From the 2011 Forum, 'Coping with Calamity: The Art of Looking Ahead.'
It's progress of a sort that experts are at least publicly acknowledging that we're screwed, and that we'd better start making plans to do something about it. It would have been nice if a Democratic administration and a Democratic Congress did something about mitigating the damage when they had a chance, but oh well. We're not the only country in denial, after all --even if we're the one who is the most heavily invested in protecting Big Oil:
A panel Saturday morning at the opening session of the Aspen Environment Forum painted an often bleak picture of how climate change is altering the world and how humans are dealing with the challenges.
The annual conference, presented by the Aspen Institute and National Geographic, is titled “Living in the New Normal” this year. The opening discussion carried the same name, but it soon became evident that there is no new normal.
“We're living in a new abnormal, perhaps,” said Dennis Dimick, National Geographic magazine's executive editor for the environment. He showed detailed graphic displays that demonstrate how global temperatures have increased 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit since the 1970s. Projections indicate that summers in 2040 to 2060 will be “warmer than the warmest on record,” he said.
Wouldn't it be inspiring if the politicians took all the energy they put into fighting over how much of our programs they can cut and put it to something more useful -- like climate change? Yes, I know, it's just not going to happen. After all, the latest GOP talking point is that environmental regulations are the reason we don't have jobs. (And won't it be fun when we give away the store on that one!) Not to mention, the old pillhead Limbaugh insists it's not really that hot, it's just a government plot to make people think it's that hot. Uh huh.
It's official: July was a scorcher. High temperatures in communities across the USA broke or tied records 2,676 times, almost double the number (1,444) of a year ago, the National Weather Service reports.
Temperatures in Newark, N.J., set an all-time record of 108. Highs in Atlantic City, N.J., topped 105 for two straight days. Washington endured its hottest July since 1871. In Oklahoma City, temps topped 100 for 27 of the last 30 days of July. Dallas/Fort Worth is enduring its second longest stretch of consecutive 100-plus days at 30, closing in on the record of 42 in 1980, says Chris Vaccaro of the National Weather Service.
August is unlikely to offer much relief, forecasters say. The heat wave anchored over the Central and Southern Plains states, including drought-stricken Texas, is capped by a colossal vault of high pressure that has locked out cooler air currents from Canada.
Vaccaro says the heat wave "has affected, at some point, nearly all of the eastern two-thirds of the United States. It has been relentless, with triple-digit heat for weeks, hitting areas that are not accustomed to high heat. Portland, Maine, hit 102 degrees a couple of weeks ago. We had temperatures in the hundreds in Minnesota, Wisconsin and the Dakotas."
At its worst, July's heat wave extended through 32 states. Eighteen states have heat advisories, from North Dakota to Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and parts of Georgia and the Carolinas.
"We're looking at another heat wave in the week ahead," Vaccaro says. "We'll see heat creep into the upper Midwest, the Dakotas, Minnesota and Iowa."
This week, Northern states may get a reprieve but not Georgia and the Carolinas, where temps may top 100, says Mark Ressler, meteorologist at the Weather Channel. High humidity and lofty nighttime temperatures have made matters worse, Ressler says.
"We not only have record highs, but also record high overnight lows, with temperatures staying way up in the 80s overnight," he says. "That has added to how oppressive this air mass has been, especially where people don't have access to air conditioning. There's no relief."
Not that these studies actually matter, because the people who don't believe in global climate change have motivators that don't include actual "facts." But who knows? Maybe somewhere in the bowels of some government building is someone paying attention who will one day do something to keep this from getting worse.
Maybe it won't be too late.
Extreme rainstorms and snowfalls have grown substantially stronger, two studies suggest, with scientists for the first time finding the telltale fingerprints of man-made global warming on downpours that often cause deadly flooding.
Two studies in Wednesday's issue of the journal Nature link heavy rains to increases in greenhouse gases more than ever before.
One group of researchers looked at the strongest rain and snow events of each year from 1951 to 1999 in the Northern Hemisphere and found that the more recent storms were 7 per cent wetter. That may not sound like much, but it adds up to be a substantial increase, said the report from a team of researchers from Canada and Scotland.
The study did not single out specific storms but examined worst-of-each-year events all over the Northern Hemisphere. While the study ended in 1999, the close of the decade when scientists say climate change kicked into a higher gear, the events examined were similar to more recent disasters: deluges that triggered last year's deadly floods in Pakistan and in Nashville, Tenn., and this winter's paralyzing blizzards in parts of the United States.
The change in severity was most apparent in North America, but that could be because that is where the most rain gauges are, scientists said.
Both studies should weaken the argument that climate change is a “victimless crime,” said Myles Allen of the University of Oxford. He co-authored the second study, which connected flooding and climate change in Britain. “Extreme weather is what actually hurts people.”
Jonathan Overpeck, a University of Arizona climate scientist, who did not take part in either study, praised them as sensible and “particularly relevant given the array of extreme weather that we've seen this winter and stretching back over the last few years.”
This video shows how scientists were misled. They thought the healthy ice was expanding, when it was actually thinning and spreading out over a wider area. I can't wait until all the right wingers who've been triumphantly pushing this as proof there's no climate change acknowledge they were wrong. I'll just sit here and hold my breath:
WINNIPEG–One of Canada's top northern researchers says the permanent Arctic sea ice that is home to the world's polar bears and usually survives the summer has all but disappeared.
Experts around the world believed the ice was recovering because satellite images showed it expanding. But David Barber says the thick, multi-year frozen sheets crucial to the northern ecosystem have been replaced by thin "rotten" ice that can't support weight of the bears. "It caught us all by surprise because we were expecting there to be multi-year sea ice. The whole world thought it was multi-year sea ice," said Barber, who just returned from an expedition to the Beaufort Sea.
"Unfortunately, what we found was that the multi-year (ice) has all but disappeared. What's left is this remnant, rotten ice."
Permanent ice, which is normally up to 10 metres thick, was easily pierced by the research ship, said Barber, who holds the Canada research chair in Arctic science at the University of Manitoba. The team finally reached what it thought was stable ice, only to watch a crack appear just as researchers were preparing to descend onto the floe.
"As I watched, over the course of five minutes, the entire multi-year ice floe broke up into pieces," Barber said. "This floe was 16 km across. Something that's twice the size of Winnipeg, it just broke up right in front of our eyes."
Preeminent legal scholar Cass R. Sunstein, tells TheREALnews.com that we should put more energy and resources into preventing future climate change crisis. Cass talks about how our thoughts about "the worst case scenario" of terrorism are more salient in our thoughts and influential in public policy than our thoughts and policy concerning the worst case scenario of climate change. Cass points out that the worst case scenario of climate change is far more likely to occur than a terrorist attack. Cass later points out that climate change is not a high priority for McCain, in contrast with Obama, whose top concerns include the close relationship among national security, environmental protection, and energy independence. This is one of those policy battles where we have to hope voters understand that having a more complicated view and approach is a good thing.
McCain's straight mess express:
In a not unrelated piece, Pepe Escobar from TheREALnews.com details several of McCain's ties with paid oil company lobbyists. And McCain's stance on the economy is completely ripped apart in this one:
"From his lobbyists, to the economy and foreign policy, McCain's express off the rails. John McCain has been in Washington for 26 years. In the last 8 years he voted with George W. Bush 90% of the time. He admits he knows nothing about economics. Even some of his advisers admit he cannot run a company. But he knows K Street very well – the campaign of the self-styled maverick happens to be swamped by lobbyists"
I know all eyes are on Denver, but I thought we needed a little reminder that there's a whole world out there outside of Colorado and it's not such great shape. Sadly, with John McCain in office we're not likely to put it on a better track either. Greenpeace:
Increased temperatures due to global warming have combined to create news of three separate climate disasters in different parts of North America. But while news of these disasters emerged in the past week, several states and Google announced major new investments in the clean energy technology necessary to solve the climate crisis and prevent even worse global warming. Meanwhile, President Bush and Congress were touting false solutions, like offshore oil drilling, that will only accelerate the climate crisis.
"These three events add up to a planet in deep trouble," said Greenpeace Global Warming Campaigner Melanie Duchin. "But while states and companies are responding to the climate crisis, the Washington politicians are just spraying offshore oil on the fire."
What three things, you ask?
1. Sea Ice at Second Lowest Level Ever; Polar Bears at Risk of Drowning as Ice Melts
That's one seriously miffed Mother Nature. And as we lose more polar bears to drowning out in open water due to ice melting, what has the Bush adminstration done? Pressure Congress to open up more off shore drilling leases and tried to gut the Endangered Species Act, of course. Credo and the Wildlife Action Center have teamed up with an action letter you can sign to ask lawmakers to not allow Bush to dismantle the Endangered Species Act.
Even as many found cheer that floodwaters along the Mississippi River here would fall well short of what had been predicted, residents and the authorities in this town discovered a stark reminder of what might lie ahead: a sand boil on the aged levee that protects the town, a telltale sign that the swollen river had begun eroding the structure from beneath.[..]
As the river at nearby St. Louis leveled out at around 12 feet below the record set during the 1993 flood and about two feet below what had been predicted for the weekend, investigators had identified and contained several more boils on the levee, and the marshland that sits just behind it had crept to within 100 yards of the village hall.
Last year, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, after consulting with the Army Corps of Engineers, found that the five-levee system that protects the metropolitan area of East St. Louis, Ill., did not meet its standards for flood protection.[..]
(A)s cities, towns and farms north of here have yielded in the past few weeks to the Mississippi's tremendous flooding, scientists have again emphasized a sharp increase in flooding in recent history. They say established communities like East St. Louis and neighboring Cahokia would be well advised to repair their levee systems.
"We have had two almost 100-year floods and two almost 500-year floods in a 35-year period," said Nicholas Pinter, a professor who specializes in flood hydrology at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. "Flood levels all along this stretch of the Mississippi have climbed upward, not just by inches but by 8, 10, 12 feet - up to 18 feet over historical 100-year flood conditions. So the simple answer is that floods are higher and more frequent.
"But the underlying theme to everything that's going on," Dr. Pinter added, "is that the current estimates for flood frequency and intensity appear to be grossly underestimated."
Dr. Pinter maintains that while climate change and levee construction have contributed to increased flooding in the St. Louis area, the real culprits are river modifications made to ease navigation, which put further stress on the levee systems.
Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is the premier forum for facilitating economic growth, cooperation, trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific region.
Since APEC's birth in 1989 it has grown to encompass 21 members spanning four continents, and represents the most economically dynamic region in the world, accounting for approximately 40 per cent of the world's population, 56 per cent of world GDP and 48 per cent of world trade.
The 21 APEC Member Economies are Australia; Brunei Darussalam; Canada; Chile; People's Republic of China; Hong Kong, China; Indonesia; Japan; Republic of Korea; Malaysia; Mexico; New Zealand; Papua New Guinea; Peru; The Republic of the Philippines; The Russian Federation; Singapore; Chinese Taipei; Thailand; United States and Viet Nam.
Nope, can't see why that would be worth getting right, can you?
NASA climate scientist Jim Hansen again blasted the Bush-Cheney White House, saying that Climate Change is 'real', and that human activity is the most likely cause
"There's no doubt about that, says Hansen. "The natural changes, the speed of the natural changes is now dwarfed by the changes that humans are making to the atmosphere and to the surface."
CBS asked Ralph Cicerone, the president of the National Academy of Sciences, about Hansen's expertise and conclusions:
"I can't think of anybody who I would say is better than Hansen ..." Asked what is causing the changes, Cicerone says ... "Carbon dioxide and methane, and chlorofluorocarbons and a couple of others, which are all -- the increases in their concentrations in the air are due to human activities. It's that simple."...read on
The Left Coaster: James Hansen is the country's premier Global Climate change scientist. Since the 1970s he has been at the forefront of the studying global climate change and has provided his expert opinion to every administration since then. Dr. Hansen believes that the world is in serious trouble -- so much trouble that he refuses to remain silent even when the Bush administration orders him to be so...read on" Update:Rep. Brad Miller: "If you know of other instances of censoring, intimidating, blacklisting or whatever, e-mail my legislative assistance, Heather Parsons, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Dan Pearson of the Democratic staff of the Science Committee at email@example.com."
Will: "The fact is that any solution requires trillions of dollars of sacrifice from world economic growth. That's trillions of dollars that won't be spent on education, culture, aides prevention ["liberal causes"]. Are we sure we want to do this?"
Zakaria: I'm not sure that's true George...
Katrina: The British commissioner for pollution called those who deny global climate change "climate loonies." Those who deny it at this point are like those who didn't believe cigarette smoke caused cancer.--This administration rewrites science with political spin, it silences scientists--it scrubs websites of information...