Archive for category Global Warming
The Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed coal regulations have angered Tea-GOP right-wingers who deny climate science.
Via The New Republic:
A standoff with Senate Democrats and the president over funding for the EPA and Interior Department could set the stage for a budget showdown, risking a partial government shutdown. Here we go again.
In an interview with Bloomberg, Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID) said the House Appropriations Committee may include a rider to the bill that’s necessary to keep the Department of Interior and EPA open after the fiscal year’s end in September.
…A partial shutdown to the Interior and EPA might seem like it would cause less damage to the GOP than the full-scale shutdown of 2013. But remember that includes national parks, which was one of the most visible and unpopular consequences from last year’s shutdown. And the EPA is charged with a lot besides fighting climate change, like protecting our drinking water and overseeing cleanup of toxic waste sites.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has warned the Tea-GOP not to shut down the government over climate change. But really, if they do it right before the midterm elections it might do more good than harm.
From Climate Central:
In 1958, Charles David Keeling began making daily measurements of the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) at the Mauna Loa Observatory on the Big Island of Hawaii. These measurements were begun as part of a one-year initiative, the International Geophysical Year, but because of Keeling’s persistence, the daily record has continued through the present, almost without interruption. The Mauna Loa record, now known as the Keeling Curve, continues to be collected under the direction of Keeling’s son, Ralph.
Last year, atmospheric carbon dioxide briefly crossed 400 parts per million for the first time in human history. However, it didn’t cross that threshold until mid-May. This year’s first 400 ppm reading came a full two months earlier this past week and the seeming inexorable upward march is likely to race past another milestone next month.
“We’re already seeing values over 400. Probably we’ll see values dwelling over 400 in April and May. It’s just a matter of time before it stays over 400 forever,” said Ralph Keeling in a blog post.
To preserve a livable planet, climate scientists tell us we must reduce the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere from its current level of 400 parts per million to below 350 ppm.
Right-wing Republicans remain unconcerned. Recently Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), the vice chair of the notoriously anti-climate change House Energy and Commerce Committee, said on “Meet the Press”: “Now, you know, when you look at the social cost of carbon, and there is a lot of ambiguity around that, what you also need to be doing is looking at the benefits of carbon and what that has on increased agricultural production.”
“The President should realize that Congress has taken action” on climate change policies, Blackburn said. “We have said no.”
World’s Oldest Direct Measure Of Atmospheric CO2 May Lose Its Funding
“The good thing about science is that it’s true whether or not you believe in it.”
Via Media Matters.
Be sure and watch “Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey.”
MSNBC’s Ed Schultz reversed his support for the proposed Keystone XL pipeline on Wednesday and said the United States shouldn’t allow it to be built. Last month he called the pipeline “a step in the right direction when it comes to energy independence.”
Of course, Keystone XL won’t be a pipeline TO the USA. It’s a pipeline THROUGH the USA to overseas export. It’s likely to cause a gasoline price hike in this country. What do we get from this pipeline? More groundwater pollution, and more climate change.
President Obama could stop this pipeline all by himself. The right-wing is clearly worried, and the Faux News crowd is even claiming that Keystone XL approval would be the answer to the crisis in the Ukraine!
h/t to HuffPo
Keystone XL is a “go.” Count on Secretary of State Kerry to do the right thing – for the industry. The planet will have to take its chances.
h/t Roots Action:
It’s classic. Wait till late on a Friday to announce a reprehensible decision in hopes of minimizing the uproar in response. But the climate crisis doesn’t take weekends off.
…”Significant impacts to most resources are not expected along the proposed Project route assuming the following,” reads the State Department report, before listing a series of improbable assumptions.
They say it’s just one pipeline. But the point is we have to say no to ALL the pipelines and leave fossil fuels in the ground.
The Central Flaw of the Keystone XL Economic Analysis (It’s status quo bias)
Sam Stein: So What Exactly Is Obama’s Red Line On Keystone XL?
A baby born in the new year can expect to live in a world that suffers the effects of catastrophic climate change, according to an article in The Guardian based on a new scientific study published in the journal Nature.
Professor Steven Sherwood at the University of New South Wales in Australia, who led the new research, said that unless emissions of greenhouse gases are cut, the planet would heat up by a minimum of 4C by 2100. The study found that as the planet heats, fewer sunlight-reflecting clouds form, causing temperatures to rise further in an upward spiral.
“4C would likely be catastrophic rather than simply dangerous,” Sherwood told the Guardian. “For example, it would make life difficult, if not impossible, in much of the tropics, and would guarantee the eventual melting of the Greenland ice sheet and some of the Antarctic ice sheet,” with sea levels rising by many meters as a result.
…”Climate skeptics like to criticize climate models for getting things wrong, and we are the first to admit they are not perfect,” said Sherwood. “But what we are finding is that the mistakes are being made by the models which predict less warming, not those that predict more.”
For the sake of argument, it’s customary to say that climate models only predict what is likely to happen unless we do something fast. I am starting to doubt that there is anything that can be done now to prevent catastrophic climate change, or even slow it down. This is because certain tipping points, for example rapid melting of the Greenland ice sheet, may have already been reached. Once a trigger is pulled, it cannot be un-pulled. The bullet is on its way.
Chris Hayes is the first cable host to interview Tim DeChristopher. Rachel Maddow announced such an interview a couple of years ago, but then substituted some hack from EarthJustice who didn’t approve of civil disobedience.
My favorite part is when Tim explains that it’s already too late to avoid the tipping points that trigger drastic climate change, but that makes it even more urgent to reform our political system. The current corrupt regime won’t be able to cope with a planetary emergency.
The Republican members of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee boycotted today’s hearing on Gina McCarthy, President Obama‘s pick to head the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Lacking the votes to defeat approval of McCarthy’s nomination, they decided to deprive the committee of a quorum. Apparently Republicans are worried that the EPA might enforce the Clean Air Act, thus helping to reduce the effects of climate change.
Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-CA) was not happy.
“Their opposition, even to allowing us to vote, shows how outside the mainstream they are, it shows how obstructionist they are,” the senator continued. “It shows how their pledge to do better with women voters is false. How could you have a more qualified woman than Gina McCarthy? This is outrageous.”
“They’re fringe, they’re out of the mainstream,” she reiterated — and trying to impose their “pro-pollution stance” on the Obama administration. Boxer further noted that they’d be examining their parliamentary options, which would include potentially changing committee rules.
To the opposition, Boxer offered some advice: Take a page out of the mainstream Republicans’ playbook and “get out of the fringe lane.”
McCarthy has already answered over 1,000 written questions from GOP committee members, more than any other Obama nominee.
This is how the tail wags the dog in the U.S. Senate. Nice work, GOP
UPDATE: An instrument near the summit of Mauna Loa in Hawaii has recorded a long-awaited climate milestone: the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere there has exceeded 400 parts per million (ppm) for the first time in 55 years of measurement—and probably more than 3 million years of Earth history.
350 parts per million is what many scientists, climate experts, and progressive national governments consider to be the safe upper limit for CO2 in our atmosphere.
On December 19, 2008, in a courageous act of civil disobedience, Tim DeChristopher protested an oil and gas lease auction of 116 parcels of public land in Utah’s red rock country, conducted by the Bureau of Land Management. DeChristopher decided to participate in the auction, signing a bidder registration Form and placing bids to obtain 14 parcels of land (totaling 22,500 acres) for $1.8 million. DeChristopher was removed from the auction by federal agents, taken into custody, and questioned.
The auction was later declared illegal by incoming Obama Interior Secretary, Ken Salazar.
Nonetheless, DeChristopher was aggressively persecuted by George W. Bush-appointed federal prosecutors a judge who’s tenure included Chief of Staff for Senator Orrin Hatch. DeChristopher courageously refused all plea offers to avoid jail time. On July 26, 2011, Judge Dee Benson sentenced DeChristopher to two years in prison;
Peaceful Uprising is organizing a screening of Bidder70 in Salt Lake City: the first that Tim will be able to attend since the movie premiered last year! In conjunction with this event, the filmmakers (Beth & George Gage) have partnered with a film distributor, Gathr Films, to organize countrywide simultaneous theatrical screenings.
An hour-long post-screening discussion and Q&A with Tim will be streamed so that everyone, no matter where they are watching, will be able to participate: by watching and/or sending questions via Twitter. It wouldn’t be a true PeaceUp celebration without song, which is why we’ve invited our dear friend Bryan Cahall (whose song Arise you will recognize in the movie) to join in a jam session as well.
Here’s what you can do:
1. Sign up to host your own local screening of Bidder 70: http://
2. Join PeaceUp in helping Gathr spread the word, by inviting your friends to their Facebook event, sharing it via the Twitter webs and updating your Facebook status:https://www.facebook.com/
3. Contribute to Bidder70?s IndieGoGo Distribution campaign (http://www.indiegogo.com/
4. Come to Salt Lake City. Details about our SLC Screening can be found by clicking HERE.
“I would point out that people like me who support hydrocarbon development don’t deny that the climate is changing. I think you can have an honest difference of opinion of what’s causing that change without automatically being either all-in that’s all because of mankind or it’s all just natural. I think there’s a divergence of evidence. I would point out that if you’re a believer in the Bible, one would have to say the Great Flood is an example of climate change, and that certainly wasn’t because mankind had overdeveloped hydrocarbon energy.”
—Republican Congressman from Texas Joe Barton, during today’s Subcommittee on Energy and Power hearing on the Northern Route Approval Act, legislation which would authorize Congress to approve the Keystone pipeline.
Yeah. New rule, if you think talking about 4000plus year old myths borrowed from a culture that in turn borrowed them from another that borrowed them from still another culture should be sited as scientific evidence to use against something that pretty much every peer reviewed climate work has found actual evidence for, you are too god damn stupid to be allowed to open your slobbering slack jawed maw in public. You are certainly the last person who should be allowed to vote on legislation that demands at least a sixth grade level of science comprehension. In fact, you should likely have your legal status as an adult human being taken away to protect yourself and others.
In short, you might be a Texas republican.
Hell, at least Idaho and Texas keep doing their level best to make sure Utah isn’t the national embarrassment.
Joe Romm of Think Progress points out that, among the other things they are completely wrong about, the political opponents of climate science also think that we can go backwards by cutting carbon emissions.
This notion that we can reverse climate change by cutting emissions is one of the most commonly held myths — and one of the most dangerous, as explained in this 2007 MIT study, “Understanding Public Complacency About Climate Change: Adults’ mental models of climate change violate conservation of matter.”
…The fact is that, as RealClimate has explained, we would need “an immediate cut of around 60 to 70% globally and continued further cuts over time” merely to stabilize atmospheric concentrations of CO2 – and that would still leave us with a radiative imbalance that would lead to “an additional 0.3 to 0.8ºC warming over the 21st Century.” And that assumes no major carbon cycle feedbacks kick in, which seems highly unlikely.
We’d have to drop total global emissions to zero now and for the rest of the century just to lower concentrations enough to stop temperatures from rising. Again, even in this implausible scenario, we still aren’t talking about reversing climate change, just stopping it — or, more technically, stopping the temperature rise…
We all need to understand that it’s too late to prevent global warming, and that climate change is happening now. It’s irreversible (except over thousands of years). All we can do at this point is try to minimize the amount of warming, and develop plans to cope with the effects of climate change on our economy and way of life. But our political system thrives on myths, and the truth is still getting shouted down.
UPDATE: Rush Limbaugh is claiming contrary to basic physics that “carbon in the atmosphere may actually be making things cooler, not warmer.”
It came as no surprise to people concerned about the environment that the Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) on the Proposed Keystone XL Pipeline was shoddy and misleading. It’s been suspected for some time that the fix is in for the Obama administration to approve the pipeline. Andy Kroll of Mother Jones discovered just how badly this is being rigged (emphasis added).
The contractor that produced the bulk of the report was Environmental Resources Management (ERM), an international consulting firm. On the day the State Department published the Keystone impact report, the agency also released a cache of documents that ERM submitted in 2012 to win the contract to produce the Keystone environmental report. That cache included a 55-page filing in which ERM stated it had no conflicts of interests writing the Keystone report.
But there was something strange about ERM’s conflict-of-interest filing: The bios for the ERM’s experts were redacted.
Here’s what those redactions kept secret: ERM’s second-in-command on the Keystone report, Andrew Bielakowski, had worked on three previous pipeline projects for TransCanada over seven years as an outside consultant. He also consulted on projects for ExxonMobil, BP, and ConocoPhillips, three of the Big Five oil companies that could benefit from the Keystone XL project and increased extraction of heavy crude oil taken from the Canadian tar sands.
Another ERM employee who contributed to State’s Keystone report—and whose prior work history was also redacted—previously worked for Shell Oil; a third worked as a consultant for Koch Gateway Pipeline Company, a subsidiary of Koch Industries. Shell and Koch* have a significant financial interest in the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. ERM itself has worked for Chevron, which has invested in Canadian tar sands extraction, according to its website.
President Obama has the final say regarding the fate of the Keystone XL pipeline. He delayed the process until after last year’s election. A final decision on the Keystone XL remains months, if not a year or more, away. Will it be thumbs up or thumbs down?
A residential subdivision was evacuated due to the toxic spill, and Interstate 40 was closed.