November 20 News: SUNY Buffalo Shuts Down Shale Institute Amidst ‘Cloud Of Uncertainty Over Its Work’

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"November 20 News: SUNY Buffalo Shuts Down Shale Institute Amidst ‘Cloud Of Uncertainty Over Its Work’"

The State University of New York at Buffalo announced Monday that it was closing its newly formed Shale Resources and Society Institute, which was devoted to the study of hydraulic fracturing, citing “a cloud of uncertainty over its work.” [New York Times]

The institute’s first study, released in May, drew sharp criticism for being biased in favor of the oil and gas industry.

In a letter addressed to the “university community,” President Satish K. Tripathi said he was closing the institute after an internal assessment that determined that it lacked “sufficient” faculty presence, that it was not consistent enough in disclosing its financial interests and that the credibility of its research was compromised because of questions over its financing.

Oddly enough, there’s no high-profile leader out there championing a carbon tax, yet it’s the subject of reports, conferences and a flurry of maneuvers by groups for and against it. [Kansas City Star]

In California’s first auction of greenhouse gas pollution credits, companies paid just a few cents more than the minimum price per ton of carbon, generating almost $290 million from the sale held last week. [Los Angeles Times]

If we are to avoid the next major -catastrophe—and it will come—then we have to start paying the bill now. [Newsweek]

One of the most significant energy issues facing President Barack Obama in his second term is whether to allow oil drilling off the coast of the Atlantic, where production has been off-limits for decades. [Wall Street Journal]

The amount of heat-trapping carbon dioxide in the atmosphere reached a record 390.9 parts per million (ppm) in 2011, according to a report released Tuesday by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). That’s a 40 percent increase over levels in 1750, before humans began burning fossil fuels in earnest. [Climate Central]

Water levels on the Mississippi River may drop to historic lows next month in the Midwest, delaying barges carrying everything from grains and coal to steel and petroleum, after the worst U.S. drought in 56 years. [Businessweek]

The Conservative MP Peter Lilley, one of only three MPs who voted against the Climate Change Act, has received share options worth at least $400,000 from an oil company, Guardian analysis has revealed. [Guardian]

China assured its support to tackle the growing problem of climate change in the Maldives, a spokesman said on Tuesday. [China Daily]

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34 Responses to November 20 News: SUNY Buffalo Shuts Down Shale Institute Amidst ‘Cloud Of Uncertainty Over Its Work’

    • prokaryotes says:

      Politicians need to get their act together on climate change, says Chancellor Angela Merkel’s leading climate advisor Hans Joachim Schellnhuber just days before the global warming conference in Qatar.

    • prokaryotes says:

      ‘Turn Down the Heat’

      Schellnhuber’s comments in SPIEGEL came as a report he compiled with the World Bank, entitled “Turn Down the Heat: Why a 4°C Warmer World Must be Avoided,” was released on Monday. Timed to coincide with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) meeting in Qatar, the study focuses on the consequences of a global four-degree temperature increase by the end of the century. The report notes that food shortages, massive water scarcity, rising sea levels, cyclones, drought and an irreversible decrease in biodiversity would result.

      The report notes that climate change of such a scale would mean temperature increases of 6 degrees Celsius or more in average monthly summer temperatures in the Mediterranean, North Africa, Middle East and parts of the United States. Sea level rise in the tropics, the report says, will likely be 15 to 20 percent greater than the global average. Repercussions from those and other changes will have a disproportionate affect on poor countries.

      Despite such dangers, however, the report notes that concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere continues to rise and is higher now than at any time in the last 15 million years. While CO2 concentration stood at a pre-industrial level of 278 parts per million, it is now at 391 parts per million and is increasing at a rate of 1.8 parts per million each year.
      “A 4 degree warmer world can, and must be, avoided – we need to hold warming below 2 degrees,” World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, the first scientist to lead the organization, said in a World Bank press release accompanying the report. “Lack of action on climate change threatens to make the world our children inherit a completely different world than we are living in today. Climate change is one of the single biggest challenges facing development, and we need to assume the moral responsibility to take action on behalf of future generations, especially the poorest.”

      • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

        Schellnhuber while recently in Australia declared that a four degrees Celsius warmer world would have a ‘human carrying capacity’ of one billion. That is, of course, without the added contribution to mass human culling of global war, inevitable in such a scenario.

    • prokaryotes says:

      4-degrees briefing for the World Bank: The risks of a future without climate policy

      Humankind’s emissions of greenhouse gases are breaking new records every year. Hence we’re on a path towards 4-degree global warming probably as soon as by the end of this century. This would mean a world of risks beyond the experience of our civilization – including heat waves, especially in the tropics, a sea-level rise affecting hundreds of millions of people, and regional yield failures impacting global food security. These are some of the results of a report for the World Bank, conducted by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and Climate Analytics in Berlin. The poorest in the world are those that will be hit hardest, making development without climate policy almost impossible, the researchers conclude. http://www.pik-potsdam.de/news/press-releases/4-degrees-briefing-for-the-world-bank-the-risks-of-a-future-without-climate-policy

  1. prokaryotes says:

    For all the talks which start with the line “developing countries will be hit hardest”

    Stronger regional differences due to large-scale atmospheric flow

    Filed under: Climate impacts Climate modelling Climate Science Communicating Climate Reporting on climate statistics — rasmus @ 20 November 2012
    A new paper by Deser et al. (2012) (free access) is likely to have repercussions on discussions of local climate change adaptation. I think it caught some people by surprise, even if the results perhaps should not be so surprising. The range of possible local and regional climate outcomes may turn out to be larger than expected for regions such as North America and Europe http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2012/11/stronger-regional-differences-due-to-large-scale-atmospheric-flow/

  2. prokaryotes says:

    200 Investment Firms Issue A Warning On Climate Change

    The world’s biggest investment fund managers have called on the Government to act faster to address the risks of climate change as the World Bank warned a warmer world could lead to food shortages, cyclones and drought.
    An alliance of 200 investment institutions includes Scottish Widows, Aviva and HSBC and controls $21 trillion (£13 trillion) of assets worldwide is lobbying ministers as part of a broader campaign for action from leading global economies, The Independent reports. http://www.businessinsider.com/investment-firms-warn-on-climate-change-2012-11

    Climate change = very bad for business…

  3. prokaryotes says:

    More than 1,000 new coal plants planned worldwide, figures show
    World Resources Institute identifies 1,200 coal plants in planning across 59 countries, with about three-quarters in China and India http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/nov/20/coal-plants-world-resources-institute

    • prokaryotes says:

      In January, the Bank of England was warned that fossil fuel sub-prime assets posed a systemic risk to economic stability, because only 20% of the reserves of the top 100 coal and top 100 oil and gas companies could be burned while keeping the global temperature rise under the internationally agreed limit of 2C.

      • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

        Undermine the asset value of hydrocarbon reserves and you fatally undermine the entire stinking edifice of global capitalism. Ergo, resistance by Big Capital to climate derangement action will never end until it is met by concerted, unrelenting, resistance.

        • prokaryotes says:

          Mulga you are basically correct when we look into the past. But these people too have children and become aware of what is going on with our world. Though the reason why oil workers do not throw away their jobs easily is psychological rooted, the social values and think becomes easily assimilated with your social group. Per Espen Stokes explains it in this 50 min video… http://climatestate.com/climate-state-blog/videos/item/why-climate-and-psychology-2.html

          • prokaryotes says:

            We need to show an alternative way of working and bringing home the money… and that can be done with upgrading oil companies energy generation technology. “Swords to plowshares”

          • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

            I agree with you in principle. I’ve always believed that a human race motivated by compassion, empathy and collaboration, rather than by egomania and greed, could achieve great things. However I’ve seen less and less evidence over the years that the good are in charge of human affairs. I’m not a complete Manichean, as I firmly believe that even the vilest creatures can be redeemed, but the dead weight of our current capitalist, plutocratic, system of relentless, destructive, economic growth justified by a sham ‘democracy’ where the ‘demos’, in fact, have no real say, whatsoever, seems to me to be irredeemable. Human beings can be saved from their worst impulses, but capitalism, by definition, can not.

  4. prokaryotes says:

    David Cameron’s climate pledges ‘undermined by rogue Conservatives’
    Chief executive of WWF-UK says prime minister must take control of ministers who are playing politics with climate change
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/nov/20/david-cameron-climate-pledges-rogue-conservatives

    • prokaryotes says:

      Greenhouse gases hit record high

      Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere hit a new record high in 2011, the World Meteorological Organization has said.

      In its annual Greenhouse Gas Bulletin released on Tuesday, the organisation said that carbon dioxide levels reached 391 parts per million in 2011.

      The report estimates that carbon dioxide accounts for 85% of the “radiative forcing” that leads to global temperature rises.

      Other potent greenhouse gases such as methane also reached record highs.

      The carbon dioxide levels appear to have been rising at a level of two parts per million each year for the last 10 years – with the latest measure being 40% higher than those at the start of the industrial revolution.

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-20410942

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

      They are not ‘rogues’. They are the real ‘Conservatives’, Cameron is and always has been one of them, and his environmental promises before the election were the most cynical ‘greenwash’ imaginable, as any fool should have known. This one certainly did.

  5. prokaryotes says:

    Iowa scientists: Drought a sign of climate change

    This year’s drought is consistent with predictions that global climate change would bring about weather extremes including more frequent droughts, said a report released Monday.

    The Iowa Climate Statement updates the 2010 report, reflecting the year’s lingering drought and the belief that it signifies what many scientists have predicted — increasing instability in weather patterns will lead to extremes during both wet and dry years.

    Iowa has experienced such extremes in recent years; in 2008, flooding caused an estimated $10 billion in damage, making it the worst disaster in the state’s history.

    More broadly, this year’s drought brought about parched croplands, reducing corn yields across the nation’s Grain Belt, from South Dakota to Indiana. And last month’s Superstorm Sandy — a combination of a hurricane, a wintry storm and a blast of arctic air — devastated parts of the Eastern seaboard and killed more than 100 people.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505245_162-57552338/iowa-scientists-drought-a-sign-of-climate-change/

  6. prokaryotes says:

    Fight against climate change blocked by Luddites at Big Oil: McQuaig

    In the interest of fighting climate change, most of us avoid buying SUVs — fortress-like vehicles that aren’t necessary unless one intends to take the whole family for a spin through downtown Baghdad.

    Most of us also recycle and keep the thermostat low. However, these gestures are doing almost nothing to stop the warming of the planet. http://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorialopinion/article/1290137–fight-against-climate-change-blocked-by-luddites-at-big-oil-mcquaig

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

      Big Oil are just the shock-troops. Very nearly all the capitalist caste are allied to the denialist industry, out of class solidarity, economic interest and personal psychopathy.

  7. Merrelyn Emery says:

    One only considers it ‘odd’ that there is a spontaneous uprising of a swell about a carbon price if one forgets that all people are purposeful systems with their own ideas which float around in a global sea of ideas, ideals and values. Swells arising from this global sea are much more powerful sources of social change than any high profile champion, ME

  8. prokaryotes says:

    Klimawandel: Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, Lars Gustafsson im Diskurs
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rgV9jZdPitM&feature=youtu.be

    Tonight i attended a philosophical dialog with Hans Joachim Schellnhuber and Lars Gustafsson and decided to record it… (german language only)

  9. prokaryotes says:

    Gas Bulletin ahead of #COP18: CO2 140% methane 259% nitrous oxide 120% of pre-industrial levels http://www.wmo.int/pages/mediacentre/press_releases/pr_965_en.html

  10. prokaryotes says:

    OT but concerning us all..

    A free and open world depends on a free and open web. https://www.google.com/intl/en/takeaction/

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

      ‘A free and open world’ sounds like ‘Western Civilization’ which MK Gandhi once observed sounds like a good idea that we must try some time.

      • prokaryotes says:

        Yes!

        But look what happens when the other culture get “civilized”, like for instance in Saudi Arabia. I think humans are everywhere the same, some just had a better start. And if you look at cultures who live in “harmony” with nature, they still exist on the same level as they did thousands years ago. But this also means that they will not be around longer than us because another day there comes a large impact, a natural catastophe.

        Evolution requires failure in order to learn, though there is a thin line we walk when starting to play with technologies.

        Sometimes i think that climate change is part of a thriving culture and a test for our collective intelligence. Are we worthy? Are we able to make it? Can we unite to master this global crisis? Or are we another fail in the epic vastness of space and ever evolving circles of life throughout the universe?

        • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

          Precisely. Surviving this crisis could be the making of us as a species, but only if the tendencies that got us into this crisis are expunged from humanity, or kept under rigorous control. We cannot survive as long as the global operating system, currently capitalism, goes on preferencing the greedy, the violent, the arrogant, the misanthropic. We have to base our civilization on real moral values, of co-operation, empathy, compassion, justice and equality, all of which have been prescribed by every religion and philosophy worthy of the name. That process would require 90 plus per cent of our current political, business and propaganda elites being retired to work in the fields, so you can see the problem. But it’s the only path to salvation.

          • Merrelyn Emery says:

            That 90+ percent are just ordinary people caught in a system not of their making. They cooperate and serve the values you admire in their voluntary groups etc. When they have a chance to change the design principle of their organizations to that which induces cooperation, they jump at the chance. Stop blaming the victims, ME