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Current Global Warming Basics

Here is a summary of the basic impacts of global warming on our biosphere.  I present here the quick view.  More discussion at that site.

Atmospheric Temperatures

Here’s the global average temperature each month from January 1880 through January 2016, according to data from NASA:

The red dot marks the most recent value, January 2016. It’s the hottest yet.
Here is the secular trend:

I have discussed measuring the trend from 1998 to present here and here.  There can be no question atmospheric temperatures and rising.

NASA isn’t the only organization that tracks global temperature. There’s also the National Climate Data Center, the Hadley Centre/Climate Research Unit in the U.K., a modified form from the Univ. of York in the U.K., independent data from a team organized by researchers from Berkeley Univ. in California, and the Japan Meteorological Agency, just to name the best-known. It would be redundant to show you data from all these organizations, because they all tell the same story: l…

A Carbon Tax On Beef

Our consumption of beef is a significant contributor to atmospheric CO2 and methane.   I've posted rather frequently about our critical need for a carbon tax. I've posted how the IMF, conservatives, Republicans, even oil companies have supported this, but now an argument is being made that we need to place a carbon tax on beef.
Agriculture, including cattle raising, is our third-largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, after the energy and industrial sectors. At first glance, the root of the problem may appear to be our appetite for meat generally. Chatham House, the influential British think tank, attributes 14.5 percent of global emissions to livestock — “more than the emissions produced from powering all the world’s road vehicles, trains, ships and airplanes combined.” Livestock consume the yield from a quarter of all cropland worldwide. Add in grazing, and the business of making meat occupies about three-quarters of the agricultural land on the planet.

The emissions c…

Atmospheric CO2 At Record Highs

We are not making any progress towards avoiding the worst of the dire consequences of global warming.

Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are showing a startling increase
Atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations have spiked more in the period from February 2015 to February 2016 than in any other comparable period dating back to 1959, according to a scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Earth System Research Laboratory.

Pieter Tans, lead scientist of NOAA’s Global Greenhouse Gas Reference Network, confirmed that the increase, reported previously by New Scientist, represented a record year-over-year growth for Mauna Loa. He also said that in addition to the stark rise in carbon dioxide levels over the past year, researchers have now observed four straight years of increases of more than 2 parts per million in the atmosphere.

“We’ve never seen that,” Tans said. “That’s unprecedented.”
Antarctica ice cores were analyzed producing measures for CO2 and methane ove…

Air Travel And Climate Change

It sure looks like jets produce serious amounts of atmospheric pollution including lots of CO2 and thus seriously contribute to global warming.  In fact they contribute a small fraction compared to automobiles, 2%, though still a serious amount, and something has to be done about that if we are to avoid the worst consequences of global warming.

Boeing sees the future and is at work in the move to replace jet fuel with biofuels.
Boeing is working with all-737 customer Alaska Airlines and the Port of Seattle to move toward a significant environmental goal: powering all flights by all airlines at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport with sustainable aviation biofuel. At the airport, executives for the port, the airline and Boeing signed an agreement to launch a $250,000 study that will assess the costs and infrastructure needed to deliver a blend of biofuel and petroleum jet fuel to airplanes there. The airport, commonly referred to as Sea-Tac, is the first in the United States to lay o…

Young Republicans Endorse Carbon Tax

I've posted rather frequently about our critical need for a carbon tax.  I've posted how the IMFconservatives, Republicans, even oil companies have supported this. And now we have Young Republicans:
College Republicans Propose an Unusual Idea From the Right: A Carbon Tax

As the Republican Party struggles to find its footing with the next generation of voters, several conservative college groups have banded together to champion something anathema to the party: a carbon tax. The group is led by the Yale College Republicans, the main campus student organization for young Republicans at Yale, and includes other prominent Republican groups at 22 other schools around the country including Clemson University in South Carolina, North Carolina State University and Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas. Under the name Students for Carbon Dividends, the coalition is backing an idea first broached by Republican heavyweights including former Secretary of State James A. Baker II…

Planetary Catastrophe Averted

In the 1970's scientists predicted the loss of the planet's ozone layer.  Without that layer civilization would have been lost. 
[H]ad we done nothing, by the year 2060..." says Thaller. "That would have destroyed agriculture. Crops would have failed all over the world. You couldn’t have livestock outside. People couldn’t have lived outside. We very nearly destroyed civilization, and your grandchildren would have lived through that." The chemical industry denied there was a problem but a large hole in the ozone layer opened over Antarctica, and the chemical industry gave in.  The result was the Montreal Protocol.  This international agreement among nations prevented an apocalypse
The ozone layer acts like a shield reducing the amount of the sun's ultraviolet (UV) radiation to safer levels. By the late 1970s scientists proved chemicals used in fridges, air conditioners, and aerosol cans were damaging this ozone shield. But the chemical industry argued the sc…

Climate Change And This Winter's Crazy Weather

What role did climate change play in this winter’s US freezes, heat, and drought?
This winter, the eastern USA was hit by frigid cold weather, although at the same time, the western states (and most of the rest of the world) were relatively toasty. [.....]
The jet stream plays a key role here. Jet streams are bands of fast-moving air currents about five to seven miles above Earth’s surface. The polar jet stream influences weather in North America, and in turn is influenced by changes in the Arctic due to human-caused global warming. The Arctic is the fastest-warming part of the planet, in large part because sea ice is disappearing so rapidly. White ice is reflective, but dark oceans aren’t. When sea ice sitting on top of the ocean melts, the Arctic surface becomes less reflective, absorbing more sunlight, which in turn melts more ice in what’s known as a “positive feedback.” Because the colder Arctic is warming faster than the warmer area to its south (e.g. North America), the tempera…

My Prophecy Is Coming True

In the second chapter of my novel I developed a group of people, I called "alarmists", loosely based on the 19th Century Abolitionists, who take the battle for global warming to the oil industry.  This is coming true
Ken Ward, 61, a longtime environmental activist from New England, closed a shut-off valve on Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline near Mount Vernon, Wash. Leonard Higgins, 66, a soft-spoken Unitarian and retired state-government employee from Corvallis, Ore., closed a shut-off valve on the Enbridge Express Pipeline near Coal Banks Landing, Mont. Emily Johnston, 51, an editor and a poet, and Annette Klapstein, 65, a retired attorney for the Puyallup tribe, traveled together from Seattle to Leonard, Minn., and turned the shut-off valves on a pair of pipelines owned by Enbridge. The five men and women said little about themselves, dwelling instead on what they saw as the existential threat of climate change and the inadequacy of available legal remedies. “I’m…