Thursday, August 10, 2017

Climate change is dramatic, and we’re feeling it now, report says

The same old blah.  What is "dramatic"?  The warming over the period nominated is in fact only about half a degree.  Note that they don't give a number themselves. Whatever the warming is, however, they still have no proof that CO2 causes it. We know it doesn't in fact -- since temperature and CO2 levels don't track one-another.  Often one is  rising while the other is static.  See the video below for more

The average temperature in the United States has risen rapidly and drastically since 1980, and recent decades have been the warmest of the past 1,500 years, according to a sweeping federal climate change report awaiting approval by the Trump administration.

The draft report by scientists from 13 federal agencies, which has not yet been made public, concludes that Americans are feeling the effects of climate change right now.

It directly contradicts claims by President Trump and members of his Cabinet who say that the human contribution to climate change is uncertain and that the ability to predict the effects is limited.

“How much more the climate will change depends on future emissions and the sensitivity of the climate system to those emissions,” a draft of the report states.

The report was completed this year and is part of the National Climate Assessment, which is congressionally mandated every four years.

The National Academy of Sciences has signed off on the draft and is awaiting permission from the Trump administration to release it.

One government scientist who worked on the report, and who spoke to The Times on the condition of anonymity, said he and others were concerned that it would be suppressed.

The report concludes that even if humans immediately stopped emitting greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, the world would still feel at least an additional 0.50 degrees Fahrenheit (0.30 degrees Celsius) of warming over this century compared with today.

A small difference in global temperatures can make a big difference in the climate: The difference between a rise in global temperatures of 1.5 degrees Celsius and one of 2 degrees Celsius, for example, could mean longer heat waves, more intense rainstorms and the faster disintegration of coral reefs.

Among the more significant of the study’s findings is that it is possible to attribute some extreme weather to climate change.

The field known as “attribution science” has advanced rapidly in response to increasing risks from climate change.

The report finds it “extremely likely” that more than half of the global mean temperature increase since 1951 can be linked to human influence.

In the United States, the report finds with “very high” confidence that the number and severity of cool nights has decreased, while the frequency and severity of warm days has increased since the 1960s.

Extreme cold waves, it says, are less common since the 1980s, while extreme heat waves are more common.

The study examines every corner of the United States and finds that all of it was touched by climate change.

It said the average annual rainfall across the country has increased by about 4 percent since the beginning of the 20th century. Parts of the West, Southwest and Southeast are drying up, while the Southern Plains and Midwest are getting wetter.

With a medium degree of confidence, the authors linked the contribution of human-caused warming to rising temperatures over the Western and Northern United States. It found no direct link in the Southeast.

The Environmental Protection Agency is one of 13 agencies that must approve the report by Aug. 13. The agency’s administrator, Scott Pruitt, has said he does not believe that carbon dioxide is a primary contributor to global warming.

“It’s a fraught situation,” said Michael Oppenheimer, a professor of geoscience and international affairs at Princeton University who was not involved in the study. “This is the first case in which an analysis of climate change of this scope has come up in the Trump administration, and scientists will be watching very carefully to see how they handle it.”

Scientists say they fear the Trump administration could change or suppress the report. But those who challenge scientific data on human-caused climate change say they are equally worried that the draft report, as well as the larger National Climate Assessment, will be publicly released.

“The National Climate Assessment seems to be on autopilot because there’s no political that has taken control of it,” said Myron Ebell, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. He was referring to a lack of political direction from the Trump administration.

The government scientists wrote that surface, air, and ground temperatures in Alaska and the Arctic are warming at a frighteningly fast rate — twice as fast as the global average.

“It is very likely that the accelerated rate of Arctic warming will have a significant consequence for the United States due to accelerating land and sea ice melting that is driving changes in the ocean including sea level rise threatening our coastal communities,” the report says.

Human activity, it goes on to say, is a primary culprit.


NYT’s ‘Leaked’ Bombshell Climate Report Was Actually Public For Months

A draft government climate assessment The New York Times “obtained” and claims is not yet public has actually been available online since January, according to scientists who worked on the report.

The NYT reportedly obtained a draft copy of the upcoming National Climate Assessment (NCA), quoting unnamed scientists who feared “the Trump administration could change or suppress the report.” TheNYT also reported that global warming skeptics were “equally worried that the draft report, as well as the larger NCA, will be publicly released.”

However, the draft NCA has been online since January. A couple of the scientists who worked on the NCA took to Twitter to let people know the draft has been online for months, despite TheNYT’s reporting.

This begs the question: how would President Donald Trump be able to suppress a publicly-available draft report? Atmospheric scientist Ryan Maue pointed out the study has not been delayed, and the government only recently began looking for scientists to review the draft report.

The NYT has not yet issued a correction on the story.


Water, Rights, and Environmental Bureaucracy

The human environment includes more than “nature”: it also includes the rich network of individuals and institutions that ordinary people interact with daily. Hence, it’s fitting that Independent Institute Policy Fellow K. Lloyd Billingsley examines the endangerment of private-property rights—a core institution in a thriving human ecosystem—in a recent piece at MyGovCost News & Blog that he’s written for National Water Quality Month.

Private-property rights, Billingsley explains, are center to a new battle that pits the California State Water Resources Control Board against the federal Environmental Protection Agency. Whereas the feds, under the leadership of Trump appointee Scott Pruitt, seek to roll back Obama-era regulations that expand the definition of protected wetlands, state officials are fighting for even tighter government controls.

Several lessons about predatory politics and environmental bureaucracy are relevant here, many of which are examined in the Independent Institute books Aquanomics ,Re-Thinking Green, and most recently Nature Unbound. But one of the most fundamental lessons involves bureaucratic mission creep. As Billingsley notes, California’s Water Board is supposed to, according to its website, “ensure the highest reasonable quality for waters of the state, while allocating those waters to achieve the optimum balance of beneficial uses.” Had the enabling legislation that created the state agency defined what is meant by “highest reasonable quality,” “optimal balance,” and “beneficial uses,” the entire conflict, which will likely end up lasting several years, would have been avoided.


The Case of the Phantom Frog

Imagine if land that had been held in your family for decades were suddenly subject to new environmental regulations that would severely limit what you could do on that land, where you would not be able to do things like build a new house on it, cut down trees on it, or even to farm it the way your family had for generations.

As you might imagine, the value of your family’s land would plunge, because it would no longer be attractive to people who might consider buying it, because those same restrictions would apply to them.

Now imagine that those new environmental regulations were imposed by the federal government, egged on by environmental activists, that are intended to preserve the natural habitat of an endangered species of frog that had not been seen anywhere on or near your land for nearly half a century. And in a particularly cruel twist, you discover that your family’s land would not even provide a suitable habitat for the endangered species in question unless the government compelled your family to spend thousands of dollars to transform it into a suitable habitat for the endangered frog.

If that sounds like a bizarre nightmare scenario of government bureaucracy, you’re right. RealClearInvestigations James Varney describes a very peculiar case of government regulations run amuck in the name of protecting the dusky gopher frog.

The phone call came out of the blue in 2011.

A federal biologist on the other end of the line told Edward B. Poitevent II that the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service intended to designate a large swath of Louisiana woods that had been in his family for generations a “critical habitat” for the endangered dusky gopher frog.

Poitevent was confused because the frog had been neither seen nor its croak heard on the land since the 1960s. Later he would learn that his land is not, in fact, a suitable habitat for the frog anyway.

“No matter how you slice it or dice it, it’s a taking of my land in that I can’t use it or sell it now,” said Poitevent, a New Orleans lawyer.

A half century after disappearing from the 1,500-acre parcel in Louisiana, the dusky gopher frog will likely appear this month in filings urging the U.S. Supreme Court to settle the matter after years of costly litigation.

In one sense, the case illustrates the conflicts that arise as conservationists and the government use the Endangered Species Act to protect privately held lands. But legal scholars say the absent amphibian could provide a broader test of just how far the government’s regulatory reach can extend under the Constitution.

The legal case in favor of the homeowner will come down to a court’s determination of what constitutes an “unreasonable” restriction imposed by an ambiguously-worded federal regulation, where common sense has not been allowed to enter the argument as lower level judges have found against the landowners, claiming that their legal hands were tied by a 1982 Supreme Court precedent that awarded a profound amount of legal deference to federal regulators regardless of the specific facts that apply to the case.

With that being the situation, the Case of the Phantom Frog will be an interesting one to follow as it moves through the nation’s appellate courts, particularly if it ultimately reaches the Supreme Court where it could prompt the court to overturn all or part of its previous decision that benefited the interests of federal regulators over those of regular Americans.

On a final note, this kind of environmental-activist directed policy affects far more than a family-owned farm in Louisiana. On July 31, 2017, some 1.8 million acres (2,812 square miles) of farm, ranch and timber lands in the Sierra Nevada mountain range in California had similar restrictions imposed upon them by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which were defined as “critical habitat” for three species of frogs and toads.

Would the government be so set on imposing such environmental regulations if it were required to fully compensate regular Americans for diminishing the value of their property?


Coal, coal, glorious coal! Mining giant Glencore granted big new coal mining permits in Australia

The Queensland government has granted mining giant Glencore leases for a multi-billion dollar coal mine in the state's south west.

Natural Resources and Mines Minister Dr Anthony Lynham has granted Glencore three 27-year leases covering 30,000 hectares for the first stage of its $7 billion Wandoan mine near Roma.

The open cut mine is proposed to operate for 35 years in the Surat Basin, and will require a railway to the Gladstone Port.

Glencore has previously acknowledged the disproportionate risk surrounding new projects.

Doubts about the future of the Wandoan mine have lingered since 2012, amid falling thermal coal prices and a poor market outlook.

The Palaszczuk government's decision to grant the leases has sparked anger among environmental groups, who say it has displaced farmers and poses a threat to the state's agricultural industry.




Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


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