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Overnight News Digest: Criminalization is being used to silence … – Daily Kos

Tonight’s news awaits your comments. Everyone is encouraged to share their 2¢ or articles, stories, and tweets. This is an open thread.
How criminalisation is being used to silence climate activists across the world
The Guardian
As wildfires and extreme temperatures rage across the planet, sea temperature records tumble and polar glaciers disappear, the scale and speed of the climate crisis is impossible to ignore. Scientific experts are unanimous that there needs to be an urgent clampdown on fossil fuel production, a major boost in renewable energy and support for communities to rapidly move towards a fairer, healthier and sustainable low-carbon future.
Many governments, however, seem to have different priorities. According to climate experts, senior figures at the UN and grassroots advocates contacted by the Guardian, some political leaders and law enforcement agencies around the world are instead launching a fierce crackdown on people trying to peacefully raise the alarm.
“These defenders are basically trying to save the planet, and in doing so save humanity,” said Mary Lawlor, the UN special rapporteur on human rights defenders. “These are people we should be protecting, but are seen by governments and corporations as a threat to be neutralised. In the end it’s about power and economics.”
Climate and environmental justice groups report a significant increase in draconian, and often arbitrary, charges for peaceful protesters as part of what they claim is a playbook of tactics to vilify, discredit, intimidate and silence activists.
Climate extremists: Protestors, or those planning to extract more oil?
I drew this picture as a reaction to media and public figures who label those who care about the climate, and by extension care about the wellbeing of people everywhere, now and in the future, as ‘extremists’, ‘eco-zealots’, or similar. It’s my view that those governments and corporations who are pressing ahead with policies that threaten our very existence are the real ‘extremists’
I know people will hold differing views on forms of protest, such as the one I’ve depicted. Is blocking a road and disrupting the public the best way to achieve your aim? How important is it to get people on your side if you want to achieve actual change? Or is the crucial thing to get people talking about it and so make sure the topic isn’t ignored? Is the best thing to do if you don’t agree with a form of protest to think of a better one? I don’t have straightforward answers for these questions, and this drawing isn’t attempting to address them…
My main point: if you’re going to go after ‘climate extremists’, make sure it’s the ones who don’t care about your children’s future, not the ones trying to do something about it.
‘We have the science on our side’: Greta Thunberg defiant as she attends court
EuroNews / APTN / Reuters
Greta Thunberg has been fined again for disobeying police at a climate protest. She was fined 4,500 krona (about €400) yesterday in Malmo District Court in Sweden. It is the second time the court has fined Thunberg, after being fined 2,500 krona (€216) in July for a similar offence. […]
Thunberg, 20, admitted to the facts but denied guilt, saying the fight against the fossil fuel industry was a form of self-defense due to the existential and global threat of the climate crisis.
”We have the science on our side and we have morality on our side. Nothing in the world can change that and so it is. I am ready to act based on the conditions that exist and whether it leads to more sentences,” she said after the verdict
Why Australia’s answer to Greta Thunberg is facing years behind bars
SBS News
[…] Matilda Lane-Rose … has become a prominent young climate activist, and the university student, now 19, faces a charge of conspiracy to commit an indictable offence. She’s also been slapped with a violence restraining order, had her home raided and possessions seized and been banned from associating with fellow campaigners.
These legal repercussions followed Lane-Rose being surrounded by more than a dozen counter-terrorism police as she stepped out of a car in front of energy-giant Woodside Director Meg O’Neill’s Perth home on 1 August. […]
Vietnam: Why climate activism can be a risky business
Deutsche Welle
[…] Environmentalists have said they have faced intimidation and harassment from Vietnamese authorities, and many who have challenged the government’s energy policies have ended up being sentenced to prison for “tax evasion” or “fraud” — a common tactic of repression by Vietnam’s communist government.
Ngo Thi To Nhien, the executive director of the Hanoi-based think tank Vietnam Initiative for Energy Transition, was arrested last month for “appropriating documents,” according to a Vietnam government spokesman.
Ngo’s arrest came shortly after climate activist Hoang Thi Minh Hong was sentenced to three years in prison by a court in Ho Chi Minh City for dodging $275,000 (€259,000) in taxes related to her environmental campaign group, CHANGE.
Exclusive: Biden’s American Climate Corps sees more than 42,000 sign-ups since launch
In the three weeks since President Joe Biden announced his American Climate Corps — a new youth-oriented job program focused on training the next generation of clean energy, conservation, and resilience workers — tens of thousands of Americans have signaled their enthusiasm for the growing green economy. For those at its helm, it’s proof that a modern imagining of New Deal-era community workforces could bring us closer to a sustainable future.
According to newly released numbers, the White House has received more than 42,000 interested sign-ups for the program. More than two-thirds of respondents are between the ages of 18-35, which National Climate Adviser Ali Zaidi tells Mashable is a vindication for the Biden administration’s leap into the climate sector — and its desire to build space for America’s younger generations.
“All across the country, young people want to be part of the solution. They want to be part of physically building the clean energy economy. They want skills that catapult them into careers in this new and growing clean energy economy,” said Zaidi.
Forty percent of Antarctica’s ice shelves are shrinking, worrying scientists (alt link)
The Washington Post
More than 40 percent of Antarctica’s ice shelves have dwindled in the past 25 years, potentially accelerating sea level rise by allowing more land ice to flow into the ocean, according to new research released Thursday. The extent of ice shelves thinning is more widespread than previously thought, the results show, providing increasing evidence that the continent is feeling the effects of higher global temperatures.
“The surprising result to me was just how many ice shelves are deteriorating that substantially and continuously,” said Benjamin Davison, lead author of the study. “Lots of ice shelves, not just the big ones, are steadily losing mass over time with no sign of recovery.” […]
The thinning of the ice shelves has shown up in the surrounding environment, too. Over the 25-year study period, the team estimated, 66.9 trillion tons of fresh water from the ice shelves entered the ocean. The fresh water can dilute the saltier ocean water and make it lighter, weakening ocean circulation — a change that researchers have already observed around Antarctica.
Where’s All the Antarctic Sea Ice? Annual Peak Is the Lowest Ever Recorded.
The New York Times
Winter is over in the Southern Hemisphere and sea ice around Antarctica has likely grown as much as it’s going to for 2023, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center. Antarctic sea ice reached its lowest peak by a wide margin for any year since 1979, when the continuous satellite record began.
“The ice this year is so far out of the range of all the other years that it’s a really exceptional year,” said Ariaan Purich, a climate scientist at Monash University in Australia.
By Sept. 10, sea ice had grown to cover 6.5 million square miles around the continent, or just under 17 million square kilometers. The difference this year from the 1981 to 2010 average is an area roughly the size of Alaska. […]
This year’s trends might continue into 2024 thanks to the potential of what’s known as a positive feedback loop. 
Extreme weather leading to food and water shock
Lloyd’s (of London)
Picture the scene: Extreme weather events and natural disasters linked to the changing climate begin to occur with greater frequency and severity. This series of major weather events leads to a below average crop yield for major producers. The scarcity of staples leads to massive shocks in dependent industries, and an international scramble for supplies. […]
World food and water systems are also under chronic pressure from global population growth and shifting consumption patterns. The system is vulnerable to acute disruption, due to its globalised and interconnected supply chains. Sudden systemic shocks from catastrophic weather events would cause significant disruption to businesses and communities around the world. […]
Without collaboration, protection and risk mitigation, the potential impacts of extreme and systemic weather events could prove devastating to the global economy. Our ‘Extreme weather leading to food and water shortage’ scenario uses modelling and analysis to expose the potential cost of a weather and food event unfolding over the next five years…
The scenario we describe is not a prediction; it is an exploration of what might happen based on past events and scientific, social and economic theory.
Record North Atlantic heat sees phytoplankton decline, fish shift to Arctic
The verdict is in: Global sea temperatures shattered new heat records in 2023, with anomalous warmth erupting in the Northeast Atlantic Ocean in a year that also saw numerous record-setting extreme terrestrial heat waves, droughts, floods and wildfires on five continents.
According to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), North Atlantic waters reached a high of 24.9° Celsius (76.82° Fahrenheit) in July — where an annual peak isn’t usually reached until early September, worrying the scientific community about repercussions for aquatic life. July’s record high was more than 1°C (1.8°F) warmer than the 30-year climatological normal for the North Atlantic from 1982 to 2011.
Researchers say rapid warming in the region is endangering phytoplankton — the base of the marine food chain, thus reducing food availability for species that depend on these microscopic algae to survive. A hotter North Atlantic could also be accelerating the “Atlantification” of the Arctic Ocean, as more temperate fish species move into Arctic waters to beat the heat.
Climate change, human activity causing global water cycles to become ‘increasingly erratic’: World Meteorological Organization
ABC News
Climate change and human activity are causing the world’s hydrological cycle to spin out of balance, according to a new report from the World Meteorological Organization.
Global water cycles are becoming “increasingly erratic” due to droughts, extreme rainfall and the increased melting of snow, ice and glaciers — all of which are a threat to long-term water security, the 2022 State of Global Water Resources report, released Thursday, found.
About 3.6 billion people already face inadequate access to water at least a month per year, according to the United Nations. That number is expected to increase to 5 billion by 2050, officials said.
Extreme glacier loss is occurring from the Tibetan Plateau to mountain ranges in the Himalayas, the Alps and the Andes — all of which threaten the water security for millions of people who live on the rivers supplied by the melting.
“Glaciers and ice cover are retreating before our eyes,” WMO Secretary-General Petteri Tallas said in a statement.
The Philippines’ capital is running out of water. Is building a dam the solution?
NPR News
Nestled in the Sierra Madre more than two hours outside Manila, this village is lush and green — brought to life by the Agos River, which cuts through the unforgiving terrain like a quiet, slow-moving highway.
Daraitan is a tourist village of about 5,000, where children play in the river while the adults cook fish and fix their broken karaoke machines under makeshift tents on the banks. […]
Some 40 miles downriver, the sprawling Metro Manila area and its more than 13 million people are facing a looming water shortage. It’s the result of an exploding population, human-caused climate change and, some would argue, poor planning on the part of officials over the years. The Philippine government commissioned the building of the Kaliwa Dam on the Agos River decades ago as part of a larger plan to help get more water to Manila. But construction finally broke ground last year, as officials amped up claims that the dam would alleviate water shortages that could hit the capital as early as next year. […]
Though the dam will be built more than 6 miles upriver, once completed, the new water flow will submerge Daraitan and destroy precious sacred sites in the area…
Why Climate Change Is a National Security Risk
Columbia Climate School
Climate change is affecting practically everything on Earth, from natural systems to human endeavors. National security is no exception. The National Intelligence Council has found that “climate change will increasingly exacerbate risks to U.S. national security interests as the physical impacts increase and geopolitical tensions mount about how to respond to the challenge.”­
The U.S. Defense Department recognizes that climate change is a “threat multiplier” as it exacerbates existing environmental stresses and security risks. In a 2021 Department of Defense report, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said that almost everything the U.S. Defense Department (DOD) does to defend the American people is jeopardized by climate change—the department’s strategies, plans, capabilities, missions, and equipment—and the risks are growing, especially since the world is not on track to meet its Paris Agreement goals. The risks lie not only within U.S. borders; our partner countries impacted by climate change affect American national security interests as well, he said.
Jason Bordoff, director of Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy, goes further. “DOD and the wider national security community need to broaden their definition of ‘climate risk,’” he said. “There’s been plenty of analysis conducted on the exposure and risk to military infrastructure from rising sea level, storms, etc., but there will also be less direct impacts of climate change, such as competition over critical minerals or political instability in resource-rich nations as fossil fuel use eventually dwindles.”
The Planet’s Big Blue Machine: Why the Ocean Engine Matters
Yale Environment 360
The ocean is an enormous engine, turning heat energy into motion, says physicist Helen Czerski. But human activity is threatening that machine — depriving the seas of oxygen, increasing stratification, and potentially changing the currents that influence global weather…
Czerski… says scientists have been documenting how global warming is changing the seas in ways that are transforming weather patterns worldwide and, in some cases, imperiling the agricultural systems upon which humanity depends.
[She] warned that critical ocean currents may slow down or change course as surface waters continue to warm. Oxygen levels in the sea have been declining, she said, potentially turning some parts of the sea into biological deserts. However, she remains skeptical of ambitious ocean geoengineering schemes designed to mitigate the effects of climate change, which she said risk further destabilizing a natural system that we imperfectly understand.
Amazon’s Indigenous people urge Brazil to declare climate emergency as rivers dry up
Indigenous inhabitants in the Amazon are asking the Brazilian government to declare a climate emergency as their villages have no drinking water, food or medicine due to a severe drought that is drying up rivers vital for travel in the rainforest, their leaders said on Tuesday.
The drought and heatwave has killed masses of fish in the rivers that Indigenous people live off and the water in the muddy streams and tributaries of the Amazon river has become undrinkable, the umbrella organization APIAM that represents 63 tribes in the Amazon said.
“We ask the government to declare a climate emergency to urgently address the vulnerability Indigenous peoples are exposed to,” APIAM urged in a statement released at a news conference.
The Rio Negro, Solimoes, Madeira, Jurua and Purus rivers are drying up at a record pace, and forest fires are destroying the rainforest in new areas in the lower Amazon reaches, APIAM said in a statement.
In the Amazon, millions breathe hazardous air as drought and wildfires spread through the rainforest
AP News
Thick smoke has enveloped extensive areas of the Brazilian Amazon on Thursday as the region grapples with a surge in wildfires and a historic drought.
In Manaus, a city of 2 million, air quality ranked among the worst globally, leading to the suspension of college classes and the cancellation of various activities, including an international marathon.
In the first 11 days of October, Amazonas state recorded over 2,700 fires. This is already the highest number for the month since official monitoring began in 1998. Virtually all fire is human-caused, primarily for deforestation or pasture clearance.
It’s clearer than ever that we’re pushing the Amazon rainforest to its dreaded demise
[…] The Amazon forest is dying. Decades of deforestation, wildfires, and rising temperatures are pushing the forest toward a critical threshold of destruction beyond which large parts of the rainforest will dry out and turn into a savanna, releasing massive quantities of carbon in the process.
Scientists have warned of such a tipping point for more than a decade, but new research adds a compelling line of evidence to this doomsday scenario. Most alarmingly, the study, published last week in the journal Science Advances, finds signals in real-world data that a tipping point may be approaching, due to a drop in rainfall, if high levels of deforestation continue. […]
If nothing else, the study amplifies an already-loud warning call that this iconic forest is fundamentally at risk, and its days may be limited. “It’s providing more evidence that the Amazon is losing resilience,” said Chris Boulton, a researcher at the University of Exeter who is not affiliated with the research.
If there’s any good news here, it’s that this problem is made by humans, and so it can be corrected by us, too. Bochow put the solution plainly: “Stopping deforestation now is the only way.”
Think that your plastic is being recycled? Think again.
MIT Technological Review
[…] Plastic, and the profusion of waste it creates, can hide in plain sight, a ubiquitous part of our lives we rarely question. But a closer examination of the situation can be shocking. […]
A total of 95% of the plastic used in packaging is disposed of after one use, a loss to the economy of up to $120 billion annually, concludes a report by McKinsey. (Just over a quarter of all plastics are used for packaging.) One-third of this packaging is not collected, becoming pollution that generates “significant economic costs by reducing the productivity of vital natural systems such as the ocean.” This causes at least $40 billion in damages, the report states, which exceeds the “profit pool” of the packaging industry.
These numbers are understandably hard to make concrete sense of, even at the scale of specific companies, such as Coca-Cola, which produced 3 million tons of plastic packaging in 2017. That’s the equivalent of making 200,000 bottles per minute.
Notably, what doesn’t get reused or recycled does not chemically degrade but rather becomes a fixture of our world; it breaks apart to form microplastics, pieces smaller than five millimeters in diameter. In the past few years, scientists have found significant quantities of microplastics in the further reaches of the ocean; in snow and rainfall in seemingly pristine places worldwide; in the air we breathe; and in human blood, colons, lungs, veins, breast milk, placentas, and fetuses.
How oil companies put the responsibility for climate change on consumers
The Conversation
The political response to the climate crisis remains largely inadequate… [which] can be explained, among other things, by the stranglehold of fossil fuel interests on political decision-makers, and the strong influence polluting industries have on the spheres of power in North America.
These industries use two types of discourse to secure their interests. First, they discredit and marginalize ecological issues. Just think, for example, of the actions taken by oil and gas companies against climate policies, such as in Seattle, Wash., where they hired lobbyists to torpedo pro-environmental policies adopted by the city, and simultaneously paid Instagram influencers to promote gas.
Secondly, industry acts to convince people that their polluting activities are compatible with managing the climate and environmental crises. These rebranding strategies are part of a wider objective of “greenwashing” extractive activities. Over the past three decades, the five biggest U.S. oil companies have spent more than US$3 billion on marketing and donations to boost their communications with the general public and political decision-makers.
Mercenary hackers stole data that Exxon later cited in climate lawsuits -US prosecutors
U.S. prosecutors say an Israeli private investigator used hackers to steal emails from climate activists who were campaigning against American energy giant ExxonMobil Corp.
In a sentencing memo filed on Thursday, U.S. Attorney Damian Williams, for the Southern District of New x, said Exxon’s lawyers cited media articles based on the stolen emails to parry investigations by U.S. state attorneys general.
Prosecutors stopped short of stating a connection between the Israeli private eye – former policeman Aviram Azari – and Exxon, and the memo did not identify any of his clients. Victims say that leaves a key question unanswered. […]
Seven years ago, attorneys general in New York and Massachusetts were probing Exxon for documents and other evidence showing the company had hidden its knowledge concerning the impact of fossil fuel usage on climate change. A cohort of environmental activists backed the investigations and helped organize a media campaign dubbed #ExxonKnew. […]
Exxon pushed back, filing lawsuits that cited press articles, which suggested the activists were using underhanded tactics. Thursday’s filing is the first time that Azari’s hacking activities have been directly connected to those media leaks, which showcased private email exchanges and other non-public communications.
Bradley Campbell, president of the Conservation Law Foundation, another of Azari’s victims, said the only common thread between all the victims was “advocacy to hold ExxonMobil accountable for lying.”
Exxon’s $59.5 billion deal to buy a giant shale driller is telling us something about climate change and how fast the green transition will be
Exxon Mobil has agreed to pay $59.5 billion for rival Pioneer Natural Resources in a deal that will secure the energy giant’s status as the fracking leader in the all-important —a region that stretches across West Texas and New Mexico and produces nearly 40% of all U.S. oil and 15% of all U.S. natural gas.
If the acquisition survives a federal antitrust review, it will be Exxon’s largest since it merged with Mobil in 1999. And some industry insiders argue the big move into West Texas shale is indicative of a changing outlook toward the green energy transition. […]
“This deal shows that Exxon is doubling down on fossil fuels and has no intention of moving towards clean energy,” Jamie Henn, director of Fossil Free Media, told progressive nonprofit outlet Common Dreams. “Even after the hottest summer on record, Exxon is hell-bent on driving the thermostat even higher.”
Canada could lead the world in oil production growth in 2024
CBC News
Canada’s oil production is set to jump by about 10 per cent over the next year and become one of the largest sources of increased supply around the world.
The country produces about 4.8 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude and that figure could climb by about 500,000 bpd to about 5.3 million bpd by the end of 2024, according to S&P Global Commodity Insights. That would mark an all-time high for Canadian production. […]
The oilsands represent about 11 per cent of Canada’s total greenhouse gas emissions, while the rest of the oil industry and all of the natural gas industry account for 15 per cent.
Sadly, It’s Not ‘Just Another Summer.’ We Must End the Fossil Fuel Industry | Opinion
Peter Kalmus @ Newsweek
My fellow human beings, we’re in the process of losing basically everything, as the latest data demonstrates. September was more like your average July, The Washington Post wrote on Tuesday. All that we’ve been experiencing recently—the worsening fires, smoke, heat, floods, and collapsing ecosystems—is just the beginning. This is what experiencing the early stages of Earth’s unraveling feels like. The immediate cause is the fossil fuel industry, and the overarching cause is extractive-colonial capitalism. […]
Why do I claim that we’re “in the process of losing basically everything?” Isn’t that an exaggeration?
I don’t think it’s likely that humanity will go extinct, which is why I’ve used the modifier “basically.” But I do think we are on a sociopolitical pathway—fossil fuel expansion—that will eventually end civilization as we know it, cause billions of human deaths, and further worsen widespread ecological collapse and mass extinction—damage that will take millions of years for Earth to recover from. We must get off this path, but instead, we continue to procrastinate. […]
Fossil fuel executives knew their decisions would lead to loss of habitability and death, but they made them anyway, and then colluded to block mitigating action and increase their profits. These “scorched earth” tactics are now leading to the collapse of ocean currents, the death of coral reefs and tropical forests, including the Amazon. If allowed to continue, they will lead to uninhabitable tropics, mass migration, and more frequent and severe catastrophes all over the world. Meanwhile, governments are bringing harsher charges against climate activists. In some places, they are even being murdered. Against this backdrop, climate civil disobedience is perhaps the least we can do.
Once enough of us start to fight, we will win. The only question is how long it will take to get to that point, and how much we will irreversibly lose before we do.
Oil giants unveil ‘game-ending’ strategy to kill climate cases
E&E News by Politico
The legal battle over whether cities, counties and states can hold fossil fuel companies financially accountable for heat waves, flooding and other effects of climate change is entering a critical new phase.
Since 2017, parties in the cases have squabbled over whether the lawsuits should be heard in federal or state courts. Now that federal appeals courts have agreed the cases belong before state judges — and the Supreme Court has so far declined to say otherwise — oil companies are pushing for the lawsuits to be scrapped altogether.
“This is really, ‘Does it belong in any court?’“ said Pat Parenteau, emeritus professor at Vermont Law and Graduate School. “That’s what the companies are counting on: a decision that the cases won’t be heard anywhere.”
Though previous court battles have centered on jurisdictional issues, the next phase will determine whether the cases are sufficient to proceed to discovery and trial, Parenteau said.
“It’s substantial,” he said, “and it’s potentially game-ending.”
Climate rules are coming for corporate America
NPR News
The cost of climate change is growing for companies as extreme weather disrupts manufacturing and supply chains and inflicts billions in economic losses. For the agriculture industry, the threat from rising temperatures “may be one of the greatest that we face in this lifetime,” according to Corteva, an Indiana company that makes seeds and chemicals.
But Corteva — which was previously part of DowDuPont — says it has a plan. There’s money to be made producing things like biofuels to power ships and airplanes with less climate pollution, and crops that are better at resisting diseases as the planet gets hotter…
However, that hasn’t stopped Corteva from working alongside other American companies and lobbyists to limit upcoming regulations from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that would make businesses disclose their emissions and the risks they face from climate change.
Study: Climate change to drive temperatures too hot for humans
Billions of people are at risk of temperatures exceeding survivability limits if global temperatures increase by 1°C (1.8°F) or more above current levels, a new study warns. Even young, healthy people could find it unbearably hot during part of the year, the study finds. […]
The study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on Monday, finds that temperatures are increasing and heat waves are becoming “more frequent, intense, and longer-lasting due to climate change.”
Climate change can have ‘lifelong impacts’ on young people’s mental health, report says
Climate change can play a major role in affecting young people’s mental health, according to a new report from the American Psychological Association.
Written in collaboration with the climate advocacy organization ecoAmerica, the report documents how environmental events linked to climate change – including weather disasters, extreme heat and poor air quality – can trigger or exacerbate mental health issues for kids and teens. […]
“The report documents psychological harms that are happening right now to the children and youth in our country,” Dr. Dennis P. Stolle, the association’s senior director of applied psychology who reviewed the report, wrote in an email to CNN. “These are not issues that we can wait and resolve later. As a society, we must act now.”
Argentine province of Córdoba gripped by wildfires
Authorities in the Argentine province of Córdoba are increasingly concerned about multiple outbreaks of forest fires ravaging the departments of Santa María, Punilla, Totoral, Minas, and San Justo, leaving the district in a state of emergency, it was reported.
Meanwhile, citizens began self-evacuating as the flames approached the summer resort of Villa Carlos Paz and other locations in the Punilla Valley, with temperatures reaching 35 degrees Celsius, adding to the plight of firefighters amid northerly winds gusting to more than 70 kilometers per hour.
AI’s electricity use is spiking so fast it’ll soon use as much power as an entire country
AI chatbots like OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Google’s Bard consume an astronomical amount of electricity and water — or, more precisely, the massive data centers that power them do. 
And according to the latest estimates, those energy demands are rapidly ballooning to epic proportions.
In a recent analysis published in the journal Joule, data scientist Alex de Vries at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam in the Netherlands found that by 2027, these server farms could use anywhere between 85 to 134 terawatt hours of energy per year.
As climate risks mount, the insurance safety net is collapsing
[…] To handle massive payout events like [Hurricane] Andrew, insurance companies sell policies across different markets — historically, a hurricane wasn’t hitting Florida in the same month a wildfire wiped out a town in California. They themselves also pay for insurance, a financial instrument called reinsurance that helps distribute risk across geographic regions. Reinsurance availability remains a major driver of what insurance you can buy — and how much it costs.
But as climate change intensifies extreme weather and claims pile up, this system has been thrown into disarray. Insured losses from natural disasters in the U.S. now routinely approach $100 billion a year, compared to $4.6 billion in 2000. As a result, the average homeowner has seen their premiums spike 21 percent since 2015. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the states most likely to have disasters — like Texas and Florida — have some of the most expensive insurance rates. That means ever more people are forgoing coverage, leaving them vulnerable and driving prices even higher as the number of people paying premiums and sharing risk shrinks. […]
More simply, the global process for handling life’s risks is breaking down, leaving those who can least afford it unprotected. […]
Experts warn that increasing prices may tip homeowners toward default as more insurers flee. At least five major companies have stopped writing coverage in some regions.
Climate change could make beer taste worse
BBC News
Global warming is changing the quality and taste of beer, scientists have warned. 
A new study reveals that the quantity of European hops, which gives beer its distinctive bitter taste, is declining. Hotter, longer and drier summers are predicted to worsen the situation, and could lead to beer becoming more expensive. […]
The research has been published in the journal Nature Communications.
The ancient Maya city of Tikal relied on urban reservoirs to supply water during periods of drought. They essentially built “constructed wetlands” that relied upon key minerals and aquatic plants and other biota to keep the water supply potable, a “self-cleaning” approach similar to that employed in constructed wetlands today, according to a new paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
“Most major southern lowland Maya cities emerged in areas that lacked surface water but had great agricultural soils,” said author Lisa Lucero, an anthropologist at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. “They compensated by constructing reservoir systems that started small and grew in size and complexity.” […]
Lucero pointed out that water lilies only grow in clean water and cannot tolerate acidic conditions or thrive in water with too much calcium, iron, or manganese. They also can’t thrive if the bottom sediment has too much decomposing organic matter. The Maya practice of lining their reservoirs would have stabilized pH levels, particularly if the Maya also added soil or exploited naturally occurring sediment to ensure water lilies and other beneficial biota could thrive. They probably had to dredge every year, per Lucero, and harvest and replenish the aquatic plants, using the removed nutrient-rich soils and plants to fertilize fields and gardens. […]
Lucero ended her paper with a call to diversify our current means of providing clean water rather than relying too much on a single source, like reservoirs.


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