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Nature_and_Environment.114

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It's later than you think

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{Nature_and_Environment.114.27}: Jay Hoffman {resist} Tue, 03 Mar 2020 21:49:02 CST (37 lines)

New Report Suggests ‘High Likelihood of Human Civilization Coming to
an End’ Starting in 2050
The climate change analysis was written by a former fossil fuel
executive and backed by the former chief of Australia's military.

On our current trajectory, the report warns, “planetary and human
systems [are] reaching a ‘point of no return’ by mid-century, in which
the prospect of a largely uninhabitable Earth leads to the breakdown
of nations and the international order.”

The scenario warns that our current trajectory will likely lock in at
least 3 degrees Celsius (C) of global heating, which in turn could
trigger further amplifying feedbacks unleashing further warming. This
would drive the accelerating collapse of key ecosystems “including
coral reef systems, the Amazon rainforest and in the Arctic.”

The results would be devastating. Some one billion people would be
forced to attempt to relocate from unlivable conditions, and two
billion would face scarcity of water supplies. Agriculture would
collapse in the sub-tropics, and food production would suffer
dramatically worldwide. The internal cohesion of nation-states like
the US and China would unravel.

“Even for 2°C of warming, more than a billion people may need to be
relocated and in high-end scenarios, the scale of destruction is
beyond our capacity to model with a high likelihood of human
civilization coming to an end,” the report notes.

The new policy briefing is written by David Spratt, Breakthrough’s
research director and Ian Dunlop, a former senior executive of Royal
Dutch Shell who previously chaired the Australian Coal Association.
"https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/597kpd/new-report-suggests-high-
likelihood-of-human-civilization-coming-to-an-end-in-2050"

also see: Scientists Warn the UN of Capitalism’s Imminent Demise
"https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/43pek3/scientists-warn-the-un-of-
capitalisms-imminent-demise"

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{Nature_and_Environment.114.28}: Jay Hoffman {resist} Fri, 06 Mar 2020 18:59:27 CST (2 lines)

Guy McPherson - Will The World End Sooner Than We Think?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=facaKbchOjQ

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{Nature_and_Environment.114.29}: Jay Hoffman {resist} Tue, 10 Mar 2020 05:40:46 CDT (14 lines)

Climate and Ecological Crisis: Heading for Extinction

We are entering a critical decade in our history, in which a failure
to enact unprecedented changes in all aspects of industrialized
societies may lead to a catastrophic and irreversible ecological
collapse. This video is a survey the most relevant scientific facts
related with our current climate and ecological crisis, and it urges
all members of society to take immediate action for systemic change.

All scientific facts and predictions presented in this video are
extracted from the mainstream scientific literature on the topic,
accessible through the references below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pukN_S-EsH8

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{Nature_and_Environment.114.30}: Glen Marks {wotan} Wed, 11 Mar 2020 16:39:21 CDT (2 lines)

"https://www.cbsnews.com/news/un-climate-change-report-world-
meteorological-organization/"

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{Nature_and_Environment.114.31}: Jay Hoffman {resist} Fri, 13 Mar 2020 14:14:03 CDT (128 lines)

Four Reasons Civilization Won’t Decline: It Will Collapse

The progress of the past was built by sacrificing the future—and the
future is upon us.  All the happy facts …. about living standards,
life expectancy, and economic growth are the product of an industrial
civilization that has pillaged and polluted the planet to produce
temporary progress for a growing middle class—and enormous profits and
power for a tiny elite.

Not everyone who understands that progress has been purchased at the
expense of the future thinks that civilization’s collapse will be
abrupt and bitter. In The Long Descent, Greer assures his readers
that, “The same pattern repeats over and over again in history. 
Gradual disintegration, not sudden catastrophic collapse, is the way
civilizations end.”

But Greer’s assumption is built on shaky ground because industrial
civilization differs from all past civilizations in four crucial ways.
And every one of them may accelerate and intensify the coming collapse
while increasing the difficulty of recovery.

Difference #1:  Unlike all previous civilizations, modern industrial
civilization is powered by an exceptionally rich, NON-renewable, and
irreplaceable energy source—fossil fuels.  This unique energy base
predisposes industrial civilization to a short, meteoric lifespan of
unprecedented boom and drastic bust.  Megacities, globalized
production, industrial agriculture, and a human population approaching
8 billion are all historically exceptional—and unsustainable—without
fossil fuels.  Today, the rich easily exploited oilfields and
coalmines of the past are mostly depleted.  And, while there are
energy alternatives, there are no realistic replacements that can
deliver the abundant net energy fossil fuels once provided. Our
complex, expansive, high-speed civilization owes its brief lifespan to
this one-time, rapidly dwindling energy bonanza.

Difference #2:  Unlike past civilizations, the economy of industrial
society is capitalist.  Production for profit is its prime directive
and driving force.  The unprecedented surplus energy supplied by
fossil fuels has generated exceptional growth and enormous profits
over the past two centuries.  But in the coming decades, these
historic windfalls of abundant energy, constant growth, and rising
profits will vanish.

However, unless it is abolished, capitalism will not disappear when
boom turns to bust.  Instead, energy-starved, growth-less capitalism
will turn catabolic.  Catabolismrefers to the condition whereby a
living thing devours itself.  As profitable sources of production dry
up, capitalism will be compelled to turn a profit by consuming the
social assets it once created.  By cannibalizing itself, the profit
motive will exacerbate industrial society’s dramatic decline.

Catabolic capitalism will profit from scarcity, crisis, disaster, and
conflict.  Warfare, resource hoarding, ecological disaster, and
pandemic diseases will become the big profit makers.  Capital will
flow toward lucrative ventures like cybercrime, predatory lending, and
financial fraud; bribery, corruption, and racketeering; weapons,
drugs, and human trafficking.  Once disintegration and destruction
become the primary source of profit, catabolic capitalism will rampage
down the road to ruin, gorging itself on one self-inflicted disaster
after another.

Difference #3:  Unlike past societies, industrial civilization isn’t
Roman, Chinese, Egyptian, Aztec, or Mayan.  Modern civilization is
HUMAN, PLANETARY, and ECOCIDAL.  Pre-industrial civilizations depleted
their topsoil, felled their forests, and polluted their rivers.  But
the harm was far more temporary and geographically limited. Once
market incentives harnessed the colossal power of fossil fuels to
exploit nature, the dire results were planetary.  Two centuries of
fossil fuel combustion have saturated the biosphere with climate-
altering carbon that will continue wreaking havoc for generations to
come.  The damage to Earth’s living systems—the circulation and
chemical composition of the atmosphere and the ocean; the stability of
the hydrological and biogeochemical cycles; and the biodiversity of
the entire planet—is essentially permanent.

Humans have become the most invasive species ever known.  Although we
are a mere .01 percent of the planet’s biomass, our domesticated crops
and livestock dominate life on Earth.  In terms of total biomass, 96
percent of all the mammals on Earth are livestock; only 4 percent are
wild mammals.  Seventy percent of all birds are domesticated poultry,
only 30 percent are wild.  About half the Earth’s wild animals are
thought to have been lost in just the last 50 years. Scientists
estimate that half of all remaining species will be extinct by the end
of the century. There are no more unspoiled ecosystems or new
frontiers where people can escape the damage they’ve caused and
recover from collapse.

Difference #4:  Human civilization’s collective capacity to confront
its mounting crises is crippled by a fragmented political system of
antagonistic nations ruled by corrupt elites who care more about power
and wealth than people and the planet.  Humanity faces a perfect storm
of converging global calamities.  Intersecting tribulations like
climate chaos, rampant extinction, food and freshwater scarcity,
poverty, extreme inequality, and the rise of global pandemics are
rapidly eroding the foundations of modern life.

Yet, this fractious and fractured political system makes organizing
and mounting a cooperative response nearly impossible.  And, the more
catabolic industrial capitalism becomes, the greater the danger that
hostile rulers will fan the flames of nationalism and go to war over
scarce resources.  Of course, warfare is not new.  But modern warfare
is so devastating, destructive, and toxic that little would remain in
its aftermath.  This would be the final nail in civilization’s coffin.

Rising From the Ruins?

How people respond to the collapse of industrial civilization will
determine how bad things get and what will replace it. The challenges
are monumental.  They will force us to question our identities, our
values, and our loyalties like no other experience in our history.
Who are we?  Are we, first and foremost, human beings struggling to
raise our families, strengthen our communities, and coexist with the
other inhabitants of Earth?  Or do our primary loyalties belong to our
nation, our culture, our race, our ideology, or our religion?  Can we
put the survival of our species and our planet first, or will we allow
ourselves to become hopelessly divided along national, cultural,
racial, religious, or party lines?

The eventual outcome of this great implosion is up for grabs.  Will we
overcome denial and despair; kick our addiction to petroleum; and pull
together to break the grip of corporate power over our lives?  Can we
foster genuine democracy, harness renewable energy, reweave our
communities, re-learn forgotten skills, and heal the wounds we’ve
inflicted on the Earth?  Or will fear and prejudice drive us into
hostile camps, fighting over the dwindling resources of a degraded
planet?  The stakes could not be higher.
"https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/03/13/four-reasons-civilization-
wont-decline-it-will-collapse/"

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{Nature_and_Environment.114.32}: Glen Marks {wotan} Thu, 26 Mar 2020 15:09:30 CDT (3 lines)

"https://www.post-gazette.com/opinion/editorials/2020/02/24/The-
clock-is-ticking-Nuclear-weapons-climate-change-push-world-toward-
doomsday/stories/202001300070"

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{Nature_and_Environment.114.33}: Glen Marks {wotan} Thu, 09 Apr 2020 02:50:59 CDT (2 lines)

"https://www.abc15.com/national/doomsday-clock-update-scheduled-for-
january-23"

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{Nature_and_Environment.114.34}: Glen Marks {wotan} Mon, 13 Apr 2020 17:59:38 CDT (1 line)

"https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-020-2189-9"

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{Nature_and_Environment.114.35}: Glen Marks {wotan} Fri, 08 May 2020 15:00:59 CDT (3 lines)

"https://www.msn.com/en-us/weather/topstories/steambath-earth-unsurvivable-
heat-and-humidity-extremes-have-emerged-earlier-than-expected-study-
finds/ar-BB13NV8D"

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{Nature_and_Environment.114.36}: Glen Marks {wotan} Sat, 09 May 2020 15:17:21 CDT (1 line)

https://www.futurity.org/climate-change-early-eocene-period-2172882/

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{Nature_and_Environment.114.37}: Jay Hoffman {resist} Tue, 26 May 2020 18:48:15 CDT (74 lines)

Humanity’s impact is threatening nearly 50 billion years of
evolutionary history: study

Human activities threaten to saw off branches of the “tree of life”—
putting irreplaceable species at risk of extinction.

So finds a study published Tuesday in the journal Nature
Communications which highlights the need for urgent conservation
actions.

Barring such action, the researchers wrote, “close to 50 billion
years” of evolutionary history worldwide is at risk.

Scientists from Imperial College London and the Zoological Society of
London (ZSL) began their research by first analyzing the world’s
reptiles and then terrestrial vertebrates like amphibians, birds, and
mammals, looking at how areas with a high human footprint—including
factors like deforestation and population density—coincide with areas
containing species with unique evolutionary history, or branches on
the tree of life.

The scientists found a troubling overlap, with areas in the Caribbean,
the Western Ghats of India, and large parts of Southeast Asia singled
out as experiencing both extreme human pressures and unique
biodiversity.

The greatest losses of evolutionary history will be driven by the
extinction of entire groups of closely-related species that share long
branches of the tree of life, such as pangolins and tapirs, and also
by the loss of highly evolutionarily distinct species that sit alone
at the ends of extremely long branches, such as the ancient Chinese
crocodile lizard (Shinisaurus crocodilurus), the Shoebill (Balaeniceps
rex), a gigantic bird that stalks the wetlands of Africa, and the Aye-
aye (Daubentonia madagascariensis), a nocturnal lemur with large
yellow eyes and long spindly fingers.

At risk with the possible extinctions is not just the intrinsic value
of the threatened species in and of themselves but their roles in the
greater web of life. From BBC News:

Many [of the at-risk animals] carry out vital functions in the
habitats in which they live. For example, tapirs in the Amazon
disperse seeds in their droppings that can help regenerate the
rainforest. And pangolins, which are specialist eaters of ants and
insects, play an essential role in balancing the food web.

Lead author Rikki Gumbs of ZSL’s EDGE of Existence program and the
Science and Solutions for a Changing Planet Doctoral Training
Partnership at Imperial College London put the findings in stark
terms.

“Our analyses reveal the incomprehensible scale of the losses we face
if we don’t work harder to save global biodiversity,” said Gumbs. “To
put some of the numbers into perspective, reptiles alone stand to lose
at least 13 billion years of unique evolutionary history, roughly the
same number of years as have passed since the beginning of the entire
universe.”

“Our findings highlight the importance of acting urgently to conserve
these extraordinary species and the remaining habitat that they occupy
—in the face of intense human pressures,” said co-author James
Rosindell of Imperial College London.

In blog post for ZSL’s EDGE of Existence program,
Gumbs highlighted the scope of the problem.

“We are still learning the true extent to which human activities are
encroaching on our natural habitats and threatening our most unique
and important biodiversity. Our findings indicate that the magnitude
of our impact as a species on the natural world is incomprehensibly
large, and appears to be overwhelmingly impacting the most
irreplaceable areas and species on the planet,” he wrote.
"https://www.alternet.org/2020/05/humanitys-impact-is-threatening-
nearly-50-billion-years-of-evolutionary-history-study/"

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{Nature_and_Environment.114.38}: Glen Marks {wotan} Fri, 29 May 2020 08:42:44 CDT (2 lines)

"https://www.sciencealert.com/ancient-ice-sheet-loss-shows-the-antarctic-
can-melt-much-faster-than-we-thought"

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{Nature_and_Environment.114.39}: Jay Hoffman {resist} Mon, 01 Jun 2020 02:00:16 CDT (39 lines)

Study shows erosion of ozone layer responsible for mass extinction
event

Researchers at the University of Southampton have shown that an
extinction event 360 million years ago, that killed much of the
Earth's plant and freshwater aquatic life, was caused by a brief
breakdown of the ozone layer that shields the Earth from damaging
ultraviolet (UV) radiation. This is a newly discovered extinction
mechanism with profound implications for our warming world today.

The ozone collapse occurred as the climate rapidly warmed following an
intense ice age and the researchers suggest that the Earth today could
reach comparable temperatures, possibly triggering a similar event.
Their findings are published in the journal Science Advances.

Following melting of the ice sheets, the climate was very warm, with
the increased heat above continents pushing more naturally generated
ozone destroying chemicals into the upper atmosphere. This let in high
levels of UV-B radiation for several thousand years.

Lead researcher Professor John Marshall, of the University of
Southampton's School of Ocean and Earth Science, who is a National
Geographic Explorer, comments: "Our ozone shield vanished for a short
time in this ancient period, coinciding with a brief and quick warming
of the Earth. Our ozone layer is naturally in a state of flux—
constantly being created and lost—and we have shown this happened in
the past too, without a catalyst such as a continental scale volcanic
eruption."

Professor Marshall says his team's findings have startling
implications for life on Earth today: "Current estimates suggest we
will reach similar global temperatures to those of 360 million years
ago, with the possibility that a similar collapse of the ozone layer
could occur again, exposing surface and shallow sea life to deadly
radiation. This would move us from the current state of climate
change, to a climate emergency."
"https://phys.org/news/2020-05-erosion-ozone-layer-responsible-
mass.html?utm_source=nwletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=weekly-
nwletter"

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{Nature_and_Environment.114.40}: Glen Marks {wotan} Thu, 04 Jun 2020 18:24:19 CDT (1 line)

"https://www.ft.com/content/b3f309a3-ed87-474f-9ea0-d39bf4a5b246"

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{Nature_and_Environment.114.41}: Glen Marks {wotan} Sat, 06 Jun 2020 22:18:47 CDT (2 lines)

"https://bgr.com/2020/06/06/carbon-dioxide-earth-atmospheric-levels-climate-
change/"

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{Nature_and_Environment.114.42}: {wotan} Mon, 15 Jun 2020 02:46:42 CDT (0 lines)
{erased by wotan Mon, 15 Jun 2020 02:46:53 CDT}

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{Nature_and_Environment.114.43}: Glen Marks {wotan} Mon, 15 Jun 2020 02:47:26 CDT (4 lines)

2050:

"https://www.livescience.com/65633-climate-change-dooms-humans-by-
2050.html"

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{Nature_and_Environment.114.44}: Glen Marks {wotan} Tue, 23 Jun 2020 20:02:08 CDT (1 line)

"https://www.cbsnews.com/news/saharan-dust-plume-drifting-united-states/"

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{Nature_and_Environment.114.45}: Jay Hoffman {resist} Wed, 24 Jun 2020 01:22:40 CDT (120 lines)

The affluent are consuming the planet to death: study

A study argues that it is not enough to invest in green technologies;
the world's affluent must stop overconsuming

Anew study published this month in the academic journal Nature
Communications argues that, despite all of the talk about using green
technology to address man-made environmental problems, the only way
for human consumption to become sustainable is if we rein in the
affluent.

"The key conclusion from our review is that we cannot rely on
technology alone to solve existential environmental problems – like
climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution – but that we also
have to change our affluent lifestyles and reduce overconsumption, in
combination with structural change," Professor Tommy Wiedmann from the
University of New South Wales Engineering told that college's
newspaper regarding the study.

The paper itself argued that "the affluent citizens of the world are
responsible for most environmental impacts and are central to any
future prospect of retreating to safer environmental conditions." The
authors added that "existing societies, economies and cultures incite
consumption expansion and the structural imperative for growth in
competitive market economies inhibits necessary societal change" and
advocated "a global and rapid decoupling of detrimental impacts from
economic activity," pointing out that the efforts made by global North
countries to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions are "highly unlikely" to
occur rapidly enough on a global scale to stave off catastrophic
environmental impacts.

"This is because renewable energy, electrification, carbon-capturing
technologies and even services all have resource requirements, mostly
in the form of metals, concrete and land," the authors point
out. "Rising energy demand and costs of resource extraction, technical
limitations and rebound effects aggravate the problem."

After observing that "the world's top 10% of income earners are
responsible for between 25 and 43% of environmental impact" while "the
world's bottom 10% income earners exert only around 3–5% of
environmental impact," the authors that environmental damage is
largely caused by the world's "affluent" and therefore needs to be
confronted by demanding lifestyle changes among the wealthy.

In other words, the world's poorest have a negligible effect on
overall environmental devastation; focusing on their consumption or
behavior is a fool's errand when it comes to environmental policy. 

"Considering that the lifestyles of wealthy citizens are characterized
by an abundance of choice, convenience and comfort, we argue that the
determinant and driver we have referred to in previous sections as
consumption, is more aptly labelled as affluence," the authors point
out. They advocate reducing avoiding or reducing consumption "until
the remaining consumption level falls within planetary boundaries,
while fulfilling human needs," with the wealthy abstain from
purchasing overly large homes and secondary residences, large
vehicles, excessive quantities of food, and engaging in leisure
activities that require a great deal of flying and driving. 

The authors also argue for consumption patterns "to be shifted away
from resource and carbon-intensive goods and services, e.g. mobility
from cars and airplanes to public buses and trains, biking or walking,
heating from oil heating to heat pumps, nutrition — where possible —
from animal to seasonal plant-based products." In addition, they call
for "the adoption of less affluent, simpler and sufficiency-oriented
lifestyles to address overconsumption — consuming better but less."
This approach would need to include "addressing socially unsustainable
underconsumption in impoverished communities in both less affluent and
affluent countries, where enough and better is needed to achieve a
more equal distribution of wealth and guarantee a minimum level of
prosperity to overcome poverty."

The authors acknowledged that there are several schools of thought
regarding how to best meet these goals.

"The reformist group consists of heterogeneous approaches such as a-
growth, precautionary/pragmatic post-growth, prosperity and managing
without growth as well as steady-state economics," the authors
write. "These approaches have in common that they aim to achieve the
required socio-ecological transformation through and within today's
dominant institutions, such as centralised democratic states and
market economies." By contrast the second group, which is "more
radical," posits that "the needed socio-ecological transformation will
necessarily entail a shift beyond capitalism and/or current
centralised states. Although comprising considerable heterogeneity, it
can be divided into eco-socialist approaches, viewing the democratic
state as an important means to achieve the socio-ecological
transformation and eco-anarchist approaches, aiming instead at
participatory democracy without a state, thus minimising hierarchies."

Salon interviewed several scientists and scholars earlier this month
about how the coronavirus pandemic has illustrated many of the
sustainability problems inherent in capitalism. One problem with
capitalist economic systems is that they rely on constantly increasing
consumption in order to maintain periods of prosperity. If unexpected
disasters interrupt that consumption — such as the pandemic requiring
an economic shutdown — the whole system grinds to a halt.

"Going with the structural metaphor concept, there always huge cracks
underneath the facades of capitalism, and the huge weight of this
pandemic has widened those cracks," Norman Solomon, co-founder and
national coordinator of RootsAction.org and a Sanders delegate to the
2016 Democratic National Convention, told Salon. After pointing out
how the poor wind up being hurt the most, he added that "the entire
political economy is geared to overproduction and over-consumption to
maximize corporate profits."

Michael E. Mann, a distinguished professor of atmospheric science at
Penn State University, told Salon that "I think that there are larger
lessons and messages here about the sustainability of a global
population of nearly 8 billion and growing people on a planet with
finite resources."

He added, "And what COVID-19 has laid bare is the fragility of this
massive infrastructure which we've created to artificially maintain
consumption far beyond the natural carrying capacity of the planet.
And continued exploitation of fossil fuels, obviously, is inconsistent
with a sustainable human society."
"https://www.salon.com/2020/06/23/the-affluent-are-consuming-the-
planet-to-death-study/"

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{Nature_and_Environment.114.46}: {wotan} Wed, 24 Jun 2020 10:52:03 CDT (0 lines)
{erased by wotan Wed, 24 Jun 2020 10:52:47 CDT}

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{Nature_and_Environment.114.47}: {wotan} Wed, 24 Jun 2020 10:52:54 CDT (0 lines)
{erased by wotan Wed, 24 Jun 2020 10:53:07 CDT}

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{Nature_and_Environment.114.48}: Glen Marks {wotan} Wed, 24 Jun 2020 10:54:01 CDT (1 line)

http://newcafe.org/motet/bin/motet.cgi?show+-uQAb6F+-ilad+Politics+992+-25-

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{Nature_and_Environment.114.49}: Glen Marks {wotan} Wed, 24 Jun 2020 19:59:29 CDT (4 lines)

6 Months and counting:

"https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/jun/18/world-has-six-months-
to-avert-climate-crisis-says-energy-expert"

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{Nature_and_Environment.114.50}: Glen Marks {wotan} Tue, 14 Jul 2020 00:04:24 CDT (1 line)

"https://time.com/5864692/climate-change-defining-moment/"

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{Nature_and_Environment.114.51}: Glen Marks {wotan} Sun, 26 Jul 2020 02:45:59 CDT (2 lines)

"https://www.wsj.com/articles/ocean-plastic-is-getting-worse-and-efforts-to-
stem-the-tide-fall-short-study-finds-11595682005"

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