AuthorTopic: THE COMING END OF HUMAN CIVILIZATION  (Read 2537 times)

Offline RE

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Re: Summary - The End Is Closer Than It Appears
« Reply #45 on: July 15, 2019, 11:43:30 AM »
Then you should be criticizing Surly's posts of doom extremism as much as I am. Do you get the difference between predicting the end of industrial civilization within the next 50 years and predicting the end of time in which humans and most other life forms could inhabit this planet within the next 5-10? I know you do. They are worlds apart and they have vastly different implications for how people should go about facing reality.

Of course I "get" the difference.  I'm not stupid you know.  Insinuating that I am stupid is a Violation of the CoC.  But you do clean up that error by then saying you know I do get the difference.  ::)  You never should have written that and then negated what you just wrote.  Puts the incorrect thought into the mind of the reader.  That is the nature of Bernays style propaganda.

I do not have to criticize Surly, or Knarf, or AJ or any other Diner for their opinions that Extinction is imminent.  I do however quite often reply to their posts on these topics to reinforce that an extinction level event for Homo Sap on such a short timescale is highly unlikely.  In fact that is an ongoing theme in many of my blogs where I excoriate Dr. McStinksion for his outrageously short timelines, down at one point to 2020!  He's backed off from that now though. lol.

Try to be more accurate about how you reply to my posting, and don't try Bernays-ing me.  It doesn't sit well with me.

RE
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Offline Ashvin

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Re: Summary - The End Is Closer Than It Appears
« Reply #46 on: July 15, 2019, 05:50:26 PM »
Then you should be criticizing Surly's posts of doom extremism as much as I am. Do you get the difference between predicting the end of industrial civilization within the next 50 years and predicting the end of time in which humans and most other life forms could inhabit this planet within the next 5-10? I know you do. They are worlds apart and they have vastly different implications for how people should go about facing reality.

Of course I "get" the difference.  I'm not stupid you know.  Insinuating that I am stupid is a Violation of the CoC.  But you do clean up that error by then saying you know I do get the difference.  ::)  You never should have written that and then negated what you just wrote.  Puts the incorrect thought into the mind of the reader.  That is the nature of Bernays style propaganda.

I do not have to criticize Surly, or Knarf, or AJ or any other Diner for their opinions that Extinction is imminent.  I do however quite often reply to their posts on these topics to reinforce that an extinction level event for Homo Sap on such a short timescale is highly unlikely.  In fact that is an ongoing theme in many of my blogs where I excoriate Dr. McStinksion for his outrageously short timelines, down at one point to 2020!  He's backed off from that now though. lol.

Try to be more accurate about how you reply to my posting, and don't try Bernays-ing me.  It doesn't sit well with me.

RE

Well then I don't understand why you jumped on me for making the same criticism that you have made on your blogs. Anyway, we can probably agree that the outrageously short timelines for human extinction, professed with high confidence or certainty, is nothing more than reckless speculation and propaganda.

Offline RE

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Re: Summary - The End Is Closer Than It Appears
« Reply #47 on: July 15, 2019, 09:15:07 PM »
Then you should be criticizing Surly's posts of doom extremism as much as I am. Do you get the difference between predicting the end of industrial civilization within the next 50 years and predicting the end of time in which humans and most other life forms could inhabit this planet within the next 5-10? I know you do. They are worlds apart and they have vastly different implications for how people should go about facing reality.

Of course I "get" the difference.  I'm not stupid you know.  Insinuating that I am stupid is a Violation of the CoC.  But you do clean up that error by then saying you know I do get the difference.  ::)  You never should have written that and then negated what you just wrote.  Puts the incorrect thought into the mind of the reader.  That is the nature of Bernays style propaganda.

I do not have to criticize Surly, or Knarf, or AJ or any other Diner for their opinions that Extinction is imminent.  I do however quite often reply to their posts on these topics to reinforce that an extinction level event for Homo Sap on such a short timescale is highly unlikely.  In fact that is an ongoing theme in many of my blogs where I excoriate Dr. McStinksion for his outrageously short timelines, down at one point to 2020!  He's backed off from that now though. lol.

Try to be more accurate about how you reply to my posting, and don't try Bernays-ing me.  It doesn't sit well with me.

RE

Well then I don't understand why you jumped on me for making the same criticism that you have made on your blogs. Anyway, we can probably agree that the outrageously short timelines for human extinction, professed with high confidence or certainty, is nothing more than reckless speculation and propaganda.

Because that is not what you did.  You attributed to me beliefs in NTHE I do not subscribe to.  That is what I jumped on you for.  If you do read my blogs, you should have known that I "get" the difference between the end of Industrial Civiliation and the end of all life on Earth, or even just Homo Sap life.  However you chose instead to paint me as a stupid man who doesn't understand these differentiations, and moreover you don't acknowledge anywhere until now that I am quite clear and specific on this.  I have to be, because I argue with these folks all the time, and some of them are actually reasonably bright people.

You are so desperate to paint me stupid, to paint the Diner as a failure and to pitch your right wing Fundy Christian belief system you persistently dance around the truth, and often enough outright lie.  That's why you end up in the cooler so often.

RE
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Offline K-Dog

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Re: Summary - The End Is Closer Than It Appears
« Reply #48 on: July 16, 2019, 08:39:13 AM »

Here's a ten minute summary of doom addressing most of the topics we talk about on this page: "Most people think that climate change is important, but not so really important. But it is. The end of the time in which humans and most other life forms could inhabit this planet is close. Within the next years already the changing climate will lead to the breakdown of food supply and by this to a collapse of society. Most of us will die sooner, some later. And the really bad thing: it is much too late to change anything about it."

"the end is closer than it appears", "the end is close", "within the next years"... the unoriginal mantras of Doomsayers for the last 50 years... and the next hundreds of years to come.

MKing's idiot son has reappeared.

Lost, little fellow? Your trollery won't take you far here.

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Under ideal conditions of temperature and pressure the organism will grow without limit.

Offline Ashvin

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Re: Summary - The End Is Closer Than It Appears
« Reply #49 on: July 17, 2019, 05:26:00 AM »
Then you should be criticizing Surly's posts of doom extremism as much as I am. Do you get the difference between predicting the end of industrial civilization within the next 50 years and predicting the end of time in which humans and most other life forms could inhabit this planet within the next 5-10? I know you do. They are worlds apart and they have vastly different implications for how people should go about facing reality.

Of course I "get" the difference.  I'm not stupid you know.  Insinuating that I am stupid is a Violation of the CoC.  But you do clean up that error by then saying you know I do get the difference.  ::)  You never should have written that and then negated what you just wrote.  Puts the incorrect thought into the mind of the reader.  That is the nature of Bernays style propaganda.

I do not have to criticize Surly, or Knarf, or AJ or any other Diner for their opinions that Extinction is imminent.  I do however quite often reply to their posts on these topics to reinforce that an extinction level event for Homo Sap on such a short timescale is highly unlikely.  In fact that is an ongoing theme in many of my blogs where I excoriate Dr. McStinksion for his outrageously short timelines, down at one point to 2020!  He's backed off from that now though. lol.

Try to be more accurate about how you reply to my posting, and don't try Bernays-ing me.  It doesn't sit well with me.

RE

Well then I don't understand why you jumped on me for making the same criticism that you have made on your blogs. Anyway, we can probably agree that the outrageously short timelines for human extinction, professed with high confidence or certainty, is nothing more than reckless speculation and propaganda.

Because that is not what you did.  You attributed to me beliefs in NTHE I do not subscribe to.  That is what I jumped on you for.  If you do read my blogs, you should have known that I "get" the difference between the end of Industrial Civiliation and the end of all life on Earth, or even just Homo Sap life.  However you chose instead to paint me as a stupid man who doesn't understand these differentiations, and moreover you don't acknowledge anywhere until now that I am quite clear and specific on this.  I have to be, because I argue with these folks all the time, and some of them are actually reasonably bright people.

You are so desperate to paint me stupid, to paint the Diner as a failure and to pitch your right wing Fundy Christian belief system you persistently dance around the truth, and often enough outright lie.  That's why you end up in the cooler so often.

RE

False. I criticized Surly's post of a NTHE video, and you responded with an attack against me. That is the chain of events, so either you are lying now or very forgetful.

I haven't pitched any "right wing" or "Fundy" beliefs in a long time. I have only posted with criticisms of the Far Left, of which are you admittedly a member of. There is a big difference there, one you are blind to.

Also, you should know by now that I don't care about your Cooler threats. In fact, I am voluntarily putting myself in the Cooler now for a month or so. I'll see you when I decide to post another video... or someone interesting shows up on this forum to post.

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Re: WHEN THE END OF HUMAN CIVILIZATION IS YOUR DAY JOB
« Reply #50 on: July 17, 2019, 06:55:19 AM »
Quote from: Prince of Victims
In fact, I am voluntarily putting myself in the Cooler now for a month or so. I'll see you when I decide to post another video... or someone interesting shows up on this forum to post.


 Allow me to be the first to tell you just how much we will miss you.
"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

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"The Public Is Now Aware That the Elites Are Taking Them To Their Death!"
« Reply #51 on: August 17, 2019, 03:02:41 AM »
This interview would have never seen the light of day in the US. they'd have Tucker Carlsoned this segment and have had Hallam's children murdered before letting this see the light of day.

"The Public Is Now Aware That the Elites Are Taking Them To Their Death!"
Roger Hallam BBC interview—like the infamous Newsroom scene with Toby, but IRL.


Excerpt:

UK Corporopresenter: So on the science there's no disagreement but are you saying that groups like Greenpeace and many many others have fundamentally failed in their mission to convince the world that things need to change?

Roger Hallam: Yes.  We fundamentally failed. I mean I failed, other activists have failed, campaigners have failed, we've all failed. The fact of
the matter is were facing mass starvation in the next 10 years,  social collapse and the possible extinction of the human race. It couldn't be worse. So that situation has come about over 30 years of failure failure by the elites, failure by the governments, and failure by
campaigners.

UK Corporopresenter Cunt: Your message is entirely about failure, it's about negativity.

Roger Hallam: It is in a way I suppose a howl of rage and despair. That's right it is and you think that is a message that the people of the world and the political leaders of the world are going to respond to yes and the reason why is because when people go through depression and rage they come out and decide to do things- extinction rebellion is the most successful climate change movement in the UK...

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/NItiaVobDPA" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/NItiaVobDPA</a>
"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

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How Did the End of the World Become Old News?
« Reply #52 on: August 24, 2019, 04:07:50 AM »
How Did the End of the World Become Old News?

The fire this time (in Sweden). Photo: Mats Andersson/AFP/Getty Images

There has been a lot of burning lately. Last week, wildfires broke out in the Arctic Circle, where temperatures reached almost 90 degrees; they are still roiling northern Sweden, 21 of them. And this week, wildfires swept through the Greek seaside, outside Athens, killing at least 80 and hospitalizing almost 200. At one resort, dozens of guests tried to escape the flames by descending a narrow stone staircase into the Aegean, only to be engulfed along the way, dying literally in each other’s arms.

Last July, I wrote a much-talked-over magazine cover story considering the worst-case scenarios for climate change — much talked over, in part, because it was so terrifying, which made some of the scenarios a bit hard to believe. Those worst-case scenarios are still quite unlikely, since they require both that we do nothing to alter our emissions path, which is still arcing upward, and that those unabated emissions bring us to climate outcomes on the far end of what’s possible by 2100.

But, this July, we already seem much farther along on those paths than even the most alarmist climate observers — e.g., me — would have predicted a year ago. In a single week earlier this month, dozens of places around the world were hit with record temperatures in what was, effectively, an unprecedented, planet-encompassing heat wave: from Denver to Burlington to Ottawa; from Glasgow to Shannon to Belfast; from Tbilisi, in Georgia, and Yerevan, in Armenia, to whole swaths of southern Russia. The temperature of one city in Oman, where the daytime highs had reached 122 degrees Fahrenheit, did not drop below 108 all night; in Montreal, Canada, 50 died from the heat. That same week, 30 major wildfires burned in the American West, including one, in California, that grew at the rate of 10,000 football fields each hour, and another, in Colorado, that produced a volcano-like 300-foot eruption of flames, swallowing an entire subdivision and inventing a new term — “fire tsunami” — along the way. On the other side of the planet, biblical rains flooded Japan, where 1.2 million were evacuated from their homes. The following week, the heat struck there, killing dozens. The following week.

In other words, it has been a month of historic, even unprecedented, climate horrors. But you may not have noticed, if you are anything but the most discriminating consumer of news. The major networks aired 127 segments on the unprecedented July heat wave, Media Matters usefully tabulated, and only one so much as mentioned climate change. The New York Times has done admirable work on global warming over the last year, launching a new climate desk and devoting tremendous resources to high-production-value special climate “features.” But even their original story on the wildfires in Greece made no mention of climate change — after some criticism on Twitter, they added a reference.

Over the last few days, there has been a flurry of chatter among climate writers and climate scientists, and the climate-curious who follow them, about this failure. In perhaps the most widely parsed and debated Twitter exchange, MSNBC’s Chris Hayes — whose show, All In, has distinguished itself with the seriousness of its climate coverage — described the dilemma facing every well-intentioned person in his spot: the transformation of the planet and the degradation may be the biggest and most important story of our time, indeed of all time, but on television, at least, it has nevertheless proven, so far, a “palpable ratings killer.” All of which raises a very dispiriting possibility, considering the scale of the climate crisis: Has the end of the world as we know it become, already, old news?

If so, that would be really, really bad. As I’ve written before, and as Wen Stephenson echoed more recently in The Baffler, climate change is not a matter of “yes” or “no,” not a binary process where we end up either “fucked” or “not fucked.” It is a system that gets worse over time as long as we continue to emit greenhouse gases. We are just beginning to see the horrors that climate change has in store for us —but that does not mean that the story is settled. Things will get worse, almost certainly much, much worse. Indeed, the news about what more to expect, coming out of new research, only darkens our picture of what to expect: Just over the past few weeks, new studies have suggested heat in many major Indian cities would be literally lethal by century’s end, if current warming trends continue, and that, by that time, global economic output could fall, thanks to climate effects, by 30 percent or more. That is an impact twice as deep as the global Great Depression, and it would not be temporary.

These are not the kinds of findings it is easy to ignore, or dismiss, or compartmentalize, even though we have all become exquisitely skilled lately in compartmentalizing the threat. Neither is it easy to forget the stories of the Greek wildfires, or the Japanese heat wave. Which is why it is perhaps important to remember that the media did not ignore these stories, or the month of global climate horrors that gave rise to them. Television networks covered those heat waves 127 times. That is, actually, a very lot! They just utterly failed to “connect the dots,” as Emily Atkin put it incisively at The New Republic —broadcasters told the story of the historic temperatures, but chose not to touch the question of why we were seeing so many of them, all at once, with the atmosphere more full of carbon, and the planet hotter, than it has ever been at any point in human history.

When you think about it, this would be a very strange choice for a producer or an editor concerned about boring or losing his or her audience — it would mean leaving aside the far more dramatic story of the total transformation of the planet’s climate system, and the immediate and all-encompassing threat posed by climate change to the way we live on Earth, to tell the pretty mundane story of some really hot days in the region.

Which is why this all sounds to me a lot more like self-censorship than ratings-chasing — by which I mean self-censorship of two kinds. The first is the intuitive one — the kind done in anticipation of political blowback, an especially acute problem for would-be neutral, would-be centrist platforms like network news. This self-censorship in fear of right-wing backlash is a familiar story, and most of those concerned about global warming know the villains already: oil companies, climate deniers, indifferent (at best) politicians, and constituents who see science as a culture-war front.

But public apathy, and its cousin climate complacency, is as big a problem — perhaps bigger. And this problem, too, is connected to self-censorship on the part of storytellers who feel intimidated from attributing what we used to know as natural disasters to global warming because scientists are so excruciatingly careful about attributing cause. As NPR’s science editor Geoff Brumfiel told Atkin, “You don’t just want to be throwing around, ‘This is due to climate change, that is due to climate change.’”

Well — why not? The stated reason, when a reason is stated, is that scientists can take years to definitively conclude that a particular disaster was impossible without the effects of warming, and often only speak with certainty about specific events a decade or more in the past— the 2003 European heat wave, for instance, which killed tens of thousands. But wildfires are “not caused by climate change” only in the same way that hurricanes are not caused by climate change — which is to say they are (only) made more likely by it, which is to say the distinction is semantic. The same is true, even more so, for heat waves: We know global warming will cause many more deadly temperatures, and should not be confused, at all, when we suddenly encounter an unprecedented number of them. The fact that most climate scientists would say something like, “These disasters are consistent with what we would expect, given global warming,” rather than “these disasters were caused by global warming” is not a reason to elide discussion of climate change. Doing so is an evasion, even if it is made with a scientific alibi.

It is also a dangerous one. Decades of bad-faith debates about whether climate change is “real” and good-faith questions about whether it is “here” have dramatically foreshortened our collective imagination and provided an unfortunately limited picture of what global warming will yield. Treating every climate disaster as a discrete event only compounds the problem, suggesting that impacts will be discrete. They won’t be, and the longer-view story is much more harrowing: not just more months like July, but an unfolding century when a month like this July has become a happy memory of a placid climate. That it is almost hard to believe only makes it a more important story to tell.

« Last Edit: August 24, 2019, 04:23:46 AM by Surly1 »
"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

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Amazon deforestation is close to tipping point
« Reply #53 on: August 24, 2019, 04:27:59 AM »
Amazon deforestation is close to tipping point


Uncontacted indigenous tribe in the brazilian state of Acre. Credit: Gleilson Miranda

Deforestation of the Amazon is about to reach a threshold beyond which the region's tropical rainforest may undergo irreversible changes that transform the landscape into degraded savanna with sparse, shrubby plant cover and low biodiversity. This warning derives from an editorial published in the journal Science Advances co-authored by Thomas Lovejoy, a professor at George Mason University in the United States, and Carlos Nobre, chair of Brazil's National Institute of Science & Technology (INCT) for Climate Change.

"The Amazon system is close to a tipping point," Lovejoy said. According to the authors, since the 1970s, when studies conducted by Professor Eneas Salati demonstrated that the Amazon generates approximately half of its own rainfall, the question has been raised of how much would be required to degrade the region's hydrological cycle to the point at which it would be unable to support rainforest ecosystems. The first models developed to answer this question showed that the tipping point would be reached if approximately 40 percent of the region were deforested. In this case, central, southern and eastern Amazonia would experience diminished rainfall and a lengthier . Moreover, the vegetation in the southern and eastern parts of the region would become similar to savanna.

In recent decades, new factors in addition to deforestation have affected the hydrological cycle. These factors include and indiscriminate use of fire by agriculturists during the dry season to eliminate felled trees and clear areas for crops or pasture. The combination of these three factors indicates a shift to non-forest ecosystems in the eastern, southern and central portions of the Amazon region at between 20 percent and 25 percent deforestation, according to the authors.

The calculation derives from a study published in 2016 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and conducted by Nobre and other researchers at the INPE, the National Space Research Institute (from which Nobre is a retired researcher), the Natural Disaster Surveillance & Early Warning Center (CEMADEN) and the University of Brasília (UnB). "Although we don't know the exact tipping point, we estimate that the Amazon is very close to this irreversible limit," Nobre said. "Deforestation of the Amazon has already reached 20 percent, equivalent to 1 million square kilometers, although 15 percent [150,000 km²] is recovering."

According to the researchers, the mega-droughts of 2005, 2010 and 2015-16 could well represent the first signs that this tipping point is about to be reached. These events, together with major floods in 2009, 2012 and 2014, suggest the entire Amazon system is oscillating. "Human action intensifies the disturbances to the region's hydrological cycle," Nobre said.

"If there were no human activity in the Amazon, a megadrought would cause the loss of a certain number of trees, but they would grow back in a year with abundant rainfall, restoring the forest to equilibrium. When you have a megadrought combined with widespread use of fire, the forest's capacity for regeneration diminishes."

To keep the Amazon tipping point at bay, the researchers advocate not just strict control to prevent further deforestation but also the construction of a safety margin by reducing the deforested area to less than 20 percent. For the coordinator of the FAPESP-funded institute, besides halting deforestation completely in the Amazon, Brazil must fulfill its 2015 Paris Accord undertaking to reforest 12 million hectares nationwide by 2030, with the Amazon accounting for 5 million hectares.

"If deforestation is brought to a full stop in the Amazon and Brazil fulfills its reforestation commitment, totally deforested areas will account for approximately 16 percent-17 percent of the Amazon by 2030," Nobre said.

"We'd be very close to the threshold but with a safety margin so that deforestation alone doesn't take the biome beyond the tipping point."

"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

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MASSIVE GLACIER COLLAPSE Caught on Camera! (Ilulissat, Greenland)
« Reply #54 on: August 27, 2019, 06:14:18 PM »
MASSIVE GLACIER COLLAPSE Caught on Camera! (Ilulissat, Greenland)

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/yQqbg0yItqY" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/yQqbg0yItqY</a>

Icebergs breaking from the Ilulissat Glacier are often up to 3,000 feet in height (1 km) and thus too tall to float down the fjord and lie stuck on the bottom of its shallower areas, sometimes for years, until they are broken up by the force of the glacier and icebergs further up the fjord.
Ilulissat Icefjord drains 6.5% of the Greenland ice sheet and produces around 10% of all Greenland icebergs. Some 35 billion tonnes of icebergs calve off and pass out of the fjord every year. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jakobsh...)

The calving event has been filmed by Bo Baake.
 © Bo Baake / Licet Studios | To license this video, visit https://licetstudios.com/videos or email licensing@licetstudios.com.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yQqbg0yItqY&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwAR1p8v1P-ToUKmH_872C4XlAfxbzXo5kbAHNdUoWeAOg_eYlBn7801AsUoU
"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

Offline azozeo

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Re: MASSIVE GLACIER COLLAPSE Caught on Camera! (Ilulissat, Greenland)
« Reply #55 on: August 27, 2019, 06:47:12 PM »
MASSIVE GLACIER COLLAPSE Caught on Camera! (Ilulissat, Greenland)

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/yQqbg0yItqY" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/yQqbg0yItqY</a>

Icebergs breaking from the Ilulissat Glacier are often up to 3,000 feet in height (1 km) and thus too tall to float down the fjord and lie stuck on the bottom of its shallower areas, sometimes for years, until they are broken up by the force of the glacier and icebergs further up the fjord.
Ilulissat Icefjord drains 6.5% of the Greenland ice sheet and produces around 10% of all Greenland icebergs. Some 35 billion tonnes of icebergs calve off and pass out of the fjord every year. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jakobsh...)

The calving event has been filmed by Bo Baake.
 © Bo Baake / Licet Studios | To license this video, visit https://licetstudios.com/videos or email licensing@licetstudios.com.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yQqbg0yItqY&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwAR1p8v1P-ToUKmH_872C4XlAfxbzXo5kbAHNdUoWeAOg_eYlBn7801AsUoU

That's Impressive.
I know exactly what you mean. Let me tell you why you’re here. You’re here because you know something. What you know you can’t explain, but you feel it. You’ve felt it your entire life, that there’s something wrong with the world.
You don’t know what it is but its there, like a splinter in your mind

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The Entire Global Economy Is Complicit In The Destruction Of The Amazon
« Reply #56 on: August 30, 2019, 04:10:26 AM »
The Entire Global Economy Is Complicit In The Destruction Of The Amazon
Hundreds of global corporations have promised to help limit deforestation. None of them is meeting that goal.




Name any fast-food restaurant, personal care product or home good you have bought recently, and chances are it contributed to the deforestation of the Amazon. Now name a big bank ― any big bank, really. More than likely it has helped finance that destruction. 

Furniture companies like IKEA and La-Z-Boy, and footwear giants like Nike, Adidas and New Balance, are customers of Chinese manufacturers that source leather from Brazilian cattle ranches. Palm oil, produced in Brazil and elsewhere, is used in everything from pizza dough and ice cream to lipstick and shampoo. Soy, paper and wood products that come directly from the Amazon are omnipresent. 

It’s not hard to pinpoint our unquenchable thirst for cattle, soy, timber, palm oil and other commodities as the main driver of Amazonian deforestation and the underlying cause of the record number of fires this year. 

What’s more difficult is figuring out what to do about it. The sheer scale of the global economy and the complexity of the supply chains and financial systems that make it work mean that nearly every company, corporation and banking and investment institution on the planet is complicit in the destruction of the Amazon and other forest ecosystems around the world. 

Although hundreds of companies have made high-profile public commitments to combating deforestation, none is doing enough to actually limit ― much less end ― the practice. 

“It’s very challenging to live your day without touching deforestation,” said Stephen Donofrio, a senior adviser at Forest Trends, a nonprofit that tracks corporate deforestation.

The world loses 30 football fields of trees to deforestation every minute, but few places highlight the problem quite like the Amazon, a rainforest that has been the subject of extensive global attention and protectionist efforts from past Brazilian leaders and conservation groups for decades. 

Far-right President Jair Bolsonaro has reversed many gains made under past administrations. Since taking office in January, he has gutted Brazil’s environmental agencies and moved to strip protections from the Amazon and indigenous land there. But he has not acted alone: A vast network of U.S. and European corporations, backed by large financial institutions and supplied by smaller Brazilian companies, farmers and ranchers, are also playing a part, as the environmental nonprofit Amazon Watch highlighted in an April report.  

Cattle in confined feed lots in a deforested Amazonian area in Brazil&rsquo;s central state of Para on May 3, 2009. Soon thou
Cattle in confined feed lots in a deforested Amazonian area in Brazil’s central state of Para on May 3, 2009. Soon thousands of cows will graze on the freshly cleared land in Para.

The Amazon Watch report named the world’s largest soy trading companies ― Archer-Daniels-Midland, Bunge, Cargill and Louis Dreyfus, known collectively as the ABCDs ― along with smaller, lesser-known corporations linked to timber, beef and palm oil production that had helped spur deforestation. 

In 2014, Cargill was among the hundreds of global companies that pledged to limit its effect on global forests, including the Amazon, by refusing to purchase commodities from suppliers that deforested the land to produce them. This year, it has touted its efforts to build “deforestation-free supply chains” by 2030 and said it would no longer rely on suppliers that violated that aim. 

But in June, Cargill told Brazilian farmers that it opposed a moratorium on soy production in the Cerrado, a savannah region of Brazil, a priority for environmental groups that had already helped establish a similar moratorium in the Amazon more than a decade ago. Cargill’s justification was that other companies and suppliers would continue producing soy and destroying forests even if it stopped; indeed, other soy giants had also resisted the moratorium. 

Instead, the company committed to spending $30 million to fund new ideas to meet its goal of limiting deforestation, but environmental groups have criticized the company for its inability to choose between its destructive suppliers and its sustainability goals, which Cargill has admitted it is still not on track to meet.

Cargill declined to comment and referred HuffPost to the Brazilian Association of Vegetable Oil Industries, or ABIOVE, which represents its industry in Brazil.

ABIOVE responded late Wednesday that “it is a mistake to affirm that soy crop is a driver of deforestation,” noting that soybean production is occurring in “only 1.14%” of the entire Amazon biome. The statement also said, in part:

“Brazilian environmental legislation is one of the strictest and most complete on the world. The challenge is to prove that this legislation is, in fact, complied and monitored. So, ABIOVE will continue committed not to trade soy produced on properties with deforested areas, or those embargoed by environmental monitoring entities.”

Together, soy and cattle production accounts for almost 80% of Amazon deforestation, and the April report pointed, too, to Brazilian meat giants, such as JBS, a company that also operates in the U.S. and Europe and, together with two other Brazilian corporations, is responsible for roughly 70% of Brazil’s beef exports to the United States and Europe. 

JBS faced millions of dollars in fines for buying cattle raised on protected lands in 2017, and earlier this year, it was among the Brazilian meat companies linked to similar practices in a joint investigation published by The Guardian, Repórter Brasil and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.

The financial institutions that provide financing to those companies are also responsible. 

BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, is a “key financier of the agribusiness giants most implicated in deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon,” the report said, noting that it holds more than $2.5 billion worth of shares in Brazil’s largest agribusiness companies.

BlackRock CEO Laurence Fink, the report noted, has earned the reputation as “the conscience of Wall Street” for his public positioning of the company as one committed to sustainability. At the same time, it remains “the common denominator in the financing of some of the most destructive industries on the planet,” said Christian Porier, a program director at Amazon Watch and the lead author of the April report. (Amazon Watch launched a campaign against BlackRock this year, seeking to “hold it accountable.”)

BlackRock, according to the report, has provided financing to both Cargill and Bunge, both of which faced fines from the Brazilian government last year for purchasing grain linked to illegal deforestation. Both companies disputed the fines and said they had complied with the law. 

In a lengthy email statement that never mentioned the Amazon, BlackRock spokesman Farrell Denby said the the majority of the company’s holdings are held through index and exchange-traded funds that are selected by its investor clients and that its “obligation as an asset manager and a fiduciary is to manage our clients’ assets consistent with their investment priorities.” He said BlackRock encourages clients “to adopt the robust business practices consistent with sustainable long-term performance” and, when it has concerns, stands “ready to vote against proposals from management or the board.” Denby did not respond to a question about whether BlackRock is taking any steps in light on the record number of fires in the rainforest.

Banks including Santander, JPMorgan Chase and Barclay’s have also provided financing to JBS, according to the report. Other large financial institutions, including HSBC, Morgan Stanley, Bank of America and Credit Suisse, have underwritten Marfrig and Minerva, two other large beef companies based in Brazil, over the last five years, the report said.

Many of the world’s largest banks, especially those based in Europe and the United States, have in recent years announced plans to reduce their financing of companies linked to deforestation. In 2017, for instance, HSBC implemented a “no deforestation” policy in response to a Greenpeace report that linked the bank to more than $16 billion in investments into firms accused of illegally deforesting land. Barclay’s and Credit Suisse were among a group of financial institutions that in 2014 committed to reaching zero net deforestation, meaning they’d help mitigate the loss by replanting elsewhere. 

Marfrig, meanwhile, has touted its compliance with Amazon conservation standards but has been linked to ranchers and beef suppliers who have recently faced fines for illegal deforestation from Brazil’s environmental ministry. 

A truck transports logs that were illegally extracted from Amazon rainforest on Tuesday.
A truck transports logs that were illegally extracted from Amazon rainforest on Tuesday.

But that highlights a larger issue with corporate efforts to limit their destructive practices: Though they claim to meet sustainability standards, they often only account for the practices of their immediate partners and don’t take responsibility for what happens further down the supply chain. 

Many companies “can demonstrate [compliance] in terms of their primary suppliers, but...their supply chain due diligence ends there,” Porier said. 

That isn’t always a result of nefarious practices. Companies often simply don’t have the information they need to get on board with efforts to better protect ecosystems like the Amazon, said Michael Coe, an earth system scientist and director of the Amazon program at Woods Hole Research Center in Massachusetts.  

“We have to think about all the different players and ask what levers are there that we can try to apply to reduce the demand to deforest,” he said. 

Intact ecosystems are becoming increasingly key. The United Nations warned in a report this month that unsustainable land use has helped drive atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations to their highest levels in human history and devastated natural buffers against planetary warming. And even before the U.N.’s warnings turned increasingly urgent, the global environmental crisis had led to an increased focus on sustainable products from consumers and corporations alike. 

Whether the cause is a lack of information or a drive for profits, there remains a significant gap between what companies say they are doing to combat deforestation and what they’re actually accomplishing when it comes to limiting it.

In 2014, hundreds of companies pledged to eliminate deforestation from their supply chains and financial portfolios by 2020. But less than six months before that deadline arrives, not a single one of them is on track to meet the goal, according to Global Canopy, a British nonprofit that tracks more than 500 companies and financial institutions that put forests at risk through their reliance on or financing of commodity-rich supply chains. 

The Carbon Disclosure Project, another British nonprofit, has attempted to persuade corporations to be more transparent about their environmentally destructive practices in an effort to improve them. 

But more than 70% of the 1,500 companies it asked to disclose information on timber, palm oil, cattle and soy production in 2018 didn’t share data, and more than 350 of them ― including companies like Dominos Pizza and Mondelez, the Illinois-based food company whose top brands include Oreo, Nabisco and Kraft Foods ― haven’t disclosed information in any of the last three years.  

Nearly 25% of the companies that did share data said they have taken no action at all to limit their effect on deforestation or have moved to address it on only one of the four commodity groups. The survey also showed that a third of the responding companies had yet to start working with suppliers to limit deforestation.

More than half of the 865 companies whose practices risk contributing to deforestation have committed to relying on sustainable commodities, Forest Trends said in a June report

But it found than less than 10% of them have committed to net-zero deforestation, and fewer than a third of those have reported making substantive progress toward the goal. 

“Despite the commitments that have been made,” Global Canopy said in its annual “Forest 500” report, “evidence shows that rates of commodity-driven deforestation have not decreased.”

"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

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Rising sea levels and catastrophic storm surges could displace 280m people
« Reply #57 on: August 30, 2019, 04:19:12 AM »
Climate crisis: Rising sea levels and catastrophic storm surges could displace 280m people, UN warns
IPCC draft report is fourth to call for radical action to tackle environmental disaster




The damage caused by catastrophic “superstorms” combined with rising sea levels could increase by a hundred-fold or more, displacing hundreds of millions of people from coastlines around the world unless more is done to limit greenhouse gas emissions, according to a draft report by the United Nations.

According to French news agency AFP, which said it had obtained a copy of the report, the document outlines a grim scenario in which the warming oceans are “poised to unleash misery on a global scale”, with declining fish stocks, the melting of sea ice and glaciers, and increasing levels of human displacement.

Unless there are serious cuts to man-made greenhouse gas emissions, at least 30 per cent of the northern hemisphere’s surface permafrost could melt within just 80 years, the report warns.

his melt would unleash billions of tonnes of carbon stored in what are currently permafrost areas, which will accelerate rates of global warming even more.

The upshot would be warming seas and rising coastlines, which could immediately threaten 280 million people, the document says.

The findings come from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and is a “special report” on oceans and the Earth’s frozen zones, known as the cryosphere.

It is the fourth report in the last year to be published by the organisation examining the impacts of the unfolding climate crisis, with the other three examining issues including declines in biodiversity, forest management and food, and how the effects of a 1.5C increase in average global temperatures since pre-industrialisation will be felt.

All of the reports warn major change is required to avert disaster.

The warning comes as MPs and scientists have warned the UK is already on track to miss its environmental goals, including a government pledge to reach net zero emissions by 2050.

Last week a report from the Science and Technology Select Committee said efforts to reduce emissions have been undermined by “unacceptable” cutbacks and delays, meaning we face “dire consequences”.

And on Thursday, the government’s chief environment scientist said the UK cannot hit its net zero emissions goal while ministers are fixed on economic growth as measured by GDP.

Globally, many countries are also dragging their heels on putting policy in place to tackle emissions.

The US – the second biggest contributor of CO2 – is exiting the Paris agreement on climate change, under Donald Trump’s leadership.

China – the world’s biggest polluter – is making strong progress in renewable technologies, but has relaxed air pollution controls and coal use is creeping upwards.

In India, an enormous drive to open coal power plants is underway, though the country is also increasingly relying on solar-generated electricity.

And in the EU, progress towards a mid-century net zero goal is slow due to some member states’ reluctance to vote for policies legally requiring them to reduce emissions.

The Paris agreement called on all countries to work to ensure average global temperature rises remain “well below” 2C warmer than the world was before the industrial revolution.

Michael Mann, director of the Earth System Science Centre at Pennsylvania State University told AFP one of the key problems was the idea humanity can overcome any problems resulting from sea-level rises.

“There is a pervasive thread in the US right now, promoted by techno-optimists who think we can engineer our way out of this problem,” he said.

“But the US is not ready for a metre of sea level rise by 2100.

“Just look at what happened in the wake of superstorm Sandy, Katrina, in Houston, or Puerto Rico.”

The IPCC’s Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate is due to be published on 25 September.

The Independent has contacted the IPCC for comment.
"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

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Amazon Forests Vanish at Breakneck Speed. It’s Not Just in Brazil.
« Reply #58 on: August 31, 2019, 09:57:19 AM »
Amazon Forests Vanish at Breakneck Speed. It’s Not Just in Brazil.



Amazon Forests Vanish at Breakneck Speed. It’s Not Just in Brazil.

Cris Bouroncle/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Three years of relative peace with rebels in Colombia has opened once-forbidding jungles to settlers. Illegal gold mining is fueling forest loss in Peru. Cattle ranchers in Bolivia are razing rainforest to meet beef demand in China.

Deforestation at breakneck rates is depleting vast expanses of Amazon forest contained in South American countries neighboring Brazil. Forest loss in those nations, which host roughly 40 percent of the Amazon, underscores how the fires now ravaging parts of Brazil and provoking global alarm are just one piece of a broader regional crisis.

The push by land speculators, ranchers and miners into forests around the Amazon basin also shows how advances in political stability and economic integration can drive deforestation, especially when safeguards remain weak.

“We’ve gone in Colombia from gunpoint conservation under the guerrillas to a massive deforestation spike,” said Liliana Dávalos, a field biologist at Stony Brook University who estimated that deforestation climbed 50 percent from 2017 to 2018 in Colombian national parks formerly controlled by armed rebels.

Federico Rios Escobar for The New York Times

Fears of renewed fighting in Colombia flared this week, when a former commander of the country’s largest rebel group said the government had reneged on the terms of a 2016 peace deal. The commander, who played an important part in peace talks, issued a new call to arms that could threaten the deal.

The potential for the guerrillas to regroup is one factor that environmental leaders are analyzing in Colombia, where decades of internal war had kept some forested areas off limits to settlement.

For now Colombia is emblematic of rising deforestation in South America. Its loss of about 490,000 acres last year was one of the highest annual rates Colombia had ever seen, government statistics show. Land grabs and crop cultivation for illegal drugs are among the factors driving deforestation.

But scientists say the deforestation was primarily set off by demobilization of the main rebel group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or the FARC, as a result of the 2016 peace deal.

Office of the Colombian Presidency

Before the agreement was reached, the FARC strictly enforced limits on fires used to clear lands under the group’s control. The rebels maintained the forest cover to protect encampments from aerial bombing and drone surveillance.

With that motivation gone, members of illegal armed groups and some former FARC guerrillas themselves are racing to occupy lands by clearing forest, according to a report by the Inter-American Dialogue, a Washington policy group.

[Colombia’s peace deal promised a new era after 50 years of war. Now, rebels are rearming.]

Land speculation is fueling much of the rush in Colombia, with developers benefiting from an incomplete land registry, shadowy methods for obtaining land titles and low taxes on cleared land.

“Part of the deforestation problem is that the state doesn’t respond fast enough,” said Humberto Sánchez, mayor of San Vicente de Caguán, a onetime haven for the FARC in southern Colombia that is now surrounded by deforestation areas.

“Military and judicial authorities delay taking action, then comes the enforcement,” Mr. Sánchez continued. “But by that time, the damage is done.”

Colombia’s government contends that it has taken steps to curb some of the forest loss: expanding Chiribiquete, a large national park; forging greater cooperation between indigenous peoples and the National Park Service; and deploying army units to crack down on illegal clearing.

Colombia’s meteorological institute said that the deforestation rate, while high, actually slowed slightly last year compared with 2017. Still, the rate was 59 percent higher in 2018 than 2015, the year before the FARC demobilized.

Some of Colombia’s recent measures to preserve the Amazon drew inspiration from Brazil, which pioneered developing-world strategies to protect tropical forests and reduced deforestation rates by about 80 percent from 2004 to 2012.

Joshua Stevens/NASA Earth Observatory

The relaxation of protections in 2012 under the leftist Workers’ Party led deforestation to climb again in Brazil. During the tenure of President Jair Bolsonaro, a right-wing nationalist whose foreign minister says climate change is a Marxist plot, forest protection agencies have been gutted.

Mr. Bolsonaro’s aggressive weakening of forest protections seems to be influencing officials in neighboring countries, just as Brazil’s previous leadership on the environment did. The governor of one Colombian province where deforestation has skyrocketed, for instance, has called for cattle raising to more than double.

President Ivan Duque of Colombia and President Martín Vizcarra of Peru are organizing a summit meeting next week of the leaders of Amazon nations to coordinate protection strategies. It was unclear whether Brazil would participate in the meeting, to be held in the Colombian city of Leticia.

Venezuela, which has endured a severe economic crisis, has a relatively low deforestation rate compared with other countries sharing the Amazon forest. “Deforestation levels dropped the past two years, but could be in danger of rebounding amid Venezuela’s instability,” said Matt Piotrowski, a senior analyst at Climate Advisers, a Washington policy group.

Rodrigo Abd/Associated Press

In Peru, where the Amazon constitutes about 60 percent of the country’s territory, political tensions over forest protections have been intensifying.

The government curbed the independence of Peru’s forestry auditor in December, drawing accusations that it was violating commitments made in a 2007 trade deal with the United States. The move prompted a rare threat of sanctions by the Trump administration over environmental degradation.

In April, Peru reversed course and restored the forestry agency’s independence. Still, the country is grappling with deforestation driven by a growth in the production of coca, the plant used to make cocaine, and illegal gold mining.

The spread of small-scale mines in Peru has destroyed about 170,000 acres in just five years, according to a 2018 study by researchers from Wake Forest University.

Cris Bouroncle/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Responding to deforestation in the Peruvian province of Madre de Dios, President Vizcarra declared a state of emergency in the region in February and deployed 1,500 police officers and soldiers to crack down on illegal mines.

Luis Hidalgo, the governor of Madre de Dios, said in a telephone interview that his government was also struggling to respond to fires now burning in remote parts of the region.

“We are not prepared to respond to a fire of great magnitude,” he said, emphasizing that the entire province had only one firefighting unit, and it was based in the capital, Puerto Maldonado.

Mr. Hidalgo added that the fires in his region involved internal migration driven by economics: Settlers from the highlands had moved to lowlands for greater opportunities and, once there, had set fires to plant crops on small plots of land.

Juan Karita/Associated Press

Environmental leaders in Peru are also bracing for the effects of the Interoceanic Highway. The project, intended to foster greater trade between Peru and Brazil, is already fueling forest loss in adjacent areas now open to farming.

Agriculture and ranching are also producing a surge in deforestation in Bolivia, where President Evo Morales has made expanding the country’s agricultural frontier a priority, sometimes by distributing land to farmers.

The opening of China’s beef market to Bolivian exporters is thought to be driving some of the forest loss this year as ranchers seek pastures for expanding herds. After trying to play down fires in the Amazon, Mr. Morales shifted his position last weekend and sent soldiers to fight them.

And on Tuesday Mr. Morales said his government had suspended land sales in Chiquitania, the region hit by fires this month. Still, the blazes provided an opening to political rivals and environmental groups critical of Mr. Morales.

“Let’s be clear: This is no natural disaster,” said Carlos Mesa, a leading opposition candidate who is running for president against Mr. Morales. “These fires were caused by Evo Morales and his policies.”

Researchers are just beginning to reckon with the consequences of this year’s fires. From January through July, deforestation and subsequent fires in the Brazilian Amazon released between 115 and 155 million tons of climate-warming carbon dioxide emissions, according to an analysis released Friday.

The amount is roughly equal to the total annual carbon dioxide emissions for the state of North Carolina, according to Wayne Walker, an associate scientist at the Woods Hole Research Center, who led the analysis. In the Brazilian Amazon alone from Jan. 1 through Aug. 14, people have deforested an area almost equal to the size of Rhode Island, the research center said.

Susan Abad contributed reporting from Bogotá, Colombia, Andrea Zarate from Lima, Peru, and Kendra Pierre-Louis from New York.

A version of this article appears in print on , Section A, Page 11 of the New York edition with the headline: Amazon Forests Vanishing Fast, Not Just in Brazil. Order Reprints | Today’s Paper | Subscribe
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Mekong water levels reach low record
« Reply #59 on: September 03, 2019, 04:40:47 AM »
Mekong water levels reach low record



Vientiane, Lao PDR, 18 July 2019 – The Mekong water levels during this early flood season from June to July are among the lowest on record, falling below their historical long-term minimum levels. But the situation is expected to get better at the end of July.

From the upper reaches of the lower Mekong basin in Thailand’s Chiang Saen to Lao PDR’s Luang Prabang and Vientiane and further down to Thailand’s Nong Khai and Cambodia’s Neak Luong, the water levels are all below those that occurred in 1992, which was by far the year with the lowest flow on record.

For example, the current water level in Chiang Saen, 2.10 meters, is 3.02m lower than its long-term average – the average water level measured over 57 years (1961-2018) – over the same period. It is about 0.75m lower than the minimum level ever recorded. Between 14 June and 18 July this year, there was also a drop of 0.97m at this station.

In Vientiane, the water is 0.70m or 5.54m below its long-term average over the same period. It is about 1.36m lower than the minimum level. Between 16 June and 18 July, there was a drop of 5.58m at the station

Water level in Vientiane

Water level hydrograph in Vientiane of Lao PDR on 18 July.


The water in Kratie, 9.31m, is about 5.40m below its long-term average. But it is about 0.16m higher than the minimum level ever recorded. Between 10 June and 18 July, there was a drop of about 0.38m at the station.

Although the relatively rapid and sustained decrease in water levels and discharge from June to July 2019 has been unprecedented, it does not reflect the natural recession of the seasonal flows when during this period the water should be slowly increasing.

According to the Mekong River Commission’s (MRC) analysis and available information, some key factors have contributed to the current state of what is described as the “regional low flow” of the Mekong river basin.

There has been very deficient rainfall over the Mekong basin since the beginning of this year. In the upper reaches of the lower Mekong basin, Chiang Sean had the lowest rainfall this June compared to the other areas downstream. Its June’s average rainfall was only about 67% of the total amount of monthly rainfall in June 2006-2018.

The average lower-than-normal rain volume in the lower Mekong basin during June-July could also cause the deficient groundwater in the region. This means there is insufficient groundwater contributing to the Mekong mainstream.

The amount of water flowing from the upper part of the basin, where the Mekong is known as Lancang, could also be a potential contribution of the low flow. According to the notification from China, starting from 5 to 19 July the amount of water flowing out from the Jinghong dam in Yunnan province would be fluctuating from 1,050 – 1,250 cubic meters per second (m3/s) to 504 – 600 m3/s due to “grid maintenance”.

Besides, the drier-than-average conditions are expected in July over parts of the southern ASEAN region. Thailand, Lao PDR and Myanmar are some of the countries that would be hit, according to the Asian Specialized Meteorological Center (ASMC).

But the current state of the lower water in the basin is anticipated to improve at the end of this month, with rain in the forecast.

According to the ASMC, wetter-than-average conditions may develop over parts of the region between the Indian and Pacific Oceans and eastern Mekong sub-region, including the four lower Mekong countries plus Myanmar.

More information about water levels on the Mekong mainstream can be found at: http://ffw.mrcmekong.org/bulletin_wet.php.

Note to editors:

The MRC is an intergovernmental organization for regional dialogue and cooperation in the lower Mekong river basin, established in 1995 based on the Mekong Agreement between Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Viet Nam. The organization serves as a regional platform for water diplomacy as well as a knowledge hub of water resources management for the sustainable development of the region. Both China and Myanmar are Dialogue Partners of the MRC.

"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

 

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