This afternoon Donald will announce his decision whether to stay in the Paris Climate Accord. Withdrawal from the pact would be disastrous for our climate but we are currently governed by a man who is not only ignorant and uninformed but determined to dismantle the Obama administration legacy. A few months back, John Oliver, host …
According to NOAA, the El Nino that is developing in the Pacific Ocean is fast becoming the most powerful on record bringing with it record temperatures and sever weather conditions:
El Nino could be among strongest on record, raising risk of floods
By Erin McClam, MSNBC
The phenomenon known as El Niño is brewing in the Pacific Ocean – and it could be one of the strongest on record, raising the risk of floods and mudslides this winter in Southern California, forecasters said Thursday.
It won’t produce enough rain to end the historic drought in California, they said.
Still, it could rival the most powerful El Niño since records were first kept in 1950, experts from the government’s Climate Prediction Center said. That was during the winter of 1997-98, when Southern California was drenched with twice its normal rainfall.
El Niño, an occasional warming of the Pacific waters around the equator, can change weather patterns around the world. In the United States, it usually means heavier than normal winter rain in California and much of the South and East.
It also generally suppresses hurricane activity in the Atlantic Ocean – and this has been an extremely quiet Atlantic hurricane season. There have been three tropical storms and not a single hurricane.
This year’s ocean warming could make for what some climatologists are calling a Super El Niño. One went so far as to tell the Los Angeles Times that it “has the potential of being the Godzilla El Niño.” And a NOAA blogger cheekily suggested naming it Bruce Lee.
Scientists have already recorded unusual warmth in the zone of Pacific Ocean in question, and it could reach 2 degrees Celsius above normal. That has only happened three times in 65 years – in 1997-98, 1982-83 and 1972-73.
In the wake of the tornado that left Moore, OK a pile of rubble and killed 24 people, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) took to the floor of the Senate to take the climate denying Republicans to task.
“So, you may have a question for me,” Whitehouse said. “Why do you care? Why do you, Sheldon Whitehouse, Democrat of Rhode Island, care if we Republicans run off the climate cliff like a bunch of proverbial lemmings and disgrace ourselves? I’ll tell you why. We’re stuck in this together. We are stuck in this together. When cyclones tear up Oklahoma and hurricanes swamp Alabama and wildfires scorch Texas, you come to us, the rest of the country, for billions of dollars to recover. And the damage that your polluters and deniers are doing doesn’t just hit Oklahoma and Alabama and Texas. It hits Rhode Island with floods and storms. It hits Oregon with acidified seas, it hits Montana with dying forests. So, like it or not, we’re in this together.” [..]
“You drag America with you to your fate,” he continued. “So, I want this future: I want a Republican Party that has returned to its senses and is strong and a worthy adversary in a strong America that has done right by its people and the world. That’s what I want. I don’t want this future. I don’t want a Republican Party disgraced, that let its extremists run off the cliff, and an America suffering from grave economic and environmental and diplomatic damage because we failed, because we didn’t wake up and do our duty to our people, and because we didn’t lead the world. I do not want that future. But that’s where we’re headed. So I will keep reaching out and calling out, ever hopeful that you will wake up before it is too late.”
Since the stolen election of 2000, a cyclonic lot of crazy stuff has been whirling above the surface that previously managed to stay largely submerged in public political consciousness. Among the eye-openers beyond Bush v. Gore were, of course, the 9/11 anomaly, the attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq, and the seemingly arbitrary and endless global war on terror more generally; the looming national security state and the steady erosion of Constitutional and international law; the general feeling that enlightenment has given way to endarkenment; free-ranging corporate malfeasance and immunity; the bursting of various financial bubbles resulting in a generalized, global economic implosion, resulting in turn in massive corporate bailouts and profits, ballooning deficits, joblessness and austerity measures for the masses; an increase in global civil unrest and pushback, including the Arab Spring, the Occupy movement, and anonymous cyber-resistance; rather massive ecological catastrophes and an increasingly alarming pace of numerous climate change indices, including Hurricane Katrina and multiple other extreme weather events; and such an abject failure of the media to report on these developments with any effort approaching due diligence that one not only suspects willful dereliction, but active collusion with various malefactors.
It’s no wonder that 99% of political dialogue is distracted and cannot focus on the major critical factors of our spiraling crises, which happen to be more inter-related than your average kissing cousins. Rather than getting deep into the weeds on any particular topic, it’s worthwhile to zoom out and look at the main populations of events and drivers of these spiraling crises as they are subsumed under a master narrative of carrying capacity, a subject that approaches the brink of taboo in political (but not biological) discussions, insofar as it challenges the main religious orthodoxy of our time, namely, unlimited growth. Let’s see if we can begin by accurately describing our situation in broad, simple strokes. Part 1 (this essay) aims to provide the relevant background narrative for subsequent discussion.
These first two graphs, which are virtually identical, show human energy use (top graph) and human population growth (bottom graph) over the past 12 thousands years or so. Several things should jump out immediately beyond their near identity. First, they are both wildly anomalous spikes in the historical record, one-time, vertical explosions of activity happening simultaneously. Before knowing anything else, the very shape of the functions are cause for serious doubts about the sustainability of these trajectories.
When plotted against one another during the explosive phase, the nearly perfect identity between energy use and human population is confirmed.
Because “behaviorally modern” humans have been around for at least 70,000 years, it would seem this sudden vertical trajectory did not happen because of some sudden evolutionary innovation of the past several hundred years. Rather, these two simultaneous trajectories are consistent with energy being perhaps “the” rate-limiting factor of reproductive success, and humans fell into the Mother Lode, leaving other large mammals in their proverbial dust.
Alternatively, it is possible that an accumulation of post-agricultural/post-division of labor and expertise cultural knowledge reached a critical mass whereby civilization (and population) suddenly bifurcated into an entirely new mode that would have happened independently of energy use. The arguments are not exclusive, but the key experiment would be to remove the energy (a “before-after-before” experiment) to see if the large-brained mammals could maintain anything resembling their current numbers and technological complexity in the absence of energy.
That natural experiment is, in fact, underway, and while the design is adventitious and imperfect, it should provide definitive results.
CA TreeHugger writes this morning at dKos that “Bolivia is set to pass the world’s first laws granting all nature equal rights to humans. The Law of Mother Earth, now agreed by politicians and grassroots social groups, redefines the country’s rich mineral deposits as “blessings” and is expected to lead to radical new conservation and social measures to reduce pollution and control industry.”
According to an article at guardian.co.uk, the law will establish 11 new rights for nature. They include: the right to life and to exist; the right to continue vital cycles and processes free from human alteration; the right to pure water and clean air; the right to balance; the right not to be polluted; and the right to not have cellular structure modified or genetically altered.
The law will enshrine the right of nature “to not be affected by mega-infrastructure and development projects that affect the balance of ecosystems and the local inhabitant communities”.
ClimateGate Advocates — just got their work cut out for them …
Choices made now about carbon dioxide emissions reductions will affect climate change impacts experienced not just over the next few decades but also in coming centuries and millennia, says a new report from the National Research Council. Because CO2 in the atmosphere is long lived, it can effectively lock the Earth and future generations into a range of impacts, some of which could become very severe.
Who is the National Academies?
The National Academies perform an unparalleled public service by bringing together committees of experts in all areas of scientific and technological endeavor. These experts serve pro bono to address critical national issues and give advice to the federal government and the public.
Four organizations comprise the Academies: the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council.
BP Oil Slick Covers Dolphins and Whales, by hccreekkeeper, John L Wathen. June 21, 2010.
BP slick Covers Dolphins and Whales.mov
video by hccreekkeeper aka John L Wathen , with Tom Hutchins of SouthWings, flight pilot, and author Roger David Helbar (author of Saved By the Sea, A love story with fish) who on June 21 2010 flew over the Gulf to find the source of the BP slick
My imperfect transcript. (not exact, few words skipped. minute numbers added for reference)
“It didn’t take long after leaving the shore, to find our first oil.
In the mouth of Mobile Bay, there were patches of light sheen seen behind the islands. oil you couldn’t see it from the beach but
there was a solid mass of oil
on previous flights all, behind safeway ? island, we’d seen was light sheen
now it was turning into the darker pink mass,…. the farther out into the Gulf we got, the more consistent it became
at 17 mile out it was obvious the entire Gulf was covered at this point. there was no more clean water. heavy layers of oil covered the entire horizon
as far as you could see
the bands were getting thicker
at 23 miles out we encountered the heaviest sheen yet, the dark pink and purple
it was obvious this was coming to our beaches there was nothing we could do about it
at 23 mi out, we encountered the heaviest sheen yet, the water there was a deep purple maroon blue, it looked almost like a rainbow, boats on the surface looked tiny on the compared to the horizon
the scope of this is beyond belief.
It is hurricane season in the Northern Atlantic Ocean.
When the storm winds hit a mere 40 mph, the “floating city” of BP’s oil collection and flare off ships in the Gulf of Mexico has to shut down. They need 4 days in advance to do this, and find safe harbor. This is according to Admiral Thad Allen. They will need 4 days to set back up. The total number of days that the oil from the wreck of the Deepwater Horizon can spill freely into the Gulf during a short, 2 day tropical storm, is therefore 10 days.
This is Alex.
Alex is a tropical storm.
By Tuesday, Alex could be a hurricane.
Alex is heading west right now.
Alex could then swing north.
Our combined energy and climate challenges and opportunities are incredibly complex and interrelated issues. Throw in other resource challenges, economic challenges, and a myriad of other factors and, well, the complexity can overwhelm any and all.
In the face of Deepwater Horizon, the political obstacles to climate legislation, etc …, perhaps it is time to look for a straightforward statement as to how we should move forward to address our energy and climate challenges while improving our economic and security systems … Perhaps it is time to turn to
The Five Percent Solution
… a path toward energy security, economic prosperity, and climate change mitigation.
Senator Lindsey Graham(R, SC) has dutifully assumed his cloak and dagger as the Village Villain du Jour, thrown a last minute hissyfit on the Saturday before Sen. John Kerry was to reveal the long anticipated Climate and Energy Bill on Monday, and is holding his breath and threatening to turn beet red unless the Senate ignores the immigration issue this year. http://thehill.com/blogs/e2-wi…
The support of Graham was sought because it was assumed that of Senators Ben Nelson(D, Mutual of Omaha) and Blanche Lincoln(D, Walmart of Bentonville) would not automatically be forthcoming, after their performances during the health insurance bailout bill which was passed earlier this spring.
Now Graham is petulant, on cue, after the Arizona state legislature went neo Nazi on the Hispanic and Latino voter demographic, and the Arizona governor signed the law yesterday mandating proof of residency be shown on demand to police. Graham says his confidence is “destroyed” that the Senate would be able to multi task on 2 topics during the rest of the year.
Sadly, the thirteen-day smorgasbord of the 2010 Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital came to an end this Sunday.
The festival ended with a bang: the world premiere of Carbon Nation, a film by Peter Byck and a (clearly) talented team. This film had its genesis at the premiere of An Inconvenient Truth, with Byck and his colleagues committing themselves to do a film looking to solutions to the challenges that Global Warming represents.
Carbon Nation is a documentary film about climate change SOLUTIONS. Even if you doubt the severity of the impact of climate change or just don’t buy it at all, this is still a compelling and relevant film that illustrates how SOLUTIONS to climate change also address other social, economic and national security issues. We meet a host of entertaining and endearing characters along the way.
Entertaining … endearing … and exceptional.
Those same words can be used for the film itself.