How George H W Bush-Big Oil wrecked the climate

This Dutch 8 November 2019 video is about a missed chance to save the climate at a 1989 Noordwijk, the Netherlands conference.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today, by Marijn Duintjer Tebbens:

Climate change is seen as the most existential threat of our time. We are now heading for three degrees of global warming, with potentially catastrophic consequences. That could have been prevented if one crucial night of international negotiatios in a hotel in Noordwijk, thirty years ago, had ended successfully. At least that’s what people involved then and experts say.

The international climate conference was an idea of ​​the then [Dutch] environment minister Ed Nijpels.

Of the usually pro-Big Business right-wing VVD party.

He wanted to lay the basis for legally binding agreements to limit CO2 emissions.

Earlier in the world, under the leadership of the United States, the Montreal protocol succeeded in phasing out CFCs – responsible for the hole in the ozone layer – in a few years. Nijpels hoped that CO2 reduction could be achieved in the same way, although everyone realized that this would be a much larger task.

The United States sent environment minister William Reilly to the conference at Huis ter Duin hotel. Reilly wanted to go far, but just before the conference he got someone from the White House who had to see to it that he did not make too many commitments. That role was assigned to President George H.W. Bush‘s Chief of Staff, John Sununu.

Lobby by the oil industry

Sununu was an early climate denialist with close ties to the oil sector. According to many people involved, he played a leading role in sabotaging the climate conference in Noordwijk.

The US American journalist Nathaniel Rich, author of the book Losing Earth, sees ‘Noordwijk’ as a crucial turning point. Up to that point, optimism over the possibilities for reaching global agreements and thus preventing the worst consequences of climate change prevailed. But with the conference in Noordwijk, the lobby of the American oil industry in particular, and with it a counter-movement of climate skeptics and deniers, began, says Rich. Partly because of that, it was unable to reach agreements for many years.

In the 2015 Paris agreement it was agreed, on a voluntary basis, that the temperature should rise by a maximum of one and a half degrees until the end of this century. But experts doubt whether that is still feasible and speak of ‘lost years’. They point out that since 1989, the year of the Noordwijk conference, more CO2 has been emitted than in the previous 250 years.

“Scientists have a moral obligation to clearly warn humanity of any catastrophic threat and ‘tell it like it is.’ We declare, with more than 11,000 scientist signatories from around the world, clearly and unequivocally that planet Earth is facing a climate emergency,” a remarkable paper published last week in the scientific journal BioScience began: here.

CLIMATE CRISIS IS A PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY Climate change is already wreaking havoc on public health around the globe and the impacts will mount as the crisis fuels prolonged heatwaves, extreme weather events and infectious disease, according to a new report in top medical journal The Lancet. [HuffPost]

Conservation discrimination against female birds

This 2012 video says about itself:

The Golden-winged Warbler is uncommon in the northeastern United States and rare in southern Ontario. It can be found in birch and other young deciduous growth and in abandoned pastures. It has a gray back with white below. There is a yellow on the crown and yellow wing patch. It exhibits a black throat and ear patch. This warbler nests on ground.

The song is a buzzy “beee bz bz bz”.

These birds hybridizes with the Blue-winged Warbler to produce the Brewster’s and the Lawrence’s Warblers.

This warbler is decreasing in numbers probably due to habitat reduction. There is also thought that the Blue-winged Warbler is less finicky about its habitat and is thus replacing the Golden-winged.

From Cornell University in the USA:

Study finds sex bias in bird conservation plans

Overlooking habitats used by females adds risk for declining species

November 7, 2019

After pairing up and raising chicks, males and females of some bird species spend their winter break apart. At the end of their journey to Central or South America, you might find mostly males in one habitat, and females in another. Yet conservation strategies have typically overlooked the habitats needed by females, putting already-declining species in even more peril, according to a new study in the journal Biological Conservation.

“Among the small songbird species that have been studied, the general rule seems to be that females occupy lower elevation, shrubbier, drier sites,” says lead author Ruth Bennett. “Mid-elevation and high-elevation sites that are more humid and have better quality forest are occupied by males.” Bennett conducted the research while at Cornell University and is now a postdoctoral researcher at the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center.

This male-female split is pretty common, Bennett says, but the study found that in conservation plans for 66 declining migratory species, only 3 made any mention of his-and-her-habitats — those being plans for Golden-winged Warbler, Bicknell’s Thrush, and Back-capped Vireo. Bennett concludes that female birds are definitely being overlooked.

“When conservation plans don’t explicitly address the habitat requirements of both sexes, there’s no guarantee both sexes will be protected. Overlooking habitats females use can lead to unforeseen population loss, which is especially critical for species of conservation concern,” says Bennett.

“Our research is an important reminder that ‘one size fits all’ conservation does not accommodate the needs of both male and female birds any more than a one-size-fits-all approach would work in meeting the needs of all genders at work and at home,” adds co-author Amanda Rodewald, senior director of Conservation Science at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Using declining Golden-winged Warblers as their case study, the researchers also found that the habitats where female birds spend the winter are being lost more rapidly than those inhabited by males. Field crews surveyed more than 1,100 locations for the warblers during 3 wintering seasons in Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama. Researchers then used Global Forest Watch data to see what percentage of areas with the most birds had been deforested between 2000 and 2016. Male golden-wings lost 4% of their habitat during that time span. Females lost twice as much, at 8%. Despite the higher threat faced by females, the study found that habitats for the males got all the conservation attention.

“To counteract the bias in favor of male birds, researchers and conservation planners need to identify and report the sex of birds, model female distributions, and include female habitats in conservation plans,” says Bennett.

Female birds are often harder to find with their muted colors, and both sexes are quieter while on their wintering locations. But making the effort to consider the needs of female birds could pay off in the long run.

“Yes, it requires more investment and care on the survey portion of any conservation effort when you’re trying to acquire information to guide action,” Rodewald says. “But that could actually allow us to be much more strategic and save money on the back end. Conservation plans are stronger — and more likely to be effective — when they explicitly consider the needs of females.”

Australian right-wing government oppresses pro-climate demonstrators

This video from Australia says about itself:

Great Barrier Reef ‘gut-wrenching’: Charlie Veron angry with state & federal governments

18/04/2016 “Listen to scientists for a change”, says former AIMS Chief Scientist. Charlie Veron has described the coral bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef as gut-wrenching.

Translated from Dutch weekly De Groene Amsterdammer, 30 October 2019, by Maarten van Dun:

Australian politicians are fighting climate protesters

So, a bit like Conservative British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. And French right-wing President Macron. And like German authorities.

Sydney – Decent regulation of polluting mega-mines or about the loss of the Great Barrier Reef does not get off the ground in Australia, but at other times the Australian government is suddenly amazingly efficient. The parliament of the state of Queensland passed laws this week to bother climate protesters. The police are given more powers to search protesting citizens and the chains that activists use to chain themselves are now illegal. Even harsher laws with which protesters could be thrown into prison without a pardon in a second arrest did not make it.

Human rights organizations, activists and trade unions reacted with horror, but no longer with disbelief. In conservative Australia they know the tricks of the trade. The change to the law was preceded by a classic Australian political campaign: great indignant words from conservative politicians, a liberal handling of the facts and constant pressure from the right-wing tabloids of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. The elderly media magnate retains an iron grip on the social debate.

In Australia, too, the debate on climate change runs along predictable fault lines: politicians and tabloids outline the climate theme as a struggle between hard-working, non-nagging farmers versus long-haired, work-shy, urban criminals who prefers to live on welfare all day long.

Remarkably, it is the same fulminating farmers who are most aware of the effects of climate change. Farmers’ villages in large parts of Australia have been suffering from drought for years. Livestock shrink and harvests fail because there is not enough water to spray the fields. The fire chief of a village in the east decided to only extinguish house fires if there is a danger to human life. He prefers to save the water.

Conservative politicians prefer not to link these problems to climate change. They prefer to regard it as the well-known struggle between the tough Aussie battler and the rugged elements. Anyone who cautiously suggests that something might have to change is committing political suicide.

It leads to ridiculous scenes. During a catastrophic forest fire season, politicians talk mealy-mouthedly, while firefighters tell without hesitation that climate change is the cause. But the political reality in Australia is different: they are working on laws that are not aimed at resolving a crisis, but on fighting protesters who point to the problem.

Police have attacked climate change protestors in Melbourne, Australia, arresting 67 people on Tuesday and Wednesday and hospitalising several others, including a woman who reportedly had both her legs broken in a police horse charge: here.

Central American Woolly Opossum at Panama feeder

This video from Panama says about itself:

Central American Woolly Opossum Makes A Nocturnal Visit – Oct 30, 2019

What’s that creeping about in the dark forest with its eyes all aglow? It’s a Central American Woolly Opossum. Central American Woolly Opossums are strictly nocturnal, mainly active during the darkest parts of the night. They are completely arboreal, rarely venturing down to the ground.