: what the world needs is for us to stop doing this thing we’re doing. Even apart from peak oil concerns, it’s obvious we’re going to run out at some point or another, and it doesn’t matter whether that’s tomorrow or at some other point in the future, though we do know it’s not going to take another 100 years, or even 50.

 

And nothing will ever take the place of oil; once those unique carbons are gone, that’s it, we’ll have to find a completely different way of running our societies, and if we’re not smart enough to prepare for that beforehand, we’ll be cats fighting in a sack and use the last scraps to kill off each other. And our legacy won’t be the Greek thinkers and Picasso and Dostoyevsky and Walt Whitman and Maria Callas, since there won’t be the means for our children anymore to share what makes man great between them. Our main legacy will instead be bloodshed, we will have gone the exact same path that any non-thinking or even primitive organism would have taken, who don’t have opera or philosophy or poetry to their name.

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David Collet's curator insight, August 2, 2014 8:26 PM

A thoughtfull read.

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From "I'm Not a Scientist", Climate Denying Senator Morphs to - "We Can't Ignore the Scientists,...BUT.."

From "I'm Not a Scientist", Climate Denying Senator Morphs to - "We Can't Ignore the Scientists,...BUT.." | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
In the wake of President Obama's emphatic call for action on climate change in his State of the Union Address, and clear polling numbers showing new public concerns about climate - GOP presidential...
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Increasing coastal resilience to storms and flooding

Increasing coastal resilience to storms and flooding | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
EU researchers are developing an online tool kit to help different coastal regions predict – and prepare for – floods and storms.
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Magnificent blue glow of Hong Kong seas also disturbing

Magnificent blue glow of Hong Kong seas also disturbing | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
Eerie fluorescent blue patches of water glimmering off Hong Kong's seashore are magnificent, disturbing and potentially toxic, marine biologists say.
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When it comes to variations in crop yield, climate has a big say

When it comes to variations in crop yield, climate has a big say | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
What impact will future climate change have on food supply? That depends in part on the extent to which variations in crop yield are attributable to variations in climate. A new report from researchers at the University of Minnesota Institute on the Environment has found that climate variability historically ...
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Small drop in sea level had big impact on southern Great Barrier Reef

Small drop in sea level had big impact on southern Great Barrier Reef | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
The idea that coral reefs have formed over millennia in a continuous process has been challenged by a study of the southern Great Barrier Reef. The research, led by the University of Sydney, shows that even small variations in sea level can cause significant change across the reef.
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Study yields surprising insights into the effects of wood fuel burning

Study yields surprising insights into the effects of wood fuel burning | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
The harvesting of wood to meet the heating and cooking demands for billions of people worldwide has less of an impact on global forest loss and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions than previously believed, according to a new Yale-led study.
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Will Population Growth End in This Century? | Worldwatch Institute

Will Population Growth End in This Century? | Worldwatch Institute | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it

The human population nearly tripled from 2.5 billion people in 1950 to 7.3 billion today and will continue growing through 2070, according to two recent demographic projections. After that, demographers disagree on whether populations will begin to shrink or continue to rise into the next century, write Worldwatch Institute Senior Fellow Robert Engelman and Research Assistant Yeneneh Terefe in the Institute’s latest Vital Signs Online article (www.worldwatch.org).

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Paper Production Levels Off, Environmental Footprint Still High | Worldwatch Institute

Paper Production Levels Off, Environmental Footprint Still High | Worldwatch Institute | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it

—In wealthy countries, paper is ubiquitous and is often fated to be discarded soon after purchase, with only a portion recovered for recycling. Although slow improvements have been made in production methods and in the recovery of paper products, additional progress is needed to reduce the industry’s environmental impacts, writes Michael Renner, senior researcher at the Worldwatch Institute, in the Institute’s latest Vital Signs Online article (www.worldwatch.org).

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ARCTIC: Federal agencies at odds over drilling plan for Alaska reserve -- Wednesday, January 21, 2015 -- www.eenews.net

ARCTIC: Federal agencies at odds over drilling plan for Alaska reserve -- Wednesday, January 21, 2015 -- www.eenews.net | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
What's the best way to drill for oil in a mostly untouched Alaskan tundra -- home to migrating caribou, abundant waterfowl, and Native hunting and fishing grounds? It depends on which federal agency is asked. The Bureau of Land Management, the Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. EPA and the Fish and Wildlife Service are at odds over ConocoPhillips Co.'s bid to become the first oil producer in the 22.5-million-acre National Petroleum Reserve.
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Land of opportunity – and fear – along route of Nicaragua’s giant new canal

Land of opportunity – and fear – along route of Nicaragua’s giant new canal | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
In an era of breathtaking engineering feats, there is unease about what this mega project will mean for people and their homes, wildlife and ecosystems. Will it bring wealth and growth or confusion and destruction?
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Obama's About to Get a Whiff of India's Air Pollution

Obama's About to Get a Whiff of India's Air Pollution | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
The Times of India newspaper carried a cartoon this month of U.S. President Barack Obama wearing a gas mask when he attends the Republic Day parade in New Delhi on Jan. 26. Next to it was table showing air quality, or rather the lack of it.
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Chinese Director's Film Shows How Smog Changes Everything

Chinese Director's Film Shows How Smog Changes Everything | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
Smog has darkened Beijing’s skies and sullied the city’s reputation, but northern China’s persistent pollution plague is now getting more artful treatment from one of China’s most famous filmmakers.

Greenpeace East Asia on...
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More Evidence - Mainstream Media Begins to take on Climate Deniers Like Senator Inhofe

More Evidence - Mainstream Media Begins to take on Climate Deniers Like Senator Inhofe | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
I've pointed out that Senator James Inhofe, the new Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, is to Climate Denial what Strom Thurmond was to civil rights. Climate denying memb...
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"I'll Pretend I Can't Read." Colbert (and others) on Denier's Increasing Climate Confusion

"I'll Pretend I Can't Read." Colbert (and others) on Denier's Increasing Climate Confusion | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
Above, Steven Colbert on the "I'm not a scientist" approach to climate denial.  This kind of ridicule of an obviously dopey dodge has made climate denying politicians increasingly uncomfortable and...
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Researcher uncovers surprising cause of the demise of Easter Island indigenous population

Researcher uncovers surprising cause of the demise of Easter Island indigenous population | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
A new paper by a team of researchers including a Virginia Commonwealth University anthropology professor sheds new light on what led to the downfall of the indigenous population of Easter Island—also known as Rapa Nui—prior to European contact in 1722.
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Both water flow and channel capacity are necessary for accurate flood hazard risk

Both water flow and channel capacity are necessary for accurate flood hazard risk | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
Millions of Americans live in flood-prone areas. In 2012 alone, the cost of direct flood damage hit nearly half a billion dollars. However, because the factors contributing to flood risk are not fully understood, river basin management—and even the calculation of flood insurance premiums—may be ...
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Study projects unprecedented loss of corals in Great Barrier Reef due to warming

Study projects unprecedented loss of corals in Great Barrier Reef due to warming | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
The coverage of living corals on Australia's Great Barrier Reef could decline to less than 10 percent if ocean warming continues, according to a new study that explores the short- and long-term consequences of environmental changes to the reef.
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China air quality dire but improving: Greenpeace

China air quality dire but improving: Greenpeace | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
The skies of China's notoriously smog-filled cities saw a marginal amelioration last year, according to figures released by Greenpeace Thursday, but pollution remained far above national and international standards.
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Global Energy and Carbon Intensity Continue to Decline | Worldwatch Institute

Global Energy and Carbon Intensity Continue to Decline | Worldwatch Institute | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it

Global energy intensity, defined as worldwide total energy consumption divided by gross world product, decreased 0.19 percent in 2013. Although this may not seem impressive, considering that energy intensity increased steeply between 2008 and 2010, this small decline continues a much-needed trend toward lower energy intensity, writes Haibing Ma, China Program Manager at the Worldwatch Institute (www.worldwatch.org).

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Climate Concerns Rise Alongside Growing Global Coal Consumption | Worldwatch Institute

Climate Concerns Rise Alongside Growing Global Coal Consumption | Worldwatch Institute | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it

Global coal consumption rose 3 percent from 2012 to 2013, reaching over 3,800 million tons of oil equivalent (mtoe) in 2013. While the pace of growth is down from 7.1 percent in 2010, the continued increase in coal consumption and related carbon emissions is a cause for substantial concern among climate scientists. If this trend continues, attempts to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius will likely fail, writes Christoph von Friedeburg, a research fellow at the Worldwatch Institute, in the Institute’s latest Vital Signs Online article (www.worldwatch.org).

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Green or Greedy? Corporations’ Role in Global Sustainable Development | Worldwatch Institute

Green or Greedy? Corporations’ Role in Global Sustainable Development | Worldwatch Institute | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it

As national governments flounder to resolve pressing global challenges, corporations are positioning themselves within the United Nations framework as efficient players and indispensable partners in international policy debates. But with their immense economic and political sway, can corporations be brought to the development table without the “corporate capture” of governance? In the Worldwatch Institute’s State of the World 2014: Governing for Sustainability, contributing author Lou Pingeot, policy adviser at Global Policy Forum, explains the need for accountability and transparency as corporations join the development discussion (bit.ly/SoW2014).

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Davos 2015: World Bank chief makes climate action plea

Davos 2015: World Bank chief makes climate action plea | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
‘Move to cleaner cities no brainer,’ says Kim as Al Gore and Pharrell Williams launch initiative including global music event
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Going For The Gold Sends Mercury Down The River

Going For The Gold Sends Mercury Down The River | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
Illegal mining in the headwaters of the Amazon is endangering people and fish hundreds of miles downstream.
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E-cigarettes can produce more formaldehyde than regular cigarettes, study says

E-cigarettes can produce more formaldehyde than regular cigarettes, study says | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
A preliminary study in the New England Journal of Medicine raises a new worry about electronic cigarettes – exposure to formaldehyde.
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China's smog provides cover for burglar in novel by environment official

BEIJING, Jan 22 (Reuters) - China's pollution crisis hasinspired an environmental regulator in a smog-blanketed northernprovince to write a novel whose extracts have gone viral online,spurring plans
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