The Asiatic cheetah species is not closely related to the African one as previously thought

11 years ago a DNA assessment was done on the Iranian cheetah. This cheetah population is the last Asian cheetah population remaining.

It was thought that all cheetah went through a bottleneck 10,000 years ago, meaning that all cheetah were closely related. However this is not as all encompassing as we thought.

Wild Iranian cheetah
Continue reading “The Asiatic cheetah species is not closely related to the African one as previously thought”

UK ministers have once again delayed the point at which a ban on trophy hunting will come in

Despite to much fanfare, announcing that in 2019 during a queens speech their plan to ban trophy hunting, the government has once again delayed this law coming into effect.

Clearly endangered animals such as lions tigers elephants and many more are shot for sport around the world in numbers above 10,000 per year. While some of the meat is often given to local communities, the reason for the hunt was to provide a trophy for the hunter.

I find it disgusting that British politicians announced this policy 3 years ago but have not brought the rule into force. They are attempting to get the global clap on the back without actually having the bring in the law.

There are few to no predators that live in large enough numbers to be able to afford hunting. For me (as well as I suspect many of my readers) hunting is a rather distasteful experience. There are a few areas on the planet where hunting is temporarily justified such as the Selous – but these should be short lived. In the long run making money from wildlife should be done with a camera and not with a gun

Academics fear that if Bolsonaro is re-elected in October, the Amazon rainforest will collapse during his second term

The signs of collapse are getting more and more clear. Fires droughts and land clearances are all pushing the Amazon towards collapse. Yet Jair Bolsonaro is not interested having put his head in the sand. Instead he is busy placating powerful agribusiness lobby and trying to get the global economy to reward his bad behaviour.

Could this become increasingly what Brazil looks like? If it does, how will it feed its growing population?

The blows to forest protection have come fast in the last year. It is unclear how much of the Brazilian population understands how big the threat is that Bolsonaro is ignoring.

Continue reading “Academics fear that if Bolsonaro is re-elected in October, the Amazon rainforest will collapse during his second term”

Do 97% of climate change scientists believe in climate change?

While a 97% agreement rate amongst climate change scientists appears to be a very nice figure and reliable enough to base discussion of the future on, it seemed odd to me that 3% of the scientists disagreed. As such in this article I’m going to look at the study that was done which created this figure. I will also look at another study that was done more recently which suggests a far higher figure. Continue reading “Do 97% of climate change scientists believe in climate change?”

Worlds 26 richest people own as much as the poorest 50%

The increase of wealth in a few people is shown by the number of people that it takes to reach 50% of humans wealth reducing over time. in 2016 61 people were needed to reach 50%, in 2017 43 were needed.

Why does this matter? well it means two things. Firstly a large proportion of humanity has few physical resources. When you are living hand to mouth, doing anything else is impossible. The second, is that those few with enormous resources have vastly bigger carbon footprints: this is not just thinking of Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos and their rocket rivalry (it is not hard to make an argument that space could help save us in the future), but 22,000 with private jets and the many millions more who are emitting tens of tonnes of carbon each year.

Those with extreme wealth therefore need to offset a great deal more than just their own carbon footprint. Billionaires should be throwing money at people sequestering carbon – it will protect their own future just as much as the poorest on planet earth

Land speculators are moving into Camps Amazonicos National park

Deforestation has leapt 37% over the last 5 years. Large numbers of people have been moving into this park in the hope that Bolsonaro will loosen its protection, and then their land claims will become legal.

Deforestation in this reserve has accelerated dramatically

This is unfortunately the effect that often occurs when a new administration doesn’t care about conservation.

In various moves, the current Brazilian government has encouraged these land seizures by not punishing or indeed legalizing the seizure.

Who has contributed the most to historic global emissions? Lets try to be fair

We are currently putting a great deal of pressure on emerging countries such as the BRICS (Brazil Russia India China South africa) and a whole host of other countries.

It certainly is true that these countries are emitting huge amounts of pollution, but perhaps a more fair way of looking at cuts is to see who has emitted the most carbon dioxide over history.

Continue reading “Who has contributed the most to historic global emissions? Lets try to be fair”

The far right is now fear-mongering over extreme climate change, after letting go of climate denialism

Across much of the developed world, far right parties have gradually let go of their stupid climate change denialism and switched smoothly into waving it around as a way to increase peoples fear of immigration.

From Nigel Farage in the UK with a range of parties (so little success he has never managed to get elected to Westminster- though he scared the Conservatives enough to scare them into carrying out his suicidal plans of Brexit, also particularly odd his fear of immigration given his recent ancestry in Europe hence his name) as well as the BNP (who claimed to be the only green party as a result of their focus on immigration (no I dont follow this one either) Germanys Alternative for Germany (they have switched mockery of climate science to warning of harsh climatic conditions in Africa and the Middle east which will lead to a gigantic wave of immigration) Frances National Front (who has switched derisive climate change denial for a pledge to create the worlds “leading ecological civilization”).

This trend is not restricted to Europe but is repeated all over the place (including often in countries that are almost entirely descended from recent immigration in just the last few centuries).

In the UK, while we don’t have one of these far right parties in change Boris Johnson often seems far to comfortable stealing their policies.

Generally concern for the environment is considered a left wing thing, though it isn’t the first time that the far right has tried to appropriate something that is the cause of the left. Now care needs to be taken, as David Cameron is the person who is famous for saying “get rid of all that green crap”.

The changes that have to be made to the global economy will be far reaching. This is something that the extreme right often uses to scare people into voting for them. We need to educate those around us so they are not taken in by the empty words coming from all these parties.

Bears should be given more respect as predators

It is often suggested that bears are merely opportunistic when it comes to meat eating. The suggestion is that bears are vegetarians who are capable of scavenging from dead animals.

Now, of course we need to be careful as bears have a wide range of intelligences. Brown bears have an intelligence on par with chimpanzees, where as black bears are far less bright (though they are still one of the brightest animals).

Elk in an open field Marie and Alistair Knock
Continue reading “Bears should be given more respect as predators”

How can California be so stupid?

California is known for its forward thinking views on climate change. They have taken some of the biggest steps towards decarbonising, and being a country that receives a great deal of sun have the potential to make more electricity than they need, completely from green sources.

1.3 million houses already have solar. The California Public Utilities Commission is considering taxing everyone $8 per month per kilowatt of solar installed. Nothing else would change – for people with large arrays, they could have to pay $1000 dollars a year.

This has been a main aim for utilities for years. It is quite understandable. If for 5-10 thousand dollars you can create a solar array on your roof, which means that you become close to self sustaining the utility companies loose their market share. Furthermore, if they are required to pay for exported solar, then that eats into their profits. This of course is despite the fact that this solar exported is clean energy so is good for the planet.

The argument is that this money will go for upkeep of the grid, and that the customers are getting free use of the grid. Now there are several issues with this.

Firstly, this move is likely to push many people with batteries to go further off grid. This will hit utilities hard. Now not only will they not get cheap electricity but they will also not be able to supply night time power. However there is another issue. A connection to the grid once there does not cost a lot to maintain – also, whether exporting 1kw or 10kw the same wires is used. Therefore, the pricing if one was needed should be flat ($8 flat per month seems far more reasonable- $8 per kwh suggests the states are giving utilities the means to squash small energy suppliers.

Are big power companies going to be charged this as well? because if you are going to go to this system they must be. The Diablo Canyon Power Plant is 2256megawatt output, if we were to charge the same thing then they would have to pay slightly over $18 million a year. This is something that even on a large nuclear plant would threaten their future finances.

There is still a coal powered station in California, and 41mw of gas powerplant.

Powerplants which are still using fossil fuels should be forced out of business – this foolish move will likely greatly reduce the rollout of solar in the country, which would lead to problems. Indeed, this state is aiming for 100% green electricity by 2045, which means that they need all the solar they can get.

This is a foolish move and is likely to either damage California’s future, or will be reversed in the future. I feel that it is extremely similar allowing petrol stations to charge electric cars for their lost business.

Another thing that should be recognized, is that as the grid improves more and more power will be consumed locally. For most houses with solar panels, any power they export are used by their neighbours. In other words, Solar panel owners, use a few hundred meters of cabling, while the utility companies are sending power over thousands of miles.

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