Climate Open Thread and Cartoon of the Week by Joe Romm Dec 31, 2011 8:00am CREDIT: Share 7 Tweet 47 Comment A cyber-penny for your thoughts. Something about this New Yorker cartoon seems strangely apt…. Share 7 Tweet 47 Comment 82 Responses to Open Thread and Cartoon of the Week John McCormick says: December 31, 2011 at 8:46 am Last day of 2011. No time to get ready for the climate chaos awaiting us in 2012. Thailand is struggling to get back to ‘normal’ after it’s worst flood on record in Thailand’s wettest year on record. See news account at http://tinyurl.com/7zlrb4w “Almost five months have passed since the flooding began in the northern hills of Thailand and then spread slowly down through the central plains to inundate swaths of Bangkok, killing more than 500 people, affecting 12 million others and disrupting business at some of the planet’s biggest industrial parks. The World Bank estimates the damage at 1.4tn baht (£29bn), making it one of the costliest disasters in human history.” “Scientists estimate that for each degree of warming, the amount of moisture in the air increases by 7%. This year is on course to be the wettest on record, according to the Met Office, which says 1,822mm (72 inches) of rain fell in the first nine months. “The difficulty of projecting droughts and floods will increase for sure,” said Gernot Laganda, a climate specialist at the United Nations Development Program office in Bangkok.” “We cannot rely on historic experience in managing these hazards. The world is not the same any more. Just because this is a once-in-a-century flood, we shouldn’t assume that there won’t be another like it for 100 years.” Thailand government and citizens view climate change as the cause. Business owners and residents of Bangkok blame politicians for poor maintenance of water diversion infrastructure and poor planning to lower reservoirs early in the spring rains to accommodate huge river flow from the north. Now, they want higher retaining walls, more canals, more infrastructure. Very expensive and time-consuming projects that may not be in place for the next rains. Companies are planning to relocate to China, higher ground or closing altogether. Then, there was Irene and stories of how New York City would have been brought to its knees if the storm surge had risen to 4.6 feet rather than the 3.6 feet it experienced. The two catastrophes are prologue to our future. Throw in the Tennessee floods, Mississippi River and Missouri River floods and we see America is the macro lab experiment while Bangkok is the micro experiment. There is no holding back the floods when new infrastructure is planned based on historic averages in a new world where nature will decide where to strike next with greater fury. We are all passengers on a ship of fools. We see what is ahead and we have only the hope it will not hit “me.” Yes, some pols will talk about building a wall around Gotham and wait (and pray) it will hold. But, we cannot adapt to a moving target and that is what future weather is from now on. dan allen says: December 31, 2011 at 9:32 am A touching ecological parable for the holidays! “Dialogue: I Spoke to the Land and to the People of the Machines” http://www.energybulletin.net/stories/2011-12-20/dialogue-i-spoke-land-and-people-machines frank -- Decoding SwiftHack says: December 31, 2011 at 10:48 am More from the SwiftHack 2.0 brouhaha: Roger Tattersall (a.k.a. Tallbloke), in order to challenge the UK police’s totally unlawful, “inappropriate”, and “heavy-handed” search warrant on his computer equipment — a search warrant which could only be obtained due to “malfeasance” of police officers involved– have decided to file a lawsuit against the police. A phantom lawsuit. — frank Brooks Bridges says: December 31, 2011 at 10:55 am Happy New Year – Not http://news.yahoo.com/court-delays-epa-rule-coal-plants-011326391.html A Texas Federal Appeals Court judge made the ruling. Other states challenging the Cross State rule were Louisiana, Kansas, Nebraska, Alabama, Florida, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, Indiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Ohio and Wisconsin. paul donohue says: December 31, 2011 at 11:03 am I wonder how hot 2012 will be? It seems we still have LaNina which favors a cooler year. A warm year would help the Democrats since all the Repubs. are deniers. But then, a record hot Texas summer never stopped Perry from denying. I think this Dec. will turn out to be quite warm at least here in the East and Europe. So, maybe 2012 will be warm. I think the next el Nino year will be the hottest. Thanks for all your reports. Happy New Year Wes Rolley says: December 31, 2011 at 11:05 am Yes, there seems to be more than a single setback in the Federal courts. “U.S. District Judge Lawrence J. O’Neill ruled that California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard violated the U.S. Constitution’s Commerce Clause.” It would seem that those who see the states as doing what the US Congress fails to get done and going to have to spend a lot of $$ on lawyers. Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/12/29/2566356/federal-judge-invalidates-part.html#storylink=cpy prokaryotes says: December 31, 2011 at 11:06 am Extreme weather and climate change: what people are saying Given the association of extreme weather and climate events with rising global temperature, the expectation of new record high temperatures in 2012 also suggests that the frequency and magnitude of extreme events could reach a high level in 2012. http://climateforce.net/2011/12/31/extreme-weather-and-climate-change-what-people-are-saying/ BobM_M5 says: December 31, 2011 at 11:34 am I think that the weather will continue to get worse with more weather disasters on average each year. The disasters will slowly drag the world economy down with high food prices due to bad harvests and higher prices for resources like oil. Of course the poorer countries will be hit the hardest and after several years we will see many more somalias. Eventually the developed world will be dragged down as a flood of refugees puts a further drain on the economys of the developed world. I think that things are worse than we think. Scientists have a right to be conservitive but the real world is changing faster than the models. I think that the methane feedback loop has kicked in (from the siberian sea shelf) and things are going to get worse much faster than we thought. Lionel A says: December 31, 2011 at 12:02 pm Well maybe the following: Kansas, Alabama, and Oklahoma should wave any rights to ask for disaster relief, being as they are on that Top Ten list of 10 Extreme weather hit states, and forced to pay health insurance for all their people. prokaryotes says: December 31, 2011 at 12:17 pm Stephen Hawking Wants To Hire You! Are You Applying? http://www.crazyengineers.com/stephen-hawking-wants-to-hire-you-are-you-applying-1520/ prokaryotes says: December 31, 2011 at 12:18 pm http://www.hawking.org.uk/index.php/component/content/article/96 prokaryotes says: December 31, 2011 at 12:20 pm Stephen Hawking suggests endangered species population distribution strategy for Homo sapiens http://www.thewildlifenews.com/2011/12/07/stephen-hawking-colonization-of-space-for-survival/ Jeff H says: December 31, 2011 at 12:28 pm Out With The Old, and In With The New: To Much More Progress In The New Year As the year winds down, a few points: First, I’m hoping that ClimateProgress will feature a crucial topic that Donald Brown has discussed in a recent post on Climate Ethics. There seems to be a rather widespread assumption and view that the United States should, or will, only commit to substantial reductions in our own emissions if/when other major emitters do so. “We’ll only do it if/when everyone else does it.” This view seems to be taken as given, in the name of being “realistic” or “reasonable” or “responsible to American interests”. Whatever. The problem is, it’s a deeply flawed stance, ethically speaking. In other words, it’s wrong. Will ClimateProgress run Donald’s post, to give it a broad audience, so we can consider the matter and add comments here? Second, it will be interesting to see how the President rules regarding Keystone XL — within the next two months. I hope he’ll make the right decision. That said, it will also be interesting — and revealing — to see how he explains and justifies a ‘NO to Keystone XL’ decision, the one he should hopefully make. Will he mainly use excuses: “they forced me to make a decision before the State Department could complete its review”? Or, will he explain the matter clearly and boldly, beginning the clear use of the bully pulpit to educate the American public on climate change? Third, in the coming year, it’s important that the movement realizes that these two aims are NOT identical — that is, that we should not, intellectually, identify the two aims with each other: the aim of perpetually electing Democrats (no matter what they do or don’t do), and the aim of actually getting climate change addressed. Again, these two aims are NOT identical. And indeed, the real difference between them (and the degree that they’re different) doesn’t depend on our imaginations or whims: it depends on what our Democratic leaders and would-be leaders choose to do and not do, on how they choose to think and act. Unfortunately, the fact of this difference, and its implications to what could or should be done to address climate change, is often not recognized, or is left highly vague, here on ClimateProgress and in much other writing. I understand WHY this is so, given how CAP and other organizations work, given tax law, given funding sources, given the revolving door, given cultural assumptions and the ever-present (and usually debilitating) view of what’s “reasonable”, and so forth. But the fact that I (and hopefully we) understand WHY this occurs does not make the problem any less problematic or less debilitating. Intellectual “understanding” does not imply acceptance, nor does it address the problem. So, I (respectfully but clearly) call on ClimateProgress to find ways to be more transparent on issues, and host more open discussions, on matters where these two aims (addressing climate change, vs. getting Democrats elected) may not be the same, may be very different, and may not align sufficiently to make REAL and TIMELY progress on the real issue: climate change. Although ClimateProgress may not be able to take explicit stands on such matters, it can raise the issues and allow discussion. It can AVOID DODGING THE QUESTIONS, where such questions occur and should be discussed. (To be clear, this is not the same as the question of whether CP often critiques the Administration or other Dems. It does. But critiques lack or lose the vast majority of their potential ultimate political force or effectiveness if it is stated or even implied, or even left for the audience to assume, that the underlying view is this: “because the Republicans would be even worse, let’s all vote for the Dems no matter how poorly they perform, and no matter how much we critique them”.) The reality is this: it may ultimately be necessary to elect someone other than a Democrat or Republican, and if so, the sooner we realize this and do it, the better. And/or, it may be necessary to propose a Democrat who actually “gets it” and will be effective, to run against President Obama if President Obama continues to show that he doesn’t get it, at least not sufficiently. And in any case, it’s necessary to be prepared to go elsewhere — that is, to not vote Democrat — if the Dems do not stick to their promises and do not make sufficient progress, in order to prompt them TO keep their promises and TO take action. This much, Lawrence O’Donnell and others have pointed out. Politicians take you for granted if they think you’ll vote for them no matter what they do or don’t do. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that. So I am hoping that posts will be allowed, and conversations raised and allowed, that raise these sorts of questions for open and honest discussion. Presently, ClimateProgress does critique the Administration, and rightly so, and often very soundly, not shyly, but that is not nearly the same as occasionally hosting or allowing posts, and corresponding comments, that seriously raise options (to achieve real progress) that might not be aligned with the “general frame” or implied view that Dems are the only answer and that any view that questions this is “unrealistic” and not worthy of consideration. (Although I’ve stated the matter clumsily, I hope I’ve done so clearly enough that aware readers will understand.) One thing is for sure: we need to do things differently next year. Progress has not been sufficient, and there are few (if any) credible signs that progress will get any better UNLESS we do things very differently. Be Well, and here’s to a Happier New Year, Jeff climatehawk1 says: December 31, 2011 at 12:45 pm Reminder to U.S. readers to consider joining Citizens’ Climate Lobby and supporting H.R. 3242, the Save Our Climate Act. Also, I regret to report that the Washington Post carried another of those “whodunit?” stories yesterday about the mysteriously warm weather this winter. Sure hope they find out what is causing it soon. John McCormick says: December 31, 2011 at 12:45 pm Pro, Please no more colonizing space spoofs. Rather we should be fixated on learning to levitate (a cheap and zero carbon way to commute) than to be traveling light years away to frozen rocks orbiting in space. Please….desist. prokaryotes says: December 31, 2011 at 12:47 pm Each (climate change and space exploration or colonization) on it’s own is not mutual exclusive. prokaryotes says: December 31, 2011 at 12:52 pm But both are about extinction threats and Hawking is a respectful person enough to get the attention. Only because you do not think this is important enough doesn’t make it so. David Stockbridge Smith says: December 31, 2011 at 1:10 pm In Cary, NC, some trees have been flowering over the last 2 weeks (beginning approx 12/15/11). I am not an expert, but I think this usually happens in February. Not a good sign. prokaryotes says: December 31, 2011 at 1:11 pm Also consider that space based solar is the most potent “clean energy solution of all”. John Tucker says: December 31, 2011 at 1:44 pm Out in Ohio a disposal well for fracking fluid had to be shut down due to EQ’s. Its a rather odd situation: Friday, December 30, 2011 Earthquakes force Ohio to shut down a fracking disposal well The area has experienced a series of small earthquakes since the well started operating about nine months ago. The most recent, on Christmas Eve, was two miles down and within a mile of the injection site. ( http://www.wksu.org/news/story/30335 ) prokaryotes says: December 31, 2011 at 2:01 pm 2012 is “Alan Turing Year”, commemorating the mathematician, computer pioneer, and code-breaker on the centennial of Turing’s birth. (self.technology) http://www.reddit.com/r/technology/comments/nxioc/2012_is_alan_turing_year_commemorating_the/ prokaryotes says: December 31, 2011 at 2:22 pm Top ten global weather events of 2011 A remarkable blitz of extreme weather events during 2011 caused a total of 32 weather disasters costing at least $1 billion worldwide. Five nations experienced their most expensive weather-related natural disasters on record during 2011–Thailand, Australia, Colombia, Sri Lanka, and Cambodia. According to insurance broker AON Benfield’s November Catastrophe Report, the U.S. was hit by no less than seventeen punishing multi-billion dollar extreme weather disasters in 2011; NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center official total is lower–twelve–but is likely to grow in number as additional damage statistics are tallied. Brazil experienced its deadliest weather-related natural disaster–a flash flood that killed 902 people in January, and the Philippines had its second deadliest flood ever, when Tropical Storm Washi killed over 1200 people in December. http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=2008 David Stockbridge Smith says: December 31, 2011 at 2:30 pm I find it desirable to distinguish between businesses and corporations in general and a relatively small group of predatory corporations that are behaving badly relative to Global Warming. The 1% or corporations are are dragging down the 99% of corporations, giving them a bad name. I am choosing to call the few, “P-Corp” as in C-Corp, S-Corp… For me, the “P” stands for Plunderer. John Tucker says: December 31, 2011 at 2:43 pm “The EPA estimated that the Cross State rule will save up to 34,000 lives, prevent 15,000 heart attacks and prevent 400,000 asthma attacks each year, providing $120 billion to $280 billion in annual health benefits for the nation.” How they can so easily block this is beyond me. If any other industry was responsible for such, their officers would be in jail now, never mind frivolously challenging the laws they have known were coming for decades. Paul Gillett says: December 31, 2011 at 2:45 pm CNN 12/30 – The Weatherman was asked what wa the cause of this year’s weather disasters, and replied that they were “Partly due to La Nina” and since another La Nina can be expected this year, this year may be filled with weather disasters again ! John Tucker says: December 31, 2011 at 2:48 pm As for the cartoon I think the comparatively speedy forward pace of the characters misrepresents the reality of the situation. Colorado Bob says: December 31, 2011 at 3:12 pm Detroit made the list for wettest year on record. The River at Vicksburg set a new all time Dec. record . The Mississippi River, which just reached an all-time high December crest, will fall about a foot before beginning another rise sometime next week, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Vicksburg District’s chief of water control said Wednesday. Though the mighty Mississippi isn’t expected to approach flood stage, its 38.3-foot level in Vicksburg Wednesday was more than 20 feet higher than the 17.4-foot December average. Flood stage is 43 feet in Vicksburg. Last year in December the river was 13 feet in Vicksburg. http://www.thenewsstar.com/article/20111229/NEWS01/112290322/December-records-fall-along-Mississippi?odyssey=nav|head prokaryotes says: December 31, 2011 at 3:13 pm http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2011/12/31/396004/scott-walker-recall-500k-signatures/ prokaryotes says: December 31, 2011 at 3:15 pm As Climate Change Worsens, Scientists Feel Increasing Pressure to Speak Out At a recent conference, scientists debate how far they should go in expressing their concerns about the world’s response to global warming. Factors contributing to climate change are moving faster than predicted and pushing us toward planetary conditions unlike any humans have ever known—this was one of the salient themes to emerge from this month’s meeting of the American Geophysical Union, the world’s largest gathering of earth and space scientists. Some scientists think we’ve already crossed that boundary and are, as Jonathan Foley, director of the University of Minnesota Institute on the Environment, said, “in a very different world than we have ever seen before.” What scientists are now witnessing as the earth responds to increasing levels of atmospheric greenhouse gases presents many of them with a dilemma: How far should they go in expressing their concerns about how government and society are responding to climate change? This question is particularly charged given that efforts to undermine climate science have become part of the political debate on these issues. http://insideclimatenews.org/news/20111229/climate-change-worsens-scientists-james-hansen-nasa-advocacy-skeptics-global-warming-ipcc Colorado Bob says: December 31, 2011 at 3:15 pm the Great Flood of 2011, where the river climbed to an all-time high of 57.1 feet in Vicksburg on May 9 and didn’t fall below flood stage until June 16. prokaryotes says: December 31, 2011 at 3:16 pm Himachal Pradesh to set up Centre for Climate change Chief Minister said that Himachal Pradesh had earned reputation on environment front at the international-level and the efforts made in this regard had been appreciated by the environmentalists from the world over. He said that setting up of Centre for Climate Change was the need of the hour and to implement the policies directed towards the protection of the environment and monitor changes taking place due to global warming etc. He said that the State Government had invited the universally renowned environmentalist Dr. R.K.Pachauri, Director General, The Energy and Resources Institute, to be the Guest of Honour to formally inaugurate the Centre during the month of February, 2012 and deliver his key-note address on the issues and challenges on climate change to the big-wigs of the State on the occasion. He said that the State Government would be inviting environment scientists, intellectuals besides the Members of State Legislative Assembly, Secretaries and Heads of the Departments to take benefit of the address by Dr. Pachauri. Prof. Dhumal said that the State had made its mark on the environment front by taking all precautions to protect the same. He said that the endeavour of the state to ban use of polythene and plastic carry bags, had been appreciated overwhelmingly by not only the environmentalists but the common man as well. He said that the State Government had been taking along the people of the state in making all its such programmes a mass programme with active participation of the common man. He hoped that with the setting up of the Centre for Climate Change more focused activities would be possible to be carried to ensure that the State was made environmentally safe in all respects. http://indiaeducationdiary.in/Shownews.asp?newsid=11390 prokaryotes says: December 31, 2011 at 3:17 pm Millions of people in South Asia are vulnerable to climate change because of depleting glaciers, increasing coastal erosion, frequent floods and other natural disasters associated with global warming, warn environmentalists and development agencies. “We are extremely vulnerable to climate change threats.” Says Dr. Durga Poudel, Head of Department of Renewable Resources, University of Louisiana at Lafayette. He has extensively studied climatic patterns of South Asia. “Our coping mechanism/resources are very limited and are dwindling, the level of public awareness is very low, and the national, regional, and local adaptation strategies and programs are insufficient and lack scientific rigors.” Climate Change Vulnerability Index (CCVI) 2011, issued by risks advisory firm Maplecroft ranks Bangladesh, Pakistan and India, Afghanistan and Nepal amongst highest risk category of 16 countries that face ‘extreme risk,’ because of the climate-related natural disasters and sea-level rise; population patterns, agricultural dependency and conflicts and other factors. ‘Over the next 30 years their vulnerability to climate change willrise due to increases in air temperature, precipitation and humidity, report added. Shrinking and retreating of the Himalayan glaciers is greatest environmental threat to the region. Himalayan glaciers are lifeline of Asia’s mightiest rivers — the Indus, the Ganges, the Brahmaputra, Yangtze, and Mekong, upon which 1.3 billion people depend Several fresh environmental studies and findings indicate that Himalayan Mountains, encompassing Bhutan, Tibet, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, are receding alarmingly. As a result, livelihoods of millions of inhabitants of these countries living around the rivers which depend upon glacial waters are at stake. Emission of green house gases from China is the chief hazard to Himalayas. China is world’s single biggest emitter of carbon dioxide- the main greenhouse gas. Since 1961 sharp increase in the temperature has been reported in Himalayan glaciers adjoining to China. Chinese’s coal industry is blamed for this alarming surge. These deadly emissions cause irrecoverable loss to snow covered Himalayan peaks and responsible for death of 750,000 people every year in the country. http://www.eurasiareview.com/29122011-climate-change-endangers-millions-in-south-asia/ prokaryotes says: December 31, 2011 at 3:19 pm Top 6 U.S. climate-policy happenings of 2011 http://www.grist.org/climate-policy/2011-12-31-top-6-us-climate-policy-happenings-of-2011 prokaryotes says: December 31, 2011 at 3:19 pm GOP candidates urged to accept climate change by scientists Fifty New Hampshire scientists Thursday called on the Republican presidential candidates to accept the “overwhelming” scientific evidence behind climate change. The scientists issued the joint statement just weeks before the Jan. 10 New Hampshire primary, a key early test for the GOP White House hopefuls. http://thehill.com/blogs/e2-wire/e2-wire/201651-new-hampshire-scientists-urge-gop-candidates-to-accept-climate-change prokaryotes says: December 31, 2011 at 3:20 pm “We urge all candidates for public office at national, state, and local levels, and all New Hampshire citizens, to acknowledge the overwhelming balance of evidence for the underlying causes of climate change, to support appropriate responses to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases, and to develop local and statewide strategies to adapt to near-term changes in climate,” the scientists said. “Ignoring the issue of climate change places our health, our quality of life, our economic vitality, and our children’s future at risk.” Colorado Bob says: December 31, 2011 at 3:21 pm At the peak of this year’s record drought, the city of Houston lost more than 18 billion gallons of water through a system that was leaking like a sieve, amounting to tens of millions of dollars wasted in potential revenue. The largest losses occurred in September and October, when more than 9 billion gallons — about one-fourth of all the water produced during those two months — leaked from a system riddled by countless pipe breaks, according to recently released city records. http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/article/Houston-lost-millions-of-dollars-to-water-leaks-2431785.php prokaryotes says: December 31, 2011 at 3:25 pm #402 New Zealand is having some flash flooding. Couple hundred evacuated from a campground.. & extreme rains more campers evacuated on the Northland. WeatherUnderground got a mention in the Antarctic heat wave report. Zimbabwe is having some flooding. Rain expected to continue through the next week..Heavy flooding is expected..”What we can advise people is that they must not cross rivers because they may be swept away.” prokaryotes says: December 31, 2011 at 3:26 pm Oops! prokaryotes says: December 31, 2011 at 3:28 pm If You Care About Keystone and Climate Change, Occupy Exxon It seemed like the afterthought in the payroll tax cut extension fight, a small consolation prize to the Republicans on what should have been the easiest of bi-partisan votes. But the two-month clock is now ticking on whether Obama will approve the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada’s environmentally disastrous tar sands. If we want him to make the right decision and deny the permit, maybe it’s time to Occupy Exxon, with creative protests at local Exxon/Mobil stations. Of course we need to keep pressuring Obama. The bill’s deadline precludes anything close to the kind of comprehensive environmental review that he called for after rallies and civil disobedience at the White House led him to delay approval for a year. But why not also go after the oil companies whose influence led the Republicans to hold the rest of the unemployment and payroll tax bill hostage to the fast-track requirement. Exxon/Mobil has long been the dirtiest of the dirty among these companies. This makes them a logical target. In a week heralding news of melting Arctic methane beds, and a year of record global temperatures and billion-dollar weather-related disasters, demanding Keystone’s approval is a stunning exercise in denial. But that’s the deal that passed. So our challenge is not only to get Obama to reject the pipeline. We also want to make this raw power grab backfire on those who insisted on it by turning at least part of the national conversation back onto oil company greed. The more we do this, the more political room we create for Obama both to block the pipeline and to act more forcefully on climate change in general. So just as Occupy Wall Street has got us talking about predatory banks, Occupying Exxon would get Americans thinking about destructive fossil fuel interests — whether they’re fighting for the pipeline, convincing the Republicans to block proposed cut-backs to their massive tax subsidies, or paying nothing in federal income taxes, as Exxon did as recently as 2009. Targeting Exxon links an issue most Americans may have barely heard of with a company known as an embodiment of greed. It also links Exxon’s lobbying for the pipeline with their long-time backing of climate change denial. Using strategies, scientists, and PR firms borrowed from the tobacco industry, Exxon contributed $16 million between 1998 and 2005 to groups denying human-caused climate change and spent over $55 million to lobbying, at a time when even BP and Shell were beginning to acknowledge the reality. Exxon claimed they’ve now cut this funding, but continue to back institutes and support politicians who promote denial. The pipeline matters, because building it invites the acceleration of tar sands extraction. And the process leaves the resulting fuel contributing as much as three times the greenhouse emissions per energy unit as conventional oil. Given the massive size of these deposits, their full exploitation, say NASA’s leading climate scientist, James Hansen, would create “game over for the planet.” For this reason, 20 of Hansen’s most respected climate scientist peers sent a letter to Obama opposing the pipeline, as did Desmond Tutu, eight other Nobel Peace Prize winners, and every major American environmental group, including the most conservative ones. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/paul-loeb/obama-keystone-xl-2012_b_1170119.html?ref=green prokaryotes says: December 31, 2011 at 3:33 pm This week, the Environmental Protection Agency released a new set of rules limiting the amount of mercury, arsenic, and other poisons that power plants can pump into the air. Originally mandated under the bipartisan Clean Air Act in 1990, the rules have been delayed by fossil fuel industry challenges in court and Congress. Tougher limits will force coal- and oil-burning power companies to spend billions on scrubbers and other clean emissions technology over the next several years—and where that’s not economical, will close down between 30 and 60 of the most polluting plants in the country—average operating age, 51 years. http://www.good.is/post/business-breakdown-new-pollution-rules-to-close-coal-plants/ prokaryotes says: December 31, 2011 at 3:34 pm Quebec on the verge of catastrophic climate change, expert say MONTREAL – Record floods, melting permafrost, shoreline erosion and intense winds caused havoc for thousands of Quebecers as 2011 proved to be yet another year of higher than normal temperatures. These higher temperatures add to the credibility of climate models that have predicted the march of global warming will accelerate the more greenhouse gases we pump into the atmosphere, scientists say. “It is striking that over the last 10 to 15 years we didn’t have a single season colder than normal,” said Alain Bourque, director of climate change impacts and adaptation at Quebec’s climate change research institute Ouranos. “That is a clear indication that Canada’s climate is heating up beyond any reasonable doubt.” While most Quebecers may cheer the warmer winters, Bourque warns it is already endangering coastlines, the northern communities that are built on permafrost and our forests, which probably will not be able to adapt fast enough to a warmer climate. He said warmer temperatures for pretty well all seasons indicate Quebec is well on its way to meeting the climate-model predictions that we are fast closing in on the 2C mark many scientists claim is the tipping point that will plunge the globe into catastrophic climate change. The models indicate mean temperatures in the southern half of Quebec will be 2C to 3C higher than normal by 2020. In northern Quebec, the warming will be even higher. And at the present rate of warming as tracked since 1948, we are on track to be well over 4C by 2050 and as high as 7C to 9C by 2080. “We are halfway along this timeline and are well on our way to achieving what the model says we will achieve in 2020,” Bourque said. “So for the experts such as me who study the impact of climate change, essentially everything is happening as predicted.” http://www.montrealgazette.com/technology/Quebec+verge+climate+shift/5925303/story.html prokaryotes says: December 31, 2011 at 3:36 pm Rick Perry ‘Oops’ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0uvmKnFY4uk Seriously? prokaryotes says: December 31, 2011 at 3:45 pm Harddisc prices have become 3-6 times more expensive, since 80% of the worlds data storage solutions are build over there. prokaryotes says: December 31, 2011 at 4:03 pm ‘Aquino to blame for Sendong tragedy’ ADMINISTRATION critics on Friday said President Benigno Aquino III had no one to blame but himself for not acting to stop illegal logging and other activities that harm the environment. Gabriela Women’s party-list Rep. Emmi de Jesus called on the Palace to cancel all logging permits, saying the havoc wrought by tropical storm Sendong should be seen in the context of “large-scale environmental plunder.” “Government programs for flood control, environmental protection and efforts in natural resources conservation are just window-dressing if large-scale logging permits across the country, not just in Mindanao, are not canceled,” De Jesus said. “We hold President Aquino accountable for the tragedy that left hundreds dead and thousands homeless in Mindanao for his continued inaction for the protection of the environment.” Isabela Rep. Rodolfo Albano called for a summit to produce strategies that will ease the effects of climate change. “We are now suffering the brunt of climate change,” he said. “Our wet season is becoming wetter, our dry season is becoming drier, and there are even typhoons at summertime. Worse, hundreds of people die, thousands more get dislocated, and properties are destroyed.” Albano pointed to the destruction wrought by Sendong, Quiel and Pedring, respectively, in Cagayan de Oro and Iligan City, Central Luzon and Northern Luzon, Calabarzon, Mimaropa, Bicol, the Cordillera Administrative Region and Metro Manila. He said his proposed summit should tackle not only climate change but the other factors that aggravate the effects of climate change including illegal logging, illegal mining, improper waste disposal and pollution. http://www.manilastandardtoday.com/insideNews.htm?f=2011/december/31/news4.isx&d=2011/december/31 prokaryotes says: December 31, 2011 at 5:39 pm Something else.. The Worst Ten Films of 2011 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rv3uWIs6Ing Paul Magnus says: December 31, 2011 at 5:49 pm I think for the new year we have to start referring to climate change and GW with a label that reflects the pressing situation. We have tried before to come up with more urgent terms but none seemed to have stuck. Well, we should be using one anyway even if it is not perfect. One that I find a reasonable fit is Emergency…. Climate Change Emergency…. GW Emergency. Every time we repeat these phrases it will drive home to many who ignore or avoid the urgency. Media will have to start repeating the term further raising awareness. A good resolution to follow. All the best for 2012 and good luck. Paul Merrelyn Emery says: December 31, 2011 at 5:50 pm That is beautiful Dan, ME prokaryotes says: December 31, 2011 at 6:02 pm 12:01 Wish you all a constructive and progressing 2012!!! Rabid Doomsayer says: December 31, 2011 at 6:06 pm I think we need a quote from the Bible uplift peoples spirits. Mark 13, 19-20 “These are going to be hard days—nothing like it from the time God made the world right up to the present. And there’ll be nothing like it again. If he let the days of trouble run their course, nobody would make it.” Also in Mark 13 Nation will fight nation and ruler fight ruler, over and over. Earthquakes will occur in various places. There will be famines. But these things are nothing compared to what’s coming. From the Bible, but Rush says God would not let us destroy ourselves. Then again I always did think that the conservatives must be using a very different bible. “Watch out for doomsday deceivers” Yes I lied about uplifting. prokaryotes says: December 31, 2011 at 6:28 pm The bible is very about the great deluge… Though these parts are interesting to study In geomorphology, an outburst flood, which is a type of megaflood, is a high magnitude, low frequency catastrophic flood involving the sudden release of water. During the last deglaciation, numerous glacial lake outburst floods (GLOF) were caused by the collapse of either ice sheets or glaciers that formed the dams of proglacial lakes. Examples of older outburst floods are known from the geological past of the Earth and inferred from geomorphological evidences in Mars. Landslides, lahars, and volcanic dams can also block rivers and create lakes, which trigger such floods when the rock or earthen barrier collapses or is eroded. Lakes also form behind glacial moraines, which can collapse and create outburst floods http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deluge_%28prehistoric%29 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deluge Michael T says: December 31, 2011 at 6:58 pm The other night NBC Nightly News aired a great segment on the Siberian Permafrost and Methane: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/45829669#45829669 John Tucker says: December 31, 2011 at 7:44 pm yikes jhust a bit ago today: Magnitude 4.0 – YOUNGSTOWN-WARREN URBAN AREA, OHIO http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/recenteqsus/Quakes/ld60029101.php Mulga Mumblebrain says: December 31, 2011 at 8:37 pm In the ever more odious ‘The Guardian’, they have a Comment piece today by some creature proclaiming how wonderful the world is. We get the usual Panglossian Rightwing agit-prop (I mean, the world must be fantastic, because they run it)about how everything is on the up and up. The global economic disaster, apparently, is just about over, and the multitudinous ecological crises dismissed with an airy wave of the hand and reference to US vehicle emissions standards. Problem solved! God, that was easy, and I was stupid enough to think that there was a problem. Just shows you what lack of faith in the genius and benevolence of our Masters can do. Mulga Mumblebrain says: December 31, 2011 at 8:43 pm John, you forget that, in a capitalist society, all that morbidity and ill-health, is a fantastic business opportunity for the ‘medical-industrial complex’ that consumes over 15% of US GNP. Good health, preventative health measures and environmental protection are anathema not just because they threaten capitalist profits directly, but also secondarily, as in cases like this. And needless to say, so long as they themselves have not been poisoned by coal production, the thanatocrats could not (empathy and compassion not being in their psychology or ideology)give a damn. Mulga Mumblebrain says: December 31, 2011 at 8:46 pm The Chinese must laugh at these demonstrations of ‘demo-crazy’ and (my favourite Bizarro expression) ‘the rule of law’ in action. How they must envy us, and our ‘freedoms’. Mulga Mumblebrain says: December 31, 2011 at 8:52 pm I really think that we are far more likely to succeed if we concentrate on saving this planet. Or, rather, saving ourselves on this planet, as the planet should be OK, barring accidents, for another four billion or so years. Mulga Mumblebrain says: December 31, 2011 at 9:19 pm The Western MSM is duplicity exemplified. It runs a denialist position, with few real exceptions, precisely as you would expect, given that the fossil fuel business is the greatest repository of wealth ever. Some MSM elements are rabid denialists, of the most mendacious, cynical and vituperative type. One need only think here of the Murdoch pathocracy. Others feign a dedication to ‘even-handedness’ that they never display when reporting on Syria, China, Iran, strikes in their own countries or any other subject held to be crucial by the owners of society. They give the crudest denialists the benefit of the doubt, even after they have been revealed as charlatans over and over. The ghastly Plimer is getting more free publicity yet again in this country, and every visitation by Baron Monckhausen of That Ilk is greeted with intense interest. You almost never see a flat assertion of reality, that we are causing rapid climate destabilisation that, will, if it reaches 4 degrees average increase, almost certainly end our planetary civilization. If any expert nears this truth he or she will (as well as having red-necks wave nooses at them) be derided and abused immediately as ‘alarmists’ or ‘warmist water-melons’. It never seems to cause any perturbation of the beauteous uniformity of the group psyche of the media, to answer world scientific experts with the ravings of creatures whose only claim to fame is that Rupert or one of his minions once turned over a rock, and there they were, and Rupert liked the cut of their ideological jib. Mulga Mumblebrain says: December 31, 2011 at 9:36 pm If I might dissent David, I think that you will find that the global capitalist Moloch is far more interconnected, particularly through finance, than would allow us to categorise some corporations as White hats and others Black. Mulga Mumblebrain says: December 31, 2011 at 9:41 pm Same process in Austr-failure, although the more adventurous or those looking for employment with Murdoch often boldly asserted that anthropogenic climate change definitely had no impact. These latter were often minor scientists from provincial universities who had previously basked in well-merited obscurity, but now, having the ‘Right’ thing to say, they suddenly became ‘experts’ and were quoted endlessly, particularly on the Government ABC, which serves the Right with some dedication these days. Mulga Mumblebrain says: December 31, 2011 at 11:17 pm St Francis preaching to the asses. Mulga Mumblebrain says: December 31, 2011 at 11:27 pm I think it is a grand idea. Occupy Wall Street got nowhere, but to occupy the little outposts of the death-machine seems to me to make more sense. The cops will still pepper-spray and billy club, but that’s their duty. As for putting pressure on Obama-I’m afraid not. The only pressure Obama feels is from his billionaire owners who have totally controlled him since he was talented spotted at college. He is their ‘celebrity apprentice’, being appraised to see if he is loyal enough to get allowed on the gravy train, like Clinton and Blair, when he’s passed the audition as President. Obama certainly doesn’t want to end up like Carter, doing real good work, but reviled for it. Mulga Mumblebrain says: December 31, 2011 at 11:31 pm Fifteen years without a season colder than normal!! That’s stark, but I betcha Quebec is still rife with denialists, from Harper on down (and that’s starting from a VERY low base.) Mulga Mumblebrain says: December 31, 2011 at 11:38 pm The Philippines is a typical ‘capitalist democracy’. Politics is controlled by a small number of rich families, inequality is horrendous, and growing, and environmentalists and unionists are murdered or ‘disappeared’ in their hundreds every year, to the complete indifference of the Western MSM, those heroes of ‘freedom’ and ‘human rights’. When Aquino’s mother succeeded Marcos, after that oligarch thug murdered another oligarch, Mrs Aquino’s husband, the triumph of ‘people’s power’ was celebrated by human rights violations actually increasing. The deforestation here is akin to that which has afflicted the Central American countries, and Haiti, amongst others, and guarantees further horrors. Every last stick will be felled, though, because that is money, going to waste. Mulga Mumblebrain says: December 31, 2011 at 11:40 pm Rabid, I prefer the King James Bible-it is more poetical. Mulga Mumblebrain says: December 31, 2011 at 11:42 pm There’s a few outburst floods gestating in the Himalayas. I’d be worried about submarine landslides from melting clathrates, too, particularly, but by no means exclusively, in England and Scotland. Rabid Doomsayer says: January 1, 2012 at 12:47 am The online ones make it much easier to find those quotes you half know but can’t attribute, besides I thought you preferred the Karl Marx version. Brian R Smith says: January 1, 2012 at 3:54 am “As Climate Change Worsens, Scientists Feel Increasing Pressure to Speak Out… At a recent conference, scientists debate how far they should go in expressing their concerns about the world’s response to global warming.” Disappointingly, the article doesn’t actually focus on the subject & there is no reportage of “debate” among scientists re: what’s next for scientists speaking out. However, we can be sure the conversation is happening. Any readers here, practicing scientists, who can comment on the state of play? Is there collaboration underway towards a major address to the nation by the science community? Or a serious effort to influence Obama? Coordination with Congressional climate hawks? Anything concrete? Spike says: January 1, 2012 at 7:22 am UK farmers pray for cold weather! http://www.telegraph.co.uk/foodanddrink/foodanddrinknews/8981903/Warm-winter-brings-bumper-vegetable-crops-amid-shortage-fears.html Spike says: January 1, 2012 at 7:37 am More on the Afghan drought and the Sahel here: http://www.undispatch.com/12-trends-that-will-drive-the-global-agenda-in-2012 Spike says: January 1, 2012 at 7:45 am The death toll in the Philippines rises further and 60 000 are now homeless http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2012/jan/01/as-philippines-storm/ frank -- Decoding SwiftHack says: January 1, 2012 at 11:27 am Jeff H, something for you: Glenn Greenwald asks hard questions about Obama’s flagrant contempt for due process — something which Democrat supporters prefer not to think about — http://www.salon.com/2011/12/31/progressives_and_the_ron_paul_fallacies/singleton And due process is relevant to the problem of climate policy. — frank BARBARA BECK says: January 1, 2012 at 12:34 pm oh you are so right! and the notion of “clean coal” astonishes, er a, amuses me! living in the heart of west ky coal country, within bird’s eye view of the emissions from “paradise” power plant (the same “paradise” John Prine sings of in his song “Paradise!”) has taught me otherwise, as in there is NO SUCH THING AS CLEAN COAL. Muhlenberg County, my home, is full of mostly good people, many of whom made their living from coal, a small few who still do, and an even smaller few who made millions. and the wreckage of the coal indrustry exists through-out the county. generations who relied on coal for their future rather than education. poor health in the aged as well as many of the youth. vast, formally natural, land areas which have been turned upside down, often 2 or 3 times as new, more economical, technology make it possible to get to the deeper thinner coal layers left behind from the last time. streams so acidic they are chrystal clear from lack of life. slowly, improvements and opportunities like a community college offshoot have become available. but still, for a large part of our folks, the best job hope is “a new mine.” sadly, most of our population are clueless of coals true legacy. sorry for ranting. barb prokaryotes says: January 1, 2012 at 1:08 pm Beebe birds fall from sky for second year in a row http://www.todaysthv.com/news/article/187795/2/Beebe-birds-fall-from-sky-for-second-year-in-a-row John Tucker says: January 1, 2012 at 2:14 pm You would think knowing hopw many it harmed last lear people would be more cautious. Hank Roberts says: January 1, 2012 at 3:57 pm http://www.usanpn.org/ National Phenology Network “Ways to Participate … Learn how to observe plant and animal phenology … contribute new observations to the USA-NPN’s program Joan Savage says: January 1, 2012 at 4:21 pm To connect the Vicksburg MS situation to a broader picture, the US Weather Service’s 90-day forecasts from now to May 2012 show a likelihood of above normal precipitation in the Ohio and Mississippi basins, even while the South is likely to continue to be drier and warmer. This does not look like an easy year coming up along the Big Easy. http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/predictions/90day/ John Tucker says: January 1, 2012 at 8:06 pm Officials are shutting down more sites as a result of the last quake: Quake halts Ohio ‘fracking’ at 4 sites Dr. Won-Young Kim, one of the Columbia University experts asked by the state to examine possible connections between fracking and seismic activity, said that a problem could arise if fluid moves through the ground and affects “a weak fault, waiting to be triggered.” He explained the underground waste “slowly migrates” and could cause issues miles away, adding that the danger could persist for some time as the fluid travels and seeps down toward the fault. “In my opinion, yes,” the recent spate of earthquakes around Youngstown is related to a fluid-injection well, Kim stated — though there has been no definitive determination, by the state or other authorities, indicating as much. ( http://www.cnn.com/2012/01/01/us/ohio-earthquake/index.html?hpt=hp_t3 ) There are a significant number of these sites across the country. Paul Magnus says: January 1, 2012 at 10:17 pm Other areas such as Scotland had wettest year ever records. NZ had some impressive figures over dec also. This would be an interesting stat for 2011 across the globe…. David B. Benson says: January 1, 2012 at 10:20 pm Prediction: 2012 will be worse for droughts and floods than either of the preceeding two years. :-( Colorado Bob says: January 1, 2012 at 11:32 pm DB – You and the insurance people : Insurers Worry 2012 Will Top 2011 for Record Weather Disasters http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/international/2011/12/28/228850.htm Colorado Bob says: January 2, 2012 at 12:03 am Australia’s climate scientists expose shock-jock distortion tactics Academics catalogue the deluge of spin and misinformation of climate science by various Murdoch-owned papers Australia has unwittingly become a social experiment. A ruthless experiment on the fate of a society when a single media conglomerate, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, owns 167 newspapers and controls around 70% of the printed media market. After the phone-hacking scandal rocked Britain, News Corp officials in Australia struggled to put some daylight between its local operations and the rest of the empire, assuring the public that the country was spared phone hacking and other unethical practices. It is perhaps unlikely that wire tapping or phone hacking was practiced in Australia, simply because the local specialty of the Murdoch organs and their shock-jock allies has been a fairly low-tech reliance on outrageous spin. Nowhere has the reliance on spin been more apparent than during the coverage of the climate “debate” by the Murdoch media and allied shock jocks. http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/sep/01/australia-climate-scientists Solar Jim says: January 3, 2012 at 2:11 pm See: Arctic Methane Emergency Group dot org concerning recent observations of destabilization of undersea methane hydrates in Siberian Arctic Shelf.