Choosing Our Nation’s Course for the Next 40,000 Years — Democratic and Republican Party Platforms Show Extreme Contrast on Climate Change

According to our best understanding of the science, the Permian hothouse extinction event which wiped out more than 90 percent of life in the oceans and more than 70 percent of vertebrate life on land lasted between 48,000 and 60,000 years. Continued fossil-fuel burning through the end of this century could set off an event as bad or worse, proceeding with a speed far faster than the Permian and possibly having more harmful and longer-lasting impacts.

Keeping these sobering thoughts in mind, it has been rightly said that though we are the first generation to feel the sting of climate change, we are likely the last generation with the opportunity to do anything about it. And in this election we will choose the path of our nation not only for the next four years, but over the course of at least the next 40,000. For when we vote, we will be choosing between leaders who have called for a global mobilization to attempt to prevent catastrophic changes to the Earth’s climate that will last for untold millennia and those who have promised to ignore these worsening harms until they have wholly swallowed us up.

Stark Climate Policy Contrasts

Never before has climate change been such an important issue in a national election. And never before have the two dominant party goals on the issue of climate change shown such stark contrast. On the one hand, you have a Republican party that downplays and denies the threats posed by rising seas, worsening droughts, oceans suffering expanding dead zones and acidification, stronger and more damaging storms, and deteriorating food and water security. On the other, you have a Democratic party committed to a response that does not ‘leave our children a planet that is profoundly damaged.’

In pursuit of these goals, Democrats are seeking to put policies in place to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent through 2050. Republicans pledge to stymie any progress in carbon emissions cuts by fighting the Kyoto and Paris climate summit provisions, in effect locking in more and more harmful warming over the short through long term.

2016 Climate Change Platforms Democrat Republican

(When it comes to climate change, ever-strengthening Democratic policy measures come into conflict with increasingly intransigent Republican climate change denial, support for continued fossil-fuel burning, and attacks on agencies like the EPA. Image source: InsideClimateNews.)

Democrats have pledged to implement President Obama’s Clean Power Plan (which would, among other things, allow the EPA to regulate carbon emissions), continue to increase fuel economy standards for light and heavy-duty vehicles, and continue to increase environmental and efficiency standards for building codes and appliances. Laughably calling coal — the dirtiest, most heavily polluting energy source — clean, Republicans pledge to do away with the Clean Power Plan altogether.

Democrats are planning to empower the EPA to regulate hydraulic fracturing to protect water supplies. Such plans would necessarily result in limits placed on the destructive practice. The Republicans pledge to scrap the EPA, turning it into a bipartisan commission neutered of any real power to prevent bad-actor businesses from expanding fracking, ruining the environment or dumping toxins into the air, water and land.

(We are beginning to feel the first slings and arrows of climate change, but compared to what we could see if we continue fossil fuel burning, if we support the devastating climate and energy policies that Republicans are pushing, the current difficulties are minor and easy. Even though climate impacts will continue to worsen for some time, Republican policies will ensure that the absolute worst case climate impacts will be made real for our generation and for hundreds and perhaps thousands of generations to follow. Video source: Not Reality TV by James Cameron.)

Democrats support Obama’s rejection of the Keystone XL Pipeline (along with an associated expansion of tar sands extraction and burning) and state that no such pipeline will be constructed under Democratic governance. Democrats further pledge to support federal land, infrastructure and resource management decisions that do not further contribute to worsening climate change. Republicans pledge to complete the Keystone Pipeline, expand tar sands extraction, and to build numerous other such fossil fuel facilities.

Democrats support placing a price of some kind on carbon emissions in order to reflect their larger damage to the environment. Republicans pledge not to tax or price carbon and promise to push for expensive carbon capture and storage which has, thus far, primarily been used to further increase oil extraction resulting in yet more carbon emissions long term.

Moreover, the Democratic party has issued this global call to action on the issue of climate change:

We believe the United States must lead in forging a robust global solution to the climate crisis. We are committed to a national mobilization, and to leading a global effort to mobilize nations to address this threat on a scale not seen since World War II. In the first 100 days of the next administration, the President will convene a summit of the world’s best engineers, climate scientists, policy experts, activists, and indigenous communities to chart a course to solve the climate crisis.

Such a statement elevates the threat of climate change to an appropriate level of national and international awareness and response. Wars are terrible, but the threat of climate change promises to multiply the root causes of war, destabilize entire regions, and — by risking the destruction of thousands of cities and communities, water and food supplies, and lands habitable by human beings — singly inflict more damage than any war or accumulation of wars throughout the history of humankind.

Strong Democratic Supports for Climate Action Apparently Open to Improvement

As such, the difference between the two major parties on this critical issue could not be more clear. The Democratic party pledges to act strongly to prevent catastrophic climate change by setting out policies that would rapidly reduce carbon emissions, rapidly adopt renewable energy systems, respond and adapt to climate threats as they emerge, and mobilize the international community to do the same. Republicans pledge to defend coal, expand fracking, increase drilling, dismantle the EPA, ignore the coming harmful global events that climate change will certainly produce, and to build more pipelines.

The Democratic policies would greatly reduce the long-term harm posed by human-forced climate change, whereas the Republican policies would basically work to lock in catastrophic levels of CO2 near 900 parts per million and around 4-5 degrees Celsius total global warming (since 1880) by the end of this century.

RCP 8.5 Nature

(Once the Earth heats up, it can take thousands, tens of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of years for it to cool off again. Republican-supported climate policies would push toward worst-case global warming along an RCP 8.5 pathway resulting in 4-5 C warming by 2100, 6 C warming by 2150 and 9 C warming by 2300. Temperatures in this range would set off a dangerous hothouse environment likely lasting for tens to hundreds of thousands of years. Democratic policies would take us off the RCP 8.5 path and instead push for a still-harmful but more easy to manage RCP 4.5-range scenario. Note that permafrost and hydrate carbon feedbacks are not included in this analysis and that long-term warming in the 500 to 1,000 year range for RCP 4.5 under Earth System Sensitivity is likely to hit near 4 C. Image source: Nature.)

Although it’s true that Democrats could still do more to improve their climate policies, could act even more swiftly than they now pledge to, this is the strongest Democratic party platform on the issue of climate change yet, one that is clearly setting out the goal that Democrats are committed to leading a comprehensive fight against the harms posed by human-forced warming. Moreover, the Democrats have shown an appropriate escalation of responses to climate change that leaves open the door to further, more ardent action on the issue.

Republicans, on the other hand, fight for more fossil-fuel burning, more heat-trapping gasses in the atmosphere. They commit to a rapidly worsening climate situation becoming so terrible by the middle to end of this century, that it’s questionable whether much of modern civilization could endure it without experiencing an ever-worsening series of collapses, losses and retractions.

The choice, therefore, is probably one of the most important voting choices you will ever make in any election. Voting for Republicans will help to lock in thousands upon thousands of years of catastrophic climate harm. Voting for Democrats is a vote for a party that is actively aware of the problem and promotes a national and global mobilization aimed at confronting it and lessening the damage.

Links:

InsideClimateNews

Democratic Platform Calls for Global Mobilization on Climate Change

Nature

Not Reality TV by James Cameron

Obama’s Clean Power Plan

Trump Calls Climate Change a Chinese Hoax

Stop Keystone XL

Under a Green Sky

Hat tip to Greg

Hat tip to DT Lange

Hat tip to Colorado Bob

Leave a comment

114 Comments

  1. Shawn Redmond

     /  August 2, 2016

    http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/176164/tomgram:_michael_klare%2c_fossil_fuels_forever/

    Here’s the good news: wind power, solar power, and other renewable forms of energy are expanding far more quickly than anyone expected, ensuring that these systems will provide an ever-increasing share of our future energy supply. According to the most recent projections from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) of the U.S. Department of Energy, global consumption of wind, solar, hydropower, and other renewables will double between now and 2040, jumping from 64 to 131 quadrillion British thermal units (BTUs).

    And here’s the bad news: the consumption of oil, coal, and natural gas is also growing, making it likely that, whatever the advances of renewable energy, fossil fuels will continue to dominate the global landscape for decades to come, accelerating the pace of global warming and ensuring the intensification of climate-change catastrophes.

    We have to change how we think!

    Reply
    • EIA is notoriously pro fossil fuels, anti renewables in its forecasting. So for this to come from EIA is pretty amazing. That said wind and solar will likely double their share in the next five years, not the next 25. Of course, if republicans win, the EIA forecast may just bear out.

      Reply
      • From where I’m sitting it looks like the party of free market ideology with zero rules to govern it is the republican party. Democrats have long pushed for the regulations and laws that would check an unconstrained market. And when they’ve failed and republicans have had their way, we’ve seen things like the revocation of Glass Steagall (dems are now pushing for a 21st Century version of this). We do have a few more pro-growth leaning dems. But they’re nothing like the laissez faire republicans. Dems might actually support a carbon tax if they’re prodded enough (they appear to be heading that way now). Republicans — never.

        I’m talking about politics here because it’s where the real work happens. And, yeah, that’s an ugly process full of compromise and struggles. But it’s where the ideas that we’re discussing here meet the road of reality. In that process, it’s helpful to be strategic and to think of generating a direction and building momentum. Perfect world scenarios won’t tend to happen in politics. And you’ll tend to have to fight hard for even small degrees of progress at first. But given the policies dems have pushed, I am a whole hell of a lot more comfortable when they are in power (especially when they have majorities in Congress as well as hold the Presidency).

        Now, I also want to talk more about this notion of EIA failing to recognize what has been an explosive trend of renewable energy growth. Since 2008, when Obama was elected, global wind energy alone has more than tripled from 120 GW capacity in 2008 to 432 GW capacity in 2015.

        Solar photo-voltaic capacity has grown by a factor of x 15 over the same period:

        Given these trends and the fact that annual installations for wind and solar continue to rise at around a 20 percent growth rate, EIA’s projection is not only vastly conservative, it is so conservative as to be practically irrelevant. Wind + Solar this year will add more capacity than the entirety of the combined capacity of those two sources in 2008.

        Policies like the Clean Power Plan and the Paris Climate Summit will only work to further hasten renewable energy additions. These policies will live to do good work if the democrats are elected in the US. Republicans, by comparison, will fight to do everything they can to kill them and to slow the rate of renewable energy adoption. All while adding the kinds of no holds barred growth-only policies that you guys are so right to disparage.

        Reply
        • Jeanne Church

           /  August 3, 2016

          Now THERE are hockey sticks I like!

        • Last 5 year average growth rate for wind is 17%, so doubling about every five years. If that rate keeps up (big if given the greatly increasing scale of the installed base), wind will increase by a factor of 8 in 20 years. If its 1% of global energy use now, then 8% in 20 years (and yearly installations will be eight times the current level to keep up the percentage growth).

          Last 5 year average for solar is 42%, but that includes a big outlier in 2011, so lets say 30%. Assume it doubles every 2.5 years for the next 5 years, then slows down to doubling every five years. It grows by a factor of 16. If its 0.5% of global energy now, then will be 8% of global energy in 20 years (and yearly installations will be sixteen times current level to keep up the growth rate).

          The combined growth in both wind and solar is less than the forecast energy consumption growth by the iEA during the same period. So, we will also need a massive exercise to reduce energy consumption, otherwise fossil fuel usage does not fall – even with the above very optimistic growth assumptions. This is the scale of the challenge, as we have left it so late for real action!

        • We need to continue to up the rate of renewable energy growth while continuing to add in conservation and efficiency measures. We need to de-incentivize carbon consumption which is why a carbon tax would be so very helpful at this point.

        • Make the production tax credit permanent for wind, and the industry will just explode. Oil & gas have tax breaks that have been in the law for nearly a century.

        • Hate to break it to you, but the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, which repealed the Glass-Steagal provisions that kept commercial banks, investment banks, securities firms, and insurance companies from combining, was passed with a bipartisan vote in Congress (362-57 in the House), and signed by President Bill Clinton in 1999.

          Granted, a lot of movement to remove those prohibitions had already occurred in years prior. For example, Citicorp merged with Travelers Group to form the conglomerate Citigroup, but this merger violated Glass-Steagal. The FED granted Citigroup a waiver in 1998, and GLB was passed the following year.

          Sort of the way Trump operates: cross the line, don’t ask for forgiveness, but pretend line-crossing has been done all alone by everyone.

        • GLB, in one form or another, (along with various erosions of depression-era financial safe-guards) was pushed by conservatives for decades. The late 90s removal was a part of the Republican push for deregulation at the time. Democrats over time were worn down by the big push for Reagan-based economic thinking which included risky de-regulation of the financial markets as a center-piece.

          Bill Clinton went along with it as part of a ‘compromise’ deal with Republicans. A move he has later publicly regretted. It’s widely recognized in the Democratic party that the removal of this protective regulation was a mistake — one that helped to fuel the financial collapse in 2008. A recognition engendered in the push by Democrats now to break up the big banks and to reinstate a 21st Century version of Glass Steagall.

          Republicans, on the other hand, are still trying to figure out a way to convince people that the removal of this key regulation didn’t contribute to the financial disaster that occurred. That or dupe people into thinking that Democrats are just as misinformed and corrupt as they are when it comes to this issue.

    • Mulga Mumblebrain

       /  August 3, 2016

      Shawn, that is the catastrophe one gets from ‘leaving it to The Market’. Market Fundamentalist capitalism, where profit maximisation is the HIGHEST good, is incompatible with human existence.

      Reply
      • Shawn Redmond

         /  August 3, 2016

        Mulga your preaching to the choir where I’m concerned. Everywhere I look I see the gutting of most things whether private or public, in the name of profit.This includes the biosphere. In the early part of this century James Lovelock concluded it was time to find a good seat so one could enjoy the view on the way down. It is most likely he was right. It is a race to the bottom! Knowing the end point it is difficult to enjoy. Talking to people around me they just don’t seem to understand the size of the wager or the fact that the house tends to win.

        Reply
        • Mulga Mumblebrain

           /  August 4, 2016

          Shawn, I am rather ‘preachy’, ain’t I. It comes from years of knowing something that others would not, and many still do not, acknowledge. It warped me mind, surely it did. Even I still imagine that by some miracle we will pull our fingers out and work TOGETHER across the planet to save our bacon. As for Lovelock, I saw him in a public lecture some years ago, and he seemed to be staring right at me throughout the lecture. I was entertaining delusions of cosmic significance until I noticed how thick his glasses were, and realised that he probably didn’t see much beyond a few feet in front of him.

  2. Andy_in_SD

     /  August 3, 2016

    I am impressed with neither group, they are all whores for donations while telling those that believe them the stories that get the votes. They will do the bidding of whomever purchases them. Best government money can buy.

    That is politics, here, there, everywhere, every corner of the planet. Politicians, the only land creatures capable of making a lawyer look good.

    Reply
    • Cynicism will get us nowhere. Either republicans or democrats are going to win this one. And we are far better off with the latter than the former.

      Reply
      • kay

         /  August 3, 2016

        Agree, Robert. Straight Dem ticket (green congressmen wherever you can find them)

        Reply
      • Cate

         /  August 3, 2016

        Robert, that sentence with “former” and “latter”—-I’m pretty sure you mean the opposite, ie, better off with the Dems….?

        Reply
        • My view is that the republicans have become so conservative, their policies so destructive, that they really shouldn’t have practical relevance as a political party anymore. The dems are moving in the right direction, and we can thank Bernie for some of that. I’d like to see more Greens get elected. But ticket splitting is a big issue. One that, in the past, has resulted in terrible governments getting elected. I think the push for more green influence in the Democratic Party is a positive one. But I’d also like to see more Greens and more progressive dems at the city and state level in races where they have more of a shot of winning.

      • Robert, I appreciate your site so much, because it is sane and credible. Many of us have been critical of the Democratic Party, of course, & as you point out, the GOP is so out of step with what is happening to this planet, and to human society as well. Their agenda is completely anti-nature, racist, and misogynist, which would only make things so much worse for The Earth and non-humans. No one really is talking about Limits to Growth on a finite planet. Perhaps there will be some chance to get this discussion going with some of the Democrats. Without Limits to Growth, including human population, nothing will be saved.

        http://foranimals.org/multimedia/ (this link may be of interest to those concerned about Donald Trump’s erratic, ignorant, cruel behavior).

        Reply
  3. June

     /  August 3, 2016

    If Congress stays in Republican hands, they will continue to throw up as many obstacles as possible to keep significant progress from being made. Democrats need to push to at least take back the Senate. Taking back the House is unlikely.

    Reply
    • Democrats controlled the government from 2008-2010.

      I won’t state any more than that fact. Robert, can you please post a comments policy or some statement as to the kinds of discussion intended here? It appears you are wading into politics, which is a swamp.

      Reply
      • And when they did, they laid the groundwork for the greatest expansion of renewable energy this country has ever seen.

        Reply
        • True, that. Good thing you said it, or I would have said, “And they wasted it all on Obamacare!”

  4. Big storm in Phoenix , downtown tonught started at4:45 local time. We had a very large ” rainshaft” and it was very high the way theyshowed it on local news. They figured 2 in or so with a certain area, not sure how large but my friend said it was right above her house.! It also didn’t move hardly at all for about 30-40minutes. At my house, 5miles or so away, we had a good rain more than all monsoon season but nothing like the center of town.
    The rain shaft will make an interesting picture on the net tomorrow. The storms were expected to move in this evening.

    Just thought i would let you know. We used to have more storm very similar to this in years past during moonsoon season. Our winter rains have gone the way of California’s winter rains the pazt4-5years.

    Reply
  5. Jay M

     /  August 3, 2016

    WW2 type mobilization requires employing a lot of current American residents and as i recall a lot of $1 year men, who probably didn’t pencil out so cheap. Nevertheless the sacrifice seems like it was great PR. The conduits of money have to go away from the frivolous pryramids and to replacement technology.
    So we have to go to an interruptible energy source.

    Reply
    • Jay M

       /  August 3, 2016

      beautiful winding patterns of clouds

      Reply
    • At the time, there was equal access to resources, excessive wealth was greatly trimmed back, hoarding was at a minimum, and everyone worked together for a common goal. Pretty amazing achievement.

      We will probably need a similar kind of mobilization and sacrifice by the wealthy to deal with climate change. The moreso the longer we wait to respond and the less we mitigate.

      Reply
  6. climatehawk1

     /  August 3, 2016

    Tweet scheduled.

    Reply
  7. Reply
    • Andy_in_SD

       /  August 3, 2016

      Hopefully they can keep them separated. Lots of clean up going on there due to what has been left out on the soil and in cooling ponds for a few decades. Definitely not something one wants getting put into the air.

      Reply
  8. Greg

     /  August 3, 2016

    Worth noting that Bernie Sanders, a strong Climate Hawk, is publicly saying that he is taking his movement to the state and local level, to elect school boards, mayors, county commissioners, governors, etc. where Republicans have been particularly strong. This is where much of the fight is needed.

    Reply
    • Bernie has done an absolutely amazing job in helping to make this democratic party platform one of the best I’ve seen. I really hope he succeeds in the down-ticket races even as he helps to continue the progressive shift for the Democratic party at large.

      Reply
      • Please do not call it cynicism but, frankly, Bernie’s largest opposition has been and will continue to be the Democratic party establishment. Denial within this deeply corrupted group is so deep, they will do little to nothing in helping deal with our evolving climate issues. The empirical evidence proves this point. I am one who has voted predominantly dem/indy for four decades, so I hope you can respect that this deep concern is not cynicism.

        Reply
    • This is EXACTLY where the fight is needed!

      Reply
  9. Greg

     /  August 3, 2016

    Apologies if likely posted earlier but… St. Paul Island, Alaska, is famous for its late-surviving population of woolly mammoth. St. Paul Island is a leftover remnant of the Bering Land Bridge that once connected Asia and North America until climate change caused it to disappear beneath rising seas, stranding the huge animals on an island that also continued to shrink. The puzzle of mid-Holocene extinction strongly point(s) to the effects of sea-level rise and drier climates on freshwater scarcity as the primary extinction driver. Freshwater availability may be an underappreciated driver of island extinction. This study reinforces 21st-century concerns about the vulnerability of island populations, including humans, to future warming, freshwater availability, and sea level rise.
    http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2016/07/27/1604903113

    Reply
  10. – SW India

    Reply
    • – thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/bridge-washes-away

      Over 22 missing as bridge on Mumbai-Goa highway collapses

      Reply
    • BC Weather Verified account ‏@bbcweather 3h3 hours ago

      India monsoon rain will be heaviest in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh & N Maharashtra with 70-150mm next few days. CF

      Reply
  11. Greg

     /  August 3, 2016

    The anthrax outbreak in Siberia, that I recall CB brought to our attention, has an official climate change signature. Officials believe that the heat melted the permafrost and exposed an infected reindeer carcass in the Siberian tundra, AFP news agency reports. By the way,the last outbreak in the region was in 1941. Does this make it the first Climate Change induced local epidemic from ice-age melted soil?
    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-36951542

    Reply
  12. – Well… It’s official — though I haven’t gone further into the source of this pronouncement.
    – An altered climate and North latitudinal warming.
    – For reference: North latitudinal warming in degrees of latitude:

    Cornwall UK = 50 N
    Cancún = 21 N
    Mexico City = 19 N
    Matamoros = 25 N
    Regina, Canada = 50 N
    – DT Lange via Google Earth

    Reply
    • BREAKING for reference:

      Reply
    • – With so many things going on, maybe it’s been posted already, as the original Exeter link date is : 12 July 2016.
      Gee, I’d hate to run out…🙂

      – Subtropical Cornwall climate could mean exotic new crops

      The subtropical weather in Cornwall means new exotic crops such as quinoa and Japanese persimmon are now more likely to succeed, according to a new technique developed by University of Exeter experts to monitor the climate.
      http://www.exeter.ac.uk/news/featurednews/title_528495_en.html

      Reply
      • ‘… geographer Glenn Thomas Trewartha, of Cornish-American descent, who in 1966 developed the world famous classification system for grouping climates into polar, boreal, temperate, subtropical and tropical.

        Using this system, regions in which temperatures are 10ºC or greater for 4-7 months of the year are considered temperate, and those with temperatures of 10ºC or greater for more than 7 months of the year are considered subtropical. At that time the system was developed Cornwall lay firmly in the temperate zone.’

        Reply
    • Syd Bridges

       /  August 3, 2016

      The 50th parallel just cuts the Lizard Point in Cornwall. It’s the only place in mainland Britain to do so. The “Cornish Riviera” has always been noted for its mild climate.

      Reply
  13. Greg

     /  August 3, 2016

    Who needs the GOP platform when you have this demagogue leading your party on the issue of Climate Change. His response to the League of Conservation Voters:

    Reply
  14. Greg

     /  August 3, 2016

    Here is the GOP platform for the 21st century and beyond, courtesy of George Miller:

    Reply
  15. Blimey that Mad max one was scary and mad! The Trumph was scary because its soooooo true!

    Reply
  16. Ryan in New England

     /  August 3, 2016

    Trump recently mentioned wind and solar. As usual, his comments are in no way a reflection of reality. He claims solar isn’t working and that wind mills kills all the birds. Also, when talking about expanding natural gas exporting facilities Trump had to ask a reporter what LNG was. I have no idea how his supporters can’t see what an ignorant and delusional narcissist this guy is. Every single thing he says is just a random thought that popped into his head, and it usually is contradicted by all relevant and available information. The only thing more pathetic than Trump is a Trump supporter.

    http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2016/08/02/3804159/all-your-birds-are-dead/

    Reply
    • So solar adds x15 capacity globally since Obama was elected and Trump says it’s not working? The price of solar is below oil and LNG, below coal and gas for a growing segment of markets. Trump’s lack of ability to handle facts knows no bounds.

      Reply
      • True. Given that this stuff comes straight out of the Kochs’ dirty-energy playbook, it’s surprising they aren’t backing him (although I’ve seen recently that the third billionaire brother, William Koch, has endorsed him).

        Reply
  17. redskylite

     /  August 3, 2016

    Watching the (N.Z) news I thought that Trump was beginning to get flaky and showing cracks under the pressure, after viewing his way of dealing with crying babies and the parents of a deceased war hero.

    But I realize he’s always like that and a lot of people get lack of decent manners/behavior and political correctness all mixed up. Pinch myself to reassure myself that I’m really in the 21st Century.

    As this excellent Bloomberg/SMH article remarks we have more than just Siberian Anthrax to worry about. . . . .

    Anthrax-spewing zombie deer are the least of your warming planet worries

    “As apocalyptic as this development may seem, it’s perhaps the least worrisome byproduct of warming near the top of the Earth, which is heating up the fastest. Retreating ice and softening permafrost both in the Arctic and elsewhere have already begun to yield other curiosities and dangers, some of which can do a lot more damage than a pile of dead deer:”

    http://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/anthraxspewing-zombie-deer-are-the-least-of-your-warming-planet-worries-20160802-gqjl7j.html

    Reply
  18. Colorado Bob

     /  August 3, 2016

    Climate Change Is Hell on Alaska’s Formerly Frozen Highways
    A critical artery is threatened by thawing permafrost.

    In some parts of the 1,387-mile (2,232 kilometer) highway, the shifting is so pronounced, it has buckled parts of the asphalt. Caution flags warn drivers to slow down, while engineers are hard at work concocting seemingly improbable solutions: inserting plastic cooling tubes or insulation sheets, using lighter-colored asphalt or adding layers of soccer-ball sized rocks — fixes that are financially and logistically daunting…………………….. The highway’s dark surface absorbs sunlight while the shoulders trap water and snow that act like a warm blanket. The heat breaks down the permafrost (soil, rock or sediment frozen for at least two consecutive years). Annual repair costs for one section that runs through the Yukon are C$30,000 ($22,900) per kilometer, seven times the average, according to a territorial government report.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2016-08-02/the-alaskan-highway-is-literally-melting

    Reply
  19. Colorado Bob

     /  August 3, 2016

    Warm ocean current reaches surprisingly far south in the Antarctic Weddell Sea

    New winter time observations
    – We know that pulses of warm deep water are lifted up on the continental shelf during summer, but the warm water has never before been observed as far south as the Filchner ice shelf. Our observations show that the warm water intrusions continue to flow southward during the autumn, reaching further south than what we previously thought. We don’t know how much of this water that enters the ice shelf cavity, but the strong tidal currents in the region will bring it at least a couple of kilometers into the cavity, says Elin Darelius, researcher at the University of Bergen, Uni Research and the Bjerknes Centre.

    Link

    Reply
  20. June

     /  August 3, 2016

    George Monbiot column

    The climate crisis is already here – but no one’s telling us

    What is salient is not important. What is important is not salient. The media turns us away from the issues that will determine the course of our lives, and towards topics of brain-melting irrelevance

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/aug/03/climate-crisis-media-relegates-greatest-challenge-hurtle-us-collapse-planet

    Reply
  21. Kate

     /  August 3, 2016

    Voting Green is voting for a party that is aware of the problem and actively promotes action on a national and global level and as an added bonus, rejects militarism and war which are notoriously harmful to the environment.

    Reply
    • Kate —

      I honestly wish the Green party was able to field a candidate capable of being elected president. In this case, in Jill Stein, there is a candidate capable of ensuring that Trump gets elected, as Ralph Nadar did for Bush back in 2000.

      Now I absolutely support Green Party policies and goals. And I sincerely hope that down ticket races see more greens winning due to the Bernie wave. Perhaps in future years there will be enough widespread support of the party to field a candidate with a real chance of winning the presidency and not simply playing the spoiler.

      Reply
      • The solution here is simple. Green [lower-case g] candidates need to run in Democratic primaries and not as third party candidates. It’s a long grind, not as nifty or exciting as starting your own party that will totally agree with you, but it’s the only real way to keep the left together. MHO (as a very longtime political junkie).

        Reply
        • Have to agree with CH 1 here. A Democratic party with a strong green coalition and a progressive coalition embedded is much more likely to generate the kinds of policies we need in the current US political structure. And given the huge interest among people supporting green initiatives, I think it’s likely that such an invigorated democratic party would have a huge impact.

          But if greens split away from the party, they’re basically driving democrats to be less concerned about climate change even as they split voter interest in key races. As a result, you end up with less policy given the way the system is structured, more fragmenting of greens and people who would otherwise sympathize with them.

  22. Colorado Bob

     /  August 3, 2016

    Retiring Dr. Drought tells politicians climate change is science, not religion

    When Don Wilhite hears politicians say they don’t believe in climate change, he responds with dry sarcasm.

    “Well, climate change is not a religion,” he said during a recent interview from his cozy office on the seventh floor of Hardin Hall on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s East Campus.

    “The scientific evidence is overwhelming that climate change is real and that humans are the driving cause.”

    http://journalstar.com/news/state-and-regional/nebraska/retiring-dr-drought-tells-politicians-climate-change-is-science-not/article_51288fd4-b26c-5926-a9d4-ff62d62da53a.html

    Reply
    • Eric Thurston

       /  August 4, 2016

      And when I run into someone who talks about the ‘theory’ of global warming, I have to point out that Anthropogenic Global Warming is not a theory but an observation. Just as though you look at your thermometer in the morning and observe the temperature. Let’s get the nomenclature correct here.

      Reply
  23. Colorado Bob

     /  August 3, 2016

    Aqua/MODIS
    2016/216
    08/03/2016
    05:25 UTC

    Fires in central Russia

    Reply
  24. Colorado Bob

     /  August 3, 2016

    Tons of food and beverages that soaked in polluted water for more than two weeks after flooding are being rinsed and repackaged by merchants in central China, news portal Yangtse.com reports.

    Multiple photos accompanying the report show piles of waterlogged food and beverage items heaped on the ground in the city of Hankou, in Wuhan municipality, Hubei province, after flooding affected the area from May to July.

    http://www.scmp.com/news/china/society/article/1998589/vendors-wash-waterlogged-food-and-drink-resale-after-floods

    Reply
    • labmonkey2

       /  August 3, 2016

      Stand by for a ‘YUGE’ foodborne illness outbreak, as I’m sure there were sewer contaminates also ‘floating’ in that muck.
      Microbes don’t care what you believe.

      Reply
  25. cwlongway

     /  August 3, 2016

    Robert, I have read most things on this site for several months and find myself in agreement with your perspective. I have not commented before out of respect to avoid diluting the vital message that we as a site would like to have. I do consider myself to be a part of what this site stands for even if I am a Republican.
    As a category, republicans who are old white and religious to the point of sin are not expected to be of much help in responding to climate change. I became different than most Republican after wandering onto Neven’s site and reading until I was convinced that climate change was real and I had a moral responsibility to respond. It has taken 3 years to get my family off of FF. I am now at the point that any further investments needs to be in helping others move to renewable energy.
    So when you think of republicans do remember that I am one of them and that our only path forward is one that we must all walk together. Unless we have dramatic changes in this election you can count my vote for Stein unless Hillary comes into play in Texas. As a republican I request that you continue to present the truth even if it hurts.

    Reply
    • Thank you for your honesty and candor and for your good and responsible work. I sincerely hope that more within your party begin to make the responsible changes that you have. For some time now, I have felt a sadness for the loss of the republican party that was conservative in the true sense of the word — a group concerned about risk and responsibility (both fiscal and social) and protecting our shared nation from harm.

      My warmest regards to you. As Americans, I believe we are all a part of this, whether we admit it or not. And I do believe that the best path is forward together.

      Reply
    • Brian

       /  August 3, 2016

      The great Winston Churchill quit his party (the Conservatives). His response when asked why was: “It wasn’t me that left the party, it was the party that left me.”

      Maybe it’s time to acknowledge that your party has left you behind on their march to insanity?

      Reply
      • Let’s be kind and respect an individual’s own internal decision-making process in this regard. There appear to be a decent number of republicans who are uncomfortable with the party’s position on climate change and want to do something about it. Within the party, they’re in the minority, but not so large a minority as the representation of climate change deniers/skeptics in Congress would seem to indicate. I have no doubt that republicans love this country and do not want to see their children suffer from a very real and dangerous climate crisis. Once the wave of denial breaks, and hopefully it will, then that’s what they’ll be left with along with a good helping of remorse.

        Deciding to change is tough. But failing to do so, in the face of these climate threats, is even worse. To this point, I think we have to realize that our own individual pride and preconceptions need to fall away if we’re to effectively deal with crisis. And there’s a good deal of honor in saying ‘we were wrong, let’s see what we can do to get us out of this fix now.’

        Reply
        • cwlongway

           /  August 4, 2016

          Thanks both Brian and Robert for the kind works. I feel honored by Brian’s comment – certainly given in a spirit of help. In answer to your queries – I do see myself as keeping the good part of what we have as Republicans, however small it may be today. I see also that others in the party have been pulled away by well-funded deception, but most are not beyond hope.
          My reason for continuing with the Republican Party is to see if I can be of help in turning the Elephant around on climate. For internationals – In America we talk of the Republican Party as an elephant: powerful, having a good memory, but a bit slow to turn, good at work, but not much fun. When my friends ask why I still keep my membership while being extremely at odds with climate and many other polices, my response is that unless I ride the elephant I will not have much influence. If the North American elephant can’t be turned around it will be one of the 1st mammal species to go extinct due to “climate destabilization” (Thanks MumbleBrain for the term “climate destabilization”, I use it often after first seeing you use it).
          As a conservative, I have influence with the local people at my church. I have a buy-in on climate with nearly all of the thought leaders. The church board allows me to charge my EV for free every week. It is hard for anyone who comes not notice that a conservative environmentalist is in the good graces of the management. People always leave the closest parking spot for me to charge.
          So Brian I hope that you can see that in my current position I am have a grass roots influence. I also ask your forgiveness for the damage I have done in previous elections as a result of ignorance – I certainly was wrong. You can count on me to vote climate before any other issue.

  26. Greg

     /  August 3, 2016

    If nothing else rattles anyone sitting on the fence this one should:
    Joe Scarborough: Donald Trump Repeatedly Asked Why We Couldn’t Use Nukes. That question was asked privately to a National Security advisor.
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/scarborough-trump-nukes_us_57a1e47ae4b0693164c347d0

    Reply
    • wharf rat

       /  August 3, 2016

      The next 40K years? With Drumpf, we’ll be lucky to make it thru the first 40 K seconds. It will solve global warming, however.

      Reply
    • Trump WTF???? Ignorant fool is the word combo that most ardently comes to mind.

      Reply
      • – Almost everything he says makes thinking people uneasy and off balance.
        Diplomatically, world governments must be working overtime trying to figure him out. Intell doing the same for motive — I’m sure.

        – He’s doing for himself what H. Kissinger did when he helped RM Nixon be perceived as unpredictable and irrational — and might bomb/nuke opponents (North VN).

        – Watch how many often he repeats an outlandish phrase. Often with a slight variation or disqualifying ‘maybe’, or ‘they wrote’ ,etc. He does it all the time.

        Reply
  27. Greg

     /  August 3, 2016

    Did this get posted? The State of the Climate in 2015 report is a supplement to the August 2016 issue of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society.

    https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/bams/2015

    Reply
  28. Greg

     /  August 3, 2016

    This is what hundreds of Sandhill cranes, pintail ducks and mallards taking off looks like. Scared by a Bald Eagle no less. Taken at the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico by Colorado photographer Dale Erickson (for you CB and lovers of life):

    Reply
    • labmonkey2

       /  August 3, 2016

      And more on birds in the PNW:

      Could climate change be turning some species into cannibals? No, not humans — not yet, anyway. We’ve already seen polar bears and lobster eat their own kind for sustenance, thanks to melting ice and rising water temperatures.

      Now, you can add Washington State’s gull population to that list. In the Pacific Northwest researchers have noticed a disturbing trend: As sea temperatures rise, plankton have dropped into lower, colder waters; fish have followed the plankton down. Gulls, which can no longer find enough food in shallow waters, have turned to eating each other’s chicks.

      http://grist.org/article/climate-change-turns-birds-into-cannibals/

      Our biome is suffering the proverbial ‘ Death by a Thousand Cuts.’ Won’t be much longer now… and [Soylent Green] who’s next?

      Reply
    • cwlongway

       /  August 5, 2016

      Greg, This is beauty worth saving, good motivation. I the picture would make an excellent puzzle.

      Reply
  29. – What can you say — with maneuvers like this?

    NY AG Sued For Emails On Climate Probe Coordination

    By Stan Parker
    Law360, New York (August 2, 2016, 6:43 PM ET) — Two free-market litigation outfits have asked an Empire State court to make New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman cough up records they say will show illicit coordination among state attorneys general and environmentalists to silence critics of climate change.
    The Energy & Environment Legal Institute and the Free Market Environmental Law Clinic, both nonprofits, called Schneiderman the “ringleader” of a group of state attorneys general engaged in an “unprecedented assault on free speech” on those who dissent from “the ‘climate’ political agenda.”

    http://www.law360.com/energy/articles/824217?nl_pk=92d983fa-3e3d-469d-85de-f8d9db8dd7d7&utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=energy

    Reply
  30. Reply
  31. – USA – SW

    Reply
  32. Found this in the comments of the latest post “Climate Change Activism Post Mortem” at the Archdruid Report yesterday (tip o’ th’ hat to latheChuck who posted it on 7/31/2016 3:04 PM Pacific time)

    ANTHRAX in the Yamal Peninsula! What latheChuck said:

    “In a climate-related development that I don’t recall ANYONE forecasting, old anthrax spores have been released from melting Russian tundra, killing reindeer and the people who herd them.”

    Me neither.

    http://thebarentsobserver.com/arctic/2016/07/military-biological-protection-troops-sent-stop-yamal-anthrax-outbreak

    Reply
  33. ‘ In south Florida, sea level is projected to rise up to 34in by the middle of the century and as high as 81in by 2100, according to the national oceanic and atmospheric administration.

    South of Mar-a-Lago, where the elevation is lower, water already pools in the road in front of the Trump Hollywood condos after the briefest of cloud bursts. The luxury development, where three-bedroom units are on sale for up to $3m apiece, offers “pristine beaches”.
    – the-guardian-us/trumps-mar-a-lago

    Reply
  34. Colorado Bob

     /  August 3, 2016

    Global warming, a dead zone and surprising bacteria

    In ocean expanses where oxygen has vanished, newly discovered bacteria are diminishing additional life molecules. They help make virtual dead zones even deader.

    Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2016-08-global-dead-zone-bacteria.html#jCp

    Reply
    • Stratification is the first shift toward a Canfield Ocean. We’re seeing the transition to stratification now. A stratified ocean is a mass extinction ocean. A Canfield Ocean is a Permian mass extinction ocean.

      Reply
  35. Greg

     /  August 3, 2016

    It was only about a year ago that we saw an announcement that the Chinese were going to build electric buses to ride OVER traffic. They work fast. Testing has already begun:
    http://shanghaiist.com/2016/08/02/straddling_bus_launch.php

    Reply
  36. Greg

     /  August 3, 2016

    Reply
  37. Colorado Bob

     /  August 3, 2016

    Deadly Maryland flood part of clear global warming-related pattern in extreme rainfall events

    The most remarkable aspects of this storm had to do with the rapid rainfall rates, with 1.44 inches of rain falling in just 10 minutes between 7:50 p.m. and 7:55 p.m. on Saturday evening.

    Link

    Reply
  38. Colorado Bob

     /  August 3, 2016

    Extreme Weather Conditions effects U.S. cereal production – Pasadena Technology Time

    Droughts and heatwaves have reduced cereal harvests by an average of about 10 per cent globally over the past half century, and their impact has become stronger in recent decades especially in United States of America.

    Link

    Reply
  39. Green Party and Jill Stein, anybody? Anybody? Anybody? Robert?

    Reply
    • I’d definitely vote green in races where they can win. Jill, unfortunately, is nothing more than a Ralph Nadar-esque spoiler in the current election. I think that green political capital is better spent actually trying to join the democratic party and move the party in a direction that will help support their cause rather than splitting tickets and helping republicans win elections — which runs counter to effective action on climate change.

      Reply
      • +1. Nader’s race in 2000 prevented the election of Al Gore and cost us at least 8 years (I’d personally say 16 years and counting) in mounting an aggressive response to climate change. To me, that seems like the clearest possible lesson of the problem with a third-party campaign. Why on earth would anyone want to do it again?

        It’s true, Hillary is not an Al Gore on this issue, but Trump today announced his intention to slash regulations and ramp up fossil fuels dramatically if he is elected. Our chances of getting meaningful action on climate are going to be far higher under a Clinton Administration. That being the case, it would be a really foolish, serious (potentially disastrous) error to vote for either Stein or Johnson if you live in a swing state. To be very blunt, they cannot win and you will only be helping Trump. (On the other hand, if you’re thinking of voting for Trump, by all means vote for them. :))

        Reply

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