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A Green New Deal For Global Security

As we enter the New Year of 2019, we face the potential for more record global warmth. The fossil fuel burning that has continued for so long, that has been industrialized and unwisely linked (by industry and policy) to economic growth in many regions continues at a devastating pace. A pace that injects about 37 billion tons of heat-trapping carbon dioxide into our atmosphere each year. For in too many cases, the necessary transition to an admittedly much stronger and far more viable clean energy economy has been blocked or delayed.

A Harmful Status Quo

We are a world locked in conflict between old fossil fuel interests and emerging clean energy and pro climate change response interests. Thus far, the conflict has generated a state of both economic and political grid-lock. One that at present perpetuates the harmful status quo.

We face vast continued greenhouse gas emissions presenting a growing danger to everyone and everything living on Earth. The threat of damaging climate change occurring on human time-scales is no longer some far-off object whose emerging reality can easily be hidden from public view by republican deniers in the U.S. government and abroad or related mass media campaigns funded by the fossil fuel monetary and political interests who authored the crisis.

surface melt ponding Amery ice shelf

(Increasing surface melt ponding in both Antarctica and Greenland, as seen in this January 1, 2019 satellite shot of the Amery Ice Shelf, is one visible sign of climate change’s growing impacts. Large land ice sheet melt is the primary driver of both sea level rise and changes to ocean circulation. Just two of many harms driven by fossil fuel burning and related carbon emissions. Image provided by NASA Worldview.)

The threat posed by human-caused climate change is one that impacts us now. And though present impacts are mild compared to a future in which vast fossil fuel burning and related dumping of carbon into Earth’s atmosphere continues, we are faced with growing damage, hurt, and harm today.

How did we get here? It’s a big question. One to be answered fully by future historians. But we can simply say that we haven’t transitioned away from fossil fuel burning fast enough. That we haven’t yet adopted clean energy or clean political thinking at a swift enough pace. That the old ways of power-brokering linked to fossil fuel burning continue with a tenacity which is, itself, difficult to deny.

Old Smoke-Stack Politics vs New Clean Energy Politics

Though a single blog is perhaps too short an article to address such a vast issue fully, it is certainly possible to take a look at the tip of the (metaphorically and literally) melting ice-berg. In doing so, we ask the teasing question — how are such seemingly far-flung objects as Amery Ice Shelf melt ponds, a Green New Deal, Russian meddling in the 2016 election, and Russian nuclear capable bombers in Venezuela linked?

As literary objects go the question is, of course, rhetorical. But it is one that reveals how old smokestack style power-plays can keep us stuck in the ongoing harmful pattern of fossil fuel burning, warming, and increasing global environmental damage together with the related geopolitical conflict that all too frequently results. It also opens up the avenue to a new geopolitical contest to old regimes. One based on clean energy economies of scale and technological innovation coupled with climate change response.

Clean Energy Enabled Obama’s Counter to Russian Aggression

Back during the Obama Administration, there was a larger challenge to old forms of power brokering. It happened when Russia invaded the Ukraine and the U.S. sanctioned Russian oil ventures such as the fossil fuel multinational — Rosneft.

The U.S., under Obama, through both clean energy policy and increased oil extraction at home had become more energy independent. But more importantly, with policies such as EV incentives, increased fuel efficiency standards for automobiles, the sun shot initiative, adherence to the Paris Climate Agreement, and the implementation of the Clean Power Plan taking hold, the U.S. was also turning toward a future that was finally less dependent on fossil fuels and, more importantly, the broad availability of oil and gas. The U.S., under Obama, was thus able to move more and more away from the old oil and gas politics that might have forced our nation to turn a blind eye to Russian aggression in Eastern Europe. Instead, old oil-based global policy gave way to something new as the U.S. effectively canceled an Exxon-Mobil contract with Rosneft even as it moved to hamper Russia’s oil oligarchs in retaliation for its physical aggression.

Russia — Slave to Oil and Gas Revenue

Then and now, Rosneft was a cornerstone of Russian political and economic power. The company, like the East India Trade Company of the old British Empire, serves Russia as a way of projecting its power abroad. We see this in Russia’s past use of gas shipments to influence Europe. We see it in Russia’s past and present use of oil ventures like Rosneft to gain political footholds in places like Venezuela. And we see it in Russia’s attempts to use Rosneft to directly influence U.S. policy through relationships with western oil giants like Exxon.

Western sanctions against Rosneft and related oil oligarchs put a check on Russian power projection. It also leveled a direct threat to Russia’s narrow economic power base. Represented, in part, by its use of Rosneft as a political tool for power projection, Russia is itself fully invested in fossil fuel burning. For not only is Rosneft a lever for Russian power brokering abroad, the company exists in a context in which 16 percent of Russian GDP comes from oil and gas money. Moreover, 52 percent of Russia’s federal budget is funded by fossil fuel revenues from state-corporate entities such as Rosneft. Meanwhile, 70 percent of Russia’s export revenue comes from the oil and gas sector. Unable or, more likely, unwilling to diversify its economy away from oil and gas, Russia is instead a slave to it.

2016 Election Meddling in Context

Given the above, we can see that the Russian economy suffers a kind of resource curse in relation to its dependence on fossil fuels. But Russia has also taken a rather odd stance with regards to climate change. National policy has long considered climate change beneficial to Russia. This despite the fact that recent research shows numerous harms including movement of rains away from most productive soils, expanding wildfires in the north, widespread loss of land due to sea level rise, and destabilization of border states to the south.

(How a Green New Deal would make America great by enabling us to confront foreign adversaries and climate harms in one go.)

That said, after grappling with an Obama Administration more emboldened to sanction its fossil fuel industry, Russia had every short term economic and political incentive to seek regime change in the U.S. Trump, with his climate change denial, promise to double down on old energy sources like oil gas and coal, and his stated aims to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Climate Agreement while cancelling programs like the Clean Power Plan appeared to be ready to generate policy more beneficial to Russia’s fossil fuel sector. With oil and gas presently so central to Russia’s economy, the motivation to support Trump on an economic and political power basis alone must have been quite strong. This on top of a widely cited motivation to generate chaos and division in the U.S. during election season.

Venezuela: Oil as Power Lever and Motivator for Aggression

Following its meddling in the 2016 U.S. election with the stated aim to place Donald Trump as President, Russia’s oil-based power plays continued. This time, Rosneft gained a lien on 50 percent of Citgo — the Venezuelan state oil company. Venezuela, even more heavily dependent on oil revenue than Russia, has been facing economic decline ever since oil prices crashed during the late 2000s. Smelling opportunity, Russia has moved into Venezuela, funded its debt, and announced joint oil production agreements.

Russia’s increased hold over Venezuela is also reminiscent of past cold war power moves in which easily leveraged resources like oil often played a key role in establishing vassal or proxy states. The most recent move by Russia brings with it the old sabre rattling of nuclear capable weapons system movements and related media sensationalism as Russia’s deployment of two nuclear bombers to a Venezuelan air base ruffled feathers from Europe to the U.S.

Green New Deal — A Way Forward for U.S. Climate and National Security

Russia’s power plays may seem similar to the past. But they occur in a context where the U.S. increasingly has the option to respond by doubling down on clean energy policy as a means to directly counter the might of bad actor regimes dependent on fossil fuel revenue. This is in direct contrast to the cold war where hard power responses like troop movements and weapons systems deployments were seen as central to national defense.

In the new era, such movements of troops may also be seen as necessary. But the response that matters most to long term U.S. national security is the lessening of reliance on fossil fuel to give the U.S. a better bargaining position vis a vis petro states like Russia while simultaneously reducing the nation’s contribution to the climate crisis.

Such synergistic foreign policy benefits evoking a new U.S. economic and moral leadership would seem to make clean energy based programs like the Green New Deal and revitalization of energy efficiency and clean energy supports a no-brainer nationally. These are domestic programs with global consequences for the future of the United States. And the fact that adversaries like Russia are working hard to prevent the implementation of such programs at home should provide a clear incentive for all Americans to support them.

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46 Comments

  1. Marcel Guldemond

     /  January 2, 2019

    Hi Robert, thanks for the post. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about geoengineering, that the ideal solution to buy humanity some time would be a short lived sunlight blocker that could be applied just over the Arctic in the spring and summer, keeping the ice and the permafrost from melting completely.

    A big impediment to this would be Russia. I’m guessing that any country who tries this would get into serious trouble with Russia because of all the oil and gas and shipping infrastructure they’re building that counts on disappeared ice, so anyone who refreezes the Arctic would surely piss them off.

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  2. eleggua

     /  January 3, 2019

    Rosneft = the “mystery company” in this case:
    “12.23.2018: The Supreme Court is putting on hold a contempt order against an unnamed company fighting a subpoena in a mystery case with possible ties to special counsel Robert Mueller.

    A lower court last week upheld the subpoena after the company, which is owned by a foreign government, argued that it was immune from criminal proceedings under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act and that the subpoena was unenforceable because it would require “the Corporation” to violate “Country A’s” domestic law.

    Chief Justice John Roberts on Sunday halted the contempt order against the company, which included a $5,000-a-week fine.

    The stay is temporary until the court has further orders. The federal government, which sought the subpoena, has until Dec. 31 to respond.”

    ‘The Fall Of Trump Tower Moscow And Rise Of The Rosneft Deal’
    12.11.2018
    https://hillreporter.com/fall-trump-power-rise-rosneft-deal-17323

    “The failed attempt at a deal to construct a Trump Tower in Moscow, as well as Michael Cohen’s initial lies to Congress and his subsequent special counsel confession about that deal, have fueled a firestorm of examination in recent months. In the midst of that firestorm, much attention was deflected away from perhaps an even more significant development, one that focuses on Russia, Qatar, numerous shell companies, and the Trump Organization. The deal specifically centered around commissions on the sale of a 19% stake in oil giant Rosneft a publicly traded company that is owned mostly by the Russian government, specifically, Putin and his closest allies and oligarchs….

    In December of 2016, Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin and Russian President Vladimir Putin announced on state TV that a 19.5% stake in Rosneft was sold to Qatar Investment Authority and Glencore PLC (remember that according to the dossier Trump was promised the brokerage fees on the sale of up to 19% of Rosneft). The deal also involved many anonymous shell companies which are almost impossible to track, including QHG Shares, QHC Holding, and QHC Cayman Limited….”

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  3. eleggua

     /  January 3, 2019

    US sanctions in action: China and Rosneft:

    ‘China strikes oil and gas deals with Russia’s Rosneft’
    11.30.2018
    https://asia.nikkei.com/Business/Business-Trends/China-strikes-oil-and-gas-deals-with-Russia-s-Rosneft

    “Russian state-owned company Rosneft announced Thursday that it has signed energy deals with a pair of Chinese energy counterparts, seizing an opportunity as Beijing moves to diversify suppliers amid the trade war with the U.S.

    China National Chemical, known as ChemChina, agreed to purchase 2.4 million tons a year of crude oil from Rosneft. That amount is equivalent to 6% of Rosneft’s total exports to China in 2017. Crude oil from Eastern Siberia will be transported to a Russian Far East port by pipeline.

    Rosneft will also form a joint venture with Beijing Gas Group to operate filling stations in Russia for natural gas-fueled vehicles. Beijing Gas, a unit of state-owned Beijing Enterprises Group, will take a stake of nearly half in the venture and provide expertise on setting up and running gas stations.

    Russia, struggling with international sanctions imposed after its annexation of Crimea, is eager to find customers for its natural resources. The trade war between the world’s two largest economies, which is set to reduce China’s energy procurement from the U.S., presents an opening for Moscow….

    …The latest agreement follows a 2017 agreement between Beijing Gas and Rosneft for the Chinese company to acquire partial rights to Siberian oil and gas fields from the Russian partner for $1.1 billion. Now Beijing Gas will help Rosneft in its effort to run a station business, apparently hoping to secure increased supplies of Russian gas down the road.

    China relies heavily on energy imports, buying about 70% of the oil and around 40% of the natural gas it consumes from other countries. In the first half of this year, 7% of China’s liquefied natural gas imports came from the U.S.

    About half of the deals China signed with the U.S. during President Donald Trump’s visit last year were for gas and other resource development projects. But now that Beijing has imposed additional tariffs on American energy products, supplies from the U.S. are expected to decline.

    China is set to increase its purchase of LNG from Qatar and plans to meet its oil demand by increasing crude imports from Russia.”

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  4. Jean Swan

     /  January 3, 2019

    Trump is putting in a new science adviser who is a capable scientist and an extremely kind,good person..A lot of Oklahoma University grads hope no one tells Trump that he made a good choice:https://newsok.com/article/5619234/ou-meteorologist-kelvin-droegemeier-approved-to-be-trumps-science-adviser?no_edit=1&fbclid=IwAR3tQ2vD-hFGpzwbh73AhoTgZiuovEhcsmHqXfRNKnHko2yA5y5qjMwWdck

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  5. wharf rat

     /  January 3, 2019

    Climate Change in Europe in 2018: the evidence
    last updated: 03/01/2019

    2018 most ‘extreme year’ for unusual weather events in Europe

    Record heat and precipitation recorded across the continent

    We’re the ‘last generation to act against climate change,’ global organisation warns

    Scientists urge global temperature should not rise 1.5C above pre-industrial levels

    Europe was one continent that experienced abnormal weather during 2018. After a couple months of extremely cold weather, heat and drought through spring and summer meant temperatures were well above average in much of the northern and western areas.

    https://www.euronews.com/2019/01/02/special-report-was-2018-the-worst-year-for-climate-change-so-far

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  6. wharf rat

     /  January 4, 2019

    Climate Change Performance Index 2018

    These are the Overall Results of the Climate Change Performance Index 2018. The ranking results are defined by a country’s aggregated performance regarding 14 indicators within the four categories GHG Emissions, Renewable Energy, Energy Use and Climate Policy.The CCPI 2018 Results illustrate the main regional differences in climate protection and performance within the 56 evaluated countries and the EU. Despite decreasing growth rates in GHG emissions, still no country performed well enough to reach the rating “very high” in the 2018 index and therefore the top three ranks remain left open.In the 2018 edition of the index, Sweden is leading the list, followed by Lithuania and Morocco, while Saudi Arabia, Islamic Republic of Iran, Republic of Korea, Australia and the United States form the bottom five of this classification, scoring “low” or “very low” across almost all categories.

    https://www.climate-change-performance-index.org/climate-change-performance-index-2018

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  7. mlp in nc

     /  January 5, 2019

    FYI: Earth Nullschool North Atlantic SSTA 10.6C (west of Cape Cod and south of Newfoundland).

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  8. Leland Palmer

     /  January 9, 2019

    Hi Robert-

    I keep wondering about these hot spots in the ocean near Svalbard island. They have been stable since about 2015, now. They persist in summer and winter in the Sea Surface Temperature Anomaly record. They are now showing up as consistently more than 10 degrees C (18 degrees F !) hotter than they have been historically.

    https://earth.nullschool.net/#current/ocean/primary/waves/overlay=sea_surface_temp/orthographic=0.98,80.25,3000/loc=6.994,77.699

    Are they merely areas that were under the retreating Arctic sea ice, and that now look relatively hotter due to that? They are also showing up as hotter than surrounding areas in the Sea Surface Temperature record. All this is according to Earth Nullschool, which uses data supplied by NASA.

    These anomalies are showing as hotter than areas to the south of them, now, in the sea surface temperature record. So they are showing up now in the sea surface temperature record, not just the sea surface temperature anomaly record, to repeat myself.

    I don’t like the look of these things, and I don’t like it that nobody seems to be talking about these temperature anomalies. The Norwegian government, which controls Svalbard, is heavily involved in fossil fuel exploitation, while relatively forward thinking in energy policy in general.

    Of course the Gulf Stream off the coast of the Eastern U.S. is blazing like a beacon in the Sea Surface Temperature Anomaly record, with temperatures up to 8 degrees C hotter than the historical average of a few decades ago.

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  9. mlp in nc

     /  January 10, 2019

    Sorry I don’t have any insight, but if I come up with anything useful I will try to post. Some comment, though.

    I have been following several SSTAs on Earth Nullschool and share your unease. Though my following is not terribly regularly, still several areas have gone up by 2-3C within a year or so, which seems uncomfortably fast to me. I tried to find current and running graphs of total ocean heat content but had no luck. NOAA, conveniently, is down. Closest is this article https://www.carbonbrief.org/state-of-the-climate-new-record-ocean-heat-content-and-growing-a-el-nino, with a graph of total ocean heat content that, at 0-700 m. that is shooting upward since 1990 at a nearly 45 degree angle. It is hard to know what that means in general, but I remember a 2013 article – – https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/oct/21/yachtsman-describes-horror-at-dead-rubbish-strewn-pacific-ocean – – by an Australian who described a “dead Pacific”. Maybe overfishing is not the only cause. What can a fish do with SSTA sreaching 9 – 17C or an overall environment nearly four times hotter than 30 years before? The sailor, who became a climate activist, had this to say: “Ivan MacFadyen told of his horror at the severe lack of marine life and copious amounts of rubbish witnessed on a yacht race between Melbourne and Osaka. He recently returned from the trip, which he previously completed 10 years ago.
    “In 2003, I caught a fish every day,” he told Guardian Australia. “Ten years later to the day, sailing almost exactly the same course, I caught nothing. It started to strike me the closer we got to Japan that the ocean was dead.”
    “Normally when you are sailing a yacht, there are one or two pods of dolphins playing by the boat, or sharks, or turtles or whales. There are usually birds feeding by the boat. But there was none of that. I’ve been sailing for 35 years and it’s only when these things aren’t there that you notice them.”

    I am also no closer to understanding the Svalbard hot spots. Thought maybe the Gulf Stream
    finger currents were backing up against the southward cold currents at those spots, but why should it be so globular, especially the smaller one to the east? Very irritating not to be able to figure it out.

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  10. mlp in nc

     /  January 10, 2019

    PS. My own experience sort of confirms. Decades ago, the NC Outer Bank beaches were always littered lots of ocean debris – many beautiful and varied shells, seaweed, coral, skate egg cases, fish vertebrae, sharks teeth (I even have a Megalodon tooth), etc. Last year on a short trip there was almost nothing. A few, mostly small, scattered and battered shells and unrecognizable debris, mainly clams, scallops, jingle shells, and a rare whelk core. A fellow beach walker, obviously not a native, was going bananas over this pathetic offering and I nearly cried.

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    • eleggua

       /  January 10, 2019

      Echoes the ‘insect apocalypse’.

      “Sune Boye Riis was on a bike ride with his youngest son, enjoying the sun slanting over the fields and woodlands near their home north of Copenhagen, when it suddenly occurred to him that something about the experience was amiss. Specifically, something was missing.

      It was summer. He was out in the country, moving fast. But strangely, he wasn’t eating any bugs.

      For a moment, Riis was transported to his childhood on the Danish island of Lolland, in the Baltic Sea. Back then, summer bike rides meant closing his mouth to cruise through thick clouds of insects, but inevitably he swallowed some anyway. When his parents took him driving, he remembered, the car’s windshield was frequently so smeared with insect carcasses that you almost couldn’t see through it. But all that seemed distant now. He couldn’t recall the last time he needed to wash bugs from his windshield; he even wondered, vaguely, whether car manufacturers had invented some fancy new coating to keep off insects. But this absence, he now realized with some alarm, seemed to be all around him. Where had all those insects gone? And when? And why hadn’t he noticed?…”

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  11. wharf rat

     /  January 11, 2019

    Warming oceans likely to raise sea levels 30cm by end of century – study
    Seawater temperature is rising faster than predicted, which is likely to worsen extreme weather events around the world

    The report, published on Thursday in the journal Science, found that the warming of the oceans was accelerating and was matching the predictions of climate change models, which have shown global temperature rises are likely to lead to extreme weather across the world.

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jan/10/warming-oceans-likely-to-raise-sea-levels-30cm-by-end-of-century-study

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  12. Leland Palmer

     /  January 11, 2019

    Hi mlp in nc –

    We knew that ocean heat content was increasing, and that most of the heat from global warming is going into the oceans. The New York Times, that has often been silent or engaged in false impartiality when dealing with global warming issues, now belatedly acknowledges that:

    “Scientists say the world’s oceans are warming far more quickly than previously thought, a finding with dire implications for climate change because almost all the excess heat absorbed by the planet ends up stored in their waters.

    A new analysis, published Thursday in the journal Science, found that the oceans are heating up 40 percent faster on average than a United Nations panel estimated five years ago. The researchers also concluded that ocean temperatures have broken records for several straight years.

    “2018 is going to be the warmest year on record for the Earth’s oceans,” said Zeke Hausfather, an energy systems analyst at the independent climate research group Berkeley Earth and an author of the study. “As 2017 was the warmest year, and 2016 was the warmest year.””

    So, all of us that read this blog knew that. Ocean heat content is going up.

    What worries me more than anything about these Svalbard anomalies is how constant they are, how they persist summer and winter, and now they are showing up in the sea surface temperature record as hotter than areas to the south of them. Certainly, no Arctic sea ice will form on these twin anomalies, so long as they exist.

    The anomalies are remarkably constant, almost as if they were tied to the ocean bottom, I think. To me, that suggests that methane hydrate dissociation may be involved, in some way. This has happened before, in the Barents sea – there are milllions of pockmarks on the floor of the Barents Sea, a well known sign of gas hydrate dissociation left over the geologists tell us from the Holocene Climate Optimum of a few thousand years ago.. This area was under pressure of ice sheets thousands of years ago, and may have formed large deposits of relic metastable methane hydrate, persisting for thousands of years in areas of pressure and temperature outside of the current hydrate stability zone.

    So, I think that warmer water temperatures may be touching off methane hydrate dissociation in the ocean floor, in these anomalies.

    I would be happy to be wrong about this.

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    • Leland Palmer

       /  January 11, 2019

      The Barents sea is shallow with an average depth of only 230 meters. Svalbard was also glaciated a few thousand years ago, and has been reported to be a site of relic metastable methane hydrate. Warm water from abnormally warm ocean currents is now intruding into the area. The Svalbard area may be the site of the most extensive, shallowest deposits of relic metastable methane hydrate in the world, don’t know. it all makes an ugly pattern, I think, unfortunately.

      There are other possible explanations, I think. I remember reading something about melting Arctic sea ice producing a fresher water layer on the sea surface, leading to a warming effect somehow.

      So, i’m hoping these anomalies will go away, or that there is another possible explanation other than methane hydrate dissociation. If it is methane hydrate dissociation, I’m hoping that the immediate effect is mostly contained in the oceans, and mostly confined to shallow deposits of relic metastable methane hydrate, outside the current methane hydrate stability zone, left over from past ice ages when the pressure of ice sheets led to the formation of shallow methane hydrate.

      This paper disagrees, and says that the release of methane off Spitsbergen has been an ongoing process due to glacial rebound, going on for thousands of years.

      https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/01/180108121547.htm

      But these Svalbard/Spitsbergen ocean temperature anomalies are huge, and the temperatures impressively anomalous. If the hot spots are tied to methane release, I’m not sure that glacial rebound is a sufficient explanation. It would be nice if an international team of scientists paid some attention to them and gave us a truly comprehensive explanation.

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      • eleggua

         /  January 11, 2019

        Others have noticed.

        http://www.oilseedcrops.org/2018/09/26/anomalous-warm-waters-in-the-arctic-did-underwater-volcanoes-awake/

        ‘Anomalous Warm Waters in the Arctic Did Underwater Volcanoes Awake?’
        September 26, 2018

        “Strange warm Arctic Ocean tempertaures in a circular point @ 77.5N and 5.5E, in my opinion it could be a large underwater eruption causing the anomalous hot spot near Svalbard? ”

        ^^^Intro to a much longer piece.

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        • eleggua

           /  January 12, 2019

          ^That’s a reprint of the original, found here.
          View story at Medium.com

          “I did Circle here in yellow what I thought could be a mount under sea, because this seems to be in the holes Svalbard Fracture Zone. so how many of these underwater volcanoes are going off right now that are not being measured by Volcano Discovery or the USGS or anybody in that realm, because we’re just not seeing the ash and smoke. It’s just my opinion, but perhaps there is an underwater eruption massive enough to change water temperatures this much around this location.”

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      • eleggua

         /  January 12, 2019

        And here’s a possible cause.

        ‘Hot times near Svalbard – Volcanic range discovered’
        Anthony Watts / August 2, 2013
        https://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/08/02/hot-times-near-svalbard-volcanic-range-discovered/

        “Researchers have found a 1,500 km volcanic mountain chain hidden off the coast of Svalbard, which could soon break the surface to form a new island chain.

        Dag Rune Olsen, rector of the University of Bergen, where the researchers are based, told The Local that the findings were like a “moon landing in the deep sea.”

        “We probably know even less about the very deep seas and oceans then we know about the moon,” he said. The range extends from Jan Mayen island in the Greenland Sea to the Fram Strait between Svalbard and Greenland. It comprises hundreds of volcanos, some just 20m below the surface.

        The new discovery comprises hundreds more volcanoes, some just 20m below the surface.

        The ridge was first glimpsed in 2008, but this is the first time detailed mapping has been done.

        “We have found volcanoes at such a shallow level and they could break the surface at any time and form a new island group,” Pedersen told VG newspaper.

        “We have long known that Iceland has both volcanic activity and hot springs, but we thought that we did not have anything like that in Norway. But we do, it was only under water,” he added.”

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        • eleggua

           /  January 12, 2019

          Caveat to all of the above: the authors favour a mini-ice age theory over the reality of global warming.

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        • Robert in New Orleans

           /  January 15, 2019

          Sorry, but I would not trust anything on low wattage up with that website.

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        • eleggua

           /  January 15, 2019

          Indeed; that’s why I’d added the caveat.

          Upon further review, the research is real. These sources are trustworthy.

          http://sciencenordic.com/waterworld-volcanoes

          A waterworld of volcanoes
          August 8, 2013 – 05:00
          Article from University of Bergen

          “…. New discoveries

          This summer a team led by the director of UiB’s Centre for Geobiology, Professor Rolf Birger Pedersen, discovered five new hydrothermal vents in Loki’s Castle. The vents were discovered at depths ranging from 100 to 2,500 metres.

          In this area, which is the most geological active part of Norway, a new volcanic seabed is formed at a rate of two centimetres a year.

          “These discoveries are incredibly interesting as they represent a part of the Norwegian nature that is under-explored. They represent a part of nature where conditions are extreme and where we expect to find a lot of new and exciting biology,” sUiB’s Rector Dag Rune Olsen…..”

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        • eleggua

           /  January 15, 2019

          https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130802080240.htm

          A waterworld of volcanoes

          Date:
          August 2, 2013
          Source:
          University of Bergen
          Summary:
          At Loki’s Castle in the Arctic Ocean, researchers have discovered a so far unknown world of volcanic activity underwater. They hope that this can become Norway’s new national park.

          “…Norway is a volcanic country on par with Iceland. The difference being that whereas Iceland’s volcanoes are onshore, Norway’s volcano landscape is in the deep sea. Norway’s volcanoes are lined up underwater in large active earthquake zones, and there are hydrothermal vents churning out hot water — at 320 degrees Celsius — which gives rise to unique ecosystems and metal deposits on the seabed….”

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    • eleggua

       /  January 17, 2019

      Maybe you’ve both seen this info already.

      ‘Are methane seeps in the Arctic slowing global warming?’
      May. 8, 2017
      https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/05/are-methane-seeps-arctic-slowing-global-warming

      “…Research off the coast of Norway’s Svalbard archipelago suggests that where methane gas bubbles up from seafloor seeps, surface waters directly above absorb twice as much carbon dioxide (CO2) as surrounding waters. The findings suggest that methane seeps in isolated spots in the Arctic could lessen the impact of climate change.

      “This is … totally unexpected,” says Brett Thornton, a geochemist at Stockholm University who was not involved in the research. These new findings challenge the popular assumption that methane seeps inevitably increase the global greenhouse gas burden….

      …To find out just how much methane the Arctic Ocean was contributing to the global balance, biogeochemist John Pohlman of the U.S. Geological Survey in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, set out to measure the gas close to the ocean surface above known methane seeps near Svalbard during the Arctic summer. He and his team were constantly surprised by how little methane they found. But the bigger surprise was that surface water CO2 levels dropped whenever their ship crossed a seep. “[The CO2 data] became the most important part of the story,” Pohlman says.

      When combined with other data—sudden drops in water temperature, along with increases in dissolved oxygen and pH at the surface—the lower CO2 levels were telltale signs of bottom water upwelling and photosynthesis, Pohlman says. Pohlman and his team conclude that the same physical forces that are pushing the methane bubbles up are also pumping nutrient-rich cold waters from the sea bed to the surface, fertilizing phytoplankton blooms that soak up CO2, they write today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

      Such a “fertilization effect” would be “really surprising,” says Thornton, who has studied methane emissions above seeps in the Laptev and East Siberian seas. “There are lots of nutrients in bottom water and bringing that to the surface could certainly [result in] draw down of CO2.”…”

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      • eleggua

         /  January 17, 2019

        https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/01/180117164022.htm

        Release of ancient methane due to changing climate kept in check by ocean waters

        Date:
        January 17, 2018
        Source:
        University of Rochester
        Summary:
        Ocean sediments are a massive storehouse for the potent greenhouse gas methane. But methane only acts as a greenhouse gas if and when it reaches the atmosphere. Environmental scientists recently set out to discover whether or not this ancient-sourced methane, which is released due to warming ocean waters, survives the journey from the seafloor and reaches the atmosphere.

        “…Sparrow; her advisor, John Kessler, an associate professor of earth and environmental sciences; and a team of scientists from the Universities of Rochester, California Irvine, Minnesota Duluth, and Colorado Boulder, as well as the US Geological Survey and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, conducted fieldwork just offshore of the North Slope of Alaska, near Prudhoe Bay. Sparrow calls the spot “ground zero” for oceanic methane emissions resulting from ocean warming. In some parts of the Arctic Ocean, the shallow regions near continents may be one of the settings where methane hydrates are breaking down now due to warming processes over the past 15,000 years….

        …”We do observe ancient methane being emitted from the seafloor to the overlying seawater, confirming past suspicions,” Kessler says. “But, we found that this ancient methane signal largely disappears and is replaced by a different methane source the closer you get to the surface waters.” The methane at the surface is instead from recently produced organic matter or from the atmosphere.

        Although the researchers did not examine in this study what prevents methane released from the seafloor from reaching the atmosphere, they suspect it is biodegraded by microorganisms in the ocean before it hits the surface waters. Mihai Leonte, a PhD candidate in Kessler’s research group, observed this process — in which microbes aggressively biodegrade methane as methane emissions increase — in a paper published last year.

        “We found that very little ancient methane reaches surface waters even in the relatively shallow depths of 100 feet. Exponentially less methane would be able to reach the atmosphere in waters that are thousands of feet deep at the very edge of the shallow seas near continents, which is the area of the ocean where the bulk of methane hydrates are,” Sparrow says. “Our data suggest that even if increasing amounts of methane are released from degrading hydrates as climate change proceeds, catastrophic emission to the atmosphere is not an inherent outcome.”…

        …This study was primarily funded by the National Science Foundation with additional contributions from the Department of Energy, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the University of Minnesota.”

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  13. eleggua

     /  January 12, 2019

    Not able to comment on youtube (and oftern unable to watch, either) however in taking a look at those sections on Robert’s vids, doesn’t seem to be as vibrant as things were here before he directed most of his energies in that direction. The contributions here were – and still are – valuable however the converstion and contributions are far less than pre-youtube daze.

    Oh, well.

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  14. wharf rat

     /  January 12, 2019

    Tesla Semi receives another order, electric trucks will move goods in Europe

    Tesla Semi, the automaker’s electric truck division, has received another order ahead of the start of production, which is planned for later this year.

    The electric trucks will be used to move goods from Europe to Norway.

    Travel Retail Norway, which operates the duty-free stores at Norway’s five largest airports, announced that it has ordered two Tesla Semi electric trucks in a press release today.

    https://electrek.co/2019/01/11/tesla-semi-order-electric-trucks-europe/

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  15. mlp in nc

     /  January 12, 2019

    I appreciate the comments from everyone. They are a major reason I follow this blog. I am also unable to comment on the Youtube site.

    After reading the articles, I had a thought on the hot spots. (Please don’t laugh). The area west of Svalbard is a known major methane leak. To my understanding, the methane does not reach the atmosphere because it is either dissolved into the water or metabolized. Sources seem to vary as to how much is metabolized, although one did say the majority was. If so, that is a lot of biologic activity. No particular reason I know of that methane itself should be hot, but could large enough colonies of methane metabolizing bacteria produce enough heat to affect the ocean temperature? I am not at all sure this is a reasonable thought, but at least it would not vary much by season. On the plus side these are huge permanent leaks that must have a permanent and happy colony of metabolizers, probably even happier as the Gulf Stream warms.
    Also to note that the mid-oceanic ridge, and the site of presumed volcanoes, converge near the leaks at the west of Svalbard. That would not explain the more eastern site, but I do note that the eastern one is considerably cooler than the western one.

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    • Leland Palmer

       /  January 13, 2019

      Hi mlp-
      I had similar thoughts, so if they are laughable, well count me in as being laughable too. Generally the sun is the biggest source of environmental heat, I think. Could methane release be fueling algae blooms, that absorb more sunlight?

      Are there visible algae blooms in the area, persisting since 2015? Don’t know, probably not.

      One prediction: if relict metastable methane hydrate is involved, the anomalies should be in areas that were under thick glaciers in very recent geological time. This could include the area with volcanic seamounts close to the surface near Svalbard, I think. I think someone called that area Loki’s Castle, or something similar. Of course, these volcanoes were recently discovered so maybe nobody knows if they were glaciated.

      So, if we can find a map of very recent glaciated areas in the region, that might tell us something.

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  16. Robert in New Orleans

     /  January 15, 2019

    Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is already pressuring Nancy Pelosi on climate change

    https://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2018/11/14/18094452/alexandria-ocasio-cortez-nancy-pelosi-protest-climate-change-2020

    VIVA AOC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  17. mlp in nc

     /  January 15, 2019

    I am afraid that the very fact that this article is big news (or the technique feasible) is not too good.

    Understanding physics could lead to big gains in shale oil recovery. Source: Penn State https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/01/190115111917.htm
    Summary:
    Oil companies are missing out on vast sums of recoverable oil in unconventional reservoirs, according to experts.

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  18. Robert in New Orleans

     /  January 16, 2019

    Antarctica ice melt has accelerated by 280% in the last 4 decades

    https://www.cnn.com/2019/01/14/world/climate-change-antarctica-ice-melt-twin-studies/index.html

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    • Robert in New Orleans

       /  January 16, 2019

      Four decades of Antarctic Ice Sheet mass balance from 1979–2017
      https://www.pnas.org/content/early/2019/01/08/1812883116

      Abstract:
      We use updated drainage inventory, ice thickness, and ice velocity data to calculate the grounding line ice discharge of 176 basins draining the Antarctic Ice Sheet from 1979 to 2017. We compare the results with a surface mass balance model to deduce the ice sheet mass balance. The total mass loss increased from 40 ± 9 Gt/y in 1979–1990 to 50 ± 14 Gt/y in 1989–2000, 166 ± 18 Gt/y in 1999–2009, and 252 ± 26 Gt/y in 2009–2017. In 2009–2017, the mass loss was dominated by the Amundsen/Bellingshausen Sea sectors, in West Antarctica (159 ± 8 Gt/y), Wilkes Land, in East Antarctica (51 ± 13 Gt/y), and West and Northeast Peninsula (42 ± 5 Gt/y). The contribution to sea-level rise from Antarctica averaged 3.6 ± 0.5 mm per decade with a cumulative 14.0 ± 2.0 mm since 1979, including 6.9 ± 0.6 mm from West Antarctica, 4.4 ± 0.9 mm from East Antarctica, and 2.5 ± 0.4 mm from the Peninsula (i.e., East Antarctica is a major participant in the mass loss). During the entire period, the mass loss concentrated in areas closest to warm, salty, subsurface, circumpolar deep water (CDW), that is, consistent with enhanced polar westerlies pushing CDW toward Antarctica to melt its floating ice shelves, destabilize the glaciers, and raise sea level.

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    • Robert in New Orleans

       /  January 16, 2019

      Antarctic ice-sheet sensitivity to obliquity forcing enhanced through ocean connections
      https://www.nature.com/articles/s41561-018-0284-4.epdf?referrer_access_token=nJm960GOX3nPE7f7v_4rd9RgN0jAjWel9jnR3ZoTv0Ot_gu31-eQPxiztIuzStKFE6UdtLeqWzC_6QrFMHEaeusaiEeLdXimlBP2GlxRtD1krvi44yqlaR2ZYqTV1hXDJDwhxAT8Ej7N_3jVGTDl3t86oo1KOy3jPLFxC74308cSs2qbDRBt–tqILB–DLlvUovv8oUB2J-m_ZjYo5c9XhGjQ-VdkjEPMhZc6LMgBwNI5CbG3CkDpts59WvGvbrP94cIOKk6oQ33H7w5gfmPA%3D%3D&tracking_referrer=www.cnn.com

      Abstract:
      Deep sea geological records indicate that Antarctic ice-sheet growth and decay is strongly influenced by the Earth’s astronomical variations (known as Milankovitch cycles), and that the frequency of the glacial–interglacial cycles changes through time. Here we examine the emergence of a strong obliquity (axial tilt) control on Antarctic ice-sheet evolution during the Miocene by corre-lating the Antarctic margin geological records from 34 to 5 million years ago with a measure of obliquity sensitivity that compares the variance in deep sea sediment core oxygen-isotope data at obliquity timescales with variance of the calculated obliquity forc-ing. Our analysis reveals distinct phases of ice-sheet evolution and suggests the sensitivity to obliquity forcing increases when ice-sheet margins extend into marine environments. We propose that this occurs because obliquity-driven changes in the meridi-onal temperature gradient affect the position and strength of the circum-Antarctic easterly flow and enhance (or reduce) ocean heat transport across the Antarctic continental margin. The influence of obliquity-driven changes in ocean dynamics is amplified when marine ice sheets are extensive, and sea ice is limited. Our reconstruction of the Antarctic ice-sheet history suggests that if sea-ice cover decreases in the coming decades, ocean-driven melting at the ice-sheet margin will be amplified.

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      • eleggua

         /  January 16, 2019

        Pinball.

        ‘Earth’s Tilt May Exacerbate a Melting Antarctic’
        By Stephanie Pappas, Live Science Contributor | January 16, 2019
        https://www.livescience.com/64507-antarctica-ice-melt-earth-tilt.html

        ” As levels of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide rise and warm the globe, Antarctica’s ice will become more vulnerable to cycles on an astronomical scale, particularly the tilt of our planet is as it spins around its axis.

        New research finds that over 30 million years of history, Antarctica’s ice sheets responded most strongly to the angle of Earth’s tilt on its axis when the ice extends into the oceans, interacting with currents that can bring warm water lapping at their margins and leading to increased melting. The effect of the tilt peaked when carbon dioxide levels were similar to what scientists predict for the next century, if humans don’t get emissions under control. [Collapsing Beauty: Image of Antarctica’s Larsen Ice Shelf]

        As carbon dioxide levels push past 400 parts per million, the climate will become more sensitive to the Earth’s tilt, or obliquity, researchers reported Jan. 14 in the journal Nature Geoscience.

        “Really critical is the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere,” said study co-author Stephen Meyers, a paleoclimatologist at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

        A scenario of high carbon dioxide and high tilt angle could be particularly devastating to the the miles-thick ice covering Antarctica……..”

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      • mlp in nc

         /  January 17, 2019

        To add one more, from Bob Henson:
        Antarctic Sea Ice Dips to Record-Low Extent for Early January
        https://www.wunderground.com/cat6/Antarctic-Sea-Ice-Dips-Record-Low-Extent-Early-January?cm_ven=cat6-widget

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  19. Robert in New Orleans

     /  January 16, 2019

    This is another nail in the coffin for coastal living or actually a couple dozen pneumatically driven nails into every coastal coffin. Take my advice, if you are a coastal resident, sell your property a to denialist while you can and move out as quickly as possible. There will be NO happy ending to this secnario.

    DR. ORRIN PILKEY: WALK AWAY FROM THE COAST

    [audio src="https://www.ecoshock.net/downloads/ES_Pilkey_LoFi.mp3" /]

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      • eleggua

         /  January 16, 2019

        Dr. Orrin Pilkey makes good points therein, except this one:
        ““I’m no longer interested in awakening the masses. The masses made it clear that they are not interested.””

        If you’ve been reading here for a few years, recall Robert Scribbler’s words re: giving up:
        “Pinch yourself, still alive”. Keep moving forward, raising awareness and creating connections between folks that are also moving forward and not giving up. The more the merrier.

        We’re all “the masses”. The tipping point we’re approaching involves raised awareness among a significant amount of the human biomass – not even a majority, just the critical amount to move past the tipping point and into the realm of radical solutions for radical problems.

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        • eleggua

           /  January 16, 2019

          The “masses” in action:
          https://gofossilfree.org/

          “Fossil Free is a global campaign led by local groups demanding our local communities and institutions commit to:

          A fast + just transition to 100% renewable energy for all
          No new fossil fuel projects anywhere.
          Not a penny more for dirty energy

          We are a powerful movement of citizens around the world working to build a future that’s free from the destructive impacts of climate change, and free from the massive, out-of-control corporations that caused it.

          How does it work?

          Fossil Free is about leveraging our power where it’s most effective — in our local communities. Small groups of people coming together are transforming their communities and the world. We join that power together in a connected global movement, that shares tools, tactics and an exciting vision for our world.

          We campaign to take away everything the fossil fuel industry needs to grow and survive: their social licence, their political licence, and their money. We organise in our communities to stop or ban new coal, oil and gas infrastructure.

          We organise and focus the huge public support for renewable energy into actionable commitments by our local institutions for 100% renewable energy. Those commitments are not only transforming our energy system, but also support and retrain workers affected by the changes, and put the ownership of energy back with the people.

          Everyone is welcome.

          Climate change isn’t just an environmental issue, or a social justice issue, or an economic issue — it’s all of those at once. It’s one of the biggest challenges humanity has ever faced, and we’re going to have to work together to solve it.

          This movement actively welcomes the talents, energy & commitment of all individuals volunteering their time, regardless of their background, ethnicity, religious or spiritual belief, gender and sexual orientation. We react immediately against hate and discrimination.

          Principle #2:
          We’re all leaders.

          Each group has the power to decide its own organising, facilitation, decision-making, communications, tactics and actions. We’re all responsible collectively for making sure we live up to our values and shared organising principles.

          Principle #3:
          We take action.

          Taking action is how we build public support behind our cause. And we recognise the importance of escalating those actions when our demands aren’t met.

          We are committed to maintaining non-violent discipline in all of our actions. We support those who take direct action and respect those who are not in a position to take part. We encourage a wide range of tactics — it strengthens our movement.”

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        • Robert in New Orleans

           /  January 17, 2019

          RE:
          Dr. Orrin Pilkey makes good points therein, except this one:
          ““I’m no longer interested in awakening the masses. The masses made it clear that they are not interested.””

          You may want to reread the article that I highlighted from the Radio Ecoshock website, as Dr Pilkey did not make that statement in is interview with the host Alex Smith.
          Mr Smith was describing climate blogger burnout:

          As we head into 2019, I notice several long-time climate bloggers and Facebook activists are “retiring” to their private lives. For example Robert Leisure, an American living in Salzburg Austria ran this on his final Facebook post for 2018:

          “I’m no longer interested in awakening the masses. The masses made it clear that they are not interested.”

          Robert’s Facebook page now describes him as “Former messenger of climate change now focusing on maximizing each day loving life and my loved ones“. That brought out a chorus of agreement from other climate activists, like Robin Westenra in New Zealand, and Dorsi Lynn Diaz in California. As Pink Floyd sang in “The Wall”: “It’s not easy banging your heart against some mad bugger’s wall“.

          I must continue with Radio Ecoshock. As Sylvia Boorstein just wrote:

          “When I recognize the pain I feel as the legitimate result of loss, I am respectful of its presence and kind to myself. My mind always relaxes when it is kind, and around the edges of the truth of whatever has ended, I see displays of what might be beginning.”

          ellegua, I can understand your misreading of the article as it was not as well edited as it should have been.

          Cordially Yours,
          RiNO

          Go Saints!

          Like

  20. Robert in New Orleans

     /  January 16, 2019

    To Those Who Think We Can Reform Our Way Out of the Climate Crisis
    https://www.thenation.com/article/climate-change-fossil-fuel-capitalism-divorce/

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  21. Robert in New Orleans

     /  January 16, 2019

    Climate Documentary: The Cross of the Moment

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  22. eleggua

     /  January 17, 2019

    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/08/180806152021.htm

    Wetter soil is leading to reduced methane gas absorption
    The trend could accelerate an increase in atmospheric methane levels and intensify global warming

    Date:
    August 6, 2018
    Source:
    Advanced Science Research Center, GC/CUNY
    Summary:
    A new paper finds that the existing effects of global warming are decreasing the soil’s ability to absorb methane gas. The paper details findings from a study that measured forest-soil uptake of methane gas in a variety of locations and settings over a 13- to 27-year span and detected decreases of 53 to 89 percent.

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