Thursday, July 14, 2016
Sanders: “This election is about climate change"
And he said it with Hildabeest alongside him nodding like a bobble-headed doll. Lets hope the both of them continue to hammer that message. All the polls put climate change way down in people's priorities. Trump has got the subject right: Immigration. It would be exquisite if climate change cost Hillary the election
Bernie Sanders officially threw in the towel on Tuesday in New Hampshire by endorsing Hillary Clinton for president. Hitting on the themes his campaign has stressed throughout the primaries, Sanders laid out what this election is really about. One of his themes has been climate change, which featured heavily in his speech:
"This election is about climate change, the greatest environmental crisis facing our planet, and the need to leave this world in a way that is healthy and habitable for our kids and future generations.
Hillary Clinton is listening to the scientists who tell us that if we do not act boldly in the very near future there will be more drought, more floods, more acidification of the oceans, more rising sea levels. She understands that we must work with countries around the world in transforming our energy system away from fossil fuels and into energy efficiency and sustainable energy — and that when we do that we can create a whole lot of good paying jobs.
Donald Trump: Well, like most Republicans, he chooses to reject science — something no presidential candidate should do. He believes that climate change is a hoax. In fact, he wants to expand the use of fossil fuel. That would be a disaster for our country and our planet"
The endorsement rally was kicked off by climate activist (and Grist board member) Bill McKibben. “Secretary Clinton, we wish you Godspeed in the fight that now looms,” McKibben said.
The "97%" hit with logic
In a video for Prager University, author Alex Epstein address the highly touted claim, “97% of climate scientists agree that climate change is real.” Epstein debunks this shoddy assertion with a simple analogy — the side effects vs. overall health risks of vaccinations.
Global warming pause continues as temperatures continue to plummet
Satellite temperatures show no statistical difference with June 2016 temperatures and 1998’s, showing a steep drop in global temps once El Nino ended.
According to the now-finalized RSS satellite-derived June 2016 temperatures, measurements show that the global warming pause (or hiatus) is on track to resume with a prediction for even lower temps this winter.
For June 2016, The National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) RSS satellite record showed Earth was only 0.46 degrees Celsius (0.84°F) above the 30-year average, a marked decline since its peak in February 2016.
They also show worldwide temperatures dropping a full half a degree Celsius since their peak and are actually below 1998 levels for the past three months. The RSS data is also on par with the UAH satellite dataset. Once the El Niño in the tropical Pacific Ocean officially stopped, NOAA also showed a precipitous decline in temperatures using land and sea-based measuring systems.
El Nino’s effects on Satellite Dataset
Dr. Christy, a climatologist at the University of Alabama/Huntsville (UAH) who maintains and produces the UAH satellite records, notes that 16 of the warmest months in the satellite record (and 21 out of the warmest 25) all occurred during one of three major El Niño events: 1997/1998, 2009/2010, and 2015/2016. He says that the effects from an El Niño are especially noticeable when comparing temps from a specific month.
For example, just looking at a previous month like May shows it was warmer during an El Niño by a statistical margin. Dr. Christy says that June 2016 was the second warmest month in the Northern Hemisphere (0.51 Celsius compared to June 1998 at 0.60 Celsius above seasonal norms), but only the eighth warmest in the Southern Hemisphere.
Despite the effects of El Niño warming, it was only the sixth warmest June in the tropics. This is quite a stretch from so-called ‘hottest year on record’ claims based on heavily jiggered land and sea temperature data used by NASA GISS and NOAA. Dr. Christy notes that while there is a clear sign of warming in the satellite record, trying to infer long-term trends about our climate based on months or a few years is imprudent. Especially when above-average months are driven by El Niño events.
Regional and Global differences
Regionally, the June 2016 UAH global temperatures show the Northern Hemisphere was only 0.51 degrees Celsius (0.92°F) warmer over the 30-year average, the Southern Hemisphere was roughly 0.17 degrees Celsius (0.79°F) warmer, and the Tropics were 0.38 degrees Celsius (0.68°F) warmer. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says there is a 75 percent likelihood a La Niña will form just in time for the 2016/2017 winter, likely bringing colder winters, resulting in higher heating bills.
Compared to seasonal norms, Christy says, the warmest average temperature anomaly on Earth in June was in the eastern Antarctic, south of the Zhongshan station. June temperatures there were roughly 4.24 degrees Celsius (about 7.63°F) warmer than seasonal norms. When contrasted to seasonal norms, the coolest average temperature on Earth in June 2016 was in northeastern Russia, near the town of Vayegi, where the average June temperature was 3.40 degrees Celsius (about 6.12°F) cooler than normal for June. NASA recently announced that Antarctica has grown about 33 percent in size, adding more ice than it’s losing.
Cape Wind Project Suffers Loss at Federal Appeals Court
A three-judge panel at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit on July 5 threw out two government approvals for the Cape Wind Energy Project, which is a proposal to generate electricity from windmills off the coast of Massachusetts.
The project involves the construction, operation and maintenance of 130 wind turbines in the Horseshoe Shoal region of Nantucket Sound. The turbines have an estimated life-span of 20 years, and during that time they are expected to generate up to three-quarters of the electricity needs for Cape Cod and the surrounding islands. The project’s “underlying purpose” is to help the region achieve Massachusetts’s renewable energy requirements, the court noted.
Offshore energy providers like Cape Wind must comply with a "slew" of federal statutes designed to protect the environment, promote public safety, and preserve historic and archeological resources on the outer continental shelf, said the court. They must also go through several regulatory and administrative procedures to satisfy regulations promulgated under these statutes.
Cape Wind first sought government approval for its project in 2001 when it filed a permit application with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the federal agency then regulating outer continental shelf wind energy projects. Four years later, the Energy Policy Act of 2005 amended the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act and transferred primary regulatory authority over offshore renewable energy projects to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, an agency within the Department of the Interior.
Regulations require the Bureau both to collect information about projects and to consult with relevant federal agencies, including the U.S. Coast Guard and the Fish and Wildlife Service.
The plaintiffs in this case are the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, and others. They claim that the government violated half a dozen federal statutes in allowing Cape Wind’s project to move through the regulatory approval process. The Bureau allegedly violated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Shelf Lands Act, the National Historic Preservation Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. The Bureau and the Coast Guard allegedly violated the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act. The Fish and Wildlife Service allegedly violated the Endangered Species Act.
In March 2014, a U.S. District Court rejected most of these claims and granted partial summary judgment to the government agencies. In November 2014, the lower court rejected plaintiffs’ remaining claims, granted summary judgment, and dismissed the case.
In this case at the appeals court level, plaintiffs challenge the Bureau’s decision to issue the lease for Cape Wind’s project without first obtaining “sufficient site-specific data on seafloor and subsurface hazards” in Nantucket Sound. They argue that the Bureau violated the National Environmental Policy Act by relying on inadequate geophysical and geotechnical surveys. "We agree," said the appeals court panel.
By relying solely on data that was roundly criticized by its “own experts,” the Bureau failed to fulfill its duty, the court said. "Of course, an agency need not be clairvoyant. In some cases it may be appropriate for an impact statement to provide for ongoing monitoring in order to gather more data," said the court ruling. "But that does not excuse the Bureau from its NEPA obligation to gather data about the seafloor. Without adequate geological surveys, the Bureau cannot 'ensure that the seafloor [will be] able to support' wind turbines."
Delaying construction or requiring Cape Wind to redo the regulatory approval process could be quite costly, the court noted. The project has "slogged" through state and federal courts and agencies for more than a decade. Meanwhile, Massachusetts’s renewable energy requirements continue to increase.
Said the court: "Allowing the project to move forward could help meet these [state] requirements. On the other hand, it would be imprudent to allow Cape Wind to begin construction before it can 'ensure that the seafloor [is] able to support' its facilities. Cape Wind has 'no prior experience developing/operating offshore wind farms,' and the construction site 'lie[s] in the frontier areas of the [outer continental shelf,] where detailed geological, geophysical, and geotechnical data and information is generally lacking.' Therefore, we will vacate the impact statement and require the Bureau to supplement it with adequate geological surveys before Cape Wind may begin construction. We will not, however, vacate Cape Wind’s lease or other regulatory approvals based on this NEPA violation."
The court also ruled against the Service's incidental take finding for marine life. "We reverse the district court’s judgment that the Bureau’s environmental impact statement complied with NEPA and that the Service’s incidental take statement complied with the Endangered Species Act, and we vacate both statements. We affirm the district court’s judgment dismissing plaintiffs’ remaining claims, and remand the case for proceedings consistent with this opinion."
"Roundup", the world’s safest, cheapest and most effective weedkiller, facing ban
Banning a comparatively safe pesticide would be counterproductive
I once tried the organic alternative to the herbicide roundup for clearing weeds from garden paths: a flame-thrower. It was brutal for the environment, incinerating innocent insects and filling the air with emissions. Next week I might have to go back to that. Roundup, the world’s safest, cheapest and most effective weedkiller, may be illegal within days in Europe.
Roundup (chemical name glyphosate) was due to have its licence extended for 15 years. Normally it would have been nodded through. But this time the relevant French and German ministers, Segolene Royale and Barbara Hendricks, nervous about the green vote, have blocked the renewal, and the best that farmers and gardeners can hope for is an 18-month extension till after French and German elections.
Yet almost everybody agrees that glyphosate is safe: the European Food Safety Authority, the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment, the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the World Health Organisation, our government. Even at absurdly high concentrations, lab tests show it is only one-tenth as carcinogenic as coffee – and you ingest coffee, which you don’t roundup.
Just one rogue study, driven by an environmental activist working for a body called the International Agency for Research on Cancer, disagreed, but on the basis of cherry-picked data and elementary errors of interpretation. Yet these days, it’s not the evidence but the headline, or the tweet, that counts. By the time the rogue study’s flaws were known, activists had got to politicians.
Ironically, Monstanto, which invented glyphosate, may not mind much if roundup is banned. It is off-patent, so not very profitable. This may explain why the company has been curiously absent from the debate.
This episode is part of a wider political campaign. Having failed to persuade all but a few affluent consumers to go organic, the greens are now trying to force us instead. If we did, Earth would be in trouble. Many organic farmers plough their land five times as often, to control weeds, harming soil structure, moisture and biodiversity.
Over the past 50 years fertilisers, pesticides and tractors have reduced the amount of land needed to produce a given quantity of food by 68%. Had we not achieved this, not only would far more people be starving, but there would be no nature reserves left.
The city of Petaluma in California recently stopped using roundup in parks and school grounds. The result was a 1700% increase in cost of weed control, and a new requirement for operators to wear respirators (unnecessary with roundup which is less toxic than vinegar) while spraying with the far more toxic organic alternatives.
Global cooling is serious in Mongolia
The country's extreme winter disaster saw temperatures drop to minus 50 degrees Celsius between 2015 and 2016, killing more than 850,000 livestock.
Japanese photographer Madoka Ikegami travelled to the Zavkhan province, Nalaikh and Ulaanbaatar in April this year to document the effects of the unique disaster on the animal herders.
Known as the Dzud disaster in native language, the freezing conditions resulted in the mass death of camels, cows, horses, sheep and goats.
Ikegami said: 'According to the UN data of April 25, more than 850,000 animals perished in the 2015-2016 disaster.
'I documented the lives of displaced former herders who lost all their livestock in previous Dzud and had to give up on herding and move to a city for a new job.'
Ikegami originally visited Mongolia last year where she experienced the welcoming nature of local reindeer herders. And as soon as she heard about the latest disaster, she wanted to make sure the herders were safe and find out what it was really like for them to fight off such terrible conditions.
The 33-year-old said: 'The sisters I spoke to lost over 200 livestock, the corpses of which lay around just a few minutes away from their ger (traditional yurt).
'There was no sign of human life at ground level, or upon the endless snow terraces.
'The sisters tried to save their starving, dying animals just by themselves in such a lonely place where the older sister hadn't seen anyone apart from her younger sister for five months.'
Displaced former herders and seasonal workers often resort to conducting dangerous and illegal mining jobs to prevent the fall into extreme poverty.
Ikegami realised the full extent of the catastrophe caused by the Dzud when she saw a dog feeding off the flesh and bones of other animal corpses.
She said: 'Suddenly being exposed to the sight of piles of animal corpses, I was simply frightened and learned what the Dzud disaster really means to the people. 'In our day to day lives we're not exposed to such a tragedy.'
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Posted by JR at 12:30 AM