July 2012

Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson Could Not Be More Wrong July 2, 2012 : 12:54 PM

With wildfires burning in Colorado and thousands of heat records being set across the country, Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson had the temerity to claim that:

‘‘We have spent our entire existence adapting. We'll adapt . . . . It’s an engineering problem and there will be an engineering solution.’’

Of course, we need to continue developing and deploying new technologies, but we cannot merely engineer our way out of this crisis. We need policy change on a global scale and Exxon has been at the forefront of those blocking change.

Source: Associated Press

Link

Over 1,000 New Heat Records July 3, 2012 : 3:12 PM

Over 1,000 new heat records were set last week:

“If you’re feeling hot this week, it’s not a mirage. From Montana to Louisiana, hundreds of heat records have been slashed as harrowing temperatures leave cornfields parched and city sidewalks sizzling."

"On Tuesday 251 new daily high temperature records were set, boosting to 1,015 the number of records set in the past seven days.”

My home city of Nashville reached 109 degrees -- in June and Norton Dam, KS reached 118 degrees, breaking a three day old record of 113 degrees.

Source: Associated Press

Link

This is What the Climate Crisis Looks Like July 4, 2012 : 9:34 AM

The Associated Press reports that the extreme weather events of the past several weeks are exactly what the climate crisis looks like. These events – and even more devastating extreme weather – are inevitable as long as we continue to ignore the reality of the climate crisis:

“Is it just freakish weather or something more? Climate scientists suggest that if you want a glimpse of some of the worst of global warming, take a look at U.S. weather in recent weeks."

"Horrendous wildfires. Oppressive heat waves. Devastating droughts. Flooding from giant deluges. And a powerful freak wind storm called a derecho."

"But since at least 1988, climate scientists have warned that climate change would bring, in general, increased heat waves, more droughts, more sudden downpours, more widespread wildfires and worsening storms. In the United States, those extremes are happening here and now."

"So far this year, more than 2.1 million acres have burned in wildfires, more than 113 million people in the U.S. were in areas under extreme heat advisories last Friday, two-thirds of the country is experiencing drought, and earlier in June, deluges flooded Minnesota and Florida."

"What we're seeing really is a window into what global warming really looks like," said Princeton University geosciences and international affairs professor Michael Oppenheimer. "It looks like heat. It looks like fires. It looks like this kind of environmental disasters."

"Such patterns haven't happened only in the past week or two. The spring and winter in the U.S. were the warmest on record and among the least snowy, setting the stage for the weather extremes to come, scientists say."

"Since Jan. 1, the United States has set more than 40,000 hot temperature records, but fewer than 6,000 cold temperature records, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Through most of last century, the U.S. used to set cold and hot records evenly, but in the first decade of this century America set two hot records for every cold one, said Jerry Meehl, a climate extreme expert at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. This year the ratio is about 7 hot to 1 cold. Some computer models say that ratio will hit 20-to-1 by midcentury, Meehl said.”

Link

Coal's Imaginary Friends July 5, 2012 : 4:29 PM

The coal industry reaches a new AstroTurfing low, submitting a petition to the White House that contained hundreds of fake names:

“The U.S. coal industry is so deeply unpopular, it has now turned to its imaginary friends for help.”

“That’s according to a linguistic analysis of a recent petition opposing new regulation of toxic coal ash. The petition, which was sent to the White House by the coal industry last year, featured more than two thousand Chinese names. That raised the curiosity of the Environmental Integrity Project (EIP). So the organization commissioned an analysis of the signatories.”

“EIP says the analysis shows that hundreds of the names are complete fakes. When translated, many of the Chinese “people” supporting the coal industry’s petition have names like “Steamed Bun Little Sister” and “Come to China Donkey.” The translator who examined the signatures determined that “most of the Chinese names in the petition are not authentic, and … appear to be generated by a piece of software or a group of individuals.”

Source: Climate Progress

Link

Over Half the US is in Drought July 11, 2012 : 2:20 PM

For the first time since their record-keeping began 12 years ago, the US Drought Monitor reports that more than half of the lower 48 states are in drought:

"The United States is parched, with more than half of the lower 48 states experiencing moderate to extreme drought, according to a report released today (July 5).”

“Just under 56 percent of the contiguous United States is in drought conditions, the most extensive area in the 12-year history of the U.S. Drought Monitor. The previous drought records occurred on Aug. 26, 2003, when 54.79 percent of the lower 48 were in drought and on Sept 10, 2002, when drought extended across 54.63 percent of this area."

"The recent heat and dryness is catching up with us on a national scale," Michael Hayes, director of the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, said in a statement. "Now, we have a larger section of the country in these lesser categories of drought than we've previously experienced" in the past 12 years."

Source: Huffington Post

Link

"Out of whack" July 13, 2012 : 9:13 AM

More temperature records fall as suffocating heat and drought continue to plague the Midwest:

"It's not that the Midwest hasn't been extremely hot before, and it's not that it hasn't been incredibly dry. But it's unusual for a vast swath of the Midwest to be so very hot and so very dry for so very long -- particularly this early in the summer. The current heat wave -- which is spurring comparisons to the catastrophic heat of 1936 -- is "out of whack," meteorologist Jim Keeney said Friday in an interview with the Los Angeles Times."

"Heat records are being shattered as are records for the number of days in a row the temperature has hit 100 or higher, he said. Take St. Louis, for example. The last time the city was this hot for this long was in 1936, said Keeney, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service Central Region Headquarters in Kansas City, Mo. Then, the city recorded 13 days in a row of temperatures 100 degrees Fahrenheit or over. That devastating heat wave of the mid-'30s killed thousands of people and destroyed many crops."

Source: LA Times

Link

So Hot the Asphalt is Melting July 13, 2012 : 2:53 PM

Sustained high temperatures from this year's record-breaking heat wave caused an unusual disruption at Washington's Reagan-National Airport. The Washington Post reports:

"Things were proceeding normally Friday evening as a US Airways flight was leaving the gate at Reagan National Airport to begin its flight to Charleston, S.C.

"But the temperature reached 100 degrees in Washington on Friday and that apparently softened the airport paving enough to immobilize the airplane. The small vehicle that usually tows planes away from the gate tugged and pulled, but the plane was stuck."

. . .

"It was “pretty rare,” Mohr said. But then, she noted, “we’ve also had very unusual temperatures.”

Link

Biggest disaster area in US history from recent extreme weather July 14, 2012 : 8:33 AM

The US Department of Agriculture has named over 1,000 counties in 26 states as disaster areas - the largest declaration in history - as a result of the recent drought, wildfires and other extreme weather events threatening agriculture and many other industries across the entire country. As scientists have told us, this is what the climate crisis looks like.

Read more

Link

This Would Not Have Been Possible. . . July 15, 2012 : 9:42 AM

Four men are setting out to row across the Arctic. A few years ago this would not have been possible:

“They're calling it the Arctic Row. Four men with a profound love of adventure are setting out to do something dangerous and unprecedented -- something they could not have done before the ice covering the top of the world began to melt in earnest.”

“They are going to row across the Arctic Ocean, nonstop and without support.”

“It's just four U.S. men in a narrow rowboat -- but they have a gigantic issue before them: what the melting of the Arctic means for the world. Obviously, they won't come away with all the answers. What they say they're looking for, at the very least, is to raise a little more awareness about the changes underway in the Arctic.”

Source: LA Times

Link

Extreme Weather has a Price July 15, 2012 : 6:56 PM

According to The New York Times, some farmers are already mowing over their "parched fields" and the US corn crop is threatened:

“Across a wide stretch of the Midwest, sweltering temperatures and a lack of rain are threatening what had been expected to be the nation’s largest corn crop in generations.”

“Already, some farmers in Illinois and Missouri have given up on parched and stunted fields, mowing them over. National experts say parts of five corn-growing states, including Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio, are experiencing severe or extreme drought conditions. And in at least nine states, conditions in one-fifth to one-half of cornfields have been deemed poor or very poor, federal authorities reported this week, a notable shift from the high expectations of just a month ago.”

Link

Another GOP Clean Energy Lie July 16, 2012 : 6:08 PM

Climate Progress reports on the GOP's refusal to tell the truth about clean energy:

“After being repeatedly called out by fact-checkers for straight-up lying in political ads attacking clean energy jobs, the GOP is doubling down on claims about the stimulus package that the Washington Post has called ‘ridiculous.’ “

“The Republican National Committee just rolled out a new website that rehashes many of the party’s widely-debunked assertions that the President sent jobs overseas through the stimulus. Responding to the Obama campaign’s charges that Romney outsourced jobs while at the private equity firm Bain Capital, the GOP is attempting to weave an outsourcing story of its own — this one centered on clean energy jobs.”

“Even with 660,00 jobs supported by green buildings, 75,000 jobs in the wind industry, 100,000 jobs supported by the solar industry, and 155,000 jobs in the clean and efficient vehicle sector, the RNC is stepping up its claims that the Obama Administration hurt jobs through his promotion of clean energy in the stimulus package.”

Link

Falling Behind July 17, 2012 : 6:36 PM

A new study from the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy demonstrates how far we are falling behind other nations. Climate Central reports:

“The nonprofit American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) released a report this week ranking the top 12 global economies in terms of their energy efficiency. The U.S. was 9th, trailing not only the United Kingdom, which ranked 1st, but also behind the European Union and China.”

“The report, called the "International Energy Efficiency Scorecard," analyzed the efficiency of the 12 largest global economies, which included Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the European Union. These 12 economies consume 63 percent of the world energy and are responsible for 62 percent of its carbon dioxide emissions.”

Link

Hurting Farmers July 18, 2012 : 5:05 PM

Farmers in the Midwest are feeling the effects of the climate crisis:

“All of Iowa is now considered as "abnormally dry," compared to none of the state a year ago, the U.S. Drought Monitor reported on Thursday.”

“About 13 percent of the state is now in severe drought, with the worst-hit areas in the east-central section and southeastern corner of the state. The entire eastern half of Iowa is in at least moderate drought.”

“Drought in the Midwest worsened over the past week, with a third of the nine-state region in severe to exceptional drought in the weekended July 10, up from about a quarter of the region a week earlier, the Drought Monitor said.”

“The toll that the drought is taking on the U.S. corn crop is so severe in some areas of the Midwest that farmers are writing off whole fields, or fear they will soon have to.”

Source: Reuters

Link

Time For Action July 19, 2012 : 6:10 PM

Contrary to the conventional wisdom in Washington, most Americans want action now to solve the climate crisis:

"Most Americans say they believe temperatures around the world are going up and that weather patterns have become more unstable in the past few years, according to a new poll from The Washington Post and Stanford University."

"But they also see future warming as something that can be addressed, and majorities want government action across a range of policies to curb energy consumption, with more support for tax breaks than government mandates."

Source: Washington Post

Link

Interactive Drought Map July 24, 2012 : 3:47 PM

NPR creates a great resource for their readers to show the full extent of the recent drought:

“Texas experienced its worst drought on record last year. Now that the state is seeing some relief, drought conditions have consumed more than half the United States. Use this interactive map and chart to see how conditions have changed over time.”

See the map by clicking here.

Link

Melting Money July 26, 2012 : 4:30 PM

The recent heat wave is literally melting money in Canada:

“Confronted with photos of melted $100 bills, the Bank of Canada staunchly defended its new series of plastic currency as "the most durable bank notes ever issued" in the country.”

“The statement followed remarks by a credit union teller in Kelowna, B.C., who told a local radio station Tuesday she had seen melted polymer bills stuck together during a heat wave.”

Link

Global Warming's Terrifying New Math July 26, 2012 : 5:22 PM

Bill McKibben's new piece in Rolling Stone, "Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math," is a must read.

Link

By the Numbers July 27, 2012 : 2:25 PM

Climate Central breaks down this summer’s record heat:

“As a reporter and analyst on the extreme weather and climate change beat, I’ve found this summer to be dizzying, with too many extreme events and broken records to count, let alone write about. First it was the heat, then the wildfires, and now the ever-expanding drought that seems intent on swallowing the entire country and kicking off a global food crisis. Oh, and there has been more extreme heat. On Friday, in fact, several states in the High Plains were under heat watches and warnings, but they’re used to that by now. After all, this is the summer of sweat. It’s also a summer that offers a vivid and disturbing preview of what’s to come as a result of manmade global warming.”

See the full report by clicking here.

Link

A Converted Skeptic July 30, 2012 : 6:44 PM

Although his research study – partially funded by one of the Koch brothers – has not yet been printed in a peer-reviewed journal, Berkeley scientist Richard Muller writes in The New York Times:

“Call me a converted skeptic. Three years ago I identified problems in previous climate studies that, in my mind, threw doubt on the very existence of global warming. Last year, following an intensive research effort involving a dozen scientists, I concluded that global warming was real and that the prior estimates of the rate of warming were correct. I’m now going a step further: Humans are almost entirely the cause.”

Link

Need a relief from this summer's scorching heat? July 31, 2012 : 5:34 PM

We are in the midst of a tremendously hot summer. Between crops withering across the Midwest, fires in Colorado, and severe heat waves sweeping the entire country, a lot of people are saying out loud, "I'm too hot!"

Climate Reality has been working to raise awareness of the climate crisis, its links to the massive pollution from dirty energy, and the "dirty weather" it creates. Starting this week in Austin, TX, the Climate Reality "I'm Too Hot" ice cream truck will be distributing sweet treats to folks across the city to raise awareness of the reality of climate change. Learn more and make sure to visit them this week in Texas.

Link