Night Owls
Six and a half years ago, Nicholas Stern, chairman of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics, released the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change, 700 stunning pages. Boiling that down to its essence: If quick action isn't taken, it will cut the world economy 5 percent of gross domestic product every year forever. Staving off the worst impacts, the report concluded, would require about an investment of about one percent annually in global GDP. The study got a lot of pushback, including from the usual savants who argue that global warming isn't the scientific consensus.

Stern had some more bad news last week after the average 24-hour measurement of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere crossed the 400 part per million threshold for the first time.

At the Guardian, Robin McKie writes Climate change 'will make hundreds of millions homeless'. Now that in itself isn't news. Several reports have been saying that for years. But what's different is that what was thought to be decades away is much closer to happening than previously thought by all but the pessimists:

Nicholas Stern, climate economist
Nicholas Stern
It is increasingly likely that hundreds of millions of people will be displaced from their homelands in the near future as a result of global warming. That is the stark warning of economist and climate change expert Lord Stern following the news last week that concentrations of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere had reached a level of 400 parts per million (ppm).

Massive movements of people are likely to occur over the rest of the century because global temperatures are likely to rise to by up to 5C because carbon dioxide levels have risen unabated for 50 years, said Stern, who is head of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change.

"When temperatures rise to that level, we will have disrupted weather patterns and spreading deserts," he said. "Hundreds of millions of people will be forced to leave their homelands because their crops and animals will have died. The trouble will come when they try to migrate into new lands, however. That will bring them into armed conflict with people already living there. Nor will it be an occasional occurrence. It could become a permanent feature of life on Earth."

The news that atmospheric carbon dioxide levels have reached 400ppm has been seized on by experts because that level brings the world close to the point where it becomes inevitable that it will experience a catastrophic rise in temperatures. Scientists have warned for decades of the danger of allowing industrial outputs of carbon dioxide to rise unchecked.

Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2006Did Hayden Break The Law?:

Today, the President pushed for a quick confirmation of his nominee for CIA Director, General Michael Hayden.  Various Senators have already come out and rubber-stamped the President's choice. I must admit, this rush to judgment seems paradoxical since program after program is being exposed that should stall--if not kill--the General's nomination.

First, it was the "terrorist surveillance program" that was represented by Hayden as being limited in nature. We still don't know who initiated the program. Reports suggest that it may have been Hayden who unilaterally implemented the extrajudicial spying program, before executive authorization.

Now, we learn that Hayden was the architect of a much broader program, one that has cataloged billions of calls made by innocent Americans.

While Hayden's supporters shrug off this massive data collection, they ignore a critical question:  did Hayden break the law? And if so, how can they overlook that and vote for his confirmation?

The fact is that, depending on the exact contours of the program, this program may have already been banned by Congress. And if so, Hayden's resurrection of that program should cast the death blow to any nomination.

Tweet of the Day:

Michele Bachmann's tears taste so sweet.
@aurosan via web

On today's Kagro in the Morning show, zOMG, IRS! Greg Dworkin reminded us all too briefly that there are other things happening in the world, specifically the decision of what to do in Newtown, CT with the now-vacant Sandy Hook Elementary School building. After that, back to the IRS. We recall the Republicans' effort to "defund the left" with the Istoook amendment, Newt Gingrich's efforts to shoehorn his own political activity into a tax-exempt context, and the Bush administration's politicization of the US Attorneys and the wider DOJ. Finally, we read Daily Kos' own Jon Perr on "Benghazi and the Republican scandal management playbook."

High Impact Posts. Top Comments.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Mon May 13, 2013 at 08:30 PM PDT.

Also republished by DK GreenRoots and Climate Change SOS.

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