You don't want to believe that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11? There is no body of evidence that cannot be ignored.
You don't want to believe that Iraq doesn't have WMD? There is no body of evidence that cannot be ignored.
You don't want to believe in global warming? There is no body of evidence that cannot be ignored.
You don't want to believe that tax cuts for rich people don't increase tax revenues? There is no body of evidence that cannot be ignored.
Rolling Stone has been covering Australia's global warming extremes for two years, and they've stepped up their coverage in light of the continent's current extreme heat emergency:
Though Australia's existing heat record, set in 1960, still stands for the moment, officials believe it may soon be surpassed. The nation's Bureau of Meteorology has been open about the impact that rising greenhouse gases are already having there: The agency's website declares that Australia is "experiencing rapid climate change," including more frequent heat waves and changing rainfall patterns.
The current heat wave has produced above-average temperatures for 80 percent of the country – the nationwide average on Monday was 104 degrees Fahrenheit – and scores of wildfires. The state of New South Wales, home to Australia's most populous city, Sydney, is facing its greatest fire danger ever, officials say. In some areas of the state, the official fire danger rating is "catastrophic.
"Nor are heat waves and wildfires Australia's only climate woes. Decades of drought are causing the salination of groundwater in the nation's prime agricultural region; warming and acidifying oceans are killing the Great Barrier Reef; and extreme storms are increasing. As Rolling Stone's Jeff Goodell reported in 2011, the tendency of climate change to "amplify existing climate signals" means that already extreme places like Australia will be the first to experience the kind of major impacts that could be in store for the rest of the world.
"Australia is the canary in the coal mine," said David Karoly, a climate researcher at the University of Melbourne, in that story. "What is happening in Australia now is similar to what we can expect to see in other places in the future."
I'd really like to know what our nation's leaders plan to do about this. Not that I don't love drought, firestorms, tornadoes and massive hurricanes, it just might be nice to do something so they don't happen as often -- but they don't seem all that interested. Maybe someone should do something about that?
Global greenhouse-gas emissions already have passed the point where the worst effects of global warming could be averted, and they are still rising, according to the third annual United Nations report on the so-called emissions gap.
Some countries have made pledges to help reverse this trend by lowering their emissions. However, the report by the U.N. Environment Programme warns that the gap between these pledges and reductions necessary to cap average global warming at 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) by 2020 continues to widen.
"In addition we have one year less to close it," said Niklas Höhne, one of the UNEP report's lead authors.
The report, released shortly before an annual round of climate talks set to begin on Monday (Nov. 26) in Qatar, seeks to balance a heightened sense of urgency with a positive message.
"It is technically feasible and economically feasible that the gap can be closed," Höhne, director of energy and climate policy at the independent research and consulting company Ecofys, told LiveScience.
In 2009, at a meeting in Copenhagen, international negotiators agreed to the goal of capping global warming at 2 degrees C by 2020. Following the meeting, some nations submitted pledges to cut their emissions. The United States, for example, pledged to bring its emissions to about 17 percent below the 2005 level.
In the years since, nations have not made any substantial change to their pledges.
The UNEP report highlights the gap between these pledges and cuts needed put the world on a "likely" path to stay below the 2-degree target. It calculates that the annual emission rate by 2020 should be no more than 48.5 gigatons (44 metric gigatons) of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.
Between this and the recent story that global warming presents a threat to the survival of cocoa beans, you'd think people would be paying a lot more attention to the possibility of losing their favorite beverage:
Forget about super-sizing into the trenta a few years from now: Starbucks is warning of a threat to the world coffee supply because of climate change.
In a telephone interview with the Guardian, Jim Hanna, the company's sustainability director, said its farmers were already seeing the effects of a changing climate, with severe hurricanes and more resistant bugs reducing crop yields.
The company is now preparing for the possibility of a serious threat to global supplies. "What we are really seeing as a company as we look 10, 20, 30 years down the road – if conditions continue as they are – is a potentially significant risk to our supply chain, which is the Arabica coffee bean," Hanna said.
It was the second warning in less than a month of a threat to a food item many people can't live without.
New research from the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture warned it would be too hot to grow chocolate in much of the Ivory Coast and Ghana, the world's main producers, by 2050.
Hanna is to travel to Washington on Friday to brief members of Congress on climate change and coffee at an event sponsored by the Union of Concerned Scientists.
The coffee giant is part of a business coalition that has been trying to push Congress and the Obama administration to act on climate change – without success, as Hanna acknowledged.
The coalition, including companies like Gap, are next month launching a new campaign – showcasing their own action against climate change – ahead of the release of a landmark science report from the UN's IPCC.
Hanna told the Guardian the company's suppliers, who are mainly in Central America, were already experiencing changing rainfall patterns and more severe pest infestations.
Instead of trying to gin up support for a fabricated deficit "crisis", I'd prefer that the newly re-elected president would expend some of that landslide capital on prioritizing global warming and the threat it poses to our national security, as so recently seen with Hurricane Sandy:
WASHINGTON — Climate change is accelerating, and it will place unparalleled strains on American military and intelligence agencies in coming years by causing ever more disruptive events around the globe, the nation’s top scientific research group said in a report issued Friday.
The group, the National Research Council, says in a study commissioned by the C.I.A. and other intelligence agencies that clusters of apparently unrelated events exacerbated by a warming climate will create more frequent but unpredictable crises in water supplies, food markets, energy supply chains and public health systems.
Hurricane Sandy provided a foretaste of what can be expected more often in the near future, the report’s lead author, John D. Steinbruner, said in an interview.
“This is the sort of thing we were talking about,” said Mr. Steinbruner, a longtime authority on national security. “You can debate the specific contribution of global warming to that storm. But we’re saying climate extremes are going to be more frequent, and this was an example of what they could mean. We’re also saying it could get a whole lot worse than that.”
Mr. Steinbruner, the director of the Center for International and Security Studies at the University of Maryland, said that humans are pouring carbon dioxide and other climate-altering gases into the atmosphere at a rate never before seen. “We know there will have to be major climatic adjustments — there’s no uncertainty about that — but we just don’t know the details,” he said. “We do know they will be big.”
The study was released 10 days late: its authors had been scheduled to brief intelligence officials on their findings the day Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast, but the federal government was shut down because of the storm.
It makes me a little nuts when people insist because they can't draw a direct line between global warming and extreme weather, because they really don't understand how it actually works. This Mother Jones piece does an excellent job of explaining the connection:
Superstorm Sandy—and its revival of the issue of climate change, most prominently through Michael Bloomberg's sudden endorsement—probably aided President Obama's reelection victory last night. But at the same time, there has been a vast debate about the true nature of the storm's connections to global warming (as well as plenty of denialism regarding those connections). In fact, there has even been the suggestion, by cognitive linguist George Lakoff, that if we all stopped thinking about causation as something direct (I pushed him, he fell) and rather as something systemic (indirect, probabilistic), then we really could say with full accuracy that global warming caused Sandy. Systemically.
Following this debate, I've been struck by the strong impression that people are making things too complicated. Here's the simple truth: Leaving aside questions of systemic causation—and sidestepping probabilities, loaded dice, atmospheres on steroids, and so on—we can nevertheless say that global warming made Sandy directly and unmistakably worse, because of its contribution to sea level rise.
"I keep telling people the one lock you have here is sea level rise," meteorologist Scott Mandiaexplained to me recently. "It's the one thing that absolutely made the storm worse that you can't wiggle out of."
And how do we know Mandia is right? Here's the logic.
First, according to sea level expert Ben Strauss of Climate Central, the sea level in the New York harbor today is 15 inches higher than it was in 1880. Now, to be sure, not all of that is due global warming—land has also been subsiding. Strauss estimates that climate change—which causes sea level rise both through the melting of land-based ice, and through thermal expansion of warm ocean water—is responsible for just over half, or eight inches, of the total. As it happens, the estimated sea level rise seen globally since the year 1880 is also roughly eight inches.
So how, then, did global warming directly make Sandy worse? Simple: Sandy threw the ocean at the land, and because of global warming, there were about eight inches more ocean to throw. "The footprint of the flood was bigger, based on roughly eight extra inches of depth," Strauss explains—eight inches more than there would have been in an admittedly hypothetical world in which Sandy arrived without our burning of fossil fuels or heating of the atmosphere.
[...] Consider the US Army Corps of Engineers' "depth-damage" functions, which the Corps uses to study how much flood damage grows with an increasing water level. The upshot here, says Mandia, is that "the damage is exponential, it's not linear." Or in other words, as the water level increases, the level of damage tends to rise much more steeply than the mere level of water itself.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg endorsed Barack Obama yesterday, influenced by his belief that the president is the candidate most likely to address the problems of global warming likely exemplified by Hurricane Sandy hitting New York City:
The devastation that Hurricane Sandy brought to New York City and much of the Northeast -- in lost lives, lost homes and lost business -- brought the stakes of Tuesday’s presidential election into sharp relief.
The floods and fires that swept through our city left a path of destruction that will require years of recovery and rebuilding work. And in the short term, our subway system remains partially shut down, and many city residents and businesses still have no power. In just 14 months, two hurricanes have forced us to evacuate neighborhoods -- something our city government had never done before. If this is a trend, it is simply not sustainable.
Our climate is changing. And while the increase in extreme weather we have experienced in New York City and around the world may or may not be the result of it, the risk that it might be -- given this week’s devastation -- should compel all elected leaders to take immediate action.
Here in New York, our comprehensive sustainability plan -- PlaNYC -- has helped allow us to cut our carbon footprint by 16 percent in just five years, which is the equivalent of eliminating the carbon footprint of a city twice the size of Seattle. Through the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group -- a partnership among many of the world’s largest cities -- local governments are taking action where national governments are not.
But we can’t do it alone. We need leadership from the White House -- and over the past four years, President Barack Obama has taken major steps to reduce our carbon consumption, including setting higher fuel-efficiency standards for cars and trucks. His administration also has adopted tighter controls on mercury emissions, which will help to close the dirtiest coal power plants (an effort I have supported through my philanthropy), which are estimated to kill 13,000 Americans a year.
Mitt Romney, too, has a history of tackling climate change. As governor of Massachusetts, he signed on to a regional cap- and-trade plan designed to reduce carbon emissions 10 percent below 1990 levels. “The benefits (of that plan) will be long- lasting and enormous -- benefits to our health, our economy, our quality of life, our very landscape. These are actions we can and must take now, if we are to have ‘no regrets’ when we transfer our temporary stewardship of this Earth to the next generation,” he wrote at the time.
He couldn’t have been more right. But since then, he has reversed course, abandoning the very cap-and-trade program he once supported. This issue is too important. We need determined leadership at the national level to move the nation and the world forward.
I believe Mitt Romney is a good and decent man, and he would bring valuable business experience to the Oval Office. He understands that America was built on the promise of equal opportunity, not equal results. In the past he has also taken sensible positions on immigration, illegal guns, abortion rights and health care. But he has reversed course on all of them, and is even running against the health-care model he signed into law in Massachusetts.
He goes on to state his disappointment in Obama's first term, but says that climate change is the deal breaker:
One sees climate change as an urgent problem that threatens our planet; one does not. I want our president to place scientific evidence and risk management above electoral politics.
Of course, neither candidate has specified what hard decisions he will make to get our economy back on track while also balancing the budget. But in the end, what matters most isn’t the shape of any particular proposal; it’s the work that must be done to bring members of Congress together to achieve bipartisan solutions.
Presidents Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan both found success while their parties were out of power in Congress -- and President Obama can, too. If he listens to people on both sides of the aisle, and builds the trust of moderates, he can fulfill the hope he inspired four years ago and lead our country toward a better future for my children and yours. And that’s why I will be voting for him.
The rate of Arctic Sea ice melt has caught scientists by surprise, leaving them to describe the current record low levels as "amazing," "a Goliath" and "unprecedented." While a record low was recorded on Aug. 26, the ice level continues to fall, and the National Snow and Ice Data Center reports that there is still a week left in the melting season.
The speed of the Arctic ice melt is astounding, scientists say. "It is a greater change than we could even imagine 20 years ago, even 10 years ago," Dr. Kim Holmen, international director of the Norwegian Polar Institute told the BBC. "And it has taken us by surprise and we must adjust our understanding of the system and we must adjust our science and we must adjust our feelings for the nature around us."
"This year's melting season is a Goliath," also notes geophysicist Marco Tedesco, director of the Cryospheric Processes Laboratory at City University of New York, the Wall Street Journal reports. "The ice is being lost at a very strong pace."
These scientists' opinions are no anomalies.
Weather Underground co-founder Dr. Jeff Masters writes that "Every major scientific institution that tracks Arctic sea ice agrees that new records for low ice area, extent, and volume have been set. These organizations include the University of Washington Polar Science Center (a new record for low ice volume), the Nansen Environmental & Remote Sensing Center in Norway, and the University of Illinois Cryosphere Today."