Tag Archives | Climate Change

Obama Unveils ‘Biggest Step Ever’ In Climate Fight – Today

What could this biggest step ever be? (Hint: it involves emissions from power plants.) President Obama is set to unveil a major new strategy to combat climate change today, per AFP:

US President Barack Obama will Monday unveil what he called the “biggest, most important step we’ve ever taken” to fight climate change, a sensitive issue central to his legacy.

Coal-Fired-Power-Plant_Smoke-Stack-Emissions__15414

The White House will release the final version of America’s Clean Power Plan, a set of environmental rules and regulations that will home in on the pollution from the nation’s existing power plants, setting limits on power-plant carbon emissions for the first time.

Plants will have to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 32 percent from 2005 levels by 2030.

Laying out how climate change is a threat to the economy, health, wellbeing and security of America, and adding that time was of the essence, Obama said in a video released early Sunday: “Climate change is not a problem for another generation.

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It’s Not Climate Change – It’s Everything Change

Booker Prize winning novelist Margaret Atwood turns her hand to writing about climate everything change, at Medium:

Oil! Our secret god, our secret sharer, our magic wand, fulfiller of our every desire, our co-conspirator, the sine qua non in all we do! Can’t live with it, can’t — right at this moment — live without it. But it’s on everyone’s mind.

Back in 2009, as fracking and the mining of the oil/tar sands in Alberta ramped up — when people were talking about Peak Oil and the dangers of the supply giving out — I wrote a piece for the German newspaper Die Zeit. In English it was called “The Future Without Oil.” It went like this:

The future without oil! For optimists, a pleasant picture: let’s call it Picture One. Shall we imagine it?

There we are, driving around in our cars fueled by hydrogen, or methane, or solar, or something else we have yet to dream up.

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Three scientists investigating melting Arctic ice may have been assassinated, professor claims

arctic-scientists_3387377b

Robert Mendick Via The Telegraph:

A Cambridge Professor has made the astonishing claim that three scientists investigating the melting of Arctic ice may have been assassinated within the space of a few months.

Professor Peter Wadhams said he feared being labelled a “looney” over his suspicion that the deaths of the scientists were more than just an ‘extraordinary’ coincidence.

But he insisted the trio could have been murdered and hinted that the oil industry or else sinister government forces might be implicated.

The three scientists he identified – Seymour Laxon and Katherine Giles, both climate change scientists at University College London, and Tim Boyd of the Scottish Association for marine Science – all died within the space of a few months in early 2013.

Professor laxon fell down a flight of stairs at a New year’s Eve party at a house in Essex while Dr Giles died when she was in collision with a lorry when cycling to work in London.

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Cap and Trade Proven Successful in Northeastern States

carbontax

Peter Sinclair writes at Climate Crock of the Week:

If you listened to right wing media, you might assume that “Cap and Trade” was a game that ISIL fighters played with severed heads of their enemies.

Actually, it’s a Republican idea for fighting pollution, and it’s been shown to work pretty well in tamping down Acid Rain – which is why it was proposed early on as a means of dealing with climate change.

The Hill, April 3, 2012:

President Obama reminded Republicans Tuesday that cap-and-trade has GOP roots in a rare public reference to the embattled environmental policy.

“Cap-and-trade was originally proposed by conservatives and Republicans as a market-based solution to solving environmental problems,” Obama said during a fiery speech at a luncheon hosted by The Associated Press.

“The first president to talk about cap-and-trade was George H.W. Bush. Now you’ve got the other party essentially saying we shouldn’t even be thinking about environmental protection.

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Could Organic Farming Be Worse For Climate Change Than Conventional Farming?

The actual title of Quartz‘s post is “Organic farming is actually worse for climate change than conventional farming,” but I’m not yet convinced – what do you think disinfonauts?

Organic food is booming right now, as more and more people choose what they perceive to be healthier, more environmentally friendly food.

Singer Farm

Photo: Jill G (CC)

But a new study published in the June issue of Agriculture and Human Values suggests that organic farming, as it currently stands, is not as sustainable as it could be, and when done on a large scale, even produces more greenhouse gases (“GHGs” are heat-trapping compounds that contribute to climate change) than its conventional counterpart.

To determine the difference in emissions of organic agriculture versus conventional, University of Oregon researcher Julius McGee used state-level data, available through the United States Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency, that showed agricultural GHG emissions from 49 states from 2000 to 2008.

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When the End of Human Civilization Is Your Day Job

Climate scientists have a lot to be depressed about. Esquire sympathizes:

The incident was small, but Jason Box doesn’t want to talk about it. He’s been skittish about the media since it happened. This was last summer, as he was reading the cheery blog posts transmitted by the chief scientist on the Swedish icebreaker Oden, which was exploring the Arctic for an international expedition led by Stockholm University. “Our first observations of elevated methane levels, about ten times higher than in background seawater, were documented . . . we discovered over 100 new methane seep sites…. The weather Gods are still on our side as we steam through a now ice-free Laptev Sea….”

The Swedish icebreaker Oden carves a path through the ice off the shores of McMurdo Sound in Antarctica.

The Swedish icebreaker Oden carves a path through the ice off the shores of McMurdo Sound in Antarctica.

As a leading climatologist who spent many years studying the Arctic at the Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center at Ohio State, Box knew that this breezy scientific detachment described one of the nightmare long-shot climate scenarios: a feedback loop where warming seas release methane that causes warming that releases more methane that causes more warming, on and on until the planet is incompatible with human life.

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Earth heading for ‘mini ice age’ within 15 years

If you’re in the Northern Hemisphere there’s a good chance that you’re enjoying a sweltering summer day, but according to the Telegraph an “unprecedentedly accurate” new model forecasts a mini-ice age by 2030:

The earth is 15 years from a “mini ice-age” that will cause bitterly cold winters during which rivers such as the Thames freeze over, scientists have predicted.

Frozen Thames at Sandford lock

Frozen Thames at Sandford lock. Photo: bishib70 (CC)

Solar researchers at the University of Northumbria have created a new model of the sun’s activity which they claim produces “unprecedentedly accurate predictions”.

They said fluid movements within the sun, which are thought to create 11-year cycles in the weather, will converge in such a way that temperatures will fall dramatically in the 2030s.

Solar activity will fall by 60 per cent as two waves of fluid “effectively cancel each other out”, according to Prof Valentina Zharkova.

In a presentation to the National Astronomy Meeting in Llandudno, she said the result would be similar to freezing conditions of the late 17th century.

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Should People Give Up Nutella For the Sake of Our Trees?

nutella

This post originally appeared on HoneyColony.

Palm oil is used in a mind-boggling range of everyday products including shampoo, toothpaste and Nutella. In total, 50 million tons of palm oil is produced annually.

As a result, tens of millions of acres of forest have been cut down to make way for large-scale palm oil plantations, lending to deforestation, habitat degradation, climate change, animal cruelty, and indigenous rights abuses. There are more sustainable oils out there that offer more nutrition.  But what is the likelihood of giving up an iconic product like Nutella for the sake of Mamma Earth?

Food Fight: France VS Italy

Italy and France are going at it again, this time it’s a food fight over Nutella, arguably the world’s most popular ‘chocolate’ hazelnut breakfast spread. About 365,000 tons of Nutella is made each year (about the same as the weight of The Empire State Building).

Earlier this week, Ecology Minister Ségolène Royal stated on the French television network Canal+ France that, “We have to replant a lot of trees because there is massive deforestation that also leads to global warming.… Read the rest

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Let’s Just Re-Engineer The Climate

“Well, maybe not. Geo-engineering isn’t the easy and painless fix for climate change that many proponents say it is,” says Mark Buchanan, physicist and author, former editor with Nature and New Scientist, at Medium:

Harvard engineering professor David Keith is a big proponent of geo-engineering — using technology to save the planet from climate change. Maybe we’ll do some Solar Radiation Management (SRM) by injecting sulfate aerosols at high altitudes to “turn down the sun,” reducing the amount of its radiation hitting the Earth’s surface. Or we might instead find ways to suck the CO2 we’ve put into the atmosphere back out and pump it into the ground.

Cloud_Seeding 

To be sure, Keith thinks that the first and most important thing we can do to tackle climate change is to reduce CO2 emissions, but he thinks it would be crazy to be against exploring these other options as “Plan B.” Indeed, he has an analogy:

Imagine a doctor refusing to administer chemotherapy to a stage III lung-cancer patient out of fear that it would reduce his incentive to cut his smoking habit from two packs to one pack a day.

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Finally! Some Climate Crisis Honesty

Nicola Jones (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Nicola Jones (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Dave Lindorff writes at CounterPunch:

A tectonic shift is occurring suddenly in the debate over climate change.

Only a year ago, at least in the US corporate media, there was always a rough equivalence accorded to those experts who were warning about a looming climate disaster facing mankind, and those who called the whole thing a “conspiracy” by corrupt scientists and politicians (albeit without ever explaining a motive).

Suddenly, though, that rough equivalence in the coverage is gone. The climate deniers are now exposed as charlatans in the pay of energy companies, and the coverage has shifted to talking about climate disaster being closer than we had been being told. If there is a “conspiracy,” we are now learning, it may be that climate scientists, afraid of creating a sense of hopeless and doom among the public, have been soft-pedaling their warnings, stressing the need to quickly cut back on the use of greenhouse-gas-producing fuels in order to try and keep global warming below 2 degrees centigrade (roughly 4 degrees fahrenheit), when they all really know that a 4-degree centigrade rise is already “baked into” the earth’s near-term climate future, perhaps by as early as 2100.

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