This week President Obama will try to get Congressional approval for a stimulus bill that provides immediate stimulus to the economy while laying the groundwork for new green infrastructure that will create jobs and start us down the path to solving the climate crisis.
After that, the administration will try to get a science-based Climate Change bill through Congress that will continue the work of shifting us to sustainable energy, building the green economy, and reducing green house gas emissions to a level that will avoid the most catastrophic consequences of Climaticide. By the end of the year the Obama administration needs to have lain the groundwork for an international treaty in Copenhagen that will restore the world's confidence in America's ability and willingness to lead on this, the most important issue of our time.
If you are interested in supporting the President's green policy agenda, I would encourage you to consider joining Daily Kos Environmentalists.
As projected by climate-models, extreme weather events continue to intensify all around the world. Particularly hard hit this week is Australia. Drought and fires continue in Southeastern Australia where record temperatures are being set, while in the North in Queensland, torrential flooding has left communities cut off from the outside world.
Fires are burning on the outskirts of the nation's two largest cities, Sydney and Melbourne. These, coastal(!) cities, in addition to suffering through ongoing droughts, are now recording record temperatures of 116 degrees Fahrenheit. The small town of Avalon 50 km to the SE of Melbourne had a record temperature of 118 degrees today. [personnel communication to author--JR]
Political Map of Australia
A couple of days ago, a thoughtful, fellow Kossack, WarrenS asked a question in a comment on one of my diaries.
How do you hold out hope when the news is this awful? Can you? I dread the time when I have to explain to my daughter just how badly the grownups screwed this up.
I didn't answer the question at that time because I didn't have the strength. Now, I've decided to try and answer it by reposting an updated version of a diary that I wrote in November of 2007.
The Senate voted yesterday 71-26 to give tax breaks to Americans who buy new cars. They don't have to be PHEVs, EVs or even cars that just get better than average gas mileage. No, nearly any new car will do. The amendment to the already bloated, Senate version of the economic stimulus bill was proposed by Senator Barbara Mikulski D-Md. According to the amendment anyone purchasing a passenger car, minivan or light truck between November 12, 2008 (that's right, it's a retroactive tax cut!) and December 31, 2009 would be entitled to an income tax rebate on their sales or excise tax as well as on the interest on their loan. Individual buyers earning up to $125,000 and couples making up to $250,000 would be able to take the sales tax on the first $49,500 of a car's price off of their federal income taxes.
Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus D-Mt, who opposed the measure, estimated that it would add $11 billion to the Senate version of the stimulus bill raising it's total price tax to almost 900 billion.
The West Virginia Gazette reported today that 14 people were cited today for protesting corporate criminal and active Climaticide, [in the sense used here a climaticide is an individual or organization involved in killing the Holocene climate under which our civilization has flourished and prospered], Massey Energy, for its plans to blow the top of off Coal River Mountain. Five of the people cited had chained themselves to a piece of heavy equipment. The other 8 were cited for attempting to deliver a letter of protest to Massey Energy President Don Blankenship at a guard shack and then refusing to leave the premises.
New research, soon to be published in Geophysical Research Letters by Thomas Reichler of the University of Utah and Jian Lu of the US National Center for Atmospheric Research in Colorado indicates, that as climate models have projected, the tropics are expanding.
To determine this, the researchers measured changes in the height of the tropopause (the boundary area between the troposphere, the lowest level of the earth's atmosphere and the stratosphere, the layer directly above it). The tropopause is higher in the tropics than at the poles because the warmer air of the tropics rises higher than does the colder air of the poles, given that the atmospheric pressure is the same in both regions.
The red line indicates the location of the tropopause. As you can see, the closer you get to the equator, the higher the tropopause is.
A just-published report by the University of Zurich’s World Glacier Monitoring Service (WGMS) on glacial mass balances for 2006-2007 shows that the long-term decline trend described in its superb Global Glacier Changes: facts and figures, (this document is a must read for anyone interested in glacier advance and retreat--a very accessible summary of current knowledge for the non-specialist) continues.
Morteratsch Glacier, 1985-2007. Recession of Morteratsch Glacier, Switzerland, between 1985 and 2007. Source: J. Alean, SwissEduc (www.swisseduc.ch) / Glaciers online (www.glaciers-online.net).
Thanks to NBC your children will not be exposed to sexual immorality during the Superbowl.
I'm posting this not because I like this ad, which I consider to be sexist, (although you can bet that NBC didn't reject it because it was sexist, but because it was sexy (and at the wrong time of day!). No, I'm posting it and the video that follows it because I'm offended by moral hypocrisy.
So, without further comment:
The hiatus in the refreezing of the Arctic continues. Today's NSIDC data shows that this year's refreezing has now dropped below the rate for 2006-2007, the year of the record summer sea-ice melt. Here are the latest NSIDC maps and graphs.
A new study from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has some startling news: some of the effects of global warming are irreversible. Even if we suddenly stopped all CO2 emissions today certain effects that we are already feeling will still be with our descendants a thousand years from now. If we continue to increase our emissions of CO2 the number of irreversible effects will be that much greater.
It is often assumed that if we halt CO2 emissions within the next few years that the world will return to it's pre-Climaticide state within a century or two. That is not the case according to a report to be published this week [as of 4pm PST the paper does not show up on the PNAS web site] in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by Susan Solomon of the Earth System Research Laboratory in Boulder, Colorado.
Examples of global warming effects that will still be felt a 1000 years after CO2 emissions are stopped, include changes in surface temperature, rainfall, and sea level.
It can't be linked directly to global warming.
I hope that makes you and all those folks in France and Spain that lived through yesterday's storm, feel better. I'll be talking about them a little latter in this post.
Scientists agree that no particular weather event can be linked directly to global warming. Nonetheless, taken collectively, Extreme Weather Events, have increased and are predicted to continue to increase at a statistically significant rate.
Here are the latest data from the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC). For the second time this year, the refreeze rate has stalled. This first happened in December 2008 for about a week. Now, once again, the refreezing rate has gone flat bringing 2008-2009 refreezing to nearly the same point that it was on the same day (January 22) in 2006-2007, the year when the record for minimal extent was set. The most significant difference between 2006-2007 and this year, is that this year's ice has a lot more first- and second-year ice which is thinner, and therefore more likely to melt away quickly than older, thicker ice.