The Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme — formed in 1991 to advise the eight Arctic countries on threats to the Arctic from pollution — has released the Executive Summary of their Snow, Water, Ice and Permaforst in the Arctic (SWIPA) assessment on their website [big PDF here]. SWIPA “brings together the latest scientific knowledge about the changing state of each component of the Arctic cryosphere.”
The report notes that, “The observed changes in sea ice on the Arctic Ocean and in the mass of the Greenland Ice Sheet and Arctic ice caps and glaciers over the past ten years are dramatic and represent an obvious departure from the long-term patterns.” I’ll have more to say shortly on the effort by the anti-science crowd to mislead on this key point.
Here are the “key findings” of this must-read warning to humanity:
Our guest blogger is Brett Johns, a contributor to Georgia Politico, where this post originally appeared.
On Tuesday, Georgia Republican State Representative Bobby Franklin compared the victims of the massive super cell tornado system that ripped across the southern United States over the weekend to idolaters that “pray to their god, FEMA.” See it in his own words, from his Facebook page:
The death toll from the tornado system is over 340 people, and property insurance companies are estimating the total property damage in the range of $2 billion to $5 billion. The storm system was one of the largest and most powerful seen in the South, and the magnitude of the storm has overwhelmed the resources of many local communities. While FEMA certainly has flaws in its responses, it provides a vital service in times like these.
In Alabama alone, nearly 18,000 households have applied for aid from FEMA. The agency has approved more than $2 million in housing aid and repairs, and another $1.1 million for personal property. Victims of the storm system have praised the response from charities and federal programs.
Franklin’s remarks are not only offensive to the people who are working hard to help people put their lives back together, but also his fellow Christians across the south who have had their houses blown away and are accepting help from their fellow Americans. I wonder what Representative Franklin is doing to help?
By Climate Guest Blogger on May 4, 2011 at 7:45 pm
While conservative lawmakers continue to demand more and more from Main Street Americans in the form of cuts to crucial services and public investment, they have continued to defend subsidies for the oil industry. Think Progress has the story.
Today, 26 House Republicans launched an energy coalition called the House Energy Action Team (HEAT) as a vehicle for the GOP to tout their oil above all energy agenda. The team’s name is sadly appropriate, as their agenda will accelerate the greenhouse pollution that is dangerously heating up our planet. Texas Republican Bill Flores, who received over $200,000 in campaign contributions from the oil and gas industry, explained that their “all of the above” approach means expanding oil and gas drilling:
We desperately need the stability that comes from pursuing an all-of-the-above energy plan, which includes unlocking access and tapping into the vast amounts of taxpayer-owned energy resources both on our public lands and off our coasts.
It’s no surprise that HEAT will be focused on the oil industry wishlist. A Think Progress analysis of campaign contributions revealed that members of HEAT received a whopping $4 million from the oil and gas industry over the course of their careers:
HEAT: OVER $4 MILLION FROM BIG OIL
Oil & Gas Industry Contributions Through Career
Kevin McCarthy (R-CA)
Peter Roskam (R-IL)
Marsha Blackburn (R-TN)
Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV)
Mike Conaway (R-TX)
Steve Scalise (R-LA)
Greg Walden (R-OR)
Rick Berg (R-ND)
Jeff Denham (R-CA)
Cory Gardner (R-CO)
Doc Hastings (R-WA)
Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA)
Lynn Jenkins (R-KS)
Devin Nunes (R-CA)
Alan Nunnelee (R-MS)
Pete Olson (R-TX)
Ben Quayle (R-AZ)
Martha Roby (R-AL)
Phil Roe (R-TN)
Steve Womack (R-AR)
Jeff Duncan (R-SC)
Jason Chaffetz (R-UT)
Bill Flores (R-TX)
Virginia Foxx (R-NC)
John Shimkus (R-IL)
Fred Upton (R-MI)
Bill Johnson (R-OH)
Mike Pompeo (R-KS)
“HEAT must stand for Help Exxon Avoid Taxes,” Center for American Progress Action Fund Senior Fellow Daniel Weiss says. Every member except for Capito, who did not cast a vote, voted to continue Big Oil’s $40 billion in subsidies earlier this year.
Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) is lashing out at the League of Women Voters for running a television spot that criticizes his vote to roll back Clean Air Act protections against carbon pollution, threatening the 134,000 children with asthma in his state. In an op-ed in the Boston Herald, Brown claimed the League has “gone into the gutter” and “put its reputation at risk” for “suggesting that I voted to hurt sick children“:
If you’ve been watching TV lately, you’re probably aware that I’m the target of a negative attack ad that is running on all the stations. This one seeks to distort my pro-jobs record by suggesting that I voted to hurt sick children. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Watch the ad:
Brown did, in fact, vote to increase health risks for sick children. On April 6, Brown joined every Republican senator other than Susan Collins and four Democrats to support the McConnell amendment — originally introduced by Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) — to reverse the scientific endangerment finding on greenhouse pollution and strike down ten other existing Clean Air Act carbon pollution rules. As the technical support document for the endangerment finding explains, global warming increases ozone pollution:
According to the IPCC (Denman et al., 2007), climate change is expected to lead to increases in regional ozone pollution in the United States and other countries. Ozone impacts on pubic health and welfare are described in EPA’s Air Quality Criteria Document for Ozone (U.S. EPA, 2006). Breathing ozone at sufficient concentrations can reduce lung function, thereby aggravating asthma or other respiratory conditions.
Greenhouse pollution not only attacks children’s health through global warming, but also directly attacks children living in cities. Domes of carbon dioxide form above cities and “cause local temperature increases that in turn increase the amounts of local air pollutants, raising concentrations of health-damaging ground-level ozone as well as particles in urban air.”
Not only would implementation of these Clean Air Act rules reduce global warming that exacerbates asthma, they would also direct polluters to reduce other harmful pollutants. The health benefits of reducing co-pollutants through greenhouse gas mitigation has been known by scientists for years.
The stark facts support the League of Women Voters’ contention that Brown cast a vote to reverse existing clean air rules and harm children’s health. In his op-ed, Brown even admitted his anti-health vote was cast to protect the profits of industrial polluters like Koch Industries, a top campaign contributor. “I believe that legislators should craft our energy and environmental policies with a view to ensuring we do not increase joblessness when our economy is still hurting,” Brown wrote.
NRDC‘s Pete Altman notes that Brown is trying to fundraise off his climate denial:
Now, Scott Brown is crying victim, accusing the League of abandoning non-partisanship with these “phony attacks.” Between the tears and sniffling though, he is asking his supporters to send him money . “Please contribute $1,000, $500, or even $50 right now below this message to help us fight back.”
While tornadoes and floods have ravaged the South and the Midwest, the remote western edge of the Oklahoma Panhandle is quietly enduring a weather calamity of its own: its longest drought on record, even worse than the Dust Bowl, when incessant winds scooped up the soil into billowing black clouds and rolled it through this town like bowling balls.
With a drought continuing to punish much of the Great Plains, this one stands out. Boise (rhymes with voice) City has gone 222 consecutive days through Tuesday with less than a quarter-inch of rainfall in any single day, said Gary McManus, a state climatologist. That is the longest such dry spell here since note-keeping began in 1908.
But then the piece veers sharply off course in the very next sentence:
By Climate Guest Blogger on May 4, 2011 at 12:31 pm
Jake Caldwell in a reposted summary of a new CAP report.
Agriculture and the family farm are the foundation of strong and healthy rural communities, and a critical engine of U.S. economic growth. Regrettably, a key aspect of U.S. agricultural policy does not meaningfully contribute to the success of U.S. farmers: Most federal farm subsidies are outdated, expensive, and inequitable.
In an era of fiscal constraint and more immediate budget priorities, many of these ineffective subsidies can no longer be justified.
By Climate Guest Blogger on May 4, 2011 at 12:00 pm
On April 19, a natural gas hydrofracturing well owned by Chesapeake Energy in Bradford County, PA suffered a blowout. It spewed “thousands and thousands of gallons of frack fluid over containment walls, through fields, personal property and farms, even where cattle continue to graze.” Brad Johnson has the story of the aftermath.
Last February, three Republican leaders in Congress filed a brief in the U.S. Supreme Court arguing that when it comes to global climate change, judges and Justices should mind their own business.
The courts are about to get a different message. Starting on May 4, young people in the United States and several other countries will file petitions and lawsuits in an effort to force public officials into protecting us all from climate change.
The international legal intervention – the sponsors call it guerrilla law – is believed to be the first of its kind. It is being organized by Our Children’s Trust in Eugene, Oregon. It’s part of a broader campaign that will include “iMatter” marches by young people around the world May 7-14, the brainchild of 16-year-old Alec Loorz of California.
Edited by Joe Romm, we cover climate science, solutions and politics. Columnist Tom Friedman calls us "the indispensable blog" and Time magazine named us one of the 25 "Best Blogs of 2010." Newcomers, start here.