tagged w/ biodistress
There is another earthquake shaking up Washington Dc this week: the beginning of what will hopefully be the shaking up of the status quo that has kept us from achieving the truly sustainable future we can give to ourselves and our children. Those continuing to sit in to stand up for humanity and all species in the wake of the effects of climate change and the absolute apathy and greed of corporations deserve our support.
And this is without regard to race, creed, or politics. This pipeline will affect ALL of us regardless of labels. Its dirty, toxic ingredients will threaten the water of the Ogalalla aquifer that irrigates our heartland. The burning of its ingredients will set off a carbon timebomb that will make the words "tipping point" all too real.
IT'S TIME TO BREAK THE ADDICTION.
The call to say NO to this pipeline is also a call to say YES to clean renewable energy. Clean energy jobs. Clean water. Respect for the rights of others.
This is the moral challenge of our time!
We cannot betray future generations for a quick buck. The price is simply too high.
So please, let's keep this going on Current. Let's keep giving these brave people our support and with each NO or other sign of encouragement we also tell President Obama that we the people are the voice and his NO is a vindication of his caring about that voice.
Keystone XL-NO!There is another earthquake shaking up Washington Dc this week: the beginning of what... more
This thread is just one of many that I will be starting in the next two weeks to virtually protest in solidarity with those risking arrest in Washington DC who are sitting in to stand up for our climate, our water, our land and our energy future. Please help us support these good people. If you are in agreement type NO in the comments section, or add any type of encouragement to share the spirit of the people being heard for climate justice.
The Keystone XL pipeline must go!
Tarsands is the sign that desperation has hit the fossil fuel industry as our addiction has become dangerous for the continued sustainability of our planet. Tarsands is the wake up call regarding a moral imperative we are losing.
Consider the actions involved in extracting the bitumen tar from the sand and the process of separation that involves usage of huge amounts of water and toxic agents in making the finished product suitable for gas tanks. Consider the environmental degradation of pristine ecosystems, rivers, species and cultures. Consider the health effects and cancers related to the toxification of land, water and air that have taken lives. Consider the climate timebomb being released by the burning of this dirty toxic crude all to satisfy the greed of those who care nothing for the damage this is doing to the world you and yours will live in. This is not progress, this is insanity.
However, the fault is not just with those who process this destruction. The fault also lies with us. Those who continue to consume it in order to satiate a need that has led our environment to the breaking point. And now, Transcanada and those who seek to benefit from this destruction here wish to do so by constructing another pipeline through the heartland of this country directly threatening our water supply, our agriculture and our environment.
Starting tomorrow and going to Sept 3, people will be risking arrest in acts of peaceful civil disobedience outside the White House to tell President Obama NO regarding approving the Keystone XL pipeline.
(Caps for emphasis because this is important)
THIS IS NOW THE TIME THAT PRESIDENT OBAMA MUST HEAR YOU. THE WORLD WE ARE MAKING FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS DEPENDS ON OUR ACTIONS TODAY.
So even if all you can do is send an e-mail to the White House, you need to do it. Call, write, tweet, blog. But please, don't allow another ecocide to take place. We do have power in great numbers. We do have other energy choices. We CAN change things for the better (as the end of this video illustrates.)
But that won't happen unless we make noise by whatever means we have.
Kudos to those willing to be arrested for this important cause. I thank you, my child thanks you, I stand with you and I will do all in my power to be heard with you.
NO TO KEYSTONE XL.!This thread is just one of many that I will be starting in the next two weeks to... 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
Ain’t eBay grand? For $10 you can buy a sack of 50 assorted Obama ’08 buttons, and that’s what I’ve been doing. If you look closely, you might see them this weekend on the lapels of some of the global warming protesters holding a sit-in outside the White House.
Already, more than a thousand people have signed up to be arrested over two weeks beginning Aug. 20 — the biggest display of civil disobedience in the environmental movement in decades and one of the largest nonviolent direct actions since the World Trade Organization demonstrations in Seattle back before Sept. 11. (Among the first 500 to sign up, the biggest cohort was born in the Truman administration, followed closely by FDR babies and Eisenhower kids. These seniors contradict the stereotype of greedy geezers who care only about their own future.)
The issue is simple: We want the president to block construction of Keystone XL, a pipeline that would carry oil from the tar sands of northern Alberta down to the Gulf of Mexico. We have, not surprisingly, concerns about potential spills and environmental degradation from construction of the pipeline. But those tar sands are also the second-largest pool of carbon in the atmosphere, behind only the oil fields of Saudi Arabia. If we tap into them in a big way, NASA climatologist James Hansen explained in a paper issued this summer, the emissions would mean it’s “essentially game over” for the climate. That’s why the executive directors of many environmental groups and 20 of the country’s leading climate scientists wrote letters asking people to head to Washington for the demonstrations. In scientific terms, it’s as close to a no-brainer as you can get.
But in political terms it may turn out to be a defining moment of the Obama years.
That’s because, for once, the president will get to make an important call all by himself. He has to sign a certificate of national interest before the border-crossing pipeline can be built. Under the relevant statutes, Congress is not involved, so he doesn’t need to stand up to the global-warming deniers calling the shots in the House.
But the president does need to stand up to the fossil fuel industry, which has done its best to influence the decision. Since the State Department plays a role in recommending a decision, the main pipeline company helpfully hired the former national deputy director of Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign as its lead lobbyist. WikiLeaks documents emerged recently showing U.S. envoys conspiring with the oil industry to win favorable media coverage for tar sands oil. If you were a cynic, you’d say the fix was in.
Still, the final call rests with Barack Obama, who said the night that he clinched the Democratic nomination in June 2008 that his ascension would mark “the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.” Now he gets a chance to prove that he meant it. In basketball terms, he’s alone at the top of the key — will he take the 20-foot jumper or pass the ball? It’s a rare, character-defining moment. Obama can’t escape it simply by saying that someone else will burn the oil if we don’t. Alberta is remote, and its only other possible pipeline route — to the Pacific and hence Asia — is tangled in litigation. That’s why the province’s energy minister told Canada’s Globe and Mail last month that without the Keystone pipeline Alberta would be “landlocked in bitumen,” the technical name for the heavy, gooey tar that is its chief export. Critics may argue otherwise, but Obama’s call is key; without it, that oil will stay in the ground for at least a while longer. Long enough, perhaps, that the planet will come fully to its senses about climate change.
It’s hard to predict what will happen. Earlier this summer Al Gore tossed up his hands in despair: “President Obama has never presented to the American people the magnitude of the climate crisis,” Gore said. “He has not defended the science against the ongoing withering and dishonest attacks.” Yet it’s hard to give up on the image of the skinny senator from Illinois and the young people who were his most fervent supporters — young people who, according to pollsters, wanted a climate bill by a 5-to-1 margin. That didn’t happen, of course; for now, the Keystone pipeline is the best proxy we have for real presidential commitment to the global warming fight.
More at the linkAin’t eBay grand? For $10 you can buy a sack of 50 assorted Obama ’08... more
A cavalcade of phonies, liars and as the narrator states, "self serving well funded" people who care not for this planet or any of us but only their own agendas. This is indeed a planetary emergency and people need to know it and see this reality over and over again in order to begin NOW to do what is necessary to save our future. And the first step in doing that is exposing the frauds!A cavalcade of phonies, liars and as the narrator states, "self serving well... more
On April 14, a massive storm swept down out of the Rocky Mountains into the Midwest and South, spawning more than 150 tornadoes that killed 43 people across 16 states (Capital Weather Gang, 4/18/11). It was one of the largest weather catastrophes in United States history—but was soon upstaged by an even larger storm, the 2011 Super Outbreak that spread more than 300 tornadoes across 14 states from April 25 to 28 (including an all-time one-day record of 188 twisters on April 27), killing 339 people, including 41 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama (CNN, 5/1/11).
Ensuing weeks saw Texas wildfires that had been burning since December expand to consume more than 3 million acres (Texas Forest Service, 6/28/11; CNN, 4/25/11), plus record flooding along the Mississippi River, which couldn’t contain the water from April’s storms on top of the spring snowmelt. On May 22, a super-strong F5 tornado killed 153 people as it flattened a large part of Joplin, Missouri (National Weather Service Weather Forecast Office, 5/22/11) ; in the first two weeks of June, a heat wave broke temperature records in multiple states, and the Wallow fire became the largest in Arizona state history (Washington Post, 6/14/11).
It was an unprecedented string of severe weather: By mid-June, more than 1,000 tornadoes had killed 536 people (NOAA, 6/13/11), nearly as many deaths as in the entire preceding decade. And it was only natural to ask: Were we seeing the effects of climate change?
Most scientists would say yes, or at least “probably.” The Intergovernment Panel on Climate Change, a global scientific body that has been a target of conservatives despite a record of soft-pedaling its findings to avoid controversy (Extra!, 7/8/07), warned on February 2, 2007, “It is very likely that hot extremes, heat waves and heavy precipitation events will continue to become more frequent.” (In science-speak, “very likely” refers to a certainty of greater than 90 percent, and is as near as you get to a definitive conclusion.) Other forecasts (e.g., Environment America, 9/8/10) have projected that wet regions will receive record rainfall thanks to increasing evaporation, while dry ones get record drought, as climate patterns shift to accommodate the new normal.
Yet despite these dire predictions, U.S. media were hesitant to investigate the links between climate change and this spring’s extreme weather. Much coverage settled for the cheap irony of contrasting extreme phenomena, as when NBC’s Saturday Today show meteorologist Bill Karins (6/11/11) quipped:
Feast or famine’s been the rule this spring. The northern half of the country, we’ve dealt with the heavy rain, the record snow pack that’s now melting in the northern Rockies. That’s causing the flooding. The southern half of the country, you would love some of that rain.
Even news reports that probed deeper into the causes of the spring’s extreme weather, though, often stopped short of looking at climate factors. A Chicago Tribune story (4/29/11) headlined, “Why April Record for Twisters? Experts Call It Random, Say Nature Varies,” noted that “some meteorologists” blame the periodic weather pattern known as La Niña, but then cited other scientists as saying the tornado outbreak was just random variation, with University of Illinois meteorologist Bob Rauber saying, “Global warming is occurring, but this is not a manifestation of it.”
On the CBS Evening News (6/9/11), meanwhile, John Blackstone noted, “Perhaps the biggest weather troublemaker has been in the Gulf of Mexico, where sea surface temperatures have been almost 2 degrees [Fahrenheit] above average. That warm, moist Gulf air meeting the powerful jet stream created the string of tornadoes that killed 525 people.” Yet, asked by anchor Scott Pelley why the Gulf of Mexico is hotter than usual, Blackstone replied only: “Well, it’s related to the drought in the South—in the South-Southwest, with little clouds, lots of sunshine, the waters warming up and those warm waters could add energy to this hurricane season as well.”
But while La Niña is a natural cyclical variation, the warming Gulf is not—at the very least, it’s exacerbated by the global warming trend, which has pumped at least four times the heat energy into the oceans that it has into the atmosphere (NPR, 3/19/08). As National Center for Atmos-pheric Research climatologist Kevin Tren-berth explained to Extra!, the air over oceans now averages 1 degree Fahrenheit warmer and 4 percent wetter than it was before 1970. “So there is more warm moist air from the Gulf flowing into all spring storms that travel across the U.S. That destabilizes the air, provides fuel for thunderstorms and converts some thunderstorms into supercell storms, which in turn provide the environment for tornadoes to form.”
The easiest connection for most reporters to make was with heat waves, probably because they match best with the popular image of “global warming.” “Intense hot conditions will increase dramatically over the next 30 years,” ABC News’ Jim Avila (6/8/11) reported after June’s record-setting heat wave. “Climatologists say it’s clear: Global warming is beginning to show itself in plain sight.”
As noted, the role of climate change in the spring’s severe weather wasn’t entirely ignored. The Christian Science Monitor (6/9/11), in its report on Arizona wildfires that had “blackened an area half the size of Rhode Island,” called them “the latest poster child for what some scientists see as a long-term trend toward larger, longer-lived wildfires in the American West,” noting that “climate change appears to be an important contributor.”
Urgency was left to op-ed pages: Climate activist Bill McKibben wrote a scathing op-ed in the Washington Post (5/23/11) that sarcastically suggested: “It’s very important to stay calm. If you got upset about any of this, you might forget how important it is not to disrupt the record profits of our fossil fuel companies.” Environmental writer Chip Ward wrote an opinion piece on CBS News.com (6/16/11): “Global warming, global weirding, climate change—whatever you prefer to call it—is not just happening in some distant, melting Arctic land out of a storybook. It is not just burning up far-away Russia. It’s here now.” (CBS News’ television programs, meanwhile, never once mentioned climate change in their coverage of the spring’s wildfires.)
One example of how to cover the story differently came from the Edmonton Journal (5/17/11), where columnist Graham Thomson wrote:
No scientist can guarantee that any of these events are caused by human-induced climate change. Climate change is all about trends.
However, the trends are consistent: The atmosphere is warming, the climate is changing and we are largely responsible through our burning of fossil fuels.
More at the linkOn April 14, a massive storm swept down out of the Rocky Mountains into the Midwest... more
With political will to dramatically cut the world's greenhouse gas emissions failing to materialise, a multi-pronged approach is needed to protect the millions of people who are being displaced as a result of environmental factors driven largely by climate change, experts say.
"Climate change is looming as a potentially very serious and underappreciated complicating factor when it comes to international displacement," said Erika Feller, the assistant high commissioner for protection in the office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.
More is needed from the international community to address this challenge "in a coordinated and pragmatic manner", she told IPS.
Of paramount importance is that national authorities play a central role in developing appropriate responses to both the internal and external dimensions of climate-related displacement, while affected persons and communities must be made fully aware of their rights and given opportunities to participate in decision-making, Feller said.
"Decisions about where, when and how to relocate communities, for example, must be made in consultation with the affected populations and be sensitive to cultural and ethnic identities and boundaries to avoid possible tensions and conflicts," she added.
Last to Pollute, First to Suffer the Consequences
That the poor are always hardest-hit by natural disasters is a fact recently underlined by the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) Report 2010, which says that these nations "will be disproportionally affected by changing climatic conditions".
This despite the fact that LDCs account for less than one percent of the world's total greenhouse gas emissions, responsible for heating up the atmosphere and altering rainfall and weather patterns.
The frequency and intensity of extreme weather events in these regions are five times higher now (519 events in 2000-2010) than during the 1970s (116). In the last decade, about 40 percent of all casualties related to natural disasters were found in the poorest countries of the world, the report says.
Climate change affects LDCs in different ways. While Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia are facing droughts and floods, some Asian LDCs, together with Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in the Pacific, are at risk particularly from rising sea levels and storms.
The 2009 "Human Impact Report - Climate Change" by the Geneva-based Global Humanitarian Forum estimated that 2.8 billion people are living in areas prone to one or more of the physical manifestations of climate change.
"The global nature of climate change calls for the widest possible cooperation by all countries and their participation in an effective and appropriate international response, in accordance with their common but different responsibilities and respective capabilities and their social and economic conditions," declared the Istanbul Programme of Action agreed to at the Fourth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC-IV) in Turkey in May and which was adopted by the U.N. General Assembly.
The list of necessary actions outlined in the programme, especially by so-called development partners, hinge on an urgent demand for promised financial and technical support – which critics say the world's richest countries, and those most culpable for climate change, have been dragging their feet on.
Staying close to home
The overwhelming majority of people who are displaced by environmental factors become internally displaced persons (IDPs) within their own countries. Just a fraction will likely cross international borders, said Michele Klein-Solomon, director of the Migration Policy, Research and Communications Department at the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).
"[The latter group tends to move] from countries in the South, in the developing world, to other countries in the 'less emitting world', and it is also not likely to be the most vulnerable who move," she explained.
More frequent and severe floods, storms, landslides or land degradation, droughts and water shortages – so called slow-onset natural and human-made disasters – can all be triggers for migration.
Those most in need of protection tend to lack sufficient resources to adapt to the new living conditions, and that can include an inability to move away or migrate to other countries.
Speaking at a conference at Columbia Law School in May on migration and climate change, Klein-Solomon stressed that it was important to grasp these facts to counter "the overwhelming fears of the developed world being awash with people who are coming into their countries, taking jobs and burdening social security mechanisms".
Even under worst case scenarios, in which some 250 million people could be displaced due to climate change over the next 25 to 30 years, it still would be "a tiny portion of the world's population", she said.
"We are really not talking about enormous numbers relative to global populations and we are not talking about hordes of people flooding into the Western, industrialised, developed countries. We do not need further repressive legislation and xenophobic debates as a result of this discussion," she added.
Few legal protections
Rapid-onset disasters attract far more attention from the media, policymakers and researchers than gradual environmental changes – such as the human consequences of rising sea levels, soil salination, deforestation and desertification.
Precise estimates on climate-induced migration are hard to come by. However, recent events such as last year's nationwide flooding in Pakistan, severe mudslides following heavy rainfall in Brazil and Colombia this spring, and the ongoing humanitarian disaster in drought-hit Somalia show that millions of people are already being driven from their homes and property due to extreme weather patterns.
International protection strategies are often marked by a humanitarian focus on "the immediate need of the person without necessarily looking at the causes of the phenomenon nor to a response in a longer term," said Paola Pace, acting head of the International Migration Law Unit at IOM's International Cooperation and Partnerships Department.
When emergencies occur, immediate funding is provided which lasts about three to six months, but for the subsequent "recuperation phase" it is very difficult to find donor support. This wastes the knowledge acquired in the initial months and squanders an opportunity to "really tackle the causes that brought about that emergency", Pace stressed in an interview with IPS.
The lack of a long-term strategy is a major problem for those seeking to protect and support affected populations. A better approach would go beyond basic needs – food, water, shelter – to address trauma and stress-induced illnesses, and provide opportunities for sustainable development in a new environment, she said.
The climate-displaced also face an uncertain legal situation. Neither international humanitarian law nor international refugee law has a legal definition for this group, making it difficult to hold governments responsible for their wellbeing.
Often, there are multiple, complex, interconnected factors at work, from extreme weather events to land degradation or sea-level rise, and identifying the exact culprit is impossible.
"[I]t is a bit like the straw that broke the camel's back," said Jane McAdam, an expert on refugees and international migration law at the University of New South Wales.
"Climate change is never the only reason why people move, there are always other factors like underlying socioeconomic conditions, for example," she told IPS.
Finding appropriate legal and policy responses requires a combination of strategies, "rather than an either/or approach", she said.
More at the linkWith political will to dramatically cut the world's greenhouse gas emissions... more
HEARTBREAKING. Ecosystems will take decades to recover from this if they even can. But don't worry, it's just another hot summer.HEARTBREAKING. Ecosystems will take decades to recover from this if they even can. But... 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
The recent scientific literature makes clear that while that death spiral could theoretically be reversed, it would require policies that climate science deniers have successfully demonized, policies many in the traditional media regularly pooh pooh or undercut.
So we have passed a de facto tipping point, “the critical point in an evolving situation that leads to a new and irreversible development.” If that wasn’t obvious from observations, then it should have been clear from a December study in Nature widely misunderstood by the media. That study showed sea ice extent crashing by two thirds by the 2030s and then collapsing to near-zero shortly thereafter — unless we cut global GHG emissions about 60% to 70% almost immediately and have further cuts after that, an implausible assumption the authors never spelled out clearly (as I explain here).
Now comes a new study that has also proven an irresistible source of confusion to both the deniers and the media, “A 10,000-Year Record of Arctic Ocean Sea-Ice Variability—View from the Beach” (subs. req’d). The news release is as misleading as the Nature article:
“The bad news is that there is a clear connection between temperature and the amount of sea ice. And there is no doubt that continued global warming will lead to a reduction in the amount of summer sea ice in the Arctic Ocean. The good news is that even with a reduction to less than 50% of the current amount of sea ice the ice will not reach a point of no return: a level where the ice no longer can regenerate itself even if the climate was to return to cooler temperatures,” [lead author Svend] Funder says.
Huh? How precisely is the climate going to return to cooler temperatures? It really bugs me when scientists who are very sophisticated in one arena — here, proxy reconstructions of ice coverage of part of the Arctic — exhibit magical thinking in another area.
The best recent models show staggeringly high Arctic warming this century if we stay on our current emissions path (see M.I.T. doubles its 2095 warming projection to 10°F — with 866 ppm and Arctic warming of 20°F). Cooling ain’t in the cards. Quite the reverse.
The Nature article projected a 50% decline in sea ice within 2 decades no matter what we do on emissions — and then total collapse even on a scenario with significant emissions reductions. As an aside, since that study almost certainly underestimated the rate of sea ice loss — for instance, it ignores black carbon, a major source of ice loss — I tend to think that the actual summer ice loss will be somewhere between what that study projected and the oversimplified quadratic projections in the figure above.
The BBC, which promised better coverage on climate change, failed to deliver this time — as can be seen in its story, “Arctic ‘tipping point’ may not be reached.”
NYT opinion blogger Andy Revkin wrote one of the worst pieces in his career, “On Arctic Ice and Warmth, Past and Future,” which quickly became a darling of the hard-core anti-science deniers for these absurd lines:
But even as I push for an energy quest that limits climate risk, I’m not worried about the resilience of Arctic ecosystems and not worried about the system tipping into an irreversibly slushy state on time scales relevant to today’s policy debates. This is one reason I don’t go for descriptions of the system being in a “death spiral.”
The main source of my Arctic comfort level — besides what I learned while camped with scientists on the North Pole sea ice — is the growing body of work on past variations* in sea ice conditions in the Arctic. The latest evidence comes in a study in the current issue of Science. The paper, combining evidence of driftwood accumulation and beach formation in northern Greenland with evidence of past sea-ice extent in parts of Canada, concludes that Arctic sea ice appears to have retreated far more in some spans since the end of the last ice age than it has in recent years.
“Not worried about the resilience of Arctic ecosystems“? Seriously?
Exactly what Arctic ecosystems are going to survive the accelerated warming humans are imposing, warming that will occur at twice the rate of the planet as a whole? And that is compounded by ocean acidification, which is equally devastating in the Arctic.
Revkin’s wishy-washy “energy quest” can’t stop either of those disasters. Indeed, Revkin never tells you what CO2 concentrations target he is questing for, but he endlessly criticizes those of us who actually spell out a target, like 450 ppm (or lower) and a path to achieve it. He dismisses such targets as a “magically safe level of carbon dioxide” — a reductio ad absurdum meant to put him above the fray, allowing him to critique all those trying to avert 800+ ppm — a CO2 level he once told me is where he expects we’ll end up.
Indeed in 2008, he himself quoted Nobelist Sherwood Rowland who thinks we’re headed toward 1000 ppm, an unimaginable catastrophe. Back then he wrote, “Keep in mind that various experts and groups have said risks of centuries of ecological and economic disruption rise with every step toward and beyond 450 parts per million.” Now, by failing to identify even a range we should aim for, say 400 to 500 ppm or policies that could plausibly keep us near such a range — and worse, by mocking those of us who do — he is effectively endorsing the acceptability of the 800 to 1000 ppm range.
The science is clear that human-caused Arctic warming has overtaken 2,000 years of natural cooling, as a “seminal” 2009 Science study found” [see figure below]:
In short, “greenhouse gas emissions are overwhelming the system,” as David Schneider, a visiting scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research and one of the co-authors of the 2009 Science article put it.
Oh, but Revkin says he’s “not worried about the system tipping into an irreversibly slushy state on time scales relevant to today’s policy debates.”
Well, NOAA and the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) are worried, and unlike Revkin, they have published science to back them up — see NSIDC bombshell: Thawing permafrost feedback will turn Arctic from carbon sink to source in the 2020s, releasing 100 billion tons of carbon by 2100.
More at the linkThe recent scientific literature makes clear that while that death spiral could... more
Al made an appearance at the Aspen Institute this past Thursday and did what we should all be doing; calling BS on liars, polluters and their minions, truthfully and forcefully. All I can say in response to his words is that I love him so much more today. Al, you are the one voice out here informing people of what scientists have been trying to tell us about for decades. There is absolutely no reason why we all shouldn't be calling what deniers are selling what it is: BULLSHIT.
However, that isn't all he said and this entry isn't just about the words Al used. Leave that to the complicit corporate owned media to twist or sites like Huffington Post that is now the mini FOX news, or a plethora of other sites where paid shills make their living trashing and diverting. This entry is about the essence of what he was talking about. A concerted deliberate effort by these special interests and polluters to cover up the truth for profit which has now brought us to facing that tipping point.
And in the course of his words he mentioned the book, Merchants of Doubt-How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming” by Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway. This is a comprehensive book that explains the entire metamorphosis of the denial movement based on the roots of the same movement in regards to tobacco. This video which is led by one of the authors of the book, Dr. Naomi Oreskes outlines exactly the truly diabolical methods employed to safeguard ideology, political standing and profits at any cost, even our planet and our civilization. Weighing these two variables is it any wonder those of us who understand what is at stake would not become upset by their treachery?
For far too long these evil entities that care for nothing regarding this planet and our ability to live on it have been getting away with their BULLSHIT. It is way beyond time to stand up to it for the future of our civilization. Anyone with two eyes and a brain cell can surmise the patterns currently making themselves known globally. I have been reading the reports but more importantly have been observing the changes in our Earth's systems, particularly the hydrologic cycle in relation to GHG emissions and temperature. The facts cannot be denied. Anthropogenic climate change is forcing the boundaries of our natural systems and taking them to a place they have not been before. And we are seeing this playing out on every continent.
Take a look at this link from Current.com ( see post below) and the climate events taking shape globally simultaneously now. Those who continue to deny this corrolation only do so out of political bias, ideology or because their bank accounts tell them to. They are not people who are credible and in my eyes are actually accomplices in the deaths of thousands who now suffer from the effects of prolonged severe droughts, floods, glacier melt, more intense wildfires and stronger storms which are being called the "new normal." Just researching damage to agriculture globally from these events alone gives you a pretty stark picture of what we are up against in the future.
So the usual hacks can try to divert the meaning of his words by focusing on only those they wish to use for their own purposes. But again, the Reality is clear and we as a species probably do not deserve this planet if our allegiances continue to fall with what is convenient and easy as opposed to what is real.
So hell yes, volcanoes? BULLSHIT! Sunspots? BULLSHIT! It isn't warming? BULLSHIT!
Oh and moderators, please allow me some creative license with this.
Thanks.Al made an appearance at the Aspen Institute this past Thursday and did what we should... more
Devastating rains move the government to plan for a harsh, wet new reality
In recent weeks South Korea has been battered by torrential rains that have caused serious flooding, landslides and widespread property damage, killing 62 people. Stunning images of Seoul’s normally busy downtown streets filled with neck-deep water circulated around the world.
There are heavy rains every summer in South Korea, but this was something else. The storms are being regarded as evidence that the climate is changing and that the country must adjust to a hotter, wetter, more volatile reality. The South Korean government is quietly making plans to improve disaster preparedness and recovery capacity.
The events of July have all but confirmed what South Koreans have anecdotally thought to be true for some time: summers are longer than ever before with higher temperatures and heavier rainfall. A recent study by the Korea Meteorological Administration shows that the number of days with rainfall of more than 30 millimeters per hour has doubled in the last three decades. During this year’s midsummer rainy season, the rainfall in the central and southern regions was two to three times the average of previous years.
South Korea’s National Science and Technology Council has significantly increased funds for weather prediction in next year’s budget, from 3.1 billion KRW ($290,000) to W10.0 billion ($920,000). Seoul plans to install 82.9 kilometers of pipes in 26 places in the city by 2014, but only 5 km have been completed. President Lee Myung-bak has called for the creation of a new task force to revise the country’s disaster response systems to better deal with severe weather.
South Korea has the benefit of a vocal citizenry that keeps government on its toes. When something goes wrong in this country, people tend to get angry and demand better from their elected leaders. As this is a functioning democracy, leaders need to respond to their constituents for their own survival. Similar to how being caught unprepared for North Korea’s November 2010 shelling of Yeonpyeong Island has led to expansions in military capability, the poor preparation for July’s flooding has given way to improvements in the infrastructure for dealing with extreme weather.
The Seoul government has faced criticism after flooding led to deaths and paralyzed the city. The mayor has been criticized for neglecting the city’s lack of flood control infrastructure. He has since pledged W5 trillion over the next 10 years to install more effective drainage systems and reinforce homes in low-lying areas.
This signals a shift in the Seoul government’s priorities, as it had previously spent much of its time and money on projects to beautify the city, such as its World Design Capital and Han River improvement campaigns. It is likely that climate change will spur more policy realignments of this nature: away from the pursuit of the beautiful, towards the maintenance of basic functionality.
South Korea has long been active in responding to and preparing for the effects of climate change. In 2009, the South Korean government announced its “Low Carbon, Green Growth” plan, a broadly-based mandate of green growth initiatives that aimed to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent through 2020 from 2007 levels. Under the plan, the government expanded use of solar and wind energy, smart grid, as well as carbon capture and storage technology.
South Korean President Lee Myung-bak has stopped short of publicly attributing July’s weather to climate change. In explaining the to-be-formed taskforce, he said "The Prime Minister's Office needs to form a task force with related government offices and experts to discuss how to re-establish the country's anti-disaster guidelines because we may undergo unexpected disaster next year, too," Lee was quoted by his spokesman as saying in a Cabinet meeting. This was a curious choice of words, as if there is flooding and landslides again next year, it won’t be unexpected.
It’s a fairly safe bet that sooner or later all governments will need to change policies to deal with the new, more challenging circumstances. The South Korean case could be instructive, as it is being hit especially hard by new weather patterns and responding with something other than denial.
More at the link.Devastating rains move the government to plan for a harsh, wet new reality
July was yet another busy month for global weather extremes. Highlights included record-busting heat in the central and eastern portions of the U.S.A. as well as in the Middle East and China. Torrential rains caused devastating flooding on the Korean peninsula and a blizzard produced extraordinary snowfall in southern Chile….
Intense heat in the Middle East and southern Russia (Asian section) has lead to a slew of national records being broken. These include 44.3°C (111.7°F) at Divnoe in Russia’s Kalmykia Republic (edging out last summer’s record of 44.0°C (111.2°F) at Yashkul, 53°C (127.4°F) at Dehloran, Iran on July 28th was a new national record for Iran and the hottest temperature measured in the world during July. Kuwait also set a new national heat record with a reading of 52.8°C (127.0°F) at Mitrabah on July 15th, as did Iraq with a 52.3°C (126.1°F) at Al Diwinya on July 30th. UPDATE: This record has since been exceeded in Iraq in early August. Armenia also broke its national heat record with a reading of 43.7° (110.7°F) at Meghri on July 31st (old record was 43.1°C/109.6°F at the same location on August 11,2005).
China also broke its national heat record for both inhabited and uninhabited locations on July 15th when the temperature soared to 50.2°C (122.4°F) at a RAWS site near Adyngkol Lake (just south of Turfan), and 49.4°C (120.9°F) at the town of Tuyoq. This brings to 7 the number of national heat records broken so far this year (China, Russia, Armenia, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, and Rep. of Congo).
Posted by: weatherhistorian, 7:02 PM GMT on August 05, 2011
More at linkJuly was yet another busy month for global weather extremes. Highlights included... more
July was so hot “that just by plotting the location of each daily heat record that was broken, a nearly complete image of the contiguous United States is visible,” reports NOAA. “Almost 9,000 daily records were broken or tied last month, including 2,755 highest maximum temperatures and 6,171 highest minimum temperatures (i.e., nighttime records).” “Some cities reached daily high temperatures 19 out of the 31 days in the month.” The data is incomplete, as they “only include weather stations with real-time electronic reporting, which accounts for about two-thirds of the locations.”
By Brad Johnson on Aug 5, 2011 at 10:00 amJuly was so hot “that just by plotting the location of each daily heat record... more
This video shows astoundingly beautiful footage of our greatest gift - this planet which I had to share. However, humans are using up her resources twice as fast as we are returning what we use while as a whole ignoring the signs. We cannot sustain this pace much longer.This video shows astoundingly beautiful footage of our greatest gift - this planet... more
With India expected to be warmer than estimated earlier, a new set of government-sponsored studies have predicted lesser availability of water and decline in agriculture production on account of climate change. The studies were done under the aegis of the Indian Network for Climate Change Assessment (INCCA) to provide a holistic picture with an aim to push the government to form mitigation and adaptation policies.
Climate change impact on agriculture is the highlight of the studies to be published in Current Science on Monday with recorded fall in per acre production of wheat and rice.
It comes at a time when India is debating the proposed National Food Security law to ensure monthly food entitlement to 75% of population in the rural India and 50% in the urban India.
A study by PK Aggarwal of the Indian Agriculture Research Institute (IRAI) shows wheat production in 2004 fell by 4 million tonnes on account of an increase in temperature of one degree, resulting in faster maturing of the crop. A fall in production of mustard, peas, tomatoes, onion and garlic has also been reported on the basis of 22 years’ record of yield.
The future, with temperature expected to rise by another four degrees Celsius by the end of 21st century, would be bleak.
The Indo-Gangetic plains, the food bowl of India, will have the maximum impact with a decline in water sources. Western Ghats and the coastal belt are highly vulnerable areas, with estimates of a huge fall in production by 2030, the study says.
In another study, analysing monsoon data from 1901 to 2007, Krishna Kumar of Pune-based Indian Institute for Tropical Meteorology says the number of rainy days have reduced with increase in frequency and intensity of heavy rains.
The IITM study predicts that there would be 15% increase in summer monsoon precipitation by 2080, meaning lesser sunny days for crops to mature.
The study predicts increase in intensity of transmission of malaria from seven to nine months to 10-12 months in north-east and some regions of the Himalayan belt.
Every year 2.3 million people are affected by malaria and about a million from dengue.
More at the linkWith India expected to be warmer than estimated earlier, a new set of... more
Drought - Asia - China
Posted: 02 Aug 2011 05:53 AM PDT
A lengthy drought has parched several regions of China, leaving 4.28 million people facing water shortages, officials said. The drought, blamed on high temperatures and insufficient rain the past two months, has affected Inner Mongolia, the Ningxia Hui region and the provinces of Gansu, Guizhou and Hunan, China Daily reported citing the Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters. Besides people, 3.88 million head of livestock also are facing water shortages and the dry conditions have affected 10.5 million acres of arable land in these areas, the report said. Chinese Vice-Premier Hui Liangyu has asked for more support for relief work in the drought-hit southern regions to guarantee supplies of water for people and agriculture. "We haven't seen a single drop of rain here since June," said chief agronomist Zhang Honglong in the town of Anshun in Guizhou province. In Anshun alone, 116,000 people have experienced water shortages, the report said. "We lack the funds to help the farmers to harvest their crops and we hope media reports will attract the governments' attention," Zhang said.http://saweatherobserver.blogspot.com/2011/08/forest-wild-fire-north-america-usa.html... more
By Joe Romm on Aug 4, 2011 at 6:21 pm
“In light of the sustained drought, Governor Mary Fallin today asked all Oklahomans to set aside time this Sunday, July 17, to pray for rain.”
That was two week ago. The result is that Oklahoma went from the drought condition below on the right below to the one on the left in just two short weeks:
Yes, in a mere two weeks, another 30% of the state went into extreme or exceptional drought! Now the entire state is under severe drought or worse.
For some reason, science-denying southern Republican governors keep returning to one particular ineffectual ‘adaptation’ strategy: “Texas Drought Now Far, Far Worse Than When Gov. Rick Perry Issued Proclamation Calling on All Texans to Pray for Rain“ (7/15/11).
And speaking of Gov. Perry, who apparently is edging closer and closer to a presidential run, his state has been utterly devastated since his proclamation. Texas A&M reports:
“As Texas continues to bake in record heat, the drought news for the state continues to be bleak – Texas is now in the midst of its most severe one-year drought on record, according to John Nielsen-Gammon, the Texas State Climatologist and professor of atmospheric sciences at Texas A&M University….
Nielsen-Gammon explains [,] “Never before has so little rain been recorded prior to and during the primary growing season for crops, plants and warm-season grasses.”
More at linkBy Joe Romm on Aug 4, 2011 at 6:21 pm
“In light of the sustained drought,... more
Pavement blowups in Iowa have the state Department of Transportation urging motorists to pay special attention to pavement surfaces when driving during afternoons with 90-degree or hotter temperatures.
"The wet weather in parts of the state combined with the extreme heat is a recipe for pavement blowups," director John Selmer said in a statement.
Pavement blowups occur when thermal expansion forces the pavement to buckle and shatter, according to the DOT. They occur suddenly and can put the state out of $400,000 annually in road repairs.
Likewise in Texas, roads are falling victim to extreme temperatures in the panhandle. Moisture from the winter months stays in the asphalt cracks all year and expands when affected by the heat. Road explosions occur when the moisture finds a week point in the asphalt.
"The problem is we never know where they're going to happen," Texas Department of Transportation spokesman Paul Braun said. "So our crews are constantly patrolling the highways and freeways that we are responsible for and looking for these blowups in hot weather like this."
Snail-Snow Railroad Trains
As the Midwestern states stave off the heat, metal railroad rails there expand and buckle and railroad trains slow by 20 miles per hour.
Because of the heat, Mark Davis of the Union Pacific Railroad said, the metal rails expand and could buckle out of alignment, causing a derailment. To ensure that trains operate safely during extreme heat conditions, the company removes inches from the tracks and slows the trains.
"As the rail expands, our track inspectors and track employees will literally cut out inches of rail in an effort to keep the track itself from buckling," Davis said. "When you slow a train down, it has a less impact on the track if it is expanding."
more at linkPavement blowups in Iowa have the state Department of Transportation urging motorists... more
By Joe Romm on Aug 5, 2011 at 8:49 am
MOSCOW — Russia’s vast permafrost areas may shrink by a third by the middle of the century due to global warming, endangering infrastructure in the Arctic zone, an emergencies ministry official said Friday.
This AFP story snuck across my desk on little cat feet. It didn’t get much attention, in part because they buried the lede in the very last sentence:
“Scientists have said that permafrost thawing will set off another problem because the process will release massive amounts of greenhouse gas methane currently trapped in the frozen soil.”
The permafrost/permamelt contains a staggering “1.5 trillion tons of frozen carbon, about twice as much carbon as contained in the atmosphere, much of which would be released as methane. Methane is 25 times as potent a heat-trapping gas as CO2 over a 100 year time horizon, but 72 (to 100) times as potent over 20 years!
The carbon is locked in a freezer in the part of the planet warming up the fastest (see “Tundra 4: Permafrost loss linked to Arctic sea ice loss“). Countless studies make clear that global warming will release vast quantities of GHGs into the atmosphere this decade. Yet, no climate model currently incorporates the amplifying feedback from methane released by a defrosting tundra.
Here’s more from the AFP story:
“In the next 25 to 30 years, the area of permafrost in Russia may shrink by 10-18 percent,” the head of the ministry’s disaster monitoring department Andrei Bolov told the RIA Novosti news agency.
“By the middle of the century, it can shrink by 15-30 percent, and the boundary of the permafrost may shift to the north-east by 150-200 kilometres,” he said.
The temperature of the zones of frozen soil in oil and gas-rich western Siberia territories will rise by up to two degrees Celsius to just three or four degrees below zero, he predicted.
Permafrost, or soil that is permanently frozen, covers about 63 percent of Russia, but has been greatly affected by climate change in recent decades.
(Much more at link)By Joe Romm on Aug 5, 2011 at 8:49 am
MOSCOW — Russia’s vast permafrost... more