Inaction = Catastrophe

withering corn AR5 WGIIUS Secretary of State John Kerry is a man with things on his mind:  Putin’s bad attitude, genocide in Syria, a ticking clock for a Palestinian and Israeli peace deal.  Yet with all this, he knows that the climate system needs to be at the top or near the top of his priority list.  His reaction to the new report on Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability from the IPCC is clear:  “The costs of inaction are catastrophic.”  His statement yesterday reminds us that we are on very thin ice and we can hear it starting to crack. Continue reading

Extreme Weather – 2013 Edition

wmo coverThe World Meteorological Organization (WMO) issued its “Annual Climate Statement” today in Geneva.  There was nothing particularly revelatory:  We’re still looking at a looming catastrophe.  In fact, for millions, the catastrophe has already occurred.  Ask the folks in the Philippines, or California, or Britain, or Australia.  Yes, but what about all the cold weather in the Eastern half of the US this year you ask.  Well, it’s climate change too:  the polar vortex has been weakened by the melting of Arctic ice, allowing cold air to migrate south.  (Sorry, denialists.)  Continue reading

Water and Energy

302xWWDlogoThe United Nations has declared today World Water Day.  The theme this year is water and energy.  There are obvious connections, such as that hydropower supplies 20% of the world’s electricity.  But here’s an interesting thing you may not have known:  8% of global energy generation is used for pumping, treating and transporting water.

The UN is not alone in promoting World Water Day and the urgent message that we can’t do without this essential resource – this essential component of life – and we can and must do much better in managing it.  WaterAid, for instance, is a highly effective, global NGO with over 30 years experience bringing water to under-served communities. Continue reading

What We Know

what we knowI think it’s, to be honest, more-than-a-little absurd that scientists and policy makers feel the need, at this late date, to further underscore the immediacy, the clarity and the solid basis of the climate science that has been showing us, for decades, that we are in a crisis – and that catastrophe is looming. Continue reading

You Don’t Need A Weatherman…

cape wind logo…to know which way the wind blows.  It’s blowing against the reactionary forces spearheaded by the relatively unsung member of the Koch family, Bill.  Although not in the same league as his two protofascist brothers, Bill nevertheless gets high marks for doing what he can to undermine both democracy and a sane approach to energy in his obdurate opposition to a superb renewable energy initiative, Cape Wind.  The list of supporters for this project is, however, long and prestigious. Continue reading

Time to Wake Up

U.S. Senator Whitehouse and Senators from the Senate Climate Action Task Force gather on Capitol Hill in Washington

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse is shown here having fun with some of his colleagues prior to launching what we used to call a teach-in.  They spent 15 hours last night into this morning highlighting the manifest dangers of climate change.  Whitehouse has been a vocal leader on the issue, delivering a series of floor speeches as part of his “Time to Wake Up” campaign.  He is part of a wholly reinvigorated effort in the US Senate to move the climate agenda.  Climate Progress has essential messages from most of the more than 30 Senators who took part.  One new Senator, Ed Markey, is well known for coauthoring the Waxman-Markey bill which passed the House in 2009, but died in the SenateReuters quotes Markey last night:  “We hope that by staying up all night … we will signal a new dawn of climate change action in Congress.” Continue reading