Millions of people throughout the Caribbean and in Florida were devastated by Hurricane Irma. Hurricane Maria crushed Puerto Rico. Hurricane Harvey killed scores of people in Texas and will cost a fifth of a trillion dollars.
I had a great time on Saturday joining the March on Science in New York City. (I wrote about the march with some background back in February after it was first announced.) Aside from the main march in Washington, DC, there were over 600 satellite marches around the world. Nice! There were tens of thousands of people lined up on Central Park West for ten or more blocks. Relaxed, festive. Some young, some old, some nerdy, some hip, a good number of scientists, science teachers, activists, and others who are fans of science. It was all largely apolitical but the message was quite clear: The war on science – and particularly climate science – being waged, let’s face the facts, almost wholly by the Trump Administration and his enablers in the Congress, is not something that people are going to take lying down. Continue reading
Put April 22 in your book! If you took part in the Women’s March on Washington there or in any of the 673 sister marches around the planet, then you know the excitement, the camaraderie, the common purpose. If you’ve been to the airports to support those caught in the web of xenophobia incarnate now in the Trump Administration, you understand the importance of being there, of making a statement with your presence, your voice. If you’ve been involved with constituent meetings to tell your elected representatives that you won’t stand for democracy and the social compact being torn apart by the bestiality of the morally bankrupt in power, then you are well and truly in tune with hundreds of millions of your sisters and brothers around the world. And, if you haven’t yet experienced the empowering, life-affirming coming together of people to express their common humanity and innate sanity, then here’s a great opportunity. Continue reading
The quote in the title of this post is from Jerry Meehl, a top and senior climate scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. His observation, from an article today by the excellent Justin Gillis of the NY Times, could not be topped for its trenchancy. It is all too on the money. What’s the news? 2015 was the hottest year in the instrumental record, dating to 1880.
I am sorry to say I’ve been off the air for too many weeks. It’s been a busy Spring, culminating in a week-long trip to Berlin with my graduate students to take a live and in-color look at German clean tech. I will be following up here with some reporting on that. Great stuff! Stay tuned. Plus there’s other news on which I will add my two cents, including the recent G7 talks and the upcoming encyclical from Pope Francis. Continue reading
Well, maybe not Peak Carbon yet, but it was a pretty hopeful signal that the International Energy Agency sent on March 13th in announcing Global energy-related emissions of carbon dioxide stalled in 2014. The IEA noted “…that efforts to mitigate climate change may be having a more pronounced effect on emissions than had previously been thought.” Continue reading
The Stockholm Resilience Centre has a paper in Science that updates their work on planetary boundaries. “The planetary boundaries framework defines a safe operating space for humanity based on the intrinsic biophysical processes that regulate the stability of the Earth System.” Of the nine planetary boundaries, the scientists reckon that four have now been crossed. Does this mean we’re dead? Not necessarily. The lead author, Will Steffen, says “Transgressing a boundary increases the risk that human activities could inadvertently drive the Earth System into a much less hospitable state,…” We’ve heightened the risk. There’s quite a bit more here on the updated findings. Continue reading
The graphic above illustrates how hotter ocean and atmospheric temperatures drive any number of dangerous and destructive weather events and climate trends. The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has declared 2014 Earth’s warmest year on record. The Japan Meteorological Agency had the same finding last week. Today, NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies has provided further confirmation. The UK’s Hadley Center will come out soon with yet another series of data, undoubtedly showing the same thing. (Here is an excellent explanation from them of how these records are compiled and interpreted.)
“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” Rajendra Pachauri, Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, quoted his countryman, Mahatma Gandhi, in welcoming the delegates to the final session of the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) cycle. The IPCC counts among its victories, certainly, winning a share of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007. Continue reading
Once again Gary Trudeau nails it on the head. There’s really not a lot to add. However, if your appetite is whetted, you might like to check out some of what Barack Obama said at a commencement address a little over a week ago in California.
For instance: “And today’s Congress, though, is full of folks who stubbornly and automatically reject the scientific evidence about climate change. They will tell you it is a hoax, or a fad. One member of Congress actually says the world is cooling. There was one member of Congress who mentioned a theory involving ‘dinosaur flatulence’ — which I won’t get into.” Continue reading