Love in the Time of Human Extinction

Although I was able to maintain a pleasant expression, I was mentally throwing up in her face~ Augusten BurroughsRegular readers of my work might recall a time I was routinely assailed for not “joining forces” with the likes of Bill McFibben Bill McKibben. I pointed out he was lying about climate change, long before it was fashionable to do so. McKibben became a well-known entity in a short period of time. He and his organization were funded by the Rockefeller Foundation (aka Big Oil). McKibben made a name for himself, and apparently a lot of money, by taking the customary, halfway approach with the evidence. His fans, and many other people, accused me of “stealing hope” and “giving up.” I was not, and am not, interested in capitulating to irrational thinking. I prefer adherence to principle over being paid to generate confusion. Such an approach is anathema to a society that prefers charisma over character.

Now I am often told I need to support the Extinction Rebellion (XR). I am told XR is transmitting the same message I have been promulgating (they are not). I am further informed they are promoting my work (in a culture of profound ignorance and rampant dumbassery, denying my work is perceived as promoting my work). XR is making a name for itself, and has become a well-known entity in a short period of time (albeit not without detractors). They take the customary, halfway approach with the evidence. I have pointed out that XR is ignoring the aerosol masking effect, and that rebelling against extinction is analogous to rebelling against sunrise. In return, members of the group routinely trash me for “stealing hope” and “giving up.” I would add only that, with respect to human extinction, the rebellion against sunrise is beginning at high noon.

As one minor indication that XR has become part of the distraction-filled show promulgated by the corporate media, consider that about 1:50 into this video, a pop-up advertisement appears in the top left part of the screen with a link to “Inside Extinction Rebellion.” Please ignore the nonsense from Attenborough about unlimited energy and proceed to my point in this case: The Guardiansource of two hit pieces on me, is promoting XR. The Guardian is not alone in its obvious advertising campaign for XR, as anybody paying attention to mainstream sources is aware.

You might see similarities in these two cases claiming that I must get onboard with the likes of McKibben and also XR. I do.

I suspect I have sacrificed more than McKibben and the entire, combined passel of folks involved in the XR movement. Yet I am painted as the criminal for “stealing hope” (whatever that means) and “giving up” (whatever that means). Apparently presenting the full evidence about abrupt climate change makes me the bad person in a culture infatuated with magical thinking. Apparently the customary, halfway approach is preferred because it allows the retention of hope and the perception that something is being done (by somebody else).

In a ploy that dates to biblical times, those working on behalf of the dominant paradigm continue to kill evidentiary messengers while co-opting their messages. My own ability to transmit my message has been destroyed, both by the assassins and their propaganda. My teachings are now being cunningly marketed by the same group of people I spoke against, this time to reinforce the status quo.

Notwithstanding the ongoing attempt to assassinate my character, hope is a mistake, as I have pointed out repeatedly in this space. Hope is not only a mistake: Hope is a lie, as I pointed out recently. Of course, most of us refuse to believe hope is a lie, because that would require us to admit we lie to ourselves. As Mark Twain indicated, “it’s easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled.” Few want to admit they have been fooled, so they continue to lie about their foolishness. There is no finer set of fools than those who believe in a favorable future in the midst of abrupt, irreversible climate change.

Contrary to hope, love requires honesty. Love means telling the full truth, not the customary, halfway version. A loving relationship requires honesty, not hope.

Perhaps hope is a disease. Perhaps love is the cure. I doubt we persist long enough to perform the relevant research to find out.

The living planet is in the fourth and final stage of a terminal disease. As I have pointed out for several years, it is long past time we admitted hospice is the appropriate way forward.


Immediate fossil fuel phaseout could arrest climate change – study

Scientists say it may still technically be possible to limit warming to 1.5C if drastic action is taken now

wind turbines and solar farm
 The study found there is a 66% chance of staying below 1.5C above pre-industrial levels if immediate action is taken. Photograph: Alamy

Climate change could be kept in check if a phaseout of all fossil fuel infrastructure were to begin immediately, according to research.

It shows that meeting the internationally agreed aspiration of keeping global warming to less than 1.5C above pre-industrial levels is still possible. The scientists say it is therefore the choices being made by global society, not physics, which is the obstacle to meeting the goal.

The study found that if all fossil fuel infrastructure – power plants, factories, vehicles, ships and planes – from now on are replaced by zero-carbon alternatives at the end of their useful lives, there is a 64% chance of staying under 1.5C.

In October, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said the difference between 1.5C of warming and the earlier international target of 2C was a significantly lower risk of drought, floods, heatwaves and poverty for hundreds of millions of people.

Christopher Smith, of the University of Leeds, who led the research, said: “It’s good news from a geophysical point of view. But on the other side of the coin, the [immediate fossil fuel phaseout] is really at the limit of what we could we possibly do. We are basically saying we can’t build anything now that emits fossil fuels.”

Nicholas Stern, of the London School of Economics, who was not part of the research team, said: “We are rapidly approaching the end of the age of fossil fuels. This study confirms that all new energy infrastructure must be sustainable from now on if we are to avoid locking in commitments to emissions that would lead to the world exceeding the goals of the Paris agreement.”

The study, published in the journal Nature Communications, used computer models to estimate by how much global temperatures would rise if a fossil fuel infrastructure phaseout began immediately. The lifespan for power plants was set at 40 years, cars an average of 15 years and planes 26 years. The work also assumes a rapid end to beef and dairy consumption, which is responsible for significant global emissions.

In this scenario, the models suggest carbon emissions would decline to zero over the next four decades and there would be a 66% chance of the global temperature rise remaining below 1.5C. If the phaseout does not begin until 2030, the chance is 33%.

The analysis did not include the possibility of tipping points such as the sudden release of huge volumes of methane from permafrost, which could spark runaway global warming.

The scientists accept their scenario is at the extreme end of ambition, but said it was important to know that meeting the 1.5C target was still physically possible and dependent on the choices made now and in the coming years. “The climate system is not stopping you [hitting the target], global society is stopping you,” Smith said.

Other work, using a different approach, has also shown that keeping within the 1.5C limit is possible if radical action is taken immediately. In some sectors, zero-carbon technology already exists, such as renewable energy. But in others, such as aviation, it does not. “Maybe the solution here is flying less,” Smith said.

Prof Dave Reay, of the University of Edinburgh, who also was not part of the research team, said: “Whether it’s drilling a new gas well, keeping an old coal power station open, or even buying a diesel car, the choices we make today will largely determine the climate pathways of tomorrow. The message of this new study is loud and clear: act now or see the last chance for a safer climate future ebb away.”

Smith’s personal belief is that global heating will surpass 1.5C. “We are going the right way, but I don’t think we will do enough, quickly enough. I think we are heading for 2C to 2.5C.”

But he added: “If you don’t have a goal, you are not going to get anywhere. If you have a target that is really hard to achieve and you miss it slightly, that is better than wandering aimlessly into a future climate that is no good for anybody.”

ISWA: In Defense of Science – Global Warming is Not an Opinion

ISWA President Antonis Mavropoulos explains why ISWA and the waste management community will not stay neutral towards the efforts to deny or downplay climate change.

Image ©

As the now famous young Ms Greta Thunberg from Sweden said in Katowice, Poland, -“You’re never too small to make a difference!”

Science is establishing facts through investigations and research. It aims to advance our understanding of causes and effects and the nature of reality. So, let’s start with what we know.

Fact 1: 97% or more of actively publishing climate scientists agree that climate-warming trends over the past century are due to human activities.

Fact 2: 2018 was a year full of floods, heatwaves and wildfires that are related with the on-going global warming. The argument that you can’t link climate change to a particular extreme weather event is dead. More than 75 papers have been published in the past three years, which find positive links between particular events and climate change. It’s called attribution, and it surfaced in many scientific briefings at COP24.

Fact 3: A few weeks before the COP24, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned that there are only 12 years for global warming to be kept to a maximum of 1.5C, beyond which even half a degree will significantly worsen the risks of drought, floods, extreme heat and poverty for hundreds of millions of people. The IPCC requested urgent and unprecedented changes to reach this target, which they say is affordable and feasible.

Despite all the scientific evidence, at the recent COP24 in Poland, a group of countries refused to “welcome” the IPCC study, and two big countries organised an event to promote the use of coal. In the most powerful country of the world, the US, Climate Skepticism has become official policy, aiming to block or seriously delay the global efforts to tackle Climate Change.

The situation is alarming
There is an ongoing concerted, organised effort to ignore, devaluate and undermine 100 years of scientific progress in understanding climate change and anthropogenic contributions. The purpose is to deny climate science and resist or delay acting to cut carbon emissions.

The fossil fuel and the extraction industries have a profound business interest to continue the business as usual. They do have the power and the money to impose their own agenda. According to The Guardian’s Jonathan Watts, some politicians are acting as “the hired guns of the industries working against the Paris accord and other international agreements… An extraction-first approach may bring economic benefits in the short term… but the profits are concentrated while the environmental stress is shared.” What if this is true?

The opinions of some of the largest and most powerful countries on the planet cannot change the reality of global warming. But they can block or postpone, or even cancel, the required global response to the most important threat of our time. The academics and professionals involved in waste management must not simply watch the on-going downplay of global warming, they must work actively together and defend science against the powerful but biased or ignorant opinion makers. Neutrality or apathy is not an option for the waste management community anymore!

Circular Economy against Climate Change 
We have a lot of strong and important arguments.

Firstly, climate change is one of the most important drivers for the shift to circular economy. Ignoring climate change means continuing the linear model as much as the dominant business cases are profitable despite the on-going environmental degradation.

Secondly, denying or downplaying climate change means undermining one of the most important drivers for improving waste management, one of the key-arguments to stimulate the closure of the biggest dumpsites and the development of integrated sustainable waste management systems.

Thirdly, global warming is directly linked with the urgently required shift to renewable energy resources, in which waste to energy options have a crucial role to play. Denying climate change science results in prolonging the use fossil fuels and delaying the advances of renewable energy resources.

Fourth, denying the science and the scientific evidence about global warming stimulates further the on-going so-called “death of expertise”: a Google-fueled, Wikipedia-based, blog-sodden collapse of any division between professionals and laymen, students and teachers, knowers and wonderers – in other words, between those of any achievement in an area and those with none at all. All of us have heard about a new magic “technology” that transforms waste into 100% useful products and it’s always offered for free.

This is the year we defend science on climate change
In 2019 ISWA will stand up and defend science on climate change. We will defend not only the scientific knowledge but also the way to acquire it. We must explain that science cannot be denied because it is inconvenient, or because one dislikes the policy implications. We must say loudly that science, based on such a strong foundation of evidence and analytical rigor (as the science on climate change or the science on waste management), can’t be ignored because it creates problems in the dominant business models. You can’t negotiate with thermodynamics and it’s impossible to strike a deal with atmospheric physics.

To be fair, defending science and the scientific method does not mean that we deny the scientific mistakes, or that we ignore phenomena like the scientific manipulation and the paid-for-propaganda research. The problem is that we need to be afraid of the people that ignore or deny the scientific evidence based on their intuition or personal experience, or on their business interest and the funders of their electoral campaigns.

ISWA, in cooperation with other major international players like CCAC and UNEP, will continue to work hard to establish the connections between Climate Change and Waste Managementand document scientifically that the advances in waste management and the shift to circular economy provide substantial reduction of carbon emissions. ISWA is already progressing its global project #CLOSEDUMPSITES that, besides the environmental and health aspects, is identifying the best ways to reduce the huge uncontrolled methane emissions from dumpsites. And we will further advance our work to “Prevent Marine Litter” by advancing waste management because we know that the enormous and rapidly increasing amounts of plastic litter, besides polluting our oceans and food chains, also reduce and prevent the essential exchange of oxygen between the oceans and the atmosphere.

When it was announced that USA will quit the Paris Accord, I made a widely circulated statement in which I mentioned that “the road towards the implementation of the Paris Accord will be a continuous fight against long-term established interests that still try to dominate our future”.  ISWA and the waste management community need to participate at this continuous fight to defend science, the greatest tool for human advancement mankind has ever known. We need to stand up and speak, right here, right now.

Undersea gases could superheat the planet

Carbon reservoirs on ocean floor caused global warming before — and could do it again

February 13, 2019
University of Southern California
Geologic carbon and hydrate reservoirs in the ocean pose a climate threat beyond humanmade greenhouse gases.

A deep-sea reservoir near Taiwan spews carbon dioxide when its slurry-like hydrate cap ruptures.
Credit: National Academy of Sciences

The world’s oceans could harbor an unpleasant surprise for global warming, based on new research that shows how naturally occurring carbon gases trapped in reservoirs atop the seafloor escaped to superheat the planet in prehistory.

Scientists say events that began on the ocean bottom thousands of years ago so disrupted the Earth’s atmosphere that it melted away the ice age. Those new findings challenge a long-standing paradigm that ocean water alone regulated carbon dioxide in the atmosphere during glacial cycles. Instead, the study shows geologic processes can dramatically upset the carbon cycle and cause global change.

For today’s world, the findings could portend an ominous development. The undersea carbon reservoirs released greenhouse gas to the atmosphere as oceans warmed, the study shows, and today the ocean is heating up again due to humanmade global warming.

If undersea carbon reservoirs are upset again, they would emit a huge new source of greenhouse gases, exacerbating climate change. Temperature increases in the ocean are on pace to reach that tipping point by the end of the century. For example, a big carbon reservoir beneath the western Pacific near Taiwan is already within a few degrees Celsius of destabilizing.

Moreover, the phenomenon is a threat unaccounted for in climate model projections. Undersea carbon dioxide reservoirs are relatively recent discoveries and their characteristics and history are only beginning to be understood.

Those findings come from a new research paper produced by an international team of Earth scientists led by USC and published in January in the journal Environmental Research Letters.

“We’re using the past as a way to anticipate the future,” said Lowell Stott, professor of Earth sciences at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences and lead author of the study. “We know there are vast reservoirs of carbon gas at the bottom of the oceans. We know when they were disrupted during the Pleistocene it warmed the planet.

“We have to know if these carbon reservoirs could be destabilized again. It’s a wild card for which we need to account,” Stott said.

At issue are expanses of carbon dioxide and methane accumulating underwater and scattered across the seafloor. They form as volcanic activity releases heat and gases that can congeal into liquid and solid hydrates, which are compounds stuck together in an icy slurry that encapsulates the reservoirs.

These undersea carbon reservoirs largely stay put unless perturbed, but the new study shows the natural reservoirs are vulnerable in a warming ocean and provides proof the Earth’s climate has been affected by rapid release of geologic carbon.

The scientists say it occurred in the distant past when the Earth was much warmer, and it’s happened more recently — about 17,000 years ago at the end of the Pleistocene epoch when glaciers advanced and receded, which is the focus on the new study. Warming was evident due to changes in atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations, based on ice cores, marine and continental records.

But how did that happen? What forced such dramatic change in the first place? Scientists have been searching for that answer for 40 years, with focus on oceans because they’re a giant carbon sink and play a central role in carbon dioxide variations.

They soon realized that processes that regulate carbon to the ocean operated too slowly to account for the surge in atmospheric greenhouse gases that led to warming that ended the ice age. So, scientists around the world began examining the role of Earth’s hydrothermal systems and their impact on deep-ocean carbon to see how it affected the atmosphere.

The new study by scientists at USC, the Australian National University and Lund University in Sweden, focused on the Eastern Equatorial Pacific (EEP) hundreds of miles off the coast of Ecuador. The EEP is a primary conduit through which the ocean releases carbon to the atmosphere.

The scientists report evidence of deep-sea hydrothermal systems releasing greenhouse gases to the ocean and atmosphere at the end of the last ice age, just as the oceans were beginning to warm. They measured increased deposition of hydrothermal metals in ancient marine sediments. They correlated glaciation intervals with variations in atmospheric carbon dioxide with differences in marine microorganism ages. They found a four-fold increase in zinc in protozoa (foraminifera) shells, a telltale sign of widespread hydrothermal activity.

Taken together, the new data show that there were major releases of naturally occurring carbon from the EEP, which contributed to dramatic change in Earth’s temperature as the ice age was ending, the study says.

Elsewhere around the world, more and more deep-ocean carbon reservoirs are being discovered. They mostly occur near hydrothermal vents, of which scores have been identified so far, especially in the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans. They occur where the Earth’s crust spreads or collides, creating ideal conditions for the formation of deep-sea carbon dioxide reservoirs. Only about one-third of the ocean’s volcanic regions have been surveyed.

One such reservoir of undersea carbon dioxide, seen in the accompanying video, was discovered about 4,000 feet deep off the coast of Taiwan. Similar discoveries of carbon gas reservoirs have been made off the coast of Okinawa, in the Aegean Sea, in the Gulf of California and off the west coast of Canada.

“The grand challenge is we don’t have estimates of the size of these or which ones are particularly vulnerable to destabilization,” Stott said. “It’s something that needs to be determined.”

In many cases, the carbon reservoirs are bottled up by their hydrate caps. But those covers are sensitive to temperature changes. As oceans warm, the caps can melt, a development the paper warns would lead to a double wallop for climate change — a new source of geologic carbon in addition to the humanmade greenhouse gases.

Oceans absorb nearly all the excess energy from the Earth’s atmosphere, and as a result they have been warming rapidly in recent decades. Over the past quarter-century, Earth’s oceans have retained 60 percent more heat each year than scientists previously had thought, other studies have shown. Throughout the marine water column, ocean heat has increased for the last 50 years. The federal government’s Climate Science Special Report projected a global increase in average sea surface temperatures of up to 5 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the century, given current emissions rates. Temperature gains of that magnitude throughout the ocean could eventually destabilize the geologic hydrate reservoirs, Stott said.

“The last time it happened, climate change was so great it caused the end of the ice age. Once that geologic process begins, we can’t turn it off,” Stott said.

Moreover, other similar events have happened in the distant past, helping shape the Earth’s environment over and over again. In earlier research, Stott discovered a large, carbon anomaly that occurred 55 million years ago. It disrupted the ocean’s chemistry, causing extensive dissolution of marine carbonates and the extinction of many marine organisms. The ocean changes were accompanied by a rapid rise in global temperatures, an event called the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maxima (PETM), a period lasting less than 20,000 years during which so much carbon was released to the atmosphere that Earth’s temperatures surged to about 8 degrees Celsius hotter than today.

“Until quite recently, we had no idea these events occurred. The PETM event is a good analog for what can happen when undersea carbon escapes through the water column to the atmosphere. And now we know the PETM event was not a unique event, that this has happened more recently,” Stott said.

The study comes with some caveats. Much of the ocean floor is unexplored, so scientists don’t know the full extent of the carbon dioxide reservoirs. There is no inventory of greenhouse gases from these geologic sources. And ocean warming is not uniform, making it difficult to predict when and where the undersea carbon reservoirs will be affected. It would take much more study to answer those questions.

Nonetheless, the study makes clear the undersea carbon reservoirs are vulnerable to ocean warming.

“Geologic carbon reservoirs such as these are not explicitly included in current marine carbon budgets” used to model the impacts of climate change, the study says. Yet, “even if only a small percentage of the unsampled hydrothermal systems contain separate gas or liquid carbon dioxide phases, it could change the global marine carbon budget substantially.”

Said Stott: “Discoveries of accumulations of liquid, hydrate and gaseous carbon dioxide in the ocean has not been accounted for because we didn’t know these reservoirs existed until recently, and we didn’t know they affected global change in a significant ways.

“This study shows that we’ve been missing a critical component of the marine carbon budget. It shows these geologic reservoirs can release large amounts of carbon from the oceans. Our paper makes the case that this process has happened before and it could happen again.”

The study authors are Lowell Stott of USC, Kathleen M. Harazin of the Australian National University and Nadine B. Quintana Krupinski of Lund University, Sweden. U.S. funding for the study comes from a National Science Foundation Marine Geology and Geophysics Grant (1558990).

By 2080, global warming will make New York City feel like Arkansas


“Heading south” will have a whole new meaning in a few decades.

New York City, welcome to Arkansas. Minneapolis, say hello to Kansas. And San Francisco, your new home is L.A.

Because of global warming, hundreds of millions of Americans will have to adapt to dramatically new climates by 2080, a study published Tuesday suggests.

“The children alive today, like my daughter who is 12, they’re going to see a dramatic transformation of climate. It’s already underway,” said study lead author Matt Fitzpatrick of the University of Maryland’s Center for Environmental Science.

By 2080, for example, folks who live in New York City will see a climate similar to that of northern Arkansas today. And people in Minneapolis will live in a climate that’s equivalent to that of southern Kansas today.

On average, city’s climates will move 528 miles to the south if carbon emissions keep soaring at their current levels. If the world cuts back, the cities move on average of 319 miles to the south.

“The climate of many regions is projected to change from the familiar to conditions unlike those experienced in the same place by their parents, grandparents or perhaps any generation in millennia,” Fitzpatrick said.

Even more concerning, “many cities could experience climates with no modern equivalent in North America.”

More: 250 dead, $91 billion in damages: 2018 was a catastrophic year for U.S. weather; 4th-warmest for globe

Fitzpatrick looked at 540 U.S. and Canadian cities to find out what the future might feel like. He averaged the results from 27 different computer models then found the city that most resembles that futuristic scenario.

Thus, Miami might as well be southern Mexico and the beautiful mornings in future Des Moines, Iowa, could feel like they are straight out of Oklahoma.

Man-made climate change, aka global warming, is caused by the burning of fossil fuels such as gas, coal and oil, which release greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane into the atmosphere. The extra carbon emissions cause temperatures of the atmosphere and oceans to rise to levels that can’t be explained by natural causes.

“Under the business-as-usual emissions the average urban dweller is going to have to drive (about 600 miles) to the south to find a climate like that expected in their home city by 2080,” Fitzpatrick said.

More: Global warming predicted to melt massive Himalayan glaciers, disrupt food production

More: Melting ice from Greenland and Antarctica could cause more extreme weather

“Wow,” said Northern Illinois University climate scientist Victor Gensini, who wasn’t part of the study. “The science here isn’t new but a great way to bring impacts to the local scale user.”

Fitzpatrick said “similar efforts to communicate climate change often focus on temperature only, but climate is more than just temperature. It also includes the amount precipitation an area receives, when it falls during the year, and how much arrives as snow vs. rain.

“Climate change will lead to not only warming but also will alter precipitation patterns.”

Check out this map and database to see how your climate will change over the next 60 years.

The study was published in the peer-reviewed British journal Nature Communications.

More: Extreme heat from climate change a ‘medical emergency,’ sickening tens of millions worldwide



THE CENTRAL CONTRADICTION of climate change is that it is at once the most epic problem that our species has ever faced yet it is largely invisible to the average human. From the comfort of your home, you may not realize how climate change is already affecting mental health, or ripping apart ecosystems, or how cities like Los Angeles are taking drastic measures to prepare for water shortages.

The challenge for scientists, then, is raising the alarm on something that’s hard to conceptualize. But a new interactive map is perhaps one of the best visualizations yet of how climate change will transform America. Click on your city, and the map will pinpoint a modern analog city that matches what your climate may be in 2080. New York city will feel more like today’s Jonesboro, Arkansas; the Bay Area more like LA; and LA more like the very tip of Baja California. If this doesn’t put the dire threat of climate change into perspective for you, I’m not sure what will.


The data behind it isn’t anything new, but the public-friendly repackaging of that data, known as climate-analog mapping, represents a shift in how science reaches the public. “The idea is to translate global forecasts into something that’s less remote, less abstract, that’s more psychologically local and relevant,” says University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science ecologist Matt Fitzpatrick, lead author on a new paper in Nature Communications describing the system.

Fitzpatrick looked at 540 urban areas in North America using three primary datasets. One captured current climatic conditions (an average of the years between 1960 and 1990), the second contained projections of future climates, and the third provided historic climate variability from year to year taken from NOAA weather records. (Depending on the city, climate might be more “stable,” or swing more wildly between years.) The researchers considered temperature and precipitation in particular, though of course these aren’t the only two variables when modeling the climate—more on that in a bit.


If you click around the interactive map, you’ll notice some trends under a scenario where emissions continue to rise for 60 years. “Many East Coast cities are going to become more like locations to the southwest, on average roughly 500 miles away,” says Fitzpatrick. On the West Coast, cities look generally like places straight south of them. Portland, for instance, will in 2080 feel more like California’s Central Valley, which is generally warmer and drier. Also, the map has an option (on its left side) that uses a different calculation to show what the shifts would look like if emissions peak around 2040 and begin to fall.



The implications are shocking, but also potentially useful. “Framing results in a digestible manner for the public sector, to inform policy, and for the scientific community, is notoriously difficult,” says University of Wisconsin–Madison climate scientist Kevin Burke, who wasn’t involved in the study. “One notable outcome of this work is the potential for cities and their analog pairs to transfer knowledge and coordinate climate adaptation strategies.”

Take extreme heat, for example. That’s a norm in a place like Phoenix, a city loaded with air conditioners. But in a place like San Francisco, air conditioning is a rarity. If San Francisco does indeed end up with a climate like LA’s in 60 years, that’s going to be a big public health problem. Extreme heat easily kills, as in Europe’s deadly heat waves in 2017.

Another major consideration is water. Many urban areas will get drier, but others may see their total precipitation remain unchanged. However, the patterns of rainfall could change—to all fall in the winter, for instance. “So even though it’s getting the same amount, that could have really large implications for places that aren’t used to having an extended summer drought, or what have you,” says Fitzpatrick.

San Francisco could stand to learn some water management techniques from its 2080 analog. Climate models predict that in the coming decades, LA will see fewer, yet more intense rainstorms. So to prepare, the city has begun an ambitious program to capture those huge dumps of water with a network of cisterns built into road medians. The rain capture program reduces its reliance on water piped into the city from afar.

The Bay Area, which has been historically blessed with more rainwater than its neighbor down south, hasn’t been so forward-thinking. Rich communities have thrown hissy fitswhen new water requirements meant their lawns would—gasp—turn brown. “Los Angeles is far ahead of the Bay Area in terms of having put in place incentives to move away from the more water-intensive outdoor landscaping that we still have even in the progressive Bay Area,” says Michael Kiparsky, director of the Wheeler Water Institute at UC Berkeley, who wasn’t involved with this new work.

Changes in rainfall would have serious implications for agriculture, of course. But something more subtle will also unfold: As the climate changes, so too will the makeup of local ecosystems. Pests like mosquitos, for example, could boom in your community. Certain plant species might not be able to handle the sudden shift and die out.

“Humans might adapt to some extent, and move, but animals and ecosystems won’t be able to in that short time period,” says Swiss Federal Institute of Technology climate scientist Reto Knutti, who wasn’t involved in the study. “So we are pursuing a risky experiment with the Earth, with partly unknown consequences.”

“That’s actually my biggest worry,” says Fitzpatrick. “It’s not necessarily the direct changes in climate, it’s these indirect impacts on natural and agricultural systems given the magnitude and rate of these changes.”

More frightening still, some of the North American cities that Fitzpatrick explored will have no modern equivalent in 2080. That is, you can’t compare them to a climate we see today. Which makes reacting to the threat all the more difficult—the Bay Area can anticipate feeling more like Los Angeles in 60 years and adapt accordingly, but if you don’t have a good idea of what’s coming, it’s hard to mitigate against the threat.

To be clear, though, this climate analog technique simplifies things—for instance, the researchers left out complicating factors like the urban heat island effect, in which cities absorb more heat than surrounding rural areas. And this is average climate, not weather. So for instance, the recent cold snap on the East Coast was generated by warmer temperatures in the Atlantic.

“None of that’s being captured by these analogs,” says Andrew Jarvis, a scientist at CGIAR, an agricultural research institute. “So from a communication perspective, that’s one of the dangers of it. It’s overly simplifying.” And necessarily so: Climate systems are monumentally complex, though bit by bit scientists are getting a better grasp on how our planet will transform in the time of climate change. A map alone can’t communicate all of that knowledge.

Still, the idea with this new interactive map is to better visualize—both for regular citizens and policymakers—what has previously been presented as impenetrable datasets. “I hope more than anything it’s an eye opener and that it starts more of these discussions so that more planning can take place,” says Fitzpatrick.

Climate change is here, and it’s already wreaking havoc. Consider this, then, a roadmap to help navigate the chaos.

Fox News’ Jeanine Pirro Rails Against Green New Deal In Wild ‘Cows Farting’ Rant

The judge laughed while mocking the deal’s scientifically backed concern about methane gas.

Judge Jeanine Pirro used her Saturday night Fox News show to launch a mockery-loaded rant against Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s (D-N.Y) Green New Deal, fixating primarily on cow farts.

Reviewing the economic and environmental plan in her opening monologue, Pirro noted that it aims to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2030.

The reason for the use of the term “net” rather than just “zero,” she insisted, was that the plan’s advocated are “not sure they’ll be able to get rid of bovine flatulence, a.k.a. cows farting.”

The talking point was accompanied by a dramatic graphic involving Earth being busted into pieces by a fiery explosion caused by a cow ― an image perhaps best understood by viewing the clip below:

“These emissions from cows are a concern to the left because these bovine emissions have an environmental impact and the methane gas produced by the bovine flatulence contributes to the greenhouse gases that contributes to global warming,” Pirro said, adding contemptuously, “Need I say more?”

A summary of the deal released last week says it sets “a goal to get to net-zero, rather than zero emissions, in 10 years because we aren’t sure that we’ll be able to fully get rid of farting cows and airplanes that fast.”

And despite Pirro’s attempt to mock the plan, a 2011 United Nations report found that methane produced by livestock is responsible for nearly 40 percent of greenhouse gasses emitted by the agricultural industry.

Along with Ocasio-Cortez, Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) is promoting the Green New Deal and it has received support from key Democratic presidential hopefuls, including Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y), Cory Booker (N.J.), Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) and Kamala Harris (Calif.). But it has been met with pushback from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who in a recent Politico interview appeared to be unaware of the bill’s name.

The plan’s economic focus on job creation through accelerating transitions of to clean energy echoes President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Great Depression-era New Deal enacted in the 1930s.

Human activity impacts climate change: The way forward

ALLEN GATES 4 hrs ago

Climate change means global and local changes in historical patterns of temperature, snow, rain and wind. Ninety-seven percent of the world’s climate experts agree: Human activity is driving climate change!

Previous opinion pieces have described climate change reality and the negative impacts on Montana‘s quality of life and economy. The changes have been dramatic since 1850. Actions that Montanans can take to help remedy the effects of human activity have also been described. Here’s the way forward to build on what’s been described.

Remedies for reducing the impacts of human activity on climate change require unprecedented changes in our political and economic systems. Changes in the systems will be hard. However, we know how to make system changes. What is needed is to get the critical mass of Montana voters, legislators, state and local officials, community leaders and business leaders to agree in three areas. The first area is dissatisfaction with the reality of human activity-driven climate change and the immense negative impacts on quality of life and economic prosperity. The second area is a compelling vision of what reduced climate change would achieve. The third area is an affordable, achievable plan to achieve the vision.

Reaching agreement in the first area, dissatisfaction with climate changing activities is critical. It will be extremely hard. Despite the hard evidence, unfortunately, there is no consensus that human activity is driving climate change. One column noted that approximately 85 percent of Montana farmers and ranchers accept climate change reality. But, only approximately 43 percent believe human activity is the cause. Most Republican politicians deny the reality of climate change. They don’t like the remedies, so the science is rejected.

We have a classic dilemma — beliefs trump facts. The column revealed that denials are related to the degrees of politically conservativeness. Deniers don’t like the potential remedies. U.S. Sen. Steve Daines states that climate change is not caused by human activity. He should know better since he’s a chemical engineer.

Here’s a simple but good enough explanation of why the earth’s temperature is increasing.

Climate Change Fundamentals 1: Energy hitting an object is reflected, transmitted or absorbed.

Increased temperature drives climate change. High-temperature energy from the sun passes through the atmosphere. The earth absorbs the energy and gets warm. But the earth’s energy is at low temperature. The low-temperature energy can’t pass back through the atmosphere. It is reflected back to the earth. Burning fossil fuels raises levels of greenhouse gases — primarily carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide — and increase the insulation effect of the atmosphere. The earth gets even warmer. The increase in temperature around the earth is uneven, resulting in uneven weather patterns.

Climate Change Fundamentals 2: The simple hot car concept captures the essence of climate change, increasing temperatures.

Consider the car as a model of the earth and its atmosphere. Sun energy radiates from the high-temperature sun. Most of it passes through the atmosphere and car windows. The air and car interior absorbs the energy and heat up. However, the air and car interior energies are at low temperature. Most of the energy can’t pass out through the car windows because the windows absorb and reflect the low-temperature energy.

Now let a burning candle be placed in the car. It simulates the carbon dioxide and energy emission of cars, trucks, factories, power plants and houses. The burning candle emits carbon dioxide and energy. The carbon dioxide further insulates the car interior. The candle energy heats the car interior. The car temperature increases even more.

Melting ice sheets may soon unleash ‘climate chaos’: Study

Antarctic-Greenland meltwater could destabilise the climate system and accelerate weather fluctuations in just decades.

Little research has been done on how ice sheet meltwater might affect the climate system itself [AP]
Little research has been done on how ice sheet meltwater might affect the climate system itself [AP]

Billions of tonnes of meltwater flowing into the world’s oceans from the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets could boost extreme weather and destabilise regional climate in a matter of decades, researchers said.

The melting ice giants, especially the one atop Greenland, are poised to further weaken the ocean currents that move cold water south along the Atlantic Ocean’s floor, while pushing tropical waters northward closer to the surface, scientists reported in the journal, Nature.

Known as the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), this liquid conveyor belt plays a crucial role in Earth’s climate system and helps ensure the relative warmth of the Northern Hemisphere.


Tackling the twin challenges of climate change and inequality

by Jennifer Morgan,Sharan Burrow

“According to our models, this meltwater will cause significant disruptions to ocean currents and change levels of warming around the world,” said lead author Nicholas Golledge, an associate professor at the Antarctic Research Centre of New Zealand’s Victoria University of Wellington.

The Antarctic ice sheet’s loss of mass, meanwhile, traps warmer water below the surface, eroding glaciers from underneath in a vicious circle of accelerated melting that contributes to sea level rise.

Most studies on ice sheets have focused on how quickly they might shrink from climate change and how much global temperatures can rise before their disintegration becomes inevitable, a threshold known as a “tipping point”.

But far less research has been done on how the meltwater might affect the climate system itself.

More extreme weather

“The large-scale changes we see in our simulations are conducive to a more chaotic climate with more extreme weather events and more intense and frequent heat waves,” said co-author Natalya Gomez, a researcher in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at McGill University in Canada.

Researchers concluded that, by mid-century, meltwater from the Greenland ice sheet will noticeably disrupt AMOC, which has already shown signs of slowing down.

This is a “much shorter timescale than expected”, noted Helene Seroussi, a researcher in the Sea Level and Ice Group at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, who was not involved in the study.


Melting away: Antarctica ice loss increases six-fold since 1979

The findings were based on highly detailed simulations combined with satellite observations of changes to the ice sheets since 2010.

One likely result of the weakened current in the Atlantic will be warmer air temperatures in the high Arctic, eastern Canada and Central America, and cooler temperatures over northwestern Europe.

The Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets, up to 3km thick, contain more than two-thirds of the planet’s fresh water, enough to raise global oceans 58 and 7 metres, respectively, were they to melt completely.

Off the ice cliff

Besides Greenland, the regions most vulnerable to global warming are West Antarctica and several huge glaciers in East Antarctica, which is far larger and more stable.

In a second study published Wednesday in Nature, some of the same scientists offered new projections of how much Antarctica will contribute to sea level rise by 2100 – a hotly debated topic.

A controversial 2016 study suggested the continent’s ice cliffs – exposed by the disintegration of ice shelves that jut out from glaciers over ocean water – were highly vulnerable to collapse, and could lead to sea level rise of a metre by century’s end.

That would be enough to displace up to 187 million people around the world, especially in populous, low-lying river deltas in Asia and Africa, research has shown.

But the new study challenges those findings.

by Jason Hickel

“Unstable ice-cliffs were proposed as a cause of unstoppable collapse of large parts of the ice sheet,” said lead author Tamsin Edwards, a lecturer in geography at King’s College London.

“But we’ve re-analysed the data and found this isn’t the case.”

Both of the new studies, Edwards said “predict a most likely Antarctic contribution of 15 centimetres” by 2100, with an upward limit of about 40cm.

A special report on oceans by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), due out in September, will offer a much-anticipated estimate of sea level rise.

The IPCC’s last major assessment in 2013 did not take ice sheets, today seen as the major contributor, ahead of thermal expansion and glaciers, into account because of a lack of data.

Trump Forgot to mention Climate Change…

…in his State of the Union speech last night, but he did boast about this:

Energy production

CLAIM: The United States is now the #1 producer of oil and natural gas in the world.

FACTS: This is accurate. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s Short-Term Energy Outlook from September, the United States became the number one crude oil producer in the world last year. U.S. crude oil production exceeded that of Saudi Arabia for the first time in more than two decades in February 2018, and surpassed Russia in June and August 2018 for the first time since February 1999. The U.S. surpassed Saudi Arabia to become the top petroleum producer in 2013, and has continued to hold to that trend. The United States has been the number one producer of natural gas since 2009, when it surpassed Russia to claim the top rank.

— Sara Cook