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Is This The Answer To Global Warming?

Is This The Answer To Global Warming?

Globe

In my previous article – Indisputable Facts On Climate Change – I addressed some of the things we know to be true as it relates to carbon dioxide and global temperatures. Note that I didn’t try to connect any number of potential threads, nor make dire predictions. My article was based on facts, period.

In today’s article, I want to take another step and address the stakes, according to a recent report on global warming. But mostly I will focus on potential methods for removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, or for preventing it from entering the atmosphere.

The Stakes Are High

In October 2018, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a Special Report on Global Warming. The report reiterated the urgent need to limit rising global temperatures but admitted that “limiting global warming to 1.5°C would require rapid, far-reaching, and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society.”

Various agreements, such as the 1992 Kyoto Protocol, have had some success in curbing regional carbon dioxide emissions in developed countries. However, global emissions continued to rise. More recently, the 196 parties attending the 21st yearly Climate Change Conference (COP 21) negotiated the 2015 Paris Agreement to limit the global temperature rise to “well below 2 °Celsius” compared to pre-industrial levels.

This week – three years later – the COP 24 convenes in Poland from December 3rd-14th. Attendees will tout measures aimed at reining in carbon dioxide emissions, but multiple agencies, such as the International Energy Agency’s (IEA), have warned that even if the pledges made as part of the 2015 Paris Accord are enacted into binding laws, it doesn’t go nearly far enough to meet the global temperature target.

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

What If We Just Buy Off Big Fossil Fuel? A Novel Plan to Mitigate the Climate Calamity

What If We Just Buy Off Big Fossil Fuel? A Novel Plan to Mitigate the Climate Calamity

Photo Source Food & Water Watch | CC BY 2.0

As the nations of the world are gathered in Poland to fret about the state of the climate, there’s an unpleasant truth—one might say an inconvenient truth—that climate advocates have long refused to face: Big Fossil Fuel has beaten us.

We’ve done our damnedest to stop them from wrecking the climate, but they’re nonetheless pulling carbon from the ground in wondrous quantities. It was once astonishing that in the U.S. alone they could extract 55 quadrillion BTUs worth of oil, gas, and coal each year, as they did from 1970 to 2005. (A new home furnace puts out about 50,000 BTUs.) But 55,000,000,000,000,000 BTUs looks almost quaint now. Big Carbon extracted 60 quadrillion BTUs from U.S. soil in 2011, 70 quadrillion in 2015, and next year it’s expected to be 75 quadrillion. No wonder the 40 billion tons in CO2-equivalent greenhouse gases that our species emitted in 2001 became 45 billion in 2004, 50 billion in 2009, and 55 billion today. Climactivists have mostly preferred to ignore these ugly facts and focus instead on the impressive growth in renewable energy. And it is impressive. But here’s another somewhat inconvenient truth: We’re not using the new renewables to replace fossil fuels. We’re just using them to keep up with new energy demands—demands from our growing population and the newly consumptive lifestyles of once-poor peoples being lifted from their poverty. In short, Big Carbon is a juggernaut that we’ve hardly checked.

Sure, we’ve won some important skirmishes. We’ve gotten fracking banned in New York, Maryland, and Vermont. We’ve convinced big investors who control more than $7 trillion in assets to divest the $400 billion or so they once held in fossil fuels.

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

COP24: climate protesters must get radical and challenge economic growth

What do we want … when do we want it? Now. Etienne Laurent/EPA

At the COP24 conference in Poland, countries are aiming to finalise the implementation plan for the 2015 Paris Agreement. The task has extra gravity in the wake of the recent IPCC report declaring that we have just 12 years to take the action needed to limit global warming to that infamous 1.5ᵒC target.

Although the conference itself is open to selected state representatives only, many see the week as an opportunity to influence and define the climate action agenda for the coming year, with protests planned outside the conference halls.

A crucial role of environmental activists is to shift the public discourse around climate change and to put pressure on state representatives to act boldly. COP24 offers a rare platform on which to drive a step change in the position of governments on climate change.

However, many environmental movements in Europe are not offering the critical analysis and radical narratives needed to achieve a halt to climate change.

Growing pains

By now most people agree that greenhouse gas emissions (including CO₂) are the proximate driver of climate change, and that climate change is not only a future problem, but is already causing significant environmental and social problems across the world. Further, the trend in global CO₂ emissions still appears to be increasing, driven largely by consumption in advanced and emerging economies.

Economic growth measures the increase in the amount of goods and services produced by an economy over time, and it has historically been tightly coupled to CO₂ emissions. Decoupling these two factors is not impossible, and indeed many leading academics argue that the power of human ingenuity will solve the climate crisis. However, this is certainly unlikely in the timescales needed to tackle climate change in a just and equitable way.

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

Warnings of Doom, Amid a Smokescreen of Denial and Distraction

Warnings of Doom, Amid a Smokescreen of Denial and Distraction

Photo Source reurinkjan | CC BY 2.0

The Trump administration predictably tried to bury the dire warnings contained in the fourth National Climate Assessment by releasing it the day after Thanksgiving, when many people would be distracted by the mass consumption frenzy known as Black Friday. It didn’t work, of course, since the findings were nothing short of warnings of doom if humanity doesn’t radically reduce the production of greenhouse gases caused primarily by burning fossil fuels.

Equally predictable was the response from the Climate Denier-in-Chief that he simply “didn’t believe” the findings. The rays of hope are that, thanks to the Mueller investigation, indictments and convictions, as well as the recent election that erased the Republican majority in the House of Representatives, Donald Trump’s “reign of error” on the environment is coming to an end — and not a minute too soon for our nation and the planet.

Considering that the congressionally mandated Climate Assessment was put together by more than 300 scientists and 13 federal agencies, there are plenty of good reasons to heed its assessments and predictions, summarized right up front in the report as: “Climate change creates new risks and exacerbates existing vulnerabilities in communities across the United States, presenting growing challenges to human health and safety, quality of life, and the rate of economic growth.”

Here in Montana, the “risks and vulnerabilities” are particularly acute as a warming climate produces longer and more extreme wildfire seasons, less snow and drought-caused water shortages, rivers warming beyond the tolerable limits for our world-famous wild trout fisheries, and a host of impacts to a wide variety of businesses from agriculture to recreation.

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

Fact-checking the second volume of the U.S. National Climate Assessment

Fact-checking the second volume of the U.S. National Climate Assessment

This recently-issued study (the “Assessment”) was seized on by the media as proof of the massive damage the US will suffer if nothing is done about climate change. The Assessment’s conclusions are based largely on speculative model projections that aren’t amenable to checking, but it also claims that the US is already experiencing some of the impacts of man-made climate change, and these claims can be checked. This post accordingly evaluates them claim-by-claim and finds that they are rarely backed up by any hard data, that in some cases they are contradicted by disclaimers buried in the text, and that in no case is there any hard evidence that conclusively relates the impacts to man-made climate change. The credibility of the Assessment’s predictions can be judged accordingly.

The Assessment is 1,600 pages long and I doubt that anyone has read it from cover to cover – I certainly haven’t. I have obtained my information from the Summary Findings, Overview, Report Chapters and Downloads sections in the boxes that clicking on this linkleads to. These sections themselves contain several hundred pages of text, much of it repetitive, but there is always the possibility that I’ve missed some critical graphic or piece of text. On the other hand, if I’ve missed it the media, who will have read the introductory sections only, will have too.

And how did the media report the Assessment’s results? Here are some excerpts:

Guardian

Climate change is already harming Americans’ lives with “substantial damages” set to occur as global temperatures threaten to surge beyond internationally agreed limits ……… The influence of climate change is being felt across the US with increases in disastrous wildfires in the west, flooding on the east coast, soil loss in the midwest and coastal erosion in Alaska

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

COP24: Climate Science Denial, Disinformation and Fake News at the UN Climate Talks

COP24: Climate Science Denial, Disinformation and Fake News at the UN Climate Talks

James Taylor of the Heartland Institute at COP24

And in Katowice, Poland, where the UN climate talks — known as COP24 — are underway, it was no different. A small group of climate science deniers tried to grab attention by hosting an event on the fringe of the conference, claiming to “present the science that debunks UN alarmism”.

But this year, very few were paying attention.

Year after year, climate science deniers have attempted to use the climate talks as a platform to undermine the global climate negotiation process.

The election of Donald Trump in the US and Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil, two populist politicians who denounced climate change as a political plot to stifle economic growth and want to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, may have given these fringe groups some semblance of credibility.

Jesse Bragg, spokesman for the NGO Corporate Accountability, told DeSmog UK that although climate science deniers’ tactics haven’t changed over the years, “what has changed is the hubris with which these deniers trot their junk science out but just because Trump makes these deniers feel confident”.

But that doesn’t mean they actually have cause or that support for them is growing,” he added.

Inside the UN conference, climate science denial voices have traditionally been ignored. Both Trump and Bolsonaro’s election were a blow to the UN’s climate negotiations process but those denying the scientific consensus of climate change have not — at least yet — managed to crush the momentum behind the Paris Agreement.

Isolated Deniers

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

Climate Crisis Made Worse

Climate Crisis Made Worse

Barack Obama, speaking to the Baker Institute, made sure the audience of wealthy Texans, many in the oil business, gave him credit for making the United States a world leader for oil and gas production. He said, “American energy production . . .went up every year I was president. And . . . suddenly America’s like the biggest oil producer, that was me, people,” eliciting cheers.

Throughout this century, even though the climate science was clear, presidential leadership has escalated the dependence on oil and gas, built infrastructure for pipelines and compressor stations, encouraged fracking in the US and around the world and prevented a global response to reducing carbon gas emissions.

This dereliction of consistent misleadership has put the planet on a dangerous path of climate crisis. In a just world, the political and corporate leadership of the United States would be held accountable. As it is, leadership for confronting the climate crisis must come from the people, not from political leaders.

Obama’s Sordid History of Undermining the Climate

Obama’s legacy confuses some people because, unlike President Trump, he did not deny climate change and, unlike President Bush, he did not come from the oil industry. But in reality, Obama watered down global climate agreements and grew oil and gas output and infrastructure in the United States.

As a newly elected president, Obama came to the Copenhagen climate summit in 2009 with the goal of weakening the agreement so there would be no internationally enforced reductions of climate gases. Ban Ki-moon, the UN general secretary, warned leaders that they held in their hands “the future of this entire humanity.”

NSA documents leaked by Edward Snowden showed that the US monitored communications between countries before the summit, and planned to spy on the negotiations during the conference. The NSA knew of China’s efforts to line up its negotiating position with India.

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

Clash between Catastrophe and Uniformity – The Global Warming Conspiracy

Woolly Rhinoceros

Climate Change has existed throughout the history of our planet. When a Wool;y Rino was discovered frozen in Siberia intact back in 1774, that is the event that shook the scientific community. I have called this the Clash between Catastrophe and Uniformity which has produced an emotional issue corrupting scientific research for centuries as people try to create research that supports what they want to believe rather than what actually takes place. The idea that systems just collapse in a catastrophic manner can be disquieting to say the least. For this reason, uniformitarianism soothes the senses and brings order to the future dominated by uncertainty. All the analysis put out by the Global Warming conspiracy is simply a linear progression that projects a warming trend without any diversion – whereas no such trend can ever be identified in physics. This always ignores nature and the cyclical aspect of everything around us.

Yet, these two clashing schools of thought that lie at the core of just about everything from the Big Bang to Charles Darwin’s (1809-1882) Theory of Evolution, began with the discovery first in 1772 near Vilui, Siberia of an intact frozen Woolly Rhinoceros followed by the more famous discovery of a frozen Mammoth in 1787. You may be shocked, but these discoveries of frozen animals with grass still in their stomach, set in motion these two schools of thought since the evidence implied you could be eating lunch and suddenly find yourself frozen to be discovered by posterity.

Siberian Unicorn

There was yet a third animal known as the Siberian Unicorn which also roamed the region and is extinct today.In a recent study of Siberian Unicorn bone specimens were dated, which confirmed that the species actually survived until perhaps as late as 35,000 years ago. What killed it off was not humans, but Climate Change.

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

Climate Jobs for All

Climate Jobs for All

Building Block for the Green New Deal

It was an iconic moment: Young people occupy Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s office demanding a Green New Deal to put millions of people to work making a climate-safe economy — when suddenly newly-elected Congressional representative and overnight media star Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez joins them with a resolutionin hand to establish a Select Committee for a Green New Deal. But those who actually read her resolution closely may have been puzzled – or stunned – by its call for “a jobs guarantee program to assure a living wage job to every person who wants one.” What is a “jobs guarantee program” and what does it have to do with protecting the climate?

The federal jobs guarantee (JG) is a concept also known as “jobs for all” and the federal government as “employer of last resort.” It envisions a federal program somewhat like the New Deal’s Works Progress Administration (WPA) that would provide funds for non-profit organizations, local governments, and other agencies serving the public to employ anyone who wants a job at a wage roughly comparable to the demands of the Fight for $15 campaign. According to columnist Jonathan Chait, the jobs guarantee plan “has materialized almost out of nowhere and ascended nearly to the status of Democratic Party doctrine.”

The advocates of JG generally include climate protection as one of many types of work beneficial to the public that might be included in a jobs guarantee program. However, they generally have not said how such a program might specifically address the climate emergency.

This May Varshini Prakash and Sarah Meyerhoff, two leaders of the youth climate movement Sunrise, wrote an article titled “It’s Time for the Climate Movement to Embrace a Federal Jobs Guarantee.” They called for a policy through which “the government directly employs anyone who wants a job but doesn’t have one.

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

Scientists: The Globe’s Food Supply System Is Broken

Scientists: The Globe’s Food Supply System Is Broken

The world’s science academics are saying that the global food supply system is completely broken. They say that in order to avoid a “climate catastrophe” the global population should overhaul the farming system and eat less meat.

Billions of people worldwide are either underfed or overweight. The current food system fails to properly nourish all of these people. And that is currently driving the planet towards a climate catastrophe, according to 130 national academies of science and medicine across the world. More than 820 million people went hungry last year, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, while a third of all people did not get enough vitamins. At the same time, 600 million people were classed as obese and 2 billion overweight, with serious consequences for their health. On top of this, more than 1 billion tonnes of food is wasted every year, a third of the total produced.

“The global food system is broken,” said Tim Benton, professor of population ecology, at the University of Leeds, who is a member of one of the expert editorial groups which produced the report. He said the cost of the damage to human health and the environment was much greater than the profits made by the farming industry. “Whether you look at it from a human health, environmental or climate perspective, our food system is currently unsustainable and given the challenges that will come from a rising global population that is a really [serious] thing to say,” Benton said.

And while these are all horrible problems, without vast reductions in individual freedom and liberty (such as the liberty to decide what to eat and how much) the problem won’t resolve.  Solutions are, of course, more totalitarian intervention to save people from themselves.

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

Decades of Denial and Stalling Have Created a Climate Crunch

Decades of Denial and Stalling Have Created a Climate Crunch

Firefighters spray water on a 2013 bush fire in Australia

In a 1965 speech to members, American Petroleum Institute president Frank Ikard outlined the findings of a report by then-president Lyndon Johnson’s Science Advisory Committee, based in part on research the institute conducted in the 1950s.

The substance of the report is that there is still time to save the world’s peoples from the catastrophic consequence of pollution, but time is running out,” Ikard said, adding, “One of the most important predictions of the report is that carbon dioxide is being added to the earth’s atmosphere by the burning of coal, oil, and natural gas at such a rate that by the year 2000 the heat balance will be so modified as possibly to cause marked changes in climate beyond local or even national efforts.”

Many scientists were reaching similar conclusions, based on a body of evidence that had been growing at least since French mathematician Joseph Fourier described the greenhouse effect in 1824. In the 1950s, Russian climatologist Mikhail Budykoexamined how feedback loops amplify human influences on the climate. He published two books, in 1961 and 1962, warning that growing energy use will warm the planet and cause Arctic ice to disappear, creating feedback cycles that would accelerate warming.

The predictions have proven to be accurate, and evidence for human-caused global warming has since become indisputable.

What happened? Over the ensuing decades, the fossil fuel industry didn’t try to resolve what it knew would become a crisis. Instead, it worked to downplay and often deny the reality of climate change and to sow doubt and confusion. Knowingly putting humanity — and countless other species — at risk for the sake of profit is an intergenerational crime against humanity, but it’s unlikely any perpetrators will face justice.

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

We broke down what climate change will do, region by region

Grist / Smith Collection / Gado / Getty Images

We broke down what climate change will do, region by region

Yeah, we read each chapter of the report so you don’t have to.

Look, at this point, even the most stubborn among us know that climate change is coming for our asses. We really don’t have much time until the climate plagues we’re already getting previews of — mega-wildfires, rising sea-levels, superstorm after superstorm — start increasing in frequency. The 4th National Climate Assessment says all that and much more is on its way.

Here’s the thing: Not all regions in the U.S. are going to experience climate change in the same way. Your backyard might suffer different climate consequences than my backyard. And, let’s be honest, we need to know what’s happening in our respective spaces so we can be prepared. I’m not saying it’s time to start prepping your bunker, but I would like to know if my family should consider moving to higher ground or stock up on maple syrup.

Luckily, that new report — which Trump tried to bury on Black Friday — breaks down climate change’s likely impacts on 10 specific regions. Unluckily, the chapters are super dense.

Silver lining: We at Grist divvied up the chapters and translated them into news you can actually use.

Northeast

Ahh, the Northeast, home to beautiful autumn leaves, delicious maple syrup, and copious amounts of ticks bearing disease. What’s not to love? A lot, according to this report.

Our region is looking at “the largest temperature increase in the contiguous United States” — 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit by the time 2035 rolls around. We’re going to be slammed with the highest rates of sea-level rise in the whole damn country, and we’re going to have the highest rate of ocean warming. Urban centers are particularly at risk (remember Superstorm Sandy?).

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

The End of Illusion

The End of Illusion

Photo Source Christopher Michel | CC BY 2.0

The following is the Epilogue from Jeffrey St. Clair’s and Joshua Frank’s new book The Big Heat: Earth on the Brink, available now from CounterPunch Books.

In the spring of 2017, the carbon dioxide readings at the Mauna Loa observatory in Hawai’i cracked 410 parts per million, an all-time record and a frightening one. On Earth Day, climate marches took place in cities across the world. Trump’s policies didn’t drive the spiking CO2 levels, but they did propel tens of thousands onto the streets for a few hours of fun. Where were those people during eight years of Barack Obama, an oil and gas man of some distinction? Where were they during eight years of Bill Clinton, one of the greatest environmental con men of our time?

Has Donald Trump finally shattered our illusions, so that we can see clearly the forces—economic, political and technological—that are plunging the planet toward a man-made heat death? Is he, in fact, a kind of clarifying agent for the real state of things?

One can hope so.

Except one mustn’t hope.

As Kafka, the High Priest of Realism, admonished his readers, “There is hope. But not for us.”

Hope is an illusion, an opiate, an Oxycontin for the masses. Instead of hope, we need a heavy dose of realism. A realism as chilling as reality itself.

Twenty-five hundred years ago, the Buddha instructed us that the world is suffering, and indeed it is. He also advised us that the cure for suffering is empathy, especially for those living beings—among which we would include redwood trees, sea coral and saguaro cacti—which have no defense against the forces that are inflicting that globalized torment.

That’s where we come in. Defenders of the Earth need to abandon all hope before entering the fray. Hope is a paralytic agent. Hope is the enemy.

The antidote is action.

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

Scientists: Weak Ocean Circulation Could Signify Incoming Mini Ice Age

Scientists: Weak Ocean Circulation Could Signify Incoming Mini Ice Age

A weak circulation of ocean waters in the North Atlantic could signify that a mini ice age is just around the corner.  Scientists have discovered the weakening currents look similar to those that happened right before the Little Ice Age, a cold spell observed between about 1600 and 1850 AD.

During the Little Ice Age, the Baltic Sea, along with many of the lakes and rivers in Europe froze over. And new and recent studies are showing that the currents in the North Atlantic ocean are at their lowest in 1,500 years.  Scientists are about to blame a mini ice age on global warming climate change.

Researchers studied the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), the branch of the North Atlantic circulation that brings warm surface water toward the Arctic and cold deep water toward the equator.

The research, co-led by Dr. Christelle Not and Dr. Benoit Thibodeau from the Department of Earth Sciences and the Swire Institute of Marine Science, The University of Hong Kong, is interpreted to be a direct consequence of global warming and associated melt of the Greenland Ice-Sheet.

Slower circulation in the North Atlantic can yield profound change on both the North American and European climate but also on the African and Asian summer monsoon rainfall. –The Daily Mail

“The discovery of this new record of AMOC will enhance our understanding of its drivers and ultimately help us better comprehend potential near-future change under global warming,” said Dr. Thibodeau.  “While we could ground-truth our temperature reconstruction for the 20th century against instrumental measurement it is not possible to do so for the Little Ice Age period, added Not. “Therefore, we need to conduct more analysis to consolidate this hypothesis.”

This weakening in the current is still vigorously debated because of the scarcity of long-term record of the AMOC.

Climate Scientist Michael Mann Releases Emails Ahead of University of Arizona Response to E&E Legal

Climate Scientist Michael Mann Releases Emails Ahead of University of Arizona Response to E&E Legal

Michael Mann

Nearly a decade ago, in late 2009, a server at the University of East Anglia was hacked and thousands of emails from the university’s Climatic Research Unit were subsequently released in the run-up to the Copenhagen climate talks. Within these thousands of emails, climate change deniers attempted to cherry-pick a few sentences to falsely suggest scientific malfeasance. This so-called “Climategate” incident managed to briefly cast doubt on the public’s acceptance of the scientific realities of climate change. But ultimately, numerous investigations found there was no wrongdoing, and the media storm was found to only have a fleeting public impact.

I have discussed the manufactured scandal in the context of the larger industry-funded, bad faith attack on climate science in my book The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars.

In increasingly desperate attempts to recreate this short-lived machination, there have since been repeated efforts to obtain my and other climate scientists’ emails via fishing expeditions through misuse of the legal system. Led by David Schnare, one coal-funded group masquerading as a think tank — which currently goes by the name of Energy & Environment Legal Institute(E&E Legal) — brought a lawsuit in Virginia seeking to obtain virtually every email I had ever sent or received during the six years I was a professor at the University of Virginia.

The case was struck down by the Virginia Supreme Court, but E&E Legal has continued to essentially relitigate the matter in friendlier forums. E&E Legal targeted two other prominent climate scientists at the University of Arizona, Jonathan Overpeck and Malcolm Hughes (the latter being one of my longtime co-authors), seeking a total of 13 years of emails from them, including correspondence with or about me or my research.

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

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