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Surprisingly Rapid Increase in Scale and Intensity of Fires in Siberia

August 10, 2020 Posted by | climate change, Russia | Leave a comment

USA could save millions of lives, by combating global heating

US could avoid 4.5M early deaths by fighting climate change, study finds

https://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/510726-us-could-avoid-45m-early-deaths-by-fighting-climate-change-study    BY REBECCA BEITSCH – 08/05/20

The U.S. stands to avoid 4.5 million premature deaths if it works to keep global temperatures from rising by more than 2 degree Celsius, according to new research from Duke University.

The same study found working to limit climate change could prevent about 3.5 million hospitalizations and emergency room visits and approximately 300 million lost workdays in America.

“The avoided deaths are valued at more than $37 trillion. The avoided health care spending due to reduced hospitalizations and emergency room visits exceeds $37 billion, and the increased labor productivity is valued at more than $75 billion,” Drew Shindell, a professor at Duke University, told lawmakers Wednesday.

On average, this amounts to over $700 billion per year in benefits to the U.S. from improved health and labor alone, far more than the cost of the energy transition.”

Shindell, who conducted the study alongside researchers at NASA, unveiled the findings during a House Oversight Committee hearing on the economic and health consequences of climate change.

The study aimed to show the benefits to the U.S. if the nation sticks with the goal of the Paris Climate Accord, which President Trump has formally moved to leave. The U.S. cannot officially exit the agreement until Nov. 4 — the day after the presidential election.

Shindell encouraged committee members to transition away from fossil fuels, a move that would help ease climate change while also spurring health benefits from reduced air pollution.

The benefits could be seen in the relatively short term.

“Roughly 1.4 million lives could be saved from improved air quality during the next 20 years. As we’ve seen with the coronavirus lockdowns in many places, air pollution responds immediately to emissions reductions,” he said.

“Our work shows that action now means benefits now.”

Democrats have introduced a number of bills to combat climate change, but they’ve failed to get much traction.

The House passed a $1.5 trillion green infrastructure package in July, but the Republican-led Senate isn’t expected to take it up.

Just one day earlier, the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis unveiled its road map for solving the climate crisis.

Committee Chair Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) said lawmakers need to focus on tackling the problem despite the current coronavirus pandemic.

“Handling one crisis does not negate our responsibility to face another.”

August 6, 2020 Posted by | climate change, USA | Leave a comment

Glaciers in New Zealand – extreme melting due to global heating

August 4, 2020 Posted by | climate change, New Zealand | Leave a comment

Bangladesh flooding – a victim of global heating, though not a contributer to it

 

 

 

A Quarter of Bangladesh Is Flooded. Millions Have Lost Everything.

The country’s latest calamity illustrates a striking inequity of our time: The people least responsible for climate change are among those most hurt by its consequences.  NYT,   By Somini Sengupta and Julfikar Ali Manik  30 July 20, 

Torrential rains have submerged at least a quarter of Bangladesh, washing away the few things that count as assets for some of the world’s poorest people — their goats and chickens, houses of mud and tin, sacks of rice stored for the lean season.

It is the latest calamity to strike the delta nation of 165 million people. Only two months ago, a cyclone pummeled the country’s southwest. Along the coast, a rising sea has swallowed entire villages.  And while it’s too soon to ascertain what role climate change has played in these latest floods, Bangladesh is already witnessing a pattern of more severe and more frequent river flooding than in the past along the mighty Brahmaputra River, scientists say, and that is projected to worsen in the years ahead as climate change intensifies the rains.

“The suffering will go up,” said Sajedul Hasan, the humanitarian director of BRAC, an international development organization based in Bangladesh that is distributing food, cash and liquid soap to displaced people.

This is one of the most striking inequities of the modern era. Those who are least responsible for polluting Earth’s atmosphere are among those most hurt by its consequences. The average American is responsible for 33 times more planet-warming carbon dioxide than the average Bangladeshi.

This chasm has bedeviled diplomacy for a generation, and it is once again in stark relief as the coronavirus pandemic upends the global economy and threatens to push the world’s most vulnerable people deeper into ruin.

An estimated 24 to 37 percent of the country’s landmass is submerged, according to government estimates and satellite data By Tuesday, according to the most recent figures available, nearly a million homes were inundated and 4.7 million people were affected. At least 54 have died, most of them children. ……. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/30/climate/bangladesh-floods.html

August 3, 2020 Posted by | ASIA, climate change | Leave a comment

Global heating – “best case” scenario is a scary rise of two and a half degrees

How Hot Will the Future Feel?   New Yorker, 29 July 20, By Bill McKibben

Even among the grim daily toll of pandemic deaths and job losses, the most fateful numbers in the news last week probably came from a huge study carried out by a team of scientists at the World Climate Research Programme. It wove together the warming that we’ve observed so far, the latest understanding of feedback effects from clouds and other systems, and the record of the climate in the deep past to conclude that doubling the amount of carbon in the atmosphere (which, at current rates, will occur toward the middle of the century) will raise the average surface temperature on Earth between two and a half and four degrees Celsius

 This is the first significant narrowing of that range in decades—ever since the nineteen-eighties, we’ve been saying one and a half to four and a half degrees. Now, though, researchers are essentially ruling out the bottom end of the range: two and a half degrees, now essentially the best-case scenario, is an enormous number. Dealing with the volume and complexity of data “was such a long and painful process,” one researcher, Kate Marvel, at nasa’s Goddard Institute, said. James Hansen, the former Goddard chief and the world’s premier climate scientist, said, “It is an impressive, comprehensive study, and I am not just saying that because I agree with the result. Whoever shepherded this deserves our gratitude.”

But, again, the level of damage that comes from rising temperatures—let’s call it applied climatology—is not as telling, ultimately, as our collective ability to respond to that damage. The brittleness of political systems in the face of change on this scale is even scarier than the brittleness of dams. The Times Magazine offered a remarkable glimpse into such a possibility this week, with a long examination of climate migration—present and future—from Central America. As more and more people find themselves in zones too hot to support life, they will move, and, as we already know, those movements provoke both compassion and demagoguery. “The best outcome requires not only good will and the careful management of turbulent political forces; without preparation and planning, the sweeping scale of change could prove wildly destabilizing,” Abrahm Lustgarten writes. “The United Nations and others warn that in the worst case, the governments of the nations most affected by climate change could topple as whole regions devolve into war.”

The pandemic shows us above all, I think, that twenty-first-century survival depends on an ability to handle chaos: that our political leaders, and our other institutions, have to devote themselves as never before to humane competence. And, as this summer’s racial reckoning should remind us, the pain that’s coming needs to be distributed far more fairly. We’re fast running out of margin. The capacity of political systems to respond to extreme stress can’t be predicted as numerically as the response of physical systems to extra carbon, but it will be measured, as with covid-19, in deaths. Just on a much larger scale…… https://www.newyorker.com/news/annals-of-a-warming-planet/how-hot-will-the-future-feel

August 1, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

As sea levels rise globally, we need to start planning now

RISING GLOBAL FLOOD RISK DEMANDS ACTION,  PURSUIT, 31 Jul 20, 

By the end of the century tens of millions more people and trillions of dollars more of the world economy will be at risk of being flooded as sea levels rise  We know climate change will cause rising sea levels and increase the frequency of storms and extreme waves, putting large stretches of land at greater risk of flooding. But just how bad will it be?

It is the sort of question that has long frustrated strong policy action on countering and mitigating climate change……

In what is the most comprehensive effort yet to assess the global risks of rising sea levels, researchers have now estimated that in the next 80 years the flood risk across the world will rise by around 50 per cent, putting millions more people and trillions of US dollars more of infrastructure at risk.

In addition, by 2100, extreme floods now thought of as being one-in-100-year events, will be occurring as frequently as every 10 years across much of the world – an increased risk of ten times.

According to the University of Melbourne-led study now published in Nature: Scientific Reports, the land area exposed to an extreme one-in-100-year flood event will increase by more than 250,000 square kilometres, an increase of 48 per cent to over 800,000 square kilometres.

In concrete terms the study’s estimates translate into about 77 million more people being at risk of experiencing flooding, a rise of 52 per cent to 225 million.

The economic risk in terms of the infrastructure exposed will rise by $US3.5 trillion, an increase of 46 per cent to $US11.3 trillion…….

According to the University of Melbourne-led study now published in Nature: Scientific Reports, the land area exposed to an extreme one-in-100-year flood event will increase by more than 250,000 square kilometres, an increase of 48 per cent to over 800,000 square kilometres.

In concrete terms the study’s estimates translate into about 77 million more people being at risk of experiencing flooding, a rise of 52 per cent to 225 million.

The economic risk in terms of the infrastructure exposed will rise by $US3.5 trillion, an increase of 46 per cent to $US11.3 trillion………..

It’s showing that whole coastal communities are at risk of being devastated so we need urgent action.

“Curbing rising greenhouse gases is critical, but much of the predicted sea level rise is already baked-in – it will happen irrespective of what happens with greenhouse gases. So we need to adapt.

“This may mean building coastal defences like those already undertaken in the Netherlands. In other locations it may involve retreating populations from coastal areas.”

And Ms Kireczi notes that like many of the consequences of climate change, some low and middle income countries (LMICs) are particularly exposed.

For example, major populations in South-east and South Asia are at risk. But major populations in wealthier regions are also at risk including parts of China, Northern Europe and the United States.

“We need to start planning now the long-term investments in coastal defences, like dykes and sea walls, that we are going to need to protect vulnerable populations and assets.”  https://pursuit.unimelb.edu.au/articles/rising-global-flood-risk-demands-action

August 1, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, oceans | Leave a comment

Global heating now causing nuclear reactor shutdowns in France

EDF warns heatwave may force brief outage for 2.6 GW Golfech reactors,  S and P   Global, London — Rising temperatures may lead to output restrictions at France’s 2.6 GW Golfech nuclear power plant from July 31, operator EDF warned.   “Due to the temperature forecasts on the Garonne, production restrictions are likely to affect EDF’s nuclear power plant at Golfech,” it said July 27.     28 Jul 2020 Author Andreas Franke , Editor Felix Fernandez

HIGHLIGHTS

Restrictions focus on July 31 to August 3 period.

Mini-heatwave only forecast to last until weekend

July’s nuclear average above expectations at 30 GW

London — Rising temperatures may lead to output restrictions at France’s 2.6 GW Golfech nuclear power plant from July 31, operator EDF warned.

“Due to the temperature forecasts on the Garonne, production restrictions are likely to affect EDF’s nuclear power plant at Golfech,” it said July 27.

This could lead to “unavailability of both units” until August 2.

France’s most southerly reactors, located between Toulouse and Bordeaux on the Garonne river, were some of the most impacted units during an extended heatwave last summer when air temperatures rose above 40 C in late June.

The current spell of hot weather is not forecast to stretch beyond the weekend with Meteo France not yet characterizing it as heatwave despite measuring the highest temperature so far this year at nearby Albi at 39.9 C on July 27.

In 2019, temperatures briefly peaked in late June above 40 C amid extended spells of extreme hot weather, increasing river temperatures above critical levels.

Grid operator RTE forecasts power demand to peak above 55 GW on July 31 with average weighted temperatures 7 C above norms.

In June 2019, French demand spiked close to record summer highs of 59.5 GW as temperatures reached 45 C in some regions of southern France.

Around two-thirds of France’s 56 reactor units are river-cooled, with some restrictions due to high temperatures stretching into autumn during past summers…. https://www.spglobal.com/platts/en/market-insights/latest-news/electric-power/072820-edf-warns-heatwave-may-force-brief-outage-for-26-gw-golfech-reactors.

August 1, 2020 Posted by | climate change, France | Leave a comment

Donald Trump on nuclear proliferation and global heating – he’s incompetent about both

Trump Says Nuclear Proliferation Is Scarier Than Climate Change. He’s Failing at Both. Mother Jones 

“Enlightened leadership would be treating both as emergencies.”

 WILL PEISCHEL  31 Jul 20,  On Tuesday morning, President Donald Trump set off a furor when he told Axios reporter Jonathan Swan that during a recent call with Vladimir Putin, he hadn’t bothered to mention US intelligence suggesting that Russia had offered bounties to Taliban fighters for killing American service members. Trump said that instead, the two leaders had discussed nuclear nonproliferation efforts—and then he inexplicably pivoted to downplaying the threat of climate change.

“If we can do something with Russia in terms of nuclear proliferation, which is a very big problem, bigger problem than global warming, a much bigger problem than global warming in terms of the real world, that would be a great thing,” he said told Swan.

Bringing up global climate change—which already affects the lives of millions—was apparently an arbitrary tangent to the conversation. Even if it wasn’t, experts say attempting to rank the two existential threats against each other isn’t exactly a useful way to gauge either of them. …….

New START, a weapons treaty between Russia and the United States to limit nuclear stockpiles, is slated to expire in early 2021. The treaty contains a provision allowing it to be extended for five years, activated by signatures from both presidents. “If there was seriousness to his remarks, he could do that with the stroke of a pen,” Pomper says. Pomper also criticized Trump for abandoning the Iran nuclear deal and for his failed efforts to scale back North Korea’s weapons programs. On top of that, the Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs is serving only in an acting role. “Basically, it’s hard to find a situation in the nonproliferation arms control world where it’s gotten better after this administration,” Pomper says.  “I’m kind of at a loss for words.”

Efforts to confront global climate change—the smaller problem, according to Trump—are in a similar state. That’s perhaps less surprising, given Trump’s long record of dismissing global warming as a Chinese hoax. We’re already dealing with the consequences. “We’re seeing droughts and wildfires,” says Astrid Caldas, a senior climate scientist with Union of Concerned Scientists. “Here we are with the ninth tropical storm this year, about to be named, if it happens. This usually doesn’t happen until September.” And though climate change was a known existential threat long before Trump entered the picture, Caldas says the administration’s stewardship has done additional damage. “The denial of climate change and calling it a hoax, the whole administration rolling back of environmental regulations and the pulling out of the Paris Agreement,” she says, “all of these things signal that there is not a concern about people’s well being.” https://www.motherjones.com/environment/2020/07/trump-says-nuclear-proliferation-is-scarier-than-climate-change-hes-failing-at-both/

August 1, 2020 Posted by | climate change, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Need for Prediction of Marine Heatwaves

July 30, 2020 Posted by | climate change, oceans | Leave a comment

Global heating means more rain for Asian monsoon regions

Wetter than wet: Global warming means more rain for Asian monsoon regions EurekAlert,  Large-scale simulation reveals how Asian monsoons will transform with climate change TOKYO METROPOLITAN UNIVERSITY  26 Jul 20,  Tokyo, Japan – Researchers from Tokyo Metropolitan University studied how the weather will change with global warming in Asian monsoon regions using a high-resolution climate simulation. The region is home to a large population, and the monsoons are a major driver of global water cycles. They explicitly simulated cloud formation and dissipation, and found significantly increased precipitation over the monsoon “trough,” with tropical disturbances such as typhoons and concentrated water vapor playing key roles.

As the world braces itself for the impact of global warming, it is now more vital than ever to have an accurate, detailed picture of how exactly the climate will change. This applies strongly to the Asian monsoon regions, where vast amounts of annual precipitation make it an important part of global energy and water cycles. As home to a large proportion of the world population, detailed, local predictions for the scale and nature of monsoons and tropical disturbances such as typhoons/cyclones have the potential to inform disaster mitigation strategies and key policymaking. ………. https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-07/tmu-wtw072220.php

July 27, 2020 Posted by | ASIA, climate change | Leave a comment

Alaska’s permafrost degrading as summer rainfall increases

Alaska is getting wetter. That’s bad news for permafrost and the climate.   UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO AT BOULDER   EurekAlert  26 Jul 20, Alaska is getting wetter. A new study spells out what that means for the permafrost that underlies about 85% of the state, and the consequences for Earth’s global climate.

The study, published today in Nature Publishing Group journal Climate and Atmospheric Science, is the first to compare how rainfall is affecting permafrost thaw across time, space, and a variety of ecosystems. It shows that increased summer rainfall is degrading permafrost across the state.

As Siberia remains in the headlines for record-setting heat waves and wildfires, Alaska is experiencing the rainiest five years in its century-long meteorological record. Extreme weather on both ends of the spectrum–hot and dry versus cool and wet–are driven by an aspect of climate change called Arctic amplification. As the earth warms, temperatures in the Arctic rise faster than the global average.
While the physical basis of Arctic amplification is well understood, it is less known how it will affect the permafrost that underlies about a quarter of the Northern Hemisphere, including most of Alaska. Permafrost locks about twice the carbon that is currently in the atmosphere into long-term storage and supports Northern infrastructure like roads and buildings; so understanding how a changing climate will affect it is crucial for both people living in the Arctic and those in lower latitudes. ………   https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-07/uoca-aig072420.php

July 27, 2020 Posted by | climate change, USA | Leave a comment

New research: global temperature increase will surpass 2.6 degrees Celsius: the role of clouds

July 25, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

How Facebook fosters climate denial

‘Everybody’s entitled to their opinion – but not their own facts’: The spread of climate denial on FacebookThe arguments are that people can’t trust scientists, models, climate data. It’s all about building doubt and undermining public trust in climate science’, Independent Louise Boyle, New York @LouiseB_NY, 24 July 20, 

An article linking climate change to Earth’s solar orbit went viral last year, racking up 4.2million views on social media and widely shared on Facebook. It was the most-engaged with climate story in 2019, according to Brandwatch.

There was just one problem. It wasn’t true.

Facebook removed the article from Natural News, a far-right conspiracy outlet with 3 million followers, after it was reported.

But the spread of misinformation on the climate crisis by groups who reject climate science continues on Facebook and other social media platforms.

While tech giants have taken steps to remove, or label as false, potentially harmful misinformation on the Covid-19 pandemic, there has been a seeming acceptance of those who spread false theories on the climate crisis.

In August, an op-ed by two members of the CO2 Coalition, a pro-fossil fuel nonprofit with close ties to the Trump administration, was published in the Washington Examiner and subsequently posted to the group’s Facebook page.

The article, which claimed climate models are inaccurate and climate change has been greatly exaggerated, was initially tagged as “false” by five scientists from independent fact-checkers Climate Feedback who said it used “cherry-picked” evidence and deemed its scientific credibility “very low”.

Facebook doesn’t check content but outsources to dozens of third-party groups. A fact-checker’s false designation pushes a story lower in News Feed and significantly reduces the number of people who see it, according to Facebook policies.

The CO2 Coalition did not take the fact-checkers’ decision lying down, branding Climate Feedback “alarmists” and writing an open letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. They succeeded in having the false label removed.

Andy Stone, Facebook’s policy communications director, told the New York Times last week that all opinion content on the platform, including op-eds, has been exempt from fact-checking since 2016…………

https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-crisis-denial-facebook-global-warming-denier-social-media-a9595546.html

July 25, 2020 Posted by | climate change, media, secrets,lies and civil liberties, spinbuster | Leave a comment

South Asia floods displace millions and kill 550

July 25, 2020 Posted by | ASIA, climate change | Leave a comment

Crucial need to fix air-conditioning: it causes billions of tons of greenhouse gases

We Essentially Cook Ourselves’ if We Don’t Fix Air Conditioning, Major UN Report WarnsGizmodo,  Dharna Noor, July 18, 2020  A new United Nations report shows why it’s crucial to clean up air conditioning. In fact, the authors found that switching over to energy-efficient and climate-friendly air conditioning units could save the world up to 460 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions over the course of the next 40 years. For context, that’s roughly eight times the amount of greenhouse gases the entire world emitted in 2018.

“If we deal with cooling wrong, we essentially cook ourselves,” Gabrielle Dreyfus, the cool efficiency program manager at the Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development, said on a press call.

Cooling technology plays many important roles in our global society. The report estimates that worldwide, 3.6 billion cooling appliances, including refrigerators, freezers, and air conditioning units, are in use. As the climate crisis warms the planet, access to air conditioning will become all the more important. In the U.S., more people die from heat each year than any other form of extreme weather. The report shows that if cooling units were provided to everybody who needs them — not just those who can afford them — the world would need up to 14 billion units by 2050. But the way they’re made right now, air conditioners are emitting tons of greenhouse gases that heat up the planet.

In the 1980s, scientists around the world realised that chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) — the chemicals used as refrigerants for air conditioners, aerosol sprays, refrigerators, freezers — were depleting the Earth’s ozone layer, which blocks the sun’s damaging ultraviolet rays. To remedy that, in 1987, governments got together to pass an international treaty called the Montreal Protocol, under which they pledged to stop using the harmful refrigerants.

For the most part, air conditioner producers aren’t using CFCs anymore. The problem is, they’ve replaced them with industrial chemicals called hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) that warm the planet up to 11,700 times more than carbon dioxide. That means air conditioning could make climate change much, much worse, forcing more people to turn to air conditioning, and creating an unfortunate feedback loop unless world leaders help break the cycle.

Last year, governments adopted the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, under which they agreed to phase out the use of HFCs. Doing so could avoid as much as 0.4 degrees Celsius of global warming if it were adopted universally. As of this week, that amendment has been ratified by 100 countries. But 95 countries around the world still haven’t signed onto the amendment, including major greenhouse gas emitters like the U.S., India and China.

We have the technology to make air conditioners work way more efficiently by switching to more sustainable chemical refrigerants that not only reduce HFCs but carbon dioxide and black carbon emissions and require less energy. The report estimates that doubling the efficiency of air conditioners by 2050 could save us the use of 1,300 gigawatts of electricity around the world. That’s the equivalent of all the coal-fired power generation capacity in 2018 in China and India combined………   https://www.gizmodo.com.au/2020/07/we-essentially-cook-ourselves-if-we-dont-fix-air-conditioning-major-un-report-warns/

July 25, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment