Climate Change

Doomsday: What climate change could wreak — sooner than you think…

 


From NYT

Famine, economic collapse, a sun that cooks us…

I. ‘Doomsday’

Peering beyond scientific reticence.

It is, I promise, worse than you think. If your anxiety about global warming is dominated by fears of sea-level rise, you are barely scratching the surface of what terrors are possible, even within the lifetime of a teenager today. And yet the swelling seas — and the cities they will drown — have so dominated the picture of global warming, and so overwhelmed our capacity for climate panic, that they have occluded our perception of other threats, many much closer at hand. Rising oceans are bad, in fact very bad; but fleeing the coastline will not be enough.

Indeed, absent a significant adjustment to how billions of humans conduct their lives, parts of the Earth will likely become close to uninhabitable, and other parts horrifically inhospitable, as soon as the end of this century.

Even when we train our eyes on climate change, we are unable to comprehend its scope. This past winter, a string of days 60 and 70 degrees warmer than normal baked the North Pole, melting the permafrost that encased Norway’s Svalbard seed vault — a global food bank nicknamed “Doomsday,” designed to ensure that our agriculture survives any catastrophe, and which appeared to have been flooded by climate change less than ten years after being built.

The Doomsday vault is fine, for now: The structure has been secured and the seeds are safe. But treating the episode as a parable of impending flooding missed the more important news. Until recently, permafrost was not a major concern of climate scientists, because, as the name suggests, it was soil that stayed permanently frozen. But Arctic permafrost contains 1.8 trillion tons of carbon, more than twice as much as is currently suspended in the Earth’s atmosphere. When it thaws and is released, that carbon may evaporate as methane, which is 34 times as powerful a greenhouse-gas warming blanket as carbon dioxide when judged on the timescale of a century; when judged on the timescale of two decades, it is 86 times as powerful. In other words, we have, trapped in Arctic permafrost, twice as much carbon as is currently wrecking the atmosphere of the planet, all of it scheduled to be released at a date that keeps getting moved up, partially in the form of a gas that multiplies its warming power 86 times over.

Maybe you know that already — there are alarming stories every day, like last month’s satellite data showing the globe warming, since 1998, more than twice as fast as scientists had thought. Or the news from Antarctica this past May, when a crack in an ice shelf grew 11 miles in six days, then kept going; the break now has just three miles to go — by the time you read this, it may already have met the open water, where it will drop into the sea one of the biggest icebergs ever, a process known poetically as “calving.”

2016: The Warmest Year on Record, with a Dip in the Second Half of the Year

 

From Berkeley Earth

[No thanks on the nukes… ds]

2016 was the warmest year since humans began keeping records, by a wide margin. Global average temperatures were extremely hot in the first few months of the year, pushed up by a large El Nino event.  Global surface temperatures dropped in the second half of 2016, yet still show a continuation of global warming. The global warming “pause”, which Berkeley Earth had always stressed was not statistically significant, now appears clearly to have been a temporary fluctuation.

Robert Rohde, Lead Scientist with Berkeley Earth, said “The record temperature in 2016 appears to come from a strong El Nino imposed on top of a long-term global warming trend that continues unabated.”

In addition, 2016 witnessed extraordinary warming in the Arctic. The way that temperatures are interpolated over the Arctic is now having a significant impact on global temperature measurements.  Zeke Hausfather, Scientist at Berkeley Earth said, “The difference between 2015 and 2016 global temperatures is much larger in the Berkeley record than in records from NOAA or the UK’s Hadley Centre, since they do not include the Arctic Ocean and we do. The arctic has seen record warmth in the past few months, and excluding it leads to a notable underestimate of recent warming globally.”

Elizabeth Muller, Executive Director of Berkeley Earth, said, “We have compelling scientific evidence that global warming is real and human caused, but much of what is reported as ‘climate change’ is exaggerated. Headlines that claim storms, droughts, floods, and temperature variability are increasing, are not based on normal scientific standards. We are likely to know better in the upcoming decades, but for now, the results that are most solidly established are that the temperature is increasing and that the increase is caused by human greenhouse emissions. It is certainly true that the impacts of global warming are still too subtle for most people to notice in their everyday lives.”

Richard Muller, Scientific Director of Berkeley Earth, said: “We project that continued global warming will lead us to an average temperature not yet experienced by civilization. It would be wise to slow or halt this rise. The most effective and economic approach would be to encourage nuclear power, substitution of natural gas for future coal plants, and continued improvement of energy efficiency.”
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Professor McPherson: Human Extinction within 10 years from Climate Change…

 

From Church And State, UK

Prof. Dr. Guy R. McPherson’s Climate Change Summary here

There’s no point trying to fight climate change – we’ll all be dead in the next decade and there’s nothing we can do to stop it, a visiting scientist claims.

Guy McPherson, a biology professor at the University of Arizona, says the human destruction of our own habitat is leading towards the world’s sixth mass extinction.

Instead of fighting, he says we should just embrace it and live life while we can.

“It’s locked down, it’s been locked in for a long time – we’re in the midst of our sixth mass extinction,” he told Paul Henry on Thursday.

But Professor James Renwick, a climate scientist at Victoria University, says people should not use his words more as an excuse to give up.

While he agrees that climate change is possibly the “biggest issue humanity has ever faced”, he says “giving up is not really helpful”.

Instead, Prof Renwick says he hopes Prof McPherson’s 10-year claim will encourage people to take action.

“This is a really big issue and the consequences could be catastrophic,” Prof Renwick says. “Though certainly [humans won’t all die off] in 10 years or even 1000 years.”

The effects of climate change were first noticed 30 years ago and Prof Renwick says the sooner we get onto working against it, the less there will be to do.

“I’d love to see [people] take it on board as it is a very serious issue.”

Prof McPherson’s comments come just days after Climate Change Issues Minister Paula Bennett appointed a 10-strong team to advise the Government on how New Zealand can adapt to climate change.

But if the visiting professor is right, it could all be a waste of time.

“I can’t imagine there will be a human on the planet in 10 years,” he says.

“We don’t have 10 years. The problem is when I give a number like that, people think it’s going to be business as usual until nine years [and] 364 days.”

He says part of the reason he’s given up while other scientists fight on is because they’re looking at individual parts, such as methane emissions and the melting ice in the Arctic, instead of the entire picture.

“We’re heading for a temperature within that span that is at or near the highest temperature experienced on Earth in the last 2 billion years.”

Instead of trying to fix the climate, Prof McPherson says we should focus on living while we can.

“I think hope is a horrible idea. Hope is wishful thinking. Hope is a bad idea – let’s abandon that and get on with reality instead. Let’s get on with living instead of wishing for the future that never comes.

“I encourage people to pursue excellence, to pursue love, to pursue what they love to do. I don’t think these are crazy ideas, actually – and I also encourage people to remain calm because nothing is under control, certainly not under our control anyway.”

New Zealand has been criticised by the international community for not doing enough to fight climate change – this month being awarded two Fossil of the Day awards at the UN Climate Change Conference in Marrakech.

The awards are for the country’s failure to live up to climate promises and the continued use of “dodgy” carbon credits.


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Hurricane Matthew is super strong  —  because of climate change…

Hurricane Matthew, October 4 (via NASA)

From ThinkProgress

“Category 4 and 5 hurricanes could double or triple in the coming decades,” expert warns.

Hurricane Matthew is slowly approaching the East Coast where it is expected to wreak havoc with storm surge, wind, and rain. Matthew has already set a number of records — and global warming is giving it a boost.

Hurricanes “extract heat energy from the ocean to convert it to the power of wind, and the warmer the ocean is, the stronger a hurricane can get if all other conditions that it needs to exist are present,” meteorologist and former hurricane hunter Jeff Masters explained last month on Living on Earth. “So, scientists are confident that as we continue to heat up the oceans, we’re going to see more of these high-end perfect storms.”

Case in point, as meteorologist Philip Klotzbach has noted:

  • Matthew set a new record as the longest lived Category 4 (or higher) Atlantic hurricane in October — 84 hours.
  • By Monday, it had already “generated the most accumulated cyclone energy” of any Atlantic hurricane ever recorded in the eastern Caribbean.
  • As a result, the 2016 hurricane season has “already generated the most accumulated cyclone energy in the Atlantic in October since 2005” (the year of Katrina, Rita, and Wilma).

Let’s look at some of the latest climate science. One 2013 paper found that “since 1975 there has been a substantial and observable regional and global increase in the proportion of Category 4–5 hurricanes of 25–30 percent per °C of anthropogenic global warming.” Another 2013 paper concluded that “dramatic changes in the frequency distribution of lifetime maximum intensity (LMI) have occurred in the North Atlantic,” and the stronger hurricanes “have become more intense.”

In other words, warming oceans create stronger hurricanes, like the one we’re seeing now.

Climate Change Activism: A Post-Mortem…

 

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From John Michael Greer

As I write these words, much of North America is sweltering under near-tropical heat and humidity. Parts of the Middle East have set all-time high temperatures for the Old World, coming within a few degrees of Death Valley’s global record. The melting of the Greenland ice cap has tripled in recent years, and reports from the arctic coast of Siberia describe vast swathes of tundra bubbling with methane as the permafrost underneath them melts in 80°F weather. Far to the south, seawater pours through the streets of Miami Beach whenever a high tide coincides with an onshore wind; the slowing of the Gulf Stream, as the ocean’s deep water circulation slows to a crawl, is causing seawater to pile up off the Atlantic coast of the US, amplifying the effect of sea level rise.

All these things are harbingers of a profoundly troubled future. All of them were predicted, some in extensive detail, in the print and online literature of climate change activism over the last few decades. Not that long ago, huge protest marches and well-funded advocacy organizations demanded changes that would prevent these things  from happening, and politicians mouthed slogans about stopping global warming in its tracks. Somehow, though, the marchers went off to do something else with their spare time, the advocacy organizations ended up preaching to a dwindling choir, and the politicians started using other slogans to distract the electorate.

The last gasp of climate change activism, the COP-21 conference in Paris late last year, resulted in a toothless agreement that binds no nation anywhere on earth to cut back on the torrents of greenhouse gases they’re currently pumping into the atmosphere. The only commitments any nation was willing to make amounted to slowing, at some undetermined point in the future, the rate at which the production of greenhouse gas pollutants is increasing. In the real world, meanwhile, enough greenhouse gases have already been dumped into the atmosphere to send the world’s climate reeling; sharp cuts in greenhouse gas output, leading to zero net increase in atmospheric CO2 and methane by 2050 or so, would still not have been enough to stop extensive flooding of coastal cities worldwide and drastic unpredictable changes in the rain belts that support agriculture and keep all seven billion of us alive. The outcome of COP-21 simply means that we’re speeding toward even more severe climatic disasters with the pedal pressed not quite all the way to the floor.

ExxonMobil CEO: Ending oil production ‘not acceptable for humanity’…

 

ExxonMobil tried to censor climate scientists to Congress during Bush era

From The Guardian

Shareholders win vote that could support board candidates concerned about climate as Rex Tillerson faces turbulent annual meeting

Rex Tillerson, the boss of oil giant ExxonMobil, said cutting oil production was “not acceptable for humanity” as he fought off shareholders’ and activists’ attempts to force the company to fully acknowledge the impact of climate change on the environment and Exxon’s future profits.

During a long and fractious annual meeting in Dallas on Wednesday, Tillerson, who serves as Exxon’s chairman and chief executive, beat back several proposals to force the company to take more action on climate change.

However, dissident shareholders won a vote that could make it easier for them to propose board candidates concerned about climate change and remove incumbent directors.

Tillerson said Exxon had invested $7bn in green technology, but the science and technology had not yet achieved the breakthroughs needed to compete with fossil fuels. “Until we have those, just saying ‘turn the taps off’ is not acceptable to humanity,” he said. “The world is going to have to continue using fossil fuels, whether they like it or not.”

Climate Change: Too Little, Too Late

 

From John Michael Greer

Last week, after a great deal of debate, the passengers aboard the Titanic voted to impose modest limits sometime soon on the rate at which water is pouring into the doomed ship’s hull. Despite the torrents of self-congratulatory rhetoric currently flooding into the media from the White House and an assortment of groups on the domesticated end of the environmental movement, that’s the sum of what happened at the COP-21 conference in Paris. It’s a spectacle worth observing, and not only for those of us who are connoisseurs of irony; the factors that drove COP-21 to the latest round of nonsolutions are among the most potent forces shoving industrial civilization on its one-way trip to history’s compost bin.

The core issues up for debate at the Paris meeting were the same that have been rehashed endlessly at previous climate conferences. The consequences of continuing to treat the atmosphere as a gaseous sewer for humanity’s pollutants are becoming increasingly hard to ignore, but nearly everything that defines a modern industrial economy as “modern” and “industrial” produces greenhouse gases, and the continued growth of the world’s modern industrial economies remains the keystone of economic policy around the world. The goal pursued by negotiators at this and previous climate conferences, then, is to find some way to do something about anthropogenic global warming that won’t place any kind of restrictions on economic growth.

What that means in practice is that the world’s nations have more or less committed themselves to limit the rate at which the dumping of greenhouse gases will increase over the next fifteen years. I’d encourage those of my readers who think anything important was accomplished at the Paris conference to read that sentence again, and think about what it implies. The agreement that came out of COP-21 doesn’t commit anybody to stop dumping carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, now or at any point in the future. It doesn’t even commit anybody to set a fixed annual output that will not be exceeded. It simply commits the world’s nations to slow down the rate at which they’re increasing their dumping of greenhouse gases. If this doesn’t sound to you like a recipe for saving the world, let’s just say you’re not alone.

Richard Heinberg: Renewable Energy After COP21  — Nine issues for climate leaders to think about on the journey home…

 

after-COP21-blog

 

COP21 in Paris is over. Now it’s back to the hard work of fighting for, and implementing, the energy transition.

 

We all know that the transition away from fossil fuels is key to maintaining a livable planet. Several organizations have formulated proposals for transitioning to 100 percent renewable energy; some of those proposals focus on the national level, some the state level, while a few look at the global challenge. David Fridley (staff scientist of the energy analysis program at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory) and I have been working for the past few months to analyze and assess many of those proposals, and to dig deeper into energy transition issues—particularly how our use of energy will need to adapt in a ~100 percent renewable future. We have a book in the works, titled Our Renewable Future, that examines the adjustments society will have to make in the transition to new energy sources. We started this project with some general understanding of the likely constraints and opportunities in this transition; nevertheless, researching and writing Our Renewable Future has been a journey of discovery. Along the way, we identified not only technical issues requiring more attention, but also important implications for advocacy and policy. What follows is a short summary—tailored mostly to the United States—of what we’ve learned, along with some recommendations.

Top 10 Ways You Can Personally Help Slow Climate Change…


From David Suzuki

Ever wonder how your tiny carbon footprint really impacts the big picture of climate change? Though you might feel like your lifestyle is insignificant compared to things like oil extraction or vehicle emissions, the choices we make in our day-to-day life — how we get around, what we eat, how we live — play a major role in slowing climate change.

Here’s a list of 10 ways you can join in the fight to reduce our carbon footprint. Whether you save it on your desktop, share it with friends, or stick a copy on your fridge (PDF), this quick reference guide breaks down what you can do today to protect the planet for future generations.

1. Green your commute

Transportation causes about 25 per cent of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions, so walk, cycle or take transit whenever you can. You’ll save money and get into better shape! If you can’t go car-free, try carpooling or car sharing, and use the smallest, most fuel-efficient vehicle possible.

Miami Finds Itself Ankle-Deep in Global Warming…


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From NYT

[What to do?: Vote the Global Warming deniers out of office, redistribute their (Koch Brothers) money, and socialize our fossil fuel industry so we can stop fracking, start conserving fossil fuels, and use them to convert to alternative energy… -DS]

MIAMI BEACH — The sunny-day flooding was happening again. During high tide one recent afternoon, Eliseo Toussaint looked out the window of his Alton Road laundromat and watched bottle-green saltwater seep from the gutters, fill the street and block the entrance to his front door.

“This never used to happen,” Mr. Toussaint said. “I’ve owned this place eight years, and now it’s all the time.”

Down the block at an electronics store it is even worse. Jankel Aleman, a salesman, keeps plastic bags and rubber bands handy to wrap around his feet when he trudges from his car to the store through ever-rising waters.

Humanity’s Destruction of Earth’s Climate in Ninety Seconds…


From Common Dreams

Data visualization that compresses thousands of years of historic atmospheric data presents frightening prospects for humanity’s future..

As carbon emissions concentrate in the atmosphere, the planet is burning up… and fast. That is the well-known bottom line when it comes to human-caused global warming and climate change.

Over the course of April, according to the world’s premiere atmospheric monitoring station  Mauna Loa, Hawaii, which is run by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the concentration of carbon averaged more than 400 parts per million for the entire month for the first time in human history.

For those looking for a short, visual expression of what that means and looks like, an animation from the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) provides a  ninety-second, jaw-dropping look at the history of these concentrations and the “unparalleled” rise that has occurred over the last several decades:

As Climate Central‘s Brian Kahn notes, the visualization “makes clear that though there have been variations over time, the current rise is unparalleled.”

Global Warming: If You See Something, Say Something…


gw
From Michael Mann
NYT

The overwhelming consensus among climate scientists is that human-caused climate change is happening. Yet a fringe minority of our populace clings to an irrational rejection of well-established science. This virulent strain of anti-science infects the halls of Congress, the pages of leading newspapers and what we see on TV, leading to the appearance of a debate where none should exist.

In fact, there is broad agreement among climate scientists not only that climate change is real (a survey and a review of the scientific literature published say about 97 percent agree), but that we must respond to the dangers of a warming planet. If one is looking for real differences among mainstream scientists, they can be found on two fronts: the precise implications of those higher temperatures, and which technologies and policies offer the best solution to reducing, on a global scale, the emission of greenhouse gases.

For example, should we go full-bore on nuclear power? Invest in and deploy renewable energy — wind, solar and geothermal — on a huge scale?

Climate Change: Basically, we’re f***ed…


aAfterculture Artifacts

From DAVE POLLARD

Requiem for a Species

We [now] have no chance of preventing emissions rising well above a number of critical tipping points that will spark uncontrollable climate change.

I‘ve added professor Clive Hamilton’s new book Requiem for a Species: Why We Resist the Truth About Climate Change to my “Save the World Reading List” (retroactively). It’s the natural next step after the 15 essential readings and really sums up where we (our species and our planet) are now.

Clive starts out by saying what climate scientists know but are afraid to say:

Over the last five years, almost every advance in climate science has painted a more disturbing picture of the future. The reluctant conclusion of the most eminent climate scientists is that the world is now on the path to a very unpleasant future and it is too late to stop it. Behind the facade of scientific detachment, the climate scientists themselves now evince a mood of barely suppressed panic. No one is willing to say publicly what the climate science is telling us: that we can no longer prevent global warming that will this century bring about a radically transformed world that is much more hostile to the survival and flourishing of life. This is no longer an expectation of what might happen if we do not act soon; this will happen, even if the most optimistic assessment of how the world might respond to the climate disruption is validated.

Climate Change Denier George Will Keeps Getting Nuttier…


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From NYMag

George Will hates climate science, and everything that springs from climate science, including any non-carbon-intensive mode of transportation, like fuel-efficient cars, or, heaven forbid, trains. Will’s column today celebrates his belief that Americans are once again disproving President Obama’s Big Government Social Engineering by flocking to ever-larger and less-fuel-efficient vehicles:

Have consumers thanked him for trying to wean them from their desire to drive large, useful, comfortable, safe vehicles that he thinks threaten their habitat, Earth? The 2013 numbers tell the tale of their ingratitude. In 2013, for the 32nd consecutive year, the best-selling vehicle was Ford’s F-Series pickups. This supremacy began, fittingly, in the first year of Ronald Reagan’s deregulatory presidency.

It is nice, in these dark socialist times, that Will can still detect the flicker of freedom in the hearts of Americans flocking toward Reaganite Freedomcars. And it is true that the Ford F-Series is the single best-selling vehicle in the U.S. But the single best-selling vehicle by itself accounts for less than 5 percent of all vehicles sold.

Arctic Sea Ice: The Death Spiral Continues…


From CLIMATE DENIAL CROCK OF THE WEEK

After watching several videos of the breakup of Beaufort sea Ice during the dead of winter, I decided to contact a leading ice expert, Walt Meier of the National Snow and Ice Data Center, for analysis and perspective. I mixed his comments in with the increasingly-on-the-same-page warnings from his fellow scientists around the country.
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Global Warming: Heat Records Exceed Cold by Increasing Margins…


From PETER SINCLAIR
Climate Denial Crock of the Week

Climate Central:

As the climate has warmed during the past several decades, there has been a growing imbalance between record daily high temperatures in the contiguous U.S. and record daily lows. A study published in 2009 found that rather than a 1-to-1 ratio, as would be expected if the climate were not warming, the ratio has been closer to 2-to-1 in favor of warm temperature records during the past decade (2000-2009). This finding cannot be explained by natural climate variability alone, the study found, and is instead consistent with global warming.

When you look at individual years, the imbalance can be more stark. For example, through late June 2012, daily record highs were outnumbering record daily lows by a ratio of 9-to-1.The study used computer models to project how the records ratios might shift in future decades as the amount of greenhouse gases in the air continues to increase. The results showed that the ratio of daily record highs to daily record lows in the lower 48 states could soar to 20-to-1 by mid-century, and 50-to-1 by 2100.
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Climate Denial Crock of the Week: Welcome to the Rest of Our Lives…


From CLIMATE CROCKS
~

ABC News:

Hundreds of thousands of Americans were left without power for days after a violent storm front moved through from the Midwest to the Mid-Atlantic last week. But what if — in the case of a blackout — you could just use your car to power your home?

It might sound futuristic, but in Japan it is already happening.

In Ginza, a posh shopping district in the heart of Tokyo — customers looking to buy a car can do something they can’t do anywhere else in the world — walk into a Nissan dealer and buy an all electric Leaf that will integrate into their home’s energy supply. Simply put

Dear Climate Change Deniers: ‘This Is Just the Beginning’…


From WORLD VIEW OF GLOBAL WARMING

Huge areas of drought spread across the United States, while heat and wildfires add to climate woes.

More than 2,000 heat records were broken last week around the U.S. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)…

“You know, as time goes on, we always expect to set new records, but there should be an equal number of highs and lows. And in the 1950s and the ’60s and ’70s, that was the case. But by the time we got to the 2000s, the ratios of highs to lows was about two-to-one and this year so far it’s running at about a ratio of ten-to-one. And so clearly this is just not natural variability anymore.”

More than three quarters of the area of the lower 48 states is in drought and dry conditions, apparently the most since weekly detailed drought mapping began in 2000. The National Drought Monitor map and analysis as of July 3, by the National Drought Mitigation Center, shows areas suffering “exceptional drought”

Thank God Global Warming is a Hoax


From MARK MORFORD
SFGate

I mean, right? You know? Because gosh Jesus in angry apocalyptic heaven, wouldn’t it be just terrible if it were all true?

Wouldn’t it be horrible if all this stunning, insanely mounting, irrefutable evidence — death, floods, fires, heat waves, the worst this and the most violent that in 1,000 years — were some sort of surefire, cumulative sign that we have, if not directly caused, then wildly accelerated and amplified the imminent implosion of this planet?

But we didn’t! And we haven’t! And we aren’t! I mean, whew.

I am delighted to remember that hardcore science has lied, misguided, misnomered and whatever else weird science does to confuse the world about the real impact humanity has had on global ecosystems. All those thousands of highly trained scientists educated at the finest universities, learning the most difficult and fraught information of our age, all in universal agreement that humankind’s actions directly affect climate change, and they are all totally full of it because they are clearly in cahoots with Nazi Liberal Jesus, the solar panel manufacturers and the hippies who want me to compost my KFC Double Down wrapper.

Are we prepared for whatever’s coming?


From ADBUSTERS

Just as in 1939 we had to give up on a massive scale the comfortable lifestyle of peacetime, so soon we may feel rich with only a quarter of what we consume now. If we do it right and with enthusiasm, it will not seem a depressing phase of denial but instead, as in 1940, a chance to redeem ourselves. For the young, life will be full of opportunities to serve, to create, and they will have a purpose for living.

– James Lovelock from The Vanishing Face of Gaia: A Final Warning

If people know anything about the British scientist James Lovelock, it is his theory of a living Earth, known as Gaia. Lovelock began formulating this revolutionary vision in the late 1960s while working at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. It was there, not far from the ground zero of West Coast counterculture, that he began to wonder: Might the Earth possess a sophisticated planetary intelligence, one that regulates the countless interactions of plants, animals, minerals, gases and the sun’s heat (all of the ingredients and products of ever-evolving life) in such a way as to maintain a climate homeostasis amenable to a lush, living planet? In short, does Mother Earth like life, and does she do her best to make us comfortable?

Once regarded as a quasi-mystical expression of longing more than a science-based insight, Lovelock’s theory has overcome the skepticism of his peers. Over the course of four decades of research and experiment, Gaia has officially graduated from a hypothesis to a theory. It is now widely accepted that the biosphere’s elements are no passive collection of independent actors responding to conditions but together form a living web that actively creates and maintains those conditions, including temperature. Lovelock has been compared to Copernicus and Darwin for fathering and nurturing the Gaia paradigm.

More at Adbusters
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Livestock and Climate Change: What if the key actors in climate change are… cows, pigs, and chickens?



From ROBERT GOODLAND AND JEFF ANHANG
Worldwatch Institute
Thanks to RON EPSTEIN
Ukiah

Whenever the causes of climate change are discussed, fossil fuels top the list. Oil, natural gas, and especially coal are indeed major sources of human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases (GHGs). But we believe that the life cycle and supply chain of domesticated animals raised for food have been vastly underestimated as a source of GHGs, and in fact account for at least half of all human-caused GHGs. If this argument is right, it implies that replacing livestock products with better alternatives would be the best strategy for reversing climate change. In fact, this approach would have far more rapid effects on GHG emissions and their atmospheric concentrations—and thus on the rate the climate is warming—than actions to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy.

Livestock are already well-known to contribute to GHG emissions. Livestock’s Long Shadow, the widely-cited 2006 report by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), estimates that 7,516 million metric tons per year of CO2 equivalents (CO2e), or 18 percent of annual worldwide GHG emissions, are attributable to cattle, buffalo, sheep, goats, camels, horses, pigs, and poultry. That amount would easily qualify livestock for a hard look indeed in the search for ways to address climate change. But our analysis shows that livestock and their byproducts actually account for at least 32,564million tons of CO2e per year, or 51 percent of annual worldwide GHG emissions.

Complete article available here
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Fidel Castro on Climate Change, Copenhagen, and Obama



From FIDEL CASTRO RUZ
Thanks to Pinky Kushner
Ukiah

As the Revolution celebrated its 51st anniversary two days ago, memories of that January 1st of 1959 came to mind. The outlandish idea that, after half a century — which flew by — we would remember it as if it were yesterday, never occurred to any of us.

During the meeting at the Oriente sugar mill on December 28, 1958, with the commander in chief of the enemy’s forces, whose elite units were surrounded without any way out whatsoever, he admitted defeat and appealed to our generosity to find a dignified way out for the rest of his forces. He knew of our humane treatment of prisoners and the injured without any exception. He accepted the agreement that I proposed, although I warned him that operations under way would continue. But he traveled to the capital, and, incited by the United States embassy, instigated a coup d’état.

We were preparing for combat on that January 1st when, in the early hours of the morning, the news came in of the dictator’s flight. The Rebel Army was ordered not to permit a ceasefire and to continue battling on all fronts. Radio Rebelde convened workers to a revolutionary general strike, immediately followed by the entire nation. The coup attempt was defeated, and that same afternoon, our victorious troops entered Santiago de Cuba.

Copenhagen Accord Notes


From ROSALIND PETERSON
Redwood Valley

1) The United States is committed to implement qualified economy-wide emissions targets for 2020 to be submitted to the United Nations by January 31, 2010.

2) The U.S. Senate will be under the gun to pass their Cap & Trade, Energy & Jobs bill (S1733 or another similar bill) prior to January 31, 2010 to be in compliance with this Accord.

3) The current bill before the U.S. Senate will not reduce any pollution emissions until 2017 and then only a 17% reduction of 2005 identified greenhouse gas emissions (water vapor, a greenhouse gas, is excluded from this legislation). Thus, no action is planned by the Copenhagen Accord or the United States in reducing any greenhouse gases until 2017 or 2020.

4) The EPA, without any passage of legislation and under authority from a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court, is now on track to immediately begin to reduce all pollution from every greenhouse gas source. Without interference from Congress or the White House compliance with the Accord will begin in 2010, and could put the United States in the lead in taking immediate action to reduce greenhouse gas pollution. The EPA model could set and example for the entire world and the United States would be immediately demonstrating its commitment to protecting the environment.

5) The Accord is weak in that no implementation of greenhouse gas reductions is to take place until 2020.

6) The Accord will use various approaches to reducing greenhouse gas emissions “…including opportunities to use markets, to enhance the cost-effectiveness of, and to promote mitigation actions…” This means that (S1733) a Cap & Trade System will be used in lieu of actual immediate reductions to allow polluters to “Buy & Sell the “Right to Pollute” between 2010 and 2017 or 2020. No pollution reduction will take place until either of these target dates.

In The Long Run We’ll All Be Dead



From digby
[Thanks to Janie]

I suspect that one of the things that allows the mendacious global warming deniers (as opposed to the delusional global warming deniers) think they have in their favor is the relatively long time horizon. If temperatures rise by 10 degrees by the 21st century, well, that’s their problem, right?

But this article in the NY Times today brings home the fact that there are very likely to be serious consequences quite soon, not the least of which is probable mass migration:

The glaciers that have long provided water and electricity to this part of Bolivia are melting and disappearing, victims of global warming, most scientists say. If the water problems are not solved, El Alto, a poor sister city of La Paz, could perhaps be the first large urban casualty of climate change. A World Bank report concluded last year that climate change would eliminate many glaciers in the Andes within 20 years, threatening the existence of nearly 100 million people.

It’s not about the planet, which is quite able to deal with climate change. It’s about the humans that live on the planet. The problems caused by climate change will cause huge dislocations of populations.

If they’ve ever thought about it, which is doubtful, Palin and her buddies would probably find that stimulating. She and her bloodthirsty brethren would love to have an excuse to “protect what’s theirs” in the event of massive shifts in population. (After all, Palin couldn’t even stand to live in Hawaii because of all those icky minorities.) But regardless of GI Joe and Jane seige fantasies, the fact is that climate change is going to affect large numbers of people in a fairly short period of time. And those people are going to move somewhere and cause dislocations and wrenching social change all across the planet. It’s not just about driving a Chevy Tahoe or the price of gasoline. It’s about starvation, migration and war.
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It’s Going to Be Beautiful


From BILL McKIBBEN
Yes! Magazine

There are reasons to be encouraged about the negotiations in Copenhagen, and ways to get involved in your own backyard.

I know many of you are busy preparing for this weekend’s vigils, and I know you’re all hearing a lot about the climate talks in Copenhagen.

But since we’re all working on the same team, I wanted to give you an inside/outside sense of all that’s happening in one of the more important weeks in the history of this ball of rock and water we call the earth.

From inside Copenhagen, our crew (which at exactly 350 mostly young souls is reportedly the largest accredited delegation to the talks!) reports the following:

  • It’s cold and gray and the sun sets at 3:30 pm, but exciting to be in a world where everyone is focused on the climate. Sometimes, amongst all the wonderful activists from every corner of the world, you can really sense how the planet might come together.
  • As of Wednesday evening, the 350 target is still in the treaty’s “negotiating text.” Our movement’s lobbying efforts-both in the UN and around the world-might end up bearing fruit. Few negotiators have managed to avoid our briefing papers on the science of 350, and many of them are showing their support in style with 350 ties and lapel pins.

Armed with peer-reviewed science, we fight for a sustainable world


From NARESH GIANGRANGE
Transition Culture

Transition reflections from Copenhagen

Klimaforum the people’s conference has started slowly. Maybe a 1000-2000 of us in many different locations feeling our way into perhaps the defining moment of our life and times which this conference represents and reflect the hopes an fears of our generation in a way that no other I have even been to does. There is a tension and an intensity that I have never felt before. Even though the first day felt a bit like a party conference, people wandering in and out of speeches that went on too long.

The mood is subdued and quiet, and focussed on the positive and the possibilities of going forward from here. I am sure many know this is the alternative conference. This conference  sits alongside the main COP15 conference at the Bella centre about 4 km away from where we the people are meeting.

Full article here

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The Human Ecology of Collapse – Part One


From JOHN MICHAEL GREER
Author, The Long Descent

… Beneath all the yelling, though, are a set of brutal facts nobody is willing to address. Whether or not the current round of climate instability is entirely the product of anthropogenic CO2 emissions is actually not that important, because it’s even more stupid to dump greenhouse gases into a naturally unstable climate system than it would be to dump them into a stable one. Over the long run, the only level of carbon pollution that is actually sustainable is zero net emissions, and getting there any time soon would require something not far from the dismantling of industrial society and its replacement with something much less affluent. Now of course we would have to do this anyway, since the world’s fossil fuel supplies are depleting fast enough that production limits will begin to bite hard in the years and decades ahead, but this simply sharpens the point at issue…

The climate denial industry is out to dupe the public. And it’s working. – George Monbiot


From GEORGE MONBIOT
The Guardian

Think environmentalists are stooges? You’re the unwitting recruit of a hugely powerful oil lobby – I’ve got the proof

When you survey the trail of wreckage left by the climate emails crisis, three things become clear. The first is the tendency of those who claim to be the champions of climate science to minimise their importance. Those who have most to lose if the science is wrong have perversely sought to justify the secretive and chummy ethos that some of the emails reveal. If science is not transparent and accountable, it’s not science.

I believe that all supporting data, codes and programmes should be made available as soon as an article is published in a peer-reviewed journal. That anyone should have to lodge a freedom of information request to obtain them is wrong. That the request should be turned down is worse.

The Heat Is On


From ANNIE LOWREY
Slate Magazine

Here is how the story now known as ClimateGate broke: On Nov. 17, an unknown person somehow gained access to a huge cache of emails and data files from the University of East Anglia’s climate research unit (CRU) and put them on the Internet. The hacker posted links to the data on prominent climate-skeptic blogs, just weeks before the Dec. 7 start of the U.N. climate conference in Copenhagen. Then, the documents were distributed with the ominous preface: “We feel that climate science is, in the current situation, too important to be kept under wraps. We hereby release a random selection of correspondence, code, and documents.”

The approximately 1,000 emails and 3,000 documents purportedly showed that an elite cabal of climatologists had massaged decades of data to fool the world into believing in the myth of anthropogenic climate change. (The perpetrators offered no explanation why the scientists might want to do this. My best guess: All climatologists secretly despise GDP growth.) The scientists had apparently altered the world’s biggest record of global surface temperature readings, trashed discordant evidence, and publicly humiliated climatologists who reached differing conclusions.

Climate blogs went wild. The British press soon glommed onto the story with characteristic maniacal glee. One typical post by James Delingpole in the Daily Telegraph, for instance, read: “If you own any shares in alternative energy companies I should start dumping them NOW. The conspiracy behind the Anthropogenic Global Warming myth … has been suddenly, brutally and quite deliciously exposed.”

Why We Find it so Hard to Act Against Climate Change


Solving the “It’s Not My Problem” problem. A psychologist on what keeps us from coming to terms with the climate crisis.

From GEORGE MARSHALL
Yes! Magazine

It should be easy to deal with climate change. There is a strong scientific consensus supported by very sound data; consensus across much of the religious and political spectrum and among businesses including the largest corporations in the world. The vast majority of people claim to be concerned. The targets are challenging, but they are achievable with existing technologies, and there would be plentiful profits and employment available for those who took up the challenge.

So why has so little happened? Why do people who claim to be very concerned about climate change continue their high-carbon lifestyles? And why, as the warnings become ever louder, do increasing numbers of people reject the arguments of scientists and the evidence of their own eyes?

These, I believe, will be the key questions for future historians of the unfurling climate disaster, just as historians of the Holocaust now ask: “How could so many good and moral people know what was happening and yet do so little?”

This comparison with mass human rights abuses is a surprisingly useful place to find some answers to these questions. In States of Denial: Knowing About Atrocities and Suffering, Stanley Cohen studies how people living under repressive regimes resolve the conflict they feel between the moral imperative to intervene and the need to protect themselves and their families.

Six Things We Know For Sure in the Wake of ClimateGate


From ROB HOPKINS
Transition Culture

Is there anything in these emails that leads one to assume that climate change is not happening?  No.  Writing in the Sunday Times, Bryan Appleyard tried to carve in stone what we know for sure about climate change (in spite of acknowledging that there are never certainties in science, rather “all science can ever be is the best guess of the best minds”).  We know that the climate is warming, and that this is caused by emissions of greenhouse gases, and that if this continues, “nasty things probably start happening within the next century, possibly within the next decade”, although of course there are many extreme events already happening attributed by many to climate change.

Jeff Masters at wunderground.com puts it thus, “even if every bit of mud slung at these scientists were true – the body of scientific work supporting the theory of human-caused climate change – which spans hundreds of thousands of scientific papers written by tens of thousands of scientists in dozens of different scientific disciplines – is too vast to be budged by the flaws in the works of the three of four scientists being subject to the fiercest attacks”.  Indeed.

We are talking about a scientific case that has been built up over 20 years or so of peer-reviewed science.  As Greenfyre puts it, “Which studies were compromised, how? Be specific. Cite papers and data sets. What is the evidence? Where is it? What work is affected? How? Show me the evidence that says so”.  It is much easier just to fling muck around than to be specific.  Nothing has emerged this week that puts the actual science behind climate change in question at all.

Question #1: What if Al Gore’s Climate Change Conclusions Are Wrong?


From DAVE SMITH
Ukiah

I don’t trust Al Gore. He wrote Earth In The Balance, and then, after becoming Vice President, said and did nothing about the environment for eight long years. That doesn’t mean he is wrong. But now, working in his own investment firm, promoting the cap-and-trade scam, one must question motives and intent and be open to what other scientists are also saying before drawing one’s own personal conclusions and taking action…

Question #2: Who will make the Big Bucks from Climate Change?

Question #3: Who are the Climate Change Deniers?

Gore’s Guru Disagreed…

Calling him “a wonderful, visionary professor” who was “one of the first people in the academic community to sound the alarm on global warming,” Gore thought of Dr. Revelle as his mentor and referred to him frequently, relaying his experiences as a student in his book Earth in the Balance, published in 1992. Gore’s warmth for Dr. Revelle cooled, however, when it became clear that he had misunderstood his former professor: Although Dr. Revelle recognized potential harm from global warming, he also saw potential benefits and was by no means alarmed, as seen in this 1984 interview in Omni magazine:

The best current overview of peak oil, what it means, and what we should do



From GAIL TVERBERG
The Oil Drum

I decided to write another rather basic level article because there are so many people I meet who have heard a bit about the oil situation, and it is hard to point to one single article to give an overview of some of the current issues. Regular readers will find many repeats of graphs. There are some new ones, as well, from the Denver ASPO-USA conference. Because there is so much to tell, the story gets a little long.

We live in a finite world. It is clear that at some point, we will eventually start hitting limits—we won’t be able to extract as much oil, or we won’t be able to mine as much silver or platinum, or fresh-water aquifers that have built up over millions of years will run dry.

We are reaching limits in several areas, but the one I would like to talk about here is oil production. Oil is essential, because nearly all transportation depends on oil, and because a huge number of goods use oil in their manufacture (including textiles, pharmaceuticals, pesticides, asphalt, plastics, lubricating oils, and computers). Oil is also essential for our current agricultural system–growing food and transporting it to market.

Why people are concerned about a decline in oil production

Keep reading at The Oil Drum

See also Abiotic Oil
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Take Action! United States Navy to Conduct Massive Atmospheric Experimental Tests Starting As Early As September 15, 2009


From ROSALIND PETERSON
Redwood Valley

An article in Space.com (1) titled, “NASA Rocket to Create Clouds Tuesday” by Clara Moskowits, Staff Writer – September 14, 2009, was unexpectedly forwarded to me today.

According to the article: “…A rocket experiment set to launch Tuesday aims to create artificial clouds at the outermost layers of Earth’s atmosphere. The project, called the Charged Aerosol Release Experiment (CARE)…”This is really essentially at the boundary of space,” said Wayne Scales, a scientist at Virginia Tech who will…study the physics of the artificial dust cloud as it’s released…CARE is slated to launch Tuesday between 7:30 and 7:57 p.m. EDT (2330 and 2357 GMT) from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia….”

“…CARE will release its (aluminum oxide) (4), dust particles a bit higher than that, then let them settle back down to a lower altitude.”What the CARE experiment hopes to do is to create an artificial dust layer,” Professor Scales told SPACE.com. “Hopefully it’s a creation in a controlled sense, which will allow scientists to study different aspects of it, the turbulence generated on the inside, the distribution of dust particles and such.” CARE is a project of the Naval Research Laboratory and the Department of Defense Space Test Program. The spacecraft will launch aboard a NASA four-stage Black Brant XII suborbital sounding rocket…Researchers will track the CARE dust cloud for days or even months to study its behavior and development over time…If CARE cannot launch Tuesday, the team can try again between Sept. 16 and Sept. 20, 2009…”

The U.S. Navy, NASA, and the U.S. Defense Department have made a decision to conduct one or more atmospheric tests, in order to create an aluminum oxide dust cloud without the permission, and for the most part, the knowledge of the citizens of the United States. These aluminum oxide particles may eventually return to earth polluting our air, water and soils. The tests may damage the various atmospheric boundaries that protect life on earth – no one has any idea what damage this dust cloud and the testing on this dust cloud may do to our climate, agriculture, human health or the amount of infrared and UV radiation reaching the Earth.

It is time to contact elected officials today and protest this action which may begin as early as today, September 15, 2009. The Navy is already conducting warfare testing in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and the Gulf of Mexico and has more ranges in the planning and permit stages. Senator Dianne Feinstein and Senator Barbara Boxer noted in a June 19, 2009. Letter to Dr. Jane Lubchenco, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce:

The Fallacy of Climate Activism


From Adam D. Sacks
Grist Magazine – Excerpts

August 31, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mendocino, North California

…the battle against greenhouse-gas emissions, as we have currently framed it, is over.

It is absolutely over and we have lost.

We have to say so…

If we climate activists don’t tell the truth as well as we know it—which we have been loathe to do because we ourselves are frightened to speak the words—the public will not respond, notwithstanding all our protestations of urgency.

And contrary to current mainstream climate-activist opinion, contrary to all the pointless “focus groups,” contrary to the endless speculation on “correct framing,” the only way to tell the truth is to tell it.  All of it, no matter how terrifying it may be…

If we live at all, we will have to figure out how to live locally and sustainably.  Living locally means we are able get everything we need within walking (or animal riding) distance. We may eventually figure out sustainable ways of moving beyond those small circles to bring things home, but our track record isn’t good and we’d better think it through very carefully.

Likewise, any technology has to be locally based, using local resources and accessible tools, renewable and non-toxic.  We have much re-thinking to do, and re-learning from our hunter-gatherer forebears who managed to survive for a couple of hundred thousand years in ways that we with our civilized blinders we can barely imagine or understand.

Living sustainably means, in Derrick Jensen’s elegantly simple definition, that whatever we do, we can do it indefinitely. We cannot use up anything more or faster than nature provides, we don’t poison the air, water, or soil, and we respect the web of life of which we are an intricate part.  We are not separate from nature, or above it, or in any way qualified to supervise it. The evidence is ample and overwhelming; all we have to do is be brave enough to look.

How do we survive in a world that will probably turn—is already turning, for many humans and non-humans alike—into a living hell? How do we even grow or gather food or find clean water or stay warm or cool while assaulted by biblical floods,

Report: Rising Sea Levels, Temperature Inevitable In California, State Must Prepare


From Huffington Post

August 4, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mendocino, North California

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Even if the world is successful in cutting carbon emissions in the future, California needs to start preparing for rising sea levels, hotter weather and other effects of climate change, a new state report recommends.

It encourages local communities to rethink future development in low-lying coastal areas, reinforce levees that protect flood-prone areas and conserve already strapped water supplies…

The report was compiled after Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger directed agencies in November to devise a state climate strategy. It comes three years after the Republican governor signed California’s landmark global warming law requiring the state to slash greenhouse gas emissions by 2020.

Most countries have focused on cutting greenhouse gases in the future, but researchers say those efforts will take decades to have an effect while the planet continues to warm. States have only recently begun to look at what steps they must take to minimize the damage expected from sea level rise, storm surges, droughts and water shortages because of the climate changes.

Over the last century in California, the sea level has risen by 7 inches, average temperatures have increased, spring snowmelt occurs earlier in the year, and there are hotter days and fewer cold nights.

The report warns that rising temperatures over the next few decades will lead to more heat waves, wildfires, droughts and floods.

“We have to deal with those unavoidable impacts,” said Suzanne Moser, a research associate at the Institute of Marine Sciences at the University of California Santa Cruz. “We can’t pretend they are not going to happen and we have to prepare for that.”

Keep reading Report

See also: It’s Official: This July Was State’s Coldest Since 1924
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