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West Coast sizzles; Mangaluru records all time high temperature for February month

West Coast sizzles; Mangaluru records all time high temperature for February month

It’s not only Mangaluru, but also Honnavar and Karwar, where the weather observatories have recorded abnormally high temperatures.(Picture only for representation)
It’s not only Mangaluru, but also Honnavar and Karwar, where the weather observatories have recorded abnormall… Read More

MANGALURU: The west coasthas been witnessing an abnormal increase in day temperature since past few days. On Wednesday, the evening temperature was 38.7 degree C for Mangaluru city, recorded at Panambur Weather Observatory, which is a seven degree C rise in the normal maximum. This, incidentally, is an all-time high record for the February month since Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) started recording temperatures for this region.

The previous high of 38.4 degree C was recorded on February 19 last year. The mean max for the month of February is 33.3 deg C. The day time temperatures have been on a high since February 12.

It’s not only Mangaluru, but also Honnavar and Karwar, where the weather observatories have recorded abnormally high temperatures. Karwar on Wednesday recorded 38.4 deg C, which is 6 deg C departure from the mean maximum for the February month. The all-time high for Karwar is 39.1 deg C recorded on February 21, 2009. Wednesday’s high was also once recorded on February 23, 2007, in Karwar.

Honnavar’s Wednesday’s temperature was 5 deg C higher than the mean maximum at 37.2 deg C. Honnavar’s all-time high is 38.6 deg C recorded on February 23, 1999. Another high of 38.5 deg C was recorded on February 21, 2009.

While there has been not much departure from minimum temperature in Mangaluru at 23 deg C, Karwar on Thursday saw a rise of 2 deg C from the mean minimum at 22.6 deg C and Honnavar about 5 deg C departure at 24.9 deg C.

Sundar M Metri, director, Meteorological Department, Bengaluru, confirmed that Wednesday’s temperature for Panambur observatory was an all-time record. This was due to the dry northerly winds and clear skies. He said temperatures will be high till these conditions exist. He said even Shirali and Bajpe (airport) had recorded high temperatures of 36.4 and 37.4 deg C respectively, on Wednesday….click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Carbon Taxes, Cow Farts, And Central Planning

Carbon Taxes, Cow Farts, And Central Planning

In a centrally planned economy decisions on what to produce, how to produce and for whom are taken primarily by the government.

The term is usually associated with communist economies. However, since US President Franklin D. Roosevelt implemented a robust range of government policies in the 1930s to counter the effects of the Great Depression, using principles that would be popularized by UK economist John Maynard Keynes, Western governments (along with their central bank consorts) have also taken on very interventionist roles in economic affairs.

But not even Stalin or Roosevelt could come up with a rather exotic tool that can take central planning to a whole new level: carbon taxes.

The reason why it is so powerful is that virtually all market activities produce some type of greenhouse gas, meaning carbon and other equivalents that contribute to warming our planet. Here’s the emissions breakdown by sector in the US according to the Environmental Protection Agency (as of 2014):

Virtually all economic activities (as well as most daily personal affairs in any modern society) produce some type of emissions. So by putting a cost on carbon any of them, from the most mundane to the most complex, would be impacted. Entire industries could be impaired with the stroke of a pen. Powerful stuff indeed.

Furthermore, the tax base could be greatly expanded as a result, at a time when governments are desperate for new sources of revenue.

Climate change skeptics, pointing to alleged gaps in the theory of manmade climate change (where carbon emissions resulting from human activity are primarily responsible for the rise in global temperatures since the 19th century) and the heavily politicized nature of the process have long argued that having such a powerful interventionist tool is really the ultimate goal of the politicians pushing for it.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

How the World Passed a Carbon Threshold and Why It Matters

How the World Passed a Carbon Threshold and Why It Matters

Last year will go down in history as the year when the planet’s atmosphere broke a startling record: 400 parts per million of carbon dioxide. The last time the planet’s air was so rich in CO2 was millions of years ago, back before early predecessors to humans were likely wielding stone tools; the world was a few degrees hotter back then, and melted ice put sea levels tens of meters higher.

“We’re in a new era,” says Ralph Keeling, director of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography’s CO2 Program in San Diego. “And it’s going fast. We’re going to touch up against 410 pretty soon.”

There’s nothing particularly magic about the number 400. But for environmental scientists and advocates grappling with the invisible, intangible threat of rising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, this symbolic target has served as a clear red line into a danger zone of climate change.

When scientists (specifically, Ralph Keeling’s father) first started measuring atmospheric CO2 consistently in 1958, at the pristine Mauna Loa mountaintop observatory in Hawaii, the CO2 level stood at 316 parts per million (ppm), just a little higher than the pre-industrial level of 280 ppm. 400 was simply the next big, round number looming in our future.

But as humans kept digging up carbon out of the ground and burning it for fuel, CO2 levels sped faster and faster toward that target. In May 2013, at the time of the usual annual maximum of CO2, the air briefly tipped over the 400 ppm mark for the first time in several million years.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The causes of the recent decrease in US greenhouse gas emissions

The causes of the recent decrease in US greenhouse gas emissions

Since their peak in 2007 GHG emissions in the USA have decreased more in absolute terms than in any other country. The results of this review suggest that approximately 40% of this decrease was caused by the replacement of coal with gas in generating plants, 30% by improvements in the efficiency of internal combustion engines and 30% by growth in low-carbon renewables. Another major contributor was the 2008-9 global recession, although its impact can’t reliably be quantified. Had economic growth continued at historic rates between 2007 and the present US GHG emissions would now be substantially higher than they are.

This review was prompted by an article in Time Magazine written by Michael Bloomberg, one of the world’s richest men and also one of its leading contributors to green causes, entitled “Where Washington Fails to Drive Progress, Cities Will Act”. Bloomberg’s conclusion that the decrease in US emissions was “driven by cities, businesses and citizens”struck me as complete nonsense, and I was going to write more about it but decided it wasn’t worth the effort. But his article did get me thinking about what really did cause US emissions to fall, and in this post I document the results of my efforts to find out.

We begin with emissions. Figure 1 shows total US greenhouse gas emissions by sector between 1990 and 2014 (2015 emissions are not available but would probably be slightly lower than 2014 emissions. The data are from the EPA’s US Greenhouse Gas Inventory Report):

Figure 1: Total US greenhouse gas emissions by sector expressed as CO2 equivalents, 1990-2014. Emissions from land use changes and from US territories are not included.

Note that Figure 1 shows total greenhouse gas emissions, which include CO2 along with methane, nitrous oxide and minor GHGs expressed as CO2 equivalents, from all sectors of the economy, not just the CO2 emissions from electricity generation that we usually get to see.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Explosion At French Nuclear Power Plant, No Risk Of Nuclear Contamination

Explosion At French Nuclear Power Plant, No Risk Of Nuclear Contamination

French authorities said an explosion occurred at the EDF-operated Flamanville Nuclear Power Plant in France’s north-west, in the power plant’s machine room, but added that there is no leak of radiation. The incident occurred at 10:00 local time (09:00 GMT) in an engine room, Ouest-France newspaper reported. No injuries have been reported.

“It is a significant technical failure but it is not a nuclear accident” because the explosion occurred “outside the nuclear zone,” Olivier Marmion, director of the prefect’s office, told AFP.

The local government for the Manche region says that the blast at the Flamanville plant on France’s northwest coast has been contained and managed.

Operator EDF said that there were no injuries and that a fire led to a blast in the machine room of one of the two nuclear reactors at Flamanville. According to EDF, the fire started at 9:40am and caused an explosion in the machinery room. The fire happened in part of plant linked to reactor 1, which was disconnected from the grid, and was immediately controlled by plant’s crew;

The nuclear plant located in the Flamanville commune has two pressurized water reactors that produce 1.3 GWe (gigawatt electrical) each. The reactors were built in 1986 and 1987. A third reactor will be completed by 2018.

TEPCO Admits Fukushima Radiation Levels Reach Record Highs As Hole In Reactor Discovered

TEPCO Admits Fukushima Radiation Levels Reach Record Highs As Hole In Reactor Discovered

With just 3 years left until the 2020 Olympics, Japan is likely desperate to reassure the world’s athletes that all is well, but an admission from TEPCO – the Fukushima nuclear plant operator – that they discovered a hole at least one square meter in size beneath the reactor’s pressure vessel, and lethal record-high radiation levels have been detected, will not likely reassure anyone.

Radiation levels of up to 530 Sieverts per hour were detected inside an inactive Reactor 2 at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex damaged during the 2011 earthquake and tsunami catastrophe, Japanese media reported on Thursday citing the plant operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO). A dose of about 8 Sieverts is considered incurable and fatal.

As RT reports, a hole of no less than one square meter in size has also been discovered beneath the reactor’s pressure vessel, TEPCO said. According to researchers, the apparent opening in the metal grating of one of three reactors that had melted down in 2011, is believed to be have been caused by melted nuclear fuel that fell through the vessel.

The iron scaffolding has a melting point of 1500 degrees, TEPCO said, explaining that there is a possibility the fuel debris has fallen onto it and burnt the hole. Such fuel debris have been discovered on equipment at the bottom of the pressure vessel just above the hole, it added.

The latest findings were released after a recent camera probe inside the reactor, TEPCO said. Using a remote-controlled camera fitted on a long pipe, scientists managed to get images of hard-to-reach places where residual nuclear material remained. The substance there is so toxic that even specially-made robots designed to probe the underwater depths beneath the power plant have previously crumbled and shut down.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Canada’s Trudeau is Under Fire For His Record on Green Issues

Canada’s Trudeau is Under Fire For His Record on Green Issues

After 10 years of a fossil-fuel friendly Conservative government, many Canadians welcomed the election of Justin Trudeau as prime minister. But Trudeau’s decisions to approve two oil pipelines and a major gas facility have left some questioning just how green the new leader really is.

In the months before Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau became Canada’s prime minister in November 2015, he promised “real change” when it came to dealing with the many environmental issues that his Conservative Party predecessor, Stephen Harper, had ignored or seriously undermined. Harper’s legacy had included environmental deregulation, expanding production of Alberta’s heavily polluting tar sands bitumen, a push for drilling for oil and gas in the Arctic, and skepticism about human-caused climate change.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at a news conference on the Paris Agreement in April 2016.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at a news conference on the Paris Agreement in April 2016. SPENCER PLATT/GETTY IMAGES

Trudeau’s first 14 months in office got off to a seemingly promising start. His government reached a tentative agreement with nine of 10 provinces on a national carbon tax, committed $2 billion for clean water and wastewater funds for cities, allocated $518 million for local governments to strengthen their infrastructure from the impacts of climate change, provided money to build electric vehicle recharging stations, and imposed a five-year moratorium on the licensing of oil and gas drilling projects in the Arctic. And for the first time in nearly 10 years, most government scientists could talk to the media about their work, ending a gag order imposed by the Harper administration.

When Trudeau told a town hall meeting in Ontario last week that the country needs to phase out Alberta tar sands production and make the transition away from fossil fuels, he sounded every bit like the environmentally minded politician who ran for prime minister in 2015.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Furious Environmentalists Vow Trump Will See “Wall Of Resistance Like He Never Imagined”

Furious Environmentalists Vow Trump Will See “Wall Of Resistance Like He Never Imagined”

After Trump’s executive order to accelerate the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines, angry environmental groups reacted quickly by denouncing Trump’s actions, and promising legal action and White House protests. “Donald Trump has been in office for four days, and he’s already proving to be the dangerous threat to our climate we feared he would be,” said Michael Brune, the executive director of the Sierra Club. He added that “President Trump will live to regret his actions this morning,” said Michael Brune of the Sierra Club, promising “a wall of resistance the likes of which he never imagined.”

At the same time, tribal leaders protesting the construction of a controversial North Dakota pipeline vowed on Tuesday to fight Trump’s order to revive the $3.8 billion project, calling his decision a “bad move.”

Protesters had rallied for months against plans to route the Dakota Access pipeline under a lake near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation, saying it threatened water resources and sacred Native American sites. The tribe, which has fought to stop the pipeline since last year, won a major victory last month when the government denied Energy Transfer Partners LP the right to run the pipeline under Lake Oahe, a water source upstream from the reservation.

Trump’s order instructed the Army and the Army Corps of Engineers to review the decision.
According to Reuters, as a small airplane circled over the main protest camp near the Dakota Access pipeline on Tuesday, the mood following the White House’s announcement was calm but defiant. “I’m staying here,” Benjamin Buffalo, a 45-year-old Blackfeet tribal member from Browning, Montana, told a reporter. “I’m standing with the natives. This is our future.”
…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

New Look at Rivers Reveals The Toll of Human Activity

New Look at Rivers Reveals The Toll of Human Activity

Bob Matcuk/Flickr
The Yellowstone River as it flows through Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming.

A recent outbreak of a deadly fish parasite on the Yellowstone River may have seemed unremarkable. But a new wave of research shows the episode was likely linked to the cumulative impact of human activities that essentially weakened the Yellowstone’s “immune system.” 

The Yellowstone River has its headwaters in the mountain streams and snowy peaks of the famous U.S. national park with the same name, and makes an unfettered downhill run all the way to the Missouri River, nearly 700 miles away. It is the longest undammed river in the Lower 48 states.

Last August, the Yellowstone made national headlines when a parasite killed thousands of fish, mostly whitefish. Fear of spreading the parasite to other waterways forced Montana officials to close the river to fishermen, rafters, and boaters. At the height of summer, the stunningly scenic, trout-rich river was eerily deserted. Fishing re-opened in the fall, but the parasite has been found in other Montana waterways.

That a non-native parasite somehow got into a river may seem like an unremarkable occurrence. But a new, expansive model of gravel-bed river systems in mountainous areas, such as the Yellowstone, depicts a more complex scenario in which a host of human activities combine to degrade river systems and render them more vulnerable to destructive outside influences such as parasites. This body of research — 40 years in the making, but much of it summed up in a recent paper — rewrites the understanding of the ecological dynamics of these rivers. And it casts a harsh light on human river valley activities such as homebuilding, dam construction, irrigation, and channelization that may be slowly choking highly dynamic river systems — and the biodiversity that depends on them — to death.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

What Have We Learned From the Lac-Megantic Oil Train Disaster?

What Have We Learned From the Lac-Megantic Oil Train Disaster?

Brian Stevens first learned about the Lac-Megantic disaster — in which an unattended oil train caught fire and exploded, killing 47 people in the Quebec town — when he saw the news reports on TV.

Stevens is currently National Rail Director for Unifor, Canada’s largest private sector union, but he previously spent 16 years as an air-brake mechanic working on trains. At a recent conference in Ottawa examining lessons from the 2013 Lac-Megantic rail disaster, he recounted his reaction to seeing those initial scenes of destruction.

That ain’t Canada, that can’t happen in North America because our brake systems won’t allow that,” he said when he eventually learned the images he was seeing were from Canada. “My heart sank … It was crushing.”

Stevens went on to explain his opinion of the root cause of the problem, summing up the challenges in Canada with one simple statement: “The railways write the rules.”

He also placed blame on the deregulation of the Canadian rail industry that began more than three decades ago.

Lac Megantic started in 1984. It was destined to happen,” said Stevens, referring to the start of that deregulation.

One example of the effects of deregulation can be seen in the cuts to the number of people conducting inspections, from over 7,000 railway and rail car inspectors in 1984, down to “less than 2,000” now, according to Stevens.

He didn’t mince words about what he’s seen change in the three years since Canada’s worst rail accident.

“The railway barons continue to exist and continue to drive the industry and the government,” said Stevens.

Lac-Megantic before and after the oil train explosion. Credit: Claude Grenier, Studio Numéra, Lac-Mégantic.

 

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

Yes, the Arctic’s Freakishly Warm Winter is Due to Humans’ Climate Influence

Yes, the Arctic’s Freakishly Warm Winter is Due to Humans’ Climate Influence

The Arctic’s seasonal cycle means that the lowest sea ice concentrations occur in September each year. But while September 2012 had less ice than September 2016, this year the ice coverage has not increased as expected as we moved into the northern winter. As a result, since late October, Arctic sea ice extent has been at record low levels for the time of year.

Late 2016 has produced new record lows for Arctic ice. NSIDCAuthor provided

These record low sea ice levels have been associated with exceptionally high temperatures for the Arctic region. November and December (so far) have seen record warm temperatures. At the same time Siberia, and very recently North America, have experienced conditions that are slightly cooler than normal.

Temperatures have been far above normal over vast areas of the Arctic this November and December. Geert Jan van Oldenborgh/KNMI/ERA-InterimAuthor provided

Extreme Arctic warmth and low ice coverage affect the migration patterns of marine mammals and have been linked with mass starvation and deaths among reindeer, as well as affecting polar bear habitats.

Given these severe ecological impacts and the potential influence of the Arctic on the climates of North America and Europe, it is important that we try to understand whether and how human-induced climate change has played a role in this event.

Arctic attribution

Our World Weather Attribution group, led by Climate Central and including researchers at the University of Melbourne, the University of Oxford and the Dutch Meteorological Service (KNMI), used three different methods to assess the role of the human climate influence on record Arctic warmth over November and December.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Arctic Drilling Ban Reveals Crucial Difference Between Obama and Trudeau on Climate

Arctic Drilling Ban Reveals Crucial Difference Between Obama and Trudeau on Climate

But the difference between how the White House and the Prime Minister’s Office explained this announcement reveals a major rift between the leaders in their understanding of how to address the climate threat.

At the end of November, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau failed a key test of his understanding of what is required to stop climate change by approving the Kinder Morgan and Line 3 pipelines. During his speech he defended his actions:

I have said many times that there isn’t a country in the world that would find billions of barrels of oil and leave it in the ground while there is a market for it.”

But just weeks later, the U.S. did exactly that. As part of President Obama’s announcement to permanently ban oil and gas development in the Arctic and Atlantic oceans, the White House released a fact sheet explaining its justification.

…if lease sales were to occur and production take place, it would be at a time when the scientific realities of climate change dictate that the United States and the international community must be transitioning its energy systems away from fossil fuels.”

In essence, the White House is saying that further offshore oil and gas development in these areas fails a climate test — that these projects aren’t in line with the action needed to meet international goals to fight climate change. This is a crucial signal that President Obama and his team are finally beginning to understand that action to restrict the supply of fossil fuels is ultimately required to reach a safe climate future.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Forget Monte Paschi, Italy May Have A Far Bigger Problem

Forget Monte Paschi, Italy May Have A Far Bigger Problem

While the metaphorical ‘earthquake’ of a systemic banking crisis is coming to a head, it appears Italy may have a far more existential problem on its hands. As The Independent reportsone of the world’s most dangerous supervolcanoes is showing signs of reawakening under the Italian city of Naples.

The Campi Flegrei may be nearing a critical pressure point necessary to drive an eruption for the first time in 500 years, according to scientists.

Researchers say the volcano is moving towards a threshold beyond which rising magma could spark the release of fluids and gases at 10 times the normal rate.

This surge would cause an injection of extremely hot steam into surrounding rocks, Giovanni Chiodini, lead author of the study, told AFP.

This could ultimately trigger a “very dangerous” eruption for the three million people living in the area.

Since 2005, the Campi Flegrei  has been undergoing “uplift”, which is the accumulation of magma under the surface of a volcano.

In response, Italian authorities raised the threat level from green to yellow in 2012, signalling the need for the supervolcano to be actively monitored.

Four years ago, scientists warned any eruption could kill millions living near or on top of the volcano.

“These areas can give rise to the only eruptions that can have global catastrophic effects comparable to major meteorite impacts,” said Giuseppe De Natale, head of a project to monitor the volcano’s activity.

Nearby Mount Vesuvius, whose massive eruption buried Roman settlements including Pompeii in AD79, is also considered an active volcano.

Heal the Planet for Profit


Parisians duck down to evade German sniper fire following Nazi surrender of Paris, 1945
If you ever wondered what the odds are of mankind surviving, let alone ‘defeating’, climate change, look no further than the essay the Guardian published this week, written by Michael Bloomberg and Mark Carney. It proves beyond a moonlight shadow of a doubt that the odds are infinitesimally close to absolute zero (Kelvin, no Hobbes).

Yes, Bloomberg is the media tycoon and former mayor of New York (which he famously turned into a 100% clean and recyclable city). And since central bankers are as we all know without exception experts on climate change, as much as they are on full-contact crochet, it makes perfect sense that Bank of England governor Carney adds his two -trillion- cents.

Conveniently, you don’t even have to read the piece, the headline tells you all you need and then some: “How To Make A Profit From Defeating Climate Change” really nails it. The entire mindset on display in just a few words. If that’s what they went for, kudo’s are due.

These fine gents probably actually believe that this is perfectly in line with our knowledge of, say, human history, of evolution, of the laws of physics, and of -mass- psychology. All of which undoubtedly indicate to them that we can and will defeat the problems we have created -and still are-, literally with the same tools and ideas -money and profit- that we use to create them with. Nothing ever made more sense.

That these problems originated in the same relentless quest for profit that they now claim will help us get rid of them, is likely a step too far for them; must have been a class they missed. “We destroyed it for profit” apparently does not in their eyes contradict “we’ll fix it for profit too”. Not one bit. It does, though. It’s indeed the very core of what is going wrong.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Mass Extinction and Mass Insanity


Caters Extremely rare albino elephant, Kruger National Park in South Africa
Everything dies, baby, that’s a fact
But maybe everything that dies someday comes back …

Springsteen, Atlantic City

“Erwin Schrodinger (1945) has described life as a system in steady-state thermodynamic disequilibrium that maintains its constant distance from equilibrium (death) by feeding on low entropy from its environment – that is, by exchanging high-entropy outputs for low-entropy inputs. The same statement would hold verbatium as a physical description of our economic process. A corollary of this statement is that an organism cannot live in a medium of its own waste products.”
Herman Daly and Kenneth Townsend

What drives our economies is waste. Not need, or even demand. Waste. 2nd law of thermodynamics. It drives our lives, period.

First of all, don’t tell me you’re trying to stop the ongoing extinction of nature and wildlife on this planet, or the destruction of life in general. Don’t even tell me you’re trying. Don’t tell me it’s climate change that we should focus on (that’s just a small part of the story), and you’re driving an electric car and you’re separating your trash or things like that. That would only mean you’re attempting to willfully ignore your share of destruction, because if you do it, so will others, and the planet can’t take anymore of your behavior.

This is the big one. And the only ones amongst us who don’t think so are those who don’t want to. Who think it’s easier to argue that some problems are too big for them to tackle, that they should be left to others to solve. But why should we, why should anyone, worry about elections or even wars, when it becomes obvious we’re fast approaching a time when such things don’t matter much anymore?

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai II: Exodus
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Olduvai
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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Olduvai III: Cataclysm
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