“Injurious to the American People” — Republicans to Receive a Well-Deserved Drubbing Over Decades of Climate Change Denial in 2016 Election

Back in 2013, Donald Trump had a bit of a hissy fit. The problem? In his mind, the planned construction of majestic wind turbines off the coast of Scotland would mess up the view from his newly built golf course. So Trump, in typical bellicose Trump fashion, went to war against an elegant and beneficial energy source:

Donald Trump isn’t happy. So, as usual, he’s making a big fuss.

The trouble this time? Not Barack Obama’s birth certificate. No. It’s windmills. In this case eleven wind turbine generators slated to be built in the ocean near a new golf course Trump constructed in Scotland.

The wind mills will provide power for a much as half of local residents and cost only about 400 million dollars. Trump’s golf course will cost 1.2 billion and suck up a goodly portion of its own energy while giving nothing back. One project produces a luxury that many residents of the Scotland coast will be unable to enjoy. Another produces renewable, zero GHG emission power that benefits everyone in the region and has much larger benefits around the globe.

Yet Donald Trump’s hoity-toity 1.2 billion golf course is too good for those helpful turbines. Trump, invoking the royal ‘we,’ says “We will spend whatever monies are necessary to see to it that these huge and unsightly industrial wind turbines are never constructed.”

In the end, Donald Trump engaged in a two-year legal battle to stop these wind turbines. A battle that he ultimately lost. But not only did he lose his fight to kill the turbines — he earned himself the disdain of the Scots and many Britons as well. A Scottish leader dubbed Trump ‘three times a loser.’ And hundreds of thousands of Britons signed a petition to have him banned from coming to the UK.

Turbines in the Gloaming

(Wind turbines in the gloaming. Which would you rather have — these gossamer beauties or another golf course for 1 percenters? Image source: Emaze.)

Trump’s self-destructive tilting at wind turbines would be comical — if this kind of socially and environmentally damaging behavior were not endemic to a vast majority of currently-elected republicans. And, in fact, this episode of Trump’s blindness to public sentiment, self-important ranting, and unfounded ideological attacks on a helpful energy source could well be seen as microcosm to the responses of the republican party to the threat posed by human-caused climate change and to its potential mitigations over at least the past three decades.

Who, after all, was the party of drill, baby, drill, fight to defend coal, attack the EPA, dismantle the Clean Water Act, kill the Clean Air Act? Who was it that fought practically every government support for wind, solar, and electric vehicles? Who was it that attacked every international climate agreement even before the signature ink was drying? Who endlessly harangued the IPCC? Who, again and again, attempted to de-fund NASA and NOAA climate science research initiatives? Who stymied a carbon tax, a gas tax, or any other incentive policy that would help people move away from carbon-based energy sources? Who brought snowballs into the Senate as ‘evidence’ that climate change was a ‘fraud,’ despite more objective proofs for human-caused global warming than for the theory of gravity itself?

Global warming since 1850

(Global heat spiral shows planetary warming since 1850. Once you realize that high levels of climate danger are reached at the 1.5 C and 2 C threshold, this graph really hits you like a sucker punch. But, in order to protect their fossil fuel allies from a much needed energy switch, many republicans are willing to pretend a rapid spiral toward more and worse climate disasters isn’t happening. In other words, they’re willing to put the lives and livelihoods of American citizens at risk for the sake of a single, destructive industry. Image source: Ed Hawkins.)

Who fought Obama’s Clean Power Plan? And who, when their legislative roadblocks failed, drummed up 27 fossil-fuel aligned governors to mount a legal challenge for the plan in the US Supreme Court? If there was ever a party that turned support of fossil fuels and denial of climate change into a brand name, then it was republicans.

And this year appears to be an opportunity for republicans to be paid back in full for their bad climate actions by an increasingly informed and concerned electorate. For according to a report today in the Washington Post, fully 64 percent of Americans are worried either a ‘great deal’ or a ‘fair amount’ about climate change — a number that includes 40 percent of self-identified republican voters. In addition, the cited Gallup poll also found that 65 percent of Americans now believe that climate change is human-caused. That’s still not in line with 97 to 98 percent of scientists — but it’s more than enough to influence an election.

And Hillary Clinton, the current democratic front-runner, appears to be homing in on an issue that may well prove to be the weak underbelly of the republican party this year. Chris Mooney, in the Washington Post today found that:

“The Clinton campaign sees polling showing profound political vulnerability on climate for the Republicans generally and Trump specifically, so the Clinton camp intends to push climate themes aggressively, ” adds Paul Bledsoe, who worked on climate issues in the former Clinton White House and is now an independent energy consultant. “They see GOP climate denial fitting into a larger narrative of Trump and the Republicans being willing to deny factual information injurious to the American public just because it doesn’t fit into Tea Party ideology.  That will be a meta-theme of the campaign, and climate fits into it.”

Clinton earlier today announced her overall climate strategy should she be elected. One that included hopes for a carbon tax, but that looked to pragmatically work with Congress over renewable energy funding initiatives. One that continued to build on initiatives already set in place by Obama. Clinton also hinted that she’d treat climate change as a national and international security issue — setting up a climate situation map in the White House. And though Clinton may not be quite as climate-hawkish as the outspoken and passionate Bernie Sanders (which is one of many reasons why I still hope Bernie wins, but it’s looking increasingly like a long-shot), she is certainly a far cry from the wind-killing Trump or any other potential republican candidate (Ted Cruz or Paul Ryan) for that matter.

Plummeting Price of Solar Energy

(With the price of solar cells falling by more than 99 percent since the 1970s, both wind and solar energy are now competitive with coal and gas. In addition, National Renewable Energy Lab figures indicate that over a 30 year lifespan solar energy system averaged a very strong Energy Return on Energy Invested of between 8 and 18 in most cases and as high as 30 in the highest efficiency, lowest material use modules — competitive with both wind and fossil fuels. On the back of these strong economics, solar has caught up with wind and together the two represented 2/3 of installed new power generation in 2015. Clinton’s stated policies would leverage the strengths of renewable energy systems to help mitigate the harmful effects of climate change. Image source: Commons.)

Trump, for his own part, has stated “I am not a big believer in man-made climate change.” So no climate change response plan. No situation room like Clinton’s. He has pledged to do away with all of Obama’s executive orders (including the Clean Power Plan). And he has pledged to de-fund the EPA (thereby removing the EPA’s ability to regulate carbon emissions). Trump has also pledged to reinvigorate the dirty coal industry and to double down on fracking. In other words, true to his wind-killing history in Scotland, Trump would be a nightmare candidate during a time in which the worst effects of climate change are now starting to ramp up.

If Trump and Clinton become the nominees and Clinton decides to use republicans’ vulnerability to the issue of climate change to the fullest, it’s possible that not only would Trump suffer, but so would many other republicans down-ticket. Republican voters from a growing number of regions (like the key battleground state of Florida — which is at risk of having its southern 1/6th rapidly flooded out by sea level rise) are facing increasingly obvious harms as a result of fossil fuel related warming. So there’s a clear vulnerability here if the climate change message is communicated correctly. And if this is the case — if the Senate returns to Democratic hands and if those concerned about climate change get a shot at the House — then we may not just have to settle for clean energy incentives. We could have a decent shot at a carbon tax.

And to this point — for any republican out there in the woods who is listening — even former Ronald Reagan Secretary of State George Shultz (back from the days when republicans were just a little bit wiser and even-handed than they are today) supports a carbon tax:

“I have long advocated a revenue-neutral carbon tax,” Shultz said. “It’s just there to level the playing field. Because you want sources of energy to compete equally and to bear the costs of what they produce.”

But Shultz comes from an era when respectable republicans didn’t do silly things like go tilting at solar panels and wind turbines.

Links:

Donald Trump’s Money Would be Better Spent Building Wind Farms

The 97 Percent Consensus

He’ll Take the Low Road — Trump’s Tortured History With Scotland

Trump — I’m Still a Birther

Emaze

Ed Hawkins

National Renewable Energy Lab Calls Claims of EROEI Constraints on Solar a Myth

The Growth of Photovoltaics

Hat Tip to Colorado Bob

Hat Tip to TodaysGuestIs

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99 Comments

  1. John McCormick

     /  May 10, 2016

    I have to face the fact that Secretary Clinton will be the Democratic nominee.

    Now, I have to face the reality that she does not address the fate of young voting age Americans as the global warming tipping points race past their projected impact decades from now and being witnessed today.

    She can be the voice that organizes the Sanders supporters to defeat every Republican on the ballot. But, she has not shown the passion to united and mobilize young people to demand protection. Can we make her stand up and work for our votes!!!!!!!!!

    Will it take a petition of a million Sanders supporters telling her to take a hard line against Republicans? If voters can flip the Senate and possibly the House, she will have a Congress with which she can negotiate. She has to bring down the Republican party and has six months to do just that.

    Reply
  2. Montysano

     /  May 10, 2016

    Two things about this debate drive me especially crazy.

    First, let’s say, for the sake of argument, that there is doubt about our impact on the environment. Given the dire consequences of getting it wrong, the conservative (in the classic sense of the word) would be to err on the side of prudence. Yeah, yeah, I know….today’s conservative is not really conservative at all, just a lapdog for monied interests.

    Second: could we possibly be any more selfish? Do we really propose to burn every last bit of fossil fuels in one long, mean frenzy, and leave future generations to by-God figure it out for themselves? Does that Christian bible not advise its followers to be moderate and not profligate?

    George H.W. Bush famously said “The American way of life isn’t negotiable”, so yeah, that’s how we roll. True conservation, i.e. adjusting our lifestyle and actually using less, is a subject to verboten that no political candidate dare even mention it.

    /rant

    Reply
    • And another Amen.

      And I must say that I’m sorry to see it, but Sanders doesn’t look like he can win this:

      http://elections.huffingtonpost.com/pollster/2016-national-democratic-primary

      It’s all guns on Trump for me now.

      Reply
    • Mulga Mumblebrain

       /  May 11, 2016

      Monty, that is the ‘precautionary principle’, of course, to not do something that might (in this case with 99% plus probability)cause catastrophic damage. Here, in Australia, a Murdoch hack (one of those favourably mentioned in Anders Brievik’s ‘manifesto’) turned it on its head, (I would bet it was not an original idea)and asserted that we must keep peddling fossil fuels if there was even a small chance that climate science was wrong, lest ‘we’ (ie the rich, one of whom the hack certainly is)lose all those lovely profits.

      Reply
  3. Andy in SD

     /  May 10, 2016

    I am unsure if any elected president would be able to do anything. The system is so skewed such as to allow lobbyists to own / control elected officials who in turn present / allow / disallow any form of motion. And if a motion by happenstance occurs, it is modified and adjusted to suit the needs/desires of the lobbyists owners.

    If a president is not willing to sell his soul to the corporate lobbyists, then their paid for senators / congressmen simply shut that president down (we’ve seen that in action plenty).

    The system is not driven by what best for the nation and it’s people, it is not driven by it’s people. It is driven by what the corporations desire, and that is communicated via lobbyists and super pacs.

    Nothing will change unless the corporations and 1%ers chose to allow it. And they will allow what is best for them.

    Reply
    • Cate

       /  May 10, 2016

      Andy, nail, head, whack.

      We are sorely mistaken if we believe that the govts whom we elect to serve our interests actually do that. They serve the interests of the corporate elites. All their tax, economic, and social policies exist to protect and maintain the interests of wealth and privilege. Political party is largely irrelevant here. Granted, some parties are more focused on, or more adept at, window-dressing, and at the token concessions they will make to maintain the façade of democracy. To a greater or lesser extent, they all obey their corporate masters.

      Btw, that’s what Davos is all about: the rich keeping annual tabs on their lackeys, the govts of the world.

      File under: the way of the world

      Reply
      • Government action is absolutely necessary if we’re going to get out of this mess and it’s the role of people like us to hold them accountable, to drive them in the right direction. With industry influence so strong, activism and public participation has to be much higher if we’re going to get what we want out of public officials. I think taking the view that government absolutely will or won’t do the right thing is somewhat counter-productive. We need to manage our relationship with government and understand that we have a responsibility to government as well.

        We should not view any one candidate as a savior or panacea. But we should take every opportunity to elect candidates who are favorable to a response to climate change. We should also do everything we can to change candidates stances on climate change, to drive the public narrative for response.

        I can tell you this, though. The difference between Hillary (a candidate that is still not ideal on the issue of climate change, but who has moved her position substantially closer to that of a climate hawk since 2014) and Trump is a as vast as the difference between Obama and Bush. Under Clinton, we would still be moving in the right direction (albeit too slowly under her current stance), we would still get policies that continue to curtail fossil fuel use and help to lower carbon emissions. Under Trump there is a very real danger that we lose much of what we’ve gained and end up back in a square 1, worse than business as usual emissions scenario.

        So I would urge people away from cynicism and toward still more political activism. A president isn’t a panacea, but a better president makes a difference and a worse president can bring on the harm quite a lot faster and with far greater force.

        Reply
      • Loni

         /  May 10, 2016

        I agree with your assessment, Robert, and I’ll add that it’s us, those who are aware of the changes and consequences of those changes that need to be running for local and state offices.

        The game is rigged right down to the local levels, but that’s where the controlling interests are at their weakest.

        Reply
      • Cate

         /  May 10, 2016

        Robert, to be clear, I think Americans can help to change the world just by picking the right president this time—or you can send us all to our doom. If neither of the candidates is perfect, please, Americans, pick the closest one to best. We all know who the worst choice is.

        I won’t apologise for my cynicism, which is born of many years voting in hope and repenting at leisure, to twist a phrase, but I hope everyone can understand it, given Canada’s recent experience with Trudeaumania 2: after ten years of near-fascism, we choose change, and we get someone who tries to explain that it makes perfect sense to fund renewables by building more pipelines……..All the more reason to keep the pressure on him, certainly.

        Voters’ work is never done and yes, it’s all about managing our relationship with governments—excellent way of putting it. The relationship is ongoing and life-long. When they forget, overlook, or ignore their elected responsibilities towards us, it is our responsibility to remind them clearly what our expectations are vis a vis the public interest.

        Reply
        • So that’s what accountability is all about. If Trudeau has gone back on campaign promises and is trying to build more pipelines, then the people who elected him have every social right to raise hell and to block pipeline construction through ardent protest movements. If Trudeau goes against his electoral precedent, then he should pay for it in civil, if peaceful, unrest and civil disobedience. We need to be sharp about this because the fossil influence is deep and pervasive and they do put up a full court press trying to sway government officials their way.

          This is one reason why I wholeheartedly support the Seirra Club and 350.org. They’re the stick that we can use to keep the politicians in line. And the larger and more support the divestment movement, the anti-pipeline movement, the anti-fracking movement, and the push to close coal plants become the less able politicians will be to renege on campaign promises, the less able they will be to cut shady deals with oil corps.

          Can we trust them? No. But can we elect people who say they’re going to do better and give them holy hell when they don’t? Heck yes.

          So we need to set precedent by electing people who say they’re going to do something and we all need to be part of the giant stick waiting to come down on them if they mess it up, or if they don’t continue to push stronger carbon reduction policies.

          What we need, from the grass roots, are the tools to enforce accountability and to push an escalating response. We need people invigorated and sharpened to action. People who rally others to the cause. People willing to get on the streets, in kayaks, onto train tracks, into chat rooms and organize. People willing to eloquently make the case for solutions. People who do not have the luxury to slip into apathy or cynicism.

          If we are to be an effective movement we need to thing like adults and to understand that because there are no perfect world scenarios, no perfect people, that we need to hold everyone, including ourselves, to the standard of never-ending action and effort. That’s what taking responsibility in this case means. We do not have the luxury of cynicism. We must use the tools we are given for the task at hand.

          And absolutely I would rather have Sanders than Clinton. But I will sure as heck do everything I can to ensure that Trump is not elected. And I’m sure you’d rather have Trudeau than Harper too. It’s just that, apparently, Trudeau needs prodding to do the right thing as he basically lives in a state suffering from the resource curse of tar sands and as such will also suffer economic decline because Canada, for the past decade at least, has over-invested and malinvestment in fossil fuels. So a loss on that investment, that bad decision, is going to hurt. This creates a tough political environment to navigate. But my understanding is that Trudeau isn’t doing it very wisely and has fallen too much into the clutches otpr the corrupting influence of fossil fuels. And anyone looking at Canada needs to be very clear on this basic fact — it’s the corrupting influence of tge resource curse that is slowing a necessarily swift response to climate change. And it’s not just in Canada, it’s almost everywhere.

          So that’s why we can’t be cynical, because we will need organizational structures outside of government that acts on government in such a way to make it function when it is in the throes of a heroine-like fossil fuel addiction. We need to basically be willing and able to give them tough love and to gently but firmly pull their hands away every time they reflexively grasp for the carbon heroine.

  4. 04:31 UTC
    I just added a ‘Don’t look now but:’ Tweet to the Fort Mac post.

    Reply
  5. Climate Reality ‏@ClimateReality 2h2 hours ago

    Seems pretty simple, huh? Retweet if you know healthy societies need a healthy planet.
    [I had the distinct pleasure of meeting M. Mead, a long time ago. A benefit of living in a college town — UCSB]

    Reply
    • Mulga Mumblebrain

       /  May 11, 2016

      Margaret Mead died in 1978, but it was already pretty obvious by then. I always get a shiver when I see a production of ‘Uncle Vanya’ and Astrov the doctor speaks of the disaster of the felling of the Russian forests. And if we let the (monied interests) destroy human civilization, Mead and Chekhov and all the rest might as well never have been born.

      Reply
      • Mark from OZ

         /  May 11, 2016

        Very good points MM!
        The operative phrase is ‘if we let them’!
        If ‘we’ don’t stop them, nobody will as they are programmed to continue until ‘economic’ reasons compel them to stop. This is the ‘only’ reason they would stop unless forced.
        25 years before Mead died (1952), London had one whopper of a problem with coal driven pollution and the images of that today are every bit as jarring as they were back then.

        Fortunately, legislation was passed to help minimize the problem. The point being that these modifications would not have occurred naturally by volition as margin or profit (somewhere in the equation) would have had to be redirected / lost for these changes to occur-demanded by the ‘people.’

        ‘We’ (the people)

        We’re now 60+ years downstream from that UK event and those pretending that continued burning of coal and other FF’s are not just trying to insulate ‘vested interests’, but simultaneously attempting to suggest that the slow ( and fast) murder of Earth’s flora and fauna is somehow ‘Okay’ as long as dividends are paid to the investors and money is ‘made’.
        Though these ‘industries’ are well protected and operate with an expensive impunity currently, I predict that soon there will be no judicial body anywhere that will offer them safe harbour. The world over has many forms of legislation that identify ‘self-defense’ as a bona fide justification for action taken to prevent serious bodily harm. This way of thinking is now incipient across the world and will soon find widespread and fortifying support.

        http://www.theguardian.com/environment/gallery/2012/dec/05/60-years-great-smog-london-in-pictures

        Reply
  6. Reply
    • dnem

       /  May 10, 2016

      That’s a really interesting link, thanks DT. I probably should have been clearer on this at this stage of the game, but I found the discussion about carbon feedbacks and ECS very illuminating:

      “Yet another thing there seems wide consensus on, is that you simply don’t know, once the ball starts rolling, how far it will roll, nor for how long. There may very well be ‘warming beyond ECS’, thanks to positive carbon feedbacks. But you can’t include carbon, when you assume fixed carbon, which is the used definition (a doubling of CO2, as Caldeira explains).”

      Reply
      • That’s why ECS is an imperfect measure. We should look at climate sensitivity as forcing + acceleration (positive carbon feedback + other positive feedbacks) – deceleration (all negative feedbacks including carbon) to help determine what equilibrium will look like. ESS does a better job but it’s still subject to the limitation of basing conclusions on a fixed value of carbon. This issue is determining how much the initial forcing affects the ultimate outcome.

        Reply
  7. – Meanwhile Democratic Gov. Brown is issuing an executive order.

    California Braces for Unending Drought

    LOS ANGELES — With California entering its fifth year of a statewide drought, Gov. Jerry Brown moved on Monday to impose permanent water conservation measures and called on water suppliers to prepare for a future made drier by climate change.

    Under the governor’s executive order, emergency drought regulations, like bans on hosing down driveways or watering lawns within 48 hours of a rainstorm, will remain indefinitely. Urban water suppliers will be required to report their water use to the state each month and develop plans to get through long-term periods of drought.

    Despite winter rains that replenished reservoirs and eased dry conditions in parts of Northern California, Mr. Brown suggested that the drought may never entirely end, and that the state needed to adapt to life with less water.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/10/us/california-drought-water-restrictions-permanent.html?_r=0

    Reply
    • Wise move. Better than pretending that a little rain this winter means things have returned to normal — because they haven’t.

      Reply
  8. – Absolutely it is. As it penetrates your airways — it gets in your bloodstream which feeds your brain. Include the detritus from paints, batteries, and chemical pesticides, etc. now in wildfire smoke.

    Experts to speak on connection between air pollution and brain health at Pittsburgh event

    Can air pollution affect the brain? That is the topic of the Group Against Smog and Pollution’s (GASP) latest installment of its “Making the Connection” lecture series. (Prior iterations have focused on heart health, autism and outdoor physical activity.) On Wednesday night, GASP will host biology and public-health experts to discuss “Air Pollution and Brain Health.”

    “When people think about air pollution and health, naturally they think of asthma and respiratory health, but air pollution can affect just about every part of the body,” says Rachel Filippini, executive director at GASP. “[Air pollution] is associated with cancer, cardiovascular disease, autism and diabetes, and there have been studies that have connected air pollution to neurological illnesses, including Alzheimer’s disease.”
    http://www.pghcitypaper.com/Blogh/archives/2016/05/09/experts-to-speak-on-connection-between-air-pollution-and-brain-health-at-pittsburgh-event

    Reply
  9. Koch brothers’ attack on Russ Feingold backfires as local TV stations pull deceptive ad

    The Koch brothers’ Freedom Partners Action Fund decided to take on Russ Feingold with a $2 million ad buy. One problem for the Kochs: The ad was based on a lie, and now three Wisconsin television stations are refusing to air it.
    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2016/5/9/1524738/-Koch-brothers-attack-on-Russ-Feingold-backfires-as-local-tv-stations-pull-deceptive-ad

    Reply
  10. Greg

     /  May 10, 2016

    Latest information on fires in Alberta:

    Reply
  11. Greg

     /  May 10, 2016

    Note, via thinkprogress, that Germany just achieved on Sunday, for some time, 90% energy use from renewables. It’s the world’s fourth biggest economy. And it gets about the same level of sunshine as Alaska:

    Reply
  12. Matt

     /  May 10, 2016

    Sorry off topic, but as predicted, Arctic sea ice extent has fallen off a cliff!!

    Reply
  13. Greg

     /  May 10, 2016

    OT but the scale of this project reminds me of how big we can go when we see the need. Seattle’s $3.1 billion Alaskan Way Viaduct, a subterranean highway that will replace an aging, and seismically unsound, surface road now under construction from, effectively a giant mechanical earthworm:

    Reply
  14. Greg

     /  May 10, 2016

    Superb article Robert. The graphics are remarkable as well. If Hillary is going to take the reigns of power it needs to be a devastating defeat and all the way down the line and then we need to hold her, and the party, accountable for truly transformative, radical change.

    Reply
    • Greg

       /  May 10, 2016

      You remind me of Elon Musk who now sits at the end of the production line at Tesla Motors’ factory in Fremont, California, and he’s stashed a sleeping bag in a nearby conference room. He’s done this to emphasize how seriously he takes the epic task ahead of him

      Reply
      • Hah! Yeah we knew this was going to be a rough summer and I knew I was in for a long haul. Given that we’re at a new threshold and the pace of events will quicken, I think I’ll need that sleeping bag.

        Gotta say that I really wish we had more business types like Musk. Of you’re going to be a capitalist you might as well spend your efforts making money on things that help the situation rather than cause untold harm. His work on EVs and solar are both to be emulated and celebrated. And if car companies do exist these days then the should be like Tesla — all electric.

        Reply
      • Greg

         /  May 10, 2016

        Well then, we’ll call your blog the model III, built sleekly for the masses:

        Reply
      • Abel Adamski

         /  May 11, 2016

        Look after yourself Robert, we need you sharp and alert

        Reply
  15. redskylite

     /  May 10, 2016

    Robert, thanks for the detailed snapshot of what is going on in the election run-up. I remember seeing a BBC documentary of Trump’s endeavors in Scotland, he was no longer very popular there, and London’s new Muslim mayor is worried about visiting the U.S under Trump also. Finger’s crossed. The global temperature change graphic is outstanding and highlights the dramatic change in a way words cannot.

    Surprised to read from Cardiff University today that 4 out of 5 U.K residents are totally ignorant on ocean acidification and implications. Got to blame media somewhat for not highlighting such an important issue. I wonder how many are aware in my own country. ?

    If they are not aware then they have no incentive to do something about it. like vote for a party that wants to change.

    Study shows four out of five British people are unaware of ocean acidification.

    http://phys.org/news/2016-05-british-people-unaware-ocean-acidification.html

    Reply
  16. There may be La Nina conditions by November, so I suspect Republicans will be selling themselves as being the right guys to deal with the looming ice age.

    Reply
    • La Niña will only knock about 0.2 to 0.3 C off the peak annual average. Given that we’ll be near the 1 C mark during even a La Niña year, the deniers will have a tough sell. In addition, La Niña produces its own set of extreme weather events that will be amplified by the energy we’ve already added to the system.

      Reply
  17. Spike

     /  May 10, 2016

    We have our climate deniers in power in the UK too, perhaps a little less “in your face” than the likes of Inhofe or Cruz, but they are quietly trying to get the government to decline to accept the next carbon budget from the Climate Change Committee.

    An interesting review of the government’s energy policy by Prof Keith Barnham suggests a strong pro-nuke, pro-gas/fracking, anti-renewables agenda – ” it is crucial to government plans for new nuclear that renewable expansion is curtailed so that natural gas can keep the wholesale price high”.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/the-government-should-scrap-its-costly-hinkley-point-deal-and-accept-renewables-can-keep-the-lights-a7021196.html

    Only this week I wrote to my relatively moderate Conservative MP to suggest he join those Tories who are urging more responsible policies, including accepting the CCC’s next carbon budget and continuing renewable deployment.

    http://www.solarpowerportal.co.uk/news/tory_backbenchers_rally_pm_to_support_fifth_carbon_budget_6230

    http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/2451098/budget-2016-tory-mps-call-on-chancellor-to-build-on-renewables-proven-delivery-record

    The problem is we have a PM who wants to “cut all the green crap” and a chancellor very sceptical of climate change action under threat from the more lunatic fringe of the party who are every bit as crazed as Republicans and the Australian right, and soaked in fossil fuel interests. We’ve got to fight these people.

    Reply
    • Mulga Mumblebrain

       /  May 11, 2016

      Spike, you neglected to mention that Pigsy Cameron promised the ‘Greenest ever Government’ when running for office, and has presided over a fanatically anti-Green regime once in power. This is a matter of extreme Rightwing ideology, ie psychopathy.

      Reply
  18. Ryan in New England

     /  May 10, 2016

    Robert, you’ve been doing an outstanding job staying on top of the plethora of news and events, and cranking out a lot of posts. Thank you!

    And speaking of injurious to the American people, the U.S. has racked up 6 billion+ dollar disasters just this year, with over half the year to go. In every way measurable, 2016 is shaping up to be a hell of a year.

    https://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/six-us-billiondollar-severe-weather-disasters-in-2016-more-severe-

    Reply
  19. Phil S

     /  May 10, 2016

    Here’s another off topic comment…

    http://theconversation.com/sea-level-rise-has-claimed-five-whole-islands-in-the-pacific-first-scientific-evidence-58511

    These islands lost to the sea range in size from one to five hectares. They supported dense tropical vegetation that was at least 300 years old. Nuatambu Island, home to 25 families, has lost more than half of its habitable area, with 11 houses washed into the sea since 2011

    Can I add my thanks for all the great work you guys are doing

    Reply
    • That was a really interesting read. My Dad served in the Solomons during the early years of WW2, so he saw those islands many many times. Once they blew the heavy cruiser out from under him, he joined an aerial scouting squadron and was initially stationed on Gavutu.

      Reply
  20. Jacque

     /  May 10, 2016

    BIG OIL ABANDONS ARCTIC DRILLING RIGHTS: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-05-10/big-oil-abandons-2-5-billion-in-u-s-arctic-drilling-rights

    “… Royal Dutch Shell, ConocoPhillips and other companies have quietly relinquished claims they once hoped would net the next big oil discovery…

    For Shell and ConocoPhillips, the decision to abandon Arctic acreage was formalized just before a May 1 due date to pay the U.S. government millions of dollars in rent to keep holdings in the Chukchi Sea north of Alaska…
    Shell last year ended a nearly $8 billion, mishap-marred quest for Arctic crude after disappointing results from a test well in the Chukchi Sea. Shell decided the risk is not worth it for now, and other companies have likely come to the same conclusion, said Peter Kiernan, the lead energy analyst at The Economist Intelligence Unit.

    All told, companies have relinquished 2.2 million acres of drilling rights in the Chukchi Sea — nearly 80 percent of the leases they bought from the U.S. government in a 2008 auction. Oil companies spent more than $2.6 billion snapping up 2.8 million acres in the Chukchi Sea during that sale, on top of previous purchases in the Beaufort Sea…

    ConocoPhillips formally relinquished its 61 Chukchi Sea leases on April 26…

    Statoil dumped 16 Chukchi Sea leases and its working interest stakes in 50 others in the U.S. Arctic last November…

    Iona Energy Inc., a Canadian oil and gas company that began insolvency proceedings last November, ceded its one lease in the Chukchi Sea on March 31. Italy’s Eni SpA also gave up four leases in the Chukchi Sea on April 28…

    Shell is holding on to one lease in the Chukchi Sea: the tract it drilled last year. Smith said Shell is maintaining that lone lease — at a potential cost of $132,456 over the next four years — because there is value in the data the company gathered during its 2015 exploratory drilling. Companies generally have to give the U.S. government the geological information they glean from oil and gas development in federal waters, but they can get an extra two to 10 years to turn over that data as long as they still hold the territory…

    Now, only 535,586 acres remain locked up in the Chukchi Sea. Besides Shell’s one lease there, the tracts are in the hands of just one oil producer: Spain’s Repsol SA. Spokesmen for the company did not return requests for comment.

    It could be years — if ever — before oil companies get another chance to buy drilling rights in the region. The United States could turn around and resell the forfeited leases if any companies actually wanted to buy them, but the Interior Department canceled upcoming lease sales amid low industry interest last year.

    The Interior Department is considering selling leases in the Beaufort Sea in 2020 and the Chukchi Sea two years later, but those auctions are far from certain, and environmentalists are pushing the Obama administration to rule them out entirely…

    Even beyond the United States, there are strong headwinds discouraging oil companies from sending drill bits spinning below Arctic waters. Last month, Shell withdrew an application for a drilling license in Norway’s share of the Arctic Ocean.

    Reply
  21. Greg

     /  May 10, 2016

    Here is a synopsis of HiIlary’s detailed policies laid out for us wonks. “Climate change is too urgent a threat to wait on Congress.” So she’s developed a strategy that doesn’t require waiting.:
    http://www.vox.com/2016/5/9/11548354/hillary-clintons-climate-and-energy-policies-explained

    Reply
  22. Greg

     /  May 10, 2016

    This is what solar looks like up north in Alaska. Villages there, some with the help of the federal government, are looking to solar as an alternative to diesel fuel.
    https://www.adn.com/article/20160508/despite-winter-darkness-solar-power-might-work-better-rural-alaska-youd-expect

    Reply
    • Greg

       /  May 10, 2016

      A solar array at the Shungnak water plant in the Northwest Arctic Borough.

      Reply
  23. Greg

     /  May 10, 2016

    Jon Stewart is back and has some brilliant insights for understanding U.S political/media/cultural morass. It’s a long interview but worth listening too. ‘Our media is incentivized for conflict, not clarity.’ ‘Hillary gives me comfort in that she’s not a sociopath.’ ‘Just one day lobbying on Capitol Hill showed me what a f—–g horror show it is, a cesspool, I will never recover from it’
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/jon-stewart-donald-trump-man-baby_us_57313296e4b016f37896d670

    Reply
  24. – There are good descriptions by Michael Mann of current happenings and the contexts — with references to Jennifer Francis. most of all, the general public needs info like this.

    Reply
  25. – Honduras – Peaceful demonstration met with violent attack by police/military.

    Reply
    • Mulga Mumblebrain

       /  May 11, 2016

      Just what the Right are itching to do in the Homelands of the West.

      Reply
  26. Unless the Repubs’ ginned-up email scandal morphs into a real legal liability for Hilary. Then, the Dems would be whistling past the graveyard as the Pubs get re-energized on their way to another historic landslide.

    O if only Bernie were the presumptive nominee!

    Reply
  27. – The power of photography exemplified by Dysturb ‘s adding context by placing photo posters ‘out’ of context.
    Would like to see climate disruption type scenes in use. Maybe a raging wildfire storm next to am ICE COLD BEER outlet…

    Reply
  28. Reply
    • ‘… As air near the Earth’s surface is ingested into thunderstorms, we expect most aerosols to be removed by precipitation. However, DC3 observations have shown that while over 80% of water-friendly aerosol mass is removed during transport to the upper regions of the storm, less than 50% of coarse-mode dust concentrations are, suggesting deep convection may be an efficient transport mechanism for coarse-mode dust to the upper troposphere, where these dust particles serve as ice nuclei for cirrus cloud formation and are therefore important for cloud radiation and climate effects.’
      https://eos.org/editors-vox/connecting-thunderstorms-and-climate-through-ozone

      Reply
      • – ‘scavenging efficiencies, of key volatile organic compounds’:
        I like that description. It matches my gut feelings of what I see when I look at the weather and the various air pollution aerosol inventories — especially VOC.

        ‘… scientists have quantified transport efficiencies, or conversely scavenging efficiencies, of key volatile organic compounds…

        Reply
  29. Reply
  30. – Southern Hemisphere — CO2

    Major CO2 milestone reached

    Carbon dioxide continues to increase in the atmosphere with a major milestone of 400 parts per million of CO2 recorded in the Southern Hemisphere according CSIRO’s Dr David Etheridge.

    Within the next couple of weeks, a remote part of north-western Tasmania is likely to grab headlines around the world as a major climate change marker is passed.

    The aptly named Cape Grim monitoring site jointly run by CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology will witness the first baseline reading of 400 parts per million (ppm) of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, researchers predict.

    http://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/global-warming-milestone-about-to-be-passed-and-theres-no-going-back-20160509-goqcm0.html

    Reply
  31. – See the humanity on the foreground but notice the object on the horizon horizon. It says a lot on many ways.

    World Press Photo ‏@WorldPressPhoto 3h3 hours ago

    #PhotoOfTheDay: ‘In the Same Boat’ by @francescozizola #RefugeeCrisis #Refugees #Libya

    Reply
  32. – Russia | OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries)

    Exclusive: Say goodbye to OPEC, powerful Putin pal predicts

    Internal differences are killing OPEC and its ability to influence the markets has all but evaporated, top Russian oil executive Igor Sechin told Reuters in some of his harshest remarks ever about the oil cartel.

    Russia, which has been hit hard by the oil price collapse, was flirting with the idea of cooperating with OPEC in recent months until tensions between OPEC members Saudi Arabia and Iran ruined a global deal to freeze output.

    Sechin – one of the closest allies of President Vladimir Putin – was the only Russian official to consistently oppose the deal with OPEC even after the Kremlin effectively endorsed the plan.
    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-russia-opec-sechin-idUSKCN0Y1104?feedType=RSS&feedName=newsOne&google_editors_picks=true

    Reply
    • Mulga Mumblebrain

       /  May 11, 2016

      Oil demand is falling because the world economy is imploding into debt deflation. The collapse of OPEC is collateral damage of little consequence in the not so grand scheme of things.

      Reply
      • Multiple factors. Global growth has slowed and deflation lurks due to widespread inequality. China outran its economy’s ability to grow and is also suffering deflation due to widespread malinvestment. Debt is not so much an issue as where the debt is coming from — money being spent to build a whole bunch of crap that isn’t helpful or necessary. But a big shift toward more energy efficient vehicles is also underway with most major economies upping vehicle mileage. In addition, 3-5 million barrels per day of oil production is vulnerable to demand destruction due to the fact that solar is replacing oil and diesel electric generation facilities around the world. So renewables and EVs are hitting oil demand at the margins. But since oil is a commodity that trades on demand over or under margin, then this can have a huge demand on price. By 2020, with the vehicle efficiency curve continuing to steepen and with reasonable expectations for 1-2 million EVs per year, more marginal demand will be lost. Given systemic inequality and endemic malinvestment, I’m not too sure if the boom and bust side of the demand picture will change either. So there’s a lot of volatility on the way for oil, with the demand picture looking increasingly bearish.

        Reply
  33. NASA’s SDO Captures Mercury Transit Time-lapse
    Published on May 9, 2016

    Around 13 times per century, Mercury passes between Earth and the sun in a rare astronomical event known as a planetary transit. The 2016 Mercury transit occurred on May 9, between roughly 7:12 a.m. and 2:42 p.m. EDT.

    Reply
  34. Fire season — per decade increases:

    Reply
  35. Reply
  36. June

     /  May 10, 2016

    As if mites and pesticides aren’t enough, yet one more environmental insult for bees to cope with.

    “How Rising CO2 Levels May Contribute to Die-Off of Bees”

    “As they investigate the factors behind the decline of bee populations, scientists are now eyeing a new culprit — soaring levels of carbon dioxide, which alter plant physiology and significantly reduce protein in important sources of pollen.”

    …”Unlike other insects, which will eat more leaves to compensate for lower protein levels in their food, bees will eat a quantity of pollen, but will not adjust consumption based on nutritional inferiority”

    http://e360.yale.edu/feature/bee_collapse_co2_climate_change_agriculture/2991/

    Reply
  37. Plant-derived compounds stimulate the decomposition of organic matter in arctic permafrost soils

    By comparing 119 soils from four locations across the Siberian Arctic that cover all horizons of active layer and upper permafrost, we found that an increased availability of plant-derived organic C particularly stimulated decomposition in subsoil horizons where most of the arctic soil carbon is located.

    http://www.nature.com/articles/srep25607

    Reply
    • – Parallel and in another context is agro-algae and CO2.

      Tuesday, May 10, 2016
      Carnegie Science, Carnegie Institution for Science, Carnegie Institution, Chlamydomonas, Pyrenoid, EPYC1

      Stanford, CA—

      ‘…green algae for agriculture.’

      It all starts with the world’s most abundant enzyme, Rubisco.

      Rubisco “fixes” (or converts) atmospheric carbon dioxide into carbon-based sugars, such as glucose and sucrose, in all photosynthetic organisms on the planet. This reaction is central to life on Earth as we know it, because nearly all the carbon that makes up living organisms was at some point “fixed” from the atmosphere by this enzyme. The rate of this reaction limits the growth rate of many of our crops, and many scientists think that accelerating this reaction would increase crop yields.

      The funny thing about Rubisco is that it first evolved in bacteria about 3 billion years ago, a time when the Earth’s atmosphere had more abundant carbon dioxide compared to today. As photosynthetic bacteria became more and more populous on ancient Earth, they changed our atmosphere’s composition.

      “Rubisco functioned very efficiently in the ancient Earth’s carbon dioxide-rich environment,” Jonikas said. “But it eventually sucked most of the CO2 out of the atmosphere, to the point where CO2 is a trace gas today.”
      https://carnegiescience.edu/node/2030

      Reply
      • Mulga Mumblebrain

         /  May 11, 2016

        Sounds Hispanic to me. I expect Trump to ban it.

        Reply
  38. Robert

     /  May 10, 2016

    This is something you are surely aware of but I send this just in case since you have your attention on many things. Not for comments but… Barrow Ak. as you no doubt know is above the Arctic Circle and the Northernmost town/settlement in the United States; it is 1300 miles south of the North Pole (the real North Pole–allusion to Alaska…) And the expected heat wave in the Arctic which you wrote about a few days ago has materialized:: Barrow at 1 PM today had registered 35F. All-time high in Barrow is 36F. Am I correct to assume that this accelerates melt and therefore the rise in sea level?

    Reply
    • Sea ice melt does not directly contribute to sea level rise. The reason is that the ice is already floating in water and already displaces an equal volume of that water.

      That said, sea ice buttresses many sea-fronting land glaciers around the world. And when the sea ice retreats away from these glaciers that run from the land and into the sea, then their rate of melt accelerates.

      In this way, sea ice loss increases the rate at which Greenland glaciers melt and so indirectly contributes to increasing rates of sea level rise.

      As for the Arctic heatwave, it’s indeed building and it looks like it’s going to just get worse and worse over the coming days.

      I’ve got a GFS fix of +4.5 C above average for the entire zone above 66 North Latitude one week out. In all my years of Arctic observation, I’ve never seen an anomaly like this in May. What this means is that sea ice is going to take a heavy hit this week. These are late June temperatures for this region arriving in the middle of May.

      Reply
  39. – NA USA Montana east side of Rockies – NW of Butte – heavy snow in May.

    NWS Missoula Verified account ‏@NWSMissoula 4h4 hours ago

    Just got a report of 15 inches total snow since 9am yesterday at #GemMountain near #Philispburg, #Montana. #MTwx

    Reply
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  43. Syd Bridges

     /  May 11, 2016

    Don Quixote MacTrump has lost every legal challenge to the Aberdeen Bay Wind Farm, but, AFAIK, it has not been started. I am sure that Dave “Cash in the Bahamas” Cameron will be sympathetic to his rich fellow crook, but I hope the Scottish Government will push ahead with the project.

    Reply
    • Yeah. Good catch. On a second fact check found that they are doing site inspection work for the wind turbines now and will begin construction in 2017 — http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-north-east-orkney-shetland-35753295

      Looks like the Scots don’t care too much for Dave, offshore money not wind, Cameron’s objections to this wind generation project either.

      Reply
    • I’ve posted this before—-couldn’t resist posting this again; a beautiful song that pays a tribute to the land that Donald Trump ruined:

      From an NPR story:
      “Trump wanted to build the golf course in Scotland, he said, because his mother was born there. But almost a decade later, he has angered his neighbors and turned some of his former supporters against him.

      “He promises the earth, delivers nothing,” says David Milne, who lives nearby. “As far as that goes, he’s in a good position to be a politician. But as far as the real world goes, no, do not trust this man with anything.”

      Milne used to have an ocean view; now he has to stand on his upstairs balcony to see over the edge of Trump’s golf course.

      “You’ve got the Donald Trump clubhouse maybe 700 yards away at a push, maybe slightly less,” he says.

      The landscape might be a sprawl of green, but Milne says he rarely sees a golfer. He was never a fan of the golf course, which spreads across parts of 4,000-year-old coastal sand dunes designated as a special environmental site.

      Donald Trump’s paternal grandparents, Friedrich Trump and Elisabeth Christ, came from the southwest German village of Kallstadt.

      But that’s not why he dislikes Trump. It’s because he’s a bully, Milne says — and a really bad neighbor.

      “They have threatened us at a few stages,” he says. “We’ve had the water lines cut, the power lines cut, the phone lines cut — sometimes accidentally, but not always. He has lied to us, he’s lied about us.”

      Reply
      • Abel Adamski

         /  May 11, 2016

        A leopard never changes it’s spots, or lipstick and pigs

        Reply
      • Poignant and heart-wrenching. Thanks so much for posting this Caroline.

        And that’s how this man uses power — to basically bully and oppress the people whose heritage he would claim as justification for his own bad actions.

        Reply
  44. You are most welcome Robert. Here is the trailer for the film that Karine Polwart mentions—- You’ve Been Trumped:

    Reply
  45. John Russell

     /  May 13, 2016

    GOP Science Stupidity

    If you went to 100 IT Specialists and 97 said you were in danger of being Hacked, 2 said they weren’t sure and one said your Security is just fine don’t worry, what would you do?

    If you are a Republican you’d OBVIOUSLY end up with a hacked computer and an empty bank account ….

    If you went to 100 auto mechanics and 97 said your brakes are gone, 2 said they weren’t sure and one said don’t worry you have plenty of brakes left, what would you do?

    If you are a Republican you’d OBVIOUSLY die from a car wreck (and stupidity) because your brakes failed ….

    If you went to 100 doctors and 97 said you have Cancer but it’s treatable, 2 said they weren’t sure and 1 said you are Cancer free don’t worry what would you do?

    If you are a Republican you’d OBVIOUSLY die from an untreated Cancer (and stupidity)

    And you can quote me on that, no attribution necessary …….

    Reply
  1. Climate Change Denying Donald Trump Aims to Scrap Landmark Paris Climate Summit | robertscribbler
  2. Trump Exposed: He’s Sarah Palin With Orange Skin !

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