Hot Air Climate News Roundup
Something to keep in mind…
So far we have produced
30 million metric tons of stuff
Each year we use the resources of
About 28m acres of Canadian boreal forest have been cut down
An area the size of Pennsylvania to make toilet paper,
the fluffy kind.
IT’S A GAMBLE
Thank Bernays for this…
Shopping malls outnumber high schools. And 93% of teenage girls rank shopping as their favorite pastime.
The Story of Stuff
Richest Ten Percent Produce Half Of World’s Fossil Fuel Emissions, Report Says
[This graph] represents the emissions generated by the lifestyles of citizens, and excludes those produced by government consumption and general infrastructure. In total, individual consumption accounts for 64 percent of global carbon emissions, the Oxfam report states.
The big gamble
We are betting on future technologies to solve our problems. These technologies are far from guaranteed to work in time.
More importantly, we hear on an almost daily basis that we need to reduce our CO2 emissions to net zero by 2050. Even this does not take into account the many other feedback systems that are in play.
We have no assurance that they will not accelerate faster than expected. In fact, as the weeks go by and more studies are published, it appears that ‘things’ are speeding up.
It is neither pragmatic nor strategic to gamble on future technologies or the assumption that feedback systems will not rapidly accelerate.
The surest thing we can do is to consume less. We know that we can do that. But reducing consumption does not fit our current economic growth paradigm.
Consuming less is straightforward, but instead, we seem to be moving toward investing in new technologies that may or may not work.
HOT AIR NEWS ROUNDUP
The DNC threatens to blacklist any candidate who takes part in a non-DNC debate on Global Heating...
“We Are Facing an Existential Crisis”: Gov. Inslee Slams DNC for Refusing to Hold Climate Debate
Democracy Now 6-11-19
“This is our last chance to defeat climate change,” Inslee said. “We will not have another chance after the next administration. We will either act now, or it will be cataclysm.”
Pope Francis declares 'climate emergency' and urges action
The Guardian 6-14-19
Pope Francis has declared a global “climate emergency”, warning of the dangers of global heating and that a failure to act urgently to reduce greenhouse gases would be “a brutal act of injustice toward the poor and future generations”. He also endorsed the 1.5C limit on temperature rises …The Pope’s impassioned plea came as he met the leaders of some of the world’s biggest multinational oil companies in the Vatican on Friday to impress upon them the urgency and scale of the challenge, and their central role in tackling the emissions crisis.
This speaks to curtailing your personal freedoms…
Climate action plan needs to call us all to take action
Irish Times 6-18-19
A common refrain right now is that ‘the government’ or ‘the politicians’ are not doing enough to respond to climate change. It’s easy to point the blame at someone else – and there will be much debate after the publication of the climate change plan – but are our own actions following through on our words? If climate change really is an emergency, we need to face up to making some changes in lifestyle. I’m trying my best to walk the walk on climate change, but it’s not easy. I love to see clothes drying on the clothes line, but some days the scattered showers get the better of the sunny spells, and the clothes go in the tumble dryer. There are days I’m too lazy to walk, and use our gas-guzzling car instead. I’ve just bought flights for a foreign holiday for the family – we’ll need to do a lot of trips by bike to cancel those carbon emissions out.
How can city dwellers help with climate change? Buy less stuff.
National Geographic 6-11-19
Cities can play a major role in the global effort to curb climate change, a new report says—and a major step they can take is helping their inhabitants consume a whole lot less stuff by making changes in the way cities are run. Even the most forward-thinking cities have a long way to go to neutralize their carbon emissions, the report says. That’s partly because for years, cities have been doing carbon math wrong, adding up only the carbon costs that occur within city limits. But much of city dwellers' climate impact actually comes from the things they eat, use, or buy that originate far outside the city—from food to clothes to electronics and more.
Human Civilization Will Crumble by 2050 If We Don't Stop Climate Change Now, New Paper Claims
Live Science 6-4-19
Published by the Breakthrough National Centre for Climate Restoration in Melbourne (an independent think tank focused on climate policy) and authored by a climate researcher and a former fossil fuel executive, the paper's central thesis is that climate scientists are too restrained in their predictions of how climate change will affect the planet in the near future.
Paul Beckwith breaks this paper down in a three-video series…
Paul Beckwith 6-7-19 video: part 1, 15 min
The Pentagon emits more greenhouse gases than Portugal, study finds
The Guardian 6-12-19
The Pentagon, which oversees the US military, released about 59m metric tons of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in 2017 … The Pentagon’s emissions were “in any one year … greater than many smaller countries’ greenhouse gas emissions”, the study said. If it were a country, its emissions would make it the world’s 55th largest contributor,
This is the study referenced above. Easy to read with lots of charts…
Pentagon Fuel Use, Climate Change, and the Costs of War
Watson Institute 6-12-19
In its quest for security, the United States spends more on the military than any other country in the world, certainly much more than the combined military spending of its major rivals, Russia and China. … “All this capacity for and use of military force requires a great deal of energy, most of it in the form of fossil fuel. As General David Petraeus said in 2011,“Energy is the lifeblood of our warfighting capabilities.” … Indeed, the DOD is the world’s largest 2institutional user of petroleum and correspondingly, the single largest producer of greenhouse gases (GHG) in the world. … The DOD is the single largest consumer of energy in the US, and in fact, the world’s single largest institutional consumer of petroleum. … or instance, the approximately 60,000 HUMVEEs remaining in the US Army fleet get between four to eight miles per gallon of diesel fuel.
Another article about the above report…
Groundbreaking Report Gives Us a Glimpse of the US Military’s Gigantic Carbon Footprint
The new report scours public records from the Department of Defense on its fuel use as well as the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Energy, which track all federal agencies’ carbon emissions. The findings show that since 9/11, the military bought an average of 120 million barrels of fossil fuel annually. … looked at what percentage of the U.S. industrial workforce is employed specifically in the military-industrial complex (it’s about 15 percent) and performed a back of the envelop calculation for how much the military-industrial complex emitted by building all those bombs, predator drones, humvees, and other tools tools of war. The report shows that the military-industrial complex footprint averaged 153 million metric tons of carbon pollution annually.
Trump’s Defense Department Is Actually Preparing for Climate Change
Luckily, the Department of Defense is one of the few federal agencies that still treats climate change as a threat under President Donald Trump. On Monday, the president signed a $716 billion defense bill that Congress passed earlier this summer. It includes plans to prepare current and future military bases and military facilities for “environmental condition projections,” such as sea level rise and increased flooding. There’s also an entire section devoted to the rapidly-melting Arctic
This from Senator Warren. She asks for net zero carbon emissions for non-combat bases and infrastructure. There is no mention of cutting back the use of fuel for combat situations…
Our military can help lead the fight in combating climate change
We have the most capable military in the world. It’s also the single largest government consumer of energy, and it’s dependent on fossil fuels. The Pentagon spends about $4 billion a year to power its bases at fixed locations and consumes tens of billions of barrels of fuel per year. An Arleigh-Burke class destroyer can consume 1,000 gallons of fuel in an hour while underway. It cost the Pentagon as much as $400 per gallon to transport the gas needed to keep bases operational at the height of the war in Afghanistan; in Iraq, convoys transporting oil and gas were vulnerable targets for insurgent attacks. And our non-combat bases often depend on a commercial power grid that can go down for any number of reasons: old infrastructure, extreme weather, cyber-attacks. When the power’s out, it costs the Pentagon real money — more than $179,000 each day.
Global Dimming BBC h/t randtntx
EPA Head Targets “Worst-Case” Climate Scenarios
Scientific American 6-10-19
EPA seems to be building a case for exiling this “worst-case scenario” from future climate reports by the U.S. government. … Peter Frumhoff, director of science and policy for the Union of Concerned Scientists, said it was ironic that Wheeler was advocating the use of assumptions that track with a quick global shift away from fossil fuels even as he presides over efforts to keep that shift from occurring.
LEGISLATION, ELECTIONS & POLICY
Oregon Democrats rally behind cap-and-trade emissions plan
Oregon is on the precipice of becoming the second state after California to adopt a cap-and-trade program, a market-based approach to lowering the greenhouse gas emissions behind global warming. … Under a cap-and-trade program, the state puts an overall limit on emissions and auctions off pollution permits or "allowances" for each ton of carbon industries plan to emit. Only the largest polluters are targeted,
U.N. chief calls on EU to raise 2030 climate goal to 55%
In a letter to European Council President Donald Tusk, seen by Reuters, ahead of a summit of EU leaders, Guterres said the world's largest economic bloc should lead by example to avert the worst effects of global warming and limit temperature increases to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Just as Theresa May commits to 2050 Labour pushes for 2030. See the next article…
Climate change: UK government to commit to 2050 target
Greenhouse gas emissions in the UK will be cut to almost zero by 2050, under the terms of a new government plan to tackle climate change. Prime Minister Theresa May said there was a "moral duty to leave this world in a better condition than what we inherited". Cutting emissions would benefit public health and cut NHS costs, she said. Britain is the first major nation to propose this target - and it has been widely praised by green groups.
Labour wants to change the date from 2050 to 2030…
Labour could push for net-zero carbon emissions by 2030 as part of radical climate change policy
Ahead of the party's autumn conference, Momentum, the influential grassroots network, has thrown its weight behind a “green new deal”, which includes a 2030 target. Mr McDonnell said he has been holding talks with environmental protesters on how to reduce the 2050 target, including Extinction Rebellion, who took over London with widespread protests.
New York to Approve One of the World’s Most Ambitious Climate Plans
New York lawmakers have agreed to pass a sweeping climate plan that calls for the state to all but eliminate its greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, envisioning an era when gas-guzzling cars, oil-burning heaters and furnaces would be phased out, and all of the state’s electricity would come from carbon-free sources.
The terrifying Greenland ice graph that's shocked climate scientists
News Hub 6-17-19
Two billion tonnes of ice were lost in a single day, the Danish Meteorological Institute said, with melting taking place across almost half the world's biggest island. Real-time data from the US National Snow and Ice Data Center shows the extent of the melting was relatively normal up until the start of June, but has quickly reached near-unprecedented levels.
Soaring Temperatures Speed Up Spring Thaw on Greenland’s Ice Sheet
Melting last Wednesday was the most extensive, at 275,000 square miles, or about 45 percent of the surface, said Marco Tedesco, a geophysicist at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, which is part of Columbia University. That represents a record early date for such extensive melting, which has been measured by satellites since 1979. In 2012, an exceptionally warm year in the Arctic, there was slightly greater melting a few days later in June.
Arctic Permafrost Is Going Through a Rapid Meltdown — 70 Years Early
Live Science 6-13-19
In the Canadian Arctic, layers of permafrost that scientists expected to remain frozen for at least 70 years have already begun thawing. The once-frozen surface is now sinking and dotted with melt ponds and from above looks a bit like Swiss cheese, satellite images reveal. "We were astounded that this system responded so quickly to the higher air temperatures," said Louise Farquharson, a co-author of the study and postdoctoral fellow at the Permafrost Laboratory at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
For the biggest Arctic expedition ever, scientists will trap themselves in sea ice
Ancorage Daily News 6-13-19
It’s yet another problem they must solve before the fall, when these scientists and several hundred others will launch the largest Arctic research expedition in history: a 12-month, $134 million, 17-nation effort to document climate change in the fastest-warming part of the globe.
Home base will be a massive German icebreaker, though the ship will spend only a few weeks under its own power. After reaching a remote part of the Siberian Arctic, the crew will cut the engine and wait for water to freeze around the vessel, entrapping it.
The fossil fuel lobby has actively worked in many countries to protect their subsidies and avoid the imposition of carbon taxes. Doing so protects their profits.…
United States Spend Ten Times More On Fossil Fuel Subsidies Than Education
A new International Monetary Fund (IMF) study shows that USD$5.2 trillion was spent globally on fossil fuel subsidies in 2017. The equivalent of over 6.5% of global GDP of that year, it also represented a half-trillion dollar increase since 2015 when China ($1.4 trillion), the United States ($649 billion) and Russia ($551 billion) were the largest subsidizers. …Despite nations worldwide committing to a reduction in carbon emissions and implementing renewable energy through the Paris Agreement, the IMF’s findings expose how fossil fuels continue to receive huge amounts of taxpayer funding. The report explains that fossil fuels account for 85% of all global subsidies and that they remain largely attached to domestic policy.
US Poised to Approve Shipping LNG by Rail for Export With No New Safety Rules
The permit documentation and environmental assessment from PHMSA suggest that federal regulators — instead of learning from the deadly mistakes of the essentially unregulated oil-by-rail boom — are poised to allow the fossil fuel and rail industries to repeat the same business model with LNG, with potentially even higher consequences for public health and safety. …PHMSA asserts that transportation of LNG by rail, compared to currently moving it by tanker truck, would be more cost efficient and reduce its environmental impacts. In addition, the agency claims that “the existing regulatory requirements that govern the movement of cryogenic flammable materials similar to LNG are expected to provide adequate safety measures for LNG shipped in DOT-113C120W tank cars.”
Behind the Scenes and Elections: Koch-Oil Big Lies and Ecocide Writ Large in Canada
Global Research 6-17-19
A US Big-Oil backed juggernaut … are well advanced in a Canada campaign to reverse longstanding parliamentary decisions, environmental laws, climate action initiatives, Supreme Court directions, first-nations negotiations … Canada’s vast tar-sands deposits are … surpassing Saudi Arabia oil-field capacities in total barrels of potential yield. … over two-thirds of the entire tar-sands operations are owned by foreign entities sending their profits out of Canada, and almost all its raw product is controlled for refining and sale in the US. … [the] Koch brothers have a dominant stake in the toxic crude of the Alberta tar-sands seeking a massive BC-pipeline out to their US refineries.
Hopes for climate progress falter with coal still king across Asia
The Guardian 6-15-19
According to a recent review of the global energy industry. BP’s annual energy review revealed only days before the Norwegian vote that carbon emissions rose at the fastest rate in almost a decade last year. … The creeping growth of coal worldwide has come via the electricity generation sector, but in the UK, coal-fired power is to be entirely snuffed out by 2025 under government plans. … The same cannot be said for fast-developing countries in Asia, for example, where the appetite for electricity is growing rapidly, and renewable energy is not increasing anything like fast enough to keep coal at bay.
The implosion of the coal-fired Cane Run Generating Station came as the generating capacity of the renewable energy sector surpassed coal across the country…
A Kentucky Power Plant's Demise Signals a Reckoning for Coal
Inside Climate News 6-14-19
When the six smokestacks of the Cane Run Generating Station came tumbling down in a cloud of dust last weekend as part of a controlled implosion by its utility owner, nearby resident Kathy Little was flooded with emotion. …A recent report by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission shows that U.S. electrical generating capacity by renewable energy sources has surpassed that of coal by a hair. And in April, the renewable sector was projected to generate more electricity than coal-fired plants for the first time.
Adani mine: Australia approves controversial coal project
The mine, in Queensland's Galilee Basin, has been the subject of years of hold-ups over environmental approvals. But it was given the go-ahead by the state government on Thursday, after earlier receiving federal approval. Critics say the project's true impact remains unclear. Approval could pave the way for six more mines in the area. Construction at the mine site could begin within days,
Australian wheat output under threat as dry weather set to linger
Investing News 6-14-19
Dry weather will persist across Australia until at least the end of September, the country's weather bureau said on Thursday, in a forecast that threatens to further lower wheat production in the world's No. 4 exporter. … Australia's chief commodity forecaster earlier this week lowered its forecast for wheat production by more than 11% as it warned crops on the country's east coast will be in desperate need of rains in September.
India heatwave: rain brings respite for some but death toll rises
The Guardian 6-17-19
With temperatures in Bihar hovering consistently at around 45C (113F), hospitals were inundated with people suffering from heatstroke. … In the southern state of Tamil Nadu, people have been advised to stay indoors between 11am and 4pm. … The heatwave, one of the longest on record, has been scorching large parts of north and central India with temperatures of more than 40C. … Tens of thousands of people in drought-affected villages in north India have left their homes because they do not have any drinking water either for themselves or for their cattle.
ADAPTION AND RESILIENCE
Read this article, bookmark it and use it…
How you're recycling plastic wrong, from coffee cups to toothpaste
The Guardian 6-17-19
We tend to throw it in the recycling bin anyway, in the hope that some unknown person, somewhere else, will sort it out. Recyclers call this aspirational recycling, or wish-cycling. While recycling continues to be an essential tool for dealing with the flood of plastic inundating the planet, it’s time for a reality check.
Expensive but promising technology for solar storage…
Aquion Energy Salt Water Batteries h/t Lookout
WILDLIFE & THE ENVIRONMENT
Forest Service Wants to Fast-Track Logging Without Environmental Review
The U.S Forest Service unveiled a new plan to skirt a major environmental law that requires extensive review for new logging, road building, and mining projects on its nearly 200 million acres of public land. … Environmental groups quickly spotted a new loophole in the law for commercial logging that would permit up to 4,200 acres of clearcutting, or 6.6 square miles, without any public involvement. …The proposal would also allow the forest service to build five miles of new roads through woodlands without a mandatory NEPA review. … "Roads are some of the most destructive things you can build through forests." He added that pavement affects where rainwater flows and it cleaves its way through animal habitats.
Earth's oceans could lose one-sixth of marine life by 2100 due to climate change
Every degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) that the world's oceans warm, the total mass of sea animals is projected to drop by 5%, according to a comprehensive computer-based study by an international team of marine biologists. And that does not take into account the effects of fishing. If the world's greenhouse gas emissions stay at the present rate, that means a 17% loss of biomass — the total weight of all marine animal life — by the year 2100. But if the world reduces carbon pollution, losses can be limited to only about 5%, the study said.
PROTESTS • EXTINCTION REBELLION • RESISTANCE
Fridays for Future
As Students Clamor for More on Climate Change, Portland Heeds the Call
Many states have pledged to adhere to a set of guidelines released in 2013 called the Next Generation Science Standards, which included for the first time a recommendation that climate change be taught to students as early as in middle school. … later, the students scored a crucial victory: On May 28, the school board allocated $200,000 to climate-justice education for the coming school year. The money would be used to hire a full-time coordinator, further integrate climate justice units into social studies and science curriculums and establish a separate course in each high school.
Greta Thunberg’s Other Lesson Is About School
Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swedish climate activist who started the Friday school strikes, has graduated from secondary education with 14 As and three Bs.
She got these excellent grades despite being absent from class far more than most of her followers: As the leader of a movement, an international celebrity, and a Nobel Peace Prize nominee, she traveled extensively during her last school year.
XR USA: on YOUTUBE
This Is the Only Way to Tackle the Climate Emergency
I joined Extinction Rebellion to fight against the climate and ecological emergency we are now facing – an emergency that threatens the very conditions of all life on Earth. I have been an environmental lawyer for thirty years, working to create new treaties, E.U. agreements and national laws aiming to prevent the situation we now find ourselves in. Sadly, I know this emergency cannot be averted by governments signing weak compacts and voluntary agreements with the biggest polluters on Earth. Nor by tweaking carbon markets that have been gutted of climate ambition by fossil-fuel lobbyists. We need to overhaul our political systems to limit access to government by big business. We need citizens’ assemblies to allow ordinary people to decide the scale and pace of transition on the basis of independent scientific advice.
UK police seek to prosecute 1,130 Extinction Rebellion climate change protestors
Many videos were circulated on social media showing police officers forcibly removing peaceful protestors and dragging them through the streets by their wrists. But despite police surrounding their targets, sticking video cameras in their faces and dragging them to police vans, there was no violence from the demonstrators. According to Deputy Assistant Commissioner Laurence Taylor, more than 70 XR protestors have already been charged with various offences
Rising methane: A new climate challenge
In 2007, the amount of methane in the atmosphere (CH4) began to rise after a 7-year period of near-zero growth. Recent research shows that a second step change occurred in 2014. From 2014 to at least the end of 2018, the amount of CH4 in the atmosphere increased at nearly double the rate observed since 2007.
Arctic could face another scorching annus horribilis
PHYS ORG 6-19-19
Scientists say 2019 could be another annus horribilis for the Arctic with record temperatures already registered in Greenland—a giant melting icicle that threatens to submerge the world's coastal areas one day. "It's possible that we could break the records set in 2012 for both lowest Arctic sea ice extent ... and for record high Greenland ice sheet melt," warned Ruth Mottram, a climatologist at the Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI).
An escape route for carbon
Now, researchers from MIT and elsewhere have found evidence for what may be responsible for carbon’s slow and steady escape route. In a paper published today in the journal Nature, the team reports that organic carbon is leaking out of the carbon cycle mainly due to a mechanism they call “mineral protection.” In this process, carbon, in the form of decomposed bits of plant and phytoplankton material, gloms onto particles of clay and other minerals, for instance at the bottom of a river or ocean, and is preserved in the form of sediments and, ultimately, rock.
QMS: Time to disconnect greed from the welfare of earth, if survival means anything. I like trees.
Paul Beckwith: "I declare a global climate change emergency to claw back up the rock face to attempt to regain system stability, or face an untenable calamity of biblical proportions."
Kevin Hester: "There is no past analogue for the rapidity of what we are baring witness to. There has been a flood of articles ... 2C is no longer attainable and that we are heading for dangerous climate change"
Magi Amma: We need to turn on a dime at mach nine!
• 1 gigatonne = 1 billion tons
• 1 gigatonne Carbon = 3.67 gigatonnes CO2
• 1 part per million (ppm) of atmospheric CO2 = 7.81 gigatonnes CO2
• 1 part per million of atmospheric carbon = 2.13 gigatonnes of carbon