U.N. report warns of climate change ‘adaption gap’ that threatens the developing world
Ben Adler, Senior Editor – November 3, 2022
The measures being undertaken by world governments to adapt to climate change are not keeping up with increasingly severe damage caused by rising temperatures and should be dramatically increased, a new report from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has found.
“Today’s UNEP Adaptation Gap report makes clear that the world is failing to protect people from the here-and-now impacts of the climate crisis,” U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres said in a statement referencing the report. “Those on the frontlines of the climate crisis are at the back of the line for support.”
“Climate change is landing blow after blow upon humanity, as we saw time and again throughout 2022,” the report states. Many of the world’s poorest countries are being hardest hit by the changing climate. One-third of Pakistan was submerged in floods in late July, causing $10 billion in estimated damages. In East Africa, a drought intensified by global warming is contributing to widespread food insecurity and a potential famine affecting the lives of millions of people. Hurricanes made more powerful by warmer ocean waters have swept across developing island nations from the Philippines to the Dominican Republic.- ADVERTISEMENT -https://s.yimg.com/rq/darla/4-10-1/html/r-sf-flx.html
“We’re nowhere near where we need to be in solving and addressing the climate crisis, and with each passing day of inaction, we’re getting further and further away from being on a pathway to limit global warming to 1.5 [degrees Celsius] and prevent the worst impacts of the climate crisis,” said a senior U.N. official during a background press briefing on Wednesday. “And with every fraction of warming, climate disasters are getting worse and they’re wrecking lives and livelihoods and decimating economies like never before.”
Many countries have begun planning adaptation measures, such as moving residents from vulnerable areas and fortifying infrastructure. But the richer nations that are primarily responsible for the greenhouse gas emissions causing climate change have not provided enough money to pay for them.
“More than eight out of ten countries have at least one national adaptation planning instrument,” the report’s press release states. “However, financing to turn these plans into action isn’t following. International adaptation finance flows to developing countries are 5-10 times below estimated needs and the gap continues to widen.”
The report comes on the eve of the COP27, the upcoming U.N. Climate Change Conference in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. Guterres argued that developed nations should respond with new commitments to fund climate adaptation in developing countries at the conference.
In the 2009 Copenhagen Accord, a precursor to the 2021 Glasgow Climate Pact, developed countries pledged to mobilize $100 billion per year by 2020 for climate change assistance to developing countries. Half of that money was slated to be used for adaption measures, while the other half would go toward helping developing countries reduce their own greenhouse gas emissions. However, that funding has lagged, especially on adaptation. In 2020, $83 billion went to developing countries, of which only $29 billion was for adaptation projects. That $29 billion, however, represented an increase of 4% from 2019.
“Last year, developed countries agreed to double support for adaptation to $40 billion a year by 2025,” Guterres said. “At COP27, they must present a credible road map with clear milestones on how this will be delivered — preferably as grants, not loans.”
The cost of dealing with climate change continues spiraling upwards. The UNEP report estimates that adaptation needs will reach between $160 billion and $340 billion by 2030 and $315 billion to $565 billion by 2050.
The report argues that adaptation actions thus far have been too focused on the short-term and are insufficient in their ability to provide adequate protection from conditions like higher temperatures and higher sea levels later in this century. Future projects must be planned in a more comprehensive and inclusive way, the report warns, and must offer some general recommendations for democratizing and improving the process.
But the warmer countries south of the U.S. and Europe — sometimes referred to as “the Global South” — are suffering more extreme consequences of climate change. They also tend to be the poorest and least equipped to handle disasters.
“As the [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] confirmed earlier this year, if you’re living in one of the global hot spots of the climate crisis — namely Africa, South Asia, Central or South America or on a small island developing state — you’re 15 times more likely to die from a climate impact,” said the U.N. official.
Embracing one of the report’s recommendations, Guterres announced the creation of an “Adaptation Pipeline Accelerator” — a project of the U.N. and related agencies like the Green Climate Fund that will help funders and developing nations partner on adaptation programs.
“This will be a central litmus test for success at COP27,” Guterres warned. “The world must step up and protect people and communities from the immediate and ever-growing risks of the climate emergency. We have no time to lose.”
Forget the polls. This election is far from over for Democrats.
Donna Brazile – November 3, 2022
As campaign manager for former Vice President Al Gore’s 2000 presidential campaign, I spent the final days of the election desperately trying to increase voter turnout in key counties in battleground states and recruiting more canvassers to help us get out the vote. While our media strategists had completed their work and the final tracking polls came in, it was my job to reach people where they live, work, play or pray.
With only days left in the 2022 midterm political cycle, any campaign manager worth his or her reputation is now experiencing “crunch time.” Volunteers have what they need: canvass lists of infrequent voters, phone numbers, scripted text messages and posters to put up around key precincts cross their communities. Now is the time for candidates to focus on their closing messages to voters.
There’s no question with so many polls – tracking polls, individual candidate polling, aggregate polling – that some voters are likely to start tuning out rather than getting ahead of the crowd by voting early or filling out their ballots and returning them before the deadline.
But no matter where candidates stand in the most recent poll, it’s not over. It’s never done until the voting has ended and the counting gets underway.
No one really knows what Election Day will bring
Despite many predictions that Republicans will capture control of the U.S. House and are in contention to win a Senate majority, no one knows for sure what will happen. The same goes for predictions in races for governor and other state and local contests.
Remember 2016? Almost no pollsters and pundits predicted Donald Trump would defeat Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. In fact, an analysis by The New York Times updated on its website at 10:20 p.m. ET on Nov. 8, 2016 – election night, when polls in the eastern half of the country were closed – boldly stated: “Hillary Clinton has an 85% chance to win.”
There are many other examples of polls and political forecasts coming up short.
A danger of the intense media focus on polls is that simply reporting poll results can discourage people from voting, altering the outcome of elections. Hearing their favored candidate has a sizable lead or trails badly in a race inevitably convinces some voters that their vote doesn’t matter.
Key variables in every election poll involve who is polled and the expected size of voter turnout. To be accurate, the small group of people polled must mirror the makeup of the far larger number of people who actually vote. And, of course, views people hold when polled may change by the time they vote.
While the national news media understandably focuses on candidate positions on national issues in their coverage, many voters look to candidate positions on state and local issues when deciding whom to support, particularly when it comes to candidates for governor and other state offices. Candidates need to keep that in mind. They need to increase their visibility and make one last plea to voters to help them.
Although nothing is certain, a wave election – where one party picks up a large number of offices – seems unlikely this year because Democrats and Republicans are both showing strength in different states and congressional districts. Wave elections aren’t a series of landslides, but a series of close races that primarily break for the same party.
Voter turnout is traditionally lower in midterm elections than in presidential election years. But that may not be the case this year, if strong early voter turnout in Georgia and other states is any indicator. Large turnouts usually benefit Democrats. But Republicans know how to get out their vote, including infrequent voters in rural areas and many independent voters who might not be inclined to vote for either major party.
That’s the wild card in 2022: Voter turnout and voter choices could come down to which candidate reached out to them, not by advertising on TV or their favorite digital platform but by visiting their neighborhood, speaking their language and understanding their concerns.
Final 96 hours are critical
The question now is how many young voters, independent voters and nonaligned voters will decide not to stay home but to take a chance to vote for the candidate they believe speaks to their concerns. This is why the final 96 hours are vital as a few undecided voters will decide to vote.
I believe in democracy, so I hope as many Americans as possible vote in coming days, even if they vote for candidates I might oppose. To keep our democracy healthy, we need voters to vote. We need to respect the right of every eligible citizen to cast their ballot without intimidation or threats of violence.
We also need candidates and voters alike to accept the election results. I’ll accept the November election results even if Republicans come out on top, just as I did in 2000 when I was campaign manager for Vice President Gore and joined him in accepting his narrow presidential election defeat by George W. Bush. Trump is the only presidential candidate in American history to refuse to accept his election loss.
So, it’s not over. We need to remember that polls don’t decide elections; voters do.
Following election news is important, but actually participating in elections is far more important. As the old saying goes, politics isn’t a spectator sport. Get out of the stands and get onto the political playing field.
Donna Brazile is a member of USA TODAY’s Board of Contributors, an ABC News contributor and an adjunct professor at Georgetown University. She previously served as interim chair of the Democratic National Committee and of the DNC’s Voting Rights Institute, and managed the Gore campaign in 2000.
Republican Blake Masters has closed a large gap in the past month. A similar poll taken in October showed him down 6 points to Kelly.
If the unexpected happens and the Republican wins this race, it will set up a fascinating dynamic in the post-election:
What to do about Kyrsten Sinema.
If Kelly loses, would Democrats risk another seat?
This is admittedly getting way ahead of things. Kelly, the Democrat, is far outraising Masters to the tune of $75.5 million to $9.9 million as of Sept. 30.
Kelly has been flooding the airwaves and the internet with clever ads in which he plays a working-class guy in a red ballcap festooned not with “Make America Great Again” but the next closest thing, an American flag.
In the background is a big rig splashed with Old Glory.
If Kelly playing a Republican in his ads does not win over enough cross-over Republicans or independents, Arizona Democrats will have a serious dilemma.
Can they still afford to hate Kyrsten Sinema?
Because if the incumbent Kelly goes down, once an improbable outcome, it likely means a red tsunami struck America and the state of Arizona, and more Republicans will be taking their seats and control in Congress and at the Arizona Capitol.
It will mean that Kyrsten Sinema, better than her Democratic cohorts, read the horizon and understood what was coming.
It will demonstrate with stunning clarity that Sinema was farsighted holding fast to the legislative filibuster now that Democrats have become the minority in the U.S. Senate.
And if Democrats continue their hate-fest against Arizona’s senior senator, it could mean they risk losing two U.S. Senate seats in Arizona in two years – as quickly as they gained them.
The party has no love left for Kyrsten Sinema
Will Arizona Democrats who censured Sinema in January for “her failure to do whatever it takes to ensure the health of our democracy” be willing to bury the hatchet to ensure they hold on to their remaining U.S. Senate seat?
Left-wing vitriol aimed at Sinema is a gusher on the internet. She is probably the most detested politician in the country today.
Would Democrats risk running a more liberal candidate such as U.S. Rep. Ruben Gallego in the 2024 Senate primary to knock her out? Would they risk that knowing that the country and state had swung right in the 2020 election?
These are fascinating questions to ponder.
But my guess is we know the answer. The marriage is over. Democrats have decided their differences with Sinema are unreconcilable.
Arizona Democrats reflect the temper of Democrats nationally, and they’re in no mood to compromise.
Will they move left and lose or go with a winner?
With the slimmest of governing majorities, U.S. congressional and Senate Democrats tried to push an industrial-strength progressive agenda with huge spending on the rest of the country. That would have worked had they gotten Sinema and Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., to eliminate the legislative filibuster.
But Sinema and Manchin resisted – to their political damnation.
If Kelly goes down, Arizona Democrats are more likely to self-remove themselves from an Arizona Senate seat than go with a sure winner in Sinema.
It takes a blue dog Democrat to win a Senate seat in Arizona, but Arizona Democrats may not be able to tolerate a blue dog long enough to hold it.
Kelly is not a blue dog.
He has shown some independence when he criticized the White House reversal on Title 42, the public health order that kept some controls on immigration. He showed it again when he opposed a White House pick for wage administrator for the Labor Department.
But he also hid in the shadows for two years as Sinema fought filibuster battles, and he later supported its specific removal to pass voting rights legislation.
All of this makes the present-day race more intriguing.
Which brings us back to Masters and politics today
Mark Kelly is up against Blake Masters, who strikes me as the biggest bull—-er in Arizona politics. I’ve just never believed that Mr. smooth-talking Stanford grad and Big Tech executive is the Trump Republican he plays on TV.
He’s not that stupid.
I’m guessing that in his private moments, Masters understands the toxic downside to Donald Trump. Just a hunch.
His general election conversion to more centrist views further persuades me. Fanatics don’t compromise.
Which makes for quite a spectacle in the 2022 race for U.S. Senate in Arizona.
You have two candidates, a Democrat and a Republican, both playing MAGA guys on TV to win over Arizona voters.
There’s a word for Arizona politics today.
Phil Boas is an editorial columnist with The Arizona Republic.
Big agriculture warns farming must change or risk ‘destroying the planet’
Dominic Rushe – November 2, 2022
Food companies and governments must come together immediately to change the world’s agricultural practices or risk “destroying the planet”, according to the sponsors of a report by some of the largest food and farming businesses released on Thursday.
The report, from a taskforce within the Sustainable Markets Initiative (SMI), a network of global CEOs focused on climate issues established by King Charles III, is being released days before the start of the United Nation’s Cop27 climate summit in Egypt.
Many of the world’s largest food and agricultural businesses have championed sustainable agricultural practices in recent years. Regenerative farming practices, which prioritize cutting greenhouse gas emissions, soil health and water conservation, now cover 15% of croplands.- ADVERTISEMENT -https://s.yimg.com/rq/darla/4-10-1/html/r-sf-flx.html
But the pace of change has been “far too slow”, the report finds, and must triple by 2030 for the world to have any chance of keeping temperature rises under 1.5C, a level that if breached, scientists argue, will unleash even more devastating climate change on the planet.
The report is signed by Bayer, Mars, McCain Foods, McDonald’s, Mondēlez, Olam, PepsiCo, Waitrose and others. They represent a potent political and corporate force, affecting the food supply chain around the world. They are also, according to critics, some of those most responsible for climate mismanagement with one calling the report “smoke and mirrors” and unlikely to address the real crisis.
Food production is responsible for a third of all planet-heating gases emitted by human activity and a number of the signatories have been accused of environmental misdeeds and “greenwashing”. Activist Greta Thunberg is boycotting Cop this year having called the global summit a PR stunt “for leaders and people in power to get attention”.
“We are at a critical tipping point where something must be done,” said the taskforce chair and outgoing Mars CEO, Grant Reid. “The interconnection between human health and planetary health is more evident than ever before.” Big food companies and agriculture must play a big part in changing that, said Reid. “It won’t be easy but we have got to make it work,” he said.
Agriculture is the world’s largest industry. Pasture and cropland occupy around 50% of the planet’s habitable land and uses about 70% of fresh water supplies. The climate crisis is challenging the industry across the world but the group’s call for change comes as the industry – which employs 1 billion people – is facing supply chain issues in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and soaring inflation. It also comes amid mounting skepticism about promises to change from companies that have contributed to climate change.
These current issues must not detract from the need for change, the report argues. “With the inflationary environment and widespread supply chain disruption, it would be easy to reduce our focus on the longer-term challenge of scaling regenerative farming. But we believe it’s vital we maintain a sense of urgency. We must take action now to avoid more acute crises in the future,” its authors write.
Sunny George Verghese, chief executive of Olam, one of the world’s largest suppliers of cocoa beans, coffee, cotton and rice, said: “We cannot continue to produce and consume food and feed and fiber in the way we are doing today unless we don’t mind destroying the planet.
“The only way out for us is how we transition to a more resilient food system that will allow us to meet the needs of a growing population without the resource intensity we have today.”
The report studied three food crops, potatoes, rice and wheat, and has made policy recommendations it will present at Cop27.
The taskforce’s members are working to make the short-term economic case for change more attractive to farmers. “It’s just not compelling enough for the average farmer,” said Reid. More widely the report argues industry and government must also work harder to address the knowledge gap and make sure farmers are following best practices. Third, all parties involved in the agriculture industry from farmers to food producers to government, banks and insurers need to align behind encouraging a shift to more sustainable practices.
“It involves change for all the players including the government, private, public companies and others. No one player can do this on their own, this has to be a collaboration of the willing. What needs to happen now is action and delivery,” said Reid.
Over the next six months, the group will assess how they can spread the taskforce’s work with the aim of establishing a common set of metrics for measuring environmental outcomes, establishing a credible system of payments for farmers for environmental outcomes, easing the cost of farmers transitioning to sustainable practices, ensuring government policy rewards farmers for greening their business and encouraging the sourcing of crops from particular areas converting to regenerative farming.
Devlin Kuyek, a researcher at Grain, a non-profit organization that works to support small farmers, said it was increasingly difficult for big agricultural and food companies to ignore climate change. “But I don’t think any of these companies – say a McDonald’s – has any commitment to curtail the sales of highly polluting products. I don’t think PepsiCo is going to say the world doesn’t need Pepsi.”
Kuyek pointed out that Yara, another signatory to the report, is the world’s largest supplier of nitrogen-based fertilizers, “which are responsible for one out of every 40 tonnes of greenhouse gas emitted annually”.
“It’s pretty disingenuous,” said Kuyek. “Small, local food systems still feed most of the people on the planet and the real threat is that the industrial system is expanding at the expense of the truly sustainable system. Corporations are creating a bit of smoke and mirrors here, suggesting they are part of the solution when inevitably they are part of the problem.”
Considering the controversial histories of some of the companies involved in the report, Verghese said he expected criticism and scrutiny. “All companies have to stand up to the scrutiny of being attacked if there is real greenwashing. There is no place to hide,” he said. “As far as Olam is concerned we are very clear on our targets, we have had the confidence to make these targets public. All of us have progressed along the sustainable journey. It is not that we have not made mistakes in the past but as we have become better at this we are willing to be subject to scrutiny.”
Both Reid and Verghese said the scale of the issues the world’s food supply is facing cannot be underplayed but that more governments and companies were becoming convinced of the need for urgent change. “I believe change can be made,” said Verghese. “I am optimistic. The fact that these kinds of coalitions are emerging is very positive. We are all otherwise very strong rivals and competitors. We hate each other’s guts, we don’t come together on anything unless there is a huge crisis. Everyone is recognizing there is a huge crisis. We need to come together.”
‘Final Destruction’: Russia Threatens Norway With Ugly Fallout
Shannon Vavra – November 2, 2022
Russia announced Wednesday that it views Norway’s work with other countries in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization as provocative, warning that Norway’s efforts to bolster its military in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine this year will likely be the death knell for Oslo-Moscow relations moving forward.
“Oslo is now among the most active supporters of NATO’s involvement in the Arctic,” Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova said Wednesday, according to TASS. “We consider such developments near Russian borders as Oslo’s deliberate pursuit of a destructive course toward escalation of tensions in the Euro-Arctic region and the final destruction of Russian-Norwegian relations.”
In her statement, Zakharova also warned that any further “unfriendly actions will be followed by a timely and adequate response.”
The news of Russia’s complaints about Norway comes just a day after Norway raised its military alert level in response to suspicious drone sightings. Norway has arrested several Russians, including one son of an associate of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s, and accused them of illegally flying drones in Norwegian airspace or taking photos in restricted areas as concerns abound about potential Russian attacks on critical infrastructure. Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre warned Russia to cut it out, according to Norwegian broadcaster NRK.
NATO countries ought to be on alert to Russia’s aggression in light of the war in Ukraine, Støre warned Monday.
“Today, we have no reason to believe that Russia will want to involve Norway or any other country directly in the war,” Støre said. “But the war in Ukraine makes it necessary for all NATO countries to be more vigilant.”
Norway has previously hosted exercises and has long hosted rotational deployments of U.S. troops for arctic training. Russia’s announcement comes weeks after the U.S. Air Force participated in a combat arctic integration training exercise with NATO allies and the Royal Norwegian Air Force at Norway’s Ørland Main Air Station, according to the U.S. Defense Department. The allies worked to operate quickly across weapons platforms and systems to try to deter Russia along NATO’s eastern flank.
“The sum is that together, we can better defend not only Norway and the Nordic countries, but also Europe should the need arise,” Col. Martin Tesli, the 132nd Luftving Base commander, said in a statement.
The U.S. Air Force’s 90th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron deployed for the exercise was also able to work with the Air Force from Finland, which is in the process of joining NATO in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Moscow’s warning appeared to be just the latest Russian attempt to assert its own narrative as its relationships with countries across Europe and the West continue to deteriorate.
It’s not the first time Russia has tried to raise red flags over what it sees as provocative action from European countries and NATO cooperation. Moscow warned before it invaded Ukraine this year that it views the expansion of members in NATO—which was established to counter threats from the Soviet Union—as a threat to Russia. The Kremlin has maintained that Ukraine’s interest in joining the military alliance poses a threat to Russia, a claim it had repeated in recent days.
Russia’s aggression towards Ukraine and European nations is “the most serious security policy situation we have experienced in several decades,” Støre emphasized.
Norway has been working to help Ukraine defend against Russia’s invasion since the outset of the war. The country has sanctioned the Russian government in an attempt to get Moscow to back off from the war and had provided Ukraine with military assistance. The assistance includes an air defense system, Mistral surface-to-air missiles, thousands of anti-tank missiles, protective gear such as bulletproof vests and helmets, and armored vehicles.
Oslo has also sought to ramp up its military budget. Just last month, Norway proposed boosting its defense budget for next year by nearly 10 percent, according to Defense Minister Bjørn Arild Gram. A chunk of the increase is dedicated to weapons for Ukraine’s defense against Russia.
“Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine is a threat to Norwegian and European security. The war has already had major security political, economic, and humanitarian consequences,” Gram said. “The need for military support to Ukraine is necessary, extensive, and time-critical. This budget strengthens the Armed Forces and stands up for Ukraine.”
Norway is also helping to train Ukrainian soldiers alongside the U.K. and has promised to provide Ukraine over $1.1 billion (in USD) in financial assistance over the next two years.
Norway isn’t the only nation Russia has protested in recent days. Late last month Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced that Moscow sees no point in maintaining diplomatic relations with Western states writ large.
Lavrov noted that Russia would like to focus its world diplomacy on countries in Latin America, Africa, and Asia, rather than work with the West.
“We will shift the ‘center of gravity’ to countries that are ready to cooperate with us on equal and mutually beneficial terms and look for promising joint projects,” Lavrov said.
He was accused of stealing huge amounts of water over 23 years. Here’s why no one noticed
Dale Kasler, Ryan Sabalow – November 1, 2022
California’s water police struggle to track where water is flowing and whether someone is taking more than they’re supposed to.
A criminal case unfolding in the San Joaquin Valley underscores how the federal government seems to have similar problems.
Prosecutors say they uncovered a massive water theft that went on for 23 years without anyone noticing.
Earlier this year a federal grand jury indicted Dennis Falaschi, the former general manager of the Panoche Water District in the western San Joaquin Valley, on charges of conspiracy, theft of government property and filing false tax returns.
Falaschi’s alleged crime stemmed from the federal government’s operation of the Central Valley Project, the system of reservoirs and canals that dates to President Franklin Roosevelt’s administration.
According to prosecutors, Falaschi engineered a brazen scheme to steal $25 million worth of water from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, operator of the Central Valley Project. More specifically, Falaschi stands accused of having his underlings siphon water from the Delta-Mendota Canal, the main conduit for delivering federal water to farms along the west side of the San Joaquin Valley and part of Silicon Valley.
He then billed Panoche customers for this stolen water and used the proceeds to pay “himself and other co-conspirators exorbitant salaries, fringe benefits and personal expense reimbursements,” the indictment says.
How Panoche Water District legal trouble started
Falaschi’s legal troubles began in 2017, when the state controller’s office released an audit showing that the financial controls at Panoche were too lax. Among other things, staffers were allowed to use district credit cards to buy Oakland A’s and Raiders season passes, and tickets to a Katy Perry concert.
A month later, Falaschi left Panoche. Then in 2018 the state attorney general’s office charged him and three other former district employees with embezzling $100,000 from Panoche and illegally burying toxic chemicals on district property. Prosecutors said Falaschi allegedly used the embezzled funds to buy a pair of slot machines and some kitchen appliances, among other things. That case is still pending.
The latest indictment covers a scheme that, according to prosecutors, began in 1992 and wasn’t discovered until April 2015 when a canal maintenance worker saw a whirlpool above the equipment that prosecutors say Falaschi had hidden in the canal to siphon off the water.
The theft lasted long enough to enable Falaschi to grab a total of 130,000 acre-feet of water — enough to fill about 13% of Folsom Lake, prosecutors said.
Last year district officials made a civil settlement over the missing water, agreeing to pay $7.5 million to the federal government and another $1 million to an umbrella agency, the San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority, which buys water from the feds.
The indictment came months after the civil settlement. The grand jury says Falaschi had several of his employees install a valve mechanism in the canal — submerged below the water line — near the district’s headquarters in Firebaugh.
Falaschi, who now lives in Aptos, could receive up to 24 years in prison if convicted.
He has pleaded innocent to the criminal charges. In a statement, his Fresno lawyer Marc Days blasted the feds for prosecuting Falaschi “over a leak from the government’s rotted pipe which the government failed to repair,” and for relying on the statements of “unreliable and incompetent witnesses motivated by their own self-interest.”
Days said the amount of water the federal government accuses Falaschi of taking pales in comparison to some of the other leaks from the same canal.
He said area farm districts receive “massive amounts of unmetered water,” including one leak that Days alleges siphons off 200 cubic feet a second, an amount that in a year would surpass the water prosecutors allege Falaschi stole over those two decades. The federal government, Days claims, has known about the problems but fails to do anything to prevent them.
Mary Lee Knecht, a spokeswoman for the Bureau of Reclamation, declined comment because of the pending case.
Why missing water goes undetected
Falaschi’s successor at Panoche, Ara Azhderian, said it’s no secret that water goes missing throughout the Delta-Mendota system. Evaporation alone takes a significant toll, he said.
In fact, Azhderian said Falaschi’s alleged scheme likely went unnoticed for so long due to the sheer size of the Delta-Mendota Canal and the volume of water it delivers.
Two million acre-feet of water moves through the canal in a typical year, and the canal is nearly 117 miles long.
“When you think about the system and how long it is, how big it is,” he said, “… it was such a small amount in the scheme of things as to be undetectable.”
Others say the problems along the canal — whether through massive leaks or by alleged thefts — highlight just how difficult it is to keep tabs on the state’s most precious resource.
“We really don’t know where our water is going,” said Jeffrey Mount, a water expert at the Public Policy Institute of California. “Where it really breaks down for us now is in this ever-tightening water world where we’re having to deal with less. Major chunks of it, we don’t know where it goes and who’s using how much.”
Endorsement: Please, don’t give your vote to Lauren Boebert
Adam Frisch has no desire to impose liberal policies on the people of his district
The Denver Post Editorial Board – November 1, 2022
We beg voters in western and southern Colorado not to give Rep. Lauren Boebert their vote.
Boebert has not represented the 3rd Congressional District well. Almost exclusively, she has spent her time and efforts contributing to the toxic political environment in this nation.
The good people in this district are not angry and abrasive; they are not hateful and caustic; they do not boast of their own prowess or sling insults as entertainment. The ranchers we know working the Uncompaghre Plateau, the teachers in Durango, the steel mill workers in Pueblo, and the farmers setting down roots in the San Luis Valley keep to themselves, watch their families grow, and pray for better days.
Boebert’s unproductive approach, combined with the efforts of others, has helped erode Congress’ ability to honestly debate public policy that could help people in her district.
Adam Frisch would be a better representative for the people of the 3rd Congressional District. Yes, he is a Democrat from the affluent enclave of Aspen, a ski town that most voters consider a playground for rich out-of-towners. But Frisch, who served on Aspen City Council and whose wife is on the school board, has no desire to impose liberal policies on the people of his district.
He has a pro-oil and gas development position that promotes responsible exploration of oil and gas on public lands while requiring that companies clean up their mess when they leave.
And the oil and gas industry will leave. Mesa County has weathered the boom, bust cycle of the oil and gas industry too many times for its residents not to be wary of promises that drilling and fracking will build a steady economy.
Frisch, a business owner who worked for a time in finance both on Wall Street and internationally, can support oil and gas development in the district while also helping the Western Slope develop a less volatile industry base for companies like Leitner-Poma of America in Grand Junction, Osprey in Cortez, or the many backcountry hunting and fishing guides in Craig.
Boebert, in contrast, is unable or perhaps unwilling to articulate any policy nuance on the extraction of oil and gas owned by taxpayers from our public lands. She has opposed every effort to protect public lands in the district and failed to disclose in a timely manner that her husband made almost $1 million as a consultant for the largest drilling company in the 3rd Congressional District’s Piceance Basin.
Rather than talk about these issues, Boebert slings mud.
Her performance at the Club 20 debate against Frisch was odd, to say the least, and she spent a good chunk of her speaking time talking about Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and criticizing the moderator.
In her primary, Boebert called a man born and raised in Montrose County a groomer – a term for a person who sexually abuses children. The remark, directed at Don Coram, a conservative Republican and rancher whose son happens to be gay, is just one example of Boebert’s casual yet crass cruelty, which she puts on display on a daily basis while in Washington, D.C.
Does she feel no remorse for this behavior? She told a joke, more than once, implying that a Muslim member of Congress was a terrorist bomber. She uses the derogatory term “jihad squad” to reference other members of Congress.
This is not what Western Colorado or Southern Colorado stands for.
Frisch’s campaign has taken the high road and not disseminated any of the many unsubstantiated rumors about Boebert that have circulated the community. Nor have we given such rumors credence in editorials.
Boebert took no such high road. Her campaign ran an ad and sent tweets accusing Frisch of giving in to blackmail and having an affair.
Frisch said these accusations are false, and he hopes voters trust him with their vote.
The closest Frisch has gotten to slinging mud in the campaign is accusing Boebert of having ties to a far-right militia group known as the “three percenters.”
Boebert has made no secret of the fact that she embraces the group’s support of her campaign, taking smiling photos with members clad in tactical gear, tweeting encouragement for events and rallies tied to members of the group. She tweeted out “I am the militia,” on June 14, 2020.
The group draws its names from the fable that only 3% of the population of the original colonies fought in the Revolutionary War and the misguided belief that this country is headed for another fight for liberation for which they must prepare to fight – often amassing weapons caches and making bombs.
Members of the group have been implicated in several violent plots – a planned bombing of a mosque in Minnesota, an FBI-foiled bombing attempt of a bank in Oklahoma, and the kidnapping plot of Michigan’s governor. And, of course, the Jan. 6, 2020, attempt to storm the U.S. Capitol and prevent Congress from seating the duly elected next president of the United States.
On Jan. 6, Boebert tweeted out: “Today is 1776.” Was it a reference to the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4 of that year and the hope for a peaceful transfer of power under the laws and requirements of the Constitution written in 1787, or was it a reference to the bloodshed of the Revolutionary War and hope that an attack on the Capitol could bring in a new form of government for this nation? We don’t like that we have serious doubts it was the former.
It is not too much to ask that Boebert distance herself from this group instead of making their calls for violence, including against the U.S. government, mainstream. She has refused to address the issue.
We grieve that this is who represents our great state in Congress – a state known for our moderate positions and our policy-first approach to politics.
Rejecting all Boebert has come to represent – angry rants without offering real solutions — is important for the 3rd Congressional District, Colorado and this great nation. Frisch is a solid candidate who will stand in for the district in an honorable way.
Russian journalists defy Putin to report on casualties in Ukraine
Markus Ziener – November 1, 2022
Soldiers from Buryatia, a small Republic in Siberian Russia, were among the first to be sent to the front lines in Ukraine. And they were among the first to die there.
When journalist Yelana Trifonova heard about a memorial service for the fallen, she immediately bought a ticket for the eight-hour trip from her home in Irkutsk to Ulan-Ude, the capital of Buryatia. “I wanted to know what was going on there,” said the 46-year-old who works for the online platform Lyudi Baykal. “I wanted to feel the atmosphere, and I wanted to look into the faces of the relatives.”
Trifonova and fellow reporter Olga Mutinova, 44, reported the story of the funeral; Trifonova wrote it, and it was published on April 28 on the landing page of Lyudi Baikala, with photos and video.
Trifonova said she had to do the story, no matter the consequences. But the consequences of defying the Russian government can be steep.
One third of the roughly 1 million people of Buryatia, which shares a border with Mongolia, are ethnic Buryats and mostly of the Buddhist faith. The average monthly salary in Buryatia is about one-third of what people earn in Moscow, and the Russian military is an attractive employer for young people.
Beginning in early March, mourning ceremonies for soldiers who died in Russia’s war on Ukraine were held in the large hall of the Lukodrome, a sports complex in the center of Ulan-Ude. When Trifonova arrived, traffic police had already blocked off the entrance for cars.
Inside, rather than the one coffin that was originally announced, there were four. The first held 24-year-old Naidal Zyrenow, a local student of the year in 2016, who served in the Russian army as a paramedic. Naidal’s hands were crossed on his gray uniform jacket. One hand was bandaged.
The second coffin held the remains of 35-year-old Bulat Odoev, who served in the 5th Armored Brigade and is survived by a pregnant wife and daughter. The body of Shargal Dashiev, 38, who left behind a pregnant wife and two daughters, was in the third. Vladislav Kokorin, 20, who grew up in a children’s home and then went into foster care, was to be buried in the fourth.
Three of the dead were Buddhists and were buried according to traditions associated with the religion. In her story, Trifonova wrote that three Buddhist lamas stood up and began to walk around the coffins — as did the relatives. Not one sound of weeping could be heard.
Buddhists, Trifonova wrote, are not supposed to mourn loudly. After death, the soul must make its way to heaven to then return — after 49 days — in a new body. Tears would block the journey of the deceased and prevent him from letting go.
The ceremony brought clarity for Trifonova. “It became so clear to me why Russia was sending the Buryats first,” she said. “They belong to a small people in Russia, they are poor, they are humble, they are not Slavs — and they do not complain.”
Many of the families, she added, did not want to blame the government, even at the moment of their greatest grief.
“But this isn’t fair,” Trifonova said. “They don’t dare to take people from Moscow or St. Petersburg, so they turn to the ones who are showing the least resistance like Buryats, Tuvans or Dagestans.”
After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Russia started to enjoy a lively and pluralistic media landscape. New journals and dailies sprang up, and some of the more established ones were shedding their roles as mouthpieces for the government. Even a government newspaper like Izvestia became informative and readable in the ’90s.
But when Vladimir Putin came to power, expressing dissenting views became increasingly difficult. Pressure on the media to conform with government regulations was stepped up. A number of journalists were killed in Russia, the most prominent of whom was Anna Politkovskaya, who reported about the war in Chechnya for the Novaya Gazeta and died in 2006.
Eventually, the Russian government withdrew the licenses of the few remaining independent news organizations, and they had to shut down. A relatively new law forbids contradicting the Kremlin’s language rules, which prohibit the use of certain words (“war,” “invasion”) to describe the fighting in Ukraine.
Before moving to Lyudi Baykal, Trifonova and Mutinova worked for more than 10 years at Vostochno-Sibirskaya Pravda, a newspaper that was founded shortly after Russia’s October Revolution of 1917 and is based in Irkutsk. But in the last few years, it had been increasingly toeing the line of the local government.
“The censorship didn’t come overnight, it came gradually,” Mutinova recalled. “Ten years ago, it was still possible to criticize the governor. Five years ago, this was already a no-go.”
The limits on reporting became tighter every year as the newspaper became more dependent on state funding. “If we wanted to write about the conditions in the local prison or even mention the name of Alexei Navalny we crossed a red line,” Mutinova said, referring to Russia’s best-known dissident. “The same was true if we simply wanted to report on protests taking place in the main square in Irkutsk.” What was left to write were innocuous stories about nature or the local hospital, she said. “This is not the journalism we stand for.”
Shortly after the Russian war in Ukraine started, Mutinova and Trifonova assumed editorial responsibility for Lyudi Baikala. The website used to belong to Vostochno-Sibirskaya Pravda but had become independent thanks to a private investor. There they reported and wrote stories — concentrating their reporting on the Irkutsk/ Baikal region — about the dead and the wounded, about the tragedies of war, about the mobilization of soldiers and about cases of corruption.
“Once reporters were there to control the people in power,” Mutinova said. “This is what we are supposed to do.”
Now, however, the journalists have to publish behind an invisible curtain.
On April 16, Roskomnadzor, Russia’s federal media regulator, declared, without giving any reason, that it would block access to the news outlet. The website can be accessed only through a virtual private network, or VPN, which connects users to a private server that encrypts internet traffic and allows them to bypass restrictions. According to Trifonova and Mutinova, Russians are increasingly turning to VPNs to get independent information.
After Lyudi Baikala was officially blocked, Mutinova and Trifonova said donations rose and messages of encouragement and gratitude poured in. “The story about the funeral in Ulan-Ude was read about 80,000 times,” Mutinova said. “Some of our videos have been viewed hundreds of thousands of times.”
Trifonova added: “People have been brainwashed for months by official propaganda and repeated their version of why we are at war with Ukraine” — that the operation was necessary to cleanse Ukraine of Nazis, to liberate the oppressed people of the Donbass and to show the West that Russians can’t be bullied around. “But now as the war is getting closer, and the victims and the sufferings can no longer be concealed, more and more are waking up.”
Since the start of the war in Ukraine, thousands of Russian journalists have paid a price for spreading “fake” news about the military. Sanctions have ranged from fines to sentences of five days in jail to years in prison.
Journalists who attended the funerals in Ulan-Ude were questioned by the police and told to stop reporting on them. On Sept. 23, Mutinova and Trifonova were handcuffed and arrested by local police in Irkutsk, and freed after three hours of interrogation. No charges were filed. A case is currently underway against them for allegedly distributing fliers that say, “No to war.”
Mutinova and Trifonova were arrested only two days after the partial mobilization of 300,000 Russian military reservists was announced. The measure led to many thousands of younger Russians fleeing the country to escape the draft.
“The mobilization is the big game changer,” Olga says. “Now no one can claim that the war is none of their business. The war has arrived in every house, in every apartment.”
Lyudi Baikala is publishing a running list of the dead. So far, 336 Buryats and 78 soldiers from the Irkutsk Oblast have returned in wooden coffins. Russian authorities long ago stopped publishing any numbers.
Back in March, when the funeral ceremony at Ulan-Ude’s Lukodrome was drawing to a close, officials stepped up to the microphone. Bair Tsyrenov, deputy chairman of the government of the Republic of Buryatia, said of the fallen soldiers. “They died for the greatness of Russia, for the end of bloodshed in Ukraine.”
Ulan-Ude Mayor Igor Shutenkov announced: “They fell to defend the future of our country.”
Lt. Col. Vitaly Laskov, commander of the 11th Airborne Assault Brigade, added, “The paratroopers took their last leap into the sky.”
“There was no sobbing,” Trifonova recalls. “Only pain-filled silence.”
The Number of Calories Burned Walking Might Surprise You
Nicol Natale – November 1, 2022
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Walking is one of the most accessible ways to work out. Not only is it low-impact for your joints, but you can also do it anywhere, from strolling down your neighborhood to walking on your treadmill in the living room. And the calories burned walking can be vast too, which ultimately can help lead to weight loss if that’s your goal.
“Walking is one of the best exercises for weight loss,” says Nicole Glor, fitness instructor and creator of NikkiFitness YouTube Channel. “When paired with a healthy diet and lifestyle including stress management, sufficient sleep, and exercise, walking can definitely help with weight loss efforts,” adds Shana Maleeff, M.A., R.D..
Why walking is a top choice for weight loss
This simple way to move offers a variety of health benefits. “Walking gives your metabolism a boost by increasing your body’s demand for energy,” Maleeff says. In other words, it helps you burn calories. “Anything that moves your body burns calories,” she explains. “We take in energy through food and then burn them passively through body functioning (breathing or digesting food) and by actively moving (walking or exercising).”
In addition to boosting metabolism, walking lowers stress hormones like cortisol that can contribute to weight gain. “High levels of cortisol can lead to belly fat,” Maleeff says. “Not only does walking burn calories, but it also helps reduce stress, which can lead to weight loss.”
Walking may also improve sleep. “When we are deprived of sleep, we tend to make food choices that aren’t healthy, craving foods higher in salt and sugar,” Maleeff explains. “Walking can help in burning excess energy as well as relaxing the mind to contribute to more ease, leading to a more restful sleep.”
Walking also aids “cardiovascular endurance, strengthens your muscles and bones, and helps you maintain healthy weight and lose fat,” Glor says.
How many calories does walking burn?
The amount of calories you burn is determined by your age, height, and weight, as well as the intensity, duration, and pace of your walking workout. “The more you weigh, the more calories you burn,” Glor says.
On average, a 150-lb. person will burn about 100 calories per mile at a mild pace (2.5 miles per hour), and a 120-lb. person burns around 85 calories per mile on average at the same pace, Glor says. If you want to speed up, you can burn slightly more calories. “A 150-lb. person walking at a pace of 3 miles per hour will burn 115 calories per mile on average, whereas a 120-lb. person may burn an average of 100 calories per mile,” Glor explains.
You can also play around with some extra equipment or terrain to increase the amount of calories you burn during your walk.
While walking definitely burns calories which can aid with weight loss, there are a number of genetic, demographic, dietary, and lifestyle factors that contribute to general weight loss. “There are so many different factors that contribute to weight loss, including ones that are in your control (diet and lifestyle choices) and ones that are not in your control (age, gender, metabolic rate),” Maleeff says.
For instance, some people are born with a faster metabolic rate—in other words, they have a higher rate of burning calories. “Men also tend to have a faster metabolism, partially due to their size and muscle mass,” Maleeff says. Our speed at burning calories may also decrease with age as we become less active and lose muscle mass.
How to increase calories burned walking
The easiest way to increase calories while walking is to pick up your pace. “Increasing the intensity of your workout results in an elevated heart rate, which requires more energy and results in more calories burned,” Glor says. You can also walk a longer distance than your normal leisurely stroll to build endurance.
Adding an incline can also help your heart pump faster for more calories burned during your workout. “If you’re walking outside, look for hills,” Glor suggests. And if you’re walking on a treadmill, Glor encourages setting your incline levels to 1.5 or higher. “On the treadmill, it is designed to push your feet away, so it does some of the work,” she says. “Adding incline helps mimic outside walking, which requires more effort.”
In addition to burning more calories, incline walking helps tone the glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, and core. “Avoid hinging at the hips, keep your shoulders back, and engage your core when you walk on an incline,” Glor suggests.
You can also add resistance bands, dumbbells, and even backpacks to add some additional strengthening while you walk. “This helps you target more muscle groups to strengthen your muscles and burn more calories,” Glor says.
Are you burning enough calories?
Unless you’re using a tracker, it can be pretty confusing to know if you’re burning enough calories while walking. The good news is that you can look to your body to reveal if you’re working hard enough.
Have you ever been out of breath during a workout? That’s a pretty good indicator that you’re working hard. Glor says you want to aim for a thin layer of sweat and to be slightly out of breath if you were to talk while you walk. “If you’re doing a slower, longer endurance walk, you want your rate of perceived exertion (RPE) to be at a six out of 10,” Glor says.
Rate of perceived exertion is a way to measure how hard someone is working during physical activity on a scale of one to 10. “If you’re working a higher intensity type of walking workout with dumbbell work, incline hills, or lunges throughout, then your RPE should be at a seven at least,” Glor explains.
Diet is also an essential aspect of weight loss, and you can’t outwork a poor diet. “Nutrition is the primary avenue for weight loss, and unfortunately people overemphasize exercise,” Maleeff says.
The amount of calories you require is determined by your age, height, and body weight, and you can use a weight loss calculator or speak with your physician or physical trainer to determine exactly how many calories you should be consuming and burning a day.
But Maleeff says you can start by making healthier choices today. “A good rule of thumb is to aim for your plate to be 40% carbohydrates, 30% protein, and 30% fat,” she says. Aim to fill your diet with lean proteins, healthy fats, vegetables, and fiber such as fruits and whole grains. “And avoid hidden calories—especially during the holiday season—with sugary drinks, excess alcohol, refined sugars, and coffee creamers.”
How to track calories burned walking
Fortunately, you can try weight loss apps and fitness trackers to calculate the estimated amount of calories burned during any given workout or day. “Percentages of macronutrients, micronutrients, and caloric intake vary from person to person based on goals, levels of activity, and medical conditions,” Maleeff says. “Trackers are amazing tools because they help you become aware of your food choices and understand what you’re looking at in terms of macros and micros, which can have a significant impact on weight loss.”
Ultimately, Glor says that you shouldn’t stress too much about the amount of calories burned while walking. “If you’re up and moving your body, you’re going to experience the various physical and mental benefits of walking,” she says.
Try this beginner-friendly walking workout at home
If you do want to level up your walking workout, start with this simple and progressive walking workout developed by Glor that you can do either outside or on a treadmill. All you’ll need is a set of 3 to 5 lb. weights for extra toning.
Glor’s 4-Week Walking Plan:
Week 1: Walk ½ mile or 10 minutes Monday through Friday. Rest Saturday, stretch Sunday.
Week 2: Walk 1 mile or 20 minutes Monday through Friday. Rest Saturday, stretch Sunday.
Week 3: Walk 2 miles or 30 minutes Monday through Friday. Rest Saturday, stretch Sunday.
Week 4:Walk 3 miles or 40-45 minutes Monday through Friday, Rest Saturday, stretch Sunday.
Incorporate the following dumbbell exercises into your walk. Repeat these moves in order of the intervals laid out three times for a full set of arm-weighted intervals.
Biceps curl and kick: Step forward with the right leg, raise the left knee and extend the leg into a powerful kick forward with the left foot flexed while raising the weights up to shoulder level to work the biceps. Lower the left leg, and kick with the right while lowering the weights. Repeat the kicks and biceps curls for 30-second intervals.
Stepping triceps kickbacks: Place the left foot on the ground pivoted to the side with a moderate bend in the knee. Do a slight lunge with the right leg behind. Pull the weights into your ribcage with elbows lifted (starting position). Bring the right knee in towards the other knee and “kickback” the weights by extending the arms to engage the triceps. Pull the weights and right leg back to starting position and do a 30-second interval. Change the facing direction and repeat on the other side.
Shoulder knee lift: Step forward with the left foot and hold weights by your hips. Lift the right knee up to hip level as you raise the weights just above your chest. Lower the weights as you step the right foot down and lift the left knee. Repeat for 30-second intervals.
Shoulder lateral raise with lunge: March for a count of four with a right leg lead and weights in your hands. Lunge your right leg forward and lift the weights to the sides with a slight bend in the elbows. (Make sure you lunge far enough so that your right knee is directly over your right ankle, not out near or past the toe, and keep your torso directly over the hips.) Push off your right foot back to standing and lower the arms. Lunge forward on the left leg and lift the weights laterally, engaging the shoulders again. Lower weights and push off the left leg back to start. March for 4 counts and repeat for a 60-second interval.
Inside biceps cross: Take your march and change it into a toe tap with the weights and your palms facing away from you, and arms extended towards the ground. When the right toe taps, curl the left hand in towards your right shoulder, across the centerline of your body, while keeping the left elbow close to your waist. Lower the left hand. Tap the left toe and cross the right hand and weight towards the left shoulder. Repeat for 30-second intervals.
Triceps overhead press with march: March your feet to the original walking pace, and lift both weights overhead. The elbows should point to the sky and be bent so that the weights are directly behind the neck and hands are touching at the knuckles (starting position). Continue to march right and left and lift the weights to the sky by straightening the arms. March right, left and lower arms (two counts for feet = one count for arms). Repeat for a 30-second interval.