- Nov 14, 2019 at 7:15 pm #3618701
jeffrey armbrusterBPL Member
@bookLocale: Northern California
Another reason not to be optimistic about politicians addressing climate change.
It’s not just the Republicans who should adopt the ostrich as their party mascot.Nov 17, 2019 at 11:29 am #3619157
Power to the people: how suburban solar could become the Uber of the energy grid
Australians are embracing the ‘virtual power plant’, which advocates say can protect the grid, save money and combat the climate crisis
Martin Farrer : The Guardian : Sat 16 Nov 2019
Power to the people might remain a political pipe dream, but changes taking place in the energy market across Australia are making suburban homeowners the unlikely disruptors in an Uber-style revolution that promises to change how we all live.
Despite a toxic political debate about energy that cost the last prime minister his job, thousands of households are showing Canberra the way forward as they group their individual solar systems together to form local networks that help to slash bills, stabilise the electricity grid and cut carbon emissions.
Alan Hedges, a retiree in South Australia, is part of one so-called “virtual power plant” (VPP), hailed this week by the energy commission as the way of the future.
With solar panels feeding a 10kW/h storage battery at his house in Gilberton in Adelaide, Hedges is close to self-sufficient in power and has seen his bills fall to fraction of what he used to pay. The VPP means that electricity stored in his battery – and from others on the network – flows into the national grid at times of peak demand to balance the system and prevent outages.
So not only is he reaping the financial benefits, he is also doing his bit to stave off the mass blackouts that brought the state to a standstill in September 2016…Nov 18, 2019 at 12:06 pm #3619313
What is a ‘mass extinction’ and are we in one now?
Based on the benchmark set by the Big Five, the answer is probably yes.
Saltré and Corey Bradshaw are from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage, Flinders University, Australia : Cosmos : 18 November 2019
For more than 3.5 billion years, living organisms have thrived, multiplied and diversified to occupy every ecosystem on Earth. The flip side to this explosion of new species is that species extinctions have also always been part of the evolutionary life cycle.
But these two processes are not always in step. When the loss of species rapidly outpaces the formation of new species, this balance can be tipped enough to elicit what are known as “mass extinction” events.
A mass extinction is usually defined as a loss of about three quarters of all species in existence across the entire Earth over a “short” geological period of time. Given the vast amount of time since life first evolved on the planet, “short” is defined as anything less than 2.8 million years.
Since at least the Cambrian period that began around 540 million years ago when the diversity of life first exploded into a vast array of forms, only five extinction events have definitively met these mass-extinction criteria.
These so-called “Big Five” have become part of the scientific benchmark to determine whether human beings have today created the conditions for a sixth mass extinction…Nov 25, 2019 at 3:20 pm #3620357
Jerry AdamsBPL Member
@retiredjerryLocale: Oregon and Washington
we can’t let this thread die
even though Forbes is fairly conservative
“Climate change is an issue I care passionately about and have dedicated a significant portion of my life to addressing. I have been politically active on the issue for over 20 years and have researched and written about it for 17 years. Over the last four years, my organization, Environmental Progress, has worked with some of the world’s leading climate scientists to prevent carbon emissions from rising. So far, we’ve helped prevent emissions increasing the equivalent of adding 24 million cars to the road. ”
“Environmental journalists and advocates have in recent weeks made a number of apocalyptic predictions about the impact of climate change. Bill McKibben suggested climate-driven fires in Australia had made koalas “functionally extinct.” Extinction Rebellion said “Billions will die” and “Life on Earth is dying.” Vice claimed the “collapse of civilization may have already begun.”
Few have underscored the threat more than student climate activist Greta Thunberg and Green New Deal sponsor Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. The latter said, “The world is going to end in 12 years if we don’t address climate change.” Says Thunberg in her new book, “Around 2030 we will be in a position to set off an irreversible chain reaction beyond human control that will lead to the end of our civilization as we know it.”
Sometimes, scientists themselves make apocalyptic claims. “It’s difficult to see how we could accommodate a billion people or even half of that,” if Earth warms four degrees, said one earlier this year. “The potential for multi-breadbasket failure is increasing,” said another. If sea levels rise as much as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts, another scientist said, “It will be an unmanageable problem.”
“I also care about getting the facts and science right and have in recent months corrected inaccurate and apocalyptic news media coverage of fires in the Amazon and fires in California, both of which have been improperly presented as resulting primarily from climate change.
Journalists and activists alike have an obligation to describe environmental problems honestly and accurately, even if they fear doing so will reduce their news value or salience with the public. There is good evidence that the catastrophist framing of climate change is self-defeating because it alienates and polarizes many people. And exaggerating climate change risks distracting us from other important issues including ones we might have more near-term control over.”
““But most scientists don’t agree with this,” said Neil. “I looked through IPCC reports and see no reference to billions of people going to die, or children in 20 years. How would they die?”
“Mass migration around the world already taking place due to prolonged drought in countries, particularly in South Asia. There are wildfires in Indonesia, the Amazon rainforest, Siberia, the Arctic,” she said.
But in saying so, the XR spokesperson had grossly misrepresented the science. “There is robust evidence of disasters displacing people worldwide,” notes IPCC, “but limited evidence that climate change or sea-level rise is the direct cause””Nov 25, 2019 at 3:32 pm #3620362
Jerry AdamsBPL Member
@retiredjerryLocale: Oregon and Washington
“Emanuel and Wigley say the extreme rhetoric is making political agreement on climate change harder.
“You’ve got to come up with some kind of middle ground where you do reasonable things to mitigate the risk and try at the same time to lift people out of poverty and make them more resilient,” said Emanuel. “We shouldn’t be forced to choose between lifting people out of poverty and doing something for the climate.”
Happily, there is a plenty of middle ground between climate apocalypse and climate denial.”
Just in an attempt to make Robert’s head explode:
““If you want to minimize carbon dioxide in the atmosphere in 2070 you might want to accelerate the burning of coal in India today,” MIT climate scientist Kerry Emanuel said.
“It doesn’t sound like it makes sense. Coal is terrible for carbon. But it’s by burning a lot of coal that they make themselves wealthier, and by making themselves wealthier they have fewer children, and you don’t have as many people burning carbon, you might be better off in 2070.””Nov 26, 2019 at 12:10 am #3620430
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
I don’t think we have until 2070 to sort this mess out.
But they may succeed in halving their population by raising the pollution levels beyond their current extremes.
CheersNov 26, 2019 at 12:20 am #3620435
My head has certainly exploded long ago. I have recently edited a second paper on coal-burning plants, and had to concede it was well thought out and convincing, applying machine learning to pollution control. Interesting, even. Tears me apart.
I don’t believe there is any place for complacency, or dithering. Gradual approaches are not going to be enough soon enough. Then there is the log-jam of the constipated Republican “political power is all that matters, and screw you” while we destroy the planet “vision” of – well, it certainly ain’t reality.
The effects of the crisis are already affecting and destroying many people’s lives, and devastating ecologies. Frankly, I think we are well beyond the “tipping point”, and rapidly sliding into extinction. Which we totally deserve.Nov 26, 2019 at 12:34 am #3620438
… and editing heavy genetics papers, which are among the most complex human artefacts I have ever encountered – did you know that there exists “UPF3A Regulator of Nonsense Mediated MRNA Decay (UPF3A) exon 4”?Nov 26, 2019 at 1:27 am #3620450
Scott Morrison and the big lie about climate change: does he think we’re that stupid?
Richard Flanagan • The Guardian • Sun 24 Nov 2019
Scott Morrison comforts 85-year-old Owen Whalan, who was evacuated from his home to the Taree evacuation centre on the NSW north coast. Photograph: Darren Pateman/EPA
Of all the horrors that might befall the burnt-out, the flooded, the cyclone-ravaged and the drought-stricken Australian this summer, perhaps none could be viewed with more dread than turning from their devastated home to see advancing on them a bubble of media in which enwombed is our prime minister, Scott Morrison, arriving, as ever, too late with a cuddle.
It’s fair to say that Morrison has pulled off other roles with more conviction – the shouty Commandant of the Pacific camps perhaps his most heartfelt to date, the Gaslighter-in-Chief his most audacious, his Mini-Me to Donald Trump’s Dr Evil not without tragicomic charge – but sorrowful Father of the Nation has begun to feel a firebreak too far.
In Australia we are all now being treated as children, quietened Australians, most especially on the climate crisis. While the climate crisis has become Australians’ number one concern, both major parties play determinedly deaf and dumb on the issue while action and protest about the climate crisis is increasingly subject to prosecution and heavy sentencing.
In Tasmania, the Liberal government intends to legislate sentences of up to 21 years – more than many get for murder – for environmental protest, legislation typical of the new climate of authoritarianism that has flourished under Morrison. As Australia burns, what we are witnessing nationally is no more or less than the criminalisation of democracy in defence of the coal and gas industries…Nov 27, 2019 at 12:30 pm #3620595
Six scientific journals denounce Trump environmental reform
Phys.Org : Nov. 26, 2019
The editors-in-chief of six major scientific review journals on Tuesday denounced a pending US regulation that would limit the scientific process for developing environmental and public health policies.
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has increased acts of environmental deregulation under President Donald Trump.
But a new rule—in the process of being finalized—would have an even more significant effect by restricting which studies EPA employees could use when drafting new regulations.
The rule would require EPA rule-makers to use only studies based on public data, in the name of transparency.
Such a requirement would make it impossible, for example, to use the countless studies that were based on individuals’ medical data.
This type of analysis—showing the effects of air pollution on quality of life—is the foundation of a large number of environmental regulations.
The EPA also intends to make the transparency rule retroactive, according to The New York Times, which could call into question decades of regulations on air quality, water mercury levels or lead levels in paint.
“As leaders of peer-reviewed journals, we support open sharing of research data, but we also recognize the validity of scientific studies that, for confidentiality reasons, cannot indiscriminately share absolutely all data,” wrote the editors-in-chief of Science, Nature, PLOS, PNAS, Cell Press and The Lancet.
They pointed to genetic studies that allowed researchers to find mutations that caused certain diseases.
Their main concern is that the new rule, even if not retroactive, would weaken regulations when they need to be updated.
“That would be a catastrophe,” they wrote.
The EPA has not yet announced the date for the new regulation’s finalization.Nov 27, 2019 at 12:50 pm #3620597
Hydrogen is ready to forge a zero emission economy, FCH JU Stakeholder Forum confirms
Joanna Sampson : H2-view : Nov 25, 2019
“The green energy transition is not an option but a necessity. I see a pivotal role for clean hydrogen… it is an area where Europe is still leading. Why not extend the lead on something that could be one of the most important solutions for clean energy?”
Those were the words spoken by Frans Timmermans, First Vice-President of the European Commission, in the opening session of the 2019 Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU) Stakeholder Forum last week in Brussels, Belgium.
“The most important thing is that you help us to find ways to make relatively quick successes to show people that it works,” Timmermans continued, addressing the forum comprising energy and climate experts from industry, research, EU institutions and local and regional authorities.
Hydrogen is an essential component in Europe’s energy transition and its efforts to cut carbon emissions and tackle climate change. It is therefore expected to play an important role in the European Commission’s Green Deal.
The fuel cell and hydrogen sector is also a valuable source of future jobs and growth in a green economy.Nov 27, 2019 at 1:03 pm #3620598
UN: ‘Quick Wins’ Needed to Keep Climate Goals Within Reach
The Associated Press : The New York Times : Nov. 26, 2019
GENEVA — Countries need to begin making steep cuts to their greenhouse gas emissions immediately or risk missing the targets they’ve agreed for limiting global warming, with potentially dire consequences, senior United Nations officials said Tuesday.
A report by the U.N. Environment Program, published days before governments gather in Madrid for an annual meeting on climate change, showed the amount of planet-heating gases being pumped into the atmosphere hitting a new high last year, despite a near-global pledge to reduce them.
Man-made greenhouse gas emissions rose in 2018 to 55.3 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide, according to the U.N.’s annual ‘emissions gap’ report. While much of the increase came from emerging economies such as China and India, some of those emissions are the result of manufacturing outsourced from developed countries.
“We need quick wins to reduce emissions as much as possible in 2020,” said the agency’s chief, Inger Andersen. “We need to catch up on the years in which we procrastinated.”Nov 30, 2019 at 9:24 am #3620910
Global climate crisis: ambitious goals, modest policies
Our Powerlines series presents key data driving global energy strategy, security and geopolitics issues.
Pierre Noël : IISS Analysis : 25th July 2019
Carbon dioxide is the primary greenhouse gas (GHG) that most earth physicists hold responsible for climate change. It is released into the atmosphere by the combustion of coal, oil and natural gas. Other GHG sources include agriculture and deforestation.
CO2 emissions and the climate challenge
In 2018, global energy-related emissions – representing approximately 75% of total GHG emissions – stood at about 35 billion tonnes. This number must be cut by a factor of five over the next 30 years.
Although there is considerable uncertainty in the science and the metric is a crude one, such a path is supposed to give the world a 50% chance of global average temperatures not rising by more than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. The Paris Agreement, reflecting the views of many scientists, calls for a significantly more ambitious goal of limiting average warming to ‘way below two degrees’, and even to 1.5 degrees.
Fifty years of growth in carbon emissions
In the five decades since 1968, energy-related global CO2 emissions have grown by an average of 2% per year, meaning that the volume of CO2 emitted in 2018 was 2.7 times larger than 1968 levels. The growth has largely been driven by developing and emerging countries.
Emissions from OECD nations – representing the 34 most advanced economies – have long been roughly flat and have been very slowly declining since the global financial crisis of 2007–08. In 2018, OECD nations accounted for 36% of global energy-related emissions. That same year, China was responsible for 28% of the total, with emissions roughly stabilised after a period of very strong growth. The rest of the world accounted for 36% of total emissions and most of their current growth.
If we are to address the climate risk in a meaningful way, developed world emissions must be reduced by 6% per year from now, while developing world emissions need to be reduced only slightly more modestly, starting within a few years at most.
International climate policy: from Rio to Paris
The 1992 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change marked the start of international diplomatic efforts to reduce CO2 emissions. The first concrete outcome, the Kyoto Protocol to the UNFCCC, was signed in 1997. Its basic logic was simple: work out the levels of future emissions that the atmosphere can safely absorb and turn them into national, legally binding quotas for successive periods.
Kyoto only allocated quantitative targets to developed nations – developing countries were to be brought into the system in a subsequent agreement. But the US could not accept this logic and in 2001 it withdrew from the Protocol. For their part, developing nations were extremely reluctant to accept quantitative emissions-reduction targets, fearing a trade-off with their continued socio-economic development.
The Kyoto logic had proved politically intractable and was abandoned at the Copenhagen summit in December 2009. It was replaced by a very different one, which was formalised in Paris in December 2015. The Paris Agreement, which covers nearly the whole world, is based on voluntary national commitments. These are supposed to be brought into line with the collective goal by a process of review and gradual strengthening.
Recipe for political crisis
We have now reached the point at which emissions must immediately be reduced by several percentage points each year, if we are to contain the risk of catastrophic climate change. The idea of forcing mandatory emissions targets on nation states has been tried and deemed politically unworkable. In its place, the Paris Agreement established a system of weak international supervision of national energy policies.
The fall in the cost of renewable energy, which is the only meaningful positive change since the world started to care about climate change, will help emerging countries to commit, under the Paris Agreement process, to more ambitious targets than would have been the case otherwise. It will not, however, enable them to commit to actual reductions in emissions.
Political leaders – with some noteworthy exceptions – keep pushing for the ambitious goal of the Paris Agreement to be reaffirmed internationally, as seen at the recent G20 meeting in Osaka. However, the contrast between these aspirations, reflecting widely publicised scientific evidence, and the reality of a seemingly intractable problem, is a recipe for political crisis. The growing popularity of radical ecological ideas in Western democracies could be an early sign of such a crisis.Nov 30, 2019 at 9:58 am #3620912
Hundreds of thousands of students join global climate strikes
Large turnouts in Madrid before UN summit, and in Sydney after deadly wildfires
Matthew Taylor, Helen Pidd and Jessica Murray : The Guardian : Fri 29 Nov 2019
Hundreds of thousands of young people have taken to the streets from Manila to Copenhagen as part of the latest student climate strikes to demand radical action on the unfolding ecological emergency.
School and university students around the world walked out of lessons on Friday with large turnouts in Madrid, where world leaders will gather on Monday for the latest UN climate summit, and Sydney, where protesters demanded action after devastating wildfires.
In London, crowds called for the climate crisis to take centre stage in next month’s election and condemned Boris Johnson for not taking part in Thursday night’s televised climate debate…Nov 30, 2019 at 10:04 am #3620913
Representing 500 Million Citizens, The EP Officially Declares a Climate Emergency
Luisa Beck, Rick Noack & Quentin Aries : The Washington Post : 28 Nov 2019
The European Parliament declared a climate emergency on Thursday, in a largely symbolic move that nonetheless increases pressure on member states to pass more decisive legislation to curb emissions.
In recent months, hundreds of similar declarations have been passed – most of them by regional or local administrations. Thursday’s EU vote is significant because it was passed by a parliament that represents more than 500 million citizens, vastly expanding the number of people worldwide who live in jurisdictions that have declared such an emergency.
Thursday’s move also puts pressure on the European Commission under its president-elect, Ursula von der Leyen, the first woman to hold the job.
As president of the EU’s executive branch, she commands a vast machinery of EU bureaucrats who manage the bloc’s day-to-day business. The European Parliament is directly elected by voters across all 28 EU member states.
The declaration could add further pressure to von der Leyen, who has pledged to increase efforts to fight climate change.
Referring to what she calls a European Green Deal, she elaborated this week that Europe would become the first continent to reduce emissions to net-zero by 2050, and that targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 must be made “more ambitious”.
“If there is one area where the world needs our leadership, it is on protecting our climate,” she said Wednesday. “This is an existential issue for Europe – and for the world.”…Dec 1, 2019 at 1:13 pm #3621019
Here Are Five of The Main Reasons People Continue to Deny Climate Change
Mark Maslin : The Conversation : 30 Nov. 2019
The fossil fuel industry, political lobbyists, media moguls and individuals have spent the past 30 years sowing doubt about the reality of climate change – where none exists.
The latest estimate is that the world’s five largest publicly-owned oil and gas companies spend about US$200 million a year on lobbying to control, delay or block binding climate policy.
Their hold on the public seems to be waning. Two recent polls suggested over 75 percent of Americans think humans are causing climate change.
School climate strikes, Extinction Rebellion protests, national governments declaring a climate emergency, improved media coverage of climate change and an increasing number of extreme weather events have all contributed to this shift. There also seems to be a renewed optimism that we can deal with the crisis.
But this means lobbying has changed, now employing more subtle and more vicious approaches – what has been termed as “climate sadism”. It is used to mock young people going on climate protests and to ridicule Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old young woman with Asperger’s, who is simply telling the scientific truth.
At such a crossroads, it is important to be able to identify the different types of denial. The below taxonomy will help you spot the different ways that are being used to convince you to delay action on climate change.
1. Science denial
This is the type of denial we are all familiar with: that the science of climate change is not settled. Deniers suggest climate change is just part of the natural cycle. Or that climate models are unreliable and too sensitive to carbon dioxide.
Some even suggest that CO₂ is such a small part of the atmosphere it cannot have a large heating affect. Or that climate scientists are fixing the data to show the climate is changing (a global conspiracy that would take thousands of scientists in more than a 100 countries to pull off).
All these arguments are false and there is a clear consensus among scientists about the causes of climate change. The climate models that predict global temperature rises have remained very similar over the last 30 years despite the huge increase in complexity, showing it is a robust outcome of the science…
2. Economic denial
The idea that climate change is too expensive to fix is a more subtle form of climate denial. Economists, however, suggest we could fix climate change now by spending 1 percent of world GDP.
Perhaps even less if the cost savings from improved human health and expansion of the global green economy are taken into account. But if we don’t act now, by 2050 it could cost over 20 percent of world GDP…
3. Humanitarian denial
Climate change deniers also argue that climate change is good for us. They suggest longer, warmer summers in the temperate zone will make farming more productive. These gains, however, are often offset by the drier summers and increased frequency of heatwaves in those same areas.
For example, the 2010 “Moscow” heatwave killed 11,000 people, devastated the Russian wheat harvest and increased global food prices…
4. Political denial
Climate change deniers argue we cannot take action because other countries are not taking action. But not all countries are equally guilty of causing current climate change…
5. Crisis denial
The final piece of climate change denial is the argument that we should not rush into changing things, especially given the uncertainty raised by the other four areas of denial above.
Deniers argue that climate change is not as bad as scientists make out. We will be much richer in the future and better able to fix climate change. They also play on our emotions as many of us don’t like change and can feel we are living in the best of times – especially if we are richer or in power.
But similarly hollow arguments were used in the past to delay ending slavery, granting the vote to women, ending colonial rule, ending segregation, decriminalising homosexuality, bolstering worker’s rights and environmental regulations, allowing same sex marriages and banning smoking.
The fundamental question is why are we allowing the people with the most privilege and power to convince us to delay saving our planet from climate change?Dec 2, 2019 at 10:35 am #3621171
New Zealand begins genetic program to produce low methane-emitting sheep
‘Global first’ project will help tackle climate change by lowering agricultural greenhouse gases
Ben Smee : The Guardian : Sun 1 Dec 2019
The New Zealand livestock industry has begun a “global first” genetic program that would help to tackle climate change by breeding low methane-emitting sheep.
There are about six sheep for each person in New Zealand, and the livestock industry accounts for about one-third of the country’s total greenhouse gas emissions.
The livestock industry’s peak body, Beef and Lamb New Zealand, already uses a measure called “breeding value” to help breeders select rams with characteristics they want to bolster within their flocks. Within two years breeders will be able to select rams whose traits include lower methane emissions.
“Farmers are more interested than I anticipated,” said a stud breeder, Russell Proffit. His family has been producing rams for more than 40 years.
“I’ve undertaken the [methane] measurements because I believe an animal that is healthy and doing well should produce less methane and I wanted to test that.
“I don’t know if that’s the case yet, but either way breeding for less methane complements what we are working to achieve on our stud. That is, more robust rams that require [fewer] inputs and make less demand on the environment.”…Dec 3, 2019 at 3:02 am #3621278
Climate summit told of nation’s ‘fight to death’
Matt McGrath : BBC News : 12 hours ago
The president of an island nation on the frontline of climate change says it is in a “fight to the death” after freak waves inundated the capital.
Powerful swells averaging 5m (16ft) washed across the capital of the Marshall Islands, Majuro, last week.
But President Hilda Heine said the Pacific nation had been fighting rising tides even before last week’s disaster.
Political leaders and climate diplomats are meeting in Madrid for two weeks of talks amid a growing sense of crisis…
The world’s average surface temperature is rising rapidly because human activities release greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2). These gases trap heat in the atmosphere, a bit like the glass roof of a greenhouse.
At the meeting, Ms Heine commented: “Water covers much of our land at one or other point of the year as we fight rising tides. As we speak hundreds of people have evacuated their homes after large waves caused the ocean to inundate parts of our capital in Majuro last week.”
She added: “It’s a fight to the death for anyone not prepared to flee. As a nation we refuse to flee. But we also refuse to die.”
Ms Heine is not alone in the view that small nations like the Marshall Islands face an imminent existential threat. At the Madrid summit, ambassador Lois Young, from the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), which represents low-lying coastal countries and small island nations, launched a rebuke to the world’s big polluters.
“We are disappointed by inadequate action by developed countries and outraged by the dithering and retreat of one of the most culpable polluters from the Paris Agreement,” she said.
“In the midst of a climate emergency, retreat and inaction are tantamount to sanctioning ecocide. They reflect profound failure to honour collective global commitment to protect the most vulnerable.
According to UN Secretary General António Guterres, “the point of no return is no longer over the horizon”.
Speaking ahead of the meeting, he said political leaders had to respond to the imminent climate crisis.
“In the crucial 12 months ahead, it is essential that we secure more ambitious national commitments – particularly from the main emitters – to immediately start reducing greenhouse gas emissions at a pace consistent to reaching carbon neutrality by 2050.
“We simply have to stop digging and drilling and take advantage of the vast possibilities offered by renewable energy and nature-based solutions,” Mr Guterres said.
Almost every country in the world has now signed and ratified the Paris climate agreement and under the terms of the pact they will all have to put new climate pledges on the table before the end of 2020.
Some 50 world leaders are expected to attend the meeting in the Spanish capital – but US President Donald Trump will not be among them…
Last month, he began the process of withdrawing from the Paris deal… However, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, will attend the conference with a congressional delegation.
While her presence has been welcomed, US environmentalists want to see concrete steps on climate.
“While it’s great Speaker Pelosi is coming to Madrid in place of Trump, symbolic gestures are no substitute for bold action,” said Jean Su from the US Center for Biological Diversity.
“America remains the number one historic contributor to the climate emergency, and even Democratic politicians have never committed to taking responsibility for our fair share.”
Underlining the real world impacts of climate change, a report from the charity Save the Children, says that what it calls “climate shocks” are threatening tens of millions of people in East and Southern Africa.
The charity says 33 million people are at emergency levels of food insecurity due to cyclones and droughts. More than half of these are believed to be children.
The situation has been made worse because the two strongest cyclones ever to hit the African continent, affected the same region just weeks apart.
Cyclone Idai struck Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi last March, while six weeks later Cyclone Kenneth slammed Mozambique with millions affected by flooding.
“The climate crisis is happening here, and it’s killing people, forcing them from their homes and ruining children’s chance of a future,” said Ian Vale from Save the Children.Dec 3, 2019 at 4:39 am #3621284
Tim Cook and Other CEOs Urge U.S. Government to Stay in Paris Agreement to Fight Climate Change
Joe Rossignol • MacRumors • Monday December 2, 2019
Apple CEO Tim Cook and a group of other CEOs, including Google’s Sundar Pichai and Microsoft’s Satya Nadella, have jointly signed a letter urging the Trump administration to keep the United States a member of the Paris Agreement.
The Paris Agreement aims to combat climate change by keeping the global temperature rise this century well below 2ºC above pre-industrial levels. The United States was one of over 190 countries to pledge support for the Paris Agreement in 2015, under the Obama administration, but the Trump administration is in the process of formally exiting the agreement due to economic concerns.
Cook and the other CEOs who signed the letter believe the Paris Agreement could actually provide a boost to the economy.
“Staying in the Paris Agreement will strengthen our competitiveness in global markets, positioning the United States to lead the deployment of new technologies that support the transition, provide for our workers and communities, and create jobs and companies built to last,” the letter states.
“The promise of the Paris Agreement is one of a just and prosperous world. We urge the United States to join us in staying in.”
The letter was prepared by AFL-CIO, the largest federation of unions in the United States, representing more than 12.5 million working people in the country. Visit the United For The Paris Agreement website for more details.Dec 5, 2019 at 10:11 am #3621613
Scientists have gotten predictions of global warming right since the 1970s
The first systematic review finds that climate models have been remarkably accurate.
David Roberts : Vox : Dec 4, 2019
There are dozens of disciplines and subdisciplines within the broad ambit of climate science, studying everything from ancient geology to the spread of disease. But one discipline in particular is exposed to intense public scrutiny, the subject of long-running political and legal disputes: modeling.
As interesting as the details of climate science may be, what society most needs from it is an answer to a simple question: What the hell is going to happen? What are we in for? That’s the question models seek to answer.
It turns out that attempting to understand, model, and predict the entire global biophysical/atmospheric system is complicated. It’s especially tricky because there’s no way to run tests. There’s no second Earth to use as an experimental control group. The best scientists can do is use their knowledge of climate history and climate physics to build models of Earth systems and then test the models against future emission scenarios.
This reliance on models has always been a bête noire for climate change deniers, who have questioned their accuracy as a way of casting doubt on their dire projections. For years, it has been a running battle between scientists and their critics, with the former rallying to defend one dataset and model after another. (The invaluable site Skeptical Science has a page devoted to attacks on modeling, with links to further reading.)
Now, for the first time, a group of scientists — Zeke Hausfather of UC Berkeley, Henri Drake and Tristan Abbott of MIT, and Gavin Schmidt of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies — has done a systematic review of climate models, dating back to the late 1970s. Published in Geophysical Research Letters, it tests model performance against a simple metric: how well they predicted global mean surface temperature (GMST) through 2017, when the latest observational data is available.
Long story short: “We find that climate models published over the past five decades were generally quite accurate in predicting global warming in the years after publication.”
This is contrary to deniers, who claim that models overestimate warming, and contrary to the bizarre op-ed the New York Times ran in November, which claimed that scientists underestimate warming. As it happens, models have roughly hit the mark all along. It’s just, nobody listened.
The good news, as the authors say, is that this result “increases our confidence that models are accurately projecting global warming.” As uncertain as we may be about our future emissions (more on that later), we have a pretty good handle on how the planet is going to respond to them.
The bad news is that the projections from those models are unrelentingly grim, so accuracy isn’t very reassuring.
Let’s take a quick look at how the review worked…Dec 5, 2019 at 4:50 pm #3621633
jeffrey armbrusterBPL Member
@bookLocale: Northern California
“The livestock industry’s peak body, Beef and Lamb New Zealand, already uses a measure called “breeding value” to help breeders select rams with characteristics they want to bolster within their flocks. Within two years breeders will be able to select rams whose traits include lower methane emissions.”
Are we talking about sheep farts here? And…do human farts cause warming? I’ll give up flying but I can’t give up farting. OR farting while flying. A double whammy.Dec 6, 2019 at 12:58 am #3621696
No need to worry, Jeffrey. In the circular economy, your emissions will be recycled and recirculated with feed-forward and feed-backward loops to provide you with pre-warmed and flavored PM-free air supply, while genetic engineering your respiratory and digestive systems to attain greater efficiency. Hands off that croissant, please!Dec 6, 2019 at 12:43 pm #3621749
Japan ranked worst among 181 nations for climate disaster damage in 2018
Ai Oba : The Mainichi : December 5, 2019
TOKYO — Japan earned the worst spot in a ranking of countries that suffered severe impacts from climate disasters in 2018, with damage ranging from typhoons and torrential rains to heat waves, according to an analysis report released by a German think tank on Dec. 4.
The list of rankings weighed the effects from weather-related disasters that are generally attributed to global warming, such as typhoons, floods, downpours and hot and cold spells, in 181 countries based on casualties and the amount of financial losses directly linked to the disasters. The list was announced by Germanwatch in conjunction with the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP25) currently underway in Madrid.
Japan, which had ranked in 36th place in 2017, plunged to the bottom in 2018 mostly due to the torrential rain disaster that battered mainly western Japan in July that year. Other factors included Typhoon Jebi that also ripped through the western parts of the country in September, as well as record-breaking heat waves from mid-July through late August. The mercury soared to 41.4 degrees Celsius in Kumagaya, Saitama Prefecture, north of Tokyo, on July 23, 2018 — an all-time record high in Japan. The yearly amount of financial losses from those disasters totaled approximately 3.9 trillion yen (about $35.84 billion).
A representative of the think tank pointed out that global warming has been increasingly bringing serious damage to not only developing countries but also advanced nations like Japan.
Japan was followed by the Philippines, Germany, Madagascar, India, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Rwanda, Canada and Fiji in the top 10 of the rankings for 2018.
(Japanese original by Ai Oba, Science & Environment News Department)Dec 8, 2019 at 11:34 am #3622035
Our climate is like reckless banking before the crash – it’s time to talk about near-term collapse
Aled Jones & Will Steffen : The Conversation : December 7, 2019
After a quarter of a century of nations from around the world coming together to discuss progress in dealing with climate change, emissions are still rising. The 25th annual United Nations climate change summit is now underway – and for the sake of the planet, it’s high time it changed its approach.
While climate scientists, policymakers and environmental campaigners have been engaged in a decades-long conversation about the future of the planet, most people on planet Earth see no climate emergency. Put bluntly, the science of global warming has failed spectacularly to emotionally connect with much of society, particularly those in the most powerful positions – rendering policymakers ineffective despite repeated warnings.
The science and the warnings focus on curtailing the emission of heat-absorbing gases into the atmosphere that, left unaddressed, may threaten the viability of contemporary society and worsen a mass extinction event already in motion.
But these warnings are not connected with complex human systems, such as food, finance and logistics, leaving them to evolve as if climate change didn’t exist. Terms such as “tipping points” are on their own technical, distant and abstract, while humans are wired to prioritise the short-term…Dec 8, 2019 at 11:40 am #3622036
COP25 video: What needs to happen by COP26 to keep the Paris Agreement on track?
Josh Gabbatiss : Carbon Brief : 6 December 2019
As negotiations at COP25 in Madrid progress slowly, Carbon Brief has been asking a range of scientists, party delegates and NGO representatives for their views on the year ahead.
With the first week offering little in the way of outcomes, attendees were asked what must happen before the critical talks in Glasgow next year if the Paris Agreement is to remain on track.
The negotiations so far have largely been dominated by clashes over Article 6 carbon markets – the last remaining section of the Paris “rulebook” to be completed – and how to support countries irreversibly harmed by climate change (so-called “loss and damage”).
Meanwhile, there is a wider conversation taking place about how these talks can ramp up the ambition of national climate pledges ahead of next year’s deadline. And technical talks rumble on in the background around “common timeframes” and a “second periodic review”…
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