Showing posts from October, 2015

Six States Pondering A Carbon Fee

World leaders call for a carbon fee.  The IMF calls for a carbon fee.  And now States of the United States,
 Massachusetts joins five other states—Connecticut, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington—with proposed legislation exploring this option for cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

Holding Off, For A Time, The Effects Of Global Warming

The increasing concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere is a serious problem, as I've posted manytimesbefore.  But there is another serious problem with CO2, its concentration in the ocean which is acidifying it.  The planet has experienced something like this before, at the Paleocene/Eocene boundary when ocean acidification produced the largest loss of sea life in the history of the planet.  And we are pouring a far larger quantity of CO2 into the oceans.

The effects of the acidification are already being felt here in Washington State.
But the die-offs he witnessed when he came to Whiskey Creek — a family-run hatchery owned by wife and husband duo Sue Cudd and Mark Wiegard — were different.
We had two awful years in a row.” Barton said. “And this is a small business, so that’s almost the end.” Whiskey Creek might be a small business, but it’s a crucial link in the $270 million Pacific shellfish industry. As the second-largest commercial shellfish hatchery on the West Coast, it prov…

CO2 Significantly Degrades Human Cognition

Elevated CO2 Levels Directly Affect Human Cognition, New Harvard Study Shows In a landmark public health finding, a new study from the Harvard School of Public Health finds that carbon dioxide (CO2) has a direct and negative impact on human cognition and decision-making. For most of human evolution history, CO2 concentration in the atmosphere has varied between 180 and 240 parts per million.  A few months ago the concentration in our atmosphere has passed 400 and if nothing is done, it's heading for more than 900 parts per million.
They found that, on average, a typical participant’s cognitive scores dropped 21 percent with a 400 ppm increase in CO2. Here are their astonishing findings for four of the nine cognitive functions scored in a double-blind test of the impact of elevated CO2 levels: 

Vivian Loftness — University Professor and former Head of the School of Architecture — one of the world’s leading experts on “Health, Productivity, and the Quality of the Built Environment,”…

Europe Turns Against the Science of GMO's.

With G.M.O. Policies, Europe Turns Against Science By the first week of October, 17 European countries — including Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands and Poland — had used new European Union rules to announce bans on the cultivation of genetically modified crops These prohibitions expose the worrying reality of how far Europe has gone in setting itself against modern science.  In effect, the Continent is shutting [down] shop for an entire field of human scientific and technological endeavor. This is analogous to America’s declaring an automobile boycott in 1910, or Europe’s prohibiting the printing press in the 15th century.  And here is an example of what can happen
I have spent time with malnourished children in Tanzania whose families were going hungry because cassava crops were wiped out by brown-streak disease. That was particularly painful because in neighboring Uganda I had recently visited trial plots of genetically modified cassava that…

Strongest Pacific Hurricane Ever To Hit West Coast Of Mexico

As everyone should know, there's a difference between weather and climate.  Weather includes a variety of events but they all occur in a climate.  It's just that it's difficult to draw conclusions about the climate from weather events.  It's like trying to understand all Americans from an experience with one guy you just met down the street.

Right now we have a category 5 hurricane with 200 mph winds, the strongest ever recorded in the Western Hemisphere headed for Puerto Vallarta.  Now is this just some extreme event that could be expected under any kind of climate, or is it extreme because of climate change?  It is certainly extreme.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Patricia would be “potentially catastrophic.” It is comparable in strength to Typhoon Haiyan, which devastated the Philippines in 2013.  The typhoon that hit the Philippines was truly catastrophic, 6300 people lost their lives, but for many Americans it didn't exist because it wasn't calle…

The Pacific Northwest: Climate Change Destination

I've pointed out before that the Pacific Northwest may become a climate change destination for possibly hundreds of millions of refugees fleeing uninhabitable areas.
The dominating impact on our region is going to be environmental immigration from all the other parts of this hemisphere that will become uninhabitable.  I believe we can expect tens or hundreds of millions of people swarming to either the Northwest or the Northeast escaping interminable droughts and floods.  This will likely become unmanageable at some point. Now other people are beginning to think about this:
Last summer, University of Washington atmospheric science professor Cliff Mass asked: “Will the Pacific Northwest be a climate refuge under global warming?” Later headlines read: “Climate refugees are coming to the Pacific Northwest” and “What do you get if you map coming climate disasters? Hello, Pacific Northwest.” When a New York Times article pondered where to go to ride out climate change, one expert said:…

World Leaders Call For Carbon Fee

As I've posted, here and here and here and here. the best, perhaps only, path to a habitable world is the imposition of a carbon fee.  The International Monetary Fund has called for one, and now the World Bank has weighed in,

[O]n Monday, the World Bank announced a high-level group, the Carbon Pricing Panel, which brings together heads of state, local leaders, and business executives. The luminaries, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Philippines President Benigno Aquino III, and California Gov. Jerry Brown, are calling on policymakers and negotiators to use carbon pricing mechanisms, setting the stage for strengthening emissions reduction plans expected at the United Nations conference in December.

The Carbon fee is a way of solving a serious problem without government regulation.

“The only approach that would work is an across-the-board rising carbon fee covering every fossil fuel at the source — the first sale at the domestic mine or port of entry,” Jim Hansen, a leadin…

Projected Sea Levels From Global Warming

Seattle is building a new tunnel to replace a viaduct carrying traffic across downtown near the waterfrong.  What is disturbing about the decision to build this tunnel is that it completely ignores what might be happening to sea levels as a result of global warming.  Billions of dollars expended and quite possibly for naught.  The tunnel will certainly be underwater, but also gone in both scenarios are the sports stadiums for the Seattle Seahawks and the Seattle Mariners.

A website has been set up so people can tell what the sea levels will be wherever they live under two scenarios, one where immediate steps are taken, and another where nothing is done.  Near us is one of the largest malls in the Seattle area, the Southcenter Mall.  It was built on land that was farmland in the 1950's, and bordered the Duwamish River which carries melting water off of Mt. Rainier to the Eliot Bay in Seattle.  It has as a result a low elevation, and in the second scenario will largely be underwater…

Food Industry Issues Warning On Global Warming

I've discussed this in a previous post about the great danger of mass starvation in the next thirty years.  Now the food industry is joining in.
Leaders from the food industry issued a warning to Congress recently, telling elected politicians to take action on climate change or face a global food shortage.  Leaders from companies such as Kellogg’s, General Mills, Nestle, Mars, and many others co-signed a letter published in The Washington Post, where they warned about the threats that climate change poses to the food industry.From the letter:
By  2050, it is estimated that the world’s population will exceed nine billion, with two-thirds of all people living in urban areas. This increase in population and urbanization will require more water, energy and food, all of which are compromised by warming temperatures. The challenge presented by climate change will require all of us – government, civil society and business – to do more with less. For companies like ours, that means produc…

A GMO Can End Animal Cruelty

Mother Jones reports on one researcher who has developed a way to end a type of animal cruelty.

This Scientist Might End Animal Cruelty—Unless GMO Hardliners Stop Him
Maybe you've watched the undercover video: A farmer presses a hot iron into the scalp of a wide-eyed calf, burning away tissue that is beginning to turn into horns. She writhes, moaning pathetically, and collapses in the dirt. When Scott Fahrenkrug saw that footage, released by Mercy for Animals in 2010, it made him sick to his stomach. Most of the roughly 9 million dairy cows in the United States have been dehorned—with an iron, clippers, or caustic paste—to protect handlers and other cows. Fahrenkrug knew that some breeds of cattle naturally don't grow horns; the problem is that these "polled" cows traditionally have been lousy milk producers. Fahrenkrug, who specializes in a newly developed genetic modification technique known as precision gene editing, realized it would be a snap to rewrite the corre…

International Monetary Foundation - IMF - says Carbon Tax

Now Is The Time For A Carbon Tax, IMF Chief Says
Have we reached a tipping point towards putting a price on carbon?  The head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) called for a carbon tax late Wednesday at the IMF/World Bank annual meeting in Lima, Peru. Meanwhile, reports show that more and more places are adopting carbon taxes, in largely successful efforts to use market forces to increase clean energy development.  Climate change is now a “macro-critical” issue, IMF managing director Christine Lagarde said. The wording there is important, because the IMF defines macro-critical issues as “either critical to the achievement of macroeconomic program goals or necessary for the implementation of specific provisions under the IMF’s Articles of Agreement,” the Sierra Club noted Thursday. 
If it doesn't happen, serious consequences.  

I'm afraid some political events have doomed us to these consequences.  The Republican Party will have nothing to do with ameliorating global wa…

Carbon Tax, The Only Real Path To A Future

Carbon fee is a better term.  It's not really a tax, but a way of making producers of CO2 emissions pay for the damage they're inflicting on our environment, just as we would make a company pay for cleaning up damage it is doing to our environment like cleaning rivers of manufacturing effluent, for example.

Even the conservative Cato Institute has come out in favor of a carbon fee.  One reason is that it would be an economic solution to the problem of global warming as opposed to a government regulatory solution.  But it isn't going to happen any time soon because of the hardline opposition by the Republicans in Congress.

There are some who believe it can be done without the carbon fee,
“Have the people who are destroying the planet pay for destroying the planet,” he said. “If you can’t succeed at that… the next best thing is to incentivize those who are not destroying the planet.”says the solar company, SolarCity.   There certainly is a world-wide trend for alternate ene…