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Showing posts from October, 2017

Insect Armageddon

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Insect Armageddon There is alarming new evidence that insect populations worldwide are in rapid decline. As Prof. Dave Goulson of the University of Sussex, a co-author of a new insect study, put it, we are “on course for ecological Armageddon” because “if we lose the insects, then everything is going to collapse.” This "ecological Armageddon" is apparently not due to climate change, though still due to human actions.

The study, which tracked flying insects collected in nature preserves across Germany, found that in just 25 years, the total biomass of these insects declined by an astonishing 76 percent. The reasons for the decline are not entirely clear — and only flying insects were collected, so the fate of crawling insects, for example, is not known — but the scientists suspect two main culprits: the use of pesticides and a lack of habitat in surrounding farmland. While not more evidence for climate change, it nevertheless has important implications for what life will be l…

The Gulf of Los Angeles

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I posted yesterday about a possible tipping point in melting ice on the Antarctic and Greenland, and the danger that the rise in the sea level may be abrupt.  Today we have some confirmation about the Antarctic ice:

Warm waters melting Antarctic ice shelves have appeared for the first time in over 7,000 years
The ocean surrounding Antarctica is extremely cold, but water over 300m deep, Circumpolar Deep Water (CDW), is about 3⁰C above the melting point of ice. Normally, the very cold water above keeps this away from ice shelves. But in some areas, CDW is spilling onto the shallow Antarctic continental shelf, causing the ice to thin. Ice shelf thinning has accelerated in recent decades, but the picture is not the same everywhere. While the east of the Antarctic has shown modest gains in ice thickness, the west has outstripped this with significant ice loss – up to 18% in vulnerable areas like the Amundsen and Bellingshausen Seas. The pattern of ice loss and other observations indicate th…

Sea Levels Have Risen Abruptly In The Past

I've said in the past that sea levels are likely to be the first real climate change event that gets everyone's attention. 

Old reefs hold the tale of past sea-level rise, and … it’s dramatic. Toward the end of the last ice age, about 19,000 years ago, the sea rose in several large spurts, according to a new study of coral reefs that grew during this period. This contradicts assumptions that sea level rises gradually. Instead, coral fossils show sudden inundations followed by quieter periods. This offers new information that supports the theory that glaciers and ice sheets have “tipping points” that cause their sudden collapse along with a sudden increase in sea level. I've talked about sea levels before.  But this new study revises the opinions of scientists that this increase will likely be gradual.  But the historical analysis of coral reefs suggests that the sea level may rise abruptly.  And there are scientists who believe that Greenland may be at or past its tipping p…

Climate Change Activists Being Let Off On Necessity Defense

This is basically Chapter Two in my novel, Diary of the Last Age, though the characters in my novel were doing something quite different, destroying oil fields by inoculating them with an oil-eating bacteria (which interestingly does exist but mainly to clean up oil spills).  What I describe in that novel about "alarmists" taking it to the oil companies is apparently happening, and their activities are being legally justified.

Judge Allows 'Necessity' Defense by Climate Activists in Oil Pipeline Protest

"What we are seeing in some courts is there is such frustration at the failure of the executive and legislative branches to act on climate change that some courts are becoming willing to step in,"A Minnesota judge ruled that three activists charged with felonies can argue they had no legal alternative to protect citizens from climate change impacts. 
A judge in Minnesota has cleared the way for an unusual and potentially groundbreaking defense, allowing climat…

Biggest hits

Four Degrees Celsius Would Be Catastrophic

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Here's the basic picture,

•    350 ppm CO2 = 1°C warming (a warming we can live with, see 350.org)
•    400 ppm CO2 = 1.5°C warming (things get worse for an increasing number of people)
•    445 ppm CO2 = 2°C warming (dangerous warming, but the best we can hope for)6

      2°C warming is a guardrail beyond which changes become catastrophic
•    560 ppm CO2 = 3°C warming (really bad: and positive feedbacks accelerate)
•    700 ppm CO2 = 4°C warming (To be avoided at all costs)7 6. (PDF download) Hansen et al. state that 2°C warming could be dangerous. 7. (PDF download) Turn Down The Heat: Why a 4°C Warmer World Must be Avoided.
We passed 400 ppm CO2 last year. 
At current emission rates that are increasing CO2 at a rate of 2 ppm/year, we will blow past the budget for staying below 2°C warming within 20 years.The only possibility for avoiding 2°C warming is for humans to alter their behavior and reduce energy use while we bring low-carbon energy sources online. The Paris Accord is one a…

Trump Is An Environmental Catastrophe

Trump’s plan to bail out failing fossil fuels with taxpayer subsidies is perverse Trump claims to be a conservative, but calling for a bailout of the coal companies violates everything conservatives believe in, free markets.
The conservative philosophy of allowing an unregulated free market to operate unfettered often seems to fall by the wayside when the Republican Party’s industry allies are failing to compete in the marketplace. Trump’s Energy Secretary Rick Perry recently provided a stark example of this philosophical flexibility when he proposed to effectively pull the failing coal industry out of the marketplace and instead prop it up with taxpayer-funded subsidies. However, Perry also made the mistake of referencing the 2014 Polar Vortex to try and support this argument. The cold temperatures associated with that weather pattern caused electricity demand to spike, but as experts have noted, while wind energy produced above expectations during the Polar Vortex, coal power failed…

We must not idly let climate change wreak its damage

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Gardening for Climate ChangeAs more birds alter their ranges to cope with a warming climate, you can take steps in your yard to help the animals survive 

Changing climate already is affecting bird distribution in much of the country. The National Audubon Society’s 2009 Birds and Climate Change report found that, based on data from the yearly Christmas Bird Count, more than 70 percent of backyard bird species have shifted their ranges north during the past four decades. The average range shift is about 35 miles, but the change is not uniform. During cold months, some species are now observed more than 100 miles north of their former winter ranges, including backyard regulars such as the American goldfinch, pine siskin, boreal chickadee and pygmy nuthatch.Planting an "Ecological Insurance Policy" Experts can’t predict with certainty which plants will thrive in our yards in the future or which birds will be there to benefit from what we plant. But we can take steps to prepare ou…