We have been discussing the horrific environmental record of the administration of Prime Minister Tony Abbott. This includes the decision to dump millions of tons of waste into the Great Barrier Reef. The move that led to international outcry including official condemnation from UNESCO. Much of the criticism has been directed at Abbott putting industry officials in charge of environmental decision-making with predictable results. This week saw the latest such controversy after Western Australia mining minister, Bill Marmion (left) declared categorically that official protection of the Great Western Woodlands, the largest remaining temperate woodlands in the world, will not be supported if it impinges on mining. Period.
I am doing some coverage at CNN but, in addition to the predictable rejection of the lethal injection challenge, the Court handed down two major decisions. In Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission, the Court ruled 5-4 that states could effectively take away redistricting decisions from state legislatures — a key move to try to end the scourge of gerrymandering. In Michigan v. EPA, the Court again split 5-4 in ruling that the EPA must consider the costs to industry in setting environmental limitations — in the case involving arsenic emissions — under the Clean Air Act.
The same week as Pope Francis’s historic encyclical warning of the dire dangers posed to humanity over climate change , scientists have issue new warnings that we are likely past the point of no-return to save humanity from catastrophe and possible extinction. Famed Australian microbiologist Frank Fenner, a key figure in the elimination of smallpox in the 1970s, now believes that humans will be extinct in 100 years after making the planet uninhabitable. Others have pointed out that the United States and other nations continue to adopt insufficient targets from carbon reduction and that our passing the critical “3C” threshold now appears all but assured due to opponents and deniers of climate change or reforms.
As widely rumored, Pope Francis has issued a historic papal encyclical that agrees with the vast majority of scientists that global warming is real, largely caused by mankind, and threatens the very future of humanity. He has called for emergency action to curtail carbon emissions by reducing fossil fuels and developing renewables.
We have followed the horrific environmental problems in China after decades of the communist putting industrial production above every health and environmental priority. That is beginning to change as cancer rates continue to soar and the country becomes increasingly unliveable in parts, including Beijing. When stories come out, the pollution and health dangers are often on a scale that is literally breathtaking. This week had another report from the environmental ministry itself — long viewed as hiding data and underplaying environmental damage. The report says that roughly two-thirds of China’s underground water, and a third of its surface water, were rated as unsuitable for direct human contact in 2014.
We have previously discussed the struggle that creationists have with the daily disclosures of scientific research, particularly the discovery of fossils and other items that are dates in the millions rather than thousands of years. It is hard to maintain that the Earth is less than 6,000 years old given the overwhelming evidence to the contrary. However, Canadian Edgar Nernberg has shown just how easy it is to live in denial. Nernberg was not just confronted with a fossil from over 60 million years ago, but he actually found it in his basement. However, Nernberg does not think God is trying to tell him something. He maintains that “There’s no dates stamped on these things” and it proves nothing if you just reject isotopic dating and basic geology.
I recently posted a blog column about the increasing appearance of graffiti in national and state parks — and the need to ramp up punishments to deter this defacing of our natural wonders and wilderness. The last story concerned Andre Saraiva, an internationally known graffiti artist, who “tagged” and bragged about his own defacing of nature. He spray painted a boulder at the Joshua Tree National Park. Now authorities are looking for a teen who spray painted a rock face in Idaho to impress a girl and get her to go with him to the school prom. It should not be too different to investigate this particular crime, but the question remains the punishment that should be meted out.