Category Archives: climate

That’ll show ’em!

bildeA fierce band of protesters – self-described ‘Patriots’ – stormed the old neighborhood yesterday:

A dozen or so protesters wearing red, white and blue showed up at Mote Marine Laboratory to protest World Environment Day, a UN Program hosted by the County this year.

There were signs of course – the kind that shatter world views:

“Sun makes climate change. Not man.”

“Save the U.S. from the UN.”

They even had a spokesman (can’t have all eleven talking at once):

“We’re here because we’re concerned with the involvement of the United Nations in Sarasota and the United States . . . There is no reason for them to be here. Oceans do not rise. Temperature has not risen in 17 years. There is no such thing as man-made climate change.”

I’m convinced.

In a sane world . . .

. . . upon hearing about this, every political leader in the freakin’ world would should be shouting ‘tell me more!”

And this is why Florida’s (!) Marco Rubio gets away with saying such stupid stuff

Truth be told though, I think his latest and very vigorous climate change denial (‘climate changes all the time”) is going to come back and bite him in his soft ass.

From the venerable Union of Concerned Scientists:

https://i0.wp.com/www.ucsusa.org/assets/images/gw/Accuracy-Climate-Science-Segments-Cable-News-Networks-2013-Chart.jpg

Image

But then – gasp! – this is Shanghai

UPDATE: To be fair to today’s Shanghai (as jonolan points out), this is also Shanghai.

https://i1.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/de/Shanghai_montage.png

No surprise here . . .

Granted there was major competing news over the last few days, but I’ll go out on a limb and say this chart would look exactly the same in a slow news week.

1172_472887582786122_21677922_n

Lightning or lilacs? I guess I’ve made my choice

Deep in the winter of 1994, I left my New England home and came to Florida. There were a number of reasons for the move. A yearning to live in a tropical climate didn’t even make the list.

butcher 2I’ve learned to embrace this place including the weather; most surprising to me has been how much I’ve come to relish the summer.

I love the sudden winds that bring our afternoon thunderstorms, and gully washers that sweep in from the Everglades and leave behind the sweetest air. I love those thunderstorms so much that just the sound of one approaching makes me hasten to leave wherever I might be and rush outside so I can watch it. (Photo is by renowned Everglades photographer Clyde Butcher.)

I love how every green and growing thing explodes – all at once – as though released from six-months of holding its breath.

I love how quiet and peaceful it is once the winter people leave – and how I can park right in front of the library. Lines disappear in a moment and the annual refrain is heard: “hooray, we can go out to dinner again“.

lilacsThere’s no ice. I’ve never had to scrape a windshield.

But I do miss the smell of  lilacs and the rich velvet of tulips. I’ll always miss those.

Portugal is not us, but damn we could learn a few things . . ..

Sure, circumstances are different – maybe a lot different – here than there. But the single most important thing they did was decide to do something. And they went from there.

 Portugal’s electricity network operator announced that renewable energy supplied 70 percent of total consumption in the first quarter of this year. This increase was largely due to favorable weather conditions resulting in increased wind and water flow, as well as lower demand. Portuguese citizens are using less energy and using sources that never run out for the vast majority of what they do use.

. . . Portugal’s investment in modernizing its electricity grid in 2000 has come in handy. Like in many countries, power companies owned their own transmission lines. What the government did in 2000 was to buy all the lines, creating a publicly owned and traded company to operate them. This was used to create a smart grid that renewable energy producers could connect to (encouraged by government-organized auctions to build new wind and hydro plants).

And then there’s this – surprising, and very hopeful:

Other countries have been making steps of their own on renewable power production. The U.S. had a record-breaking year for wind energy in 2012, growing by 28 percent. Sweden is looking to have no dependence on oil by 2020. Australia could be looking at 100 percent renewable energy by 2030. Global solar power world will soon be a net-positive energy source.

Next storm is called Orka

That’s a name?

Just like Ellen and Sandy, Nemo got all nasty with my home turf

snow FairfieldHere are some snowfall totals from coastal Connecticut. According to the Weather Channel, at times it was falling there at rates of five and even six inches an hour. They’re noting that the satellite pictures look like hurricane patterns and just said that we’re going to see even more remarkable numbers.

  • Milford – 38 inches
  • Bridgeport –  30 inches
  • New London – 27 inches
  • New Haven – 34 inches

Good info here. The photo is from Fairfield CT.

No matter: it’s required to say ‘but on the other hand’

But equivalency is essential – we must report both ‘sides’ say our media stars!!! From here:

climate pie chart

Something I never thought I’d say

Billy Joel rocks. He does.

If you didn’t see him on the NBC Hurricane fundraiser, go find it.

If Romney were prez, that damn rude water would have stayed where it belonged.

And FEMA? You know Willard says give that function back to the States, don’t you? Well, Colbert agrees with him. On the Report the other night, Stephen sez “Mitt’s got it exactly right! States with shattered infrastructure and devastated communications systems are the best equipped to handle their disaster.”

To my peeps in the Northeast, stay safe

(Thank Elvis, Romney is still all talk.)

And thus does Steve Doocy lead the nation

The climate deniers have had a triumphant run over the last 20 years. Their campaign, financed mostly by the fossil fuel industry, has succeeded in changing American’s attitudes and beliefs. (They had a little help from their friends.)

A recent paper from the Union of Concerned Scientists analyzes how FOX News Channel and the opinion pages of the WSJ reference climate science. The entire thing is here.

 . . . . examined six months of Fox News Channel content and one year of representations in the Wall Street Journal opinion section based on keyword searches for the terms “climate change” and “global warming.” Our team examined transcripts and articles to determine whether these media outlets mentioned climate science, action on climate change (personal action or government policies), both, or neither.

There are charts and specifics a-plenty

Over a recent six-month period, 93 percent of Fox News Channel’s representations of climate science were misleading (37 out of 40 instances). Similarly, over the past year, 81 percent of the representations of climate science in the Wall Street Journal’s opinion section were misleading (39 out of 48 instances).

. . .  the misleading citations include broad dismissals of human-caused climate change, disparaging comments about individual scientists, rejections of climate science as a body of knowledge, and cherry picking of data. . . .  much of this coverage denigrated climate science by either promoting distrust in scientists and scientific institutions or placing acceptance of climate change in an ideological, rather than fact-based, context

 

You know what’s not HUGE? Donald Trump. You know what is HUGE? This.

This is not a suggestion. This will happen. Full story here.

The Obama administration announced strict new fuel-efficiency vehicle standards Tuesday, requiring the U.S. auto fleet to average 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025, an uncontroversial move that, unlike other administration energy policies, was endorsed by industry and environmentalists alike.

[will] expand on existing standards requiring American-made cars and light trucks to average 34.5 mpg by 2016. They will significantly cut U.S. oil consumption and greenhouse gas emissions by the time they are fully implemented, according to EPA.

And so it went

The terror is ended.

Just sayin’

Now, if only the storm were called Imogene instead of Isaac

Thanks to friend Ed . . . from David Letterman last night:

A hurricane headed directly for the Republicans, more proof that … God is a woman.

Let the demonizing begin

A Rhode Island company plans to begin construction in 2014 on the Atlantic coast, of the US’s first offshore wind farm.

“We are like tenant farmers chopping down the fence around our house for fuel when we should be using Nature’s inexhaustible sources of energy — sun, wind and tide. … I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don’t have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that.”    Thomas Edison.

 

I never forgot his post from Joplin, a year ago

Blogfriend Duane at The Erstwhile Conservative was in Joplin last year when that 100-year tornado hit. He lives there with his family. His post from the day after began . . .

Sunday evening, before the onset of the cruel aftershocks that continue to pummel our devastated city with remorseless storms and rescue-impeding rains, my youngest son and I undertook a journey to a destination he—a high school student and baseball player—seemed desperate to see.

He wanted to go to his school

It’s a gorgeous bit of writing and so deeply felt. Read it all and bear witness.

Damn you Google! Stop fiddling. And make it rain.

Google has disappeared the bestest little – and most convenient – weather widget ever, the one I’ve depended on for a few years. Now there’s only a link to a less informative source.  That’s a very Microsofty thing to do – and not very customer friendly.

See, I’m very interested in the weather today and the teevee won’t do it (I continually miss the eight-minute mark on The Weather Channel).  Down here, we’re in our 28th month of drought (barefoot caution: the grass will cut your feet), and today holds the possibility of up to an inch of rain.  (The year-to-date normal should be 10.9 inches. We’ve had 3.4. Pretty much in keeping with the last few years.)

I just grabbed this from somewhere – it’s the current Doppler. See that little segment between the two big fronts? That’s me.

Rain rain don’t go away. (and damn teh google!)

Climate miscellaney, and saying it isn’t a problem always solves the problem. Right?

Here in my region we’re heading into a third year of serious drought. Last year’s rainfall was 16 inches below normal. Scary, but not as scary as the fact that in just the first three months of this year, we’re already seven inches behind.

Via a trackback to Whatever Works, I discovered Greenfrye‘s blog (here).  It’s a frackin’ good resource for climate information with lots of handy links and includes a “Climate Denial Crock of the Week” feature, an amusing (at first) but ultimately maddening read that also features dozens of delicious videos. (He’s frequently wonky, but there’s plenty there for we mere mortals.)

A few minutes later, I came across this story at the famous lefty rag Scientific American:

LONDON (Reuters) – The world is close to reaching tipping points that will make it irreversibly hotter, making this decade critical in efforts to contain global warming, scientists warned on Monday.

A recent panel (lost link, sorry) of environmentalists said that Al Gore’s movie hurt because it energized the deniers and recast global warming as a political issue instead of a scientific human issue. That rings true; Gore’s traditional opponents – like those chicken hawks who mocked his Vietnam service by saying he wasn’t, you know, in battle carrying a gun so it didn’t count. At least not like it counted sitting on the sidelines taking pot shots at those who did go into battle and came home wiser and with less enthusiasm for sending their younger brothers off to become the next batch of dead soldiers – piled on.

This planet of ours has a problem, but not to worry –  I’ll close my eyes, click my heels, and make it all go away. Easy.

Oh this young fella didn’t leave his brain at the door, no sirreee!

A columnist at Town Hall dot com reviews the new book by Sen. James Inhofe, The Greatest Hoax. Inhofe’s not fooled by all that climate science crap, and young David, who reviews Inhofe’s masterwork, is so aboard. He agrees with most every word and remarkably adds this:

An international carbon tax program is one of the most hideous ideas forged in the minds of men.  Since all known life forms are carbon-based, it is a proposal to control all life. 

He also tells us that there are 408, four-hundred-and-eight-fer-elvis’-sakefootnotes!!!! And as we all know, footnotes!!!! mean it’s all real. I’ve seen this conflation before with conservative books . . . apparently if there are footnotes!!!! that means it’s absolutely to be treated as a scholarly work. I think a great deal was made on FOX News about how Ann Coulter”s last book had 80, eighty-fer-elvis’-sake,  footnotes!!!! (I think half were ibid’s.)

(I have a small book, much treasured, published 22 years ago, called The Next One Hundred Years by Jonathan Weiner. It’s all about that climate science and global warming stuff. It’s barely 200 pages and yet has 54 solid pages of notes and sources. That apparently makes it the bible. )

The chart is from here. Nice site – you might want to visit.

Why the Kochs aren’t Soros (or Gates or Buffet for that matter)

The right-wing in America likes to demonize George Soros, calling him a “commie, socialist and climate fraud” (no clear how one can be a communist and a socialist, but . . . ), is the left’s equivalent of the Koch Brothers, the Bradleys, the Sciafe’s, the Olins, i.e., the big donors to right-wing think tanks and media.

Soros indeed supports many liberal organizations because he is a liberal. He has also been one of the world’s biggest private donors to efforts to end Russian communism, end the USSR and help former communist nations creat open democratic governments. Activities, I must admit, easily confused with being an actual communist. To be fair, here’s a link to a Free Republic blog that lists where the money goes (no dollar amounts – that’s hard); they only list American organizations.

Big time funders, right and left, have that in common – they are big time donors. There’s a very important distinction between Soros and the Kochs – motive is discernibly different. I cannot identify how any of George Soros’ donations promote,  protect, or add to, his personal wealth. Something that absolutely cannot be said about the Kochs. I can’t find, even in Free Republic’s incomplete Soros list, any evidence of self-interest.

Between 1979 and 2011, Soros gave away over $8 billion to human rights, public health, and education causes. He played a significant role in the peaceful transition from communism to capitalism in Hungary (1984–89),[7] and provided Europe’s largest-ever higher education endowment to Central European University in Budapest.[9] Soros is also the chairman of the Open Society Institute.

Soros seems to be putting hiis money behind voting rights, free speech (the real kind), democracy, human rights, open societies,  . . . where’s the connection to a friendlier environment for him to increase his wealth?

You gets whay you pays for. And climate skeptics pay.

Mouthpieces are a dime a dozen. But they do get busy and quite obedient when the pay is really good. Like $8.6 million. From a single donor. Ever hear of the Heartland Institute? They are a right-wing think tank whose mission is to “cast doubt on climate science”. They’ve been around for a while, doing the dirty, making the world safe for fossil fuels, the ‘free market’ and the extraction industries. But a rash of newly leaked memos and reports – in a world of curtains to hide behind, that’s how we get our information now – gives us a glimpse of what’s behind that curtain . Who funds Heartland?

Most eyes will probably fall first on the “Anonymous Donor” who, the documents show, personally funded Heartland’s “climate change projects” to the tune of $8,602,267 between 2007 and 2011. The largest donation came in 2008 when “he” donated $3.3m – the same year that Heartland began its annual climate change conferences which have attracted just about every prominent climate sceptic since. This mystery donor has apparently pledged a further $1m for “climate change projects” during 2012.

That’s ‘personally funded’. A man. One person. Until now information about their funding had been sparse. The story in The Guardian doesn’t name anyone, but they hint rather nakedly that the wampun comes from  one of those famous American Libertarian brothers, whose ’causes’ usually align well with the growth of their personal wealth. (To be polite, Koch Industries makes some proper token public donations.

Click the chart for a clearer version.

From Greenpeace - IRS data

Of course, they get a little help from their friends.

Many of the Republican Senate candidates are signatories of the Koch Industries’ Americans For Prosperity No Climate Tax pledge and the FreedomWorks Contract From America.

Heartland is also committed to creating an alternate science curriculum in K-12 classrooms – which would be cool, eh? Combined with the ‘creationism’ curriculum, we could produce an entire generation scientifically illiterate.  (Now that’s the way for a world power to stay on top!)

So, we have an anonymous millionaire donor – whose agenda and/or vested interest we know not – funding an effort to discredit the teaching of climate science in schools? How can that ever be justified or considered democratic, let alone judged to be in the pupils’ best interests?

But the dropping of jaws doesn’t end there. Next up, we learn that Heartland paid a team of writers $388,000 in 2011 to write a series of reports “to undermine the official United Nation’s IPCC reports”. Not critique, challenge, or analyse the IPCC’s reports, but “to undermine” them. The agenda and pre-ordained outcome is clear and there for all to see.

The leaked documents are here.

Climate zones, they are a’ changin’. I think it’s Al Gore’s fault

For a long time, the US Department of Agriculture has designated different planting ‘zones’ throughout the country as a guide for growers. Their ratings are based on ‘extreme minimum temperature’. Garden books and seed packets usually say in what zone a plant can flourish and in what zones it can’t. But it’s the agricultural industry itself, the largest consumer of such data, that must pay the closest attention to these ratings to assure successful crop yields.

So with this change, the USDA now joins the Pentagon and NASA in acknowledging that global warming is real and must be part of all strategic planning. (I don’t mention any international science organizations or UN agencies because our conservative brethren know them all to be anti-American.)

My area of SW Florida has always been 9(b) – but now it’s officially a 10(a) zone. The temperature variation is not large (we go from a 5 to 10 degree variation to a 10-15 degree variation), but the USDA sees it as permanent.

. . . entire states, such as Ohio, Nebraska and Texas, are now in warmer zones . . . it reflects the new reality.

They’ve moved 18 key cities from Fairbanks to Honolulu into warmer zones.

It’s great that the Federal government is catching up with what the plants themselves have known for years now, that the globe is warming” . . .  said [a] Stanford University biologist.

This is unlikely to be the last time they will have to adjust the zones. What’s most shocking to me is the speed of the temperature change – the data they used was collected from 1976-2005. That’s stunning.

(Also, here in zone 10a, we’ve been in drought for four of the last ten years. )

I’m sure FOX News can straighten them out

They don’t listen to Rush Limbaugh, so NASA actually thinks the globe is warming just like those other delusional environmentalist whackos at The Pentagon. They even say so in this article at their website.

Just look at this lying timelapse video they created – Global Warming: 1880-2011. Disgraceful.

All things end, but then what?

The great Thailand flood just won’t stop. Over half the country is now underwater. Two million people are already displaced and the waters haven’t yet reached Bangkok, although that is imminent. (Dark blue indicates flooded areas.)

How do peoples and nations deal with disasters on such a monumental scale?  The waters will doubtless recede. Or mostly recede. But this is still just stunning in its reach and, I assume, its consequences.

Wish I’d been in Michigan Monday night

They had a rare treat in some areas of the upper mid-west the other night – the aurora borealis came to visit. Lucky Michigan. Lots more pix here.

Aurora Borealis - Slide 6

Long Island didn’t protect my home state

Just a few blocks from where we lived.

I grew up in Fairfield CT on the state’s south shore. Seven miles of Long Island Sound and Long Island itself often buffered us from vagaries and storms coming from the Atlantic Ocean. And who knows, maybe this time it did too, but as with judging the US economic policies of 2009, it’s almost impossible to grab hold of the line between ‘ it would have been worse’ and ‘it hit us anyway’. This is some of what a tropical storm – not a hurricane – did in Connecticut both on the shore and well inland.

And all the way up in Vermont, they were hit with terrible flooding. My friend Ed, who once lived in this town, sent the video.