Bird’s Eye: While dumping 100 tonnes of iron sulphate in the ocean to see what happens may be a bad thing, it’s worth remembering that 3 million tons of oil get dumped every year in the oceans. Meanwhile a very useful New York Times article points out why pesticides aren’t a way to make money at farming (aside from all the other reasons why we might want to avoid them). Here’s a quick question: what percentage of peer-reviewed science paper question that climate change is man-made? The answer is a fairly stunning zero per cent. All such papers are PR. There isn’t any debate about climate change: there’s a power struggle between those who want to make more money, and those who don’t.
A controversial American businessman dumped around 100 tonnes of iron sulphate into the Pacific Ocean as part of a geoengineering scheme off the west coast of Canada in July, a Guardian investigation can reveal.
Lawyers, environmentalists and civil society groups are calling it a “blatant violation” of two international moratoria and the news is likely to spark outrage at a United Nations environmental summit taking place in India this week.
Satellite images appear to confirm the claim by Californian Russ George that the iron has spawned an artificial plankton bloom as large as 10,000 square kilometres. The intention is for the plankton to absorb carbon dioxide and then sink to the ocean bed – a geoengineering technique known as ocean fertilization that he hopes will net lucrative carbon credits.
* A Simple Fix for Farming New York Times
Conventional agriculture can shed much of its chemical use — if it wants to.
This was hammered home once again in what may be the most important agricultural study this year, although it has been largely ignored by the media, two of the leading science journals and even one of the study’s sponsors, the often hapless Department of Agriculture.
The study was done on land owned by Iowa State University called the Marsden Farm. On 22 acres of it, beginning in 2003, researchers set up three plots: one replicated the typical Midwestern cycle of planting corn one year and then soybeans the next, along with its routine mix of chemicals. On another, they planted a three-year cycle that included oats; the third plot added a four-year cycle and alfalfa. The longer rotations also integrated the raising of livestock, whose manure was used as fertilizer.
The results were stunning: The longer rotations produced better yields of both corn and soy, reduced the need for nitrogen fertilizer and herbicides by up to 88 percent, reduced the amounts of toxins in groundwater 200-fold and didn’t reduce profits by a single cent.
In short, there was only upside — and no downside at all — associated with the longer rotations. There was an increase in labor costs, but remember that profits were stable. So this is a matter of paying people for their knowledge and smart work instead of paying chemical companies for poisons. And it’s a high-stakes game; according to the Environmental Protection Agency, about five billion pounds of pesticides are used each year in the United States.
* Right Wing Lies That There Is A Debate On Climate Change Daily Beast
Upton Sinclair once said, “It is difficult to get a man to understand a thing when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.”
It is a measured, observable fact that the Earth’s average temperature has been rising for the last several decades. Indeed, eleven of the twelve hottest years on record occurred between 2001 and 2011. This is not a theory about why this is happening; it is a measurable—and measured—fact that it is happening.
Yet disconcertingly large numbers of people on the right seem unable to accept it: the Pew study found that only 63 percent of moderate Republicans and 49 percent of conservative Republicans believe the climate is changing, while 93 percent of those who identify as liberals (and 90 percent of moderate Democrats) believe it. What is going on?
It’s no secret that for nearly as long as scientists have spoken about climate change, energy companies have been funding conservative think tanks—CTTs in Beltway-speak—to create the impression that there is no scientific consensus on the topic…. For example, according to a 2008 study, of the 141 books denying the seriousness of environmental problems that have been published since 1972, 130 were published by CTTs or written by authors affiliated with them.
By contrast, 928 peer-reviewed articles were published in scientific journals between 1998 and 2002 adducing evidence proving the existence of human-caused climate change, and zero—zero!—were published contradicting it. If that’s not consensus, I don’t know what is. Yet it matters not a whit to the industry’s PR campaign.