September 2012

Sea Level Rise September 1, 2012 : 6:22 PM

Virginia is already experiencing the effects of sea level rise:

“In many ways the problem is already upon Norfolk. The Atlantic Ocean off Virginia's coast is rising a quarter of an inch annually, equivalent to two feet in 100 years – faster than anywhere else in the United States except for coastal Louisiana. The ocean at Sewells Point, site of the Norfolk Naval Station, rose 14.5 inches between 1930 and 2010. And that's likely to accelerate. Last month the U.S. Geological Survey reported that sea levels are rising more quickly along the Atlantic coast from North Carolina to Massachusetts than globally, possibly as a result of slowing Atlantic Ocean circulation patterns.”

Source: Daily Climate

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Mitt Romney and income inequality September 4, 2012 : 6:14 PM

Last week on Current TV, I discussed how Mitt Romney’s policies would increase income inequality.

Tune in again to Current TV this week on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday for coverage of the Democratic National Convention from 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm eastern.

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Antarctic Methane September 6, 2012 : 1:10 PM

It now appears that the release of methane, already a known problem in the Arctic, could be a problem in Antarctica as well:

“As Arctic permafrost thaws, methane is released. Last December, we got the bad news that the release could be 2.5 times more than originally estimated. The more methane released, the more the global-warming impact — and the faster ice melts and ground thaws, and the more methane released.”

“Permafrost was primarily a concern in the Arctic, not the Antarctic. Today, bad news: The amount of methane released by a melting Antarctic may be equivalent.”

“The Antarctic Ice Sheet could be an overlooked but important source of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, according to a report in the August 30 issue of Nature by an international team of scientists.”

Source: Grist

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Clean Job Growth September 8, 2012 : 7:44 PM

Massachusetts sees huge growth in clean jobs thanks to strong government investments:

“Government investment and support for clean, renewable energy development is paying off handsomely in Massachusetts, where the clean energy economy grew 11.2% between July 2011 and July 2012. The state’s fast-growing clean energy sector now employs 71,523 people at 4,995 clean energy businesses across the state, according to a Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) report released Aug. 16.”

Source: CleanTechnica.com

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Just Wait Until Next Year September 11, 2012 : 6:12 PM

If you thought 2012 was hot, just wait until 2013:

“It has been another "normal" global-warming summer in the Northern Hemisphere. The United States sweltered in the hottest July on record, following the hottest spring on record. More than 60 percent of the contiguous United States is suffering from drought, as are parts of eastern Europe and India. In the Arctic, sea ice cover is at a record low, and the Greenland ice sheet shows what the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center calls "extraordinary high melting." Global land temperatures for May and June were the hottest since records began in the 19th century.”

“Meanwhile, El Niño conditions are forecast to develop in the tropical Pacific Ocean, warming up ocean surface temperatures. Some observers have predicted that this will lead to record-breaking global temperatures next year.”

“If El Niño does arrive and temperature records are broken, there will inevitably be much discussion of the causes of the warming.”

Source: Slate

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Timeline of Extreme Weather September 13, 2012 : 5:44 PM

The World Resources Institute has put together a great timeline of this year's extreme weather events:

“Over the past several months, extreme weather and climate events in the form of heat waves, droughts, fires, and flooding have seemed to become the norm rather than the exception. In the past half-year alone, millions of people have been affected across the globe – from Europe suffering from the worst cold snap in a quarter century; to extreme flooding in Australia, Brazil, China, and the Philippines; to drought in the Sahel. Records have been broken monthly in the continental United States, with the warmest spring and 12-month period experienced this year and severe fires and drought affecting large swaths of the country.”

“So how bad has it really been? Below we have put together a timeline of extreme climate and weather events in 2012. We have by no means attempted to be comprehensive in listing events, but have aimed to include some of the most significant occurrences this year. Please let us know through the comment section if we are missing some, as we plan to update the timeline periodically.”

See the timeline by clicking here.

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Denier Conspiracy Buffs September 14, 2012 : 4:42 PM

A new study links climate denial to belief in conspiracy theories:

“Professor Stephan Lewandowsky, a cognitive psychologist at the University of Western Australia (UWA), is about to publish research which shows that a strong indicator of the rejection of climate science is a willingness to accept conspiracy theories.”

“His paper, to be published in the journal Psychological Science, is titled “NASA faked the moon landing – Therefore (Climate) Science is a Hoax: An Anatomy of the Motivated Rejection of Science“.”

“The study details the results of a controlled online questionnaire posted on blogs between August and October 2010.”

“Among the conspiracy theories tested, were the faking of Apollo moon landings, US government agencies plotting to assassinate Martin Luther King, Princess Diana’s death being organised by members of the British Royal family and the US military covering up the recovery of an alien spacecraft that crashed in Roswell, New Mexico.”

"In the paper, Lewandowsky concludes that “endorsement of a cluster of conspiracy theories… predicts rejection of climate science”. The research also claims a correlation between people who endorse free-market economics and the ”rejection of climate science”.

Source: Climate Progress

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Climate and Food September 15, 2012 : 7:45 PM

Oxfam has a new study out suggesting the climate crisis’s impact on food prices might be underestimated:

“Climate change's impact on future food prices is being underestimated, Oxfam warned in a report on Wednesday.”

“The development charity predicts that massive price spikes will be a devastating blow to the world's poorest people who today spend up to 75% of their income on food, and will also adversely affect UK consumers.”

“Its report, Extreme Weather, Extreme Price, suggests extreme weather events such as droughts and floods – made more likely by global warming – could drive up future food prices. Previous research has tended to consider gradual impacts of rising global temperatures, such as changing rainfall patterns.”

Source: Guardian

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Lost Antarctica September 18, 2012 : 7:32 PM

Antarctica can often seem remote, even otherworldly. In his new book Lost Antarctica, James McClintock eloquently transports the reader to the bottom of the world to witness the profound changes that are taking place.

“As global temperatures rise, icebergs will more often break off, or calve from, the mainland. Throughout the decade I have worked at Palmer Station, I have witnessed many bergs or smaller pieces of ice calve from their glaciers. About once a week, I would be startled by a loud, thundering crash. Leaping from my desk on the second floor of the Palmer BioLab, I would join others running down the hall to throw open the door and watch the waves rolling up neighboring Arthur Harbor—waves brought on by a house-sized chunk of the Marr Glacier breaking free and plummeting in to the sea. Now when I visit Palmer Station, the calving events have come so routine that my colleagues and I in the BioLab don't even bother to move from our desks when we hear the glacier roar. Sometimes, three of four calvings happen in a singly day. Indeed those who have worked at Palmer Station over the past decade don't need to consult journals, television programs, or the Internet to understand how the climate is changing. Furthermore, as the geography changes, so do the names of actual locations. When the receding ice tongue of the Marr Glacier recently revealed an island rather than a seemingly long-established point of land, Amsler Island was officially born.”

Buy it at Amazon.

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Nothing New About "Clean Coal" September 20, 2012 : 8:38 PM

The coal industry has spent decades promoting the idea of clean coal, instead of actually helping us switch to cleaner fuels:

“The coal industry’s push to brand coal as “clean” seems like a new phenomenon. In fact, as a new database of coal advertisements shows, this messaging strategy has been used by the industry since at least the 1920’s.”

“The database was put together by Greenpeace’s Quit Coal campaign. It features ads questioning global warming, obscuring the impact of acid rain, and railing on Environmental Protection Agency regulations.”

“Here’s an advertisement in the Wall Street Journal from 1979 in which American Electric Power touts clean coal as the solution to “help make the America we see ahead a better America.”

Source: Climate Progress

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A Threat To Business September 21, 2012 : 4:20 PM

That is how more major companies are viewing the climate crisis:

“Major companies are increasingly concerned that they are at risk from climate change in the face of recent extreme weather events such as drought and floods, according to a report published on Wednesday.”

“More than one-third (37%) see the physical risks of a changing climate as a real and present danger, up from just 10% two years ago, says the latest Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) Global 500 report, a survey of top global companies.”

“Four-fifths (81%) identify climate change risks to their business operations, supply chains and plans, up from 71% last year.”

Source: The Guardian

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Save the Date September 25, 2012 : 7:01 PM

Get ready to experience 24 Hours of Reality on November 14-15 presented by The Climate Reality Project. As I explained when announcing this exciting event:

“Dirty fossil fuels have created a world of Dirty Weather. Together we can stop the climate crisis. Join us for the 24-hour global live-streaming event when the world stands up for reality.”

Get more information at: ow.ly/dVwe3

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Legislative Insanity September 27, 2012 : 12:04 PM

Before leaving town for a pre-election recess, Republicans in the House of Representative decided to deliver a gift to their funders in the coal industry. Climate Progress reports:

“In the House of Representatives’ final act before its two-month vacation, House Republicans approved 233-175 a pro-coal package on Friday that dismantles or delays an array of public health protections. H.R. 4309 may be named for the fictitious “war on coal,” but it rolls back protections in the Clean Water and Clean Air Acts, blocking EPA carbon pollution standards and fuel efficiency standards.”

“In a year where fossil fuel groups have pledged to spend hundreds of millions of dollars, the House GOP’s last act before November is a symbolic gesture for coal, that risks Americans’ health and even the coal industry itself.”

This is beyond bad policy – it is an act of malice. While failing to reauthorize wind energy tax credits, Republicans continue to subsidize an industry pumping out toxic pollution that increases dozens of health problems, not to mention the destruction of our climate. This was truly an act of legislative insanity.

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The Effects Are Already Here September 27, 2012 : 8:31 PM

No longer can we suggest that the effects of climate change are far off in the future:

“For the most part, many people still experience climate change on an academic rather than a personal level. But for the villagers of Vunidogoloa on Vanua Levu, Fiji’s second largest island, climate change has become a daily intrusion on every day life. The villagers of Vunidogoloa are currently relocating to drier and higher land because of sea level rise, erosion, and intensifying floods. I had the opportunity to visit the village midway through this process – one of the very first village relocation projects in the world – and spoke with people young and old about their upcoming move.”

Source: Salon.com

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Planetary Emergency September 28, 2012 : 1:34 PM

The record-breaking Arctic ice melt demonstrates that we are in a planetary emergency:

“Experts warned of a "planetary emergency" due to the unforeseen global consequences of Arctic ice melt, including methane gas released from permafrost regions currently under ice.”

“Columbia University and the environmental activist group Greenpeace held separate events Wednesday to discuss US government data showing that the Arctic sea ice has shrunk to its smallest surface area since record-keeping began in 1979.”

“Satellite images show the Arctic ice cap melted to 1.32 million square miles (3.4 million square kilometers) as of September 16, the predicted lowest point for the year, according to data from the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colorado.”

Source: AFP

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Seven Warning Signs September 29, 2012 : 1:34 PM

A great feature in the Los Angeles Times:

“As the signs that the world is warming grow ever more unmistakable, one of the ironies of the American political debate on the topic is that leaders in the states being most heavily affected are often those least inclined to do anything about it, or even acknowledge that there's a problem.”

See the slide show by clicking here.

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330 Months in a Row September 29, 2012 : 4:57 PM

The numbers are shocking:

But that stat that rolled out later on struck me; the one indicating that it's been over 35 years since a single August has clocked a cooler temp than the century-spanning average. And over a quarter of a century since any given month has done the same—that's remarkable.

If the world wasn't in the midst of humankind-induced global warming, you'd expect to see a mixed bag of monthly temps registering both above and below the 20th century average. But, of course, it is, and those 330 months are just some of the first small steps in the long march of global warming.

Source: TreeHugger.com

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China Takes Action September 30, 2012 : 12:23 PM

And the United States falls further behind:

"China, the world’s biggest carbon dioxide emitter, has struck a deal to work with the European Union to cut greenhouse gases through projects including the development of Chinese emissions trading schemes, the European Commission said on Thursday."

Source Reuters

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