Saturday, July 30, 2016

"Earthlings, Half Your Planet's Biodiversity Now Unsafe"







Biodiversity is below safe levels across more than half of world's land – study


Habitat destruction has reduced the variety of plants and animals to the point that ecological systems could become unable to function properly, with risks for agriculture and human health, say scientists

Enormous swaths of dry forest in Paraguay’s sparsely populated Chaco Boreal region have been cleared for cattle ranching

 Enormous swaths of dry forest in Paraguay’s sparsely populated Chaco Boreal region have been cleared for cattle ranching. Photograph: Planet


The variety of animals and plants has fallen to dangerous levels across more than half of the world’s landmass due to humanity destroying habitats to use as farmland, scientists have estimated.
The unchecked loss of biodiversity is akin to playing ecological roulette and will set back efforts to bring people out of poverty in the long term, they warned.
Analysing 1.8m records from 39,123 sites across Earth, the international study found that a measure of the intactness of biodiversity at sites has fallen below a safety limit across 58.1% of the world’s land.
Under a proposal put forward by experts last year, a site losing more than 10% of its biodiversity is considered to have passed a precautionary threshold, beyond which the ecosystem’s ability to function could be compromised.



Coup d'├ętat Attempt: Turkey's Reichstag Fire?

The damage that was inflicted on the parliament building in Ankara was huge reminiscent of the Reichstag fire in Germany in 1933. The Reichstag fire marked the end of basic freedoms and critical thinking in Germany. 


Greenpeace: 'Extremely High' Jump in Post-Fukushima Radioactive Chemicals 

There is no return to normal. The vast expanse of contaminated forests and freshwater systems will remain a perennial source of radioactivity for the foreseeable future, as these ecosystems cannot simply be decontaminated.



Unicef Report Reveals 250 Million Child Victims Of War

There have not been so many children suffering the consequences of conflicts, crises and natural catastrophes since the Second World War. Some 250 million girls and boys, one in nine children, are forced to grow up in conflict zones. Even more are threatened by natural disasters such as droughts, floods and epidemics. 

Nearly 3,000 Migrants Have Died so far This Year in Mediterranean

http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Nearly-3000-Migrants-Have-Died-This-Year-in-Mediterranean-IOM-20160722-0012.html 



 Some disturbing figures about the upcoming banking crisis 

Deutsche Bank has a capital level of less that 3% (just like Lehman), and a risky asset base with derivatives exposure of more than $70 trillion, roughly the size of world GDP. Even the IMF has stated unequivocally that Deutsche Bank poses the greatest risk to global financial stability. And the IMF would be right… except for all the other banks.



Currency Crash Drives Stg to a 31 Year Low As Deutsche Bank Sinks To Lowest Level Ever

The British pound could eventually hit parity with the US dollar.  We are seeing seismic shifts on the foreign exchange market right now that will affect trillions of dollars of currency-related derivatives.  


Heat Dome Expected to Bake the United States

Forecasters expect a high pressure ridge and extreme temperatures to combine to create what is referred to as a "heat dome" over large portions of the US. A heat dome occurs when high pressure in the upper atmosphere acts as a lid, preventing hot air from escaping. The air is forced to sink back to the surface, warming even further on the way. Heat index values for parts of the U.S. are expected to reach 110 degrees or higher.


Why MainStreet Isn’t Buying Obama’s Economic Story



Last night, President Obama took the stage at the Democratic National Convention to throw his support to Hillary Clinton in her bid for the Presidency. He also took the opportunity to take a victory lap for his economic achievements while in office.
With the 2016 Presidential Election fast approaching, this was one of the final chances the President will have to try and divert attention away from Hillary’s “trustworthiness” problem following continued revelations surrounding Benghazi, email scandals and the Clinton Foundation which is now under investigation by the IRS.
The problem for the Democrats currently, following a rather severe beating at the polls during the 2012 mid-terms, is the broad loss of faith in “hope and change.” With Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton virtually tied in the majority of polls(within a margin of error), it is imperative to regain those voters. Not surprisingly, since voters tend to “vote their pocketbook,” it wasn’t surprising to hear the President spin a decisively positive economic picture during his speech.He hopes that by pointing to falling unemployment rates, economic growth and higher confidence levels; it will give voters a sense of confidence in the President’s accomplishments and be convinced the expect the same for Hillary.
The question is whether the majority of the voting public will agree with the President’s message? Let’s take a look at some charts.

Debt-GDP-072816


Thursday, July 28, 2016

Massive Methane Releases In Siberian Tundra



 Taimyr crater

Trembling tundra - the latest weird phenomenon in Siberia's land of craters



Earth is moving as 'leaking methane gas due to global warming causes surface to bubble' in a new phenomenon.


This extraordinary sight - in a video filmed of the tundra on remote Belyy Island in the Kara Sea off the Yamal Peninsula coastline - was witnessed by a scientific research expedition. Researchers Alexander Sokolov and Dorothee Ehrich spotted 15 patches of trembling or bubbling grass-covered ground.
When punctured they emitted methane and carbon dioxide, according to measurements, although so far no details have been given. The reason is as yet unclear, but one possible explanation of the phenomenon is abnormal heat that caused permafrost to thaw, releasing gases.
Alexander Sokolov said that this summer is unusually hot on the Arctic island, a sign of which is polar bears moving from the frozen sea to the island.


WATCH VIRAL VIDEO 

Amazing Methane Bubbles From Tundra


Trembling tundra - the latest weird phenomenon in Siberia's land of craters

https://youtu.be/06Xc3LtZRWo



Sections of Great Barrier Reef suffering from 'complete ecosystem collapse'

Without enough surviving corals, the fish didn’t have the shelter and food sources they needed and had died or moved elsewhere. Without many of those fish, Marshall said the coral would face a harder time recovering, since the entire ecosystem had been degraded.



How Extrajudicial Executions Became Policy in Washington 

The US has been fighting wars for almost 15 years.  As vets have returned from their tours of duty, numbers have gone into police work when weaponry, vehicles, and military equipment have poured off distant battlefields and into police departments.  And while the police were militarizing, gun companies have been marketing battlefield-style assault rifles by the millions, at the very moment when citizens can carry weapons in public.



The Trojan Drone: An Illegal Military Strategy Disguised As Technological Advance 

The technical advances embodied in drone technology distract us from a more fundamental change in military strategy. The US has now embraced extrajudicial executions on foreign soil.



More Warning Signs From China’s Economy



“Following the release of Chinese economic and money/credit data last week, there has been much confusion in the investment industry over whether or not Chinese economic growth is finally picking up. Having carefully examined all the data, we do not find evidence of a meaningful pick-up in growth.” – BCA Analytics   


More warning signs from China's economy




Another day, another warning about the state of China’s economy.
This time, the warning comes from analysts at BCA Analytics who are extremely concerned about China’s deteriorating capital spending. Specifically, BCA’s research shows that the growth rate in private fixed asset investment, excluding infrastructure, dropped to an all-time low during the first half of 2016.
Fixed asset investment growth in the manufacturing sector has fallen to 0% (year-on-year) and is about to turn negative if you take the monthly readings. The six-month moving average for the same metric has dropped to a ten-year low. Also, the six-month average of fixed asset investment in the mining sector plunged to a low of -20% in the past few months (one of the lowest levels recorded), and investment in the service sector has been bouncing around a 10-year low for much of this year.
To an extent, China has been manipulating its investment figures via the government’s fiscal/credit stimulus program. Under this program, authorities issued RMB 1.2 trillion of bonds between September 2015 and March 2016 to fund infrastructure projects, keeping infrastructure investment at very high levels. But this debt-funded building boom has only been able to take the edge off the deteriorating figures. China’s aggregate fixed asset investment growth rate has fallen to 8% this year, the lowest since 2001.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Blazing ALL-TIME Record 129F Degrees Heat Hits Middle East






Two Middle East locations hit 129 degrees, hottest ever in Eastern Hemisphere, maybe the world

The temperature in Mitribah, Kuwait, surged Thursday to a blistering 129.2 degrees (54 Celsius). And on Friday in Basra, Iraq, the mercury soared to 129.0 degrees (53.9 Celsius). If confirmed, these incredible measurements would represent the two hottest temperatures ever recorded in the Eastern Hemisphere, according to Weather Underground meteorologist Jeff Masters and weather historian Christopher Burt, who broke the news.
It’s also possible that Mitribah’s 129.2-degree reading matches the hottest ever reliably measured anywhere in the world. Both Mitribah and Basra’s readings are likely the highest ever recorded outside of Death Valley, Calif.

Death Valley currently holds the record for the world’s hottest temperature of 134.1 degrees (56.7 Celsius), set July 10, 1913. But Weather Underground’s Burt does not believe it is a credible measurement: “[T]he record has been scrutinized perhaps more than any other in the United States,” Burt wrote. “I don’t have much more to add to the debate aside from my belief it is most likely not a valid reading when one looks at all the evidence.”

Global warming hadn’t paused at all. It was just getting ready to hit the accelerator.

It is the increasing rate of emissions that indicates we are entering an increasingly rapid-change era in which each increase adds fuel onto the next. Exponentially




 The Myth of “Aggressive Russia”

The US and allies have imposed sanctions because of the Crimea decided to separate from Ukraine and rejoin Russia. Tourist cruise ships no longer stop at Crimean ports and international airlines are prohibited from flying directly to the international airport at the Crimean capital, Simferopol. Students from Crimean universities cannot transfer their academic credits to universities internationally. Despite the sanctions Crimea appears to be doing reasonably well.



Scores of City-Sized Siberian Wildfires Spew 2,500 Mile-Long Plume of Smoke 

Practically no one in the global mainstream media is talking about how Northern and Central Siberia is burning. Scores of massive fires, some the size of cities and small states, are throwing off a great pall of smoke 2,500 miles long.



US Releases Saudi Documents: 9/11 Coverup Exposed

fresh evidence of a deliberate cover up of the role played, not only by the Saudi government, but US intelligence agencies themselves, in facilitating the attacks and then covering up their real roots.


The full text




OSFI tells some banks to test for sharp drops in Vancouver, Toronto housing markets




Financial institution watchdog says the banks should stress test for 40-50% drop in housing prices


Some of Canada's banks must stress test their ability to withstand a 50 per cent drop in housing prices in Metro Vancouver area and a 40 per cent drop in the Greater Toronto Area, the country's banking regulator says.
The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions also said Tuesday that the banks must all test for a 30 per cent downturn in valuations for all other areas of the country.
The OSFI said the test doesn't apply to the Big Six banks and HSBC. An OSFI spokesperson said the regulator and the Bank of Canada work together to conduct "regular macro" stress tests on the Big Six banks, which also do their own internal testing.
The stress-test guidelines based on housing market shocks are one of two changes that OSFI made in its periodic reporting requirement for Canada's deposit-taking institutions. In past years, the banks' core capital ratios were taken into account in the stress tests. However, this year OSFI said the test must also take into account a scenario where a bank's authorized leverage ratio may be breached.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Good #News: At Least Frogs Better Able To Survive Climate Chaos



IMAGE

Frogs that can take the heat expected to fare better in a changing world


Climate change may outpace deforestation as habitat threat in tropics
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA - DAVIS
Amphibians that tolerate higher temperatures are likely to fare better in a world affected by climate change, disease and habitat loss, according to two recent studies from the University of California, Davis.
Frogs are disappearing globally, and the studies examine why some survive while others perish. The studies reveal that thermal tolerance -- the ability to withstand higher temperatures -- may be a key trait in predicting amphibian declines.
HEAT-TOLERANT FROGS ESCAPE DEADLY FUNGUS
One of the world's deadliest wildlife pandemics is caused by a fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, or Bd. The fungus is linked to several amphibian extinctions and global declines.
A study published online June 24 in the journal Ecology Letters describes how amphibians that can tolerate high temperatures are at lower risk of infection by the fungus. This is likely because Bd grows best in cool environments. Frogs with low thermal tolerances are essentially trapped in the same thermal niche as the fungus, whereas species with high thermal tolerance can escape infection.
"Our study helps us better understand who the 'winners' and 'losers' may be following infection outbreaks and why," said senior author Brian Todd, associate professor of conservation biology in the UC Davis Department of Wildlife, Fish, and Conservation Biology. "Understanding which traits make species susceptible to disease can help us better predict which species will be most affected by new disease outbreaks -- outbreaks that may be increasingly common in an age of climate change and pathogen transport facilitated by globalization."

Theresa May Shuts Climate Change Office

Less than a day after becoming the UK’s unelected PM, Theresa May closed the government’s climate change office and moved responsibility for the environment to a new Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy. The decision comes the same week as the UK's own advisers warned that the nation was not ready for the inevitable consequences of climate change.



UK poorly prepared for climate change impacts

The UK is poorly prepared for the inevitable impacts of global warming in coming decades, including deadly annual heatwaves, water shortages and difficulties in producing food


Britain Faces the Biggest Crisis of Democracy in its History

Theresa May’s new regime represents the most authoritarian, racist and austerity-obsessed government in British history. May plans to continue brutally cutting public services and basic welfare benefits that hit the poorest.



First Half of 2016 Blows Away Temperature Records

Look at the gap between slow annual growth in global heating and the extraordinary jump since October.
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/first-half-of-2016-blows-away-temperature-records



Could This Rally Be a Head-Fake?


If there's nothing supporting this rally but euphoric sentiment arising from orchestrated buying, any eruption of reality will reveal the rally as a head-fake.
Let's say you wanted to engineer a stock market rally that triggered every technical "buy" signal and wiped out those who are short the market--what would you do? First, you'd engineer a new all-time high to signal "all clear for further advances."
Then you'd crush volatility as measured by the VIX, signaling that there is nothing standing in the way of more advances.
Next, you'd engineer new highs every day for a week or more.
To do this, you'd unleash a wave of strong buying at every bit of "good news," no matter how jury-rigged, to trigger computer-trading buying: bogus earnings "beats," any M&A activity, rumors of more stimulus in Japan, a pop up in crude oil, etc.--whatever could be construed as even modestly good news.
This entire rally has an engineered feel. All the technical "buy" signals are precisely what you'd expect in a rigged rally.
The rally's strength is reminiscent of the 1999-2000 Internet-era stock market, but compare the fundamental backdrop of then and now. Back then, earnings, sales, profits and employment were all up strongly globally, and China and the emerging markets were experiencing trade-based organic (i.e. not the result of central bank stimulus) expansion.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Blistering Heat Brings Wildfires And Evacuations To California

 


California Wildfire Spreads Across 20,000 Acres, Prompting Evacuations


More than 900 firefighters were combating a wildfire across 20,000 acres in the mountains north of Los Angeles and near Big Sur on California’s coast on Saturday night, prompting the authorities to order evacuations and close roads, the United States Forest Service said on Twitter.
The evacuations encompassed about 1,500 homes, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said. One structure was reported destroyed and 100 commercial buildings were threatened. Ten percent of the fire had been contained, the Forest Service said Saturday night.
No information on injuries was immediately available.
Firefighters contended with triple-digit temperatures and winds of up to 26 miles per hour on Saturday. The weather was not expected to improve on Sunday, with hot, dry conditions and wind gusts forecast.
Images posted on Twitter showed the sky tinted orange and pink, as flames and smoke dominated the landscape.
The New York Times


The Practical Path to Reversing Climate Change

Most Australians (53%) believe there is a 50% or greater chance our way of life will end within the next 100 years, and a quarter that humans will be wiped out. These are surprisingly high estimates; no organisation would accept this level of risk. In response, 75% agreed we need to transform our worldview and way of life (an 'activist' response); 44% agreed that the world's future looks grim so we have to focus on looking after ourselves and those we love (nihilism); and 33% agreed that we are facing a final conflict between good and evil in the world (fundamentalism).



Large Sections of Greenland Covered in Melt Ponds, Dark Snow

The Earth has now warmed by more than 1 C above Preindustrial temperatures. And 1-2 C warming from this baseline in the Eemian resulted in a 10-20 foot rise in ocean levels. We’re in this temperature range now.


New Studies Show Extent of Earth's Ice Melt

This is worth watching



 George Monbiot on the current UK government

We have a environment secretary whose ideology urges her to see the environment as an impediment to profit, a communities secretary whose every fibre rebels against the planning system and an international trade secretary who used his previous post in government to connect mysteriously with American corporate lobby groups. We no longer have a climate change secretary, of any description. We have a government that treats the Earth’s systems, upon which our survival depends, as an afterthought. Or not a thought at all.
http://www.monbiot.com/2016/07/21/punishment-posting



In China meeting, G20 has chance to soothe post-Brexit jitters



Finance heads from the world's leading economies will confront fresh fears about protectionism when they meet in China this weekend, with Brexit fallout and dwindling policy options to boost global growth expected to dominate talks.

The Group of 20 finance ministers and central bankers meeting will put the spotlight on Britain's new Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, who makes his international debut at the gathering and will need to answer questions about how London will manage its exit from Europe.

Also overhanging the G20 meeting in the southwestern city of Chengdu will be Donald Trump's U.S. Presidential campaign in which protectionist themes are expected to be central, after his official nomination as the 2016 Republican candidate this week.

"(On Brexit), the focus will be on what message G20 can deliver to ease concerns," said an Asian financial official involved in G20-related issues. "We still need to remain vigilant."

The International Monetary Fund this week cut its forecast for global growth, specifically on Britain's vote to leave the European Union.

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