Wednesday, August 08, 2018

The Planet Is Dangerously Close to the Tipping Point for a 'Hothouse Earth'

An opinion about what will happen in 300 years time is worthless.

Interesting that tipping points are back, though.  A tipping point was integral to the first generation of global warming theory.  Increasing clouds were said to arrive at a tipping point where they would greatly accelerate warming.

Once it became clear that clouds actually had a cooling effect, that one faded out, however, to be replaced by modelled steady increases.

Now we have a claim that all sorts of things can reach tipping points.  If one doesn't work maybe another will, seems to be the hope

Since the whole prophecy is founded  on the demonstrably false claim that higher levels of atmospheric CO2 lead to higher global temperatures, none of it will come true

It's the year 2300. Extreme weather events such as building-flattening hurricanes, years-long droughts and wildfires are so common that they no longer make headlines. The last groups of humans left near the sizzling equator pack their bags and move toward the now densely populated poles.

This so-called "hothouse Earth," where global temperatures will be 7 to 9 degrees Fahrenheit (4 to 5 degrees Celsius) higher than preindustrial temperatures and sea levels will be 33 to 200 feet (10 to 60 meters) higher than today, is hard to imagine — but easy to fall into, said a new perspective article published today (Aug. 6) in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. [Top 9 Ways the World Could End]

In the article, a group of scientists argued that there is a threshold temperature above which natural feedback systems that currently keep the Earth cool will unravel. At that point, a cascade of climate events will thrust the planet into a "hothouse" state. Though the scientists don't know exactly what this threshold is, they said it could be as slight as 2 degrees C (around 4 degrees F) of warming above preindustrial levels.

Sound familiar? The 2 degrees C mark plays a big role in the Paris Agreement, the landmark 2016 agreement signed by 179 countries to combat climate change by reducing carbon emissions (the same one that the U.S. announced it would withdraw from last year). In that accord, countries agreed to work to keep global temperature rise well below 2 degrees C, and ideally below 1.5 degrees C, above preindustrial levels this century.

"This paper gives very strong scientific support … that we should avoid coming too close or even reaching 2 degrees Celsius warming," article co-author Johan Rockström, director of the Stockholm Resilience Center and a professor of water systems and global sustainability at Stockholm University in Sweden, told Live Science.

Changing Earth's rhythm

For the last million years, Earth has naturally cycled in and out of an ice age every 100,000 years or so. The planet left the last ice age around 12,000 years ago and is currently in an interglacial cycle called the Holocene epoch. In this cycle, Earth has natural systems that help keep it cool, even during the warmer interglacial periods.

But many scientists argue that due to the immense impact of humans on climate and the environment, the current geological age should be called the Anthropocene (from anthropogenic, which means originating with human activity). Temperatures are almost as hot as the maximum historical temperature  during an interglacial cycle, Rockström said.

If carbon emissions continue unabated, the planet might leave the glacial-interglacial cycle and be thrust into a new age of the "hothouse Earth."

Today, we emit 40 billion tons of carbon dioxide a year from burning fossil fuels, Rockström said. But roughly half of those emissions are taken up and stored by the oceans, trees and soil, he said.

However, we are now seeing signs that we are pushing the system too far — cutting down too many trees, degrading too much soil, taking out too much fresh water and pumping too much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, Rockström said.

Scientists fear that if we reach a certain temperature threshold, some of these natural processes will reverse and the planet "will become a self-heater,"Rockström said. That means, forests, soil and water will release the carbon they're storing.

"The moment the planet becomes a source of greenhouse gas emissions together with us humans, then as you can imagine, things are accelerating very fast in the wrong direction," he said. [Doom and Gloom: Top 10 Postapocalyptic Worlds]

Many tipping points

In their perspective paper, Rockström and his team corroborated existing literature on various natural feedback processes and concluded that many of them can serve as "tipping elements." When one tips, many of the others follow.

Nature has feedback mechanisms, such as a rainforest's capability to create its own humidity and rain, that keep ecosystems in equilibrium. If the rainforest is subject to increasing warming and deforestation, however, the mechanism slowly gets weaker, Rockström said.

"When it crosses a tipping point, the feedback mechanism changes direction," Rockström said, and the rainforest morphs from a moisture engine into a self-dryer. Eventually, the rainforest turns into a savanna and, in the process, releases carbon, he said.

This, in turn, can become part of a cascade that would influence other processes around the world, such as ocean circulation and El Niño events. Other tipping points include the thawing of permafrost, loss of Arctic summer sea ice and the loss of coral reefs.

A global call for help

The first big goal should be to completely stop carbon emissions by 2050, Rockström said. But that won't be enough, he added.

In order to stay away from these tipping points, the "whole world [needs to] embark on a major project to become sustainable across all sectors," he said.

That could be a challenge, as countries around the world grow increasingly nationalistic, he said. Instead of focusing on narrow national goals, the world should collectively work to reduce carbon emissions — for instance by creating investment funds that can support poorer nations that don't have as much capacity to reduce emissions as richer countries do, he said.

All of this means "that it's, scientifically speaking, completely unacceptable that a country like the U.S. leaves the Paris Agreement, because now more than ever, we need every country in the world to collectively decarbonize … in order to secure a stable planet," Rockström said.

The new paper is an opinion article that includes no new research but rather draws on the existing literature, Michael Mann, a distinguished professor of meteorology at Pennsylvania State University who was not part of the study, told Live Science in an email.

"That having been said, the authors do, in my view, make a credible case that we could, in the absence of aggressive near-term efforts to reduce carbon emissions, commit to truly dangerous and irreversible climate change in a matter of decades," Mann said.


Weather Channel Tweets Alarmist Thread About Biblical ‘Exodus’ From Global Warming

There is ALREADY massive immigration from warm places in Africa and South America to cool places in Europe and North America, but it is to get more money, not to flee warmth

The Weather Channel website kicked off the week with a long Twitter thread warning of the “climate migration crisis” happening around the world as a result of global warming-fueled extreme weather.

The tweet storm is meant to promote the Weather Channel’s series called “Exodus: The Climate Migration Crisis” — no doubt alluding to the Biblical tale of Moses leading the Hebrews out of Egypt.

The tweet storm comes as wildfires rage across the western U.S. and intense, near-record heat scorches much of Europe, though links between those events, especially wildfires, and global warming are tenuous.

The IBM-owned website featured a story Monday about Massachusetts coastal residents whose homes were damaged or destroyed by massive flooding in the wake of nor’easters last winter.

This isn’t the first Weather Channel effort to connect global warming to everyday weather events. Earlier this year, the Channel delayed a climate PR campaign until there were no more winter storms.

Once settled on, the Weather Channel’s website had a banner reading, “THERE IS NO CLIMATE CHANGE DEBATE” for an entire day to highlight “climate” stories from all 50 states.

The Weather Channel also retooled the front page of its website in June 2017 when President Donald Trump announced the U.S. would withdraw from the Paris climate accord. The site featured “The United States of Climate Change” series.


EPA Released A Long-Delayed Report Showing Ethanol Hurts The Environment

Suppression of information is essential to the Green/Left. The facts are so much against them

An extensive report from the Environmental Protection Agency found that including ethanol into the U.S. gas supply is wreaking havoc on the atmosphere and soil.

In a study titled “Biofuels and the Environment: The Second Triennial Report to Congress,” the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) determined that ethanol derived from corn and soybeans is causing serious harm to the environment. Water, soil and air quality were all found to be adversely affected by biofuel mandates.

“Evidence since enactment of [the Energy Independence and Security Act] suggests an increase in acreage planted with soybeans and corn, with strong indications from observed changes in land use that some of this increase is a consequence of increased biofuel production,” read a portion of the 159-page report. Other findings from the study show: More ethanol from corn has resulted in greater nitrogen oxide emissions, greater demand for biofuel feedstock has contributed to harmful algae blooms, and increased irrigation has placed greater stress on water sources.

Essentially, the study found that biofuel mandates are boosting production of corn and soybeans. Large-scale production of these crops is causing environmental degradation. The EPA also found that — at least in some instances — using ethanol in lieu of gasoline resulted in worse air emissions.

The mandate in reference concerns the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), a 2005 law that requires oil refineries include a certain amount of ethanol in their fuel mix. The law was passed with the intention of aiding in climate change efforts. The RFS has proven to be controversial, with oil producers deriding the mandate as costly and unneeded. Corn growers, however, support the mandate as it drives demand for the product.

During his time leading the EPA, Scott Pruitt became an adversary of ethanol proponents after granting more RFS waivers and pushing for a rollback of the law altogether. It’s not immediately clear how the Trump administration will handle the RFS debate moving forward. Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler has suggested he will continue seeking changes to the mandate, but President Donald Trump told an Iowa crowd in July that the EPA may soon allow for more ethanol to be included in gas.

The EPA study, published on June 29, came after a long delay. Federal law calls for the EPA to conduct a study on the Renewable Fuel Standard every three years, but the government was four years late this go-around. The agency’s previous ethanol study was published in 2011.


Big Government and Environmentalists Are Causing Massive Fires in Western States

Editor’s Note: In response to the deadly Carr Fire in Northern California, many in the media have advanced the narrative that it is the result of climate change. However, this misses the ongoing problem of poor forest management which has led to larger fires throughout the West. The following story was published in the wake of the devastating Tubbs Fire.

The massive fires that took the lives of over 40 people in California were not the only devastating wildfires as of late.

Utah, Montana, and other states have been hit by destructive infernos that have left death and widespread property damage in their wake.

Forest fires—what firefighters call wildland fires—are undoubtedly a part of nature and can never be stopped entirely, but the measurable uptick in extraordinarily large fires is a trend that is causing intolerable amounts of damage.

Forest management policy has become calcified and centralized over the last half century, but there are some serious ideas that can turn things around.

Since the 1970s, the number of forest fires in the United States has remained fairly constant, but there’s been a significant uptick in the size of these blazes. The average wildfire is now twice the size of fires of 40 years ago.

Some have tried to pin the blame on climate change, but as a 2015 Reason Foundation study noted, climatic factors like higher temperatures and increased droughts “cannot explain the pattern of fires observed over the past century.”

“While it is possible that climate change has played a role in increasing the size of fires, the primary cause seems to be forest management practices, which have changed several times over the course of the past 200 years,” the study said.

The United States Forest Service, which manages most of America’s wilderness, made some big changes in the 1970s that many say have led to our modern predicament.

The selective clearing of forests, in which only certain trees are removed, had been highly successful in the past. But perverse incentives for the agency made clear-cutting, or uniformly chopping down trees, more common in the 1950s. This led to a backlash of lawsuits, environmentalist attacks, and unfortunately, more centralization in Washington for the Forest Service.

“In 1976 Congress tried to resolve the debate by instituting a comprehensive forest planning process,” wrote Randal O’Toole, a policy analyst at the Cato Institute. “The resulting plans proved to be a costly mistake: The agency spent more than a billion dollars planning the national forests, but the plans were often based on fabricated data, and they did not resolve any debates.”

Nearly a half century of bureaucratic centralization and environmentalist initiatives have left forests overgrown, vulnerable to fire, and dangerous to individual property owners and the economies of many states.

California state Sen. Mike McGuire, a Democrat, estimated that the recent fires may have caused over $3 billion in damages to his state.

California’s fires have gathered most of the media attention, but other Western states also have suffered immensely from out-of-control wildland fires in the past few years.

Last year alone, large wildfires hit nine states, including California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming, according to The Washington Post.

“Fires nationwide have consumed 8,036,858 acres—about 12,550 square miles, larger than the size of Maryland—since Jan. 1,” the Post reported.

A large fire near the town of Brian Head, Utah, burned 13 homes and over 93 square miles of land.

Utah state Rep. Mike Noel, a Republican, along with other Utah legislators and officials, made a short video in October explaining how better forest management could have prevented what became the most expensive forest fire in the state’s history.

In the video, they say the buildup of dead trees caused what should have been a small brush fire to balloon into something much worse. The video notes at the end:

The [United States Forest Service] and the [Bureau of Land Management], like helpless giants, are constrained by a self-imposed web of bureaucratic rules and regulations that impede and stop proper management options that could reduce these large catastrophic fires.

Now Congress is working on measures to stop the bleeding of an increasingly unmanageable problem.

The House recently passed a bill that would allow more aggressive tree clearing and local collaborative organizations to have more control of public land. It would also redirect funds from fighting fires to preventing fires, correcting what has become a major budgetary imbalance over the past few decades.

“Fire expenditures have grown from less than 15 percent of the Forest Service budget in [the] early 1990s to about 50 percent today. Forest Service fire expenditures have increased from less than $1 billion in the late 1990s to $3.5 billion in 2016,” O’Toole wrote.

What is clear is that, unlike the effects of many other natural disasters, there are proven ways, such as aggressively limiting overgrowth and clearing dead wood, to control the effects of wildfires and contain their damage.

Previous generations more effectively dealt with the problem, and federal and state policymakers would be wise to emulate and improve on what they did as we come up with our own innovative solutions.


EPA: Key Air Pollutants Drop 73 Percent Since 1970

Americans who value clean air and robust economic growth do not need to make an either-or choice, according to the Environmental Protection Agency’s new annual report on air quality.

The EPA report released Tuesday finds that between 1970 and 2017, the combined emissions of six main kinds of pollutants decreased by 73 percent even as the U.S. economy grew substantially over the 47 years.

In a formal statement, acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said:

Through federal and state implementation of the Clean Air Act and technological advances in the private sector, America has achieved one of the great public-private successes of our time—dramatically improving air quality and public health while simultaneously growing the nation’s population and economy.

This report details a remarkable achievement that should be recognized, celebrated, and replicated around the world. A 73 percent reduction in any other social ill, such as crime, disease, or drug addiction, would lead the evening news.

Congress originally passed the Clean Air Act in 1970, following up with major revisions in 1977 and 1990. Under the law, the EPA must rely upon scientific data to create “national ambient air quality standards” for pollutants.

In response, the agency set standards for six “criteria pollutants” officials identified as dangerous to human health and the environment: particulate matter (also known as particle pollution), ozone, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, and lead.

Diane Katz, a research fellow in regulatory policy at The Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Signal that “less costly” alternatives to the Clean Air Act could have achieved similar results.

“Improvement in air quality is always welcome news,” Katz said in an email. “There’s no doubt that the Clean Air Act contributed to the improvement. But this improvement does not mean that other, less costly and oppressive approaches would not have achieved the same or even greater improvement.”

“After all, new technology, not regulation, is the greatest driver of environmental quality,” Katz said. “To the extent regulatory costs hinder innovation, the environment may actually suffer.”

The Clean Air Act also calls on states to formulate their own plans to upgrade and maintain air quality standards. States are responsible for emissions that cut across state lines.

The new EPA report says the environmental improvement occurred in tandem with increased economic growth as “Americans drove more miles and population and energy use increased.”

Concerned citizens and policymakers with an interest in specific pollutants and geographic locations may access interactive features that flush out the information in the EPA report.

Graphics and illustrations also highlight recent trends. For example, the section on the Air Quality Index includes a bar chart showing that the number of days of unhealthy air quality has dropped significantly in recent years.

The report cites these reductions in “key air pollutants” compared with 1990 levels:

—Carbon monoxide: 65 percent.

—Ammonia: 22 percent.

—Nitrogen oxides: 58 percent.

—Direct particulate matter (2.5 microns): 29 percent.

—Direct particulate matter (10 microns): 25 percent.

—Sulfur dioxide (SO2): 88 percent.

—Volatile organic compounds: 40 percent.

“The Clean Air Act is woefully outdated,” Heritage’s Katz said. “At nearly 50 years old, its provisions lack the many regulatory insights we have gained over the decades. Finally, the recent focus on the act as the principle regulatory vehicle to address climate change has been a colossal waste of time, money, and effort.”

The EPA report, titled “Our Nation’s Air: Status and Trends Through 2017,” is one of several resources online that keep tabs on pollution trends and progress in improving air quality.




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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