Archive for global warming

"Only intensive push in next 15 years can stave off climate change disaster"

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tar sands keystone xl protest climate change disaster

The New York Times has an unnerving article about a United Nations report that "only an intensive worldwide push over the next 15 years can stave off" a potential climate change disaster later this century:

The report did find some reasons for cautious optimism. The costs of renewable energy like wind and solar power are now falling so fast that their deployment on a large scale is becoming practical, the report said. In fact, extensive use of renewable energy is already starting in countries such as Denmark and Germany, and to a lesser degree in some American states, including California, Iowa and Texas. [...]

Yet the report found that the emissions problem is still outrunning the will to tackle it, with global emissions rising almost twice as fast in the first decade of this century than in the last decades of the 20th century.

That was posted today. Yesterday, MSNBC's Alex Witt interviewed  John Fiege, the director and producer of "Above All Else," a documentary about lives affected by the Keystone XL tar sands Pipeline project. Juxtaposing these two reports in one post-- one on impending climate change disaster and the other on a short-sighted, corporate disaster-in waiting-- should be a wake-up call. But will it be?

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Witt: If completed, the [Keystone XL] pipeline could stretch 2,000 miles from the oil fields of Canada to refineries in the Gulf Coast. Deep in the heart of Texas, a group of rural land owners and student activists came together in an unlikely union to protest the construction of the Keystone Pipeline. The property owners claim they were manipulated into signing over their land to TransCanada. The energy company for its part is saying the pipeline is a job creator that will ensure North America's energy independence. What happened next is chronicled in a new documentary titled "Above All Else."...

Fiege: The companies building the pipeline were surprised to see such strong opposition from people who lived there. The thing in east Texas, they don't like a foreign company coming in and taking their property and they know how to fight back so it is an interesting conflict...

The folks who signed, as they learned more about what the Keystone XL pipeline is, and that its whole purpose is to transport tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada, they didn't know that when they signed the agreement. They also didn't know that the company did not have the permits it needed to build the pipeline. So they felt like they were manipulated and lied to...

You know, another example of an oil project touted as being "state of the art, cutting edge" was the Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf Coast that BP ran that exploded. We've heard this over and over again, where oil companies claim they're using state of the art technology-- they probably are-- but we see this over and over again that this infrastructure is not safe. ...

That's one of the main stories the film tells. If you're an individual, if you're an American and you want to fight back against this and you object to a foreign corporation taking your land and you want to do something about climate change, you are putting yourself at great peril and you're going to be crushed by these enormous corporate powers that have emerged and really taken an outsized, you know, section of power and wealth in our society. I think one thing this film chronicles is really a wake-up call for folks in the middle of the country and the reddest parts of red states who don't think this is a good system to have and feel completely disempowered.

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"Turns out, Al Gore was right. Next we’ll discover he really did invent the internet."

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al-gore-climate-changeal gore climate change hot in here

Another snark-filled guest post by the one, the only Will Durst who's having a little fun with the unnerving prospect of living, and dying, with spot-on predictions about climate change by none other than Al Gore:

TINA TURNER, MAD MAX, AL GORE AND YOU

According to a new UN report, there’s good news and bad news about global warming. The good news is- it’s worse than we thought. Yeah. That’s the good news. The bad news- you don’t want to know. Because then there’s worse news and ultimately, “holy moley, is that an asteroid the size of a mini- mall crushing my house” news.

The same kind of news a doctor offers up after inviting you into his office, closing the door and advising you to sit down. Or your lawyer recommending a friend who “specializes in this sort of thing, but I warn you, he’s not cheap.” A mechanic walking slowly from your car, wiping his hands on a rag, sadly shaking his head. Or when a spouse’s packed bags are stacked near the front door and a voice from the kitchen intones: “We need to talk.”

After delivering their communiqué describing how not only has global warming already arrived, but it’s unpacked, made friends with the dog, is sleeping on the couch and drinking daddy’s bourbon that he thinks nobody knows is behind the Wheat Thins; the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change threw up its hands and ran screaming from the room. The unreported nature of these actions can be chalked up to being considered normal activity at the UN.

Remember about 10 years ago, when the IPCC told the world that something had to be done soon or all hell was going to break loose? Well, guess what? Nothing was done and all hell has broken loose. You can actually see chunks of it littering the outskirts of Phoenix. With Lucifer himself haunting the halls of the Arizona State Capitol.

The gist of the statement is instead of wasting time on political gridlock strangling all efforts to diminish global warming, we need to learn to live with it. Seriously. That’s what they said. Their recommended strategy has evolved from halting climate change to surviving it. From mitigation to adaption. No more trying to keep gas out of the basement, now we concentrate on not lighting any matches. Turns out, Al Gore was right. Next we’ll discover he really did invent the internet.

Time to wave bye- bye to certain South Sea Islanders, unless they begin building a big bunch of boats real soon. Europe will need to increase flood insurance coverage exponentially. Sales of air conditioners in the US are destined to skyrocket like condom sales in a bus station brothel, and Australia might just want to pack up and move. Now.

Its not just increased temperatures and rising sea levels and more severe weather and ocean acidification and species extinctions and multi- ecosystem collapse and slathering on sunblock 8000 and polar bears wandering Winnipeg; they’re also predicting violent conflicts over dwindling food supplies and fresh water. Like the beer cooler at a 7- 11 on Bourbon St. the Saturday before Mardi Gras.

So for all you survivalists who have always imagined living like a post- civilization Mad Max fighting feral dogs for scraps while fending off leather- clad, Mohawk- sporting punks, your dreams may have finally come true. Hey, this could be fun. Especially if you’re Tina Turner. And secretly, who here among us, isn’t?

Will Durst is an award- winning, nationally acclaimed political comic. Go to willdurst.com to find about more about his new CD, “Elect to Laugh,” a calendar guide to personal appearances and info about the documentary film “3 Still Standing” in which he's one of the standing 3. Still.

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SCOTUS To Hear GOP Plea To Allow Chemical Poisoning

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Coal Ash Spillcoal ash spill's destructive aftermath

By now we've all heard of the coal ash contaminants that have been wreaking havoc in North Carolina. If all goes as it appears, even GOP Governor McCrory might be going to jail when the dust settles. Carcinogenic-contaminated dust.

Over in nearby West Virginia, we've all heard about the multiple chemical spills by Freedom Industries, polluting the water in that state.

And these are just two of the more recent cases. There have been other chemical waste issues all across the country. And these aren't really accidents in the normal scheme of things. It's not like someone forgot to shut the door. It's worse than that. It's not the absence of adequate regulations. It's intentional.

Why?

Because the state governments have been under GOP anti-regulation delusion. They think that regulating chemical waste and storage is interference and that it affects the businesses' bottom lines. Forget what it does to the workers and the innocents who live in those areas. Just so long as it doesn't interfere with the cost of doing business, the GOP is all for it. Damn the people -- full profits ahead.

Turning their back on the safety of their state-wide constituents, the Republicans are setting course for harming or potentially killing all of us. They want to do away with safety regulations and restrictions over clean air and gas house emissions. Can't you just hear those Neanderthal Republicans? "Regulations... Baaad!!!"

HUFFPO:

WASHINGTON (AP) — Industry groups and Republican-led states are heading an attack at the Supreme Court against the Obama administration's sole means of trying to limit power-plant and factory emissions of gases blamed for global warming.

The court is hearing arguments Monday about a small but important piece of the Environmental Protection Agency's plans to cut the emissions — a requirement that companies expanding industrial facilities or building new ones that would increase overall pollution must also evaluate ways to reduce the carbon they release.

The importance of this case is astronomical -- almost literally. The Republican Party is determined to poison us with deregulation. If they can't stop people from voting, or better yet, voting against them, they seem to be taking another attack,-- just plain kill us. What they overlook in their ignorance is that they're killing themselves at the very same time. See what having no customers does to your bottom line.

air pollution

The air belongs to all of us equally -- and if you're going to pollute my air, you better be prepared for the consequences. As global warming and the greenhouse gases' various other effects are felt, we can't sit by and wait until it too late. Hopefully the SCOTUS will rule that way as well.

The Government has used eminent domain to confiscate property and condemn areas -- for the greater good.  The most common uses of property taken by eminent domain are for government buildings and other facilities, public utilities, highways, and railroads; however, it may also be taken for reasons of public safety. Isn't that what we're talking about here?

Maybe we should start looking at those companies who don't comply with the EPA regulations, which pollute and condemn our health and safety with the same "for the better good" doctrine. Confiscate them and sell them off at public auction, not to be reopened until they meet safety standards.

Monday's case, for which the court has expanded argument time to 90 minutes from the usual 60, stems from the high court's 2007 ruling in Massachusetts v. EPA, which said the agency has the authority under the Clean Air Act to limit emissions of greenhouse gases from vehicles.

Two years later, with Obama in office, the EPA concluded that the release of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases endangered human health and welfare. The administration used that finding to extend its regulatory reach beyond automobiles and develop national standards for large stationary sources.

Hopefully the mentally- and scientifically-corrupted and deficient Republican position will be defeated once and for all by the Supreme Court. It's wishful thinking that the GOP won't continue to attempt to retry and re-litigate this for years to come. But maybe they'll succumb to the dangers they have wrought upon all of us before any more innocents become afflicted or victims of global warming and chemical spills.

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Cartoons of the Day: "This ice storm surely proves there ain't no global warmin'!"

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ice storm climate change north carolina  (WTVD iWitness Photo)(WTVD iWitness Photo)

In my hard copy of today's Los Angeles Times, there was an ice storm related cartoon zinger that I couldn't pass up.

It's by the consistently astute David Horsey, and he nails it in one measly panel. He shares his version of what people are saying about the the "extreme weather phenomena," aka climate change, and pokes fun at the undeniable denial of deniers, aka a whole lot of Republicans.

To repeat, weather is not the same as climate:

weath·er
noun \ˈwe-thər\

: the state of the air and atmosphere at a particular time and place : the temperature and other outside conditions (such as rain, cloudiness, etc.) at a particular time and place

: bad or stormy weather

vs...

cli·mate
noun \ˈklī-mət\

:  a region of the earth having specified climatic conditions

a: the average course or condition of the weather at a place usually over a period of years as exhibited by temperature, wind velocity, and precipitation

And to repeat times two, when it comes to "global warmin'" and ice storms, money talks, and right now it's screaming.

Here's Horsey's take, and please follow that link for his accompanying article:

climate change David Horsey extreme weather

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Climate change? Pfft! say deniers. But money talks, and right now it's screaming.

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climate change Jack and Jill

Climate change, schlimate change, what a bunch of hooey, because, brrr, it's cold! Clearly, that means there's no global warming, right? Wrong.

Psst! Weather is not the same as climate, denier geniuses:

weath·er
noun \ˈwe-thər\

: the state of the air and atmosphere at a particular time and place : the temperature and other outside conditions (such as rain, cloudiness, etc.) at a particular time and place

: bad or stormy weather

vs...

cli·mate
noun \ˈklī-mət\

:  a region of the earth having specified climatic conditions

a: the average course or condition of the weather at a place usually over a period of years as exhibited by temperature, wind velocity, and precipitation

Now that that's settled, let's take a little peek at how increasingly extreme weather conditions, likely caused by overall climate change, are affecting more than what we wear. As we speak, we are seeing an alarming economic impact. As I read my morning Los Angeles Times, several articles scattered throughout the Business section caught my eye, and not in a good way:

1. Stocks dive on fresh growth worries:

Stocks were pounded by discouraging data released Monday on manufacturing, auto sales and construction spending.

You're probably asking, "Yeah? So? What does that have to do with climate change?" Plenty:

2. GM, Ford, Toyota auto sales plunge with January's cold weather:

Arctic-like weather across much of the nation put a freeze on January auto sales. [...] General Motors said Monday that its U.S. sales fell 12% in January to 171,486 vehicles compared with the same month a year earlier. [...] The automaker said its sales were the worst in the South, Midwest and Northeast, all areas that suffered from the extreme cold. [...]

Ford Motor Co. said its January fell 7% to 154,644.

Given the difficult weather in our largest sales regions, we are fortunate to have held in at retail as well as we did,” said John Felice, Ford vice president, U.S. marketing, sales and service. [...]

Toyota reported January sales results of 146,365 vehicles, a 7.2% decrease from what it sold in the U.S. in the same month a year earlier.

“January was off to a solid start, but the weather conditions slowed industry sales in key markets late in the month,” said Bill Fay, Toyota’s division group vice president and general manager.

but wait there's more smaller

3. Manufacturing activity slows in January; stocks slump:

"A number of comments from the panel cite adverse weather conditions as a factor negatively impacting their businesses in January," said Bradley Holcomb, chair of the Institute for Supply Management's Manufacturing Business Survey Committee.

4. California citrus season shortened by December freeze:

Consumers will have less time to get their hands on California citrus this year because of a cold snap in early December that damaged $441-million worth of fruit in the San Joaquin Valley, an industry study released Monday said. [...]

An estimated 40% of the [mandarin orange] crop that remained on trees were lost. That amounts to 4.7-million 40-pound cartons and $150 million in lost revenue. [...]

About 30% of the navel crop was lost in the valley, the heart of the state’s agriculture industry. That amounted to 22 million 40-pound cartons or $260 million worth of navels.

Valley lemon producers lost 20% of their crop, equal to $24 million in lost revenue.

And finally...
tadaa35. 'Polar vortex' wallops fliers' wallets:

Flights canceled in January's "polar vortex" inflicted $2.5 billion in costs on stranded travelers, according to a new analysis. The $2.5-billion figure represents lost productivity, hotel expenses and meals, MasFlight reported. The airline industry lost $75 million to $150 million. [...]

To avoid the hefty fines, airlines are now more likely to cancel flights during bad weather. [...] [T]he weather woes could take a bite out of the bottom line for some of the nation's biggest airlines.

"They'll definitely take a financial hit," Counter said.

All of those stories appeared in just one day, in one section of my paper.

And while all this is taking a financial and emotional toll, we have the filthy, "game over," disaster-in-waiting Keystone XL tar sands pipeline looming.

Hope the weather's good wherever you are, because the overall climate-- whether economic, psychological, political, or meteorological-- is chilling.

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Unprecedented Arctic Warmth Reveals Ancient Moss

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ArcticMossw310h224

Above image via Occupy Calgary

This should not be happening. It is and it's unnatural.

What I do see happening is that more and more people, including right-wingers, are acknowledging that it is happening and at least that's a start.

What does not make sense is whom and what they attribute the climate change to: 'God' showing His anger at lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgender people.

The last time I checked, however, not a single one of these groups were responsible for releasing massive amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

Here's the story on Daily Kos from Climate Change SOS:

Arctic warmth - unprecedented in 44,000 years, reveals ancient moss

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A Simple Solution To Global Warming - Stop Abortions

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Global Warming

I usually have fun commenting or setting up a video clip when I feel I can add something snarky to the piece. This is one time I'm really going to just let it talk for itself. I couldn't make it better or punch it up with a month of Sundays.

The players in this two minutes of jawdropping awe are televangelist Kenneth Copeland and his guest, David Barton, a Republican Tea Party Right Wingnut member who is vying for the GOP nomination in a Texas senate primary against incumbent Tea Party Right Wingnut, John Cornyn. Fortunately for us, according to the fanatical faction, the earth is flat. If you got right enough you'll fall off. Barton's heading for the sanity cliff at breakneck speed. Check him out. Keep in mind, this is real.

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