David Wallace-Wells | What’s Worse: Climate Denial or Climate Hypocrisy? – The New York Times

Opinion Writer

“In early 2020, Larry Fink — the chief executive of BlackRock, a financial firm whose $10 trillion in assets under management are roughly equivalent to the aggregate wealth of Latin America, and about twice that of Africa — did his best to stake his claim as the face of an environmentally responsible business future. “Climate change has become a defining factor in companies’ long-term prospects,” Fink wrote in his annual letter to C.E.O.s that year. He called global warming the most serious threat to the financial system in his 40 years of experience and promised a drastic response from his firm: making sustainability “integral to portfolio construction and risk management”; ditching investments that contribute to the problem; and pursuing not just sustainability but transparency, too, so we all could see what impacts the company was having.

Not long before, captains of industry like Fink could have gotten away with climate indifference, and many with outright denial. But something had changed — with the Paris agreement and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius, with Greta Thunberg’s school strikes and the arrival, in the global North, of obvious climate disasters long sequestered in the global South. And finance seemed to take the hint, creating a new wave of purportedly virtuous “environmental, social and governance” (E.S.G.) investing.

But in his annual letter this January, just two years later, Fink struck a radically different tone, rejecting “woke” capitalism and elevating the principle that investors should center only on profits. In the spring, the firm announced it would support fewer shareholder resolutions on climate change, “as we do not consider them to be consistent with our clients’ long-term financial interests.” Just months before, BlackRock closed a $15.5 billion investment in Saudi pipelines.”

David Lindsay.  Amen. Bravo. Here is one of many good comments:

Nomind     Nowhere3h ago

Quarterly profits; that’s what drives this. Something that happens 20, 30, or 100 years in the future doesn’t affect my bottom line right now. Like any animal, human beings are wired to maximize immediate gain. Although we have the cognitive capacity to plan for the future, collectively, we don’t. Time and again, I return to E.O. Wilson’s famous quote: “The real problem of humanity is the following: we have Paleolithic emotions, medieval institutions and godlike technology. And it is terrifically dangerous, and it is now approaching a point of crisis overall.”

2 Replies40 Recommended
x
David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT comment:
Thank you David Wallace-Wells. I really thought we had turned a major corner, because of the leadership of Larry Fink at BlackRock. Well, I was wrong again. Edward O Wilson wrote of extinction and date ranges, that included the following paraphrase, we are on track to lose 80% of the species on the planet in the next 80 years. If we lose 50% of the world’s species, humans will probably not make it.
David blogs at InconvenientNews.net

Opinion | On a Divided Mount Everest, Climate Cooperation Is Being Tested – The New York Times

“. . . Warming in this Third Pole is happening at roughly double the global rate and has been especially pronounced over the past 60 years. This century is becoming the warmest period in these high mountains in 2,000 years, making the region an important ground for research in the effort to avert climate disaster.

This year, a comprehensive climate assessment for the Third Pole warned that two-thirds of the present mass of the glaciers in the region around Everest could disappear by the year 2100. Yet as the assessment noted, there are significant “knowledge gaps” in climatic data coming from the region. This is particularly true in high-altitude environments where the annual snows collect atop the region’s myriad glaciers.”

“. . . .  New discoveries from our undertaking and from others are yielding an astonishing picture of a landscape in flux.

For instance: An ice core extracted at an altitude above 26,000 feet from the South Col, Everest’s highest glacier, showed that the ice at the surface was approximately 2,000 years old, meaning that ice that had accumulated afterward, which might have risen to a height of 180 feet, had vanished. Mountaineers on Everest also appear to have taken a heavy toll. Snow samples revealed the presence of microplastics nearly all the way up the mountain, and snow and water samples from Everest were laden with PFAS, long-lasting chemicals widely used by a range of industries and in consumer products.”

Why large numbers of reptile species face extinction and what that means for our ecosystem | PBS News Weekend

“Globally, about 20 percent of reptile species are facing the threat of extinction. That’s according to a recent study in the scientific journal “Nature.” Geoff Bennett takes a deeper look now at what’s driving this extinction crisis and what it could mean for the rest of the world.”

“Geoff Bennett:

The study also found that if all threatened reptiles were to disappear, the world would lose a combined 15 billion years of evolutionary history.

Bruce Young:

It’ll take a big contribution by governments to kind of change the trajectory we’re on.

Geoff Bennett:

One of the reptiles most at risk is turtles, with nearly 60% of the species facing extinction, and a need of targeted conservation efforts.

Source: Why large numbers of reptile species face extinction and what that means for our ecosystem | PBS News Weekend

Brad Lander | Climate Risks of Investments Should Be Disclosed – The New York Times

Mr. Lander is the New York City comptroller, the city’s chief financial officer.

“In 2018, Pacific Gas and Electric estimated that the rise in wildfires, partly driven by climate change, could cost the company $2.5 billion in payouts for recent fires started by its electricity transmission lines and other operations north of San Francisco, and as much as $15 billion in the future.

The company was wrong. The next year, PG&E filed for bankruptcy protection as it faced an estimated $30 billion in liability after company power lines ignited some of the most destructive fires in California history.

At least PG&E disclosed its perceived risks, however off target. Not every company tells its investors about the climate-related risks it faces. This is a shortcoming in government efforts to protect Main Street investors as the planet continues to heat up.”

Climate Groups Use Endangered Species Act to Try to Stop Drilling – The New York Times

“WASHINGTON — Oil burned from a well drilled in Wyoming adds to the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that is heating the planet and devastating coral reefs in Florida, polar bears in the Arctic and monk seals in Hawaii. But drawing a direct line from any single source of pollution to the destruction of a species is virtually impossible.

Environmentalists want the government to try.

On Wednesday a coalition of organizations sued the Biden administration for consistently failing to consider the harms caused to endangered species from the emissions produced by oil and gas drilling on public lands.

If the coalition succeeds by invoking the protections under the Endangered Species Act, more than 3,500 drilling permits issued during the Biden administration could be revoked and future permitting could be far more difficult.”

How Logging Is Affecting the Democratic Republic of Congo – The New York Times

“The mighty Congo River has become a highway for sprawling flotillas of logs — African teak, wenge and bomanga in colors of licorice, candy bars and carrot sticks. For months at a time, crews in the Democratic Republic of Congo live aboard these perilous rafts, piloting the timber in pursuit of a sliver of profit from the dismantling of a crucial forest.

The biggest rafts are industrial-scale, serving mostly international companies that see riches in the rainforest. But puny versions also make their way downriver, tended by men and their families who work and sleep atop the floating logs.”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT Comment:
Thank you. Breathtaking, heartbreaking, a real cause for grief for the future of life as we know it on the planet. Edward O Wilson, and many others, say we are on track to lose about 80% of the world’s species in the next 80 years, and if we lose 50%, humans probably won’t survive. There are solutions, and ideas to develop, but we need to change our ways in this decade to avoid ugly outcomes, like the losing of half of earths human population through starvation and war. If you love rocks, take comfort, the planet and it’s rocks will do fine. Its just the wonderful life forms that will perish from the overheating of the planet. Climate Change is a marketing euphemism for global warming, and it is here now, the wolf is at your door.
David Lindsay Jr. is the author of “The Tay Son Rebellion, Historical Fiction of Eighteenth Century Vietnam” and blogs at InconvenientNews.Net

Paul Krugman | What a Dying Lake Says About the Future – The New York Times

Opinion Columnist

“A few days ago The Times published a report on the drying up of the Great Salt Lake, a story I’m ashamed to admit had flown under my personal radar. We’re not talking about a hypothetical event in the distant future: The lake has already lost two-thirds of its surface area, and ecological disasters — salinity rising to the point where wildlife dies off, occasional poisonous dust storms sweeping through a metropolitan area of 2.5 million people — seem imminent.

As an aside, I was a bit surprised that the article didn’t mention the obvious parallels with the Aral Sea, a huge lake that the Soviet Union had managed to turn into a toxic desert.

In any case, what’s happening to the Great Salt Lake is pretty bad. But what I found really scary about the report is what the lack of an effective response to the lake’s crisis says about our ability to respond to the larger, indeed existential threat of climate change.”

Bret Stephens | The Left Is Being Mugged by Reality, Again – The New York Times

     Opinion Columnist

This column has been updated to reflect news developments.

“Is a decade of destructive progressive ideology finally coming to an end?

That San Franciscans, some of America’s most reliably liberal voters, chose on Tuesday to recall District Attorney Chesa Boudin, one of America’s most leftward D.A.s, is a sign of hope.

Voter patience for what Mayor London Breed of San Francisco calls “all the bullshit that has destroyed our city” — aggressive shopliftingrampant car burglariesopen-air drug use, filthy homeless encampmentssidewalks turned into toilets — is finally running thin.

Progressive overreach has its price. Even for progressives.

What’s going on in San Francisco is happening nationwide, and not just in matters of criminal justice and urban governance. In one area after another, the left is being mugged by reality, to borrow Irving Kristol’s famous phrase. Consider a few examples:     . . . . . “

David Lindsay:

Great points Bret, thank you.

My beyond beef, is that you sound ignorant, or dumb, on the threat of climate change. Your brilliance is your hard honesty, that we climate hawks have a tough job, since, as you point out, most folks are for the environment, as long as it won’t cost them more than an extra $10 a year. The irony, is that as you sound almost gloating over our failures to mitigate climate change, you seem oblivious to the fact that the planet we are trying to keep habitable, is the same one you and your family live on.

Your punishment, or assignment, is to go study Edward O Wilson, and learn about the sixth great extinction of species going on right now all around us. Why did he conclude that at current rates of growth and pollution, we will lose 80% of the world’s species in the next 80 years, and humans will be probably one of the casualties.  Some aliens in outer space are probably gloating, since those humans won’t last very long.

David blogs at InconvenientNews.net

A Hotter World, about India, in the Morning Newsletter – The New York Times

“India has contributed little to climate change: Home to 18 percent of the world’s population, it has emitted just 3 percent of planet-warming greenhouse gases.

But India is suffering from climate change. It is happening right now: Over the past three months, a heat wave has devastated North India and neighboring Pakistan. Temperatures surpassed 110 degrees Fahrenheit. It is so hot that overheated birds fell out of the sky in Gurgaon, India, and a historic bridge in northern Pakistan collapsed after melting snow and ice at a glacial lake released a torrent of water.

Scientists say global warming almost certainly played a role in the heat wave. And rising temperatures stand to make unusually hotter weather more common not just in India and Pakistan but around the world, including in the U.S.

Indians have responded by staying indoors as much as possible, particularly during the afternoon hours. The government has encouraged this, pushing schools to close early and businesses to shift work schedules. The measures have kept down deaths — with fewer than 100 recorded so far, an improvement from heat waves years ago that killed thousands.”

The Rise and Fall of America’s Environmentalist Underground – Matthew Wolfe – The New York Times

“Late one summer evening in 2018, an American citizen named Joseph Mahmoud Dibee was sitting in José Martí International Airport in Havana, Cuba — trying, unsuccessfully, to sleep — when he was approached by three men. Dibee, a civil engineer, was in Havana on a layover. After a long business trip in Ecuador, he was heading home to Russia, where he lived with his wife and stepson. The men demanded his passport, then led him out of the terminal and into a waiting sedan. Dibee asked where they were going, but got no response. Sandwiched between his captors, he was driven miles through the night before finally arriving at what appeared to be a jail.

For the next three days, Dibee would claim in a subsequent court filing, he was imprisoned without explanation and, in effect, tortured. His small concrete cell was open to the elements; during the day, the cage baked. As Dibee, who was then 50, sweat through his clothes, the jail’s guards gave him little to drink. He soon became nauseated and began to repeatedly pass out. With no way of contacting his family, Dibee worried that, if he died, they would never learn what happened to him.

On his fourth day of confinement, weak from dehydration, Dibee was dragged to an air-conditioned trailer in another part of the facility. He was met by a middle-aged man in fatigues who identified himself as an officer in Cuba’s state intelligence service. Smiling, the officer held up a bottle of water.

“But first,” he said, “tell us about the fires.”

Several days later, on Aug. 9, 2018, Cuban authorities handed Dibee, in shackles, over to agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation. To the F.B.I., Dibee’s arrest marked the end of a decade-long manhunt for one of the agency’s most wanted domestic terrorists. In 2006, Dibee was indicted on a charge of participation in a series of arsons carried out by a shadowy band of environmental activists known as the Earth Liberation Front. In the late 1990s, the ELF became notorious for setting fire to symbols of ecological destruction, including timber mills, an S.U.V. dealership and a ski resort. The group, which warned of imminent ecological catastrophe, was widely demonized. Its exploits were condemned by mainstream environmental groups, ridiculed by the media and inspired a furious crackdown from law enforcement.

Fleeing before he could be arrested, Dibee had spent years as a fugitive in Syria, Russia and Mexico, until he was picked up passing through Havana. After his interrogation by the Cuban authorities, the F.B.I. flew him in a Gulfstream jet to Portland, Ore., where he was arraigned for charges relating to his role in the attacks. This April, Dibee pleaded guilty to arson and conspiracy to commit arson.”