Excerpt: "The report by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) also claimed that conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan were responsible for most of the deaths in the world."
A soldier with A Company 3rd Battalion 7th Infantry Regiment walks through the desert near Karbala in central Iraq in 2003. (photo: AP)
20 June 15
If “global violence were to decrease by 10 percent uniformly, an additional US$1.43 trillion would effectively be added to the world economy.”
Anew report released Friday said that the global cost of war was soaring as it was US$14 trillion in 2014.
The report by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) also claimed that conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan were responsible for most of the deaths in the world.According to the report, Syria remained the least peaceful place on Earth, followed by Iraq and Afghanistan, with the United States contributing violence in all three nations. “Last year alone it is estimated that 20,000 people were killed in terrorist attacks up from an average of 2,000 a year only 10 years ago,” the report said.
The Global Peace Index report said that war spending amounts to 13 percent of the global GDP, which is almost the combined value of the economies of United Kingdom, France, Germany, Canada, Spain and Brazil.
Steve Killelea, Founder and Executive Chairman, Institute for Economics and Peace said if “global violence were to decrease by 10 percent uniformly, an additional US$1.43 trillion would effectively be added to the world economy.”
“[Year] 2014 was marked by contradictory trends: on the one hand many countries in the OECD [Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development] achieved historically high levels of peace, while on the other, strife-torn nations, especially in the Middle East, became more violent. This is a real concern as these conflicts become even more intractable they spread terrorism to other states,” Killelea added.
Published annually since 2008, the Global Peace Index uses 23 indicators and three key themes; “level of safety and security in society,” “the extent of domestic and international conflict,” and “the degree of militarization.”
Those killed as a result of conflicts has risen from just 49,000 people in 2010 to 180,000 in 2014, as the Middle East and North Africa became the least peaceful regions in the world since the index began in 2008.
Vaughan writes: "Study reveals rate of extinction for species in the 20th century has been up to 100 times higher than would have been normal without human impact."
A polar bear stands on an ice floe near Manitoba, Canada, in 2012. Polar bears depend on sea ice, which is forming later in the fall and disappearing earlier in the spring. (photo: Paul Souders/Corbis)
Humans Creating Sixth Great Extinction of Animal Species, Say ScientistsBy Adam Vaughan, Guardian UK
20 June 15
Study reveals rate of extinction for species in the 20th century has been up to 100 times higher than would have been normal without human impact
The modern world is experiencing a “sixth great extinction” of animal species even when the lowest estimates of extinction rates are considered, scientists have warned.
Many conservationists have been warning for years that a mass extinction event akin to the one that wiped out the dinosaurs is occurring as humans degrade and destroy habitats. But the authors of a study published on Friday said that even when they analysed the most conservative extinction rates, the rate at which vertebrates were being lost forever was far higher than in the last five mass extinctions.
“We were very surprised to see how bad it is,” said Dr Gerardo Ceballos of the National Autonomous University of Mexico. “This is very depressing because we used the most conservative rates, and even then they are much higher than the normal extinction rate, really indicating we are having a massive loss of the species.”
Previous studies have warned that the impact of humans taking land for buildings, farming and timber has been to make species extinct at speeds unprecedented in Earth’s 4.5bn-year history.
Ceballos said that his study, co-authored by Paul R Ehrlich who famously warned of the impact of humanity’s “population bomb”, employed better knowledge of natural or so-called background extinction rates. He said it was conservative because it looked only at species that had been declared extinct, which due to stringent rules can sometimes take many years after a species has actually gone extinct.
Under a “natural” rate of extinction, the study said that two species go extinct per 10,000 species per 100 years, rather than the one species that previous work has assumed.
Modern rates of extinction were eight to 100 times higher , the authors found. For example, 477 vertebrates have gone extinct since 1900, rather than the nine that would be expected at natural rates.
“It’s really signalling we’ve entered a sixth extinction and it’s driven by man,” said Ceballos.
Noah’s Ark and the General Deluge - a colour lithograph. (photo: Corbis)
However, Prof Henrique Miguel Pereira, the chair of the Group on Earth Observations Biodiversity Observation Network, said that the new paper did not add anything revolutionarily new.
“They argue that recent extinction rates are up to 100 times higher than in the past. I think it improves our documentation of the process but it does not yet confirm a sixth mass extinction. I tend to think we have a major biodiversity crisis, but it would take either a fast acceleration of current extinction rates or a couple of centuries at current extinction rates, for the current process to become a sixth mass extinction.”
The team behind the new analysis said “rapid, greatly intensified efforts” would be needed to stop or slow the extinctions currently underway.
Ceballos pointed to the Pope Francis’s encyclical on the environment, which was published on Thursday and lamented the loss of the world’s biodiversity, and interventions by Barack Obama, as signs of hope. “These important figures are starting to really grasp the problem,” he said.
On why people should be worried about the rate of extinctions, he said: “People say that’s really sad, but why does it affect me? There are many reasons we should care. We are the species that are causing the loss of all these other species.”
But the most important reason, he said, was that by losing species humanity was losing what enabled us to have a “good standard of living”.The paper, Accelerated modern human–induced species losses:
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"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs
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