The folks at Yale Environment 360 explore extreme weather's links to climate change:
That global air and ocean temperatures are rising, and that human activity is largely to blame, is no longer a subject of debate among the vast majority of the world’s climate scientists. But there is no such consensus when talk turns to another important question: Is climate change already causing more extreme weather events, including worsening downpours and flooding, intensifying heat waves, and more powerful hurricanes?
Yale Environment 360 asked eight leading climate experts whether they think there is growing evidence that human-caused global warming is contributing to an increased incidence of extreme weather — and to cite specific recent examples in their answers. Their responses varied, with some contending that rising temperatures already are creating more tempestuous weather and others saying that more extreme weather may be likely but that not enough data yet exists to discern a trend in that direction. Scientists in both camps said two physical phenomena — warmer air holds more moisture, and higher temperatures exacerbate naturally occurring heat waves — would almost by definition mean more extremes. But some argued that the growing human toll from hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, and heat waves is primarily related to burgeoning human population and the related degradation of the environment.
Here are two of the eight:
Kevin Trenberth, senior scientist at the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research’s Climate Analysis Section.
Yes, undoubtedly. The environment in which all storms form has changed owing to human activities. Global warming has increased temperatures and directly related to that is an increase in the water-holding of the atmosphere. Over the ocean, where there are no water limitations, observations confirm that the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere has increased by about 4 percent, consistent with a 1 degree F warming of sea surface temperatures since about the 1970s. The human component does not change much from year to year and affects all storms.
In the absence of water, during a drought, the extra heat goes into raising temperatures and creating a more intense drought and heat waves, no doubt contributing to the 2010 Russian heat wave. However, the most spectacular events over the past year have been extreme heavy rains: flooding in India, China, and Pakistan in July and August, and then Queensland, Australia in December 2010 and January 2011. Further, very heavy rains in the U.S. in April 2011, along with snow melt, have also led to extensive flooding. In all these cases, very high sea surface temperatures have undoubtedly contributed to extra moisture flowing into the storms that produced the heavy rains and likely contributed to the strength of the storms through added energy. While perhaps a major part of these high sea surface temperatures was related to natural variability such as ENSO [El Niño Southern Oscillation], a component is related to global warming. It is when global warming and natural variability come together that records are broken. Our current work is documenting the link between the Asian flooding and the Russian heat wave and why the blocking anticyclone that led to it was so persistent. …Judith Curry, chair of Georgia Institute of Technology’s School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences.
The substantial interest in attributing extreme weather events to global warming seems rooted in the perceived need for some sort of a disaster to drive public opinion and the political process in the direction of taking action on climate change. However, attempts to attribute individual extreme weather events, or collections of extreme weather events, may be fundamentally ill-posed in the context of the complex climate system, which is characterized by spatiotemporal chaos. There are substantial difficulties and problems associated with attributing changes in the average climate to natural variability versus anthropogenic forcing, which I have argued are oversimplified by the IPCC assessments. Attribution of extreme weather events is further complicated by their dependence on weather regimes and internal multi-decadal oscillations that are simulated poorly by climate models.
I have been completely unconvinced by any of the arguments that I have seen that attributes a single extreme weather event, a cluster of extreme weather events, or statistics of extreme weather events to anthropogenic forcing. Improved analysis of the attribution of extreme weather events requires a substantially improved and longer database of the events. Interpretation of these events in connection with natural climate regimes such as El Niño is needed to increase our understanding of the role of natural climate variability in determining their frequency and intensity. Improved methods of evaluating climate model simulations of distributions of extreme event intensity and frequency in the context of natural variability is needed before any confidence can be placed in inferences about the impact of anthropogenic influences on extreme weather events.
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Green Diary Rescue is a regular Saturday feature at Daily Kos. Inclusion of a particular diary does not necessarily indicate my agreement with it. The rescue will be on hiatus June 18 because of the Netroots Nation conference. It will return June 25.
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citisven explained How Hot Soup is Making the Planet Cooler: "When we talk about climate change with its myriad of complex causes it's easy to get overwhelmed and tune out. A common perception I think is that the scale of the problem is so big and mostly out of our personal reach that the scale of the solution must be equally big and out of reach. There are so many mostly unknown industrial processes between us and the food we eat, the clothes we wear, the shelter we seek or the means by which we travel that to find out where something came from or how many hands it passed through is an exercise in futility. No wonder our only recourse often is to hope that whoever is "in charge" of this maze will make things better, greener, perhaps more organic. However, while rocket science may help to undo some of the rocket science that has enabled us to extract and burn up millions of years worth of carbon in less than two centuries, it's going to be less and less useful in navigating us through an era of shrinking fossil fuels."
Green Communities & Sustainability
xaxnar explored Epcot and other fantasies in America as Disney World —The Future Isn't What It Used To Be: "If you want an example in the real world of people trying to build a better future, one they can actually live in and govern themselves, forget Florida and go to Kansas."
In the Living Simply series, cordgrass wrote again about controlling what we throwaway in Zero waste is a pain in the butt: "Striving for a zero waste lifestyle involves work. The work falls into two categories--lots of cooking and research. Both have their rewards. I have found that homemade pizza is better than delivery pizza, homemade bread is better than bread from the store, and my homemade pasta sauce is to die for. So the rewards of cooking from scratch are obvious."
Lawrence was elated over the end of a bad product in Why Voting Matters — California Senate bans Styrofoam: "California just did both itself, the Pacific Ocean, and the world a huge favor by reducing its contribution to the Pacific Garbage Patch in a significant manner, preventing a huge amount of fish, sea turtle, and bird deaths caused by the ingestion of styrofoam, lowering our dependence on oil, and reducing the amount GHG that it emits."
gmoke gave us the schedule for Architecting the Future, June 8-10 in New York City.
Air, Water and Soil Pollution
Mary Anne Hitt pointed to a national epidemic in Stopping Pollution that Causes Asthma Attacks: "Little Hazel is only 13 months old, and I would be devastated to see her get asthma. Unfortunately, because of the massive air pollution from coal plants and cars, millions of parents across the nation are coping with their children’s asthma. Asthma strikes 1 out of every 10 school children and is the number one illness that causes kids to miss school in the United States. Asthma is such a problem in our country that even the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is holding a National Asthma Forum, which starts today in Washington, DC."
Steven D gave us the skinny on who is blockading improvement in this epidemic in Guess which Party Supports More Asthma for Kids (and adults, too): "Yes, James Inhofe, the man who claims climate change is the greatest hoax ever in the history of the world, and the recipient of over $600,000 in campaign contributions from the oil and gas industry between 2000 and 2008, supports the well-being of your kids. He just happens to support the well being of Big Oil a whole lot more. The same can be said for David "God has forgiven me for my sex scandal" David Vitter, who received over $538,000 from Big Oil between 2005 and 2010. If I were the Senators owned by Big Oil I'd probably say what they said as well."
Agriculture, Gardening & Food
In the latest installment of Macca's Meatless Monday, The White House Album, beach babe in fl explained: "Our actions taken together can do much in alleviating the out of control wreckage of our planet. We here at Macca's Meatless Monday know that one of the greatest contributors to climate change is meat/livestock production so by simply reducing or eliminating meat and meat products in our diet we can be a force for mitigating climate change. Here are the figures to support that statement."
the fan man looked at the e coli disaster in Europe in his diary, Organic, "local" beansprouts now the target: "…German authorities have local organic sprouts in custody, wanted in the death of 22 people and the illness of thousands. Authorities are not certain this is the only produce that is contaminated or whether the sprouts were contaminated on farm (one sick employee) or in transit or at retail."
lotac took on grilling in the What's For Dinner? series: "If you're like many of us, you enjoy cooking outdoors. You might have one of those things on your patio or deck called a 'barbecue.' And you may or may not know that there are 3 essential categories of cooking on such a device. There are lots of crossover points between the equipment, the ingredients, and the techniques, but cooking on a 'barbecue' can be thought of in 3 basic categories: grilling, barbecue, and smoking."
welso filled in for Frankenoid inSaturday Morning Garden Blogging: "Weather has not been a gardener’s friend here in Northeast Ohio this year. I know it’s nothing compared to what some folks have been going through in terms of severe weather. Those folks certainly have my sympathies. Nevertheless, this spring’s gardening activities seem to be limited to damage control, and this summer in the garden might be the real 'recovery summer.' Heh."
matching mole was out and about for the Dawn Chorus: Beat the Heat: "Shorebirds get a bad rap. They're relatively drab, impossible to tell apart, and require to lug a scope across the landscape so you can look at them sleeping on a mudflat half a mile away. But that's when they're on vacation. For a couple of months a year they are hard at work in the far north in somewhat more vibrant plumage. And if we're looking in May we can get a glimpse of some color as these little guys get ready for their big commute."
Muskegon Critic was quite relaxed writing Dusktime with Woodland Pixies and the Everynoise Bird: "I am sitting in my back yard with, luxury of luxuries, wireless internet on a functional laptop and I am watching my three year old and seven year old son play with the neighbor children next door. It's late. It's Friday. And there are exactly one and a half days of school left for the year. Robins are singing. Finches. A bird we call 'The Everynoise Bird' is chirping its strange and seemingly patternless tune. Technically, it's called a Cat Bird. But Everynoise Bird seems more appropriate. It's what we called the bird before we could find it in the National Audubon Society book."
HoundDog said he is uncertain about where this is going:Genetically Modified and Cloned Transgenic Cows Produce Milk Similar to Human Breast Milk: "Scientists at the China Agricultural University, have produced 17 genetically modified cows which produce milk they assert is chemically indistinquishable from human breast milk in the ways measured. … At this point, I don't know what to think but he has my attention. What an amazing idea that consumers could be put on a new kind of diet, with something as ubiquitous as milk, perhaps, without some people even knowing about it."
Julie Waters wrote about a trip to paradise in Birds, Moose, Butterflies in Vermont's "Northeast Kingdom": "Birding and camping in Northern Vermont this month took us through Island Pond, Victory Basin and a part of the Sylvio Conte refuge network. We had good sightings of birds, butterflies and even one fairly cool sighting of a young bull moose. We stayed at Brighton State Park which is a nice campground."
She also posted Big Pictures of Tiny Birds (plus a few great big ones).
Climate Change & The Weather
boatsie was on hand in Bonn, Germany, for climate talks and wrote several reports:
• Hope in a Stalk of Grain: Bonn Climate Talks Tackle Reality: "The UN Climate Negotiations in Bonn commenced yesterday — the second meeting this year to set the stage for November 28's COP17 in Durban, South Africa — and NGO's began turning up the heat on the official negotiators, many of whom seem lulled to complacency in what resembles a quasi-real life reenactment of Waiting for Godot. Their message to the UN diplomats who have gathered from 183 countries? Godot is NOT coming. It is up to YOU!"
• US Wins Fossil of Day Award @ Bonn Climate Talks: Day 3 Wrap: Climate Action Network (CAN) awarded the United States the "Fossil of the Day Award" for opposing long-term Climate finance discussions in the LCA (Long Term Cooperative Action).
• Bonn Day 4: Agenda Finally Set As Talks Begin: "Make no doubt about it. Christina Figueres gets it. In a meeting today with youth activists at the Bonn Climate Talks, the UNFCCC executive secretary reiterated her clear understanding that climate change is THE primary human rights issue in the world and that science must inform all decisions relative to appropriate action. Eventually, she said, economists '…need to, have to, reconfigure themselves and get what this is really all about.' "
• Bonn Talks: YOU Listen: "As the sun set on the first week of negotiations at the Bonn Climate Talks, the sense of urgency to ignite action on the second phase of Kyoto is palpable. Climate Action Network releases clear expectations for the UN talks as negotiators, politicians, industry leaders and NGOs scramble for position on the fast track to Durban. Others, fearing futility already jinks the journey, lasso their hopes beyond COP17 to focus on Rio+20."
He followed up by asking, Is a Congressman's personal behavior more important than Climate Change?.
Lefty Coaster pointed to a new finding in We're AT THE BRINK~ CO2 levels higher than "Just Before Ancient Episode of Severe Global Warming": "Do we as a species want to close our eyes, all hold hands, and step into the abyss together? Or do we as a species want to open our eyes to where our current industrialized path is leading our now hospitable planet, probably making it become significantly less hospitable for our modern industrialized civilizations to keep doing many of things they do in the ways we've been used to doing them, the ways our parents were used to doing them, and in turn the ways our grandparents did them. This is the greatest challenge we have faced as a species over the last 70,000 years. Thousands of generations ago."
deepsouthdoug named The website I absolutely dread clicking on (Chapter II): "Quite regularly Climate Progress blogs about the really, civilization ending bad news. While we rage about what the crazy fucking Republicans are doing in WI or MI, Climate Progress reports that the global ecosystem is not waiting for us. Reading Climate Progress indicates to me that we are way beyond the climate tipping point."
Cassiodorus reviewed a book on the subject in Climate change again: David Orr's Down to the Wire: "This is a book review of David W. Orr's (2009) volume "Down to the Wire: Confronting Climate Collapse," a book about climate change. It is noteworthy because Orr has written significant things about environmental education, and for him to switch gears at this point implies that education really isn't sufficient at this point; we've got to think about how the world is going to be."
kindler wondered Where is the Anger over climate change: "The Age of Climate Disruption is not something to expect to wait for in the distant future -- it has arrived. We are seeing, right before our eyes, an unending cycle of droughts, killer heat waves, crop failures, floods, hurricanes, record tornados. And still our 'leaders' do nothing, nothing, nothing about the crisis staring us all in the face. The reigning approach can be summed up in a single word: denial."
FishOutofWater was one of a number of diarists to look at the blaze still out of control in Southwest in his diary, 276 Record High Temps & Smoke from Arizona Fires Covers Midwest: "276 record highs, smoke from Arizona fires covering the midwest in a spring of record conflagrations and the media is talking about photos of a guy's shorts. Climate disruption has literally set America on fire but no one inside the beltway gives a damn. They are staring at pictures of a guy's crotch."
He followed up eSci: Fires, Climate Change & Water Supply: "President Obama has promised the people of Arizona that the federal government will provide all federal resources necessary to fight the fires in Arizona. The Wallow fire has become the second largest fire in Arizona's history at approximately 400,000 acres and growing. Because it is 0% contained and most of its margins are in rugged mountainous terrain in Arizona's White Mountains, it could become the largest fire in Arizona's history if the forecasts for extreme fire weather this weekend by the National Weather Service verify. A huge area of biodiverse rugged wilderness has been charred, but damage to structures has been limited by firefighters hard work."
TheFatLadySings was critical of press coverage in LiveBlog: Green Wallow Fire Rages, Media Looks Away: "Here in New Mexico, hundreds of miles from the fires raging in Arizona, residents have been warned to stay indoors, turning OFF swamp coolers and closing windows, sports events have been cancelled and smoke obscures nearby mountains. You step outside and smell smoke. Eyes are watering. People are coughing. The sun has turned a frightening shade of red. In Washington DC, reporters have been chasing around a tour bus carrying an insignificant, ignorant woman and engaging in talk about the size and shape of a Congressional penis. What planet are they living on?"
PaulLoeb found himself Glued to the Weather Channel While the World Burns: "But media coverage rarely connects the unfolding cataclysms with the global climate change that fuels them. We can't guarantee that any specific disaster is caused by our warming atmosphere. The links are delayed and diffuse. But considered together, the escalating floods, droughts, tornadoes, and hurricanes fit all the predicted models."
Mother Mags also took a look at The Fierce Green Wallow Fire: "This is a special place being swallowed by hell. Thankfully, no one has died from the Wallow Fire, which officially began on May 29, and 'only' a dozen structures or so have been destroyed so far. Good thoughts go out to the firefighters and families, because the potential is there for the blaze to whip through a community like Springerville or Greer, a gorgeous sliver of a town tucked into the Ponderosa folds of the state's highest land, with communities like Hannagan's Meadow at more than 9,000 feet, often the TV weatherdude's 'coldest place in the state.' "
Steven D discovered that drought is impinging on a time-honored activity in No Outdoor BBQ or Fireworks for Texas Counties due to Drought + 3000 People Flee AZ wildfires: "We know it's hot and dry in Texas. Texas has suffered from unprecedented drought and wildfires this Spring, and the forecast for Summer doesn't look to be any better. What we didn't know was that the local county government of Guadalupe, Texas, in an effort to prevent wild fires, would impose a ban on all outside grilling and fire pits over the July 4th day holiday."
He was a bit surprised by the stance of a progressive bugaboo in World Bank, Vatican, Farmers, etc. Call for Action Now On Climate Change. Who Doesn't? Republicans: "That's right, the World Bank, not my favorite international financial institution believes that the climate is changing due to anthropogenic global warming. How do I know that? Because they aren't just issuing statements about the damage that climate change is causing, and will cause in the future. They are putting their money on the line as well by easing credit for financing of projects needed to ameliorate the effects of global warming."
Dry Observer examined a special kind of activism in "Hackers" Gather Worldwide to Fight Climate Change: "Random Hacks of Kindness, a grassroots effort of problem solvers looking to find powerful-yet-inexpensive solutions to major problems, is now underway worldwide. Originally brought together in 2009 by the combined resources of Google, Microsoft, Yahoo!, NASA and the World Bank, RHoK draws from a very deep pool of talent beyond those founding organizations."
Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse was exasperated by the failure to act, as she explained in her diary, Powerful Video of McKibben's Op-Ed On Global Climate Change Weirding: "Now, the International Energy Agency reports that the goal to hold temperature rise to only 2 degrees Celsius is 'likely to be just 'a nice Utopia' because greenhouse gas emissions for last year increased by a record amount to the 'highest carbon output in history.' But, hey, DC — keep delaying enactment of comprehensive climate change legislation while climate deniers debate and obstruct. It's not like our country has not already reached conclusions on the need for clean energy."
FreeToBeHeard found himself unsure about who to believe, as he wrote in Do You Believe In God? How About Climate Change? Does It Matter?: "I know there are confusing arguments to support both sides. Once you allow politics to enter the equation it becomes even more confusing. Just this past year some have said there is evidence that NASA has been faking statistics of the sea levels rising. Others are saying watch out, places like Florida and New York City will be under water by 2100. With all the conflicting information it is really hard to know what to believe."
xaxnar let us know that Climate Scientists have been threatened with death: "'A number of Australia's leading climate scientists have been moved into safer accommodation after receiving death threats, in a further escalation of the country's increasingly febrile carbon price debate. The revelation of the death threats follows a week of bitter exchanges between the government and the opposition in the wake of a pro-carbon price TV advert featuring actor Cate Blanchett."
bernardpliers said he is pretty sure he has identified Climate Change Astroturf Comments In Washington Post: "There seems to be an astroturf operation in the WaPo comments, posting under the name everythingiswonderful2012. A group of wingnuts using this single name is generating something like 300 to 500 comments a day, all right wing zombie lies. But they aren't totally incoherent like the output of single person. Clearly there are several people churning out this content. And they seem to be doing it in shifts throughout the day. It seems like someone is financing this operation."
Jerome a Paris pointed to how Germany is pushing forward smart energy policy: "Following the recent announcement by the German government of the forthcoming closure of all nuclear plants by 2022 (see Merkel's nuclear exit), a new step has been taken today with a series of announcements to support renewable energy, including a specific financing programme to develop the offshore wind industry on a large via public development bank KfW."
Via TomDispatch, Michael Klare gave us a short course in How to Wreck a Planet 101: "In this stunning, tour-de-force view of global energy developments in a world in which 'easy energy. is increasingly a thing of the past and 'tough energy' the present reality, Klare highlights three developments that are now shaking all our energy futures and will change our lives."
Mary Anne Hitt was energized by people Marching to Protect a Landmark in American Labor History - Blair Mountain: "Watching this week's massive march on Blair Mountain has been inspiring. More than 300 people (and that number’s been growing each day) are walking the roughly 60 miles from Marmet, West Virginia, to Blair Mountain in Logan, West Virginia, to call for the end of mountaintop removal coal mining and the protection of this historic site. Blair Mountain is a major landmark in American labor history, and the site of the largest civil insurrection since the Civil War."
On the scene participating with the Blair Mountain protesters was Mentatmark, who wrote a series of diaries:
• Rednecks Return to Blair Mountain, Arrival in Marmet: "I left Erie, PA, after midnight on Sunday to come for the March. The 12 Unions that represent the employees of General Electric had the Nation Contract Negotiation Rally which was hosted by my Local of the United Electrical Workers UE 506. The news there was no surprise, even though GE did not pay any federal taxes, they still do not have enough money. The want to shift the costs of healthcare and pensions to the workers. They want us to screw the new guy and sell her into a two tier wage system. And more... The mood was the most militant I have heard in my 22 years of working there. We hope a strike is not necessary, but I won't live on my knees. And by the sounds of our Rally's roaring and chanting, I was not alone."
• Rednecks Return to Blair Mountain, the First Day's March, a Photo Diary: "The counter protesters were there, all along the route, and so were those that supported us. The only pictures of them I got was the aforementioned video. The dust up did not end badly, but some now understand how unhappy these people are because we are here to destroy their jobs, or so they think. Those that supported us see what is happening. Many shook hands with as many of us as they could."
• Rednecks Return to Blair Mountain, Day 2, Big Coal pushes back: " here is an axiom, 'No battle plan survives the first contact with the enemy." The organizers of this march have do a great job preparing the field, but Big Coal wields almost god like control here. The campground for last night is a good example. The State Police and the organizers had agreed that the John Slack Park, where there was no closing time and could hold us would be a good place for the camp."
• Rednecks Return to Blair Mountain, Day 3, We arrive at the home of Big Coal: "Official resistance to the March has been pretty stiff, but the marchers and organizers have 'ever persevered.'"
fjgallagher evaluated a proposal on natural gas in Texas Fracking Bill: A Good First Step ... or Maybe Not: "Texas Gov. Rick Perry has on his desk a bill that would ostensibly require natural gas drillers to disclose the contents of the fracking fluid that they inject deep underground to break up shale formations and free the natural gas trapped therein. But a growing number of environmental advocates are saying that the bill will actually do more harm than good."
Lefty Coaster alerted us to growing opposition in the matter of transporting tar-sand oil from our northern neighbor in USA Today: "U.S.-Canada Keystone pipeline leaks, fuels outrage": "As opposition to the proposed Keystone Tar Sands Oil Pipeline mounts the Department of State has announced a series of public hearings in each of the affected states for public input on the controversial pipeline to import Canadian oil extracted using an ultra-carbon intensive method that multiplies the carbon footprint from burning oil from Tar Sands significantly."
He followed up with two other diaries on the subject:
• Fire Knocks Out Spent Fuel Cooling at Ft. Calhoun Nuclear Power Plant: "'A fire in an electrical switch room on Tuesday briefly knocked out cooling for a pool holding spent nuclear fuel at the Fort Calhoun nuclear plant outside Omaha, Neb., plant officials said. The safety of deep pools used to store used radioactive fuel at nuclear plants has been an issue since the accident at Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant in March. If the cooling water a pool is lost, the used nuclear fuel could catch fire and release radiation. Officials at Fort Calhoun said the situation at their plant came nowhere near to Fukushima's. They said it would have taken 88 hours for the heat produced by the fuel to boil away the cooling water."
• Dam Danger, Flooding and Ft. Calhoun Nuclear Power Plant: "[The] Garrison Dam in North Dakota … is one of six dams that comprise the principle flood control of the Missouri river and part of the protection for the Ft. Calhoun Nuclear Power Plant I have written about here Would a little American nuclear emergency make you look up? We're having one and here Fire Knocks Out Spent Fuel Cooling at Ft. Calhoun Nuclear Power Plant."
harveywasserman wrote Nukes to America: "We Don't Need No Stinking Fire Protection": "Investigations by the New York News and others show Indian Point’s fire detection and suppression systems to be woefully inadequate. 'Indian Point’s ongoing failure to comply with federal fire safety requirements is both reckless and unacceptable,' says Eric Schneiderman, New York’s Attorney-General. The ill-will comes as Japan confirms that three reactors at Fukushima did melt, and that radiation emissions have been far higher than originally believed."
clearandpresent brought up an old term applicable to today in National sacrifice areas: "Many years back as part of the anti-nuke movement in the 70s when it was the heyday of unlimited nuclear power touting energy too cheap to measure, we warned that there were many areas of the globe that would eventually have to be cordoned off and left forever as 'national sacrifice areas' where human habitation was no longer possible. We argued that every step along the way from mining, fabricating, testing and use nuclear power and weapons production was leaving a trail of intense radioactivity that would be around long after humans had gone the way of the dinosaurs. … Well, it appears we now have many areas of the globe that now qualify for that title. They are truly areas of the globe sacrificed to nuclear madness. People just aren't able to live there any longer or shouldn't be living there any longer but still do out of necessity."
WashingtonPeaceCenter warned of America's Nuclear Spent-Fuel Time Bombs: "The Fukushima accident should be a wakeup call for the United States to address the hazards posed by our own dangerous spent fuel pools at nuclear reactors. They are a time bomb. America's reactors have generated about 65,000 metric tons of spent fuel, of which 75 percent is stored in pools, according to Nuclear Energy Institute data. No other nation has generated this much radioactivity from either nuclear power or nuclear weapons production."
And called for Green Jobs, Not Nukes: " No Nukes - Massive anti-nuclear demos are scheduled to take place in Japan on June 11. Following the disaster in Fukushima, Germany adopted a plan to phase out nuclear power by 2022. What can we do in the U.S.? Bob Alvarez outlines some steps forward for nuclear waste containment in this week's featured article and recent report, but one thing is clear: 'the largest concentrations of radioactivity on the planet will remain in storage at U.S. reactor sites for the indefinite future.' June 25 will be Nuclear Abolition Day. Will you take action here in DC? Let us know if you make plans! "
The Anomaly discussed a certain oil company's duplicity in Exposed: BP attempted to control research into Gulf oil spill: "Released emails have exposed BP's attempts to control research into the environmental impact of the Gulf oil spill: 'BP officials tried to take control of a $500m fund pledged by the oil company for independent research into the consequences of the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster, it has emerged. Documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show BP officials openly discussing how to influence the work of scientists supported by the fund, which was created by the oil company in May last year.'"
HoundDog looked at how the Pentagon is changing its energy consumption in Marines Carry Flexible Solar Collectors Into Battlefield In Backpacks to Replace Heavy Batteries: "Marines from India Company, a component of 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, have taken up to forty pounds of batteries out of the backpacks and replaced them with flexible, roll-up, solar collectors, says Keith Johnson, from the Wall Street Journal. Also, these new roll-up collectors are replacing fuel for generators that has been shipped to front lines in highly vulnerable helicopters and fuel trucks — favorite targets of our enemies. The Marines now wish to reduce per-Marine fuel use by 50% by 2020."
He also pointed to new renewable claims in Solar is Competitive Says SunPower. Cost Will Fall From 13.9 to 7 Cents per Kilowatt Hour by 2020: "The Guardian reports this morning that Solar power's coming of age in the US. Two CEOs of American solar power companies are claiming that in certain regions of the country, solar electrical generation, is already competitive with electricity generated by nuclear power plants, and in some cases, even coal burning plants. We still need to investigate these claim more objectively, as these are CEOs of profit making companies, so I present them to you, here, with caution."
MNDem999 gave us a closer look at ALEC on Cap and Trade: "The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has been concerned about cap and trade for years. They have been 'educating' their legislative members on how to respond to cap and trade issues for years. In 1997 the then National Chair of ALEC, Missouri State Representative Bonnie Sue Cooper wrote an article for ALEC legislative members titled Heartstrings Legislation We Shouldn't Make a Law Just Because it 'Feels Good.' "
Webster Hubble Telescope wrote We are in the middle of it: "We remain uneducated about oil and gas because the oil and gas industry has never sponsored a comprehensive study of fossil fuel resource limitations. They must not have a conscience. I grew up understanding the electronics industry and science by watching all those educational films sponsored through Bell Labs."
chuco35 explained Why My Plunge Into Solar: "So I'm pulling money out of the markets and putting it on my roof. Simple investment that makes sense, makes me feel good in being part of the solution, and provides security from the effects of global warming, freaky weather, human overcapacity, and peak oil."
Green Policy, Green Activism & Politicians
HoundDog was glad to see Senator Sanders Finds a GOP Ally for His 10 Million Solar Roofs Bill: "The adept Vermont independent has lured New Mexico Democratic Sen. Jeff Bingaman and Arkansas Republican Sen. John Boozman into co-sponsoring his reinvented measure aimed at sparking installation of solar power systems atop 10 million homes and businesses within the next decade.
Sanders expects his '10 Million Solar Roofs Act of 2011' (S. 1108) to have its first public airing this month at a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing, a panel Bingaman chairs. In a nutshell, Sanders's bill would recognize and reward communities intent on streamlining cumbersome solar energy permitting processes into economical and efficient models."
A Siegel was decidedly unhappy about the Orange to Blue questionnaire, and he explained why at length in Not an "Orange" Cent!+: "With over 1000 diaries published, truly few caused me anguish as to whether they merited writing or should I publish on the subject. This is one of those few. Last month, Daily Kos' front page boldly proclaimed Orange-to-Blue: Our new questionnaire. These seven questions, while 'not a litmus test,' set a clear standard for judging whether 'this community' should or shouldn't put it resources to bear in support of a political candidate. Notably—and far from just to me—these seven questions gave no hint of priority to energy, environmental, or climate disruption issues. … Markos' flippant response misses the issue ... entirely."
He also wrote JOBS! JOBS! JOBS! (sigh ... revisited, again ...): "Yesterday, Laurence Lewis (Turkana) had another must-read discussion of climate issues. Climate change is the most important issue humanity has ever faced. And, well, much of the discussion was similar to last year's with attacks on the Administration and reactions of The Obama Administration has done more than any administration to boost solar and renewables in general. My reaction (see the thread for full) in part: 'The Obama team has both done an amazing amount and not a fraction of what is required. By what standard should we judge action? From comparisons with the past, by which the investment in ARRA/otherwise are impressive, or by the standard of what is required ... where we see that we are not nearly enough and far too pandering to fossil-foolish ways.'"
Heather TaylorMiesle NRDC Action Fund took a look at our least favorite siblings since the Coors Brothers funded the Heritage Foundation in The Dirty Koch Brothers Launch Their Latest Spin Campaign: "As if we haven’t heard enough from the Dirty Koch Brothers, now comes their latest scheme: This week, Americans for Prosperity -- which is founded and funded by dirty energy giant Koch Industries -- is launching its 'Running on Empty Tour' in an attempt to blame high gas prices on the environmental safety regulations and the Obama Administration. You can be pretty sure they’re not going to talking about how gas prices are affected by Big Oil companies, foreign governments or oil industry speculators like, say, Koch Industries. They’re planning to preach their lies in places like Nebraska, Kansas, and Missouri."
Samer said Tim Pawlenty's "end regulation" call is just plain dumb: "Here are just a couple of examples from [the CDC] list showing why the power to regulate is not merely good for people, but good for business, too. Preventing childhood lead poisoning. Because of the use of lead paints and leaded gasoline in the middle of this century, a study carried out from 1976 to 1980 found that 88 percent of children aged 1 to 5 had elevated levels of lead in their blood. Over the last 30 years, federal regulations and state regulations have had an enormous impact on that number: a study carried out from 2003 to 2008 found that number had dropped to less than 1 percent. From a public health standpoint, that cannot be seen as much less than an incredible success."
Jed Lewison also took on the presidential candidate over this plan in Tim Pawlenty proposes new tax cuts, ending all environmental and consumer protection regulations: "So under his plan, we'd eliminate all federal regulations unless Congress were to specifically extend them. That means every single rule designed to protect the environment and consumers woud disappear, overnight, and given the mindset of the current GOP majority in the House, you can damn well be sure that none of them would be restored. If that happens, good luck trying to pour a clean glass of water, or inhale a fresh breath of air...and you can forget about holding financial institutions accountable for anything."
I noted how Republicans are moving away from their earlier environment-friendly stands: "At Grist, Lisa Hymas introduces the 10 top 'brownwashing' Republicans. That is, GOP politicians so worried about their right flank that they are 'scrambling to distance themselves from past environment-friendly statements, initiatives, and votes.'"
And I wrote about someone who hasn't moved away from his environmental legacy in Rick Santorum: Climate change a liberal scheme: "Several GOP presidential candidates have been reversing their previous public stances on climate change so they can gather up the all-important ignoramus vote in the Republican primaries. But Rick Santorum doesn't have to. He himself has been an ignoramus on the subject all along, perhaps the most anti-environmental candidate in the field, which is saying a mouth full. When you're already hip-deep in in craziness, how can you distinguish yourself? Double-down, of course."
Forests & Public Land
Phil Radford II Greenpeace wrote about howBarbie’s fairytale interrupted by the roar of a thousand chainsaws: "A long time ago, in a land far, far away, Greenpeace sent Mattel a letter. Our researchers had discovered Barbie’s not so magical secret: her packaging is linked to the destruction of Indonesia’s rainforests. For some reason, it took America’s biggest toy company two months to send any kind of substantial reply. Perhaps they were busy perfecting Ken’s summer wardrobe. When it eventually arrived at our San Francisco office we tore it open with interest."
beach babe in fl showed how tough it sometimes is to be pro-environment in Brazil in her diary,I Could Get Killed For This: "This week three more environmental activists have been killed in their quest to protect what is remaining of the Amazon Forest. Environmentalist leader Jose Claudio Ribeiro da Silva and his wife, Maria,like so many Amazon activists before them, the Silvas were gunned down in Brazil. The Silvas were quilty of fighting back. They reported illegal loggers to police and federal prosecutors. They confronted powerful interests that destroy the forest for the quick economic gains to be made from selling timber, or from clearing land to raise cattle or soybeans."
tucanaz was not pleased that the Forest Service Cannot Stop Mine in Arizona: "Rosemont Copper, a Canadian company owned by Augusta Resources, is proposing a huge open pit copper mine in the Santa Rita mountains just south of Tucson. They will be turning 5,000 acres of National Forest Land into an open pit mine. There will be a few short term jobs created, and a massive mess left behind when they are done...Those of us in opposition to the mine have pinned our hopes on the Forest Service’s Environmental Impact Study. And they did indeed identify many serious negative impacts. But the Forest Service says they have no legal right to stop the mine... "
I approved of an open letter from Eco-advocates, former officials calling on Obama to protect lands near Grand Canyon from uranium mining: "Two years ago, faced with the prospect that a growing global market for uranium was spurring the staking of thousands of claims in lands adjacent to the Grand Canyon, the Obama administration imposed a two-year moratorium while the issue was studied. The moratorium expires next month and eco-activists are urging that it be extended on a million acres for another 20 years."
The Natural World & The Great Outdoors
craigkg told usThings to Know Before You Come to Redwood National and State Parks: "Redwood National and State Parks is a cooperative union of federal and state park lands preserving the tallest trees in the world. Situated approximately half way between Portland, Oregon and San Francisco, California on the California coast, the parks preserve 133,000 acres of coastal redwoods, or about 5% of the original coastal redwood forests that had once existed in the area. In 1966, before the parks were established while the conservation campaign to save them was being waged, Republican gubernatorial candidate Ronald Reagan mocked the redwood advocates before a lumber industry group famously quipping "A tree is a tree. How many more do you need to look at?" Because the conservationists prevailed, we have the opportunity to see many more trees that we would not have otherwise in the miles of trails available in Redwoods National and State Parks."
He also gave us the low down on Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve: A Cycle of Water: "With much of the lake now gone, prevailing westerly winds began blowing the sand from the former lake bed against the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, but the mountains were too high for the sand to be carried over the range. Sands that blew up onto the mountainsides was carried back down by snowmelt fed streams not unlike waters that carried sands into the lake for millions of years. The result of these two competing forces was that the sand piled up and over time built up into sand dunes, the highest of which now reaches 750 feet above the valley floor."
A pronghorn antelope forages in the grasslands south of the dunefield.
CitizenScientist: Killdeer Edition: "Now, if you've never encountered a killdeer and you live in a shore environment, or other waystop on their migratory route north or south, you've likely heard their warning call, or something similar as they are a member of the plover family. It's pretty distinctive and does make you take notice: I was just ambling my way down the hill from our rear parking lot, looking down and not paying much attention, when I heard this warning call when about five-feet away from the young lady in question. Killdeer, if you don't know, often employ a "broken wing" defense, in which they fake a broken limb to draw predators away form their nest."
cotterperson: Trout and other riparian delights: "The state legislature gave my little town, Cotter, Ark., the moniker 'Trout Capital USA' sometime after 1952, when Bull Shoals Dam was completed on the White River that flows around Cotter on three sides. The river lost its warm-water fish when cold water from deep under the lake poured through the dam. Old timers told me with great delight that the time just after the dams started was the best fishing ever. The warm-water fish were practically jumping into their boats! "
enhydra lutris: Newly Fledged & Baby Birds: "Today we went up to Lake Chabot in San Leandro and Oakland, CA to check on some Great Blue Heron Nests. As soon as we got there we found a newly fledged Red Breasted Nuthatch. Its tail was so short it could barely prop itself up against the tree trunk the way that nuthatches do."
bwren: yellow: "Down at the wetland the wildflowers made up for the lack of birds. Only the usual suspects today, Chickadees and Mallards, Crows, Robins, Towhees. Song Sparrows, Canada Geese, House Finches, Bushtits. One Bald Eagle angling across the sky. In the meadow between the alders and the lake I think of Monet. Yellow. Violet. Green."
bwren: supper for owlets: "The Barred Owl kids are making short flights between branches now but haven't started hunting on their own yet. Their parents bring whole prey animals to them, which they dispatch quite efficiently."
bwren: berries: "The forest begins to bear fruit."
blueyedace2: more tiny flowers - photo diary.
blueyedace2: island park — thousand islands
Round-ups, Wrap-ups, Live Blogs & Summaries
Gulf Watchers #525 by Lorinda Pike: The Beaches Are Lovely, Wish You Were Here - BP Catastrophe.
Gulf Watchers #526 by shanesnana: Dispersant may have done more harm than good?BP Catastrophe.
Gulf Watchers #527 by peraspera: BP's Russian Arctic deal dead - BP Catastrophe.
Ann Mesnikoff delved into Green Transportation: Creating "Demand Destruction": " Yesterday we saw the policy action as the Blue Green Alliance released its National Policy on Transportation aimed at building a 21st century transportation infrastructure that will revitalize our economy and give Americans smart transportation choices. The BlueGreen Alliance (BGA) is a national, strategic partnership between labor unions and environmental organizations (the Sierra Club is a founding partner) dedicated to expanding the number and quality of jobs in the green economy. "
In the Sunday Train series BruceMcF reprised a diary from two years ago, A Brawny Recovery or Consumption-Led Growth?.
barath took a look at Transportation After the End of Economic Growth: "Our transportation system uses oil. Or maybe it's better to say it is oil. Currently we get over 95% of the energy used for transportation of all kinds from oil. … Maybe instead of doing what we do, let's do different things, or fewer things, or smaller things. Maybe it isn't a great idea to hurl a ton of metal using ancient stored sunlight in order to move a person that weighs a tenth of that. Maybe we should stop thinking about ways to run all our cars on some magical new alternative fuel source or technology, and instead think about other options for meeting our transportation needs (not wants)."
A Siegel told us about An abortive "Bike to Work" Day ... with many bike to work days: "Many moons ago, in the pre-parenthood and pre-other things stage of life, I lived happily in a small apartment right on a bike path and just a few miles from work. Biking was recreational and an easy (occasional) choice to take to the office or go to some event. Times have changed ... children, changed body weight, and living a good distance (four miles) from that bike path and roughly a good distance commute (perhaps 10 miles one-way, by bike, to my previous employer and now a 15 mile one-way commute). Biking -- used for that quick hop to the grocery store when waking up to discover no milk in the refrigerator and a small amount of recreation -- really wasn't in the equation. The new work situation, however, increased thetemptation. No longer free parking. Real flexibility in work times. A great bicycle lock area in the parking lot essentially right next to a shower area. And, well, mounting concern over an aging body intersect with desires to cut another weight problem (CO2 footprint) to enhance that biking desirability."
Brainwrap offered kudos for proposed construction in BRAVO, Mr. Jobs! Apple to bring eco-friendly "spaceship" campus to Cupertino: " If the building had one gigantic circular roof that stretched all the way over it, I'd agree that solar would've been the way to go, but given that the inside is a big courtyard (filled with trees/etc), doing it this way also makes sense. I'm no expert on these issues, of course; perhaps the angle would be wrong for maximum solar efficiency or whatever. "
Steven D evaluated media bias in TV News Epic Fail: 76% of "Guests" Opposed Regulation of Green House Gases: "A report by Media Matters shows that from the period December 2009 until April 2011, American television news organizations presented 152 'guests' who opposed the EPA's regulation of green house gas (GHG) emissions. That represented 76% of all the individuals 'invited' to discuss this topic on air."
HoundDog: Prime Minister Kan Admits Fukushima Plants Have Likely Suffered "Melt-Through": "Japan's Prime Minister, Naoto Kan admits Fukushima nuclear plant may have suffered 'melt-through,' which is worse than a core meltdown, reports Justin McCurry of the Guardian. Kan, also, notes that this accident probably released twice as much radiation as initially reported, showing that Japan's nuclear industry may 'not have been as completely prepared for this accident,' as it should have been. Kan optimistically predicts that it is probably 'inevitable that improvements to regulation will be sought in the future.'"
HoundDog: Tepco Stock Price Plummets To Record Low as Radiation in Unit 1 Spikes to Record High,: "Bloomberg News, and The San Francisco Chronicle both report similar headlines. The Wall Street Journal adds that a devastating financial report predicting possible bankruptcy, and restructuring is probable a more likely explanation for the stock drop. And, the Daily Star, and Kyoto News reports that plutonium has been found 1.7 miles from the reactors, at levels comparable to those found during the US atmospheric nuclear bomb testing."
xxdr zombiexx: 'We nearly lost Northern Japan': "'The Japanese government finally admitted that there was a full, 100% core melt in all three Fukushima Daiichi reactors, despite numerous earlier denials. The massive influx of seawater is the only thing that stopped the cores from exploding. The water absorbed the heat. Dr. Kaku says it's in no textbook anywhere that seawater will stop an explosion of this nature; it was a last ditch effort. He says the seawater is now very contaminated and that children will be exposed to radiation levels twenty times what an atomic worker is exposed to. Neighboring countries are furious at the contamination the leak has caused in the oceans and to the sealife.'"
Detroit Mark: The World's Best Bulls*** Story Ever: "The Japan based Tokyo Electric Company's (TEPCO) 3 nuclear reactors which were the subject of the greatest kind of drama anyone could imagine experienced a complete meltdown, probably within hours of the tsunami that threw the power plant into chaos. In what was being touted as a slow motion near-disaster, the resolution for which could come at any time averting complete mayhem was in fact the worst case scenario right from the very beginning."
akmk: Radioactive Steam Rising at Fukushima #1: "Radioactive steam is rising from reactor #1 at the Fukushima nuclear power plant, according to recent reports from Tokyo."
cosmic debris: Fukushima Three Months After: 6.11 No Nukes Action: "It has been three months to the day since the terrible earthquake, tsunami and what resulted in the melt through of three of the reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Northeastern Japan. This day has been designated a global day of anti-nuclear protest. This diary will provide a round-up of most recent news, some images and video coming from the region, including a review of today/yesterday’s mass protest s in Japan. There will be a related protest later this afternoon in NYC if you are able."