global warming

The War on Science

You may have heard rightwing pundits such as columnist David Limbaugh, Texas Governor Rick Perry and Todd Starnes of Fox News tell you (with no real evidence, but with lots of emotional rhetoric) about the war that’s being waged against Christianity.

The Christians are absolutley safe. The Justice Department isn’t going to investigate the claims made by priests during sermons. The FCC isn’t going to regulate church sermons and force priests to be truthful and accurate. The United States Congress isn’t going to order the U.S. Treasury to take the words “In God We Trust” off of our money, and religious programming such as “The 700 Club” will not be taken off American television. Christians make up more than 75 percent of the U.S. population and they run all three branches of the U.S. government. They also control the American mainstream media and comprise most of the U.S. armed forces and law enforcement agencies. With such power and wealth and influence at their command, who in America could possibly wage war against them?

However, while many of you are focused on the fabricated “war on Christianity”, there is a very REAL war going on against science and scientists in America. Unlike David Limbaugh, Rick Perry and Todd Starnes of Fox news, I will sumbit real evidence that this war is being waged.

Arizona is burning.

For those who haven't heard anything about it yet, Arizona is burning.

From Seattle PI,

SPRINGERVILLE, Ariz. (AP) — Smoke from a massive wildfire in eastern Arizona that has claimed more than 30 homes and forced nearly 10,000 people to flee has officials worried about serious health impacts to residents and firefighters as tiny particles of soot in the air reached "astronomical" levels.

Read more: Full article.

This is the second-largest fire in Arizona history (so far), according to the article. And it's not the only one currently ablaze in the state:

Firefighters are battling another major wildfire in far southeastern Arizona, also near the New Mexico line. The so-called Horseshoe Two blaze burned through 211 square miles or 135,000 acres of brush and timber since it started in early May. The fire has destroyed 23 structures but caused no serious injuries. It was 45 percent contained late Friday and fire officials hope to have it fully contained by late June.

Read more: Full Article.

I can't imagine what it would be like to speak of dealing with an ongoing natural disaster in terms of "months" before it could be contained or mitigated. Well...ok, strike that. There's similar scale concepts - tho far different types of impacts and longer durations - when looking at unnatural disasters like Fukushimasee also and even longer-term consequences when considering the impact of anthropomorphic climate disruption.1, 2

And yes, there are those who have wondered if the AZ wildfires are linked to climate disruption, and while they can't prove it, they can show earlier predictors that reinforce indications that it might/could be related - and that there would be more, bigger incidents yet to come.

Not a very reassuring thought, with all those billions currently being spent in order to cripple any attempt to directly admit to and deal with the problem from a national public policy perspective.


Saturday Morning Open Thread: Magic Legislation, Montana Alternate Reality Edition

From Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse of DailyKos comes this incredible tidbit of reality disconnect: Montana Legislator Proposes Bill Declaring Global Warming 'Natural' and 'Beneficial'.

Yes, folks, you read that correctly -- by simply passing a bill, the Montana legislature has solved the global warming "problem" and turned all the scientifically supporting studies into just another pile of worthless paper. Abracadabra! It's magic Montana legislation, not anti-science Republicans!

It's not some cataclysmic case of denial that further undermines our nation, it's the GOP coming to rescue us from the dauntingly dismal effects of unrestrained reality!


...oh, and in other Montana news, "Glacier National Park has lost 83 percent of its glaciers, seasons have shifted, insect outbreaks have devastated forests..."

Good times, good times.

Now we just have to patiently wait for Montana's magic legislators to resolve the national jobs situation, fix the economy and do something about that pesky HCR.

In the meantime, keep doing whatever you're doing -- good or bad, Montana's magic legislators will fix it. And remember, this is an Open Thread.

Advancing civil society, a fraud at a time

George Carlin was brilliant in blunt delivery.  Watch "The American Dream" after taking in the animation "Cows with Guns" while you ponder the question of how cows and chickens could get so smart.

Friday Evening Open Thread: Ocean-Going Iceberg, Global Circulation Edition

Hat-tip roxy, for a comment in the previous open thread.

A glacial collision in Antarctica may impact ocean currents, and could also result in the reduction of the overall amount of oxygen in the sea. Via MSNBC:

SINGAPORE - An iceberg the size of Luxembourg has broken off from a glacier in Antarctica after being rammed by another giant iceberg, scientists said Friday, in an event that could affect ocean circulation patterns.

The 965-square-mile iceberg broke off earlier this month from the Mertz Glacier's 100-mile floating tongue of ice that sticks out into the Southern Ocean.

The collision has since halved the size of the tongue that drains ice from the vast East Antarctic ice sheet.


The two icebergs are now drifting together about 60 to 90 miles off Antarctica following the collision on Feb. 12 or Feb. 13, said Australian Antarctic Division glaciologist Neal Young.


Experts said with part of the glacier gone, the area could fill with sea ice, which would disrupt the ability for the dense and cold water to sink. This sinking water is what spills into ocean basins and feeds the global ocean currents with oxygen.


As there are only a few areas in the world where this occurs, a slowing of the process would mean less oxygen supplied into the deep currents that feed the oceans.


"There may be regions of the world's oceans that lose oxygen, and then of course most of the life there will die," said Mario Hoppema, chemical oceanographer at the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in Germany.

Major bummer, folks.

Thoughts on this and anything else are welcome in comments; this is an Open Thread.

Arctic Ice Melt could cost 24 trillion by 2050

Bumped and promoted. Posted 2010-02-06 05:52:18 -0500. -- GH

Arctic ice melt could cost $24tln by 2050: report

Arctic ice melting could cost global agriculture, real estate and insurance anywhere from $US2.4 trillion ($2.8 billion) to $US24 trillion by 2050 in damage from rising sea levels, floods and heat waves, according to a report released on Friday.

The research project involved more than 370 scientists from 27 countries who collectively spent 15 months, starting in June 2007, aboard a research vessel above the Arctic Circle. It marked the first time a ship has stayed mobile in Canada's high Arctic for an entire winter.

"It's happening much faster than our most pessimistic projections," said University of Manitoba Prof. David Barber, the lead investigator of the Circumpolar Flaw Lead study. A flaw lead is the term for open water between pack ice and coastal ice.

Open Thread -- Climate Change Forestry Edition

In US News, per Google News, a tidbit jumped out that appears worthy of more attention. Here's the tidbits, slightly enhanced from the news blurb block:

  • West's trees dying faster as temperatures rise -- Los Angeles Times
    A study of old-growth forests predicts that if the trend continues, it could alter not just the region's woodlands, but the quality of wildlife habitat and forests' ability to store carbon.

    By Bettina Boxall, January 23, 2009

    More trees are dying in the West's forests as the region warms, a trend that could ultimately spell widespread change for mountain landscapes from the Sierra Nevada to the Rockies.

    Scientists who examined decades of tree mortality data from research plots around the West found the death rate had risen as average temperatures in the region increased by more than 1 degree Fahrenheit. [...more...]


  • Environment Blamed in Western Tree Deaths -- New York Times
    By MIREYA NAVARRO, January 22, 2009

    Rising temperatures and the resulting drought are causing trees in the West to die at more than twice the pace they did a few decades ago, a new study has found.

    The combination of temperature and drought has also reduced the ability of the forests to absorb carbon dioxide, which traps heat and thus contributes to global warming, the authors of the study said, and has made forests sparser and more susceptible to fires and pests. [...more...]

  • Drought, heat killing trees in western N.America -- Reuters
    By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Editor

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Trees in the western United States and Canada are dying twice as quickly as they did just 30 years ago, with rising average temperatures almost certainly to blame, researchers reported on Thursday.Drought, heat killing trees in western N.America
    Reuters, UK


    The U.S. and Canadian researchers from a variety of agencies and universities studied trees in old-growth forests for more than 50 years to document the die-off, which they say is beginning to outpace replacement by new trees. [...more...]

Gee, nobody could've foreseen that global climate changes might impact things like life on earth, which in turn could in turn affect global warming...

This is an environmentally-friendly (-ish) Open Thread.

Conservative Rule Costs U.S. $27 trillion

Originally published: 2008-12-22 18:38:14 -1000. Promoted by Roxy.

Is there a way to actually place a dollar amount on how much conservative rule has cost America? Stirling Newberry has offered a “back of the envelope” estimate of the costs of four consequences of conservative rule the past 28 years:

over-financialization of the American economy, the waste of privatized health care, over militarization of the American economy, and the externalization of global warming.

The total cost of conservative rule, in today’s dollars, is a staggering $27 trillion, nearly twice the total output of the entire U.S. economy. Newberry uses a 15-year time frame, because that is the time frame former Bush White House economist Lawrence Lindsey used in a retrospective look at the costs of the Iraq War, in his early 2008 book, What a President Should Know ... but Most Learn Too Late. Lindsey, in case you forgot, ignited a storm inside the White House back before the invasion of Iraq, when he estimated that a war with Iraq would cost $100 billion to $200 billion. Karl Rove and his wunderkind were dismayed and outraged that Lindsey would float such a “preposterously” high number, and Lindsey was shown the door just a few weeks later. Of course, Bush did go into Iraq, and burned through $200 billion is just over a year. That was nearly six years ago, and we now know that Lindsey’s estimate was preposterously low, and can now count the cost in trillions, rather than hundreds of billions.

Oregon Old Growth and W's Last Minute Timber Deal

Losing ancient forests

     The WOPR [Western Oregon Plan Revision] has three primary alternatives, including the Bush Administration's 'preferred' alternative: Alternative 2.

Under this plan, the BLM would clearcut 139,700 acres (over 200 square miles) of mature and old growth forest while building 1,000 miles of logging roads per decade, converting pristine ancient forests into monoculture tree farms.

Clearcutting would become the preferred logging method, and 24% of all logging would target trees 200 years and older.

The WOPR effectively pulls the BLM forests out from the scientific framework of the Northwest Forest Plan. The Northwest Forest Plan was enacted in 1994 and set aside old growth forests and sensitive areas along streams and rivers to protect them - while allowing some continued logging.

After Dec 9th, it's a "done deal" --
Unless you make your Voices heard,
and just say NO, to these give-aways to the Timber Lobby ...

Tell the EPA that CO2 emissions matter!

How Can You Question Climate Change Now?

January 11, 2008

(Click for Larger image)

     Ominous Arctic Melts Worry Experts: An already relentless melting of the Arctic greatly accelerated this summer, a warning sign that some scientists worry could mean global warming has passed an ominous tipping point. One even speculated that summer sea ice would be gone in five years.

I want this car, and I want it now!

Imagine that the auto industry had the capital (and would use it) to build cars that customers could afford - cars that don't run on the overpriced gasoline that the customers cannot afford. Imagine a world where we could save our auto industry without further destroying our habitable climate!

I am not an expert on either the car industry or even alternative vehicles; although I peruse them almost daily on the Internet, looking for my future wheels. I'm going to take the first opportunity to lose my current guzzler and stop pouring my money into Exxon-Mobile's record-breaking quarterly bonuses. For once I'd like to see the oil companies in financial trouble... instead of everybody else.

Climate of Change Over Changing Climate: Ethics and Complacency

Last Friday, on a whim, I created an open thread called Winds of Change, Comfortably Numb. Like the song from the video, the winds of change are blowing -- quite literally, too: the climate is changing, in social & political ways as well as ecological terms.1


The future's in the air
I can feel it everywhere
Blowing with the wind of change


New studies were published over the weekend that serve to reinforce some previous data about the issue of global climate change. In his piece Warming and Storms, Uncertainty and Ethics, Andrew C. Revkin writes about how those studies may impact our approach to human-induced global warming:


Over the weekend, a pair of very different climate studies — one physical, one social — illustrated two uncomfortable, and related, realities confronting society as it grapples with possible responses to human-driven global warming.

Revkin is right: both studies, particularly when combined, leave us with some disturbing things to mull over.

Are biofuels fueling the environmental crisis

Alarm is mounting with the news of the Antartic ice-cap melt Unless Al Gore is biding his time because he is still a potential dark horse in the present election campaign (something I very much doubt) I think this would be a good time for him to step forward as a spokesman for the energy policy in the next administration. Perhaps Clinton and Obama could agree that whichever wins they will propose his appointment to the cabinet to carry forward a program that they both endorse.

Planning Energy Priorites for the Future

There's an interesting diary over on DailyKos right now -- it caught my interest, at least. It's Confused priorities: the scramble to exploit the Arctic sea bed by JohnnyRook.

Here's two of the comments -- one by NoBigGovernment, and my response. Both are, IMO, points worth keeping in mind while reading thru:


Why are our leaders and the leaders of these other nations wasting time and money on seeing who can get access to the most underwater fossil fuels instead of investing in the renewable energy that might make it possible to keep New York, St. Petersburg, Vancouver, Copenhagen etc. above the waterline?

because they have to at this point. I think all reasonable nations are in fact investing in renewables, but in the meantime we need fuel to continue to make the world go round so to speak.

You just can't flip a switch and move from fossil fuels. Granted we could, and should, move faster but it's difficult to fault people for being somewhat prudent.

by NoBigGovernment on Mon Dec 31, 2007 at 03:02:54 PM EST


"Prudent is as prudent does" so to speak...

...the BushCheney (CheneyBush?) Administration and Big Oil Republicans have done everything they can to force continued dependence on fossil fuels, when they should have been more prudent with the nation's resources and forward-thinking.

Instead, they essentially created a reality that is forcing us into greater, prolonged dependency but without any additional oversight, conservation, intelligent distribution or development of alternatives.

You are very correct that we need to be prudent with regard to a potentially untapped resource (vs. the relatively imprudent push by some to open the Arctic Refuge, which is a piddling amount in exchange for the potential damage/cost/impact).

However, we should eye any movement by BushCheney as an initial foray into yet another attempt to overfeed, gorge and run rampant instead of developing a sound policy for the securing, developing, use and distribution of energy and fuel sources.  

We must extricate BushCheney and their primary cheerleaders/benefactors from the process first, then put proper foundational structures into effect (rules, regs, laws and plans)...

Never, never brave me, nor my fury tempt:
  Downy wings, but wroth they beat;
Tempest even in reason's seat.

by GreyHawk on Mon Dec 31, 2007 at 03:28:43 PM EST

I do believe a genuine plan is needed to ensure that our economy and nation can adequately operate while slowly weaning itself off of oil. I do not, however, believe that the Republicans, Big Oil, the Bush Administration or anyone currently embedded with any or all of the above should have anything to do with it.

There are also some major corporations and other political parties who need to either recommit to the nation's priorites -- which should include a proper degree of planning for current and future needs -- or be banned from participating in the work of the people.

What do you think?