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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry Fukushima Chernobyl Mayak Three Mile Island Atomic Testing Radiation Isotope

Greta Thunberg speaks out for climate, at World Economic Forum

The Latest: Teen climate activist chides Davos elites https://www.newsobserver.com/news/business/article224945785.html,THE ASSOCIATED PRESS, JANUARY 23, 2019 DAVOS, SWITZERLAND

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January 24, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

UK CAN meet its climate goals without the Wylfa nuclear plant

Q&A: Can the UK meet its climate goals without the Wylfa nuclear plant? 

Carbon Brief, 21 January 2019   “……. recent analysis from the government’s official advisers the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) shows the UK could meet its power demand and climate goals to 2030 at low cost, without any new nuclear beyond the Hinkley C scheme already being built in Somerset.

This new analysis reflects the dramatic cost reductions seen for renewables in recent years. Greg Clark, the UK’s secretary of state for business, energy and industrial strategy (BEIS), made a similar point last week as he spoke in parliament about the failed Wylfa deal. He told MPs:

“The economics of the energy market have changed significantly in recent years. The cost of renewable technologies such as offshore wind has fallen dramatically…The challenge of financing new nuclear is one of falling costs and greater abundance of alternative technologies, which means that nuclear is being outcompeted.”……….

The CCC’s “central renewables” and “high renewables” scenarios meet the 2030 carbon target without new nuclear beyond Hinkley C. In these scenarios, nuclear generation in 2030 is 35TWh – the estimated output of Hinkley C plus Sizewell B, each running for 90% of available hours……….

 each of the 2030 scenarios supplies enough electricity to meet projected demand, meaning the lights would not “go out”. Gas would still supply 20-25% of electricity, most of which would be used to cover peak demand during winter or to fill gaps in variable renewable output.

The CCC scenarios out to 2030 all massively expand renewables, whether or not additional new nuclear plants get built. The renewable share of the mix increases from 33% in 2018 to at least 58% in 2030. Nuclear’s share falls from 18% in 2018 to between 10% and 17% in 2030. At the low end, where no new nuclear is added after Hinkley C, it is renewables that make up the gap.

[The CCC says: “We do not consider [the BEIS 2030] pathway credible.” This pathway sees nuclear’s share hold steady, though, as BEIS notes, this is “not based on [nuclear] developers’ proposed pipeline”. BEIS also assumes imports via electricity interconnectors reach 21% of the total while the CCC assumes net-zero imports, with interconnectors helping balance supply and demand.]

The CCC says expanding wind and solar is a “low-regrets” option as renewables are likely to be cheaper than new gas, with similar costs to running existing gas plants or raising imports, even after accounting for the costs of integrating their variable output onto the grid. The CCC adds:

“If new nuclear projects [beyond Hinkley C] were not to come forward, it is likely that renewables would be able to be deployed on shorter timescales and at lower cost.”

Replacing the output of the shelved new nuclear plants at Wylfa, Moorside and Oldbury with renewables would be 13-33% cheaper, including the costs of balancing variable output, according to quickfire analysis from the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit.

Note that reductions in per-capita electricity generation have saved the UK the equivalent of four Hinkley Cs of demand since 2005, according to recent Carbon Brief analysis. The CCC assumes continued efficiency improvements to 2030 are offset by demand for electric vehicles and heating. ……https://www.carbonbrief.org/qa-can-the-uk-meet-its-climate-goals-without-the-wylfa-nuclear-plant

January 24, 2019 Posted by | climate change, UK | Leave a comment

’Human activity has created a new era yet climate change can be stopped’ – David Attenborough

Sir David Attenborough calls for ‘urgent’ climate change action

David Attenborough tells Davos: ‘The Garden of Eden is no more’Human activity has created a new era yet climate change can be stopped, says naturalist, Guardian,  Graeme Wearden in Davos, Tue 22 Jan 2019  Last modified on Tue 22 Jan 2019 Sir David Attenborough has warned that “the Garden of Eden is no more”, as he urged political and business leaders from around the world to make a renewed push to tackle climate change before the damage is irreparable.Speaking at the start of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, the 92-year-old naturalist and broadcaster warned that human activity has taken the world into a new era, threatening to undermine civilisation.

“I am quite literally from another age,” Attenborough told an audience of business leaders, politicians and other delegates. “I was born during the Holocene – the 12,000 [year] period of climatic stability that allowed humans to settle, farm, and create civilisations.” …..

“The Holocene has ended. The Garden of Eden is no more. We have changed the world so much that scientists say we are in a new geological age: the Anthropocene, the age of humans,” he declared.

In a stark warning to the world leaders and business chiefs flocking to the WEF this week, Attenborough warned that the only conditions that humans have known are changing fast.

“We need to move beyond guilt or blame, and get on with the practical tasks at hand.”…..

Get it right, he argued, and humans can create a world with clean air and water, unlimited energy and sustainable fish stocks, but only if decisive action is taken now.

“Over the next two years there will be United Nations decisions on climate change, sustainable development and a new deal for nature. Together these will form our species’ plan for a route through the Anthropocene.

“What we do now, and in the next few years, will profoundly affect the next few thousand years,” he added.

Speaking to journalists after his speech, Attenborough warned that economic models needed to change. “Growth is going to come to an end, either suddenly or in a controlled way,” he explained, citing the old joke that anyone who thinks you can have infinite growth in finite circumstances is “either a madman or an economist”. ………https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2019/jan/21/david-attenborough-tells-davos-the-garden-of-eden-is-no-more

January 22, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Greenland ice melt is happening at an unexpectedly fast rate

Greenland ice melting four times faster than in 2003, study finds, Southwest part of the island could be major contributor to sea level rise, EurekAlert, 21 Jan 19, OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY     COLUMBUS, Ohio – Greenland is melting faster than scientists previously thought–and will likely lead to faster sea level rise–thanks to the continued, accelerating warming of the Earth’s atmosphere, a new study has found.

Scientists concerned about sea level rise have long focused on Greenland’s southeast and northwest regions, where large glaciers stream iceberg-sized chunks of ice into the Atlantic Ocean. Those chunks float away, eventually melting. But a new study published Jan. 21 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that the largest sustained ice loss from early 2003 to mid-2013 came from Greenland’s southwest region, which is mostly devoid of large glaciers.

“Whatever this was, it couldn’t be explained by glaciers, because there aren’t many there,” said Michael Bevis, lead author of the paper, Ohio Eminent Scholar and a professor of geodynamics at The Ohio State University. “It had to be the surface mass–the ice was melting inland from the coastline.”

That melting, which Bevis and his co-authors believe is largely caused by global warming, means that in the southwestern part of Greenland, growing rivers of water are streaming into the ocean during summer. The key finding from their study: Southwest Greenland, which previously had not been considered a serious threat, will likely become a major future contributor to sea level rise………https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2019-01/osu-gim011419.php

January 22, 2019 Posted by | ARCTIC, climate change, oceans | Leave a comment

The threat to millions of people, as glaciers in Central Asia melt

Melting glaciers spell trouble for millions in Asia, SMH, By Henry Fountain,19 January 2019  On a summer day in the mountains high above Almaty, Kazakhstan’s largest city, the Tuyuksu glacier is melting like mad. Rivulets of water stream down the glacier’s thin leading edge.

In Central Asia, a warming climate is shrinking many glaciers. The Tuyuksu is losing ice every year. Around the world, vanishing glaciers will mean less water for people and crops in the future. Here, the people need to prepare sooner.

As she has for nearly two decades, Maria Shahgedanova, a glaciologist at the University of Reading in England, has come here to check on the Tuyuksu. As one of the longest-studied glaciers anywhere, the Tuyuksu helps gauge the effect of climate change on the world’s ice.

Glaciers represent the snows of centuries, compressed over time into slowly flowing rivers of ice, up to about 300 metres thick here in the Tien Shan range of Central Asia and even thicker elsewhere. They are never static, accumulating snow in winter and losing ice to melting in summer.

But in a warming climate melting outstrips accumulation, resulting in a net loss of ice. That is what is happening in Kazakhstan and all over the globe.

The world’s roughly 150,000 glaciers, not including the large ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica, cover about 500,000 square kilometres of the Earth’s surface. During the last four decades they have lost the equivalent of a layer of ice 20 metres thick.

Most are getting shorter, too. Small ones in places like the Rockies and Andes have disappeared. And researchers say that even if greenhouse gas emissions were sharply curtailed immediately, there has already been enough warming to continue shrinking glaciers around the world.

This great global melting contributes to sea level rise. It affects production of hydroelectricity. It leads to disasters like rapid, catastrophic floods and debris flows. It alters rivers and ecosystems, affecting the organisms that inhabit them.

But here in the Tien Shan, the biggest effect may be on the supply of water for people and agriculture. ……..The researchers analyse samples from streams to determine the mix of water sources, which is important for forecasting how the rivers will fare over time. A melting glacier can at first increase stream flow, but eventually the glacier reaches a tipping point, called peak flow, and meltwater begins to taper.

“At some point they cannot produce the water they are providing right now,” said Matthias Huss, a researcher at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich. “It’s really important for water managers to know when this tipping point is reached.”

Glaciers elsewhere in Central Asia – in China to the east, and Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to the south – will eventually decline as well. But the biggest effect will be further south, where countless glaciers feed the great river basins of Asia.

Across the Tibetan Plateau and in the Himalayan and Karakoram ranges, the glaciers number in the thousands and the people who rely on them in the hundreds of millions, along rivers like the Indus in Pakistan, the Ganges and Brahmaputra in India, the Yellow and Yangtze in China and the Mekong in south-east Asia……… https://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/melting-glaciers-spell-trouble-for-millions-in-asia-20190118-p50sb6.html 

January 21, 2019 Posted by | ASIA, climate change | Leave a comment

Increasing rate of melting in North American glaciers

North American glaciers melting much faster than 10 years ago – study
Satellite images show glaciers in US and Canada, excluding Alaska, are shrinking four times faster than in previous decade ,
Guardian, Emily Holden in Washington, Sat 19 Jan 2019

Glaciers in western North America, excluding Alaska, are melting four times faster than in the previous decade, with changes in the jet stream exacerbating the longer-term effects of climate change, according to a new study.

The retreat hasn’t been equal in the US and Canada. The famous alpine ice masses in the Cascade Mountains in the north-west US have largely been spared from the trend.

“The losses we would expect were reduced because we got a lot of additional snow,” said David Shean, a co-author at the University of Washington. “Moving forward we may not be so lucky.” The jet stream – the currents of fast-flowing air in the atmosphere that affect weather – has shifted, causing more snow in the north-western US and less in south-western Canada, according to the study released in Geophysical Research Letters, a publication of the American Geophysical Union. Changes in the northern hemisphere jet stream are increasingly firmly linked to global warming.

That warming from humans burning fossil fuels is also expected to continue to melt alpine glaciers, even under scenarios for more moderate greenhouse gas levels.

While some of the fourfold increase in the melting rate in western North America is related to manmade climate change, the researchers can’t say with certainty how much.

“We’re starting to understand these shorter cycles that have real impacts on how the glaciers are behaving and how much water is stored in the glaciers,” Shean explained.

Alaskan glaciers get much of the attention in North America because Alaska is warming faster than the continental US. Mount Hunter in Denali national park, is seeing 60 times more snow melt than it did 150 years ago.

The North American glaciers analyzed in the new study are far smaller than those in Alaska, Asia and elsewhere, so they won’t contribute much to sea-level rise as they melt. The authors say they offer critical lessons for water management, fisheries and flood prevention…….. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jan/18/north-america-glacier-melt-study-climate-change

January 21, 2019 Posted by | climate change, NORTH AMERICA | Leave a comment

Australia bakes as record temperatures nudge 50C

‘It’s like hell here’: Australia bakes as record temperatures nudge 50C , Fears rise for homeless and vulnerable people as communities brace for another week of relentless hot weather , Guardian, Naaman Zhou,  @naamanzhou, Sun 20 Jan 2019

It was 48.9C last Tuesday in Port Augusta, South Australia, an old harbour city that now harvests solar power. Michelle Coles, the owner of the local cinema, took off her shoes at night to test the concrete before letting the dogs out. “People tend to stay at home,” she said. “They don’t walk around when it’s like this.”It’s easy to see why: in the middle of the day it takes seconds to blister a dog’s paw or child’s foot. In Mildura, in northern Victoria, last week gardeners burned their hands when they picked up their tools, which had been left in the sun at 46C. Fish were dying in the rivers.

Almost every day last week a new heat record was broken in Australia. They spread out, unrelenting, across the country, with records broken for all kinds of reasons – as if the statistics were finding an infinite series of ways to say that it was hot.

The community of Noona – population 14 – reached the highest minimum ever recorded overnight in Australia – 35.9C was the coldest it got, at 7am on Friday. It was 45C by noon.

A record fell on Tuesday in Meekatharra in Western Australia – the highest minimum there ever recorded (33C). Another fell on Wednesday, 2,000 miles away, in Albury, New South Wales – their hottest day (45.6C).

It was 45C or higher for four consecutive days in Broken Hill – another record – and more than 40C for the same time period in Canberra, the nation’s capital. Nine records fell across NSW on Wednesday alone. Back in Port Augusta, Tuesday was the highest temperature since records began in 1962………..

In South Australia, they declared a “code red” across Adelaide, the state capital. Homelessness services were working overtime and the Red Cross started calling round a list of 750 people who were deemed especially vulnerable

At the Australian Open in Melbourne, only the sea breeze kept the temperature below 40C. At Adelaide’s Tour Down Under, a bike race, it was 41C.

On Monday last week the hottest spot in New South Wales was Menindee, a river town that feeds the country’s largest water system, the Murray-Darling basin. It was 45C. It climbed to 47C on Wednesday, and by Thursday the fish were gasping.

Australia’s native Murray cod can live for decades under normal conditions, growing all the while. The oldest are a metre long, with heavy white bellies that have to be held with both hands. Last week, hundreds died, choked of oxygen due to an algal bloom that fed and grew in the heat, and collapsed when temperatures dipped.

Blue-green algae flourishes in hot, slow-moving water. Then, when temperatures inevitably drop, the algae dies and becomes a food source for bacteria, who multiply and starve the river of oxygen. The fish rise to the surface.

The mass fish death has reignited a debate over water management in the region, where cotton farmers upstream have been accused of taking more water than they should.

The heat is not the root cause, the locals stress. But the five punishing days settling over the river have not made it better. Last Thursday the cod were up near the surface and struggling. On Friday, it was 45C again. In Menindee, the locals believe the fish kill will happen again, with temperatures in the 40s expected to continue into this week. The water will be running hot……….https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/jan/19/australia-swelters-as-relentless-hot-weather-smashes-records

January 21, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, climate change | Leave a comment

When it comes to heat, Australia is now a climate change leader

January 17, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, climate change | Leave a comment

The fossil fuel industries’ successful strategy, conning the media to doubt climate change

By demanding “balance,” the industry transformed climate change into a partisan issue. We know that was a deliberate strategy because various internal documents from ExxonMobil, Shell, the American Petroleum Institute and a handful of now-defunct fossil fuel industry groups reveal not only the industry’s strategy to target media with this message and these experts,  but also its own preemptive debunking of the very theories it went on to support.

many took the industry’s bait, routinely inserting denialist claims into stories about climate science in the interest of providing balance:

How the fossil fuel industry got the media to think climate change was debatable, WP, By Amy WesterveltAmy Westervelt is an audio and print reporter who covers climate and gender, and sometimes the intersection of the two. Her podcast Drilled is about the creation and spread of climate denial and her first book “Forget ‘Having It All'” was published by Seal Press in November 2018., January 10 2019 

Late last year, the Trump administration released the latest national climate assessment on Black Friday in what many assumed was an attempt to bury the document. If that was the plan, it backfired, and the assessment wound up earning more coverage than it probably would have otherwise. But much of that coverage perpetuated a decades-old practice, one that has been weaponized by the fossil fuel industry: false equivalence.

Although various business interests began pushing back against environmental action in general in the early 1970s as part of the conservative “war of ideas” launched in response to the social movements of the 1960s, when global warming first broke into the public sphere, it was a bipartisan issue and remained so for years. On the campaign trail in 1988, George H.W. Bush identified as an environmentalist and called for action on global warming, framing it as a technological challenge that American innovation could address. But fossil fuel interests were shifting as the industry and its allies began to push back against empirical evidence of climate change, taking many conservatives along with them.

Documents uncovered by journalists and activists over the past decade lay out a clear strategy: First, target media outlets to get them to report more on the “uncertainties” in climate science, and position industry-backed contrarian scientists as expert sources for media. Second, target conservatives with the message that climate change is a liberal hoax, and paint anyone who takes the issue seriously as “out of touch with reality.” In the 1990s, oil companies, fossil fuel industry trade groups and their respective PR firms began positioning contrarian scientists such as Willie SoonWilliam Happer and David Legates as experts whose opinions on climate change should be considered equal and opposite to that of climate scientists. The Heartland Institute, which hosts an annual International Conference on Climate Change known as the leading climate skeptics conference, for example, routinely calls out media outlets (including The Washington Post) for showing “bias” in covering climate change when they either decline to quote a skeptic or question a skeptic’s credibility.

Data on how effective this strategy has been is hard to come by, but anecdotal evidence of its success abounds. In the early 1990s, polls showed that about 80 percent of Americans were aware of climate change and accepted that something must be done about it, an opinion that crossed party lines. By 2008, Gallup found a marked partisan divide on climate change. By 2010, the American public’s belief in climate change hit an all-time low of 48 percent, despite the fact that those 20 years saw increased research, improved climate models and several climate change predictions coming true.

By demanding “balance,” the industry transformed climate change into a partisan issue. We know that was a deliberate strategy because various internal documents from ExxonMobil, Shell, the American Petroleum Institute and a handful of now-defunct fossil fuel industry groups reveal not only the industry’s strategy to target media with this message and these experts,  but also its own preemptive debunking of the very theories it went on to support.

It need not have been such a successful strategy: If news purveyors really wanted to be evenhanded on coverage of climate change, they could certainly weave in the insights of more conservative scientists — those whose predictions err on the sunnier side of apocalypse. Instead, many took the industry’s bait, routinely inserting denialist claims into stories about climate science in the interest of providing balance: In an analysis of 636 articles covering climate change that appeared in “prestige U.S. outlets” from 1988 to 2002, researchers from the University of California at Santa Cruz and American University found that 52.65 percent presented climate science and contrarian theories as equal. The practice continued into the mid-2000s. As recently as 2007, PBS NewsHour invited well-known (and widely debunked) former weatherman Anthony Watts on to counterbalance Richard Muller, a former Koch-funded skeptic who had shifted his view…………

It’s well past time the media stopped allowing itself to be a tool in the fossil fuel industry’s information war. Oreskes likens the push for “balance” on climate change to journalists arguing over the final score of a baseball game. “If the Yankees beat the Red Sox 6-2, journalists would report that. They would not feel compelled to find someone to say actually the Red Sox won, or the score was 6-4,” she sayshttps://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2019/01/10/how-fossil-fuel-industry-got-media-think-climate-change-was-debatable/

January 14, 2019 Posted by | climate change, USA | Leave a comment

Australia, (with its climate-sceptic government) getting record heat across the continent

Record-breaking heatwave to hit every state and territory, https://www.sbs.com.au/news/record-breaking-heatwave-to-hit-every-state-and-territory  13 Jan 19, Every state and territory in Australia will experience heatwave conditions on Monday, forecasters say.  A cyclone is brewing off Western Australia’s Kimberley coast while much of the country is set to swelter in heatwave conditions.

Every state and territory will cop the heat on Monday when temperatures soar with some regions to experience severe and extreme hot weather.

The Bureau of Meteorology forecasts low intensity heatwave conditions in parts of central WA to southern parts of the Northern Territory, southwestern Queensland and across NSW, Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia.

It will be worst in South Australia where multiple days of temperatures above 40C, an unusual event even for summer, meteorologist Dean Narramore said on Sunday.

Particularly northern South Australia, they’re looking at maybe five days in a row above 45 and normally they might only get five or 10 a year,” he said.

Melbourne can expect to see a few days in the mid to high 30s, while temperatures in Sydney’s west will peak above 40C for four or five days.

January 14, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, climate change | Leave a comment

Climate change: seal levels are rising at different rates around the globe

Explainer: Why sea levels aren’t rising at the same rate globally, A spinning planet, melting ice sheets and warmer waters all contribute to sea level rise, Science news for Students, KATY DAIGLE, CAROLYN GRAMLING, JAN 10, 2019 The sea is coming for the land. In the 20th century, ocean levels rose by a global average of about 14 centimeters (some 5.5 inches). Most of that came from warming water and melting ice. But the water didn’t rise the same amount everywhere. Some coastal areas saw more sea level rise than others. Here’s why:

Swelling seawater  As water heats up, its molecules spread out. That means warmer water takes up slightly more space. It’s just a tiny bit per water molecule. But over an ocean, it’s enough to bump up global sea levels……..

Land a-rising  Heavy ice sheets — glaciers — covered much of the Northern Hemisphere about 20,000 years ago. The weight of all that ice compressed the land beneath it in areas such as the northeastern United States. Now that this ice is gone, the land has been slowly rebounding to its former height. So in those areas, because the land is rising, sea levels appear to be rising more slowly.

But regions that once lay at the edges of the ice sheets are sinking. ……..

Land a-falling, Earthquakes can make land levels rise and fall…….

Glaciers begone  Melting glaciers also can add water to the oceans. But these huge ice slabs affect sea levels in other ways, too.

Huge glaciers can exert a gravitational tug on nearby coastal waters. ……. https://www.sciencenewsforstudents.org/article/explainer-why-sea-level-rise-rate-varies-globally

January 12, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, oceans | Leave a comment

Forget party politics- the climate does not care – Katherine Hayhoe

Katharine Hayhoe: ‘A thermometer is not liberal or conservative’ Guardian, Jonathan Watts,  6 Jan 19   Katharine Hayhoe: ‘Fear is a short-term spur to action, but to make changes over the long term, we must have hope.’  

Let Science Speak – Dr. Katharine Hayhoe

The award-winning atmospheric scientist on the urgency of the climate crisis and why people are her biggest hope  “….. In 2018, we have seen forest fires in the Arctic circle; record high temperatures in parts of Australia, Africa and the US; floods in India; and devastating droughts in South Africa and Argentina. Is this a turning point? 
This year has hit home how climate change loads the dice against us by taking naturally occurring weather events and amplifying them. We now have attribution studies that show how much more likely or stronger extreme weather events have become as a result of human emissions. For example, wildfires in the western US now burn nearly twice the area they would without climate change, and almost 40% more rain fell during Hurricane Harvey than would have otherwise. So we are really feeling the impacts and know how much humanity is responsible.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released its 1.5C report in October. A month later, the US federal government’s climate assessment – to which youcontributed – came out. How did these two massive studies move our understanding along? 
These assessments are important because there is a Schrödinger’s Cat element to studying climate impacts. The act of observing affects the outcome. If people aren’t aware of what is happening, why would anyone change? Assessments like these provide us with a vision of the future if we continue on our current pathway, and by doing so they address the most widespread and dangerous myth that the largest number of us have bought into: not that the science isn’t real, but rather that climate change doesn’t matter to me personally.

Compared to past studies, how much media attention did these reports receive?

There was significant coverage but a lot of media survive by generating controversy so they bring on opposing voices rather than explaining the scientific facts. Climate change shouldn’t be fodder for commentators who represent the interests of the fossil fuel industry by muddying the science. As a human and a scientist, this focus on controversy is frustrating. A thermometer is not liberal or conservative.

Are there any signs that public opinion is shifting in the US and elsewhere

We haven’t yet reached the tipping point to motivate sufficient action. But there has been a change. Ten years ago, few people felt personally affected by climate change. It seemed very distant. Today, most people can point to a specific way climate affects their daily lives. This is important because the three key steps to action are accepting that climate change is real, recognising it affects us, and being motivated to do something to fix it. Opinion polls in the US show 70% of people agree the climate is changing, but a majority still say it won’t affect them.

Trump was dismissive of these reports and has repeatedly tried to deny any link between climate change and extreme weather. What are the politics behind this denial? 

It’s a vicious cycle. The more doom-filled reports the scientists release, the stronger the pushback from politicians whose power, ideology and funding depends on maintaining the status quo, and who are supported by those who fear the solutions to climate change more than they fear its impacts. Opposition to climate change is a symptom of a society that is politically polarised between those who cling to the past and those who recognise the need for a better future. Fossil fuels have brought us many benefits – and I’m grateful for their contribution to my life – but the solution to our current crisis is to stop using them. That change can be scary, especially for those with most to lose financially from this shift. If you feel threatened, the instinctive reaction is to push back………

On current trends, if you had to give a percentage breakdown of the likelihood of the following three outcomes by 2100, what would you give: a) keeping to 1.5C; b) keeping to 2C; c) rising above 3C; and d) overshooting 4C?
I’d put my money on a gradual bend away from a higher scenario, which is where we are now, until accumulating and worsening climate disasters eventually lead to a collective “oh shit!” moment, when people finally realise climate impacts do pose a far greater threat than the solutions. At that point, I would hope the world would suddenly ramp up its carbon reduction to the scale of a Manhattan Project or a moon race and we would finally be able to make serious progress. The multitrillion-dollar question is simply when that tipping point in opinion will come, and whether it will be too late for civilisation as we know it. I hope with all my heart that we stay under 1.5C, but my cynical brain says 3C. Perhaps the reality will be somewhere between my head and my heart at 2C.

What is the best way out of the climate crisis? What policies would make a difference? 
The most important thing is to accelerate the realisation that we have to act. This means connecting the dots to show that the impacts are not distant any more: they are here and they affect our lives. It also means talking about solutions. The technology and knowledge are there. The economics already make sense. In Texas, where I live, the biggest military base, Fort Hood, switched last year to renewables because they were cheaper than natural gas. And finally, it means weaning ourselves off fossil fuels, which is challenged by the fact that the majority of the world’s richest companies have made their money from the fossil fuel economy – so the majority of the wealth and power remains in their hands. ……… https://www.theguardian.com/science/2019/jan/06/katharine-hayhoe-interview-climate-change-scientist-crisis-hope

January 8, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

The debate should now be over: climate change is upon us

Are we clear about climate change? https://newpittsburghcourieronline.com/2019/01/06/are-we-clear-about-climate-change/

Bill Fletcher Jr., For New Pittsburgh Courier  (NNPA)—In the last two months we have had two devastating hurricanes along with two devastating reports regarding climate change. If anyone wants to further deny the reality of climate change they need to go into a corner along with those who continue to believe that the Earth is flat.

Let’s start with the hurricanes. Florence and Michael have brought tremendous and near apocalyptic damage to the regions that they hit. Entire towns have been wiped out. Looking at pictures of the Florida panhandle in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael brought to mind pictures of areas that had been devastated by carpet bombing.

The warnings, in connection with both hurricanes, were very ominous. The strength of the hurricanes before they hit, with Florence initially off the charts and with Michael the strongest on record to hit the panhandle, should have led even the dimmest light in the room to glow brightly. Something is definitely wrong. Scientists explained this in the immediate aftermath of Michael: yes, they said, there is a direct connection between climate change and the increased intensity and unpredictability of hurricanes. There, it’s been stated.

There were also two reports. The first was from the Trump administration itself, and one, from what I can figure, they did not want the public to see. In essence the report indicated that the Administration expects the temperature of planet Earth to jump 6-7 degrees by the 22nd century. Ironically, they also conclude that nothing can be done, therefore, there is no point in increased regulations on the greenhouse gases that promote climate change! Did I hear that right?

The other report was from the United Nations warning us that nations are not keeping to their agreed targets from the Paris Climate Accords and, as a result, the planet is hurtling towards a point of no return, which could arrive within the next 10-15 years.

The conclusion that we should take from all of this is that the debate is finally over. There is clear and verifiable evidence of climate change underway and the direct relationship of human activity to this phenomenon. For those who raise the point that there has been climate change in the past and that this is natural, guess again. Yes, there has been climate change and it has taken place over hundreds of years. There is no precedent for what we are currently experiencing. This is something new and it is dangerous. And it is something that may envelope humanity in our current life-times, not to mention the life-times of our children.

January 8, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Climate change brings a boom in jellyfish, and a threat to nuclear reactors

Is climate change beating nuclear reactors, even while the nuclear lobby claims it’s the other way around? There are many records of nuclear reactors being shut down due to jelly fish.

Jellyfish are causing mayhem as pollution, climate change see numbers boom, ABC, RN  By Hong Jiang and Sasha Fegan for Late Night Live 6 Jan 19 Jellyfish have been around for at least 500 million years — they’re older than dinosaurs and even trees.Science writer Juli Berwald calls them “ghosts from the true garden of Eden”.

“An intelligence of a sort has allowed them to make it through the millennia,” she says.

And they’re not going anywhere.

In fact, the brainless, spineless, eyeless, bloodless creatures are booming in numbers — and causing mayhem around the world. Their propensity to breed fast and prolifically means jellyfish can disrupt ocean ecosystems in a flash.

And their effects aren’t contained to the sea.

In places like Sweden, Israel, the US and the Philippines, power plants have been affected by blooms of jellyfish.

“So many jellyfish were swept into the power system … that it shut down the power system through much of this one island in the Philippines,” Ms Berwald says. People thought that perhaps there was a coup going on, but there wasn’t, it was just the jellyfish.”

Jellyfish have also caused plants to shut down in Japan.

“One jellyfish scientist from Japan told me that the first threat to the electric system in Japan is earthquakes, but the second is jellyfish,” Berwald says.

“We are dealing with a ubiquitous creature.”

A human cause

Some scientists think jellyfish numbers are increasing as the climate changes — the creatures reproduce well in warmer waters.

Jellyfish also fare better than many other sea creatures in polluted waters, as they don’t need much oxygen.

Berwald says that can give them the upper hand over predators.

“They can sort of slip into polluted waters, into low oxygen waters, and hide from predation there better than a fish that has a higher oxygen demand,” she says…….. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-01-06/the-magic-and-mayhem-of-jellyfish/10377112

January 6, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Historical cooling periods are still playing out in the deep Pacific

 https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2019-01/hjap-hcp010419.php4 Jan 19, Whereas most of the ocean is responding to modern warming, the deep Pacific may be cooling, HARVARD JOHN A. PAULSON SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING AND APPLIED SCIENCES The ocean has a long memory. When the water in today’s deep Pacific Ocean last saw sunlight, Charlemagne was the Holy Roman Emperor, the Song Dynasty ruled China and Oxford University had just held its very first class. During that time, between the 9th and 12th centuries, the earth’s climate was generally warmer before the cold of the Little Ice Age settled in around the 16th century. Now, ocean surface temperatures are back on the rise but the question is, do the deepest parts of the ocean know that?

Researchers from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and Harvard University have found that the deep Pacific Ocean lags a few centuries behind in terms of temperature and is still adjusting to the advent of the Little Ice Age. Whereas most of the ocean is responding to modern warming, the deep Pacific may be cooling.

The research is published in Science.

“Climate varies across all timescales,” said Peter Huybers, Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences and of Environmental Science and Engineering at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and co-author of the paper. “Some regional warming and cooling patterns, like the Little Ice Age and the Medieval Warm Period, are well known. Our goal was to develop a model of how the interior properties of the ocean respond to changes in surface climate.”

What that model showed was surprising.

“If the surface ocean was generally cooling for the better part of the last millennium, those parts of the ocean most isolated from modern warming may still be cooling,” said Jake Gebbie, a physical oceanographer at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and lead author of the study.

The model is a simplification of the actual ocean. To test the prediction, Gebbie and Huybers compared the cooling trend found in the model to ocean temperature measurements taken by scientists aboard the HMS Challenger in the 1870s and modern observations from the World Ocean Circulation Experiment of the 1990s.

The HMS Challenger, a three-masted wooden sailing ship originally designed as a British warship, was used for the first modern scientific expedition to explore the world’s ocean and seafloor. During the expedition from 1872 to 1876, thermometers were lowered into the ocean depths and more than 5,000 temperature measurements were logged.

“We screened this historical data for outliers and considered a variety of corrections associated with pressure effects on the thermometer and stretching of the hemp rope used for lowering thermometers,” said Huybers.

The researchers then compared the HMS Challenger data to the modern observations and found warming in most parts of the global ocean, as would be expected due to the warming planet over the 20th Century, but cooling in the deep Pacific at a depth of around two kilometers depth.

“The close correspondence between the predictions and observed trends gave us confidence that this is a real phenomenon,” said Gebbie.

These findings imply that variations in surface climate that predate the onset of modern warming still influence how much the climate is heating up today. Previous estimates of how much heat the Earth had absorbed during the last century assumed an ocean that started out in equilibrium at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. But Gebbie and Huybers estimate that the deep Pacific cooling trend leads to a downward revision of heat absorbed over the 20th century by about 30 percent.

“Part of the heat needed to bring the ocean into equilibrium with an atmosphere having more greenhouse gases was apparently already present in the deep Pacific,” said Huybers. “These findings increase the impetus for understanding the causes of the Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age as a way for better understanding modern warming trends.”

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This research was funded by the James E. and Barbara V. Moltz Fellowship and National Science Foundation grants OCE-1357121 and OCE-1558939

January 6, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, oceans | Leave a comment