Sunday, April 07, 2019

Humans Have Caused the Most Dramatic Climate Change in 3 Million Years

The stuff below is more a game than science.  The parameters put into the model were not based on independent statistics. They were simply chosen to give the results wanted.  Let them play their games.  They are no evidence of anything

The level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere today is likely higher than it has been anytime in the past 3 million years. This rise in the level of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, could bring temperatures not seen over that entire timespan, according to new research.

The study researchers used computer modeling to examine the changes in climate during the Quaternary period, which started around 2.59 million years ago and continues into today. Over that period, Earth has undergone a number of changes, but none so rapid as those seen today, said study author Matteo Willeit, a postdoctoral climate researcher at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. [Photographic Proof of Climate Change: Time-Lapse Images of Retreating Glaciers]

"To get a climate warmer than the present, you basically have to go back to a different geological period," Willeit told Live Science.

3 million years of climate

The Quaternary period began with a period of glaciation, when ice sheets stole down from Greenland to cover much of North America and northern Europe. At first, these glaciers advanced and retreated on a 41,000-year cycle, driven by changes in the Earth's orbit around the sun, Willeit said.

But between 1.25 million and 0.7 million years ago, these glacial and interglacial cycles stretched out, re-occurring every 100,000 years or so, a phenomenon called the mid-Pleistocene transition because of the epoch in which it occurred. The question, Willeit said, is what caused the transition, given that the pattern of variations in Earth's orbit hadn't changed.

Willeit and his team used an advanced computer simulation of the Quaternary to try to answer that question. Models are only as good as the parameters included, and this one included a lot: atmospheric conditions, ocean conditions, vegetation, global carbon, dust and ice sheets. The researchers included what is known about the parameters and then tweaked them to see what conditions could create the mid-Pleistocene transition.

How things have changed

The team found that for 41,000-year glacial cycles to change to 100,000-year cycles, two things had to happen: Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere had to decline, and glaciers had to scour away a layer of sediment called the regolith.

Carbon dioxide may have declined for different reasons, Willeit said, such as a decrease in the greenhouse gas spewing from volcanoes, or changes in the weathering rate of rocks, which would lead to more carbon becoming locked up in sediments carried to the bottom of the sea. Less carbon in the atmosphere meant less heat being trapped, so the climate would have cooled to the point where large ice sheets could form more easily.

Geologic processes provided the crucial second ingredient for longer glacial cycles. When continents are ice-free for long periods of time, they acquire a top layer of ground-up, unconsolidated rock called regolith. Earth's moon is a good place to see an example today: The moon's thick dust layer is a regolith.

Ice that forms on top of this regolith tends to be less stable than ice that forms on firm bedrock, Willeit said (imagine the difference in stability between a surface made of ball bearings versus that of a flat table top). Similarly, regolith-based ice sheets flow faster and stay thinner than ice does. When changes in the Earth's orbit alter the amount of heat that hits the Earth's surface, the ice sheets are particularly prone to melting.

But glaciers also bulldoze regolith away, pushing the dusty stuff to their glacial edges. This glacial scouring re-exposes the bedrock; after a few glacial cycles in the early Quaternary, the bedrock would have been exposed, giving newly forming ice sheets a firmer place to anchor, Willeit said. These resilient ice sheets, plus a cooler climate, resulted in the longer glacial cycles seen after about a million years ago. Interglacial periods still occurred because of orbital changes, but they became shorter.


Schumer: ‘If There Were Ever Evidence of Global Warming or of Climate Change This Would Be It’

Chucky doesn't believe in statistics.  But Leftists don't believe in history generally, for that matter

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D.-N.Y.) said on the Senate floor on Tuesday that the natural disasters the United States has experienced over the last two years—including a major hurricane in Puerto Rico—are evidence that “global warming” is in fact taking place.

"Over the last 2 years, the American people have endured staggering natural disasters that have devastated communities across the country,” Schumer said.

“These Americans need help. They need help now,” he said.

“I would parenthetically add, if there were ever evidence of global warming or of climate change, this would be it--despite the fact that just about every Republican has his head or her head in the sand and won’t admit it.”

Schumer made the remarks while criticizing President Donald Trump’s opposition to providing additional disaster relief to Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rico was hit by Hurricane Maria in September 2017. “Maria was a very severe Cape Verde Hurricane that ravaged the island of Dominca at category 5 (on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale) intensity, and later devastated Puerto Rico as a high-end category 4 hurricane,” says a report on the storm published by the National Weather Service.

“It also inflicted serious damage on some of the other islands of the northeastern Caribbean Sea,” says the NWS report. “Maria is the third costliest hurricane in United States history.”

Here is the excerpt from Schumer’s speech where he discusses the disaster assistance and the evidence for global warming:

“Mr. President, the Senate failed to pass emergency relief funding yesterday to help the American families recovering from natural disasters. It failed for one reason--the Republicans removed critical aid for Puerto Rico and other territories from the House bill after President Trump told them to do it. Under this administration and with Leader McConnell's blessing, even disaster relief has now become political.

“I don't need to litigate why we are here. Over the last 2 years, the American people have endured staggering natural disasters that have devastated communities across the country. These Americans need help. They need help now. I would parenthetically add, if there were ever evidence of global warming or of climate change, this would be it despite the fact that just about every Republican has his head or her head in the sand and will not admit it.

“Regardless of what you think the causes were, Americans have always stood together when American citizens have been hit by disaster. We band together and say we are going to help one another--all American citizens, all. Yet one part of America is not being treated like the others, and why not? It is because President Trump, for reasons that defy decency, harbors an apparent contempt for the people of Puerto Rico. He tweeted again last night and erroneously claimed that $91 billion has been afforded the people of Puerto Rico. He ridiculed the leadership that has desperately tried to rebuild the island in the wake of these megastorms.

“Let's get the facts straight. The Republicans know the storms that hit Puerto Rico over a year ago were not ordinary storms; they know these were historic catastrophes. We are talking about the deadliest disasters to hit American soil in over a century. We are talking about the worst power outage in American history. We are talking about 3,000 lives lost. Yet here we are, 18 months later, and the island hasn't recovered.

“It is surreal that a disaster so awful has been met with a Presidential response that is so tepid and so heartless. It is surreal that our Republican colleagues go along with this and say we are not going to help Puerto Rico in the way that is needed. Billions in funding for recovery and mitigation efforts right now remain locked in the Treasury. Congress already appropriated $20 billion that the administration has not allocated. All we want to do is make sure the money is allocated. That is one of the things we want to do.

“Are our Republican colleagues opposed to that? That is what it sounds like. Some of them say it is political. What is political is President Trump's saying no aid for Puerto Rico and having the Republicans jump in line, even those with many Puerto Ricans in their States. Make no mistake, we have reached this impasse because the President has said himself he opposes help for Puerto Rico, and the Republicans follow along.

“Some of my colleagues from the other side came up with another shibboleth; that we opposed the House bill because it didn't provide funding for the Midwest. First of all, the House bill was aimed at disasters in 2018, not in 2019. Second, Senator Leahy offered an amendment that would have added funding for the Middle West and funding for Puerto Rico. What did the Republicans do? They blocked it anyway.

“So this undoes their fantasy that the Democrats are opposed to aid for the Middle West. Senator Leahy and I will be offering an amendment that will give aid to the Midwest and to Puerto Rico. Let's see where our Republican colleagues stand. Will they block that too?

“Yesterday's vote boiled down to a simple question: Do the Republicans believe the people of Puerto Rico deserve relief for their natural disasters as do all Americans? Do they believe the families of Puerto Rico--whatever you think of this elected official in Puerto Rico--deserve to be helped just like the families of the Midwest and California?”


Now paper bags are bad

NEW YORK – Two city council members have announced plans for legislation to place a fee on paper shopping bags.

The proposal follows the state banning most single-use plastic bags beginning next March.

Under the new law, each municipality has the option of imposing a 5-cent fee on paper bags.

The goal of the fee is to encouraging people to shift to re-usable bags.


Fake pollution research

Duke University will pay $112 million to settle a whistleblower lawsuit after federal prosecutors said a research technician's fake data landed millions of dollars in federal grants, the school and the government said Monday.

The private university in Durham submitted claims for dozens of research grants that contained falsified or fabricated information that unjustly drained taxpayer money from the National Institutes of Health, the Environmental Protection Agency and other federal agencies, the U.S. Justice Department said. The school said it is repaying grant money and related penalties.

"Taxpayers expect and deserve that federal grant dollars will be used efficiently and honestly," local U.S. Attorney Matthew G.T. Martin said in a statement. "May this serve as a lesson that the use of false or fabricated data in grant applications or reports is completely unacceptable."

The lawsuit was first filed in 2015 by whistleblower and former Duke employee Joseph Thomas. The Justice Department took it over afterward. The suit claims the faked research was conducted by former research technician Erin Potts-Kant, who was supervised by pulmonary medicine researcher William Michael Foster. Foster's lab experimented with mice, seeking to determine the effects of inhaling diesel exhaust, among other tests. Several research papers by Foster's team were later retracted.

"We expect Duke researchers to adhere always to the highest standards of integrity, and virtually all of them do that with great dedication," university President Vincent Price said in a statement. "When individuals fail to uphold those standards, and those who are aware of possible wrongdoing fail to report it, as happened in this case, we must accept responsibility, acknowledge that our processes for identifying and preventing misconduct did not work, and take steps to improve."

The settlement was announced on the same day that U.S. District Judge Catherine Eagles had scheduled a hearing on why the deal supposedly struck in November hadn't been finalized by the Justice Department.

The government alleged that between 2006 and 2018 Duke knowingly submitted faked data to federal agencies in 30 grants. The university had warning signs that some of the research was fraudulent but didn't act until discovering in 2013 that Potts-Kant had siphoned off money for spending on clothes and other items, the lawsuit said.

Duke University said the technician pleaded guilty to two counts of forgery in state court and paid the school restitution. Foster retired in 2015, university spokesman Michael Schoenfeld said.

Thomas, the whistleblower, will get $33.75 million from the settlement, the government said.


A New Climate For Climate?

How the Green New Deal jolted Washington

When a group of more than 20 protesters showed up in the halls of the U.S. Senate on a recent February day, they would have been forgiven for expecting a chilly reception. For the past seven months, sit-ins at a range of offices—from California Governor Jerry Brown’s to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s—had followed a similar pattern: show up, sing songs, get led away in handcuffs for disrupting the peace. But on that particular Wednesday, things were different.

Instead of being dismissed or arrested, this band of environmental activists from a group known as the Sunrise Movement was warmly welcomed. Democratic Senators’ aides applauded their songs, led them to back offices for meetings and cheered their efforts. “It starts with what you’re doing, from the bottom on up,” Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders told them. “I just want to thank you.” In the weeks that followed, Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer, after years of near radio silence on climate change, gave a series of speeches on the chamber floor. “For the first time in a long time, the Senate is finally debating the issue of climate change, and if you ask me, it’s about time,” he said. “Climate change is an urgent crisis and an existential threat.”

It’s not just Democrats who suddenly want to focus on climate change. President Trump seized the opportunity to double down on his denial of climate science, while other Republicans began recalibrating their messaging. Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz, an ardent defender of the President who introduced a bill in 2017 to eliminate the EPA, responded to Trump by tweeting, “Climate change is real.” In December, John Cornyn of Texas, who until recently served in GOP Senate leadership, tweeted positively about a tax on carbon emissions, and a month later, Republican Representative Francis Rooney of Florida and Democratic colleagues joined to introduce a carbon-tax measure in the House.

A February NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey found that two-thirds of Republicans believe their party is “outside the mainstream” on the issue.

Into this new political reality came the Green New Deal—equal parts policy proposal and battle cry. The resolution, introduced by Representative Alexandria Ocasio- Cortez of New York and Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts, calls for the U.S. to launch a broad “mobilization” to decarbonize the economy while tackling a slew of other social ills. The response was mixed. People loved it. People loathed it. Others were confused by it. But in D.C., where climate has long been relegated to third-tier status, lawmakers could no longer avoid the issue.

Within weeks of the proposal’s release, Democrats competed to burnish their green credentials. Nearly every Democratic candidate for the 2020 presidential nomination has endorsed the Green New Deal. Washington Governor Jay Inslee entered the race on a climate-themed campaign— something unthinkable just a few years ago, when Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump didn’t field a single question about climate change in their presidential debates.

Some Republicans scrambled to counter what they saw as a liberal threat: if they didn’t come up with a viable climate position, at least one they could point to rhetorically, they risked further ceding the issue to the Democrats, whose proposal they decry as socialist overreach. Behind the scenes, Republicans gathered in working groups trying to grasp for a solution. Major corporations— including in the oil-and-gas industry— pulled out their checkbooks to support conservative climate measures.

Even before Ocasio-cortez released her Green New Deal resolution, critics had begun to scrutinize the program, using every detail as a chance to condemn it. A congressional newcomer, Ocasio-Cortez has developed a reputation for taking critics and their talking points head-on, but in a recent interview with TIME she rejected the idea that she should have to defend the particulars.

“It’s a statement. It’s a vision document. And people want to pick it apart to death,” she says, agreeing with those who liken her proposal to the “bold persistent experimentation” that President Franklin Roosevelt advocated to end the Great Depression. “I hope that we start to get to more of an experimental spirit in government,” she says.

Thomas Friedman first coined the term Green New Deal in a 2007 New York Times column and described the program as government “seeding basic research, providing loan guarantees where needed and setting standards, taxes and incentives.” Van Jones, the activist and political commentator, published The Green Collar Economy in 2008, about solving inequality and climate change at the same time. Chapter 4, titled “The Green New Deal,” outlined his vision for a program that would “birth a just and green economy.”

Around the same time, Inslee, then a Congressman, wrote Apollo’s Fire, highlighting stories of Americans’ benefiting from clean energy and calling for a moon-shot-like program to invest in a green economy. These ideas were so popular that Senators Barack Obama and John Mccain pushed for green jobs in their 2008 presidential campaigns, and a handful of states have adopted some Green New Deal policies in recent years.

In California’s agricultural region, for example, former Fresno mayor Ashley Swearengin, a Republican, initiated a comprehensive plan to establish new transit options and redevelop the local economy while reducing greenhouse- gas emissions by 40%. The state as a whole has a plan to achieve 100% carbon- free electricity, a vision that’s gaining adherents in cities big and small and in a range of states from New Mexico to New York. “It’s not radical. By no stretch of imagination,” says Kevin de León, a Democrat who spearheaded many of California’s climate initiatives as president pro tempore of the state senate. California’s GDP is larger than that of all but four countries and its economy continues to thrive, he says, dismissing the critique that environmental reform would kill economic growth.

Still, the Green New Deal faces pushback not just from the political right but also from labor—a longtime stalwart of the Democratic Party. In early March, the AFL-CIO published a stinging critique of the proposal, calling it unrealistic and a threat to “members’ jobs and their families’ standard of living.” The oil-and-gas industry in particular supports millions of jobs, and while the text of the Green New Deal calls for a “just transition” to other industries, it offers few details. Republicans latched on to a talking point suggesting that the proposal would turn the U.S. into another Venezuela, pointing to the resolution’s inclusion of a job guarantee and universal health care, goals that many Democrats agree have no place in a climate package.

But if this ambitious climate plan seemed likely to wrench lawmakers further apart, it may actually do the opposite. In an era of festering dysfunction in Congress, all the green talk has actually sprouted green shoots, encouraging a national discussion around climate and, improbably, creating an opportunity to push real legislation. “If you care about moving the solution up the agenda, you have to salute what’s been accomplished here,” says Eric Pooley, a senior vice president at the Environmental Defense Fund, which has not endorsed the Green New Deal. “The fact that there are different points of view on different policy instruments is healthy.”

A carbon tax—once anathema to the right—is an unlikely beneficiary of this environmental glasnost, gaining support on both sides of the aisle. “If your goal is to reduce carbon emissions, a carbon tax will do that,” says Congressman John Delaney, a Maryland Democrat who is running for President and has introduced carbon- tax legislation. “It has an opportunity to get pretty broad support, including bipartisan support.”

Carlos Curbelo, a former GOP Florida Congressman who has led efforts for a carbon tax, said the Green New Deal offers a useful political foil. “It’s going to give Republicans and conservatives something that they can clearly oppose, which is always appreciated by the right,” he says. At the same time, he adds, Republicans are aware that public opinion is shifting. “It’s not going to be enough for a lot of members to say the Green New Deal is a massive socialist program. The next question is, What’s your solution?”



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