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

How a Trash-Talking Crypto Bro Caused a $40 Billion Crash – The New York Times

“Do Kwon, a trash-talking entrepreneur from South Korea, called the cryptocurrency he created in 2018 “my greatest invention.” In countless tweets and interviews, he trumpeted the world-changing potential of the currency, Luna, rallying a band of investors and supporters he proudly referred to as “Lunatics.”

Mr. Kwon’s company, Terraform Labs, raised more than $200 million from investment firms such as Lightspeed Venture Partners and Galaxy Digital to fund crypto projects built with the currency, even as critics questioned its technological underpinnings. Luna’s total value ballooned to more than $40 billion, creating a frenzy of excitement that swept up day traders and start-up founders, as well as wealthy investors.

Mr. Kwon dismissed concerns with a taunt: “I don’t debate the poor.”

But last week, Luna and another currency that Mr. Kwon developed, TerraUSD, suffered a spectacular collapse. Their meltdowns had a domino effect on the rest of the cryptocurrency market, tanking the price of Bitcoin and accelerating the loss of $300 billion in value across the crypto economy. This week, the price of Luna remained close to zero, while TerraUSD continued to slide.”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT comment:
It appears to be just a ponzi scheme, and like bitcoin, has a large carbon footprint. Therefore, all these products should probably be banned. I am a successful investor, and one important rule is, if you can’t understand it, don’t invest in it. I did try to understand bitcoin, and it apparently only has anonymous record keeping with an extraordinarily high carbon footprint. It is a haven for gangsters and corrupt officials. What could be worse than owning a share in a high carbon footprint virtual asset, that doesn’t have any oil or gas or coal to sell.
InconvenientNews.net

Vanessa Barbara | Brazil’s President, Jair Bolsonaro, Is Bringing Devastation to the World – The New York Times

Ms. Barbara is a contributing Opinion writer who focuses on Brazilian politics, culture and everyday life.

“SÃO PAULO, Brazil — “I’m an army captain,” Jair Bolsonaro said in 2017. “My specialty is killing.”

He has been true to his word. In just over three years in office, Mr. Bolsonaro has overseen an administration notable for its disregard for human life. There are, most immediately, the country’s 660,000 deaths from Covid-19 — the second most in the world, after the United States. Throughout the pandemic, he obstructed social distancing, sabotaged mask wearing and undermined vaccination. He maintains that he “didn’t make a single mistake during the pandemic.” So we have to assume it all went to plan.

Then there are the guns. A series of presidential decrees loosening gun controls have opened the floodgates. Last year the federal police issued 204,300 new gun licenses, a 300 percent increase from 2018. Permits granted by the army to hunters and collectors rose 340 percent. The country, which recorded the most homicides in the world in 2021, is awash with firearms.

And then there’s the planet. Deforestation in the Amazon has reached its highest rate in 15 years, thanks in no small part to the president’s eager dismantling and defunding of environmental enforcement agencies. Not content with his efforts so far, Mr. Bolsonaro is now attempting to push through five bills that will strip away Indigenous rights, open up the Amazon to rampant profiteering and bring untold damage to the planet.”

Review: Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence star in very funny, very depressing ‘Don’t Look Up’ | Datebook SF Chronicle

Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence in “Don’t Look Up.”Photo: Niko Tavernise / Netflix

“Don’t Look Up” might be the funniest movie of 2021. It’s the most depressing too, and that odd combination makes for a one-of-a-kind experience. Writer-director Adam McKay gives you over two hours of laughs while convincing you that the world is coming to an end.

The movie is a satire that targets anti-science, anti-intellectual and anti-logic Americans who are gullible in the extreme and brainwashed by social media. McKay’s humor is so pointed and dead-on here that it’s bracing. You almost feel like this is a movie that might change things! People might see this and realize … but no. As McKay knows, he’s lampooning a segment of the public that is beyond the reach of satire.

The story is remarkably prescient, in that it plays like a parable about the pandemic, even though the concept was announced in the media well ahead of COVID-19 and was originally scheduled to go before the cameras in April 2020. Jennifer Lawrence and Leonardo DiCaprio play a pair of astronomers who discover that a huge comet is going to crash into the Earth in six months, wiping out all forms of life on the planet. They assume that that scientific certainty will rouse the government and the people into emergency action. They assume wrong.;

Source: Review: Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence star in very funny, very depressing ‘Don’t Look Up’ | Datebook

My household really liked this movie. It is very funny, and very depressing. My only quibble with this excellent review by Mick LaSalle, is that it is not about Covid, which had not occurred yet when it was written. It is most likely a broadside against the anti-science forces denying climate change and the sixth great extinction of species. It is brilliant, biting satire, and might become as famous as Dr. Strangelove, by Stanley Kubrick.

BlackRock’s Climate-Crusade Doubletalk – Vivek Ramaswamy – WSJ

” ‘Stakeholder capitalism is not about politics. . . . It is capitalism.” Or so BlackRock CEO Larry Fink claimed in his annual letter to America’s CEOs last month, in which he called on corporate chiefs to stay true to their own companies’ “purpose.”

“Putting your company’s purpose at the foundation of your relationships with your stakeholders is critical to your long-term success. . . . Your company’s purpose is its north star in this tumultuous environment. . . . It is more important than ever that your company and its management be guided by its purpose.” Mr. Fink’s four-page letter invokes the word “purpose” eight times.

But whose purpose, exactly? In the same letter, Mr. Fink also calls on CEOs to set “short-, medium-, and long-term targets for greenhouse gas reductions.” His demands are explicit: “We ask you to issue reports consistent with the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures.” BlackRock regularly makes demands such as these of its portfolio companies, requiring them to meet the standards of the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board.

Mr. Fink claims he wants CEOs to stay true to the purposes of the companies they run, while also demanding that they advance the corporate purposes that BlackRock favors. He can’t have it both ways.”

Source: BlackRock’s Climate-Crusade Doubletalk – WSJ

97% of the climate scientists who studied climate change determined that the earth is getting warmer from green house gas emissions at an unsustainable rate, according to Bill Gates in his book last year, “How to Avoid a Climate Disaster.” The disasters are already all around us. Mr. Fink is following the science, that says that global warming from green house gases from fossil fuel emissions is an existential threat. Sadly, most of the discussion, and this editorial, are just more, dangerous hot air. The famous naturalist Edward O Wilson warned before his recent death, that we are on track to lose about 80% of the world’s species in the next 80 years. He spoke in ranges of 50 to 80% of species and over 50 to 100 years. If we do lose 50% of other species, he wrote, homo sapiens will probably not survive. When the dinosaurs died off, so did about 95% of all other species, according to some geologists. We went from 2 billion to 7.9 billion humans in just the last 90 years. Our pollution is not sustainable. 7.9 billion humans, we are the new meteor, but don’t look up. David Lindsay blogs at InconvenientNews.net

Apocalypse When? Global Warming’s Endless Scroll – The New York Times

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/03/arts/climate-change-doomsday-culture.html

Doomscrolling through social media can be seductive when it comes to the climate crisis: It signals that we care about big problems even as we chase distractions.

Image  Credit…Aleia Murawski and Sam Copeland for The New York Times 

“I can’t say precisely when the end began, just that in the past several years, “the end of the world” stopped referring to a future cataclysmic event and started to describe our present situation. Across the ironized hellscape of the internet, we began “tweeting through the apocalypse” and blogging the Golden Globes ceremony “during the end times” and streaming “Emily in Paris” “at the end of the world.” Often the features of our dystopia are itemized, as if we are briskly touring the concentric circles of hell — rising inequality, declining democracy, unending pandemic, the financial system optimistically described as “late” capitalism — until we have reached the inferno’s toasty center, which is the destruction of the Earth through man-made global warming.”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT3h ago 

My first reaction to this story, is that it is very well written but not my cup of tea. I really like the comment by a reader named Bendy, “Is this a ‘Journalist Mistakes Twitter For Reality’ story? Everyone isn’t emotionally exhausted by the climate crisis. And it is not too big to comprehend.” I read and write about climate change and the sixth extinction every day, and it is not too late.

The corporate world has just woken up. Black Rock, with 13 trillion under management, has just made awareness and mitigation a requirement for their investors. I am currently recommending to everyone, including those reading this comment, to watch the five short documentaries, each about 11.5 minutes, called, Climate Emergency: Feedback Loops, by world scientists, many associated with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. They can be found at https://feedbackloopsclimate.com/, and to purchase and read “How to Avoid a Climate Disaster,” by Bill Gates, published in 2021.

We understand the problem, we know more or less what to do about it, and the great ocean liner of humanity is slowly turning around, but it could use your help, as well as mine. We can do this. We have to.

Margaret Renkl | How Do You Mourn a 250-Year-Old Giant? – The New York Times

Ms. Renkl is a contributing Opinion writer who covers flora, fauna, politics and culture in the American South.

“NASHVILLE — Down the street, right after Christmas, a developer knocked down a perfectly good house, along with nearly every tree on the deeply treed lot. It’s an old story here, and the pure waste of it is always appalling.

But this yard also happens to be on the neighborhood bobcat’s route between a school campus lush with trees and a wet creek bordered by dense greenery, and that’s what brought me to tears. Preserving those trees would have meant protecting an unassuming but crucial wildlife corridor in an area where development is putting increasing pressure on already stressed wildlife populations.

So I was primed to be incensed when I read about the Ohio siblings who cut down a 250-year-old black walnut tree in a suburb of Cleveland. Todd Jones and his sister, Laurel Hoffman, believed that the tree stood on family land, and the family’s finances were in dire trouble, so they sold the massive black walnut to a logging company for $2,000.

But according to deeds and survey images, the irreplaceable tree actually stood 7.5 feet outside their property line, in an area owned by Cleveland Metroparks, a system of local nature preserves. Now the Cuyahoga County prosecutor has charged Mr. Jones and Ms. Hoffman with grand theft and falsification, felony crimes. If convicted, they face up to 18 months in prison.”

Opinion | For Climate Change, Biden’s $3.5 Trillion Plan Isn’t Big Enough – The New York Times

There will be no bargains with an overheating climate.The $3.5 trillion price tag that President Biden proposed for his climate-heavy Build Back Better Act might seem enormous. But over the long term, it will be a pittance.By zeroing in on that number, the public debate seems to have skipped right over the economic ramifications of climate change, which promise to be historically disruptive — and enormously expensive. What we don’t spend now will cost us much more later.The bills for natural disasters and droughts and power outages are already pouring in. Within a few decades, the total bill will be astronomical, as energy debts surge, global migration swells and industrial upheaval follows. The scale of the threat demands a new way of thinking about spending. Past budgets can no longer guide how governments spend money in the future.