Showing posts from June, 2016

A Time To Choose

The New Documentary “Time To Choose” Highlights Climate Change Solutions  Ferguson avoids conventionality by including absolutely stunning environmental footage, some of it shot covertly and illegally. And it avoids being simply alarmist by offering solutions — many of them already in process.  One of the most encouraging segments focuses on how renewable energy sources are rapidly becoming competitive with fossil fuels, and how even residents of developing countries are starting to benefit from solar power. Charles Ferguson also directed Inside Job, about the financial services industry corruption leading to the 2008 financial crisis, which won the Academy Award for Best Documentary in 2011, and No End In Sight: The American Occupation of Iraq, which  won the Special Jury Prize at Sundance in 2007.
Time to Choose is in limited release in major cities and will be in wider release this summer.
Watch the trailer:  

The Human Deluge

One of the consequences of global warming is migration.  We don't have to just look at increasing temperatures or sea levels to see what global warming is doing to us.  Two years ago, I noted the changes in migration. As of 2012 8 million people per year were fleeing their homes and risking death to find a new place to live.

A new report from the United Nations now puts that figure at 65 million,
More people are on the run than ever before in recorded history, the United Nationssaid in a report released Monday. They include those fleeing marauders in South Sudan, drug gangs in Central America, and the Islamic State in the Iraqi cities of Mosul and Falluja. While most are displaced within their own countries, an unprecedented number are seeking political asylum in the world’s rich countries. Nearly 100,000 are children who have attempted the journey alone. All told, the number of people displaced by conflict is estimated to exceed 65 million, more than the population of Britain. T…

Global Warming Claims Its First Victim

The first mammal known to go extinct from global warming is the melomys whose entire population lived on an atoll in the Great Barrier Reef.  The immediate cause is rising sea levels.
A recent report from the University of Queensland confirmed that climate change was the root cause of the melomys’ eradication: Sea levels rose at twice the rate of the global average in the waters surrounding Bramble Cay, drenching a full 97 percent of the melomys’ habitat between 2004 and 2014. As I've pointed out before sea levels are going to be a major global warming issue,
“The key factor responsible for the death of the Bramble Cay melomys is almost certainly high tides and surging seawater, which has traveled inland across the island,” Luke Leung, a scientist from the University of Queensland who was an author of a report on the species’ apparent disappearance, said by telephone. “The seawater has destroyed the animal’s habitat and food source.” And this is just the beginning.

Meanwhile, The Arctic Melts

Wobbly Jet Stream Is Sending the Melting Arctic into 'Uncharted Territory'
Extraordinary melting in Greenland's ice sheet last summer was linked to warm air delivered by the wandering jet stream, a phenomenon that scientists have increasingly tied to global warming. The new study analyzes the severe shift in wind patterns last July that transported huge masses of warm, moist air from the Atlantic to the Arctic, dramatically melting the northern reaches of the ice sheet. Never before has the jet stream been seen to intrude so far into the Arctic during the summer, the scientists reported. The Arctic Sea Ice reaches a record low for May:

[T]he National Snow and Ice Data Center reports the warming-driven death spiral of Arctic sea ice hit a staggering new May low (see figure). May 2016 saw Arctic sea ice extent drop “about 600,000 square kilometers (232,000 square miles) below any previous year in the 38-year satellite record.”
My colleague betting on the Arctic Ice extent has…

more good news!

An Iceland experiment has succeeded in turning CO2 emissions into calcite underground.An experiment in Iceland has shown how carbon dioxide emissions can be trapped deep underground and converted into a solid mineral faster than previously thought. Locking CO2 underground—by combining the pollutant with water and injecting it into volcanic rock—could help combat climate change by keeping the primary greenhouse gas out of the air, scientists say. This could be very important.  It shows the possibility of reducing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.  It also shows a way that power could be generated by oil and the resulting carbon dioxide being sequestered in the ground.  Maybe, just maybe, the ingenuity of the human race could help save its existence.

Also good news!

In my last post, I described a new discovery that will use sunlight to provide all the biofuel we'll need for air and sea travel, both of which aren't really amenable to solar panels as a source of power.  In this post I want to report the very significant progress in the development of batteries which will make electrical vehicles (EV's) practical.  As the diagram below shows this has resulted in exponential increase in EV's.

Electric Vehicles Are The Comeback Story Of The Century What makes the EV story particularly miraculous is that electric cars were first invented in the 1830s. The first rechargeable batteries date to 1859. By the 1890s, EVs were outselling gasoline cars ten to one, and by the turn of the century, there were almost twice as many EVs on the road as gasoline cars. Yet by the 1910s, nearly all electric car makers halted production. They were driven out by Henry Ford’s motorized mass production techniques, the discovery of vast amounts of oil, improv…

Great News!

With a carbon tax we can reduce the carbon being put into our atmosphere, maybe enough to prevent the direst of consequences.  But there's an important problem left.  What do we do about air travel? Or the freighters that bring us the off-season fruit and vegetables we're use to?  Are we doomed to never to be able to see Rome again?

Well, scientists have solved that problem.  And by exceeding what nature has been able to do.  They have succeeded in using sunlight to produce fuel.  Now burning this fuel will produce carbon but it produces the same amount of carbon that goes into making it.  It's neutral.
“[The Bionic Leaf 2.0] is an important discovery,” Nocera said in a press release. “It says we can do better than photosynthesis.”  So much better, in fact, that the team believes that its new invention can already be considered for commercial use. Nocera plans to look for ways to use it in developing countries as a cheap source of clean energy. This invention doesn't…

Global Warming Silence On The Campaign Trail

Copernicus' paper showing that the earth circled the sun and not the other way around was published (posthumously because he know the Church wouldn't like it) in the 16th Century. For a hundred years after that most people looked outside and just knew that the sun went around the earth, not the other way around.  Most people only want to believe in what they can see.  It's the same with police violence, a recording of the act makes all the difference in the world.

Just so, people see some droughts and floods here and there, and Arctic ice melting, but are not at all convinced that anything worse is going to happen. The human mind just is not capable of working with an abstraction. They only believe what they can see. That's why no one want's to talk about it in a campaign (except for Bernie, my favorite), because most people are like those people in the 16th Century who only needed to look outside and knew that Copernicus was crazy. In other words you can't get…

Stephen Hawking: worst case scenario

Stephen Hawking, the famous physicist, was interviewed by a British tv news station:
“I can’t,” Hawking responded, when asked to explain Trump’s rise as part of an exclusive interview with British news station ITV News. “He is a demagogue, who seems to appeal to the lowest common denominator.”  But here’s the thing: in that same interview, Hawking also said he didn’t believe Trump was the greatest threat facing America, or even the world. The greatest threat, he said, is human-caused climate change.  “A more immediate danger is runaway climate change,” Hawking said. “A rise in ocean temperature would melt the ice-caps, and cause a release of large amounts of carbon dioxide from the ocean floor. Both effects could make our climate like that of Venus, with a temperature of 250 degrees.” He is describing the worst case scenario, one that is possible if nothing is done about global warming. What he's mentioning, the release of greenhouse gases from the ocean floor I've posted abou…