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Some reading for the “anti-warmalists” and “climate-change deniers”


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Author Topic: Some reading for the “anti-warmalists” and “climate-change deniers”  (Read 13093 times)
Kiwithrottlejockey
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« Reply #1150 on: February 09, 2018, 10:42:36 am »

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« Reply #1151 on: February 09, 2018, 10:42:48 am »



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« Reply #1152 on: February 11, 2018, 10:59:08 am »



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« Reply #1153 on: February 18, 2018, 10:47:12 am »


Yep....“flat-earthers” and “anti-warmalists” and “climate-change deniers” are as dumb as dog-shit, alright....



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« Reply #1154 on: February 20, 2018, 11:39:13 pm »


from The Washington Post....

Some places flourished in the Little Ice Age. There are lessons for us now.

Adaptations to climate change helped give the Dutch a golden age.

By DAGOMAR DEGROOT | 10:00AM EST — Monday, February 19, 2018

To adjust to new weather patterns, the Dutch developed such inventions as the “sailing car” or ”land yacht”, which used wind power to haul people and goods along beaches. — Illustration: Rijksmuseum.
To adjust to new weather patterns, the Dutch developed such inventions as the “sailing car” or ”land yacht”, which used wind power to haul people and goods along beaches.
 — Illustration: Rijksmuseum.


WE ARE changing Earth's climate with terrifying speed. In the past, natural forces provoked slower climate changes. We now know that they were still big and fast enough to shape the fates of past societies. Climate change then brought disaster to most societies, but a few prospered. Perhaps the most successful of all emerged in the coastal fringes of the Netherlands, and it has left us with lessons that may help us prepare for our warmer future.

Based on glacial ice samplings, stalagmites, ocean- and lake-bed sediments, tree rings and other assessments, it's clear that sometime in the 13th century, Earth's climate cooled. Huge volcanic eruptions lofted dust high into the stratosphere, blocking sunlight just as the sun slipped into a less-active phase, sending less energy to Earth. Sea ice expanded, wind patterns changed and ocean currents shifted. In many regions, torrential rains alternated with unprecedented droughts.

A period called the “Little Ice Age” had begun, reaching its coldest point in the 16th century.

The timing could not have been worse. In empire after empire, population growth had left millions dependent on crops cultivated in arid, unproductive farmland. When weather extremes interrupted growing seasons, harvests failed, time and again. Famine and starvation gripped the heartland of the Spanish Empire, the jungles of the Mutapa Kingdom in southern Africa, the steppes of the Grand Duchy of Moscow and the rice fields of the Ming Dynasty.

The worst was yet to come.

Changing weather patterns altered the range of insects that carried pathogens, bringing new and deadly ailments to the previously unexposed. Because malnourished bodies have weak immune systems, farmers and their livestock soon fell sick. Refugees from the famine-stricken countryside spread diseases to cities, where epidemic outbreaks often inflicted a fearsome toll.

In one empire after another, the sick and starving blamed governments for their misery. As a result, the coldest stretch of the Little Ice Age brought an unprecedented surge of revolts and civil wars. Rebel and state armies alike conscripted farm laborers who joined refugees in spreading disease. In the end, millions died.

Yet remarkably, inhabitants of the Dutch Republic — the precursor state to today's Netherlands — enjoyed a golden age that perfectly coincided with the chilliest century of the Little Ice Age. Somehow, a country with a small population emerged as a great power, with a navy that went from victory to victory and a commercial fleet that dwarfed all others.

The Dutch Republic was an oddball in the 17th-century world.


A surge in urbanization

The overwhelming majority of people in most societies of the time toiled in rural fields, growing crops for local markets. Many Dutch farmers, by contrast, cultivated cash crops for distant consumers. The republic therefore depended on grain imports from farms scattered along the Baltic Sea, which rarely all suffered at the same time from cold snaps or precipitation extremes.

Over time, a growing share of Dutch citizens worked in commercial interests and industries in port cities protected by an extensive network of dikes and sluices. Urbanization was soon more common in the republic than just about anywhere else in Europe. Tens of thousands of sailors plied trade routes that reached into the Arctic, the Americas, Africa and Asia.

These sailing ships depended on two things: favorable winds and ice-free water. By changing currents and cooling temperatures in the atmosphere and oceans, the chilliest stretches of the Little Ice Age therefore affected sailing as much as farming. Yet the impact was very different. New wind patterns actually sped up ships that left the republic for Asia or America, shortening their journeys.


Seaworthy ships

In the waters off northern Europe, storms were unusually frequent in the coldest stretches of the Little Ice Age. The republic's biggest merchant ships were more seaworthy than similar ships fielded by other European powers. Portuguese ships bound for Asia were four times as likely to sink as their Dutch counterparts, and English ships were twice as likely to go down.

Even sea ice aided the Dutch, including in the Arctic. Expanding sea ice redirected Dutch voyages of northern exploration into bowhead whale feeding grounds off Norway's Svalbard archipelago. Whalers from all over Europe eventually set up shop there was well. But for a long time, the edge of the Arctic pack ice lingered near Dutch whaling stations, and because whales gathered along the edge of the ice, the Dutch benefited.

The Dutch fought most of their wars on or around water, and climatic cooling helped their armies and fleets. They flooded their own farmland to thwart Spanish and French invasions. Some of these floods would not have succeeded without torrential rains that reflected new atmospheric realities. Shifting wind patterns, shaped by the cooling climate, gave Dutch sailors the benefit of favorable winds in naval wars with England and France.

Climate change did not always aid the Dutch. In the Arctic, sea ice crushed ships, drowned sailors and screened whales from whalers. Small ships that carried grain and timber from the Baltic Sea endured deadly storms and confronted thick sea ice. Cold snaps in the Baltics occasionally led to harvest failures that imperiled the republic's grain imports. Ice repeatedly choked the waterways of the republic, halting ferry services between cities.

Time and again, the Dutch responded creatively. Shipmakers fortified the hulls of whaling ships and greased them until they slid off ice. Guilds and city governments bought icebreakers that not only kept waterways open but also produced ice blocks for wine cellars. When the ice was too thick to break, the Dutch used skates and sleds to turn frozen canals into busy thoroughfares. To manage the risk of mishaps, merchants divided their goods among ships and invested in marine insurance. They stockpiled Baltic grain in good years and sold it for healthy profits when food shortages plagued Europe.

The Dutch, in short, were lucky to benefit from environmental changes that favored their unusual economy. But they also made their own luck. The society they built ended up being remarkably resilient in the face of new weather patterns that spelled disaster elsewhere in Europe.

In fact, they may have consciously adapted their technologies and policies to exploit the Little Ice Age. Their long history of draining and damming the Low Countries, which helped them deal with weather well before the coldest stretch of the Little Ice Age, probably helped them recognize that environments can change and that societies can either adapt or succumb.

What, then, can the history of the republic's golden age teach us today?

First and perhaps most important, it shows us that even relatively small changes in Earth's average temperature can have enormous social consequences. The world has already warmed more, relative to average temperatures in the 20th century, than it cooled in the chilliest stretches of the Little Ice Age, and there is far more warming on the horizon. Histories of the Little Ice Age, therefore, are an urgent call to arms. We have technologies that our ancestors could not have imagined. But there are far more of us, consuming unimaginably more plants and animals, metals and fuels. And we, too, depend on a huge network of fields and fisheries that may not survive drastic changes in temperature and precipitation.


Unequal consequences

That leads us to our second lesson: Climate change has had, and probably will have, very unequal consequences for different societies, communities and individuals. Many assume that rich societies cope best with climate change. Yet some of the wealthiest 17th-century empires — from Ming China to the Ottoman sultanate — actually fared worst in the coldest decades of the Little Ice Age.

The Dutch prospered not because their republic was rich but because much of its wealth derived from activities that benefited from climate change. Today, we can learn from the republic by strengthening social safety nets, by investing in technologies that exploit or reduce climate change and, more broadly, by thinking proactively about how we will adapt to the warmer planet of our future.

Ultimately, the lessons of the past come to us in the form of parables, stories that hint at deeper truths but do not tell us exactly what to do. That does not make them any less valuable. We now know that we cannot ignore our changing climate, that it will shape our fortunes in the decades to come.


__________________________________________________________________________

• Dagomar Degroot is a professor of environmental history at Georgetown University and author of the book The Frigid Golden Age. Climate Change, the Little Ice Age, and the Dutch Republic, 1560-1720. He is the co-founder of the Climate History Network.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/some-places-flourished-in-the-little-ice-age-there-are-lessons-for-us-now/2018/02/16/455fb2d8-0c25-11e8-8b0d-891602206fb7_story.html
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« Reply #1155 on: April 06, 2018, 05:31:10 pm »


from the Los Angeles Times....

Once a Trump favorite, EPA chief Scott Pruitt
might not be able to save his job


By EVAN HALPER | 2:40PM PDT — Thursday, April 05, 2018

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has energetically pursued the administration's deregulation agenda, but ethical lapses have endangered his tenure. — Photograph: Andrew Harnik/Associated Press.
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has energetically pursued the administration's deregulation agenda,
but ethical lapses have endangered his tenure. — Photograph: Andrew Harnik/Associated Press.


ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY chief Scott Pruitt once seemed immune from the Trump Cabinet chaos. No more.

Questions are dogging Pruitt over first-class plane trips at taxpayer expense, a housing deal from a lobbyist's wife and big government payouts for his friends. The anti-regulatory crusader's days in the Trump administration may be numbered.

By midweek, even Pruitt looked rattled by how fast things were unraveling as he struggled to explain on national television how two aides he recruited from his home state of Oklahoma came to receive immense pay hikes — one of almost $57,000 — that the White House had refused to authorize. He bristled when asked how accepting a below-market room-rental from the wife of a Washington lobbyist whose firm does business before the EPA fit with President Trump's vow to "drain the swamp."

Worse of all, the on-air shaming came from the president's favorite conservative cable channel, Fox News.

Pruitt has found little refuge at the White House. Asked on Wednesday whether Trump was comfortable with the alleged ethics lapses swirling around Pruitt, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was unexpectedly frank. “The president's not,” she said. “We're reviewing the situation.”

On Thursday, the White House repeated its concern. “We expect that administrator Pruitt [will] answer those questions,” said Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley.

But Pruitt, who denies any ethical lapses or abuse of taxpayer money, may yet hang onto his job at the EPA. As Trump boarded Air Force One Thursday, he was asked if he had confidence in Pruitt: “I do,” he said.

Later Trump told reporters he would “look at” the reports about Pruitt and “make that determination.” But he added, “I think he's done a fantastic job. I think he's done an incredible job. He's been very courageous. It hasn't been easy.”

Still, Pruitt's abrupt transformation into the black sheep of the Cabinet has Washington abuzz. Buffered by the adoration that oil and coal industries heap upon him as he dismantles Obama-era environmental policies, Pruitt had avoided the turbulence and turnover gripping Trump's inner circle. His supporters had once even floated his name as a possible attorney general replacement.

An unapologetic skeptic of climate change, Pruitt takes an approach that's unnuanced and unyielding. The myriad actions he launched against clean air and water rules, and limits on greenhouse gas emissions — such as this week's attack on the fuel economy standards championed by California — have won him approval from conservatives. Even if the courts ultimately block most of his rollbacks, as environmentalists predict, the legal frenzy and protests that Pruitt's actions have created in liberal states delight Trump allies.

Some of those allies are rushing to Pruitt's defense as he confronts charges that he abused his office and showed poor ethical judgment. But even before the controversies over pay hikes and housing deals, White House confidence in Pruitt was eroded by headlines about Pruitt's penchant for flying first-class at taxpayer expense. He insisted security concerns mandated first-class tickets, but vowed to scale it back in the future.

Pruitt's luxury plane travel, demands for a large personal security detail and other spending at the agency triggered alarms for some of the EPA staffers who managed such things. Several of them, according to The New York Times, were reassigned or demoted when they brought their concerns to Pruitt. The head of Pruitt's security detail was reportedly reassigned soon after refusing Pruitt's request to use a government vehicle's sirens and flashing lights to cut through Washington traffic during a nonemergency trip. EPA officials said Pruitt had no role in when sirens were used.

Pruitt says the cascade of allegations about his ethics is part of a conspiracy against him and the Trump policy agenda. The former Oklahoma attorney general is confronting it the way he has confronted most every issue during his short tenure in Washington: by avoiding the mainstream media and taking his story to conservative outlets like Fox and the Washington Examiner. As those calling for his resignation grew midweek to include two House Republicans, Pruitt told the Examiner it was all much ado about nothing.

“It's toxic here,” he said of Washington. “There are people that have long in this town done business a different way and this agency has been the poster child of it,” Pruitt said. “And so, do I think that because we are leading on this agenda that there are some who want to keep that from happening? Absolutely. And do I think that they will resort to anything to achieve that? Yes.”

The drama around Pruitt is reviving another storyline the White House hoped to move past. The trade publication Inside EPA reported on Thursday that a key source of the damaging information circulated about Pruitt is former White House staffer Rob Porter, who resigned amid allegations he had been physically abusive with women, including two ex-wives.

The report cites anonymous sources. Porter has not commented. But one of Pruitt's top confidants is an ex-girlfriend of Porter's who informed the White House about his alleged history of violence against women. That Pruitt aide, policy advisor Samantha Dravis, resigned from the EPA last week.

Just before she left the agency, Senator Thomas R. Carper (Democrat-Delaware) had begun raising questions about Dravis' work history. Last week, he asked the EPA's inspector general to investigate reports he had heard that Dravis was absent from work for much or all of November, December and January.

Pruitt and the EPA did not respond to requests for comment from the Los Angeles Times.

Whether the White House will have his back for long is far from certain. Top officials there are making known their frustration that Pruitt's controversies are undermining the president's promise to root out corruption in Washington.

If the EPA chief hangs on, it may be because Trump can't afford to add yet more turmoil to a Cabinet already filled with it.

He abruptly dismissed his secretary of State and his Veterans Affairs chief over Twitter in recent weeks. And since Trump's appointment of CIA Director Mike Pompeo to the secretary of State job leaves the CIA post to be filled, that means three Senate confirmation battles are looming as the Republican-led Congress tries to hang on to power in this year's mid-term elections. A contentious fight over EPA leadership would create more problems for the party.

There were already three open EPA inspector general investigations into Pruitt before this week, involving his first-class travel, his hiring practices and his installation of a $43,000 phone booth in his office to deter eavesdroppers. And the inspector general is now considering the launch of a fourth investigation, this one into the deal he negotiated for a condo owned by the wife of Washington lobbyist J. Steven Hart, whose practice incudes energy and transportation issues.

Under the arrangement, first reported by ABC News and Bloomberg, Pruitt spent $50 a night to lease a bedroom in the Capitol Hill unit for the first half of 2017. Pruitt paid only for the nights he stayed.

“This was like an Airbnb situation,” Pruitt told Fox. “When I was not there, the landlord, they had access to the entirety of the facility. When I was there, I only had access to a room.”

But most people wanting to stay a block from the Capitol for $50 a night are more likely to end up on a pullout couch. Pruitt said the EPA ethics office was okay with the arrangement. But the office issued a written clarification pointing out that it was only okay with the facts it was informed about. It did not consider, for example, the propriety of the landlord also providing housing for no additional charge to Pruitt's daughter, who reportedly stayed in the unit while interning in Washington.

While many Republicans are defending Pruitt, some say it has all become too much.

“Major policy differences aside, @EPAScottPruitt's corruption scandals are an embarrassment to the administration, and his conduct is grossly disrespectful to American taxpayers,” tweeted Representative Carlos Curbelo (Republican-Florida). “It's time for him to resign or for @POTUS to dismiss him.”

Pruitt, meanwhile, has some explaining to do to the White House about how two of his confidantes came to get giant pay raises against its instructions. After getting turned down by the White House, the EPA granted the raises by invoking a provision of the Safe Drinking Water Act that allowed Pruitt to make up to 30 hires without White House or congressional approval. The salary of one of the aides was boosted to $164,200 from $107,435. The other saw their salary go to $114,590 from $86,460.

Soon after The Atlantic broke the story on Tuesday, Pruitt rescinded the raises. He said he had no idea they had been given and that it was not appropriate. Pruitt revealed all this on Fox News.

The network was unimpressed. Its reporter followed up with scolding questions and suggested Pruitt should be embarrassed.


__________________________________________________________________________

• Evan Halper writes about a broad range of policy issues out of Washington D.C. for the Los Angeles Times, with particular emphasis on how Washington regulates, agitates and very often miscalculates in its dealings with California. Before heading east, he was the L.A. Times bureau chief in Sacramento, where he spent a decade untangling California’s epic budget mess and political dysfunction.

http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-pruitt-epa-controversy-20180405-story.html
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« Reply #1156 on: April 28, 2018, 03:47:18 pm »


Yep....this just about sums it up perfectly....






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« Reply #1157 on: May 27, 2018, 02:22:04 pm »


from The Washington Post....

The catastrophe that killed the dinosaurs created a global hothouse
for 100,000 years, study says


Earth got roasted, frozen and then slow-cooked in cascading disasters after the Chicxulub impact.

By JOEL ACHENBACH | 9:15AM EDT — Thursday, May 24, 2018

Artwork depicting a scene at the end of the Cretaceous period, with a triceratops dinosaur surveying a volcanic landscape. — Illustration: Mark Garlick/Getty Images.
Artwork depicting a scene at the end of the Cretaceous period, with a triceratops dinosaur surveying a volcanic landscape. — Illustration: Mark Garlick/Getty Images.

ON A very bad day 66 million years ago, a mountain-sized object from space slammed into the Earth, initiating a cascade of calamities that eradicated three-fourths of the species on the planet, including the non-avian dinosaurs. The buried remnants of the 125-mile-wide crater have been identified on the Yucatan Peninsula and in the Gulf of Mexico. Scientists have long theorized that an initial pulse of heat was followed by a devastating global winter. After that, as carbon dioxide in the atmosphere surged, the planet became a hothouse.

A new study published on Thursday in the journal Science has produced hard data to support that global warming hypothesis, and it may have unnerving implications for the world we live in today. The effects of the Chicxulub impact, named for a Yucatan town, produced 5 degrees Celsius (9 degrees Fahrenheit) average warming in a subtropical sea, and this heating persisted for 100,000 years, the researchers concluded.

“This is crocodiles at the poles and large areas of the tropics uninhabitable on land,” explained lead author Ken MacLeod, a University of Missouri paleontologist.

The study suggests that even a relatively brief pulse of CO² can have a lingering effect. That's relevant today given many countries' massive greenhouse-gas emissions, which are creating a spike in atmospheric carbon dioxide and associated global warming.

“The cascading implication of our finding is that carbon dioxide loading would have occurred for just maybe a decade, and the greenhouse warming persisted for 100,000 years,” MacLeod said. “Even if we go back to 1850 levels of CO² emissions today, we're locked into 100,000 years of the Earth responding to the CO² we've already put in.”

The research is based on fish debris — bones, teeth, scales — retrieved from an outcropping in Tunisia known as El Kef. It's a famous site, featuring a geological formation with sedimentary layers from the end of the Cretaceous period (when dinosaurs roamed the Earth) and the start of the Paleogene period. This is known now to scientists as the K/Pg boundary.

The fish debris serves as a kind of thermometer, said Page Quinton, who began the work as a doctoral student with MacLeod and is now a professor at the State University of New York at Potsdam. The sand-sized fragments of fish contain isotopes of oxygen — atoms that have different numbers of neutrons and different atomic weights. Water temperature affects the relative abundance of those isotopes. When the fragments show a shift in the isotopic ratio, that signals a change in temperature, Quinton said.

Preliminary investigation of some samples from El Kef produced a “wow” moment four years ago, with clear indication of long-term global warming, she said. The researchers then obtained more samples and continued scrutinizing the debris, and the pattern initially detected held up over time.

“We're providing the first empirical evidence that there's actually warming after the impact,” she noted.

It appears the dinosaurs and much of life on Earth died out in a triple whammy, or maybe a quadruple whammy, depending on how you're counting. First came the impact itself, with shock waves and tsunamis. In the minutes and hours that followed, the frictional heating from debris falling back into the atmosphere was so intense that “the sky became an oven,” MacLeod said. Wildfires broke out globally.

Then came years of cold and darkness as sulfates, dust and soot in the upper atmosphere blocked light from the sun.

“The first six months, it was almost a blackout,” said NASA planetary scientist Adriana Ocampo, who was not involved in the new study. If not for the warmth retained in Earth's vast oceans, she said, “our planet would have frozen.”

MacLeod painted a bleak picture: “Anything that's not killed by the thermal heat pulse likely had to deal with years of very little, if any, vegetation, and anything that survived that then had to survive 100,000 years of quite substantial greenhouse conditions.”

This is a contentious scientific field, and the new paper quickly generated pushback from Gerta Keller, a Princeton geologist who has long argued that the end-Cretaceous mass extinction was triggered by volcanism in India — a huge flood of basaltic lava that created a vast geological formation known as the Deccan Traps.

Keller, who read the study in advance of publication, said her interpretation of the El Kef formation and the sedimentation rate that created it suggests a much longer period of greenhouse warming, about 500,000 years. That could not have been caused by a single injection of carbon dioxide, such as by the Chicxulub impact, but would be consistent with a protracted volcanic era, she said.

Paul Renne, a geologist with the Berkeley Geochronology Center who has argued that the shock wave from the Chicxulub impact may have intensified the Deccan Traps volcanism, said in an email: “It is most extraordinary that the authors don't even mention volcanism. That is really bizarre.”

But Brian Huber, a research geologist at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History, said he was impressed by the new report. “It's a pretty tight study that's telling us a pretty important story about the longevity of CO²,” he said. “The lesson is here for us with regard to future warming, and what burning fossil fuels at the rate we're doing is doing to the atmosphere.”


__________________________________________________________________________

• Joel Achenbach writes about science and politics for The Washington Post's National desk. He has been a staff writer for The Post since 1990. He started the newsroom's first online column, Rough Draft, in 1999, and started washingtonpost.com's first blog, Achenblog, in 2005. He has been a regular contributor to National Geographic since 1998, writing on such topics as dinosaurs, particle physics, earthquakes, extraterrestrial life, megafauna extinction and the electrical grid. A 1982 graduate of Princeton University, he has taught journalism at Princeton and at Georgetown University.

__________________________________________________________________________

Related to this topic:

 • Did a killer rock and volcanism deliver a one-two punch to the dinosaurs?

 • A maverick theory for what killed the dinosaurs


https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/speaking-of-science/wp/2018/05/24/the-catastrophe-that-killed-the-dinosaurs-created-a-global-hothouse-for-100000-years-study-says
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WWW
« Reply #1158 on: May 29, 2018, 11:12:15 pm »

climate-change deniers
really where are they ?

Idiot leftwingnuts love twisting words and talking bullshit

welcome to global cooling
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Are you sick of the bullshit from the sewer stream media spewed out from the usual Ken and Barby dickless talking point look a likes.

If you want to know what's going on in the real world...
And the many things that will personally effect you.
Go to
http://www.infowars.com/

AND WAKE THE F_ _K UP
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« Reply #1159 on: May 29, 2018, 11:27:26 pm »


Yeah, I see you're still full-of-shit.

Hey....they just had another 1,000-year flood took out a town in Maryland, U.S.A.

That's only a couple of years after the last 1,000-year flood took out the town.

Hilarious, eh?





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« Reply #1160 on: May 30, 2018, 08:52:03 pm »

No statistically significant rise in global storms, floods or droughts in the last century. Meanwhile the media and cult members from the alarmist religion are pissing their pants with  hysteria induced fear. 😂
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« Reply #1161 on: May 30, 2018, 08:59:37 pm »


Hahaha.....the other flat-earther is back.

Well.....one of the other flat-earthers. Reality/Donald fled when his beloved Nats didn't end up remaining the government. What a wanker he turned out to be, eh?
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« Reply #1162 on: July 15, 2018, 12:45:57 pm »


MEGA “iceberg versus village” collison coming?



Innaarsuit, on the west coast of Greenland, this week. The iceberg rises about 300 feet above the water level. — Photograph: Scanpix Denmark/Reuters.
Innaarsuit, on the west coast of Greenland, this week. The iceberg rises about 300 feet above the water level. — Photograph: Scanpix Denmark/Reuters.



from The New York Times…

A Giant Iceberg Parked Offshore. It's Stunning, but Villagers Hit the Road.

A village in Greenland is on alert amid fears that a huge iceberg could break apart and send a flood wave over the settlement.
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« Reply #1163 on: July 29, 2018, 02:32:54 pm »


from The Washington Post…

The sinking state

This is what happens when climate change forces an entire country to seek higher ground.

By JOSHUA KEATING | 10:45PM EDT - Thursday, July 26, 2018

Illustration: Andrea Ucini/for The Washington Post.
Illustration: Andrea Ucini/for The Washington Post.

THE central Pacific nation of Kiribati has a few claims to fame. Its flag-bearer at the past two summer Olympics won international attention and became a meme because of his memorable dancing. The country — known under British colonial rule as the Gilbert Islands (the name Kiribati, pronounced KI-ri-bahss, is a local transliteration of “Gilberts”) — has 33 islands spread over more than 1.3 million square miles, making it one of the world’s largest nations in terms of sea area, though one of the smallest in terms of land. But what it gets the most attention for these days is its impending doom: The nation may be one of the first in line to be wiped out by the effects of climate change.

In the century to come, we’re likely to see dramatic alterations to the physical shape of the world as we know it, thanks to rising sea levels and other environmental changes. But the immediate challenges faced by most countries pale in comparison to those of Kiribati, which has an average elevation of less than six feet. The atoll of Tarawa, where nearly half the country’s 110,000 residents live, could soon be substantially underwater. “By 2050, 18-80% of the land in Buariki, North Tarawa, and up to 50% of the land in Bikenibeu, South Tarawa could become inundated,” the government told the United Nations in 2015. Kiribati's smaller outlying islands could be wiped out even sooner. “The results of sea level rise and increasing storm surge threaten the very existence and livelihoods of large segments of the population,” officials wrote.

Small island states like Kiribati and the Maldives have become symbols of the potential impacts of global warming. At the 2015 Paris climate summit, they pressured larger countries to accept the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, rather than two degrees, over preindustrial levels. (It was mostly a symbolic victory: Barring unforeseen circumstances, particularly since the Trump administration pulled the United States out of the accord, both targets will be exceeded.) They are also working to develop first-line defenses against the effects of sea-level rise, including planting mangroves to prevent coastal erosion and improving rainwater-collection systems to protect water quality.

But if none of that works, they may have to consider more drastic options. And so, in 2014, Kiribati purchased about eight square miles on the Fijian island of Vanua Levu for a little less than $9 million, potentially for the purpose of moving its population there one day. “We would hope not to put everyone on one piece of land,” the country's then-president, Anote Tong, said. “But if it became absolutely necessary, yes, we could do it.” Fiji would become the new home of the nation's inhabitants, known as the I-Kiribati.

The relocation of people due to climate change isn't unprecedented. Papua New Guinea has already begun moving the population of the Carteret Islands, a group of low-lying atolls, to the mainland. But this would be the first time an entire country had to relocate because the land on which it was built no longer existed. This raises a new and frightening question: If a country no longer exists in physical form, can it still exist as a political entity? Can a nation just up and move?


About half the population of Kiribati lives on Tarawa atoll. In the next 30 years, officials say, substantial portions of Tarawa could be submerged by rising seas. — Photograph: Richard Vogel/Associated Press.
About half the population of Kiribati lives on Tarawa atoll. In the next 30 years, officials say, substantial portions of Tarawa could be submerged by rising seas.
 — Photograph: Richard Vogel/Associated Press.


I KNEW Tong by reputation from the impassioned speeches he delivered at U.N. General Assemblies and climate change conferences during his time as president, from 2003 to 2016. So when I visited Kiribati in 2016 to research a book about border changes and the future of the world map, I called him. When we met one afternoon in Tarawa, he had just come in from fishing and was relaxing in shorts and a sleeveless T-shirt in the maneaba, or meeting house, outside his family's home in a crowded residential neighborhood. John Denver played softly from a Bluetooth speaker. But the former president was troubled. “One of the most difficult things I've had to expect is planning for the demise of my country,” Tong told me.

He wants the I-Kiribati to stay if it's even remotely possible. But, he rued, relocation is probably unavoidable. “The science is pretty clear: zero emissions, we'll still go underwater. Unless some drastic work is undertaken, there will be no option. That's the reality. It's not a hope. It's not a desire. It's the brutal reality.”

Yet no one's quite sure what that reality will look like. When I visited Secretary of Foreign Affairs Akka Rimon, she cracked the joke I'd been afraid to make: “Climate change really put us back on the world map. The irony is that we're being erased from the world map.” Rimon had tried to think through what relocation could entail, though she didn't really know how Kiribati's nationhood could be preserved. “We don't have the answer. There doesn't seem to be any entity that looks after that. Sovereignty exists within the borders of your nation, but what happens when that changes? Nobody has the answer,” she said.

Historically, countries are not physically destroyed; they simply become other countries, the land they occupy controlled by someone else. But at a minimum, to exist, a country needs a government, a population and a piece of real estate within a defined territory — the boot of Italy, the hanging triangle of India, the narrow strip of Chile. The shape of a nation has long been defined by two kinds of lines: the borders that separate it from other countries and the coasts that separate it from the sea. We may understand why political borders are subject to change, but in an era of rising seas and increasingly extreme weather and natural disasters, we have to get used to the fact that coastal boundaries can't be taken for granted, either. Indeed, our land-water borders are changing quickly and significantly, and in ways that will probably never be reversed.

Environmental-law scholars have begun to discuss the notion of “ex-situ nationhood”, under which governments, with some financial support from the international community, would continue to represent their populations on an international level at bodies like the United Nations, without any connection to a physical territory. Under one model, the I-Kiribati would retain some rights as citizens, even as they dispersed around the globe. As Maxine Burkett of the University of Hawaii, who has written extensively on the political dilemmas facing small island states, told me in 2014: “A number of us understand the modern notion of citizenship, where people have ties to more than one country. But the notion of that happening without a physical territory is quite novel.”

In a 2013 essay, Jenny Grote Stoutenburg, a law professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder, recommended that, to maintain international recognition, island states facing destruction should reinforce their territory to keep at least some physical structure above water and keep a small group of inhabitants behind, even if the bulk of the population has relocated. The Kiribati of the future, in other words, may be little more than a skeleton crew, a reinforced platform with a flag perched in the open ocean after the rest of the population has moved to another piece of land or to several of them. This is a very different notion of national sovereignty than anything the world has seen before.

There are understandable motivations behind plans like these: The people of small island states want to continue to have political representation in the international community, and they have economic interests to protect — rights to fisheries and natural resources in their territory, for instance. But these plans also offer a version of cartographical stasis taken to the point of parody: the erection of a fig-leaf physical presence in the middle of the ocean just so that maps showing a country in a particular place will be technically correct.

Still, a nation ending entirely, with no successor, might be a wholly new event in human history. In grappling with the possibility, some scholars have dusted off models and concepts that predate the modern nation-state.

One is the Sovereign Order of Malta — a Catholic order that controls no physical territory but has existed in multiple locations, including Jerusalem, Cyprus, Malta and Rome, throughout its nearly 1,000-year history. In an odd geopolitical quirk, despite controlling no territory today, the order has diplomatic relations, including embassies, with dozens of countries and observer status at the United Nations.

The order's sovereign status makes it a throwback to an earlier, more fluid era of international politics, when sovereignty was tied more closely to ruling families or dynasties than to territories with fixed locations. Today, for instance, the historical kingdom of Burgundy is associated with the central French region of that name. But in his book Vanished Kingdoms, British historian Norman Davies identifies 15 kingdoms of Burgundy dating back to 410 and occupying locations from the west bank of the Rhine to what is now Switzerland to the Netherlands. Describing the disintegration of Burgundy in the 13th century, Davies writes: “The typical Burgundian count was no longer the ruler of one straightforward fief dependent on one overlord. More often he was head of a complex clutch of lands, titles and claims, assembled over the generations by the combined efforts of his family's knights, wives, children and lawyers.”

If the vanishing countries of the future are to survive in any form, they're likely to look less like contemporary nation-states and more like the Knights of Malta or medieval Burgundy, political creations set up to represent a group of people, and their political interests, who will be increasingly dispersed geographically and culturally.


Young boys cover each other in reef mud near the village of Ambo, Kiribati, in 2013. Many of the islands' residents don't express concern about the potentially dire effects of climate change. — Photograph: Richard Vogel/Associated Press.
Young boys cover each other in reef mud near the village of Ambo, Kiribati, in 2013. Many of the islands' residents don't express concern about the potentially
dire effects of climate change. — Photograph: Richard Vogel/Associated Press.


THESE are not scenarios you're likely to hear much about in Kiribati. For all that countries like Kiribati have done to bring urgency to the fight against climate change, many locals seem no more troubled about the issue than people in the United States are. When I visited on my reporting trip, people for the most part agreed that the climate was changing, pointing to shifting rainy seasons and irregular fishing patterns. But they usually didn't believe that the islands would come to an end.

I heard several odd pseudoscientific arguments from Kiribati people during my time there, including that hotter weather would evaporate all the water released by the melting polar ice caps and that the coral in the Kiribati atolls would help the islands float as the water rose. Many people pointed out, correctly, that the shape of the islands regularly shifted before sea-level rise — and that the impacts of climate change so far had been difficult to disentangle from other factors. Most people I met weren't making plans to relocate anytime soon. In contrast to Tong, the new government has not made the evacuation of Kiribati a priority, even a theoretical one.

Instead, I heard a lot of frustration that the rest of the world seems to take notice of the I-Kiribati only to tell them they're doomed. Several people I spoke with had already given interviews about climate change to foreign reporters. “In my case, you are the fifth person,” remarked Teewata Aromata, the director of Te Toa Matoa, an organization for people with disabilities. “People come and ask us the same questions. They see pictures of us and think we are drowning in the ocean.”

Yet the stubborn facts remain. Countries like the Maldives and Kiribati are probably disappearing — and not that long from now. I came to Kiribati expecting to find a place planning for its own destruction, but instead I found something more dispiriting: a place that, with a few exceptions, wasn't even contemplating that destruction. “Who wants to believe that their home won't be here?” said Tong. It was an understandable sentiment. “People here don't even like to plan for next week. But we've got to be hardheaded about it.”

The mental block that prohibits thinking about what will happen when the islands are no longer inhabitable seems to be a major impediment to planning for that eventuality. In this regard, too, Kiribati is a microcosm of the world's unwillingness to face the reality of the future. A nation disappearing off the map is something that's never happened before and, so far, is something people seem unable to imagine.


__________________________________________________________________________

Joshua Keating is a staff writer and editor at Slate. He is the author of Invisible Countries, from which this essay is adapted.

__________________________________________________________________________

Related to this topic:

 • The military paid for a study on sea level rise. The results were scary.

 • We're not even close to being prepared for the rising waters

 • America is the worst polluter in the history of the world. We should let climate change refugees resettle here.


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« Reply #1164 on: August 02, 2018, 12:31:42 pm »


from The New York Times…

Losing Earth: The Decade We Almost Stopped Climate Change


It is well worth clicking on the above link and learning the TRUTH about how human beings have fucked-up our planet's climate.
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« Reply #1166 on: August 04, 2018, 02:41:53 pm »


from the print edition of the Los Angeles Times…

California defends mileage rules; Automakers seek compromise

State rejects bid by Trump officials to freeze standards for fuel economy in 2020.

By EVAN HALPER, TONY BARBOZA and DAVID LAUTER | Friday, August 03, 2018

California and 13 other states with stringent rules account for over a third of new vehicles sold in the U.S. — Photograph: Photograph: Al Seib/Los Angeles Times.
California and 13 other states with stringent rules account for over a third of new vehicles sold in the U.S. — Photograph: Photograph: Al Seib/Los Angeles Times.

WASHINGTON D.C. — The Trump administration pushed ahead on Thursday with plans to unravel the federal government's most effective action to fight climate change — aggressive fuel economy standards aimed at getting the nation's cars and trucks to average more than 50 miles per gallon by 2025.

After months of discussion and drafts, the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration formally unveiled their plan to rewrite those rules and replace them with some so lax that even automakers are wary.

The administration's plan would freeze mileage targets in 2020 for six years. It would also move to end California's power to set its own tougher greenhouse gas emissions standards and nullify the state mandate that automakers sell a specified number of electric vehicles.

EPA officials sought to portray the proposal as the administration's opening bid in a negotiation with California. State officials, however, denounced the plan as too extreme and threatened to fight it in court. California and the 13 other states that follow its more stringent rules say the Clean Air Act empowers them to keep the Obama-era standards in place in their markets.

Together, California and the other 13 states account for more than a third of the new vehicles sold nationwide.

The rollback would undermine those states' efforts to meet commitments the U.S. made in the Paris agreement on climate change. It would also worsen air quality problems in Southern California and other areas where officials are already struggling to reduce smog and ease rates of asthma and other illnesses.

The administration asserts that the fuel economy rules should not be used to attempt “to solve climate change, even in part,” because such a goal is “fundamentally different” from the Clean Air Act's “original purpose of addressing smog-related air quality problems.”

Administration officials acknowledged that flat-lining fuel economy improvements would come at the expense of pollution reductions and public health.

“If we lock in the 2020 standards, we're not getting as much emissions reductions as we otherwise would, and that translates into incrementally less protection of health and the environment,” said EPA Assistant Administrator Bill Wehrum, who oversees air and radiation issues.

“But balanced against that … we get substantial improvement in vehicle and highway safety,” he said. The administration argues that fuel economy and safety are inevitably in “tension,” as Wehrum put it. The Obama administration's higher efficiency rules would raise vehicle prices and “restrict the American people from being able to afford newer vehicles with more advanced safety features,” they assert.

“More-realistic standards can save lives while continuing to improve the environment,” said acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler.

Environmental advocates and many outside scientists dispute that reasoning, pointing to extensive studies done during President Obama's administration that found higher fuel standards could be achieved without compromising safety.

The EPA's own scientists also have questioned the administration's position. Wheeler, who took over the agency after Scott Pruitt resigned in early July, warned during recent internal debates that the evidence behind the proposal was questionable and might not stand up in court, administration officials have said.

The release of the administration's proposal was repeatedly delayed in recent weeks as officials debated how aggressively to push. In the end, the White House approved taking a hard line.

California Governor Jerry Brown vowed to push back, saying the state would fight the new plan “in every conceivable way possible.”

“For Trump to now destroy a law first enacted at the request of Ronald Reagan five decades ago is a betrayal and an assault on the health of Americans everywhere,” Brown said, referring to the Clean Air Act. “Under [Trump's] reckless scheme, motorists will pay more at the pump, get worse gas mileage and breathe dirtier air.”

That combative stance seems likely to have broad support in the state. For example, Brown's Republican predecessor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has championed efforts to combat global warming, blasted in an online post “fake conservatives” who “believe in states' rights to make their own policies — as long as state policy is to pollute more.”

By contrast, the Trump administration's internal tensions were on display during a call with reporters on Thursday as transportation officials steadfastly defended the proposal while the EPA emphasized that it was not final and that a compromise with California and the auto industry could be reached.

“There's nothing about how greenhouse gases and potential climate change affects California that's any different than any other state in the country,” Wehrum said, adding, “There's no justification for California to have its own standards.”

But he left room for compromise: “Having said that, this is just a proposed rule, and on the other hand we are committed to working with California to try to find a mutually agreeable set of regulations.”

The California Air Resources Board will submit comments on the proposal but has no meetings planned with the administration, a spokesman said.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said the state would “use every legal tool at its disposal to defend today's national standards and reaffirm the facts and science behind them.”

The prospect of an extended legal fight has discomfited automakers, who had asked the administration to relax the Obama-era rules but don't want to see the U.S. market split in two, with different models of cars required in blue and red states.

In letters to Brown and Trump, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and the Association of Global Automakers, the industry's two lobbying groups, repeated their desire for changes in the Obama-era rules but notably did not endorse the administration's proposal to freeze the fuel standards in 2020.

The groups urged both sides to negotiate. “In our eyes, a negotiated settlement is preferable to a bifurcated system and years of litigation,” they wrote in the letter to Trump.

Vehicles are the single largest source in the U.S. of emissions that cause global warming, recently surpassing the electricity sector. The plunge in natural gas prices and other market forces have steadily lowered utilities' impact on the climate, but transportation is proving more stubborn. Electric cars and trucks still account for a tiny fraction of those sold, and driver preference for SUVs, along with relatively low gas prices, have inhibited progress.

The existing federal fuel economy targets, which were championed by California, ensure automakers keep moving toward higher-efficiency vehicles, as other nations also require. Those rules require automakers to meet fleet-wide averages of more than 50 miles per gallon by 2025, which when factoring in credits and other flexibility options translates to about 36 mpg in real-world driving conditions.

In comparison, the Trump proposal would freeze real-world fuel economy at about 30 miles per gallon, according to projections by the Rhodium Group, a research firm that tracks the progress nations are making in meeting climate goals.

The emissions impact of freezing those targets, as the administration favors, could be enormous. Official projections show the plan would increase daily fuel consumption by 2% to 3%, or about 500,000 barrels per day, increasing greenhouse gas emissions and contributing to the rise in global temperatures.

The Bay Area firm Energy Innovation, which models the environmental impact of energy policies, projects the proposal would increase U.S. fuel use 20% by 2035. The firm projects the policy would cost the U.S. economy $457 billion and cause 13,000 deaths by 2050 as air quality suffers.

The administration projects the efficiency rules would drive up the price of cars enough to push some buyers out of the market, leaving them to remain in older vehicles lacking life-saving new technologies like assisted braking and blind-spot warning. Flat-lining emissions standards, officials contend, would allow the auto industry to sell cars at lower prices, resulting in an additional 1 million new vehicle sales over the next decade.

The argument may prove a tough sell in court, where attorneys for states and environmental groups will come armed with a wealth of data undermining it.

“The fleet of new vehicles today is the most fuel-efficient ever, and they have gotten safer every year,” said Luke Tonachel, director of clean vehicles and fuels at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “These arguments are not new. They have failed before.”

Federal data show the increased cost consumers would pay for the more-efficient vehicles is dwarfed by the amount of money they would save at the pump, undermining the argument that drivers will stay in older, unsafe vehicles, advocates for the tougher rules say.

Trump administration officials conceded on Thursday that labor, parts and other costs — not fuel economy rules — are the main reasons cars and trucks are getting more expensive.

Automakers themselves have also confirmed that they can build lighter cars to meet tougher emissions standards without sacrificing safety, UCLA environmental law professor Ann Carlson wrote on Thursday. “The arguments about cost and safety are makeweights designed to provide cover for a proposal that is likely to be struck down in court.”

At a May meeting at the White House, auto firms appealed to Trump to tap the brakes on the administration's aggressive rollback plan. He assured them he would, ordering his EPA chief and Transportation secretary to try to broker a deal with California.

Those negotiations have gone nowhere. California is confident the administration has no legal authority to revoke the waiver the state has been granted under the Clean Air Act allowing it to keep the Obama-era rules in place. In May, California and 16 other states filed a preemptive lawsuit arguing the rollback would be illegal.

“There is no precedent for revoking California's waiver,” said Dan Becker, director of the Safe Climate Campaign of the Center for Auto Safety, an advocacy group in Washington. “There is no provision in the Clean Air Act for revoking a waiver…. The world is looking to California to hold its ground.”


__________________________________________________________________________

• Evan Halper writes about a broad range of policy issues out of Washington D.C. for the Los Angeles Times, with particular emphasis on how Washington regulates, agitates and very often miscalculates in its dealings with California. Before heading east, he was the L.A. Times bureau chief in Sacramento, where he spent a decade untangling California's epic budget mess and political dysfunction.

• Tony Barboza is a reporter who covers air quality and the environment with a focus on Southern California. He has been on staff at the Los Angeles Times since 2006, is a graduate of Pomona College and completed a Ted Scripps Fellowship in Environmental Journalism at the University of Colorado.

• David Lauter is the Los Angeles Times' Washington bureau chief. He began writing news in Washington in 1981 and since then has covered Congress, the Supreme Court, the White House under Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton and four U.S. presidential campaigns. He lived in Los Angeles from 1995 to 2011, where he was the L.A. Times' deputy Foreign editor, deputy Metro editor and then assistant managing editor responsible for California coverage.

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« Reply #1167 on: August 04, 2018, 02:42:17 pm »


from the print edition of the Los Angeles Times…

EDITORIAL: Trump steps on the gas pedal

By THE EDITORIAL BOARD | Friday, August 03, 2018

OF ALL the Trump administration's assaults on the environment, there may be none more destructive than the decision to weaken fuel economy standards and let cars, passenger trucks and SUVs burn more gas and spew more pollution.

The fuel economy standards adopted by the Obama administration in 2012 were a central part of the United States' efforts to reduce the greenhouse gases responsible for global warming. The regulations pushed automakers to move faster, requiring the new cars and trucks they sold to average more than 50 miles per gallon by 2025.

The Trump plan announced on Thursday would freeze average fuel economy at 37 miles per gallon in 2021. Worse, it seeks to revoke California's longstanding authority to set its own standards for cleaner vehicles. If successful, the Trump administration would be stunting decades of progress in California and other states toward cleaner, healthier air, and it would be hobbling the worldwide effort to combat climate change.

The administration's decision to roll back the standards is especially appalling now. We're already feeling the effects of global warming in more extreme weather events, from prolonged droughts, endless wildfire seasons and unprecedented heat waves to severe hurricanes and floods. And cars and trucks are the nation's largest source of greenhouse gas emissions.

Yet despite the grave risk of delay, the Trump administration has put forth the flimsiest of justifications for the rollback. The plan, developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, asserts that lower fuel economy standards will save lives — the higher price of more fuel-efficient vehicles (about $2,300 more per car, they say) encourages some people to continue driving older, less-safe vehicles, the agencies say. That ignores the fact that more fuel-efficient vehicles are cheaper to operate since drivers have to buy less gas.

It also ignores the very significant impact President Trump's threatened tariffs could have on imported cars. Automakers estimate the tariffs could increase the average cost of a car by more than $5,000, dwarfing any potential bump in cost from fuel efficient technology.

Manufacturers are clearly capable of producing more fuel efficient vehicles. In fact, most of the major car companies have already pledged to develop more electric vehicles in response to demands by China and European countries.

The Trump administration would leave Americans stuck in gas-guzzling vehicles and breathing smoggy air while the rest of the world enjoys the benefits of automotive innovation. And it would be yet another sign that the current president and his allies in Congress have totally abdicated their responsibility to protect the health of Americans and the environment.


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« Reply #1168 on: August 05, 2018, 01:56:34 pm »


This sums up perfectly the situation in America these days…



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« Reply #1169 on: August 05, 2018, 01:57:01 pm »


from The New York Times…

Scorching Summer in Europe Signals Long-Term Climate Changes

Hot weather has touched all of the continent, but it has had the most impact in northern countries,
 unaccustomed to sustained heat, suggesting that hard years lie ahead.


By ALISSA J. RUBIN | Saturday, August 04, 2018

People trying to cool down in the Trocadero Fountain in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. — Photograph: Ludovic Marin/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images.
People trying to cool down in the Trocadero Fountain in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. — Photograph: Ludovic Marin/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images.

PARIS — In Northern Europe, this summer feels like a modern-day version of the biblical plagues. Cows are dying of thirst in Switzerland, fires are gobbling up timber in Sweden, the majestic Dachstein glacier is melting in Austria.

In London, stores are running out of fans and air-conditioners. In Greenland, an iceberg may break off a piece so large that it could trigger a tsunami that destroys settlements on shore. Last week, Sweden's highest peak, Kebnekaise mountain, no longer was in first place after its glacier tip melted.

Southern Europe is even hotter. Temperatures in Spain and Portugal are expected to reach 105-110 degrees Fahrenheit this weekend. On Saturday, several places in Portugal experienced record highs, and over the past week, two people have died in Spain from the high temperatures, and a third in Portugal.

But in the northern-most latitudes, where the climate is warming faster than the global average, temperatures have been the most extreme, according to a study by researchers at Oxford University and the World Weather Attribution network.

By analyzing data from seven weather stations in northern Europe, the researchers found that the closer a community is to the Arctic Circle, the more this summer's heat stood out in the temperature record. A number of cities and towns in Norway, Sweden and Finland hit all-time highs this summer, with towns as far north as the Arctic Circle recording nearly 90-degree temperatures.

Not only is much of northern and western Europe hotter than normal, but the weather is also more erratic. Torrential rains and violent thunderstorms have alternated with droughts in parts of France. In the Netherlands, a drought — rather than the rising seas — is hurting its system of dikes because there is not enough fresh water countering the seawater.


A crowded beach in Nazaré, Portugal, on Thursday. The Portuguese Institute of the Sea and Atmosphere warned that the maximum temperatures will be well above normal. — Photograph: Paulo Cunha/European Pressphoto Agency/Shutterstock.
A crowded beach in Nazaré, Portugal, on Thursday. The Portuguese Institute of the Sea and Atmosphere warned that the maximum temperatures
will be well above normal. — Photograph: Paulo Cunha/European Pressphoto Agency/Shutterstock.


The preliminary results of the Oxford study found that, in some places, climate change more than doubled the likelihood of this summer's European heat wave.

“In the past, we had this kind of heat wave once every 10 years, and now we have them every two years or something like that,” said François-Marie Bréon, a climatologist and deputy director of the Laboratory of Climate and Environmental Science, a research institute affiliated with France's National Center for Scientific Research. “That's really the sign of climate change: We have heat waves that aren’t necessarily more intense but that are more and more frequent.”

Temperatures that used to be seen as outliers — like those in the summer of 2003 when at least 70,000 people died across Europe — will become “the norm for summer” after 2060, said Jean Jouzel, who was vice chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2007 when it won the Nobel Prize.

Occasional heat waves could push temperatures in Europe toward 120 degrees unless there is a dramatic slowdown in global warming trends, he said.

“This really is to enter into another world,” Mr. Jouzel said. “This is a world that France and Western Europe are not used to. For Western Europe, this is truly a major change of climate if we do not fight efficiently against global warming.”


A wildfire in Karbole, Sweden, in July. Forest fires have destroyed more than 61,000 acres of timber in the country. — Photograph: Tt News Agency/Reuters.
A wildfire in Karbole, Sweden, in July. Forest fires have destroyed more than 61,000 acres of timber in the country. — Photograph: Tt News Agency/Reuters.

The Dachstein glacier is one of the more dramatic symptoms. The glacier “is melting so fast you can see it with your naked eye,” the meteorologist Klaus Reingruber told journalists.

It has been melting incrementally for many years, but the change became more visible this summer after the hottest June on record since 1767, when the country started keeping track, according to researchers at Innsbruck University.

For Europeans living with the heat day to day, a raft of practical problems has become worrisome — difficulties that might have happened elsewhere or rarely, but never before seemed likely to become facts of daily life.

Climate change is gradually becoming understood here as something that will alter many aspects of how Europeans live, potentially destroy or diminish some parts of the economy, and halt beloved local traditions such as the summer barbecue, which was banned this year in public spots in parts of Sweden to reduce the chance of fire.

“In Europe, each year about 5 percent of Europeans have to face an extreme climate event — be that a heat wave, a flood, a drought. But in the second half of this century, if the global warming is not checked, we could see two Europeans out of every three who have to face extreme climate events,” said Mr. Jouzel, citing a recent study in The Lancet — Planetary Health.

It used to be winter storms that closed down airports and delayed flights. But this summer in the northern German city of Hannover, the 50-year-old runways buckled in the 93-degree heat and travelers were delayed for hours.


Jumping in a pond on Hampstead Heath in London. — Photograph: Henry Nicholls/Reuters.
Jumping in a pond on Hampstead Heath in London. — Photograph: Henry Nicholls/Reuters.

Across northern Germany, trees, especially saplings, have been hard hit by the drought and cities have been calling on citizens to help local trees. They have responded by dragging garden hoses from their houses or sloshing pails of water to nearby trees.

Throughout the Alps but especially in eastern Switzerland and western Austria, as well as in Ireland, the water shortages have been so severe that there is not enough hay in the pastures to feed local milk cows. So farmers are having to dip into their winter feed stocks, diminishing what they will have for their livestock later in the year.

In Switzerland, where the herds are led to the high pastures in summer to graze, the drought has stranded cows without water. Farmers have turned to the country's helicopter association and the Swiss Air Force to transport tens of thousands of gallons of water every week to keep the herds alive.

“The situation is very serious,” said Christian Garmann, a spokesman for the Swiss Helicopter Association. “For thousands of years, the cows could get water at small watering holes. Now they are dry in many places.”

The last time the association undertook an aid mission was in the summer of 2003, but this year “the situation is more extreme” with some farmers considering slaughtering their herds, Mr. Garmann said.

The association's managing director, Reto Rüesch, said they are running 30 to 40 trips a day, transporting 250 gallons on each run.


A parched section of the Wayoh Reservoir near Bolton, England. Drought has already increased food prices in England. — Photograph: Paul Ellis/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images.
A parched section of the Wayoh Reservoir near Bolton, England. Drought has already increased food prices in England.
 — Photograph: Paul Ellis/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images.


In France, the hot weather has not broken records so far. But it is part of an overall trend — this July was one of the three hottest on record — and subtle changes are taking place countrywide. Among them are rising sea levels, which Mr. Bréon, the climate scientist, fears are being underestimated.

“Today, the sea level is increasing by three millimeters per year, or between three and four millimeters,” Mr. Bréon said. “One might think that's not very much, but I would insist otherwise because it is completely irreversible.”

“Even if we respect the Paris climate accord and manage to stabilize the temperatures at two degrees higher than in the preindustrial era, the level of the sea will continue to rise for many hundreds of years. There are coastal cities that are already condemned,” Mr. Bréon said.

Among them are areas of the Camargue on the Mediterranean, in Brittany both on the English Channel and along the Atlantic coast and in the Vendée and Gironde, the area near Bordeaux. In some places, that is already affecting land and house values as well as bird habitats.

In England, as in almost all of Europe, growing patterns are changing. The drought has increased food prices, and staples may be in short supply this fall.

In July, farmers had to fly in lettuce from overseas to meet contracts with supermarkets. One cargo firm said it flew in 30,000 heads of lettuce from Los Angeles during one hot July weekend alone.


Cooling down in the Katzensee Lake in Zurich in July. — Photograph: Melanie Duchene/European Pressphoto Agency/Shutterstock.
Cooling down in the Katzensee Lake in Zurich in July. — Photograph: Melanie Duchene/European Pressphoto Agency/Shutterstock.

The drought in Ireland means that income for dairy farmers is likely to be cut in half this year, said Teagasc, the state's farming advisory body.

Sweden has faced some of the most severe repercussions from the hot weather, starting with the forest fires that destroyed more than 61,000 acres of timber, according to David Sundström of the Swedish Contingencies Agency. Wildfires are still burning, although significantly fewer than when they were at their height.

The drought has also severely hurt production of the iconic Scandinavian bilberries (similar to blueberries), cloudberries (similar to raspberries and blackberries, but often yellow or orange), and red lingonberries.

Sylve Bjorkmanm, 62, said he buys berry crops from farmers and brings 1,000 workers from Thailand each year to pick them. In a telephone interview from Vasterbotten in Sweden’s north, where he was looking for berries for his pickers, he said bilberry prices are up 30-35 percent because the hot weather has meant a smaller harvest.

The cloudberry harvest was down as well because it was too hot for the beautiful alpine fruit.

“We had an early season and the cloudberries ripened really fast,” said Mr. Bjorkmann, adding that the berry season had outstripped the arrival of the pickers, who came too late.


__________________________________________________________________________

Reporting was contributed by Aurelien Breeden and Emma Bubola in Paris; Melissa Eddy and Christopher Schuetze in Berlin; Elisabetta Povoledo in Rome; Milan Schreuer in Brussels; Rafael Minder in Madrid; Christina Anderson in Stockholm; Ceylan Yeginsu and Palko Karasz in London; Ed O'Loughlin in Dublin; and Niki Kitsantonis in Athens.

Alissa Johannsen Rubin is the Paris bureau chief for The New York Times. She joined The Times in January 2007 as a correspondent in Baghdad and covered Iraq and Afghanistan, becoming bureau chief in Baghdad in the fall of 2008, and then moving to Afghanistan in October 2009, becoming bureau chief there a couple of months later. She was in Kabul for almost four years, leaving in the late summer of 2013 to take up the job as Paris bureau chief. However, she continued to work on projects in Afghanistan and joined the team covering the Islamic State's takeover of northern and western Iraq in 2014. That August, she was seriously injured and nearly killed in a helicopter crash in Kurdistan, covering the beleaguered Yazidis. Before joining The N.Y. Times, she was the Los Angeles Times co-bureau chief in Baghdad, and its bureau chief for the Balkans for five years. She started at the L.A. Times' Washington bureau in 1997, covering health care policy and financing, abortion politics and legislation, and the fight over tobacco legislation on Capitol Hill. Before the Los Angeles Times, she was a reporter for Congressional Quarterly magazine, where she covered health care and then taxes and trade on Capitol Hill. She came to Washington after working for four years as a reporter in Wichita, Kansas, for the Knight-Ridder newspaper then known as The Wichita Eagle-Beacon. She also covered taxes there as well as the troubled farm economy. Her career in journalism started at The American Lawyer magazine where she was a researcher. While in Washington, D.C., she freelanced for The New Republic, The Washington Monthly and The Washington Post's Outlook section as well as The Washington Post Magazine. Ms. Rubin, was born and brought up in New York City and graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1980 from Brown University with an honors degree in Renaissance studies and a minor in classics (Latin). She received a Mellon Fellowship in the Humanities to pursue her graduate studies in modern European history (with a focus on the history of the Catholic Church) at Columbia University, where she received an M.A. in 1986. She is a winner of a 2016 Pulitzer Prize for international reporting; the 2015 John Chancellor Award for journalistic achievement; a 2010 Overseas Press Association award for a piece on women suicide bombers titled “How Baida Wanted to Die”, and a 1992 Washington Monthly award for a piece that appeared in the Washington City Paper, “What People Talk About When They Talk About Abortion”. In 1992 she won an Alicia Patterson Fellowship to report on the medical and religious roots of the abortion controversy in the wake of the United States Supreme Court's 1989 Webster decision. She was twice part of teams that won the National Farm Writers of America Award at the Wichita Eagle in 1986 and 1988 for their coverage of farm issues. She also won the William Allen White Award in 1989 for her coverage of Kansas' overhaul of its real estate taxes. Her college thesis, which was a translation and annotation of some of the letters of Lionardo Bruni, a Renaissance humanist, was published in Allegorica, an academic journal. Ms. Rubin lives in Paris with her husband, James E. Castello, a lawyer who specializes in international arbitration.

• A version of this article appears in The New York Times on Sunday, August 5, 2018, on Page A6 of the New York print edition with the headline: “A Miserably Hot Europe Is Fast Becoming the Norm”.

__________________________________________________________________________

Related to this topic:

 • Sweden's Tallest Peak Shrinks in Record Heat

 • ‘Furnace Friday’: Ill-Equipped for Heat, Britain Has a Meltdown

 • U.K. ‘Heat Wave’? Irish ‘Drought’? Unfamiliar Words for Unfamiliar Times


https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/04/world/europe/europe-heat-wave.html
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« Reply #1170 on: September 13, 2018, 09:04:47 pm »


from the print edition of the Los Angeles Times…

SCIENCE FILE: Call these farms ‘the rainmakers’

Wind turbines, solar panels can be used to bring more moisture to Sahara, study says.

By KAREN KAPLAN | Monday, September 10, 2018

Solar mirrors at a power plant in Ouarzazate, Morocco. A new study examined the effect of wind turbines and solar panels in the Sahara and Sahel regions to create more rain and plants in the massive desert. — Photograph: Fadel Senna/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images.
Solar mirrors at a power plant in Ouarzazate, Morocco. A new study examined the effect of wind turbines and solar panels in the Sahara and Sahel regions
to create more rain and plants in the massive desert. — Photograph: Fadel Senna/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images.


YOU ALREADY KNOW that using solar and wind power can influence the climate by reducing our dependence on heat-trapping fossil fuels. Now scientists say these renewable forms of energy can change the climate more directly — and do it in ways that might surprise you.

If wind turbines and solar panels were deployed across the Sahara, more rain would fall and more plants would grow in the massive African desert, according to research published Friday in the journal Science.

“Renewable energy can have multiple benefits for climate and sustainable development,” wrote a team led by researchers from the University of Maryland's Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Science.

To figure this out, the researchers imagined three scenarios for the Sahara and the Sahel, a semi-arid region immediately to the south.

In one, the area is studded with wind turbines more than 300 feet high. In another, solar panels cover 20% of the land. The third case combines wind and solar farms — a setup that would produce about 82 terawatts of electrical power. That's far more power than the world currently needs, study co-leader Yan Li said.

Once their hypothetical energy farms were built, the researchers fed the details into a sophisticated computer program that simulates Earth's dynamic climate. Then the program made predictions about how the farms would change the environment.

In the case of wind farms, the giant turbines would cause warmer air from above to mix with cooler air below, bringing more heat close to the surface. Air temperatures near the ground would increase by nearly 4 degrees Fahrenheit.

In addition, the turbines would interrupt the smoothness of the desert surface. Winds blowing through the area would move more slowly.

That, combined with the added heat, would change the atmospheric conditions over the Sahara and bring more moisture to the area. Average rainfall would increase by up to 0.25 of a millimeter per day — about double what it would have been otherwise, according to the study.

The additional water would fuel plant growth, and those extra plants would reduce the amount of sunlight that's reflected off the desert surface.

From there, it's a positive feedback loop: The reduced reflectivity, or surface albedo, enhances precipitation, which fuels plant growth, which reduces albedo, and so on.


The extra water from energy farms may have major ecological, environmental and societal effects, scientists say. Above, solar mirrors in Morocco. — Photograph: Fadel Senna/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images.
The extra water from energy farms may have major ecological, environmental and societal effects, scientists say. Above, solar mirrors in Morocco.
 — Photograph: Fadel Senna/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images.


The story is a little different for solar farms.

Instead of slowing the wind or causing hot and cool air to mix, the solar panels reduce albedo. That would increase average daily precipitation by about 0.13 of a millimeter in the Sahara and 0.59 of a millimeter in the Sahel. The additional water would induce more plant growth, further reducing albedo and allowing the cycle to continue.

These changes were predicted to increase the maximum temperature by more than 2 degrees Fahrenheit, the researchers reported.

If wind and solar farms were combined, these effects would be “enhanced,” they said. Average daily precipitation would increase to 0.59 of a millimeter. That's nearly 1.5 times higher than the Sahara would be in its natural state.

But the rain wouldn't be spread evenly everywhere. The computer simulations predicted that parts of the Sahel could get as much as nearly 20 inches of additional precipitation per year. All that extra water could have “major ecological, environmental, and societal impacts,” Li and his colleagues wrote.

Average temperature would also rise, by nearly 5 degrees Fahrenheit.

Changes like these wouldn't necessarily happen everywhere solar farms are built, the researchers cautioned. In the Sahara, the key is that today's typical solar panels would increase the surface albedo. But if the landscape were different, that might not be true. Ditto if the solar panels were more efficient — that could cause temperatures to fall instead of rise. Without added heat, rainfall wouldn’t increase. It might even decrease, the researchers noted.

These are all factors to consider when building a wind or solar farm, they wrote. If placed just so, these power plants could generate more rain and plants in addition to more clean energy.


__________________________________________________________________________

• Karen Kaplan is science and medicine editor at the Los Angeles Times. Before joining the science group in 2005, she covered technology in the Business section for 10 years. In a parallel universe without journalism, she'd have a career in economics, genetics, biostatistics or some other field that describes the world in math.

http://enewspaper.latimes.com/infinity/article_share.aspx?guid=57b81841-f4db-4777-80ba-137f698a5d88



from Science journal…

REPORT: Climate model shows large-scale wind and solar farms in the Sahara increase rain and vegetation
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« Reply #1171 on: September 13, 2018, 09:05:03 pm »


from the print edition of the Los Angeles Times…

At climate summit, state to give the U.S. an uphill push

California will show whether it can lead the fight when Washington won't.

By EVAN HALPER | Wednesday, September 12, 2018

California's commitment to 100% renewable energy, enshrined in a new law, could motivate cities and states to make similar pledges at the summit in San Francisco this week. Above, the Phillips 66 refinery in Wilmington is seen from Emden Street in 2016. — Photograph: Rick Loomis/Los Angeles Times.
California's commitment to 100% renewable energy, enshrined in a new law, could motivate cities and states to make similar pledges at the summit in
San Francisco this week. Above, the Phillips 66 refinery in Wilmington is seen from Emden Street in 2016. — Photograph: Rick Loomis/Los Angeles Times.


WASHINGTON D.C. — Even as California forged its own path for years to battle global warming, pressing forward whether Washington agreed or not, skeptics have persistently scolded that it is just a state — it can't set policy for the nation, much less the world.

If California ever had a moment to prove them wrong, it is now. At the international climate summit Governor Jerry Brown will kick off on Wednesday in San Francisco, the state is playing a role none ever has, pushing the rest of the country to join other nations in enforcing a landmark agreement on climate change that President Trump has quit.

Put simply, the three-day environmental summit will test whether California can bring the country to a place Congress and the White House won't.

“This is a very odd challenge we have,” Brown said in an interview in his office. “It is coming at us from all over the planet. Everyone is contributing and everyone has got to do something to combat it. It is a totally unique world challenge, never before faced. There is nothing like this.”

Indeed, as the Trump administration prepared this week to ease regulations on methane, one of the most potent greenhouse gases, many states are looking to follow California and Colorado in pursuing policies that require energy firms to capture the methane their drilling operations release and convert it into electricity.

In other sectors, more ambitious commitments may be made. California's new law — signed Monday — putting the state on a path to 100% renewable energy could motivate others to make similar pledges this week.

Brown had not planned the summit as an act of defiance. The idea emerged soon after the Paris climate change accord was signed in 2015, with strong support from President Obama, and the world assumed the United States would take a lead role in cutting carbon emissions in an effort to ease global warming.

It made perfect sense then that California — America's leader in clean tech innovation and climate action — would host a high-stakes gathering of political leaders to cement the Paris benchmarks, assess progress and form new partnerships. The state already has demonstrated how aggressive climate action can boost a large economy.

In the Trump era, however, the event morphed into something else. The president has made clear his administration does not agree with mainstream climate science and sees no need to cut emissions at the pace the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change warns will be crucial to dodge catastrophic warming.


Marchers in San Francisco last week join “Rise for Climate,” a global day of action demanding solutions from local leaders. — Photograph: Amy Osborne/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images.
Marchers in San Francisco last week join “Rise for Climate,” a global day of action demanding solutions from local leaders.
 — Photograph: Amy Osborne/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images.


Yet roughly half of Americans live in states that are racing to meet goals in the Paris agreement. Half of America's largest cities have made commitments to go beyond state action. And according to a Quinnipiac poll last month, 64% of U.S. voters believe the nation should do more to combat global warming. With Congress up for grabs in November, candidates are being grilled about Trump's decision to disavow the Paris accord.

“The Trump administration is visibly dismantling Obama-era climate programs, and doing it loudly in a way people see and can understand, and it is attacking science more generally in very visible ways,” said Ann Carlson, an environmental law professor at UCLA. “California is big enough and splashy enough, and Jerry Brown is famous enough, that people are paying attention to what California is doing about it.”

Brown said the state has been preparing since President Nixon signed the Clean Air Act, one of the nation's first and most important environmental laws, in 1970.

After that, “we developed the institutional capacity and the bureaucratic understanding to combat pollution and carbon emissions,” Brown said. “We are positioned well to deal with the problem. Not to take advantage of this would be a tragedy.”

During the summit, San Francisco will be swarmed with climate thinkers, crusading celebrities and political leaders racing to and from events that range from cerebral to spectacle. Conferees attending a deep dive in methane reductions in the morning can groove to the Grateful Dead's Bob Weir at an evening concert.

But much of the summit will be a grind. Inching toward the Paris goals involves government officials collaborating on and finding new paths for often mundane tasks, from using more sustainable cement to procuring electric buses.

Even before the opening ceremony, summit leaders announced a breakthrough on garbage. Cities involved pledged to find alternatives to landfills and incineration for at least 70% of their trash by 2030.

Local efforts to zero out coal emissions will also be on display, along with plans to advance technologies that capture industrial emissions and store them underground.

“The point is to get people to think about doing more, and then to join with others who have gone through that process and, through that encounter with others, to up the general commitment of the world,” Brown said.

It adds up. A recent study published by Yale University found that all the “subnational” actions around the world — and most acutely in the U.S. — are on target to bring the planet halfway to meeting the Paris goals.


Climate change activists march in San Francisco last week. Climate thinkers, celebrities and political leaders will gather in the city this week. — Photograph: Amy Osborne/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images.
Climate change activists march in San Francisco last week. Climate thinkers, celebrities and political leaders will gather in the city this week.
 — Photograph: Amy Osborne/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images.


That still leaves a long way to go. The summit will test how much cities, states and the private sector can do to fill the gap.

“There are many cities that can do more,” said Niklas Hoehne, one of the study's authors. “And there are many more companies that want to do more.”

Although many summit attendees may view Trump as a villain, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said climate change should not be seen as a partisan issue. More than a few Republicans will attend. And he notes that the largest American city running on 100% renewable power now is Georgetown, Texas, a conservative community of 67,000 people with a Republican mayor.

“This is not just a California, blue-state thing,” Garcetti said. “Across party lines, people are taking action. I think most people see Trump as an aberration.”

Mayors are particularly motivated to act, Garcetti said. Many already battle the fallout of a warming planet: raging forest fires, devastating floods, more destructive hurricanes and heat emergencies.

“We know this is happening,” he said. “In the past, these summits were about information. Now it is about action…. Some of us already know how to do this technical work, how to measure emissions and commit [to cutting them]. Now, we are bringing it to other cities.”

The challenge for summit organizers is building a system to track and monitor all the pledges made by the thousands of states, cities and businesses determined to do their part to meet the Paris goals.

“We have the wisdom, the commitment, the experience and the collaborative spirit to work in ways that may not exist anywhere on the planet,” Brown said. “We've got to take advantage of it.”

Still, he said, the task is daunting.

“This is like rolling a gigantic boulder up Mount Everest,” Brown said. “And we are at the bottom.”


__________________________________________________________________________

Los Angeles Times Times staff writer John Myers in Sacramento contributed to this report.

• Evan Halper writes about a broad range of policy issues out of Washington D.C. for the Los Angeles Times, with particular emphasis on how Washington regulates, agitates and very often miscalculates in its dealings with California. Before heading east, he was the L.A. Times bureau chief in Sacramento, where he spent a decade untangling California's epic budget mess and political dysfunction.

http://enewspaper.latimes.com/infinity/article_share.aspx?guid=e8d5152b-9e35-47a8-a75d-185bb110f08a
http://enewspaper.latimes.com/infinity/article_share.aspx?guid=9949f940-9a71-43f3-8696-3913a7ee84fa



from the print edition of the Los Angeles Times…

Deadline for electric cars hangs over climate event

By EVAN HALPER | Wednesday, September 12, 2018

WASHINGTON D.C. — The political leaders coming from around the world for Governor Jerry Brown's climate action summit this week will grapple with a lot of urgent deadlines to drive down emissions, but one date is especially exasperating.

It is 2035 — the year advocates aim to kill off production of gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles.

Keeping global warming to levels society can tolerate could hinge on meeting that target. But even clean-technology capital California has no clear path for getting there.

The question of whether drivers should be gently persuaded or forced out of their internal combustion engine cars and trucks over the next 17 years will weigh heavily on the landmark summit, which runs from Wednesday through Friday in San Francisco.

States, cities and companies will try to chart a course to carry the country and the world toward meeting the goals in the 2015 Paris agreement on climate change, which President Trump has disavowed.

Transportation is the most vexing problem the summit will confront. The sector sends more greenhouse gases into the air than any other, recently outpacing power plants, which are getting cleaner every year. Internal combustion engine cars need to be off the roads altogether by 2050 to meet the Paris goals. Dealers would need to stop selling new models 15 years earlier.

“Even during the Obama administration, when the country was pushing as hard and fast as it could on climate policy, it still wasn't enough” to meet the goals on auto emissions, said Kate Larsen, a director at Rhodium Group, a Bay Area research firm.

Rhodium's modeling shows that just 8% of U.S. drivers will be in zero-emission cars, pickups or SUVs by 2025, a depressing projection for the climate movement.

The urgency is not lost on Brown. Last year, he directed the state's chief air regulator, Mary Nichols, to look into stepping up the state's timetable to phase out gas and diesel vehicles. It gnaws at him that other nations are already catapulting ahead.

Electric vehicles account for 5% of cars sold in California and 1% nationwide. In Norway, they make up 40%. Bans on the sales of new gasoline- and diesel-powered cars are scheduled to take effect there and in several other countries as soon as 2025. China has put automakers on notice that a ban is on the horizon.

But it is a much tougher sell in America, even in California. A state legislative proposal this year to ban the sale of new gas-powered cars and trucks by 2040 went nowhere.

“You want me to issue a press release saying, ‘No more combustion engines’?” Brown said in an interview on Monday. “There are 32 million in California. It doesn't work that way. We have to provide an alternative…. We have to get that in place.”

The shift toward electric vehicles in parts of Europe and Asia is bolstered by government subsidies and tax structures that few American politicians would consider. They include tough gas-guzzler penalties for those who drive high-horsepower, climate-unfriendly pickups and SUVs, and large cash grants and tax breaks for those who buy electric.

The U.S. approach is grounded in requiring automakers to meet steadily more ambitious mileage-per-gallon targets, a process that has gone a long way in cutting carbon emissions.

But fuel economy standards will fall short unless the government sets a near-term target of zero miles per gallon — the point when all new cars run on no gasoline or diesel at all.

“Even if we were to double our fuel economy targets, we still don't get there,” said Niklas Hoehne, an author of studies for the United Nations Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change and co-founder of NewClimate Institute, a German think tank. “The transition won't happen in a way that is compatible with the goals agreed to in Paris.”

No one is talking about doubling fuel economy targets in the U.S. The Trump administration is in the process of trying to freeze current targets in place for six years. Yet the clean-tech optimists trying to push California — and by extension, the rest of the country — say there is still hope.

“We saw the same thing with renewable energy,” said Simon Mui, a senior scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council, a non-partisan environmental advocacy group. “We went, in the course of a decade, from a plan that didn't require any of our power to come from renewables to a plan that requires 100% renewable energy by 2045. We are at the same place [with transportation] that we were with wind and solar 10 or 15 years ago.”

California, in particular, has shown a capacity for rapid adaptation. The Toyota Prius first was manufactured in 1997 in response to California's clean-car policies, and spawned a hybrid revolution. The California Air Resources Board estimates there will be 70 electric vehicle models available by 2022, and much of the innovation is coming from labs in California.

California and like-minded states have been aggressively building charging stations and other infrastructure to coax drivers to go electric. And cities, counties and other bodies have transitioned fleets to zero-emission buses and trucks.

Los Angeles will roll out an ambitious “Zero Emissions 2028 Roadmap” this week, a plan that aims to accelerate electrification and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the region by an additional 25% by the time the 2028 Summer Olympics come to town.

The plan includes building tens of thousands of charging stations and sets ambitious targets for getting drivers and shippers into zero-emission vehicles. Up to 45% of cars in Los Angeles could be electric if the road map holds up.

“This is us saying we need to go further and do everything we can to get people behind the wheel of an electric car or an electric truck,” said Matt Petersen, chief executive of Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator, a government-funded nonprofit that's helping lead electrification efforts.

Driverless vehicles, still in their early stages, could also push electrification forward. The models that ultimately hit the streets are likely to be electric since they are easier for computers to drive and for companies to maintain — and local officials are demanding the change.

“We will be pushing for any autonomous vehicles that hit our streets to be electric,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. “It sends a signal to the Ubers and Lyfts, who then turn to the manufacturers with a very strong message.”

Other countries aren't waiting to go electric. And some analysts say that could spur Washington and the auto industry to act, particularly as Chinese manufacturers develop their own electric car models to meet booming demand.

The Chinese market is already approaching the size of the entire U.S. and European markets combined, and soon will dwarf them. If auto companies fail to reorient their strategies toward electrification, they risk losing huge market share to upstart Chinese competitors, says Joern Buss, a Detroit-based auto industry consultant with the firm Oliver Wyman.

Brown says Trump needs to wake up to that threat. “He is building the Chinese auto industry and destroying the future American auto industry,” the governor said.

Skeptics say waiting to be nudged ahead by more forward-thinking nations amounts to fiddling as the world burns.

The idea that the internal-combustion engine can be phased out in the next 20 years without government intervention on a massive scale and an unprecedented social awakening among the driving public is foolish, said Peter Tertzakian, executive director of the Arc Energy Research Institute, a Canadian group that analyzes energy investments.

He said most leaders assume the average driver will embrace electric as technology improves, much as parts of the power industry gave up fossil fuels as better systems emerged. But giving up gas-powered cars requires complex shifts in the way people live that don’t come into play when a coal power plant is replaced with a solar or gas plant.

“The Paris agreement was signed three years ago,” Tertzakian said. “The years keep passing, and the substitution [of gas-powered vehicles] is not happening. Look at oil and gas use. It is not decelerating. It is accelerating.”


__________________________________________________________________________

Los Angeles Times Times staff writer John Myers in Sacramento contributed to this report.

• Evan Halper writes about a broad range of policy issues out of Washington D.C. for the Los Angeles Times, with particular emphasis on how Washington regulates, agitates and very often miscalculates in its dealings with California. Before heading east, he was the L.A. Times bureau chief in Sacramento, where he spent a decade untangling California's epic budget mess and political dysfunction.

http://enewspaper.latimes.com/infinity/article_share.aspx?guid=50cb2f62-51b2-4e3e-910a-efd3ea77e1a5
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« Reply #1172 on: September 14, 2018, 01:35:56 pm »

is that steam pretending to be smoke
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« Reply #1173 on: September 21, 2018, 12:39:48 am »

meanwhile in china damn climate change is chinas fault

Why is the smog in China so bad?
It’s getting harder and harder to breathe

https://www.popsci.com/why-is-smog-in-china-so-bad

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« Reply #1174 on: September 21, 2018, 11:41:50 am »


You're showing your ignorance again.

Just like that needle-dick Donald J. Trump does when it comes to the health of our planet.
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