By Robert A. Vella
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released its previously leaked report on food production today. It contains a highly critical analysis of modern methods to feed ourselves, and it issues dire warnings about the system’s contribution to climate change and the impending global food shortages which will result. The report focuses primarily on land degradation due to agricultural techniques and the effects of global warming. Specifically, it identifies meat production, food waste, overuse of chemical agents for fertilizers and pesticides, inefficient irrigation practices, soil erosion, and increasing extreme weather events as the main problems. The report calls for agroforestry (i.e. adding trees to farmland) and the restoration of wetlands as ways to boost natural carbon sinks which remove carbon dioxide (the principal greenhouse gas causing climate change) from the atmosphere. Also, the IPCC has reversed its position on Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS) to remove atmospheric CO2 because it now sees that solution as too demanding on land resources.
More international travel advisories have been issued for the U.S. and Hong Kong.
Tensions are flaring in Kashmir as India attempts to assert control over the contested region while its adversary Pakistan is responding with counter moves.
After visiting Dayton, Ohio and El Paso, Texas yesterday, which were hit by deadly mass shootings last weekend, President Trump is fuming over widespread criticism accusing him of blatant racism and of inciting violence against minorities. Meanwhile, his administration launched an ethnic cleansing campaign in Mississippi which rounded-up hundreds of undocumented workers leaving their children abandoned in school.
This hasn’t been a good week for Republican Senate Majority Leader “Moscow” Mitch McConnell who is under fire for blocking necessary election security bills and for being involved with Russian business deals in his state, who tweeted a vile death image of his political opponents, who reportedly fractured his shoulder at his Kentucky home, and who now has had his social media account locked by Twitter. You know what they say… when it rains, it pours!
IPCC report released
Humans have damaged around a quarter of ice-free land on Earth, United Nations scientists warned in a major report Thursday, stressing that further degradation must be stopped to prevent catastrophic global warming.
The warning comes almost a year after the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded in a landmark report that we only have until 2030 to drastically reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and prevent the planet from reaching the crucial threshold of 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
The second IPCC report highlights the vicious cycle of climate change and land degradation.
“We humans affect more than 70% of ice-free land, a quarter of this land is degraded. The way we produce food and what we eat contributes to the loss of natural ecosystems and declining biodiversity,” said Valérie Masson-Delmotte, co-chair of the IPCC.
Climate change increases the frequency and intensity of droughts, flooding and heat waves, which can irreversibly destroy natural ecosystems and lead to food shortages.
Deforestation and agriculture also fuel global warming, by weakening land’s capacity to draw down carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and emitting vast amounts of greenhouse gases.
Thursday’s science-laden report says the combination is already making food more expensive, scarcer and even less nutritious.
“The cycle is accelerating,” said NASA climate scientist Cynthia Rosenzweig, a report co-author. “The threat of climate change affecting people’s food on their dinner table is increasing.”
But if people change the way they eat, grow food and manage forests, it could help save the planet from a far warmer future, scientists said
More travel warnings
Amnesty International issued a travel warning for the U.S. over “high levels of gun violence” following two mass shootings over the weekend that left 31 people dead in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio.
The human rights organization’s advisory urges travelers in the U.S. to “exercise caution and have an emergency contingency plan when traveling throughout the USA.”
“Travelers to the United States should remain cautious that the country does not adequately protect people’s right to be safe, regardless of who they might be. People in the United States cannot reasonably expect to be free from harm — a guarantee of not being shot is impossible,” Ernest Coverson, campaign manager for Amnesty International USA’s End Gun Violence Campaign said. “Once again, it is chillingly clear that the U.S. government is unwilling to ensure protection against gun violence.”
The advisory also tells visitors to avoid places where large crowds gather like churches, schools and shopping malls, and to exercise caution when visiting bars, nightclubs and casinos.
NEW DELHI (AP) — Indian security forces have arrested more than 500 people since New Delhi imposed a communications blackout and security clampdown in divided Kashmir, where people remained holed up in their homes for a fourth day.
Pakistan, which claims the divided Himalayan region together with India, on Thursday suspended a key train service with India over change in Kashmir’s special status by New Delhi, as tensions between the rivals soared.
India’s government this week revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and downgraded the region from statehood to a territory. Rebels in Muslim-majority Kashmir have been fighting Indian rule in the portion it administers for decades.
EL PASO — President Trump visited Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso on Wednesday on a day intended as a show of compassion to cities scarred by a weekend of violence, but which quickly devolved into an occasion for anger-fueled broadsides against Democrats and the news media.
Mr. Trump’s schedule was meant to follow the traditional model of apolitical presidential visits with victims, law enforcement officials and hospital workers after calamities like the mass shootings that resulted in 31 deaths in Dayton and El Paso and that created a new sense of national crisis over assault weapons and the rise of white supremacist ideology.
That plan went awry even before Mr. Trump, who has acknowledged his discomfort with showing empathy in public, departed Washington. On Tuesday night, he tweeted that Beto O’Rourke, the former Democratic congressman from El Paso, should “be quiet.” As he prepared to leave the White House on Wednesday morning, he went after former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., who said in a speech that day that Mr. Trump had “fanned the flames of white supremacy.”
The operations took place at seven work sites — all agricultural processing plants — in six different cities, and involved more than 600 agents, according to officials at a press conference on Wednesday afternoon.
At the press conference, officials said the investigation was still ongoing and that they began preparing for the raids over a year ago.
Twitter locked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s campaign account after it posted a video of activists making threats against the Kentucky Republican at his home.
Twitter locked the account Wednesday, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal. The social media giant has told the campaign that the account will remain locked until the video of protesters is deleted.