Calculating how much carbon is absorbed by which forests and farms is a tricky task, especially when politicians do it.
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Biodiversity can't be maintained by protecting a few species in a zoo, or by preserving greenbelts or national parks. To function properly, nature needs more room than that. It can maintain itself, however, without human expense, without zookeepers, park rangers, foresters or gene banks. All it needs is to be left alone.
Both the United States and the world economy have already reached - and surpassed - their sustainable physical limits. Ground water is being drawn down, soils eroded, forests cut faster than they grow, fish caught faster than they reproduce, non-renewable fossil fuels burnt without developing substitutes.
It's a fair guess that at the rate we're destroying habitat, especially but not exclusively in the tropics, we're pushing to extinction about one species every hour. That doesn't count the species whose populations are being reduced so greatly that diversity within the population is essentially gone.
Some call-in moderators are neutral and courteous. Then there's Rush Limbaugh, who is funny and pompous and a scapegoater and hatemonger. His popularity could cause you to draw some terrible conclusions about the state of mind of the American people. It helps to remember that Bill Cosby is popular, too.
We have come to expect campaigns to be mean and stupid and politicians to be unresponsive, self-seeking and for sale to the highest bidder. We make jokes about our vice president, and all we ask of a president is that he be likeable. We seem to have given up on the Pentagon's corrupt use of our tax dollars.