Al Gore Blames Unrest on Global Warming

http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/783784/Al-Gore-GLOBAL-WARMING-climate-change-Brexit-EU-referendum

Is CO2 behind Brexit?! Al Gore says GLOBAL WARMING led to shock Leave victory

IN ONE of his most astonishing claims ever, the former US Vice President Al Gore insisted that the Brexit victory was impacted by climate change and rising temperatures.

PUBLISHED: 12:01, Sat, Mar 25, 2017

Al Gore, who nearly became US President in 2000, has said that the causes of Brexit, and even the Syrian Civil War, could be traced to climate change.

The environmental activist revealed the bizarre claim during a speech to fans in London ahead of the release of his new environmental film An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power.

Mr Gore, who was Vice President to Bill Clinton between 1992 and 2000, said the rising temperatures fueled the discontent the led to the Brexit referendum outcome.

He explained that extreme weather conditions were creating political instability “the world will find extremely difficult to deal with”.

GoreGETTY

Gore said that the growing temperatures led to the Brexit referendum outcome

Mr Gore told the audience at the Advertising Week Europe event in London that the “principal” cause of the Syrian Civil War had been the worst drought in 900 years, which forced 1.5 million people to move from the countryside to the cities.

He said that this created a “political powder keg situation” that Syrian government officials privately feared would explode into a war.

This then triggered a mass refugee wave into Europe, causing even greater political instability within the EU and helping convince UK voters to leave the Union last year.

The former presidential candidate said: “This collision between the power of industrial civilisation and the surprising fragility of the Earth’s ecosystem now poses a great danger that could even threaten the future of human civilisation itself.

“One of the lines of investigation scientists have been pursuing has led them to the conclusion that significant areas of the Middle East and North Africa are in danger of becoming uninhabitable.

“And, just a taste of this, to link it to some of the events that the UK and European Union are going through – think for a moment about what happened in Syria.”

Week Europe event in LondonGETTY

The former presidential candidate told an audience at the Advertising Week Europe event in London

Al Gore feels good after climate change conversation with Trump

This contributed in some ways to the desire of some in the UK to say ‘whoa, we’re not sure we want to be part of that anymore’

Al Gore

Mr Gore added: “Before the gates of hell opened in Syria, what happened was a climate-related extreme drought.

“From 2006 to 2010, 60 per cent of the farms in Syria were destroyed and 80 per cent of the livestock were killed.

“The drought in the eastern Mediterranean is the worst ever on record – the records only go back 900 years, but it’s historic.

“And 1.5 million climate refugees were driven into the cities in Syria, where they collided with refugees from the Iraq War.

“Wikileaks revealed the internal conversations in the Syrian government where they were saying to one another ‘we can’t handle this, there’s going to be a social explosion’.

“There are other causes of the Syrian civil war, but this was the principal one.

“This produced the incredible flow of refugees into Europe, which is creating political instability and which contributed in some ways to the desire of some in the UK to say ‘whoa, we’re not sure we want to be part of that anymore’”.

extreme weatherIG

He said that extreme weather conditions were creating political instability

CO2 emissions GETTY

Did CO2 emissions make the difference for Brexit voters?

Mr Gore’s alarming explanation comes just after current US Defence Secretary, General James Mattis, confirmed that the American military was taking climate change seriously.

He said: “Climate change is impacting stability in areas of the world where our troops are operating today.

“Climate change can be a driver of instability and the Department of Defence must pay attention to potential adverse impacts generated by this phenomenon.

“The effects of a changing climate – such as increased maritime access to the Arctic, rising sea levels, desertification, among others – impact our security situation.”

Full Story: http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/783784/Al-Gore-GLOBAL-WARMING-climate-change-Brexit-EU-referendum

Dahr Jamail | Release of Arctic Methane “May Be Apocalyptic,” Study Warns

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/39957-release-of-arctic-methane-may-be-apocalyptic-study-warns

Thursday, March 23, 2017
By Dahr Jamail, Truthout | Report

On a lake, plumes of gas, most likely methane from the breakdown of carbon in sediments below the lake, keep the water from freezing in spots, outside Fairbanks, Alaska, October 21, 2011. As the Arctic warms, the threat of abrupt methane releases is rising, too.  (Photo: Josh Haner / The New York Times) On a lake, plumes of gas, most likely methane from the breakdown of carbon in sediments below the lake, keep the water from freezing in spots, outside Fairbanks, Alaska, October 21, 2011. As the Arctic warms, the threat of abrupt methane releases is rising, too. (Photo: Josh Haner / The New York Times)

A scientific study published in the prestigious journal Palaeoworld in December issued a dire — and possibly prophetic — warning, though it garnered little attention in the media.

“Global warming triggered by the massive release of carbon dioxide may be catastrophic,” reads the study’s abstract. “But the release of methane from hydrate may be apocalyptic.”

The study, titled “Methane Hydrate: Killer Cause of Earth’s Greatest Mass Extinction,” highlights the fact that the most significant variable in the Permian Mass Extinction event, which occurred 250 million years ago and annihilated 90 percent of all the species on the planet, was methane hydrate.

To see more stories like this, visit “Planet or Profit?”

In the wake of that mass extinction event, less than 5 percent of the animal species in the seas lived, and less than one-third of the large land animal species made it. Nearly all the trees died.

Methane hydrate, according to the US Office of Fossil Energy, “is a cage-like lattice of ice inside of which are trapped molecules of methane, the chief constituent of natural gas.”

While there is not a scientific consensus around the cause of the Permian Mass Extinction, it is widely believed that massive volcanism along the Siberian Traps in Russia led to tremendous amounts of CO2 being added to the atmosphere. This then created enough warming to cause the sudden release of methane from the Arctic sea floor, which kicked off a runaway greenhouse effect that led to sea-level increase, de-oxygenation, major oceanic circulation shifts and increased acidification of the oceans, as well as worldwide aridity on land.

The scenario that humans have created by way of the industrial growth society is already mimicking these eventualities, which are certain to worsen.

“The end Permian holds an important lesson for humanity regarding the issue it faces today with greenhouse gas emissions, global warming, and climate change,” the abstract of the recent study concludes.

As the global CO2 concentration continues to climb each year, the threat of even more abrupt methane additions continues to escalate along with it.

The Methane Time Bomb

The methane hydrate situation has, for years now, been referred to as the Arctic Methane Time Bomb, and as been studied intensely.

A 2010 scientific analysis led by the UK’s Met Office, published in the journal Review of Geophysics, states clearly that the time scale for the release of methane in the Arctic would be “much shorter for hydrates below shallow waters, such as in the Arctic Ocean,” adding that “significant increases in methane emissions are likely, and catastrophic emissions cannot be ruled out.… The risk of rapid increase in [methane] emissions is real.”

A 2011 study of the Eastern Siberian Arctic Shelf (ESAS), conducted by more than 20 Arctic experts and published in the Proceedings of the Russian Academy of Sciences, concluded that the shelf was already a powerful supplier of methane to the atmosphere. The conclusion of this study stated that the methane concentration in the atmosphere was at levels capable of causing “a considerable and even catastrophic warming on the Earth.”

Scientists have been warning us for a number of years about the dire consequences of methane hydrates in the Arctic, and how the methane being released poses a potentially disastrous threat to the planet. There has even been a study showing that methane released in the Arctic could trigger “catastrophic climate change” that would cost the global economy $60 trillion.

Of course, that level of planetary heating would likely extinguish most life on the planet, so whatever the economic costs might be would be irrelevant.

“Highly Possible at Any Time”

The ESAS is the largest ice shelf in the world, encompassing more than 2 million square kilometers, or 8 percent of the world’s total area of continental shelf.

In 2015, Truthout spoke with Natalia Shakhova, a research associate professor at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks’ International Arctic Research Center, about the ESAS’s methane emissions.

“These emissions are prone to be non-gradual (massive, abrupt) for a variety of reasons,” she told Truthout. “The main reason is that the nature of major processes associated with methane releases from subsea permafrost is non-gradual.”

Shakhova warned that a 50-gigaton — that is, 50-billion-ton — “burp” of methane from thawing Arctic permafrost beneath the ESAS is “highly possible at any time.”

This, Shakhova said, means that methane releases from decaying frozen hydrates could result in emission rates that “could change in order of magnitude in a matter of minutes,” and that there would be nothing “smooth, gradual or controlled” about it. She described it as a “kind of a release [that] is like the unsealing of an over-pressurized pipeline.”

In other words, we could be looking at non-linear releases of methane in amounts that are difficult to fathom.

A study published in the prestigious journal Nature in July 2013 confirmed what Shakhova had been warning us about for years: A 50-gigaton “burp” of methane from thawing Arctic permafrost beneath the East Siberian sea is highly possible.

Such a “burp” would be the equivalent of at least 1,000 gigatons of carbon dioxide. (For perspective, humans have released approximately 1,475 gigatons in total carbon dioxide since the year 1850.)

The UK’s Met Office considers the 50-gigaton release “plausible,” and in a paper on the subject added, “That may cause ∼12-times increase of modern atmospheric methane burden, with consequent catastrophic greenhouse warming.”

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We’re Still Asleep and We May Never Wake Up

Commentary by Captain Paul Watson

How many more wake-up calls do we need before the human race actually wakes up if we ever do?

A thousand kilometres of Australian coastal mangrove forests have died and once again we hear another expert say it’s a ‘wake-up call for humanity.’

“The Gulf dieback has been a wake-up call for action on shoreline monitoring,” says Dr. Norman Duke, head of the Mangrove Research hub at James Cook University.

The ice has disappeared from the Gulf of St. Lawrence – another wake-up call for humanity.

Fukushima, mass fish die-offs in Chile, whales dying with stomachs full of plastic, groundwater diminishment, major droughts, superstorms, a 40% diminishment in phytoplankton populations, on and on and on it goes, one bloody ‘wake-up’ call after another and yet we don’t wake up.

We’re wide awake if Kim what’s her name gets robbed in Paris. We’re wide awake when Angelina and Brad file for divorce. We’re wide awake when some celebrity has a ‘wardrobe malfunction’.

Yet when any news bulletin is issued about how our very life support systems are collapsing, we as a species are comatose.

What is it going to take? One more major nuclear meltdown, or two or three more? Or maybe another major fishery collapse? Perhaps a super, super storm?

Dr. Duke added, “The mangrove wipeout could have multiple impacts, including the loss of fisheries worth hundreds of millions of dollars, more coastal erosion because of the loss of forest protection, and poorer water quality given the filtering role the trees play”

Some attention will be given to that statement I’m sure the reaction being, “what a loss of hundreds of millions of dollars?” And the reaction will be, “let’s catch more fish soon before they’re all gone.”

I mean you can’t shut down progress but the rub is this, progress can shut down the human species.

If the Mangrove forests are diminished, we are diminished, if the Ocean dies, we die!

The hands of the Doomsday clock move closer to human extinction every year. It is now 2.5 minutes to midnight and it has not been this close for 64 years when the Soviet U.S. nuclear arms race and the cold war had the world in a grip of fear.

Today it seems nobody actually cares enough to be afraid,

The circuses keep pitching their tents electronically, keeping us happily distracted from a world that is sliding towards disaster.

Now we have conspiracy cameras in microwave units to distract us from a government that absolutely denies there is a climate change problem.

Religion, sports, fantasies, politics, non-reality TV, celebrities, petty scandals, and an endless stream of circuses to keep us from thinking, to keep us from caring, to keep us from acting and to keep us in our place as mindless consumers marching like lemmings towards a future that is rapidly fading into it’s never going to happen, the real ‘end of days,’ and the demise of the human race due to extreme ecological stupidity.

Really, a new Zombie apocalypse movie? Cool!

Image may contain: one or more people and text

The unprecedented death of Australia’s northern mangrove forests has been put down to a lack of water.
SMH.COM.AU|BY PETER HANNAM

On climate change, Scott Pruitt causes an uproar — and contradicts the EPA’s own website

 https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2017/03/09/on-climate-change-scott-pruitt-contradicts-the-epas-own-website/?tid=ss_fb&utm_term=.6a1451f10767

March 9

Does the Trump administration believe in climate change?

President Trump and many of his top aides have expressed skepticism about climate change, while others say human activity is to blame for global warming. So what’s the administration’s real position? (Peter Stevenson/The Washington Post)

This story has been updated.

Scott Pruitt, the nation’s top environmental official, strongly rejected the established science of climate change on Thursday, outraging scientists, environmentalists, and even his immediate predecessor at the Environmental Protection Agency.

“I think that measuring with precision human activity on the climate is something very challenging to do and there’s tremendous disagreement about the degree of impact, so no, I would not agree that it’s a primary contributor to the global warming that we see,” Pruitt, the newly installed EPA administrator, said on the CNBC program “Squawk Box.”

“But we don’t know that yet,” he continued. “We need to continue the debate and continue the review and the analysis.”

His comments represented a startling statement for an official so high in the U.S. government, putting him at odds not only with other countries around the globe but also with the official scientific findings of the agency he now leads. President Trump in the past has called the notion of human-fueled climate change a hoax. And other cabinet members, including Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, have previously questioned the scientific basis for combating global warming.

But Pruitt’s attempt to sow scientific doubt where little exists alarmed environmental advocates, scientists and former EPA officials, who fear he plans to use such views to attack Obama-era regulations aimed at reining in pollution from the burning of coal and other fossil fuels.

“The world of science is about empirical evidence, not beliefs,” Gina McCarthy, the EPA’s most recent administrator, said in a statement. “When it comes to climate change, the evidence is robust and overwhelmingly clear that the cost of inaction is unacceptably high. Preventing the greatest consequences of climate change is imperative to the health and well-being of all of us who call Earth home.”

She added, “I cannot imagine what additional information the Administrator might want from scientists for him to understand that.”

Pruitt’s climate change comments resulted in instant headlines on Thursday. As criticism mounted, White House press secretary Sean Spicer batted back a question about Pruitt’s comments from a reporter who cited Pruitt’s words and how they contradict the scientific consensus on climate change.

“That’s a snippet of what Administrator Pruitt said,” said Spicer. “He went on and said I don’t think we know conclusively, this is what we know. I would suggest that you touch base with the EPA on that. But he had a very lengthy response and that is just one snippet of what the Administrator said.”

But Pruitt, who was visiting the energy industry conference CERAWeek in Houston, also waded into related controversial topics during his CNBC interview. In particular, he questioned whether it was EPA’s role to regulate carbon dioxide emissions — something undertaken through the agency’s Clean Power Plan, the Obama administration’s most significant policy to combat climate change — and challenged the Paris agreement on climate change.

“Nowhere in the equation has Congress spoken,” said Pruitt on whether his agency is obligated to regulate carbon dioxide. “The legislative branch has not addressed this issue at all. It’s a very fundamental question to say, ‘Are the tools in the toolbox available to the EPA to address this issue of CO2, as the court had recognized in 2007, with it being a pollutant?’”

(Pruitt was apparently referring to the 2007 Supreme Court decision in Massachusetts v. EPA, in which the court ruled that “harms associated with climate change are serious and well recognized” and that the EPA had been “arbitrary and capricious” in failing to issue a determination on whether greenhouse gases endanger the health and welfare of the public.)

The remarks appeared to fundamentally call into question whether the EPA has a role in the regulation of greenhouse gases that drive global warming, including not only carbon dioxide but methane. Last week, Pruitt’s agency withdrew an agency request to oil and gas companies to report on their equipment and its methane emissions, which could have laid the groundwork for tighter regulations.

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt addressed the Conservative Political Action Conference on Feb. 25 in Oxon Hill, Md. (The Washington Post)

Pruitt also dismissed the international Paris climate agreement, which the Obama administration helped to lead and which was joined by nearly 200 countries in late 2015, as a “bad deal” for the United States.

“It’s one thing to be talking about CO2 internationally,” Pruitt said. “But when you front-load your costs, as we endeavored to do in that agreement, and then China and India back-loaded their costs for 2030 and beyond, that’s not good for America. That’s not an America first type of approach.”

On the science of climate change, Pruitt’s statements fly in the face of an international scientific consensus, which has concluded that it is “extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century.” For that matter, they also contradict the very website of the agency that Pruitt heads.

The EPA’s “Climate Change” website states the following:

Recent climate changes, however, cannot be explained by natural causes alone. Research indicates that natural causes do not explain most observed warming, especially warming since the mid-20thcentury. Rather, it is extremely likely that human activities have been the dominant cause of that warming.

For this conclusion, the EPA cites the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the leading global scientific consensus body that assesses the state of the science roughly every five years.

Pruitt spoke with CNBC amidst growing anticipation that the Trump administration will soon move to begin a formal rollback of President Obama’s Clean Power Plan, an EPA policy capping emissions from electricity generating stations, such as coal-fired power plants.

Pruitt himself sued the EPA over the Clean Power Plan in his previous role as the attorney general of Oklahoma.

And that’s just one of multiple lawsuits that he filed against the EPA – others were over mercury and air pollution, the agency’s attempts to regulate pollution of waterways, and methane emissions from oil and gas facilities, to name a few.

The EPA chief has made several statements in the past that are similar to the present one, perhaps, but not so strongly worded.

For instance, writing for National Review in 2016, he stated that “Scientists continue to disagree about the degree and extent of global warming and its connection to the actions of mankind.” In his Senate confirmation hearing, meanwhile, he stated in a tense exchange with Senator Bernie Sanders that “the climate is changing, and human activity contributes to that in some manner.” 

Another of Pruitt’s predecessors — now in the business community — also commented on the science of climate change in the context of his remarks.

“The time for debate on climate change has passed,” Lisa Jackson, President Obama’s first EPA administrator and now vice president of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives at Apple, told the Post.

“Certainty is what business needs,” said Jackson. “And relying on science is something that we do every single day. So now if we’re going to question science, I think it has an impact on more than just some federal rules, or some law, it has a huge impact on human health, the environment, and our economy.”

E.P.A. Chief Doubts Consensus View of Climate Change

WASHINGTON — Scott Pruitt, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, said on Thursday that carbon dioxide was not a primary contributor to global warming, a statement at odds with the established scientific consensus on climate change.

Asked his views on the role of carbon dioxide, the heat-trapping gas produced by burning fossil fuels, in increasing global warming, Mr. Pruitt said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” that “I think that measuring with precision human activity on the climate is something very challenging to do and there’s tremendous disagreement about the degree of impact, so, no, I would not agree that it’s a primary contributor to the global warming that we see.”

“But we don’t know that yet,” he added. “We need to continue the debate and continue the review and the analysis.”

Mr. Pruitt’s statement contradicts decades of research and analysis by international scientific institutions and federal agencies, including the E.P.A. His remarks on Thursday, which were more categorical than similar testimony before the Senate, may also put him in conflict with laws and regulations that the E.P.A. is charged with enforcing.

His statements appear to signal that the Trump administration intends not only to roll back President Barack Obama’s climate change policies, but also to wage a vigorous attack on their underlying legal and scientific basis.

A report in 2013 by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a group of about 2,000 international scientists that reviews and summarizes climate science, found it to be “extremely likely” that more than half the global warming that occurred from 1951 to 2010 was a consequence of human emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

A January report by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration concluded, “The planet’s average surface temperature has risen about 2.0 degrees Fahrenheit (1.1 degrees Celsius) since the late 19th century, a change driven largely by increased carbon dioxide and other human-made emissions into the atmosphere.”

Benjamin D. Santer, a climate researcher at the Energy Department’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, said, “Mr. Pruitt has claimed that carbon dioxide caused by human activity is not ‘the primary contributor to the global warming that we see.’ Mr. Pruitt is wrong.”

“The scientific community has studied this issue for decades,” Dr. Santer added. “The consensus message from many national and international assessments of the science is pretty simple: Natural factors can’t explain the size or patterns of observed warming. A large human influence on global climate is the best explanation for the warming we’ve measured and monitored.”

The basic science showing that carbon dioxide traps heat at the Earth’s surface dates to the 19th century, and has been confirmed in many thousands of experiments and observations since.

Mr. Pruitt has faced frequent criticism for his close ties to fossil fuel companies. In his previous job as the attorney general of Oklahoma, he sought to use legal tools to fight environmental regulations on the oil and gas companies that are a major part of the state’s economy. A 2014 investigation by The New York Times found that energy lobbyists had drafted letters for Mr. Pruitt to send, on state stationery, to the E.P.A., the Interior Department, the Office of Management and Budget and even Mr. Obama, outlining the economic hardship caused by the environmental rules.

But in a sign of how far outside mainstream views Mr. Pruitt’s remarks on Thursday have placed him, even executives of some of the nation’s largest fossil fuel producers said they were surprised by his comments. Interviewed at CERAweek, an annual conference of major energy producers this week in Houston, Wael Sawan, an executive vice president at Shell Energy Resources, said he was “absolutely convinced CO2 can cause serious damage to not only this generation but future generations.”

Mr. Pruitt spoke at the Houston energy conference on Thursday afternoon in a session moderated by Daniel Yergin, a prominent energy economist and a member of a White House advisory panel. Mr. Yergin did not ask Mr. Pruitt any questions about his remarks from Thursday morning, saying later that he had been unaware of the comments when interviewing him.

Mr. Pruitt did not clarify his comments or respond to reporters who sought to question him.

He said at the energy conference that the Obama administration had gone too far with some environmental rules and that he intended to work more closely with industry and individual states to address pollution issue

“The future ain’t what it used to be at the E.P.A.,” he said.

Mr. Pruitt’s remarks come as the Trump administration prepares to roll back Mr. Obama’s two signature policies to address global warming: a pair of sweeping regulations intended to curb carbon dioxide emissions from vehicles and power plant smokestacks.

At the same time, the White House is considering a 17 percent cut to the budget of NOAA, one of the nation’s premier agencies of climate science research, according to a memo obtained by The Washington Post.

Mr. Pruitt’s remarks on Thursday were consistent with his past public statements questioning the established science of human-caused climate change, but in denying the role played by carbon dioxide, they go a step further.

In addition to putting him at odds with the consensus of climate scientists, Mr. Pruitt’s remarks also raise the possibility that, as the Trump administration moves forward with unwinding Mr. Obama’s climate change regulations, it could put the administration in violation of federal law.

In 2009, the E.P.A. released a legal opinion known as an endangerment finding concluding that, because of its contribution to global warming, carbon dioxide in large amounts met the Clean Air Act’s definition of a pollutant that harms human health. Under the terms of the Clean Air Act, one of the nation’s most powerful environmental laws, all such pollutants must be regulated by the E.P.A. A federal court upheld the finding, and the Supreme Court declined to hear a challenge to it.

Thus the E.P.A. remains obligated to regulate carbon dioxide.

In his Senate hearing, Mr. Pruitt said that as administrator of the E.P.A. he would not revisit that 2009 legal finding. “It is there, and it needs to be enforced and respected,” Mr. Pruitt said. But energy lobbyists close to the Trump administration have since urged the new administration to consider building a legal case against the endangerment finding.

Advisers to Mr. Trump’s transition team said they read Mr. Pruitt’s remarks as a signal that he intends to do just that.

“President Trump’s campaign commitment was to undo President Obama’s entire climate edifice,” said Myron Ebell, who worked on Mr. Trump’s E.P.A. transition team but has no role in policy making. “They’re thinking through the whole thing, and based on what Scott Pruitt said this morning, I do think they are looking at reopening the endangerment finding.”

Mr. Trump is expected to announce an executive order next week directing Mr. Pruitt to begin the legal process of unwinding the climate change regulations on emissions from power plants.

GLOBAL WARMING FOR DUMMIES CHEAT SHEET

From Global Warming For Dummies

By Elizabeth May, Zoe Caron

Global warming is already changing the environment, the economy, and people’s ways of living. The changes aren’t over, either, and the more that changes around the world, the more critical it is to understand this complex and important issue. The following describes how and why greenhouse gases are formed, investigates some important global warming terms, uncovers the negative impacts of climate change, and offers solutions you can implement in your everyday life to alleviate rising greenhouse gas emissions. Although global warming is connected to scary scenarios featuring soaring temperatures and worsening hurricanes and monsoons, it’s also a link to a better future. Global warming is opening doors for the development of new types of fuels, leading the shift to reliable energy sources, and creating a vision of a greener tomorrow.

UNDERSTANDING GREENHOUSE GASES

Planet Earth is warm enough to sustain life thanks to gases in the planet’s atmosphere that hold heat. These gases are called greenhouse gases because they act just like a greenhouse — trapping the heat inside the planet’s atmosphere, making the average temperature on Earth 59 degrees Fahrenheit (15 degrees Celsius). Humans have increased the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere by about 35 percent. The more greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, the warmer the average temperature gets.

THE MAIN GREENHOUSE GASES

The two major greenhouse gases both occur naturally and can be increased due to human activity.

  • Carbon dioxide (CO2): Responsible for 63 percent of global warming over time, and 91 percent in the last 5 years, this gas is produced from burning fossil fuels, such as coal and oil. It also occurs naturally as it flows in a cycle between oceans, soil, plants and animals.

  • Methane (CH4): Responsible for 19 percent of global warming, this gas is produced by rotting garbage and wastewater, gas from livestock, and rice crops. Swamps and anything that decomposes without air naturally creates methane.

TWO MAIN SOURCES OF GREENHOUSE GASES

  • Energy use: Humans derive energy from burning fossil fuels, which releases almost three quarters of all human-produced greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Half of all fossil fuels are burned to provide electricity and heat; the next big users of fossil fuels are manufacturing and transportation.

  • Land use: How humans remove forests and use land contributes over one quarter of all human-produced greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. Trees absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, sologging and clearing forest land for agriculture and development means more carbon dioxide stays in the air.

FIVE WAYS TO REDUCE YOUR GREENHOUSE
GAS EMISSIONS

What you can do to help reduce your carbon footprint depends on where you live, the resources you have, and how much time you can give. If you want to do something about global warming, however, then simple changes can have a big impact. Here are some straightforward solutions that you can implement right away:

  • Eat less (or no) meat. Going vegetarian has the same impact on reducing greenhouse gas emissions as if you trade in a regular car for a hybrid. The process of making a pound of commercial meat uses ten times more energy than making a pound of beans or grains.

  • * Hook your home up to clean energy. If you can’t afford to install solar panels or wind turbines on your roof, you can tap into an independent clean energy supplier. Let them build the wind turbine, and you reap the benefits. This step reduces your own emissions and helps build the renewable energy industry.

  • Insulate your house. The average home has the equivalent of a basketball-sized hole in the side of its wall. That’s how much heating and cooling you can keep from escaping if you properly insulate your home’s ceilings, walls, windows, and doors.

  • Travel smart. Reducing the number of flights you take in a year has a huge impact. One long-haul flight can be enough to double your impact on climate change, so think twice before taking that long trip. Whenever possible, take the train or bus. Minimize your driving by carpooling, walking, biking, or taking public transit.

  • Use only the energy you need. Develop energy saving habits — turn off the lights and TV when you leave the room, and turn down your thermostats when the house is empty in winter, and up in summer. Choose low-energy technologies by looking for the ENERGY STAR or Energy Savings logos on all appliances, electronics, computers, and more. These qualification standards highlight products that use the least energy.

MAJOR POTENTIAL EFFECTS OF GLOBAL WARMING

The impact of global warming will increase in the coming years, but the degree of change will vary greatly, depending on where you live and depending on how rapidly nations around the world reduce greenhouse emissions. No matter where you live, though, the unchecked impacts of climate change are potentially catastrophic in the long-term.

  • It affects people: Depending on their location, people may be affected by disease, rising sea levels, drought, or major storms. The impact of these effects will be greatest on those with the least financial resources to adapt to or recover from the effects.

  • It causes extreme weather: While the atmosphere warms, the climate is changing, and so is the weather. More frequent and more intense storms, flooding, droughts, heat waves, and even extreme snowfalls are all part of the changes.

  • It increases extinctions: Changing climates mean that some environments may no longer be hospitable for certain plants or animals, which will need to relocate to survive. Some species, such as polar bears, have nowhere to go. Extinction is a possibility for many species of animals and plants, which may be unable to adapt to their environment at the same speed at which the climate is changing it.

  • It melts ice at the poles: The Arctic ice is melting so rapidly that within a few years the North Pole will be ice covered only seasonally. This has a dramatic impact on the planet’s climate: Polar ice reflects sunlight and deflects heat; when it melts, more of that heat stays in the atmosphere. The melting of the Greenland and Western Antarctic Ice Sheets threatens an extreme rise in sea levels.

  • It warms oceans: While the oceans warm, water is expanding and causing sea levels to rise. Warmer waters are killing coral reefs and krill — essential to supporting the sea food web.

KEY GLOBAL WARMING TERMS

The phrase “global warming” hasn’t been around long, but climate change, as it’s also known, is nothing new. In fact, it has been a constant throughout history. Earth’s climate today is very different from what it was 2 million years ago, let alone 10,000 years ago. Here are the key terms that are crucial to understanding global warming:

  • Carbon cycle: The natural system that, ideally, creates a balance between carbon emitters (such as humans) and carbon absorbers (such as trees), so the atmosphere doesn’t contain an increasing concentration of carbon dioxide. (Concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are expressed as parts per million, or ppm.)

  • Carbon sinks: Anything that absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and stores carbon. The ocean, trees, and soil are all carbon sinks.

  • Fossil fuels: Fuels, such as oil and coal, that are made from the fossils of old plants, which have taken hundreds of thousands of years to form underground.

  • Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC): An international body of the United Nations, composed of over 2,000 scientific experts. The IPCC compiles peer-reviewed climate science to create an objective source of climate information.

  • Kyoto Protocol: The international agreement under the United Nations to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions from industrialized countries by 5.2 percent below 1990 levels by the year 2012. The Protocol is ratified by 177 countries.

  • Renewable energy: A continual source of energy, such as energy from the sun, wind, flowing water, heat from the Earth, or movement of the tides.

A Depressing Thought

Some climate scientists (for example Gaia theorist, James Lovelock and grandfather, James Hansen), have embraced nulclear power as the carbon-neutral answer to our high energy needs in this modern world. They feel we’ve gone too far to turn back now–a depressing thought if there ever was one. Of course, almost no one is willing to point out that maybe there’s just too many people here on the planet today…

 

The fact that nuclear power plants will inevitably all have meltdowns if no one’s around to keep them going and keep them cool with thousands of gallons of water seems clearly the biggest threat to the future of Earth’s other species if humans were to suddenly check out (from say, nuclear war or pandemic, or starvation due to climate change, etc.).

 

Also, if jet traffic with its global cooling, cloud-like contrails in the stratosphere were to come to an abrupt end (the oil is going to run out some day, after all), the planet would quickly warm up to temperature levels not seen in hundreds of thousands of years (known as the Venus effect).

 

Sadly, there’s no easy answer.

 

We’re addicted to speed, madly shovelling coal into a freight train headed for a brick wall. It’s too late for the wish that humans would just go away and let nature take back over, putting things right again. At this point, the train is going to crash and there’s  no place left for humans to safely jump off.

 

 

The really big Trump scandal (almost) everyone is missing

<snip> from:   http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/attytood/The-really-big-Trump-scandal-almost-everyone-is-missing-.html

…Consider these developments in the last few days:

The Trump administration is working on a budget that would gut environmental enforcement in this country — slashing $2 billion and 3,000 jobs at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. For example, an EPA program that seeks to reduce algae blooms and pollution that threatens the Great Lakes — yes, the same region where voters gave Trump his Electoral College victory — would be reduced from $300 million to just $10 million.

— Team Trump also wants to cut a whopping $500 million or so from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) program that sends satellites aloft to monitor extreme weather and the effects of climate change. The former head of the agency told the Washington Post, “Cutting NOAA’s satellite budget will compromise NOAA’s mission of keeping Americans safe from extreme weather and providing forecasts that allow businesses and citizens to make smart plans.” But given the president’s hostility to global warming science, that was probably the idea.

— In the same vein, Big Auto asked the Trump administration for help in rolling back tough rules on curbing tailpipe emissions and converting to electric cars that would have reduced America’s greenhouse gas emissions by about one-third. The Trump administration asked industry, in so many words, how fast would you like us to get that out to you?

— Those rules won’t get as much attention as Trump’s looming order on a new travel ban — ignoring findings from his own Homeland Security Department that visitors from the affected countries aren’t committing terrorist acts — or his immigration crackdown. While Immigration Control and Enforcement (ICE) continues to operate on steroids in major American cities, the administration is weighing a new policy that would separate migrant children from their mothers at border crossings. “That type of thing is where we depart from border security and get into violating human rights,” U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, a Texas Democrat, said.

That type of thing also used to be major news — but not in a time when we are so easily distracted by President Trump’s roving thumbs. But the reality is that — for all the media coverage of a White House implosion — the Trump administration really is “a fine-tuned machine” when it comes to serving its corporate benefactors and gutting any pretense of regulatory oversight. I did, however, add the word “(almost)” to the headline of this piece because the New York Times is out tonight with a really good overview of all the favors that the new president’s crew has performed for Big Business, even as they poison the air and the water that Trump’s blue-collar voters ingest.

The newspaper chronicled more than 90 rules affecting the public’s health or safety or protecting consumers that have been rolled back, eliminated or gutted in just the first six weeks of the Trump administration. It’s a startling change — one that the Times called the “leading edge” of top Trump adviser Steve Bannon’s scheme for “the destruction of the administrative state.”

I guess you could say that screwing over the little guy to benefit billionaire campaign donors and corporations isn’t exactly brand new — but it’s never been done this fast, this blatantly, and with this little compassion. I don’t know if Trump’s policies are “High Crimes and Misdemeanors,” but I do consider them a crime against human decency. And even if Trump were to be miraculously impeached over Russia or gets 25th Amendment-ed to a farm upstate, do you think that a President Mike Pence would care a flying fig about the purity of your tap water?

Sometimes I think about the launch of the Trump administration in terms of Ronald Reagan and his famous 1984 re-election ad, “Morning in America.” But morning in Donald Trump’s America is a place where the Houston sunrise struggles to break through the smog, where coal plants are up early dumping toxic goo into your streams, and Latin American families hide behind closed curtains, fearing a knock on their door. And the worst part is that the sun isn’t even over the treetops yet.

No Surrender

http://www.greanvillepost.com/2017/03/06/no-surrender-a-critique-of-guy-mcphersons-prediction-of-near-term-human-extinction/

by Guy McPherson on March 1, 2017

SAN ANTONIO Belize—(Weekly Hubris)—March 2017—I’m routinely accused of giving up. Worse, it is often written that the message of near-term human extinction encourages people to give up. As the primary messenger of this devastating message, I’m often at the receiving end of messages fueled by ignorance and its frequent companion, hatred.

For what it’s worth—and I suspect my two cents is overpriced this time—this essay serves as a correction to my detractors. I’m neither giving up on the living planet nor encouraging others to do the same.

Giving up is not giving in: accepting our fate is not synonymous with jumping into the absurdly omnicidal mainstream. Just because we’re opossums on the roadway doesn’t mean we should play possum. Resistance is fertile, after all. To employ a bit of The Boss: “In the end, what you don’t surrender, well, the world just strips away.”

Or, to employ a bit of Zen: Let go, or be dragged.

Or, to employ a bit of popular culture: Carpe diem.

Or, to employ a bit of Nietzsche: “Live as though the day were here.”

Climate chaos is well under way, and has become irreversible over temporal spans relevant to humans because of self-reinforcing feedback loops (so-called positive feedbacks). Such is the nature of reaching the acceleration phase of the non-linear system that is climate catastrophe.

As a result of ongoing, accelerating climate change, I’m letting go of the notion that Homo sapiens will inhabit this planet beyond 2026. I’m letting go of the notion that, within a few short years, there will remain any habitat for humans in the interior of any large continent. I’m letting go of the notion we’ll retain even a fraction of one percent of the species currently on Earth beyond 2030. But I’m not letting go of the notion of resistance, which is a moral imperative.

I will no longer judge people for buying into cultural conditioning. It’s far easier to live in a city, at the height of civilization’s excesses, than not. I know how easy it is to live in a city surrounded by beautiful distractions and pleasant interactions, and I fully understand the costs and consequences of dwelling there, as well as the price to be paid in the near future. I spent about half my life in various cities, and I understand the physical ease and existential pain of living at the apex of empire.

Also, I know all about the small joys and great pains associated with living in the country. I spent the other half of my life in the country and in towns with fewer than 1,000 people. I understand why the country bumpkin is assigned stereotypical labels related to ignorance and, paradoxically, self-reliance.

It’s clearly too late to tear down this irredeemably corrupt system and realize any substantive benefits for humans or other organisms. And yet I strongly agree with activist Lierre Keith: “The task of an activist is not to navigate systems of oppressive power with as much personal integrity as possible; it is to dismantle those systems.”

If it seems I’m filled with contradictions, color me fully human in a Walt Whitman sort of way: “Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.”

Our remaining time on this orb is too short to cast aspersions at those who live differently from ourselves, as most people in industrialized countries have done throughout their lives. Most people in the industrialized world became cultural crack babies in the womb. There is little hope of breaking the addiction of ingestion at this late point in the era of industry, and I’m throwing in the towel on changing the minds of willfully ignorant Americans. No longer will I try to convince people to give up the crack pipe based on my perception of reality.

My continued efforts to speak and write will represent personal perspectives and actions. I’ll no longer recommend to others the path I’ve taken.

Nietzsche’s comment about seizing the day, every day, brings to mind the final words of Joseph Campbell’s 1949 book, The Hero with a Thousand Faces: “It is not society that is to guide and save the creative hero, but precisely the reverse. And so every one of us shares the supreme ordeal—carries the cross of the redeemer—not in the bright moments of his tribe’s great victories, but in the silences of his personal despair.”

With the preceding dire news in mind, it would be easy to forget how fortunate we are. After all, we get to die. This simple fact alone is cause for celebration because it indicates that we get to live. As I wrote many years ago, our knowledge of DNA assures us that the odds of any one of us existing are greater than the odds against being a particular grain of sand on all the world’s beaches. No, the odds are much greater than that: they exceed the odds of being a single atom plucked from the entire universe. To quote the evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, “In the teeth of these stupefying odds it is you and I that are privileged to be here, privileged with eyes to see where we are and brains to wonder why.”

It’s quite a deal, and no surrender is necessary. We get to live. Let’s live. Let’s be fully present. Let’s live here now.

Appraisal:  http://www.greanvillepost.com/2017/03/06/no-surrender-a-critique-of-guy-mcphersons-prediction-of-near-term-human-extinction/

IMPENDING TRAGEDY IN THE GULF OF ST. LAWRENCE

by Captain Paul Watson

Sea Shepherd and I have navigated into the ice into the Gulf of St. Lawrence in 1979, 1981, 1982,1983, 1994,1995,1998, 2005 and 2008. That was nine times between 1979 and 2008. Never did I see the area so free of ice as it is now.

Two decades ago the idea of clear ice free sailing trough the Gulf was simply not possible. It took us days to break through the ice pack.

All over the world I have seen the evidence of rapid climate change and you really have to be in willful denial to believe this is not happening or have a vested financial interest in denial.

What is alarming for me is that this is one of the primary areas where harp and hood seals give birth to their pups on the ice. Without ice, thousands of pups will drown at sea and if they are forced to give birth on shore fast ice, the sealers will have easier access to kill them.

These two sat images, one from February 2015 and one for this same day in February 2017 illustrates the concern.

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