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An Agenda Harmful to the American People

Farmers in Iowa, Kansas, Texas and California’s Central Valley know that the weather is getting worse. They know that droughts are intensifying, floods are more severe, and wildfires are growing larger as the years steadily warm. Coastal dwellers in Nantucket, Virginia Beach, Cape Hatteras, Myrtle Beach, Miami and the lowlands of Louisiana know that the seas are rising. They know that tidal and storm flooding takes more land and property with each passing year. And those who live in the far north, in places like Barrow, Alaska, know that the glaciers and sea ice are melting.

(Harmful impacts to Americans from climate change are on the rise and the number of Americans concerned about climate change has never been higher. Image source: Gallup.)

Americans, in greater numbers than ever before, believe that climate change is real, that it is a threat to them, and that humans are the cause. The growing consensus on the matter from the U.S. populace does not match the 97 percent or more of climate scientists who are very concerned about the issue, but the 68 percent of Americans who believe that global warming is occurring and is caused by humans cuts a stark contrast with the person who is now the sitting President of the United States.

Obama’s Helpful Response

The world has already warmed by 1.2 degrees Celsius since the 1880s. We see the effects of that warming all around us. All across this country, lives, property and livelihoods are under increasing threat from a climate fundamentally changed by fossil fuel burning. However, the warming we’ve already experienced is the early, easy warming. The warming that lies ahead is of a much more difficult caliber. In other words, a blow is coming at us all. We can’t completely stop it at this point — it’s too late for that, we’ve coddled the fossil-fuel special interests for far too long — but we can soften it.

President Barack Obama tried to help the American people do just that. He established fuel efficiency standards aimed at inspiring innovation among America’s corporations. Such innovation would put them at the forefront of new technology that could help wean our country off oil dependency. By 2025, most vehicles were to have average mileage standards of 54.5 mpg, the implication being that a large portion of U.S. vehicles would be electric by then. At the same time, Obama pushed to shift U.S. power generation away from coal, and more toward wind and solar. These combined efforts would have cut U.S. carbon emissions across the entire economy 26 percent by 2025. They would have generated a leaner, meaner U.S. economy better suited to compete in a world whose constituents increasingly demand clean energy, and better able to face the harms coming down the pipe from human-caused climate change.

Fossil Fuel, Petrostate Interference in Global Democracies

The fossil fuel interests of the world — including both corporations and states suffering from economic dependence on fossil fuel revenues — did not at all like the new policies coming out of the U.S. The United States, as a global leader promoting renewable energy and responses to climate change, was fully capable of spearheading a global energy transition. Under Obama, the beginning of such a transition happened. Solar cell production multiplied, wind farms proliferated, clean energy costs fell, electrical vehicles hit the markets in increasing numbers, and net energy use per person fell, all while economies grew. In part due to exceptional American leadership, the U.S. trend toward cleaner energy repeated itself around the world. Meanwhile, demand for dirty fossil fuels began to lag. People began to talk widely about leaving a large portion of the world’s fossil fuel reserves in the ground, unused. Coal interests experienced mass bankruptcies. And oil and gas markets grew ever more uncertain.

(As government policies supporting renewable energy proliferated, prices dropped and production boomed. In other words, positive policy on the part of the world’s governments produced a renewable energy revolution — much to the ire of fossil-fuel special interests. Image source: Clean Technica.)

Powerful interests associated with fossil fuels, who already held amazing influence over the world’s political bodies, began to fight back. In Europe, this came in the form of right-wing politicians apparently backed by the espionage campaigns of an expansionist and resurgent Russia. Meanwhile, Russian aggression surged into Ukraine and even at times threatened wind production in the Baltic Sea. In the U.S., fossil-fuel-backing Republicans like James Inhofe and Scott Pruitt fought to remove key government policies promoting climate action. But consistent U.S. climate policy managed to hang on.

Now, with the election of Donald Trump — achieved in part through the Russian petrostate’s cyber-warfare campaign against the U.S. electoral system — all the progress achieved by the Obama Administration is in doubt.

A Cadre of Fossil Fuel Backers, Climate Change Deniers, and Ties to Russia 

Trump has placed Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson as head of the State Department, fired top career diplomats, and placed political cronies into key roles. Tillerson has failed to recuse himself in the case of interests related to Exxon — a key element of which were Obama-era sanctions that prevented Exxon partnering with Russia in developing oil fields in the Arctic. Trump’s chief national security adviser Michael Flynn — now identified as being employed as a foreign agent for Turkey at the time (it is illegal for a foreign agent to hold a position as part of the U.S. government) — was found to be secretly conferring with Russia (allegedly about the removal of said sanctions) before he himself was forced out of the post.

(Former Bush ethics lawyer weighs in on Michael Flynn failing to register himself as a foreign agent. Video source: CNN.)

Over at the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, a politician who has for many years denied that the world is warming and that humans are the cause, now heads an agency he often sued. Pruitt is well-known for his attacks on government action to reduce the impacts of climate change and for receiving considerable campaign contributions from the fossil fuel industry. Almost immediately after coming to head the EPA, Pruitt stocked top offices at the agency with well-known climate change deniers, many of whom were once staffers of Congress’s chief climate change denier — James Inhofe.

Attack on CAFE Standards

As Trump fills key policy-making positions with fossil-fuel industry chiefs, climate change deniers, and people with odd ties to the Russian petrostate, he is moving to kill off Obama’s signature climate actions. This week, Trump appears ready to announce a rollback of Obama’s fuel efficiency standards. Such a move would put a damper on U.S. electric car production just as competitive foreign automakers are jumping into the EV market with both feet. The threatened rollbacks could also cost consumers an extra $2,600 in fuel over a vehicle’s lifetime, harm U.S. energy security, and result in more carbon dumped into the atmosphere. According to the New York Times:

[Obama’s] rules have been widely praised by environmentalists and energy economists for reducing the nation’s dependence on foreign oil and its greenhouse pollution. If put fully into effect, the fuel efficiency standards would have cut oil consumption by about 12 billion barrels and reduced carbon dioxide pollution by about six billion tons over the lifetime of all the cars affected by the regulations (emphasis added).

Though it would take about a year to remove Obama’s policy, and though it is likely that states like California (along with nine other states pushing automakers to increase EV availability) will fight the measure, this change in direction comes at a critical time for the world’s climate, right when harmful impacts from climate change are hitting the American people harder and harder.

Removal of Clean Electricity Goals

Trump’s early moves against U.S. fuel efficiency standards (and by extension energy and climate security) are, unfortunately, just the first subset of a two-pronged effort. Trump is also expected to direct a denier-stacked EPA to dismantle Obama’s clean electrical power regulations — rules aimed at incentivizing wind, solar, and lower carbon forms of fossil fuels while shutting down highly polluting coal power plants. Obama’s actions would have sped renewable energy expansion while cutting U.S. carbon emissions by 26 percent (from 2005 levels) by 2025. But if Trump’s new proposals go through, an extra 2 billion tons of CO2-equivalent gasses could be coming from U.S. smokestacks and tailpipes by that time.

G20 Promotes ‘Market Magic’ as Solution to Climate Change

Trump’s policy moves also appear to be aimed at hollowing out international actions on climate change. A recent draft of the upcoming G-20 Summit, a meeting of finance ministers from the world’s top 20 industrialized nations, backed away from key commitments to combat climate change. The G-20’s preliminary policy statement removed language supporting the Paris Climate treaty (only 47 words address the treaty now as opposed to 163 words in 2016), appears to have reneged on $100 billion worth of commitments from wealthy nations to fund renewable energy and greenhouse gas emissions cuts, and relies on “multilateral development banks to raise private funds to accomplish goals set under the 2015 Paris climate accord.”

John Kirton, director of the University of Toronto’s G-20 Research Group, in an interview with Bloomberg noted that the new policy statement “…basically says governments are irrelevant. It’s complete faith in the magic of the marketplace. That is very different from the existing commitments they have repeatedly made.”

It’s worth noting that Trump’s appointed treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin is the U.S. lead for G-20-related climate policy, so this new direction for the G-20 can’t entirely be separated from Trump or from his former Goldman Sachs employee Treasury Secretary.

Worsening Climate Situation

All these prospective national and global climate policy reversals come as the climate situation continues to worsen and damages from climate change related disasters escalate. We are currently in the process of warming from 1.2 C (present global temperature departure) above 1880s averages to 2 C above average. The amount of damage coming from this next degree of warming will be considerably more than the amount of damage that occurred as we warmed from 0.5 to 1.2 C above average from the 1980s to now.

(According to reinsurer Munich Re, the number of natural disasters has more than doubled since the early 1980s. Growth in the number of natural disasters all come from meteorological events, hydrological events, and climatological events — all which are influenced by warming global temperatures. Image source: Munich Re.)

The U.S. and every other nation in the world is now seeing a clear and present danger coming from climate change as natural disasters ramp up. In other words, the climate change related fire is already burning. And the Trump Administration appears set to throw more fuel on that fire. We can say with complete certainty that these policies represent a political agenda that is harmful to the American people. And we should resist this harmful agenda at every turn.

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49 Comments

  1. Greg

     /  March 15, 2017

    A blow is coming to us all indeed. This piece flows very well and says so much, sadly. I am really trying not to feel hatred that consumes. Writing this piece must have been like writing an epitaph for a mother who is a smoker – who can still quit but you know has already assumed much risk.

    Reply
    • mulga mumblebrain

       /  March 17, 2017

      Greg, hatred is appropriate in this case, as never before in history. What sentiment can you feel towards the fanatic enemies of Life on Earth but hatred? But hatred alone is insufficient to defeat them. We must love one another and Life itself, which as Artur Rubinstein noted, will love us back, and we’ll beat these morally insane Gadarenes.

      Reply
      • Why must love be the answer? These people are murdering our children. and they care not for our love, our reason, or the facts. History instructs us that the only thing that works with this sort of person is fear.

        Reply
        • Sometimes, you just have to fight. And when you fight, you need to be most concerned about winning.

          We should also be very aware that the kind of people we’re up against tend to exploit our compassionate natures. It’s one reason why claiming ‘victim status’ is often a priority of people like Trump. It’s a handle that is all-too-often used to manipulate our sympathies.

  2. Greg

     /  March 15, 2017

    “It appears that the VVD will be the biggest party in the Netherlands for the third time in a row,” Rutte told supporters in the Hague. “It is also an evening in which the Netherlands after Brexit, after the American elections said stop to the wrong kind of populism,” he added.

    http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/us_58c86b2ce4b022994fa2ffb0?

    Reply
  3. Greg

     /  March 15, 2017

    Listen humanity to the scribbler:

    Reply
  4. Matt

     /  March 16, 2017

    I have a very faint positive spin to all this mess!
    That is, it seems the scientific community are starting to grow a spine and speak up. Not by providing us information (they have always done this in an excellent manner IMHO), but by actively challenging the misconceptions and BS claims made by our elected leaders.
    To me this has been bought about by a “we have nothing to lose” attitude giving them the courage to speak out on issues of importance. More importantly this seems to now be filtering into more of the main stream media, and by the looks of the chart in this post, seems to be having an effect.
    We are seeing here in Australia some green shoots taking hold in politics with the South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill take down Federal Environment (more aptly Minister against the Environment) Peter Dutton, by gate crashing his press announcement and making a fool of him on live public television.
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-03-16/josh-frydenberg-and-jay-weatherill-trade-blows/8359074
    Unfortunately I think it is all just too late (not that I am advocating giving up the fight). We had the knowledge, technology and chance to start this all off in 1988 and chose to do nothing.

    Reply
    • mulga mumblebrain

       /  March 16, 2017

      Matt, it was Frydenberg, the Minister for Coal Energy and for the Destruction of the Environment, not the ‘human’ Brussel sprout, Dutton. The evil imbeciles of the Abbott regime (temporarily fronted by the loathsome Trumble)are often hard to discern one from the other, physiognomically as well as ideologically. Weatherall was good, but STILL he refused to mention climate destabilisation. I live for the day when we get some intellectual honesty and moral courage from ANY politician, who will simply say, ‘Renewable energy is NOT about price or even reliability-it is about the survival of our children. Just look at the Great Barrier Reef, for pity’s sake, and wake the etc up!’.

      Reply
      • Matt

         /  March 16, 2017

        ah so true Mulga, sorry all. I am so used to hating all those right wing Nazi Liberal weasels I get them confused with each other. 🙂

        Reply
        • Mark in OZ

           /  March 16, 2017

          Matt and Mulga,
          “They’ are everywhere now and ‘their’ ancestors can be studied in Earth’s social history. The current ‘model’, borne of capitalism and the vestiges of colonialism, controls a vast and currently powerful empire that is likely now deconstructing itself but still unaware of its fragility.

          I’m still hoping that the collective intelligence of the planet’s citizens will be unafraid to do what needs to be done; gate crashing not just press conferences but civil disobedience on a vast scale.

          That moment is hard to predict but like all previous ‘events’ that changed history and sparked upheaval which changed policies and ‘thinking’, there was always those out front whose mission was to expose and educate and plant the seeds for downstream action. This is what RS does so well!

          Being aware of how our species has behaved previously during similar ‘periods’ will be instructive / helpful for finding a way out of our very big mess. Provided we remain connected and pragmatic, and despite the likelihood of multiple and near-overwhelming setbacks, there’s always a plan ‘B’.

          Here, C Hedges examines how our predecessors have behaved when their ‘gyroscope’ began to wobble and it was clear would never recover.

          The defining ‘moment’, we all feel instinctively, approaches.

          ” The Dance of Death’
          http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_dance_of_death_20170312

      • So how do we know when we’re doing the right thing? It’s when we set aside personal interest to stand for what needs to be done for the good of all. It’s when we do such things that the forces of darkness will rise up and attempt to strike us down. It is then that we must be at our boldest.

        Reply
  5. Greg

     /  March 16, 2017

    Here was/is but one example of courage. Signing the Paris Accord:

    Reply
  6. Greg

     /  March 16, 2017

    Don’t wait for the politicians. Standing Rock

    Reply
  7. Erik Frederiksen

     /  March 16, 2017

    “the lowlands of Louisiana know that the seas are rising.”

    For the decade leading up to Hurricane Katrina nearly every geoscientist Richard Alley knows teaching an intro to geology course taught it was coming.

    The course material was largely drawn from material produced by the government, for the government, with government funding and everyone who was paying attention knew for decades that New Orleans is sinking, the protective delta is eroding, sea level rise is accelerating and maximum storm strength may be increasing.

    All these affect optimal levee design, but rather than acting on that knowledge we pretended we didn’t have it and 1,836 people died as a result. If that’s how we do at adaptation we should really be focussing on mitigation, but we aren’t.

    Reply
  8. Erik Frederiksen

     /  March 16, 2017

    Thanks for your work Robert, you wrote: “However, the warming we’ve already experienced is the early, easy warming. The warming that lies ahead is of a much more difficult caliber.”

    The first degree of warming, which we’ve already used, is relatively cheap. The second degree is more expensive, but there are hotter places on the planet where certain crops have grown which could be borrowed.

    But the third degree, where we seem to be headed, takes us beyond human experience and there’s no hotter place to borrow crops from . . .

    I’m beginning to lose hope that we’re going to avoid changes which destroy civilizations, if not our species altogether.

    Reply
  9. Erik Frederiksen

     /  March 16, 2017

    You wrote: “And those who live in the far north, in places like Barrow, Alaska, know that the glaciers and sea ice are melting.”

    The melting of sea ice exposes coastal Alaskan land to wave action that is endangering the continued existence of dozens of Alaskan cities and towns.

    Here’s an article about Alaskan towns and cities threatened by global warming impacts and the lack of help they are getting from the government. From the NY Times several months ago. Note, the cost to move one village of around 600 people will cost an estimated $180 million.

    “The government has identified at least 31 Alaskan towns and cities at imminent risk of destruction . . .

    At least two villages farther up the western coast, Shishmaref and Kivalina, have voted to relocate when and if they can find a suitable site and the money to do so. A third, Newtok, in the soggy Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta farther south, has taken the first steps toward a move.

    But, after years of meetings that led nowhere and pleas for government financing that remained unmet, Shaktoolik has decided it will “stay and defend,” at least for the time being, the mayor, Eugene Asicksik, said.

    “We are doing things on our own,” he said.”

    If the government won’t appropriate the funds to move a few dozen small cities and towns, what will they do about the 1,400 cities and towns in the US threatened by sea level rise like Houston, New Orleans, Miami, NYC and Boston?

    We’ll all be “doing things on our own” as they don’t have the money to move all those people, particularly when you consider by then we’ll be weakened by drought and heat impacting agriculture and fisheries.

    Reply
    • Without the larger national and global policies, these problems eventually grow too large for localities the manage on their own. It’s good people are taking responsibility for their communities. But we also need to work harder to hold government accountable from the locality on up.

      Reply
      • Erik Frederiksen

         /  March 16, 2017

        Even with larger and national global policies these problems will grow too large I’m afraid. At just 1C crops are wilting in many tropical countries and we’re likely headed north of 3C if William Nordhaus is correct that it would take extreme, virtually universal measures to hit a target of 2.5C. That’d put places like the US in a similar place as Madagascar today where they’re reduced to eating ash and rocks according to the NY Times recently, because we don’t have crops for that climate.

        Reply
        • Indoor vertical aquaculture…

          So we’re looking at 20-40 percent losses from crops globally at 2-3 C. There’s flex if we share and shift to less meat based and more vertical based farming infrastructure. In the US, livestock takes most of the calories. With aquaculture/permaculture, the grain production shifts to support humans, meat/animal based sources diminish and the land footprint necessary to support human populations shrinks.

          The life carrying capacity does shrink at 2-3 C. But I think it’s still manageable if we work together.

          Just a basic warning — this site is not an outlet for single frame thinking or arguments based on inevitability. So if you want to beat ‘the end is coming and there’s nothing we can do about it’ drum, this isn’t the place for it. The argument comes from a false and corrupted frame anyway.

        • Erik Frederiksen

           /  March 16, 2017

          Thanks I appreciate what you said about arguments based on inevitability, I just wanted to share something I’ve been thinking about as the news seems to get worse and worse.

        • I also want to emphasize that in order to survive, the link between the people and government will need to be strengthened. A government that serves the public interest is a critical element to civilization survival — so muddying or clouding out that necessity is not helpful.

        • Erik Frederiksen

           /  March 16, 2017

          Yes, regarding a government that serves the public interest we have much work to do in that area as corporate money flows basically unchecked into lawmakers accounts. So much to do, so little time left.

  10. “a political agenda that is harmful to the American people”

    Which is a long and sorry American tradition, and Republicans are nothing if not (fake) traditionalists.

    Reply
  11. Erik Frederiksen

     /  March 16, 2017

    Where’s coloradobob with the tunes? Here’s one for now.

    Reply
  12. Erik Frederiksen

     /  March 16, 2017

    Jerry Garcia and David Grisman live, Friend of the Devil, enjoy a great collaboration between two of my favorites.

    Reply
  13. Dave Person

     /  March 16, 2017

    Hi,
    I wonder how many of these folks supported the water protectors in North Dakota. If they did, they certainly have a disconnect somewhere:
    https://www.adn.com/business-economy/energy/2017/03/14/as-hopes-for-drilling-in-anwr-rise-native-corporations-argue-over-potential-riches/

    dave

    Reply
  14. Suzanne

     /  March 16, 2017

    Report: Medical Alert! Climate Change is Harming Our Health:
    http://medsocietiesforclimatehealth.org/reports/medical-alert/

    Most Americans are not aware of the health harms of climate change. A recent survey
    showed that most Americans have not considered how global warming might affect
    people’s health, and few (32%) can name a specific way in which climate change is
    harming our health. Few are aware that some groups of Americans—including our
    children, our elders, the sick and the poor—are most likely to be harmed by climate
    change.
    12,13
    None of these survey findings is surprising. There has been relatively little
    public discussion of the health harms of climate change. But we also know people are
    eager to hear from us. Most survey respondents said, in fact, that their primary care
    physician is a trusted source for information about this topic.
    14,15

    Reply
  15. Genomik

     /  March 16, 2017

    Some slightly promising news from politics!

    Seventeen Republican lawmakers, including Elise Stefanik of New York, Carlos Curbelo of Florida, Mark Sanford of South Carolina, Mia Love of Utah, Don Bacon of Nebraska, and Ryan Costello of Pennsylvania, introduced a resolution on Wednesday that urges the House of Representatives to “address the causes and effects” of climate change, according to a press release sent out by Costello’s office.

    The resolution, which revives a call to action endorsed by nearly a dozen House Republicans in 2015, describes environmental protection as a “conservative principle.” And it warns that “if left unaddressed, the consequences of a changing climate have the potential to adversely impact all Americans.”

    https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/03/house-republicans-climate-change-global-warming-trump/518430/

    Reply
  16. Suzanne

     /  March 16, 2017

    OT..but I feel relevant to ways these budget cuts to EPA will adversely effect us all:
    “Monsanto Weed Killer Roundup Face New Doubts on Safety with Unsealed Documents”

    The court documents included Monsanto’s internal emails and email traffic between the company and federal regulators. The records suggested that Monsanto had ghostwritten research that was later attributed to academics and indicated that a senior official at the Environmental Protection Agency had worked to quash a review of Roundup’s main ingredient, glyphosate, that was to have been conducted by the United States Department of Health and Human Services.

    Reply
    • mulga mumblebrain

       /  March 17, 2017

      Glyphosate has long been known to be a carcinogen, but Monsatan has bullied, vilified and intimidated to hide the truth. They are NO different from Big Tobacco, Big Pharma, Big Junk-food and Big Fossil Fuels in that they DO NOT CARE how many ‘useless eaters’ their poisons kill, so long as the profits keep flowing. That is the essence of capitalism.

      Reply
  17. Suzanne

     /  March 16, 2017

    Even if Symbolic, Chicago Fossil Fuel Divestment Could Send “Powerful Signal”
    http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/39842-even-if-symbolic-chicago-fossil-fuel-divestment-could-send-powerful-signal

    With the Trump administration expected to roll back federal climate policy, advocates are hoping states and cities will pick up the slack on reducing carbon emissions.

    Chicago is often touted as a leader on this front thanks to its solar, energy efficiency and other programs, along with the 2012 closure of two urban power plants and city officials’ action against petroleum coke storage.

    Now a majority of City Council members and the Chicago chapter of 350.org want the city to make a statement against the fossil fuel industry by pledging to divest the city’s pension funds and stocks and bonds.

    Reply
  18. In the video, Elon Musk uses temperature as relative to absolute zero, not to degrees Celsius relative to zero, to illustrate the extreme sensitivity of the climate to CO2 increase.
    I am not a physicist and I wondered if anyone has any thoughts as to this approach. It could be seen as increasing accepted climate sensitivity.

    Reply
    • So if you look at paleoclimate, the long term (ESS) climate sensitivity for each doubling of CO2 is in the range of 5-6 C. But oceans and ice sheets take a significant amount of time to warm up (500 years or more). Past CO2 in the range of 275 ppm has now increased to 405 ppm (annual average) or approx 50 percent implying a 2.5 to 3 C warming long term. Total CO2e forcing is 493 ppm by end of 2017 (approx), implying approx 4 C warming long term.

      I like this video by Musk. And I agree with the carbon tax premise — especially when compared to sales taxes or VATs. But I also think that other incentives are required to speed renewable energy adoption. In addition, I think that republican attempts to use the carbon tax to shift more of the tax burden onto the poor is disingenuous and has been a form of sabotage for such needed incentives to move away from carbon.

      Reply
      • mulga mumblebrain

         /  March 17, 2017

        The carbon tax MUST also be hypothecated to over-compensate the poor, to begin reducing inequality, and to subsidise renewable energy and ecological research and repair. We need to massively restore the planet’s bio-mass, but probably also find some technological way to remove CO2 and methane etc from the atmosphere, then store them safely, or transmute them into harmless substances. Then we have the problems of problems-what to do about oceanic heat.

        Reply
  19. Robert E Prue

     /  March 16, 2017

    So, atmospheric methane is at ~1800 parts per billion or 1.8 per million. It’s been level or slightly rising for years. If the forcing is 86times CO2, would it not be ~154.8CO2e?

    Reply
    • Lots of double counting here, Robert. You need to look at the delta of methane (net growth not total atmospheric) and the transient nature of the gas.

      Total RF for methane is probably about 1 watt per meter squared above what it was in the 1880s. Total RF for CO2 is probably about 1.8 watts per meter squared above what it was in the 1880s.

      Reply
    • In other words, the CO2e forcing from methane is probably around a 70-80 ppm positive delta from 1880s.

      Reply
  20. Ailsa

     /  March 16, 2017

    The Agenda is not just a threat to the American people, its a threat to the whole world (which of course is more than clear to anyone here!) This may have been posted here before, but even if it has, I think its worth highlighting again:

    “UN: World facing greatest humanitarian crisis since 1945: The world is facing its largest humanitarian crisis since 1945, the United Nations says, issuing a plea for help to avoid “a catastrophe”.

    UN humanitarian chief Stephen O’Brien said that more than 20 million people faced the threat of starvation and famine in Yemen, Somalia, South Sudan and Nigeria.

    Unicef has already warned 1.4m children could starve to death this year. “Now, more than 20 million people across four countries face starvation and famine. Without collective and coordinated global efforts, people will simply starve to death. Many more will suffer and die from disease.

    “Children stunted and out of school. Livelihoods, futures and hope will be lost. Communities’ resilience rapidly wilting away. Development gains reversed. Many will be displaced and will continue to move in search for survival, creating ever more instability across entire regions.”

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-39238808

    Reply
  21. Robert E Prue

     /  March 16, 2017

    Oh! I see my error. It was at a certain level in the 1880s, wasn’t at zero. Duh

    Reply
  22. Following Robert’s work and all the comments is a great part of my day, accurate and troll free! The Russophobia stuff is getting a little silly though, very strange to me to see progressives connecting with such a neo-conservative agenda. Reminds me of the “reds under the bed” stupidity of the 1950’s. I hate the Trump and his climate-denier backers as much as anyone, but them and Wikileaks in bed with the Russians? Please ….

    Reply
    • Actually, what’s silly is how conservatives see no problem with collusion with Russia, after having been Red-baiters for nearly a century and continuing after the fall of the USSR. Of course, greedball oligarchs like Trump are in charge in Russia now, so all is forgiven.

      Reply
      • Greedball oligarchs have been in charge of Russia since the fall of the USSR. Clinton, (anti-Clinton misinformation removed). This article covers well the move from the US-centric to the nationalist-centric:

        (pro-Russia propaganda article removed)

        He also has a good deal of popularity among Russians, and average living standards started to rise under him after the collapse of the 1990’s. “Vladimir Putin is widely viewed at home as the man who tamed a tumultuous post-­Soviet Russia and the first leader in decades willing to stand up to the West” – http://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2016/12/putin-generation-russia-soviet-union/

        Russia is much smaller population and economy wise than the US and NATO, with NATO troops at its borders (how would the US react to Russian troops at its borders?). It’s acting defensively not offensively, it has been invaded by what are now NATO countries 3 times in the past century (WW1, post-WW1 with the White Army against the communists, and WW2).

        For the US realpolitik it makes more sense to focus on the real threat, China. Pulling Russia away from China, for now, makes sense. “”There is a lot of anxiety in Beijing that Russians who have all along taken an anti-U.S. stance may start to think differently,” said Blank. Until now, “the China-Russia relationship has been based in a large measure on their rejection of U.S. interests in the global order. This would be affected if there is improvement in U.S.-Russia relationship,” – http://www.voanews.com/a/prospect-of-warming-us-russia-ties-worries-china/3679349.html

        Reply
        • It’s tough to tell how popular Putin is since he owns most of the media in Russia and since he has a habit of jailing or killing his political opponents…

  23. climatehawk1

     /  March 17, 2017

    Tweet scheduled.

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