Archive for category Climate Change
Read this: The recent success of the Paris Climate Conference was largely touted with enthusiastic accolades. So many critical countries coming together and signing this significant agreement, Wow! These leaders agreed “in Paris to address the severe problem of ‘unchecked climate change’.” They have finally got it together and are moving to make significant changes. Oops, not so fast. There is one stumbling block and not a small one. “When the agreement was approved in Paris, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, who hosted the talks, announced that it is ‘legally binding.’ That may be the hope, but there are more than a few obstacles that are worthy of careful attention.” The final step, when “negotiators have sought to forge a legally binding treaty that needed ratification by the governments of the participating countries to have force.” The big problem here is “of course” the United States. Without this (and Republican approval), the conference is little more than a large wish list. Read the rest of this entry »
Read this: There is “a major new report on how manmade global warming is making Americans sicker—and it’s only going to get worse”. The report, released by the Obama administration, involved hundreds of experts in various fields, covering several years. The detached consensus is that “as the climate continues to change, the risks to human health will grow, exacerbating existing health threats and creating new public health challenges, and impacting more people in more places” and “every American is vulnerable”. In typical neoliberal fashion, all sense of urgency seems to have been well contained.
The article linked below from salon.com, by Reynard Loki, lists 9 ways that Climate Change will affect human health. Each area is dealt with in expanded detail along with external links. Read the rest of this entry »
Read this: We hear often that 97% of scientists agree that Climate Change is real and that it is largely caused by human activity. I quote this “fact” quite often, but I must admit I am counting on the authority of people or articles I have read or heard and don’t check them out further. At the same time I see conservatives who totally disagree (and I think, obviously they don’t know what they’re talking about). With all of this, it appears that in spite of overwhelming scientific agreement, “only about 50% the general public think that scientists have reached a consensus on human-caused climate change”. What’s the answer? Is it true and what does it actually mean when we quote this very one sided Scientific Consensus (97%) on Climate Change?
For authority on this area of science the article linked below from http://www.wunderground.com looks to three scientific organizations as authority: The American Geophysical Union (GSU), The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Read the rest of this entry »
Watch this: In today’s political world the majority of the tools needed for political change are all owned and controlled by the top 1% and of course corporations. The same group that is often causing and benefiting from the situation that we the people feel needs changing. Even voting is manipulated to minimize any real effectivity. The tools that are inviolate for the powerless are ideas and their bodies. The ideas will inevitably lead to some form of action and then even those with no political capital have the ability to use their bodies in defiance of situations or laws deemed unjust. In a democracy this marriage of ideas and civil disobedience should be practiced continuously and by the majority of those with little power or leverage, the bottom 90%.
The YouTube video below, created by the environmental group breakfree2016.org shows many examples of civil disobedience utilized by people around the world, with little or no power, as they fight the battle of Climate Change with very few tools except their ideas, their voices and their bodies. Read the rest of this entry »
The Problem With Hillary Clinton Isn’t Just Her Corporate Cash. It’s Her Corporate Worldview. | The Nation
Once again she nails it. This article from Naomi Klein via The Nation Magazine needs no summarization by me. It needs reading, by everyone. Please do and then act accordingly and spread the word.
Read this: “If you get the chemistry wrong, it doesn’t matter how many landmark climate agreements you sign or how many speeches you give.” Those are serious words from Bill McKibben of 350.org in The Nation Magazine article linked below. The thing is we evidently have been getting a very big part of the causes of Climate Change very wrong. While we have been focusing on CO2, “its’ nasty little brother methane CH4, has recently been getting some serious press”. Most of this is because of a February report from Harvard. The “explosive paper in Geophysical Research Letters …(uses) satellite data and ground observations … concluding that the nation as a whole is leaking methane in massive quantities.” Consensus seems to be that “the core problem … is the rapid spread of fracking.”
As we have moved away from coal and to a lesser extent oil (the largest CO2 producers) we have replaced them with natural gas (less CO2 but basically unmeasured quantities of methane CH4). The reason this is so bad is that “molecule for molecule, this unburned methane is much, much more efficient at trapping heat than carbon dioxide.” The EPA had been denying the increase in methane, “but it turns out, as some scientists have been insisting for years, the EPA was wrong.” So what does this do to the gains we have made in recent years? “These leaks are big enough to wipe out a large share of the gains from the Obama administration’s work on climate change—all those closed coal mines and fuel-efficient cars. In fact, it’s even possible that America’s contribution to global warming increased during the Obama years.” Furthermore, “it undercuts the promises we made at the climate talks in Paris. It’s a disaster—and one that seems set to spread.”
Here are some key points covered by this very good, but troubling article:
- Understanding how we got here,
- How fracking works,
- The miscalculation because of focusing only on CO2,
- The lure of natural gas being cheaper,
- Ignorantly promoting natural gas ,
- Push on the east coast to extensively frack the Marcellus Shale which attracted the attention of a couple of Cornell scientists …living on the northern edge of the Marcellus Shale, Robert Howarth and Anthony Ingraffea,
- The fact about methane: Though it produces only half as much carbon as coal when you burn it, if you don’t—if it escapes into the air before it can be captured in a pipeline, or anywhere else along its route to a power plant or your stove—then it traps heat in the atmosphere much more efficiently than CO2,
- Politically, no one in power wanted to hear this, would be an understatement, so instead they attack the scientists even though new research kept backing up Howarth and Ingraffea,
- New worries: about the effects of methane in any quantity on the atmosphere. Everyone agrees that, molecule for molecule, methane traps far more heat than CO2 —but exactly how much wasn’t clear,
- The good news: a methane molecule lasts only a couple of decades in the air, compared with centuries for CO2,
- The bad news: Instead of peaking in 2007 and then trending downward, as the EPA has maintained, our combined emissions of methane and carbon dioxide have gone steadily and sharply up during the Obama years,
McKibben says “One obvious conclusion from the new data is that we need to move very aggressively to plug as many methane leaks as possible. ‘The biggest unfinished business for the Obama administration is to establish tight rules on methane emissions from existing [wells and drill sites].'” Furthermore we must remember that “containing the leaks is easier said than done … (as the) catastrophic blowouts like the recent one at Porter Ranch in California (demonstrated)”. More than any other tactic, “we need to stop the fracking industry in its tracks, here and abroad.” We must aggressively move to renewables now.
There is much more in the article. Read, remember and become active.
Read this: Here is another piece of evidence telling us that climate change is real and we better pay attention. The article below from The Daily KOS, by Meteor Blades relays the latest information from The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The study shows that “the winter of 2015-2016 was the warmest winter ever recorded for the 48 contiguous states in the 122 years records have been kept”. Even for our “I’m not a scientist crowd this should mean something”.
The study lists many different indicators all of which show hot, dire results. Some of these were:
- “December-February average temperature for the contiguous U.S. was 36.8°F, 4.6°F above the 20th century average, surpassing the previous record of 36.5°F set in 1999/2000”,
- “all six New England states were record warm, and there was only one tiny speck of blue on the entire wintertime temperature map of the lower 48, though you’d probably need a magnifying glass to find it. (Hint: It’s near Yellowstone National Park.)”,
- “Alaska’s winter was more than 10 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than normal”
The authors opinions are blunt but hopeful summing things as they say: “It’s happening, and it’s going to get worse. But impacts can be ameliorated if we take action to keep fossil fuels in the ground, something that can only be achieved if we rapidly transform our energy, transportation, and agricultural systems. And if we dump the deniers and delayers in Congress (largely Republicans but there are always a few Democrats to worry about), in state legislatures, and—harder still, obviously—in industry. The alternative is grim.”
Read the article then use it to counter your denying friends.
Read this: One of the problems in staying on track to move away from fossil fuels is that they are a commodity and their price can and will fluctuate. We tend to try to justify any changes we make by some financial means. For some issues and policies this makes a lot of sense and may be the only way to move forward. When it comes to climate change, the role of fossil fuel and their periodic fluctuations, their price can no longer be the driving justification. If science is correct and somewhere near 97% of scientists think it is, then we must aggressively move away from fossil fuels as fast and aggressively as possible. We may already be too late.
The article below by The Union of Concerned Scientists, says: “Fossil fuel prices will always fluctuate depending on supply and demand, and … low prices tend to lull consumers and policy makers into complacency. When gasoline costs as little as $2 a gallon, savings from driving a more efficient vehicle are reduced and it is harder for cleaner fuels to compete with fossil fuels. (On the bright side, low gas prices have forced producers to abandon some of their most damaging fossil fuel projects, such as drilling in the Arctic Ocean and making further investments in tar sands.)” The article goes on to emphasize that change must “establish strong standards that ensure progress on low-carbon fuels, zero-emissions vehicles, fuel economy and renewable electricity”. State and federal clean fuels programs must “require producers to make transportation fuels cleaner every year” as is being done in California and Oregon. This must continue in spite of temporary reductions in the costs of fossil fuels. This will be difficult as those on the right try to justify only by fiscal means. Our leaders must continually push the message that we are doing the right thing even when it may be less comfortable otherwise the only message we will hear will be the propaganda that flows from Big Fossil Fuel and Wall Street. This is a real challenge of democracy and its’ ability to do the right thing when it is most difficult.
The article and Senior Scientist in the Union of Concerned Scientists’ Clean Vehicles Program, Jeremy Martin focus on the impact of bio fuels and fuel policy, which are definitely important parts of the overall effort. However, I must admit, I feel the article didn’t adequately emphasize the urgency in which change needs to occur. Like so many discussions of any kind of change, it seemed to assume a very gradual process. That’s not acceptable as we annually shatter “hottest year ever” records world wide.
Watch this: Sometimes a short video can get a message across much faster than a more lengthy article. Such is the case here where a crew from Spotlight CA investigates what happens when oil mixes with our water sources. Now that oil drilling is taking place right in the middle of fields where farming is actively taking place and massive amounts of water are used to extract fossil fuels, some of that same water is ending up as the irrigation source for various crops. What could go wrong?
Reporter Kiran Deol meets a “watchdog farmer, a maverick water scientist and a public health expert who are all taking action to ensure our safety.” As they investigate the situation, a farmer named Frantz asks “An orange is 90 percent water when it gets to the consumer … where did that water come from? It’s the irrigation water. If the irrigation water is toxic even at very tiny amounts, is there a tiny amount of toxicity now in the fruit? Nobody has tested that yet.” As the story says, we (and particularly the oil companies) could be doing a lot more to ensure the purity of the water, but they are simply not. I guess they don’t have to so they probably won’t until that changes.
We, the consumers, need to wake up and be diligently, maybe radically, active.
Read & watch: It’s easy to discount the science of climate change when it happens very gradually. That may be changing however as in many places around the world the changes can be very rapid. The article in the link below, found in The Daily KOS, by Pakalolo, discusses two possible meltwater pulses that appear to have begun on 01-01-16. Warming ocean temperatures were the instigators as “remnants of hurricane Alex were pulled into a storm system just south of Greenland on Friday January 15, 2016. An event that then flooded both Baffin Bay and Western Greenland with warm, tropical air. At the same time, Greenland observers both noted what appears to be ice mass losses over Western Greenland as well as a possible large melt water outflow issuing from the Disko Bay area” What these events will mean, how extensive they will be, what we can do (if anything) and many more questions are running wild. But, as Pakalolo says, “if this event in Greenland is the start of another Meltwater Pulse we are effed.”
Although these pulses are not in themselves disastrous, each one suggests the inevitability of many others preparing to occur. “We are in so much trouble and it is only January. 2016 is going to be a disastrous year for the Greenland ice sheet.” Scientists are trying to make sense of these changes and are careful about sending erroneous alarms. “Glaciologists Tenney Naumer, Alun Hubbard and Jason Box believe that a large melt water pulse occurred at Jackobshavn Glacier — one of the swiftest-melting glaciers on Greenland. Over recent years, it has been one of the primary hot-spots for summer Greenland ice mass loss. But during recent days, mass loss also appears to have occurred in this area.”
Read the whole article and watch the short video. Look for more on this and make sure your representatives “believe in science”.