Tag Archives: Climate Science

Donald Trump commits the U.S. to his anti-science climate change denial (Updated)

Last week the New York Times reported, Arctic’s Winter Sea Ice Drops to Its Lowest Recorded Level:

After a season that saw temperatures soar at the North Pole, the Arctic has less sea ice at winter’s end than ever before in nearly four decades of satellite measurements.

The extent of ice cover — a record low for the third straight year — is another indicator of the effects of global warming on the Arctic, a region that is among the hardest hit by climate change, scientists said.

“This is just another exclamation point on the overall loss of Arctic sea ice coverage that we’ve been seeing,” said Mark Serreze, the director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center, a government-backed research agency in Boulder, Colo. “We’re heading for summers with no sea ice coverage at all.”

Dr. Serreze said that such a situation, which would leave nothing but open ocean in summer until fall freeze-up begins, could occur by 2030, although many scientists say it may not happen for a decade or two after that.

Less ice coverage also means that there is more dark ocean to absorb more of the sun’s energy, which leads to more warming and melting in a feedback loop called Arctic amplification.

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This can’t be good . . .

Chris Mooney, the environment and energy reporter for the Washington Post reports, ‘We’ve never seen anything like this’: Arctic sea ice hit a stunning new low in May:

The 2016 race downward in Arctic sea ice continued in May with a dramatic new record.

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The average area of sea ice atop the Arctic Ocean last month was just 12 million square kilometers (4.63 million square miles), according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC). That beats the prior May record (from 2004) by more than half a million square kilometers, and is well over a million square kilometers, or 500,000 square miles, below the average for the month.

Another way to put it is this: The Arctic Ocean this May had more than three Californias less sea ice cover than it did during an average May between 1981 and 2010. And it broke the prior record low for May by a region larger than California, although not quite as large as Texas.

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New Study: climate change may lead to massive dieoff of Southwest forests

Arizona’s forest lands have been at risk for many years due to extended drought, bark beetle infestations, and wildfires. Arizona Forward produced a report in October, threats to forest health put arizona at risk – Arizona Forward (.pdf), from a forest management perspective.

Oddly enough, this report barely even mentioned climate change. When ecosystems are being altered by climate change, you’d think that this would merit at least a page of scientific discussion.

Chris Mooney at the Washington Post reports, Scientists say climate change could cause a ‘massive’ tree die-off in the U.S. Southwest:

WestForkBlackRiverIn a troubling new study just out in Nature Climate Change, a group of researchers says that a warming climate could trigger a “massive” dieoff of coniferous trees, such as junipers and piñon pines, in the U.S. southwest sometime this century.

The study is based on both global and regional simulations — which show “consistent predictions of widespread mortality,” the paper says — and also an experiment on three large tree plots in New Mexico. The work was led by Nate McDowell of the Los Alamos National Laboratory who conducted the research along with 18 other authors from a diverse group of universities and federal agencies, including the U.S. Geological Survey.

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Is Arnold Schwarzenegger the only Republican who gets clean renewable energy?

Maybe it’s because the “Terminator” comes from the future, but former Republican governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger is about the only Republican who is making sense on the shift to clean renewable energy.

The “Terminator” has an op-ed co-authored with Per Espen Stoknes at CNN, arguing for American technological innovation in clean renewable energy, and begging the GOP to stop being servile lapdogs  to the Carbon Monopoly.  GOP, don’t lose out on the energy revolution:

Arnold_Schwarzenegger_February_2015Even as the international community signed a landmark climate agreement in Paris over the weekend, the issue of clean energy remains polarized at home in the United States.

Renewable energy is not a political issue, and it is time Republican leaders acknowledge the truth.

The politicization of clean energy has allowed Democrats to occupy the position of being pro-sun and pro-wind to such an extent that Republicans — in the eyes of many — are completely linked with coal and oil. But in fact, the energy revolution underway relies on inherently conservative principles and Republicans should take ownership of clean energy.

Core values of conservatism are about promoting free market competition, property rights, economic development and technological innovation. Conservatism is about cutting red tape for entrepreneurs, reducing taxes, killing unfair subsidies and giving consumers greater choices.

History is littered with examples of thought leaders who did not embrace coming technological shifts. The consequence was simple: You get left behind and become less and less relevant.

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Landmark Paris climate change agreement

ParisThe COP 21: UN climate change conference in Paris accomplished what all the naysayers said would never happen: 196 countries had to come to a unanimous agreement in order to reach an agreement, and they did. 196 countries approve historic climate agreement:

Negotiators from 196 countries approved a landmark climate accord on Saturday that seeks to dramatically reduce emissions of the greenhouse gases blamed for a dangerous warming of the planet.

The agreement, adopted after 13 days of intense bargaining in a Paris suburb, puts the world’s nations on a course that could fundamentally change the way energy is produced and consumed, gradually reducing reliance on fossil fuels in favor of cleaner forms of energy.

[Read the text of the draft climate agreement here.]

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ExxonMobil warns of catastrophic global warming without government action

exxon-mobil-with-logoLast month I posted about New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman investigating ExxonMobil for lying about its research data to shareholders and the public demonstrating the adverse effects of climate change, in the same way that the tobacco companies lied about research data demonstrating the harmful health effects of smoking. Exxon Mobil Investigated for Possible Climate Change Lies Lies by New York Attorney General.

ExxonMobil now publicly concedes the adverse effects of climate change and its scientists are making its research publicly available (sort of) on its web site. Fred Hiatt of the Washington Post writes, Even ExxonMobil says climate change is real. So why won’t the GOP?

To understand how dangerously extreme the Republican Party has become on climate change, compare its stance to that of ExxonMobil.

No one would confuse the oil and gas giant with the Sierra Club. But if you visit Exxon’s website, you will find that the company believes climate change is real, that governments should take action to combat it and that the most sensible action would be a revenue-neutral tax on carbon — in other words, a tax on oil, gas and coal, with the proceeds returned to taxpayers for them to spend as they choose.

With no government action, Exxon experts told us during a visit to The Post last week, average temperatures are likely to rise by a catastrophic (my word, not theirs) 5 degrees Celsius, with rises of 6, 7 or even more quite possible.

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