Findings, music, and occasional reflections by Paul Woodward

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Climate Change

Leading investment banks pump billions into fossil fuel industry

The Guardian reports: The world’s largest investment banks have provided more than $700bn of financing for the fossil fuel companies most aggressively expanding in new coal, oil and gas projects since the Paris climate change agreement, figures show. The financing has been led by the Wall Street giant JPMorgan Chase, which has provided $75bn (£61bn) to companies expanding in sectors such as fracking and Arctic oil and gas exploration, according

Companies ignoring climate crisis will go bankrupt, Bank of England governor warns

The Guardian reports: Companies and industries that are not moving towards zero-carbon emissions will be punished by investors and go bankrupt, the governor of the Bank of England has warned. Mark Carney also told the Guardian it was possible that the global transition needed to tackle the climate crisis could result in an abrupt financial collapse. He said the longer action to reverse emissions was delayed, the more the risk

Global warming threatens two-thirds of North American bird species

National Geographic reports: As they soar through the sky, birds seem blissfully impervious to the stresses of Earth. Indeed, their ability to migrate makes them more resilient to habitat disruption than less dynamic creatures. That makes the most recent annual report produced by the National Audubon Society, a nonprofit dedicated to protecting birds and their habitat, particularly startling. Released this week, the report predicts that if Earth continues to warm

In its relentless pursuit of power, Silicon Valley is fueling the climate crisis

Rebecca Solnit writes: The climate crimes of big tech are legion. This summer the Amazon burned. Why? In part because of the policies of the new anti-environmental, anti-human-rights president, Jair Bolsonaro. How did Bolsonaro rise to prominence and then the presidency? YouTube, and certain of its algorithms that push people toward more extreme content, played a large part. As the New York Times reported in August, not long ago Bolsonaro

Google made large contributions to climate-change deniers

The Guardian reports: Google has made “substantial” contributions to some of the most notorious climate deniers in Washington despite its insistence that it supports political action on the climate crisis. Among hundreds of groups the company has listed on its website as beneficiaries of its political giving are more than a dozen organisations that have campaigned against climate legislation, questioned the need for action, or actively sought to roll back

The literal gaslighting that helps America avoid acting on the climate crisis

Bill McKibben writes: We’re clearly in a climate moment: it’s possible that more marchers have walked more miles in the past month than in the previous decade combined; more words have been written, more pictures published, more speeches given, more promises made, more hope expressed and anger declared. But, if the United States is going to act as it must in the years ahead, it needs to shed more than

The big polluters’ masterstroke was to blame the climate crisis on you and me

George Monbiot writes: Let’s stop calling this the Sixth Great Extinction. Let’s start calling it what it is: the “first great extermination”. A recent essay by the environmental historian Justin McBrien argues that describing the current eradication of living systems (including human societies) as an extinction event makes this catastrophe sound like a passive accident. While we are all participants in the first great extermination, our responsibility is not evenly

The 20 fossil fuel companies behind a third of all carbon emissions

The Guardian reports: The Guardian today reveals the 20 fossil fuel companies whose relentless exploitation of the world’s oil, gas and coal reserves can be directly linked to more than one-third of all greenhouse gas emissions in the modern era. New data from world-renowned researchers reveals how this cohort of state-owned and multinational firms are driving the climate emergency that threatens the future of humanity, and details how they have

What the Bureau of Land Management shake-up could mean for public lands and their climate impact

InsideClimate News reports: The changes underway at the U.S. Bureau of Land Management might not seem like much: A few hundred employees are being relocated from offices near the White House and dispersed throughout the West, while agency leaders move in next door to energy companies in newly leased headquarters in Grand Junction, Colorado. But along with the appointment of a self-described Sagebrush Rebel as acting director, the shuffling of

As Amazon fires burn, Pope convenes meeting on the rainforests and moral obligation to protect them

Georgina Gustin reports: Pope Francis convened nearly 200 bishops, climate experts and indigenous people from the Amazon on Sunday for an unprecedented meeting in Rome to discuss the fate of the Amazonian rainforests and the world’s moral obligation to protect them. The meeting, or Synod, is the first of its kind to address an ecosystem, rather than a particular region or theme. It comes as fires continue to consume the

Radical warming in Siberia leaves millions of Russians living on unstable ground

From Zyryanka River in Russia’s Siberia, the Washington Post reports: Andrey Danilov eased his motorboat onto the gravel riverbank, where the bones of a woolly mammoth lay scattered on the beach. A putrid odor filled the air — the stench of ancient plants and animals decomposing after millennia entombed in a frozen purgatory. “It smells like dead bodies,” Danilov said. The skeletal remains were left behind by mammoth hunters hoping

South America’s second-largest forest is also burning – and ‘environmentally friendly’ charcoal is subsidizing its destruction

The Paraguayan Chaco, South America’s second largest forest, is rapidly disappearing as agriculture extends deeper into what was once forest. Here, isolated stands of trees remain amid the farms. Joel E. Correia, CC BY-NC-ND By Joel E. Correia, University of Florida The fires raging across the Brazilian Amazon have captured the world’s attention. Meanwhile, South America’s second-largest forest, the Gran Chaco, is disappearing in plain sight. The Gran Chaco, which

400 million indigenous people protect 80% of the world’s biodiversity

The Guardian reports: As presidents, prime ministers and corporate executives gathered at the UN climate action summit on Monday, for the first time, an indigenous representative joined the event in a formal capacity. Tuntiak Katan of the Ecuadorian Shuar people spoke on behalf of the International Indigenous People’s Forum on Climate Change (IIPFCC), a caucus of indigenous rights advocates who, for years, has been working towards more robust participation and

Melting permafrost, caused by global warming, poses a huge threat to Russia’s oil and gas industry

Julian Lee writes: President Vladimir Putin needs to go green quickly to stop the permafrost from melting, so that Russian oil and gas companies can keep pumping the hydrocarbons that are warming the planet and making the permafrost melt. Even I’m struggling with the warped logic of that one, but it’s the conclusion I’ve reached from Russia’s sudden ratification of the Paris climate accord and from reading the latest report

Southern states energy officials push for as much deregulation as possible while Trump is still in power

Inside Climate News reports: The contrast could not have been greater between the political and economic conversations at the Southern States Energy Board meeting here Tuesday and Wednesday and the global chorus of urgent calls for action on climate change at the United Nations in New York. While dozens of world leaders committed at the UN to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, here at Louisville’s opulent Seelbach Hilton Hotel, officials

The world’s oceans are in danger, major climate change report warns

The New York Times reports: Earth’s oceans are under severe strain from climate change, a major new United Nations report warns, which threatens everything from the ability to harvest seafood to the well-being of hundreds of millions of people living along the coasts. Rising temperatures are contributing to a drop in fish populations in many regions, and oxygen levels in the ocean are declining while acidity levels are on the