Archive for Environment
The upside of global warming is that we may have pushed back the next ice age. Bloomberg Business reports:
The conditions necessary for the onset of a new ice age were narrowly missed at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in the 1800s, researchers at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research near Berlin wrote Wednesday in the journal Nature. Since then, rising emissions of heat-trapping CO2 from burning oil, coal and gas have made the spread of the world’s ice sheets even less likely, they said.
The period between ice ages is about 50,000 years. But thanks to Standard Oil and the fossil fuels industry, one supposes, that threshold may have been pushed back another 50,000.
It was the warmest Christmas on record in New York City, with swimmers out at Coney Island and Rockaway Beach and record highs from Maine to Florida. Oh, and rare December tornadoes in Michigan, Indiana, and across the South. Even without what could turn out to be the most powerful El Niño on record, “The bottom line is that the world is warming,” Jessica Blunden, a NOAA climate scientist in Asheville, N.C. told the New York Times in October.
Today is the eleventh anniversary of the devastating 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami that killed nearly a quarter million people. It is also known as the Boxing Day tsunami, after the December 26th tradition in the Britain and its former colonies. The British Isles face their own Boxing Day natural disaster this morning:
“The problem’s not solved because of this accord.” – President Barack Obama
Environmental issues are not my forte, but I followed live the release of the Paris agreement yesterday morning nonetheless. The president later gave this statement:
“I believe this moment can be a turning point for the world,” Obama concluded. “We’ve shown that the world has both the will and the ability to take on this challenge.”
D.R. Tucker at Political Animal wrote passionately about the Paris agreement:
For people who build our computers and smart phones, the Chinese have remarkably retrograde ideas about medicine.
With Hillary Clinton getting Swift Servered in the media for being, you know, Hillary Clinton, and with Bernie Sanders being used as a progressive effigy by Black Lives Matter, Washington-level Democrats are feeling a bit uneasy about their 2016 prospects this week. Opposed as they are by a Republican cornucopia of clowns, that’s saying something.
BuzzFeed News reported yesterday that, according to “a senior Democrat,” Al Gore supporters are “getting the old gang together” to explore the prospect of Gore entering 2016 presidential race:
“They’re figuring out if there’s a path financially and politically,” the Democrat said. “It feels more real than it has in the past months.”
A member of Gore’s inner circle asked to be quoted “pouring lukewarm water” — not, note, cold water — on the chatter.
“This is people talking to people, some of whom may or may not have talked to him,” the Gore adviser said.
It is not clear what the purpose is of floating this story to BuzzFeed, but it smacks of some foreboding about Clinton’s electability. A retired white woman I spoke with last week expressed dislike for Clinton, if that’s any indication. She had voted for Obama, and now is eager for Joe Biden to jump into the race. It’s not just about trust, but likeability.
Wyoming calls it the Data Trespass Bill. But it sounds more like the Sergeant Schultz Act: You will know nothing, see nothing, and hear nothing! Via Charlie Pierce, this mind-bite from Think Progress:
Passed by the Wyoming state government and signed into law by Gov. Matt Mead (R) in March, the law makes it illegal to “collect resource data” from any land outside of city boundaries, whether that land be private, public, or federal. Under to the law, “collect” means to “take a sample of material, acquire, gather, photograph or otherwise preserve information in any form from open land which is submitted or intended to be submitted to any agency of the state or federal government.”
That last provision is just bizarre. Clearly, it’s meant to punish anyone who submits photographic proof of environmental damage to the responsible federal authorities. It is nullification by a thousand cuts — make it illegal to cooperate with The Government in protecting yourself from being poisoned. The Invisible Hand’s second career as a proctologist is going quite well.
Saw this at the very first Earth Day.
The Sierra Nevada snowpack, which typically supplies nearly a third of California’s water, is showing the lowest water content on record: 6 percent of the long-term average for April 1. That doesn’t just set a new record, it shatters the old low-water mark of 25 percent, which happens to have been last year’s reading (tied with 1977).
Things are so bad that Governor Jerry Brown decided to slog into the field for the manual snow survey on Wednesday morning. He didn’t need snowshoes but he did bring along a first-ever executive order mandating statewide water reductions.
“We’re in a historic drought and that demands unprecedented action,” he told reporters who made it to the Sierra survey site off of Highway 50.
In the Central Valley, farmers would drill wells if they could stand the two-year wait, the half-million dollar cost, and if there was any point. California celebrates its gold rush history in the appellation, the 49ers. I’m wondering if the 6-Percenters might have a future in California lore.
I got yer trickle-down right here, pal. Those melty glaciers in the Antarctic and Greenland? Well:
The Gulf Stream that helps to keep Britain from freezing over in winter is slowing down faster now than at any time in the past millennium according to a study suggesting that major changes are taking place to the ocean currents of the North Atlantic.
Scientists believe that the huge volumes of freshwater flowing into the North Atlantic from the rapidly melting ice cap of Greenland have slowed down the ocean “engine” that drives the Gulf Stream from the Caribbean towards north-west Europe, bringing heat equivalent to the output of a million power stations.
Scientists say the change has largely taken place since 1970. According to Stefan Rahmstorf at Potsdam’s Institute for Climate Impact Research, this could be … bad: