tagged w/ Fossil Fuels
Cambodia's worst floods in over a decade have killed 167 people, a disaster official said Wednesday, as efforts intensified to provide aid to tens of thousands of families.
Sixty-eight children were among those who died in nearly two months of flooding caused by heavy rainfall that has also seen the Mekong River overflow, said Keo Vy, spokesman for the National Committee for Disaster Management.
Some 300,000 hectares (740,000 acres) of rice paddies have been inundated and more than 23,000 families had to be evacuated to higher ground in provinces across the country, he added.
"The government and the Red Cross are giving the necessary help to those affected," Keo Vy said, adding that aid, including food deliveries, had so far reached 40,000 families.
He estimated that nearly 230,000 families across the impoverished nation had been affected by the unusually severe floods but he indicated the situation was under control.
"As Prime Minister Hun Sen has said, we are not appealing for aid but we welcome any assistance," he said.
International relief organisation Oxfam, which has started handing out hygiene kits in some areas, has urged all relevant agencies in Cambodia "to urgently deliver food, clean water, sanitation supplies and shelters".
In neighbouring Thailand, the worst monsoon floods in decades have left more than 220 people dead.Cambodia's worst floods in over a decade have killed 167 people, a disaster... more
"The year 2010 was one the worst years in world history for high-impact floods. But just three weeks into the new year, 2011 has already had an entire year's worth of mega-floods. “ -- Meteorologist Jeff Masters
I spend hours a day researching what New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman calls “global weirding”: the destabilization of our weather system fueled by the three million tonnes of fossil fuel pollution we inject into it each hour. So it is a rare day when something shocks me as much as a recent U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) report on last year’s extreme rainfall.
As most locals know from soggy personal experience, our corner of planet Earth since last spring has been a bit wetter and greyer than normal. And next door, our Washington neighbours donned their gum boots and slogged through their fourth wettest year since 1895.
Still, we got off lucky. Very lucky it turns out.
According to this jaw-dropping NASA report, worldwide rainfall and snowfall were so extreme, in so many places last year, that sea levels fell dramatically.
Sea levels have been rising steadily for over a century as the ever warmer ocean water expands and the world’s remaining glaciers and ice sheets melt. In fact sea levels are rising twice as fast now as they were a few decades ago. As the NASA chart above shows there have been some ups and downs but nothing in the modern satellite record comes close to the 6 mm drop worldwide last year.
While 6 mm might not sound like a lot, when collected from the surface of all our planet’s oceans it adds up to 26,000 gallons of water per human.
So just where did all this missing water go?
The ringleader of the great water heist was one of the strongest La Nina cycles of recent times. La Nina shifted and altered weather patterns causing extreme precipitation to funnel into places like India, Pakistan, Australia, and northern tiers of both South and North America.
In the map below, produced from NASA’s GRACE satellite data, blue indicates areas that gained water last year. The darkest blue areas gained as much as 50 mm in one year.
These dark blue spots are also the sources of the world’s epic floods of the last couple years which not only left tens of millions homeless and destroyed agriculture and infrastructure, but also left behind so much water that global oceans were depleted by 6 mm.
A YEAR OF RECORD FLOODING
Last year 182 floods affected 180 million people, almost double the annual average for the last decade. Here are a few:
Well in the short term the seas will start rising again. As the NASA report states:
“water flows downhill, and the extra rain will eventually find its way back to the sea. When it does, global sea level will rise again. ‘We're heating up the planet, and in the end that means more sea level rise’".
What happens in the medium and long term depends on us. We humans really have only one question to answer: To burn or not to burn?
OPTION A: Leave most fossil fuels in the ground -- forever.
OPTION B: Keep doing what we are doing and dig up every last crumb of carbon and burn it.
The climate science is clear that we cannot burn most of the fossil fuels we already know about and also have a stable enough weather system that we can continue to prosper.
As local Nobel laureate and world famous climate scientist, Andrew Weaver, explained in a talk at UBC the other night, just reducing the rate at which we burn fossil fuels won’t prevent dangerous levels of climate change beyond 2C warming. Instead we must totally eliminate fossil fuel emissions.
Weaver showed that even if humanity cut 90% of our fossil fuel use by 2050 but kept burning that last 10% into the future, then we would still heat the climate by more than 2C. That sends us into the realm of dangerous and dramatic climate changes that Canada, USA and every major nation has stated clearly we must avoid.
As Weaver summed it up:
"At some point we just have to say stop.”
More at the link"The year 2010 was one the worst years in world history for high-impact floods.... more
Understanding of the ‘problem’ of agriculture took a giant step forward in 2007 with publication of the UN IAASTD report. This report, which was as important for agriculture as the IPCC reports have been for the climate, pinpointed a move to ecology-based agriculture as the key to meeting many other fundamental needs such as clean water, safe food and sustainability. What the IAASTD didn’t do, at least directly however, was to focus on politics, especially the obstacles to progress in improving agriculture.
A new report, The Wheel of Life: Food, Climate, Human Rights and the Economy (Sept. 2011), released by the Center for Food Safety (CFS) and the Heinrich Böll Stiftung Foundation, usefully complements this deficit. It does this in part by drawing attention explicitly to some common myths on which support for conventional production-oriented solutions for agriculture are based. Among these myths are that hugely enhanced food production will be required in the future, that biotech (GMO) seeds are needed to solve hunger and mitigate climate change, and that traditional agriculture is wasteful and inefficient.
The Wheel then examines how major current crises—hunger, climate change, and ecological degradation—are deeply interlinked. Despite the evident linkages, however, government and international institutions typically address these issues as if they were disconnected from one another. Thus the IPCC, for example, still has not adequately considered agriculture as a contributor to climate change. The consequence of this disconnect, The Wheel of Life points out, is that many policies do not tackle root causes and therefore negative global trends have tended to intensify.
Confronting global hunger is one example identified in the report. Leaders on each end of the political spectrum uniformly assert that economic growth is needed to address hunger and poverty. Yet economic growth is typically conducted via industrial activities that contribute to climate change, which in turn, negatively impacts the ability to grow food.
Similarly, in addition to their effects on climate change, economic and trade policies can spur growth for a few while undermining the ability of small-scale farmers and rural communities to provide food for local populations. The Wheel of Life suggests these complex interactions help explain why, even though economic growth indicators have risen in many countries over the last decade, hunger rates have increased too, especially within the last several years.
To successfully remedy social injustices, climate change, and agriculture, The Wheel of Life argues that political action is needed that incorporates social and ecological needs. And it notes that while governments dither on climate change and agricultural reform, agribusiness is already positioning its products as the preferred solutions. The strategy proposed by The Wheel of Life is to incorporate civil society input into political and economic discussions. Some countries, such as Germany, already have productive dialogues with civil society, but in the US and Britain, for example, interactions are negligible. To encourage cooperation the report also provides a list of civil society organisations with compatible aims in the areas of climate change, agriculture, environment, human rights, women’s rights, and migration.
The Wheel concludes that lasting solutions to hunger and other major crises of our day must, above all, be guided by fundamentals of ecology.
“Policies and practices must begin with the ecological imperative in order to ensure authentic security and stability on all fronts-food, water, livelihoods and jobs, climate, energy, and economic,” writes report author Debbie Barker, international director at the Center for Food Safety. “In turn this engenders equity, social justice, and diverse cultures.”
---Understanding of the ‘problem’ of agriculture took a giant step forward in... more
The driest 10-month period on record for Texas has devastated the state and its crops. The National Weather Service warned Monday:
THERE IS LITTLE TO SUGGEST ANY END TO THE DROUGHT
Every state — along with much of Asia — has been hit by record temperatures this summer. And thanks in large part to extreme weather around the globe, food prices are stuck at record levels, causing hardship for tens of millions:
Dr. Andrew Dessler, a professor of atmospheric sciences at Texas A&M University, emailed TP Green, that while Gov. Perry may deny climate science:
There are dozens of credible atmospheric scientists in Texas at institutions like Rice, UT, and Texas A&M, and I can confidently say that none agree with Gov. Perry’s views on the science of climate change. This is a particularly unfortunate situation given the hellish drought that Texas is now experiencing, and which climate change is almost certainly making worse.
Global warming is certainly making the drought hotter, which creates a vicious cycle, since the higher temps dry out the earth, but the drier it gets, the hotter its gets, as the NWS explains below.
Yet, the dots aren’t being connected for the public by and large. “In Coverage of Extreme Weather, Media Downplay Climate Change” as a Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting analysis recently concluded.
Indeed, I just saw NBC Evening News tonight, which explained that we are seeing record food prices and that extreme weather is a major contributor, but had no mention whatsoever of climate change.
The dividing line between good climate reporting and bad climate reporting is almost always whether the reporter talked to real climate scientists. Typically, the more a reporter talks to, the better the story.
That’s a key reason why ABC News has been one of the few major media outlets to explain the connection between extreme weather and global warming (see links below). And they did so last night. Indeed, they went beyond the connection between global warming and extreme weather to the key climate impact on crops and food prices:
Great quote by climatologist Heidi Cullen, “When you crank up the heat, when you globally warm the planet, you’re going to see more extreme events.”
Governor Rick Perry, who failed to stop the drought with his prayer proclamation, yesterday dismissed any worries about the impact of the drought on Texas, saying “we’ll be fine. As my dad says, it’ll rain. It always does.“ He is not only unaware of the recent climate studies warning of permanent drought in the region (see literature here), but also the stunning warning from National Weather Service that there is no end in sight to the drought:
More at the link.The driest 10-month period on record for Texas has devastated the state and its crops.... more
Joe Bastardi has become the go-to anti-scientist for Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News. But normally Bastardi doesn’t dress up his disinformation in this much blatant Charlie-Sheen-esque pseudoscience.
Those who watched Fox News over the weekend were treated to a brief but ambitious science lesson on “Why CO2 Can’t Cause Warming”:
Oh boy. Let’s take these one at a time.
During the segment Fox’s global warming expert, Joe Bastardi, who is employed by the WeatherBELL meteorological consulting firm, declared that the theory of human-induced climate change “contradicts what we call the 1st law of thermodynamics. Energy can be neither created nor destroyed. So to look for input of energy into the atmosphere, you have to come from a foreign source.”
It’s not clear what to conclude from this except that Fox and Bastardi are not familiar with the greenhouse effect. Climate scientists aren’t claiming that humans are creating energy. They’re saying that humans are trapping more energy by increasing the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Duke University scientist William Chameides, who called Fox’s claims “utter nonsense,” explained via email:
It is true that global warming requires a source of heat. In this case it comes from the sun. What CO2 does is trap a larger amount of the heat from the sun, preventing it from escaping and thus driving up temperatures. To argue otherwise is to argue that the greenhouse effect does not exist. In fact the existence of the greenhouse effect was established by scientists more than a century ago. It would be impossible to explain the temperatures of Mars and Venus, as well as the Earth, without invoking this effect.
Bastardi went on to claim Le Chatelier’s Principle “says that any system in distress, physical or chemical in the atmosphere, tries to return toward normalcy. And that is why you’re seeing temperatures level off.”
In fact the notion of a system moving toward “normalcy,” or more accurately, toward a new “equilibrium,” explains why greenhouse gases do cause warming, rather than “Why CO2 Can’t Cause Warming.” By preventing infrared energy from efficiently escaping to space, increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere make it more difficult for the earth to maintain its previous energy balance, and thus its previous temperature.
Kevin Trenberth, Senior Scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, explained via email that the system “re-creates equilibrium” by heating up, since the surface and atmosphere radiate more at a higher temperature. As a result, “it reaches a new equilibrium but at a higher temperature,” he said, adding: “And of course we keep adding more CO2 so we have not reached that new state yet.”
Though it appears that Bastardi cites Le Chatelier’s Principle in a general sense and not in reference to any specific process, the principle does have implications for “the uptake of fossil fuel carbon by the ocean,” according to David Archer of the University of Chicago’s Department of Geophysical Sciences. He said, “Without Le Chatelier’s principle, the climate crisis would be much worse than it is, but even with this buffering, the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere is rising and will continue to remain elevated for tens of thousands of years into the future. So to suggest that Le Chatelier’s principle is going to save us is wrong.” And the principle certainly doesn’t establish that “CO2 Can’t Cause Warming.”
And that’s not all Fox got wrong.
More at the linkJoe Bastardi has become the go-to anti-scientist for Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News.... more
"...Defense Department violated Section 526 of a 2007 energy law that prevents the military and other agencies from buying alternative fuels that have higher greenhouse gas emissions than conventional petroleum fuels."
The Defense Department is making an end run around U.S. environmental pollution controls and regulations by buying low grade fossil fuels from Canada. A Federal judge seems to have been paid to protect their actions; ( no surprise here ), as "The U.S. Chamber of Commerce... intervened in the lawsuit along with the American Petroleum Institute."
http://thehill.com/blogs/e2-wire/677-e2-wire/175227-federal-judge-dismisses-enviro-oil-sands-lawsuit"...Defense Department violated Section 526 of a 2007 energy law that prevents... more
With the nation’s attention diverted by the drama over the debt ceiling, Republicans in the House of Representatives are loading up an appropriations bill with 39 ways — and counting — to significantly curtail environmental regulation.
One would prevent the Bureau of Land Management from designating new wilderness areas for preservation. Another would severely restrict the Department of Interior’s ability to police mountaintop-removal mining. And then there is the call to allow new uranium prospecting near Grand Canyon National Park.
There is little chance that all the 39 proposals identified by Democrats will be approved by the Senate, which they control, or that a substantial number could elude a presidential veto. In fact, one measure — to forbid the Fish and Wildlife Service to list any new plants or animals as endangered — was so extreme that 37 Republicans broke ranks Wednesday and voted to strip it from the bill.
Although inserting policy changes into appropriations bills is a common strategy when government is divided as it is now, no one can remember such an aggressive use of the tactic against natural resources. Environmental groups and their Democratic allies in Congress worry that more than a few of these so-called riders could stick when both sides negotiate and leverage budget concessions in the fall.
“You have a fatal political momentum,” said David Goldston, director of government affairs for the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental advocacy group. “They are going to load up this bill in an unprecedented fashion.”
Republicans frame their proposals — which are being debated and voted on this week on the House floor — as the best way to counter overreaching regulatory agencies.
The unusual breadth of the attack, explained Representative Mike Simpson, a Republican from Idaho, is a measure of his party’s intense frustration over cumbersome environmental rules.
“Many of us think that the overregulation from E.P.A. is at the heart of our stalled economy,” Mr. Simpson said, referring to the Environmental Protection Agency. “I hear it from Democratic members as well.”
But Democrats argue that the policy prescriptions are proof that Republicans are determined to undo clean air and water protections established 40 years ago.
Many of these new restrictions, they point out, were proposed in the budget debate earlier this year and failed. They are back, the Democrats say, because Republicans are doing the bidding of industry and oil companies.
“The new Republican majority seems intent on restoring the robber-baron era where there were no controls on pollution from power plants, oil refineries and factories,” said Representative Henry A. Waxman, a California Democrat, excoriating the proposal on the floor.
Environmental regulations and the E.P.A. have been the bane of Tea Party Republicans almost from the start. Although particularly outraged by efforts to monitor carbon dioxide, the primary greenhouse gas linked to the warming of the Earth’s atmosphere, freshmen Republicans have tried to rein in the E.P.A. across the board — including proposals to take away its ability to decide if coal ash can be designated as a toxic material and to prevent it from clarifying rules enforcing the Clean Water Act.
The appropriations bill in question covers the Department of Interior, the Forest Service and the E.P.A., and it was voted out of committee and onto the House floor strictly along party lines — with the Republicans prevailing 28 to 18. The bill cuts annual combined funding for agencies by 7 percent — and by nearly 18 percent for the E.P.A. alone — but it is controversial mostly because of the onslaught of policy changes.
Representative Norm Dicks, Democrat of Washington and ranking minority member on the appropriations committee, said Republicans were adding provisions unchecked to the law and getting away with very little scrutiny. He expected even more regulatory rollbacks to be added to the bill this week. The bill is under open debate on the House floor, and policy changes requested by members but not included by the appropriations committee can now be added one by one to the bill, in addition to the 39 riders that came out of the committee.
“It is already like a wish list for polluters,” Mr. Dicks said, “and it is going to get worse on the floor.”
Conservatives have been adding amendments at a furious pace. Earthjustice, an environmental advocacy group, counted more than 70 anti-environmental amendments filed as of Wednesday morning and was monitoring for more.
Dave Conover, a senior vice president of the Bipartisan Policy Center, a Washington analysis and advocacy group, and a former Republican staff member with the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, said the large number of provisions was less about policy and more a way for the conservatives in the House to signal the depths of their discontent with a broken political process.
“It is clear that the Senate is not going to pass all these appropriations,” said Mr. Conover, adding, “And the message is that in a down economy excessive environmental regulations are a bad move.”
But Mr. Goldston of the Natural Resources Defense Council said that although most of the policy attachments would never become law, the Republican appropriations flurry was still unnerving — and could pose more reason for concern in coming months. ”We are then going to be in a situation again where the Senate and president face the question of whether they are willing to shut down the government or appease a motley group in the House over a spending bill,” he said. “No one knows how that plays out.”With the nation’s attention diverted by the drama over the debt ceiling,... more
$14.00 + $9.00 + $4.00 Per Gallon of GAS ! And Rising !
Jan For Gore has linked us to studies revealing that the side effect costs to society of carbon dioxide release in the U.S., currently add about $9.00 to each gallon of gas we each use. This is in addition to one estimate of $14.00 added to each gallon of gas we consume when factoring in what we each pay for in the military costs to provide Big Oil with constant access to cheap crude oil. However, others have estimated our military cost to provide Big Oil with crude to be much higher. These secondary costs must be factored in to the total cost of relying on fossil fuels to run our cars, when comparing the projected costs of alternative energy. We can afford a great deal of alternative, clean, and sustainable energy research and development for what we all pay for gas now!
http://current.com/technology/93341878_climate-change-costs-grossly-underestimated-by-government.htm$14.00 + $9.00 + $4.00 Per Gallon of GAS ! And Rising !
Jan For Gore has linked us... more
We’re at a record low Arctic sea ice extent and volume:
The area of the Arctic ocean at least 15% covered in ice is … lower than the previous record low set in 2007 – according to satellite monitoring by the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre (NSIDC) in Boulder, Colorado. In addition, new data from the University of Washington Polar Science Centre, shows that the thickness of Arctic ice this year is also the lowest on record.
In the past 10 days, the Arctic ocean has been losing as much as 150,000 square kilometres of sea a day, said Mark Serreze, director of the NSIDC.
“The extent [of the ice cover] is going down, but it is also thinning. So a weather pattern that formerly would melt some ice, now gets rid of much more. There will be ups and downs, but we are on track to see an ice-free summer by 2030. It is an overall downward spiral.“
The trend is painfully obvious to all who aren’t blinded by ideology. Indeed, many, including me, believe we’ll see virtually ice-free summers within a decade.
What do the experts — and deniers — predict for the September sea ice extent minimum? The Study of Environmental Arctic Change (SEARCH) has released its second Sea Ice Outlook report for July. Just about all the cryo-scientists think the Arctic will easily beat last year’s minimum:
More at the linkWe’re at a record low Arctic sea ice extent and volume:
The area of the... more
While Tom Dispatch and Mother Jones prognosticates the details of the struggle to stop the further earth heating burning of fossil fuels, it seems inevitable that people will have to suffer sufficient out of control fires, massive floods, devastating heat increases and corresponding droughts, acidification of environments, poison water supplies, oil spill damaged ecosystems, and smog poisoned air before they'll shout "STOP KILLING US!".
Perhaps the organizers of the August anti fossil fuel march on Washington will think to two prong the effort with a call for clean and sustainable energy research on a national emergency basis, while they have the nation's attention! If we're going to ask to "keep it; (fossil fuel), in the ground", then we need to demand what we want as an alternative. After all, it's all our money, so we should dictate how it's spent! It's our environment, so we should dictate how we want it treated!While Tom Dispatch and Mother Jones prognosticates the details of the struggle to stop... more
It takes a lot to get scientists out of their offices and marching on Parliament.
But in recent weeks that’s exactly what some of Australia’s top researchers have taken to doing.
Former Governor of Victoria and scientist David de Kretser brought an open letter to Parliament House last week and just today the Federation of Australian Science and Technological Societies (FASTS) has launched its Respect the Science campaign from the same location.
The Federation claims that attacks on climate scientists are “undermining the national building work of all scientists.”
The Conversation has also hosted an open letter from dozens of concerned scientists trying to get the message across that human-induced climate change is a real threat.
So what is it that has got our science community so riled up?
It might be something to do with the death threats many climate scientists have been receiving. CEO of FASTS Anna Maria Arabia was on the wrong end of one just this morning.
But for many, it’s simply the tactics of “the other side” of the climate change debate that has spurred on their public demonstrations.
When the forces of non-science are this strong, it’s time for scientists to respond.
More at the link
http://thinkprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/afagen.jpgIt takes a lot to get scientists out of their offices and marching on Parliament.... more
Greenland's ice sheet melted the most it has in over a half century last year, US government scientists said Tuesday in one of a series of "unmistakable" signs of climate change.
"The world continues to warm," the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said in a briefing paper for reporters.
"Multiple indicators, same bottom-line conclusion: consistent and unmistakable signal from the top of the atmosphere to the bottom of the oceans."
An annual climate survey, which includes work by scientists from 45 countries, said that ice sheet in Greenland melted at its highest rate since at least 1958, when similar data first became available.
Arctic sea ice shrank to its third smallest area on record, while the world's alpine glaciers shrank for the 20th straight year, the study said.
In line with previous studies, the survey said that 2010 was also one of the hottest years on record.
Last year was either tied for the hottest or the second hottest on record, depending on methodology. But all methodologies used showed the temperature to be at least 0.9 degrees Fahrenheit (0.5 Celsius) above the average recorded in the three decades through 1990.
The survey noted that 2010 was exceptional for its extreme events, including a deadly heat wave in Russia, floods in Pakistan that displaced more than 20 million people and record snowfall in several US cities.
A series of studies have voiced alarm at the rapid pace of melting in the Arctic Ocean, which could lead to a rise in sea levels that threatens low-lying coastal areas and islands.
The Oslo-based Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program said in May that warming in the Arctic was on track to lift sea levels by up to 5.3 feet (1.6 meters) by 2100, a far steeper jump than predicted a few years ago.
More at the linkGreenland's ice sheet melted the most it has in over a half century last year, US... more
The devastating string of tornadoes, droughts, wildfires and floods that hit the United States this spring marks 2011 as one of the most extreme years on record, according to a new federal analysis.
Just shy of the halfway mark, 2011 has seen eight $1-billion-plus disasters, with total damages from wild weather at more than $32 billion, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Agency officials said that total could grow significantly, since they expect this year's North Atlantic hurricane season, which began June 1, will be an active one.
Overall, NOAA experts said extreme weather events have grown more frequent in the United States since 1980. Part of that shift is due to climate change, said Tom Karl, director of the agency's National Climatic Data Center.
"Extremes of precipitation are generally increasing because the planet is actually warming and more water is evaporating from the oceans," he said. "This extra water vapor in the atmosphere then enables rain and snow events to become more extensive and intense than they might otherwise be."
But for some kinds of extreme weather, teasing out a contribution from climate change is more difficult.
The second half of April brought a swarm of tornadoes that leveled parts of the Midwest, including the twister that killed 151 people in Joplin, Mo. So far, 2011 has seen the sixth-highest number of tornado deaths on record, prompting many people to wonder whether climate change has played a role. So far, scientists say there's no good evidence for or against a climate change influence on tornado behavior.
Meanwhile, computer models predict that droughts -- like those that have scorched large swaths of Texas, New Mexico and Arizona this year -- will become stronger and more frequent as climate change continues. But because patterns of drought vary widely from decade to decade, that makes it "very difficult and unlikely that we're going to be able to discern a human fingerprint, if there is one, on the drought record in the foreseeable future," Karl said.
cont.The devastating string of tornadoes, droughts, wildfires and floods that hit the... more
And we have to stop allowing the same people to shut this conversation down. We are no where near prepared for adaptation and what this will bring in the future, nevermind the present. Even if we completely stopped greenhouse gas emissions today, what we have already put up in the atmosphere over the last century would continue to play out. And yet, we continue to spew out 70 million tons of this every day as if it doesn't matter and continue listening to those whose political and economic lives depend on making this a rote issue. Well it isn't rote, and it is now upon us. And this government is doing nothing. And that is simply unacceptable. And that will be a consideration when I vote in any election.
"Joplin, Mo., was prepared. The tornado warning system gave residents 24 minutes’ notice that a twister was bearing down on them. Doctors and nurses at St. John’s Regional Medical Center, who had practiced tornado drills for years, moved fast, getting patients away from windows, closing blinds, and activating emergency generators. And yet more than 130 people died in Joplin, including four people at St. John’s, where the tornado sucked up the roof and left the building in ruins, like much of the shattered city.
Even those who deny the existence of global climate change are having trouble dismissing the evidence of the last year. In the U.S. alone, nearly 1,000 tornadoes have ripped across the heartland, killing more than 500 people and inflicting $9 billion in damage. The Midwest suffered the wettest April in 116 years, forcing the Mississippi to flood thousands of square miles, even as drought-plagued Texas suffered the driest month in a century. Worldwide, the litany of weather’s extremes has reached biblical proportions. The 2010 heat wave in Russia killed an estimated 15,000 people. Floods in Australia and Pakistan killed 2,000 and left large swaths of each country under water. A months-long drought in China has devastated millions of acres of farmland. And the temperature keeps rising: 2010 was the hottest year on earth since weather records began.
From these and other extreme-weather events, one lesson is sinking in with terrifying certainty. The stable climate of the last 12,000 years is gone. Which means you haven’t seen anything yet. And we are not prepared.
Picture California a few decades from now, a place so hot and arid the state’s trademark orange and lemon trees have been replaced with olive trees that can handle the new climate. Alternating floods and droughts have made it impossible for the reservoirs to capture enough drinking water. The picturesque Highway 1, sections of which are already periodically being washed out by storm surges and mudslides, will have to be rerouted inland, possibly through a mountain. These aren’t scenes from another deadly-weather thriller like The Day After Tomorrow. They’re all changes that California officials believe they need to brace for within the next decade or two. And they aren’t alone. Across the U.S., it’s just beginning to dawn on civic leaders that they’ll need to help their communities brave coming dangers brought by climate change, from disappearing islands in Chesapeake Bay to dust bowls in the Plains and horrific hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico. Yet only 14 states are even planning, let alone implementing, climate-change adaptation plans, says Terri Cruce, a climate consultant in California. The other 36 apparently are hoping for a miracle.
The game of catch-up will have to happen quickly because so much time was lost to inaction. “The Bush administration was a disaster, but the Obama administration has accomplished next to nothing either, in part because a significant part of the Democratic Party is inclined to balk on this issue as well,” says economist Jeffrey Sachs, head of the Earth Institute at Columbia University. “We [are] past the tipping point.” The idea of adapting to climate change was once a taboo subject. Scientists and activists feared that focusing on coping would diminish efforts to reduce carbon emissions. On the opposite side of the divide, climate-change deniers argued that since global warming is a “hoax,” there was no need to figure out how to adapt. “Climate-change adaptation was a nonstarter,” says Vicki Arroyo, executive director of the Georgetown Climate Center. “If you wanted to talk about that, you would have had to talk about climate change itself, which the Bush administration didn’t want to do.” In fact, President Bush killed what author Mark Hertsgaard in his 2011 book, Hot, calls “a key adaptation tool,” the National Climate Assessment, an analysis of the vulnerabilities in regions of the U.S. and ideas for coping with them. The legacy of that: state efforts are spotty and local action is practically nonexistent. “There are no true adaptation experts in the federal government, let alone states or cities,” says Arroyo. “They’ve just been commandeered from other departments.”
cont.And we have to stop allowing the same people to shut this conversation down. We are no... more
A U.S. district court in Utah effectively shut down an effort by Koch Industries, the Kansas-based industrial conglomerate whose namesake brothers are vocal skeptics of global warming, to unmask a group of anonymous climate activists who spoofed the company in a mock press release last December.
The fake statement, posted to a hoax Web site similar to Koch Industries' own, purported to be an awakening of sorts, in which the company admitted the error of its ways on climate change and committed to cease funding of groups seeking to undermine prevailing climate science.
Unamused, Koch sued for a variety of claims, including infringement of trademark, unfair competition and cybersquatting, among others. Koch had also sought to serve subpoenas on the company that hosted the sham website in order to obtain the identities of the activists.
The defendants, represented by the advocacy group Public Citizen, sought to have the subpoenas quashed, the activists' identities protected and the lawsuit -- along with all of its claims -- dismissed.
On Monday, U.S. District Judge Dale A. Kimball granted all three requests.
"We're gratified that the court affirmed our clients' First Amendment right to engage in anonymous political speech and rejected Koch's baseless legal theories," said Deepak Gupta, Public Citizen's lead attorney, in an emailed statement. "This lawsuit was nothing but a well-financed attempt by Koch to bully its political opponents into submission. The court was right to stop this lawsuit in its tracks."
cont.A U.S. district court in Utah effectively shut down an effort by Koch Industries, the... more
Wake me from this twilight zone nightmare, please ?!? Considering the high price that each driving American has paid for gasoline throughout the decades, in the form of wars on the middle east to protect oil industry interests, the higher cost of monopoly controlled and exclusively used fossil fuels, the cost of pollution cleanup, and our decreased health from poisoned air, why, when the oil industry has been making heretofore unheard of profits, is there even discussion in Washington about adding yet another gasoline consumption tax upon the consumer?
The typical consumer is flat broke! We are underemployed, loosing our homes, without insurance, and many without food to eat. Yet, words are floating around Washington regarding a mileage based gasoline consumption tax, possibly layered upon the already existing gasoline consumption taxes at the pump. Excuse me for thinking, but every time one pumps gas, isn't that person already paying tax based upon the miles which they have already driven, and will be driving? How is such a new plan different is essence, and why is the administration considering another consumer tax when it's THE OIL INDUSTRY THAT HAS ALL OF THE MONEY, and benefits the most from our gas consumption? This seems everything from "ass backwards" to making no sense to me. Does it make sense to you?
Even the "notorious" Newsmax is railing against the idea; of course, they rail against anything Obamaesque, without considering that we would shout "tax the oil industry" for transportation and energy development funding! Read Newsmax's spin here:
http://www.newsmax.com/Headline/gas-tax-tracking-obama/2011/05/05/id/395346?s=al&promo_code=C36B-1Wake me from this twilight zone nightmare, please ?!? Considering the high price that... more
AS TOBACCO INTENTIONALLY SOUGHT TO ADDICT AMERICANS TO NICOTINE, IT'S REPORTED THAT JOHN D. ROCKEFELLER INTENTIONALLY CORRUPTED CONGRESS TO MAKE THE U.S. DEPENDENT ON FOSSIL FUELS, AND THEREBY BUILT THE STANDARD OIL GIANT.
Brasscheck features a provokative little story on the origin of oil's influence in Congress.
http://www.brasschecktv.com/page/421.htmlAS TOBACCO INTENTIONALLY SOUGHT TO ADDICT AMERICANS TO NICOTINE, IT'S REPORTED... more
The Advantages of Coal
* Coal is one of the most abundant sources of energy, more so than oil and natural gas
* Coal is inexpensive when compared to other fossil fuels (or alternative energy sources)
* Coal is versatile enough to be used for recreational activities such as BBQ’s or simply for home fires
* Burning coal can produce useful by-products that can be used for other industries or products
* Electricity produced from coal is reliable
* Coal can be safely stored and can be drawn upon to create energy in time of emergency
* Coal based power is not dependent on weather which cannot be said for alternative forms of renewable energy such as wind or solar power
* Transporting coal does not require the upkeep of high-pressure pipelines and there is no requirement for extra security when transporting coal
* Using coal reduces the dependence on using oil, which is often found in nations where there is unstable political regimes
Crude oil (called "petroleum") is easier to get out of the ground than coal, as it can flow along pipes. This also makes it cheaper to transport.
I ought to point out that some scientists are claiming that oil is not a 'fossil' fuel - that it is not the remains of prehistoric organisms after all. They claim it was made by some other, non-biological process. Currently this is not accepted by the majority of scientists, but you can find out more about the idea at space.com
Advantages of Fossil Fuels
Ah, the evil fossil fuels. Fossil fuels that were once exalted as the power source for the industrial revolution are now demonized because of global warming. There are, however, advantages to fossil fuel
Fossil fuels are those fuels which come from the remains of ancient plants and animals. They include oil (petroleum), natural gas (such as methane and propane) and coal. Much has been said about how horrible fossil fuels are because they tend to produce large amounts of pollution and contribute massive amounts of greenhouse gases to the global warming problem. They are also non-renewable, which means that once we have used all of the fossil fuels that are stored within the Earth, the proverbial tank will be empty. Indeed, one can argue that control of fossil fuels will become the basis of many wars between countries. All of this being said, there are still advantages to fossil fuels.
The first of the advantages of fossil fuels is the availability of them at this time. Petroleum, or crude oil, is rather easy to find – there are many stores and reservoirs of the black stuff hidden below the Earth's crust. The same goes for natural gas, as the pockets of gas can be found and harvested just below the surface of the Earth. Coal is even easier to find – it can be mined (sometimes strip mined) from within caves or in shafts dug into the ground. Fossil fuels are also easily transported from place to place, meaning that you don't need to use them right where they are found. This is not so with other types of energy sources such as geothermal and hydropower which are restricted to the area in question and the length to which power lines can be run. Most of the availability advantage of fossil fuels exists because we have already perfected the harvesting and transport of it.
Other advantages of fossil fuels include ease of use. Since fossil fuels have been used as a combustible energy source for centuries, most of the machinery and engines that we use in everyday life have been developed to burn fossil fuels. Developing machines that use alternative energy sources can be much more difficult as is adapting existing machinery to use different power sources. Fossil fuel run power plants are also much easier to build and use – you can erect one almost anywhere, as long as you can get the fossil fuel to the plant. It is much harder to find a suitable location for a power plant that runs off of alternative energy sources, such as hydro power or wind power.
The advantages to fossil fuels really boil down to a timing element. At the current time, we have plenty of them. At the moment, all of our machinery from cars to power plants is designed to use them. At the moment, we have developed methods to use these fuels extremely efficiently whereas something like solar power is only 15 percent efficient. These advantages of fossil fuels lead to a relatively cost effective power source for civilization itself. http://www.solarcompanies.com/advantages_of_fossil_fuelsThe Advantages of Coal
* Coal is one of the most abundant sources of energy,... more
To our dismay, and the nation’s detriment, self-described climate change deniers – strongly supported by fossil-fuel interests — continue to mislead Congress and the public.
In late January, we joined 14 other leading scientists in writing a letter to every member of Congress, asking our elected representatives to separate science from policy. We called attention to the overwhelming scientific evidence of climate change, urging Congress to “address the challenge of climate change, and lead the national response…” We want Congress to understand that, with each passing day, the problem worsens.
Our letter was certainly not the first plea to Congress to address climate change, and it won’t be the last. An open letter just last May from 255 members of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences urged similar actions. But the race to run away from the problem is nothing short of staggering.
Nothing exemplifies this more than a bill by House Energy and Commerce Committee chairman, Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), to overturn the scientific finding by the Environmental Protection Agency that greenhouse gases are harmful to human health.
We are saddened and disturbed that Upton is apparently planning to hold a vote in committee very soon to overturn a science-based determination absent any scientific justification for doing so.
This science-free approach serves only the interests of oil and coal producers and other big polluters who don’t want Congress — or the American people — to know what decades of scientific research have revealed about current climate trends and the growing future risks we face.
Science is the Achilles heel for those who try to perpetuate the myth that climate change is not occurring, or that the massive build-up of heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere is not the main reason the climate is changing. There is no serious disagreement in the scientific community that global temperatures are increasing, sea levels are rising, the oceans are becoming more acidic and that fossil fuel combustion is the primary cause.
In addition, the rapid shrinking of Arctic sea ice and the pattern of extreme weather and climate — including widespread drought, extraordinarily intense rainstorms, heat waves and wildfires — reflect more than just natural climate variability.
Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0311/50842.html#ixzz1G2N1WHePTo our dismay, and the nation’s detriment, self-described climate change deniers... more
A glacier on Peru's Huaytapallana Moutain shed half its surface ice in just 23 years, officials said Wednesday, reinforcing concerns of climate change's growing threat to fresh water resources.
"Recent scientific studies indicate that between June 1983 and August 2006, the glacier has lost 50 percent of its surface ice," Erasmo Meza, manager of natural resources and the environment in the central Andean region of Junin, told the official Andina news agency.
He said the five square kilometers (1.9 square miles) of ice shrinkage on Huaytapallana, whose steep, jagged glacier and breathtaking lakes are popular tourist draws, was caused by global warming and presents growing problems in agriculture, health, fresh water resources and disaster mitigation.
To prevent further deterioration on the 5,557-meter (18,230-foot) mountain, the regional government of Junin is developing a project to declare Huaytapallana a natural conservation area -- a move Meza said could help prevent damage from a mining company doing a feasibility study in the area.
Glacier studies are often carried out in the Andes, the so-called "Roof of the Americas" region comprising more than 100 peaks above 5,000 meters (16,500 feet).
But the Huaytapallana studies show a sharper rate of glacial melt than other major findings.
cont.A glacier on Peru's Huaytapallana Moutain shed half its surface ice in just 23... more