Melting Ice Everywhere — Arctic Sea Ice Extent Hit New Record Lows in Late July and Early August

If there is one word I’d use for the summer of 2019 it would be awakening. Awakening to a general public awareness of a climate crisis driven by fossil fuel burning we are now entering the throes of.

(According to NOAA, July of 2019 was the hottest July on record for the state of Alaska. This likely presages a July that will be globally the hottest July ever recorded in 2019. Much of this excess July heat was centered on the polar zones during the month — resulting in serious ice loss for both Greenland and the floating Arctic sea ice. Image source: NOAA.)

The global record hot month of June along with its related severe heatwaves, storms, and droughts have certainly served to raise the general awareness of trouble. Our new youth advocates such as Greta Thunberg and an expanding Extinction Rebellion, have certainly served to amplify the much-needed message. But vividly melting ice in tremendous volume — particularly in Antarctica, Greenland and on the ocean surface has also played its role.

The Arctic zone has seen an outrageous hotter than normal period that has extended throughout July and well into August. States and regions within or near the Arctic Circle have experienced temperatures from the upper 70s all the way into the lower 90s. Great wildfires have blanketed large sections of thawing permafrost and boreal forest — casting out smoke plumes covering as much as 4 million square kilometers at a time. Greenland saw a single day in which ice melt exceeded 11 billion tons. By volume, that’s 11 cubic kilometers — roughly equal to 11 moderate sized mountains — gone in a single 24 hour period (what does one cubic kilometer look like? See here.).

Out in the ocean waters of the Arctic, another key feature of our climate system that keeps the Earth environment stable, was getting hammered by the rising heat. For every day from July 22nd through August 9th, Arctic sea ice extent had been running in record low ranges below previous low marks set for this time of year during 2011 and 2012.

2012 in particular was a very severe Arctic melt year. Both sea ice and Greenland saw significant losses at that time. But it appears as we end the decade of the 2010s and start to enter the 2020s, Arctic summers like the one that occured in 2012 will become commonplace even as new hot outliers are more possible. For 2019 has begun to replace some of the previous worst losses seen during 2012.

(Arctic sea ice extent entered new record low ranges below the 2011 and 2012 lines during late July and into early August. By August 11, Arctic sea ice had dropped to 5.249 million square kilometers the second lowest measure for the date. Image source: NSIDC.)

As we get into August, it appears that at least some of 2012’s late season sea ice records will hold. The new August 11 measure of 5.249 million square kilometers is just above 2012’s low mark of 5.190 million square kilometers. And August 10 saw 2019 edging just above the 2012 line in the NSIDC measure.

Looking forward, the second week of August is expected to bring 1.38 C above average temperatures for the Arctic region. This is a rather significant departure for August as Arctic temperature anomalies tend to moderate during summer. And very warm ocean surface temperatures ranging well above 4 C warmer than average for large regions is likely to continue to enhance sea ice melt (see right image below).

(Greatly reduced Arctic sea ice extent [left] faces off against much warmer than normal Arctic ocean waters during August of 2019 [right]. Image sources: Uni Bremen and DMI.)

But a present lack of forecast strong weather systems that typically impact ice at this time of year such as burly high pressure ridges over the Central Arctic or major storms invading from the south may help to maintain at least some of the ice. Nonetheless, with so much heat left in the Arctic system and with sea ice perilously thin for this time of year, I’d be remiss if I didn’t say that anything can happen between now and traditional melt season end in mid September.

(Related video blog above.)

(Want to help fight the climate crisis by transitioning to a clean energy vehicle? Get 1,000 free supercharger miles at this link.)

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72 Comments

  1. eleggua

     /  August 12, 2019

    hi there, Robert.

    Thanks for this post and
    thank you so much for creating and maintaining this forum for shared knowledge and purpose.

    It’s now quite glaring obvious to sane and aware humans, climate change and effects are amplifying at an increasingly dire, exponential rate.
    If we wait for “them” to resolve the crisis, we die and so do they, along with a majority of the multiplicity of life on Earth.

    “Our new youth advocates such as Greta Thunberg and an expanding Extinction Rebellion, have certainly served to amplify the much-needed message.”

    Amplifying awareness of the increasingly critical circumstance and coupling that amplification with action toward a literal regime change globally is a must and an inevitability.

    That’s a major message expressed by Extinction Rebellion, as noted in Demand #3:
    https://rebellion.earth/the-truth/demands/

    “Beyond Politics

    Government must create and be led by the decisions of a Citizens’ Assembly on climate and ecological justice.
    WHAT IS A CITIZENS’ ASSEMBLY?

    A citizens’ assembly brings people together to learn, deliberate and make recommendations on an issue of public concern. Similar to jury service, members are randomly selected from the population by a process called sortition. Quotas are used to ensure that the assembly is representative in terms of key characteristics such as gender, age, ethnicity, education level and geography. Assembly members learn about critical thinking before they hear balanced information from experts and stakeholders. The members spend time deliberating in small, facilitated groups and then they draft and vote on recommendations. Citizens’ assemblies are conducted by non-partisan organisations under independent oversight. They are transparent, inclusive and effective.”

    For folks in the US, XR are here and XR is you!

    https://extinctionrebellion.us/

    Demand #3 in via US XR, echoing UK XR:

    “We do not trust our Government to make the bold, swift and long-term changes necessary to achieve these changes and we do not intend to hand further power to our politicians. Instead we demand a Citizens’ Assembly to oversee the changes, as we rise from the wreckage, creating a democracy fit for purpose.”

    There are many local and regional XR chapters in the US and they can be found at the link above. “Find a group on the map or sign up”.
    If there isn’t a chapter near you, consider starting one. You can do it and it will grow, especially as we move through the rest of 2019 and 2020.
    Don’t watch the news: help make it what you want it be!!!
    A new world and a better world, not a “new world order”.

    The end is now. The beginning is nigh!

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  2. I answer a lot of climate-related questions at Quora. Amazingly, each such question attracts a barrage of denialist answers. The stronger the evidence, the more they shout their denial.

    Liked by 2 people

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  3. Reblogged this on Bobbing Around.

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  4. eleggua

     /  August 13, 2019

    Ugh. The orange thug strikes again.

    ‘U.S. Significantly Weakens Endangered Species Act’
    Aug. 12, 2019

    “The Trump administration on Monday announced that it would change the way the Endangered Species Act is applied, significantly weakening the nation’s bedrock conservation law and making it harder to protect wildlife from the multiple threats posed by climate change.

    The new rules would make it easier to remove a species from the endangered list and weaken protections for threatened species, the classification one step below endangered. And, for the first time, regulators would be allowed to conduct economic assessments — for instance, estimating lost revenue from a prohibition on logging in a critical habitat — when deciding whether a species warrants protection.

    Critically, the changes would also make it more difficult for regulators to factor in the effects of climate change on wildlife when making those decisions because those threats tend to be decades away, not immediate.

    Over all, the revised rules appear very likely to clear the way for new mining, oil and gas drilling, and development in areas where protected species live…

    The new rules are expected to go into effect next month.

    Environmental groups, Democratic state attorneys general and Democrats in Congress denounced the changes and vowed to challenge them in Congress and in the courts…

    Erik Milito, a vice president at the American Petroleum Institute, a trade group representing the oil and gas industry, also praised the new rule and said the changes would reduce “duplicative and unnecessary regulations.””

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  5. eleggua

     /  August 13, 2019

    Baked Alaska.

    January through July 2019 mean temperature percentiles (ranking period 1925-2019)

    Sea surface temp anomalies, the last week of July 2019.

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  6. eleggua

     /  August 13, 2019

    The hour is getting late…the wind began to howl.

    ‘West Antarctic ice loss influenced by internal climate variability and anthropogenic forcing’
    12 August 2019
    https://www.nature.com/articles/s41561-019-0420-9

    “Recent ice loss from the West Antarctic Ice Sheet has been caused by ocean melting of ice shelves in the Amundsen Sea. Eastward wind anomalies at the shelf break enhance the import of warm Circumpolar Deep Water onto the Amundsen Sea continental shelf, which creates transient melting anomalies with an approximately decadal period. No anthropogenic influence on this process has been established.

    Here, we combine observations and climate model simulations to suggest that increased greenhouse gas forcing caused shelf-break winds to transition from mean easterlies in the 1920s to the near-zero mean zonal winds of the present day. Strong internal climate variability, primarily linked to the tropical Pacific, is superimposed on this forced trend.

    We infer that the Amundsen Sea experienced decadal ocean variability throughout the twentieth century, with warm anomalies gradually becoming more prevalent, offering a credible explanation for the ongoing ice loss.

    Existing climate model projections show that strong future greenhouse gas forcing creates persistent mean westerly shelf-break winds by 2100, suggesting a further enhancement of warm ocean anomalies. These wind changes are weaker under a scenario in which greenhouse gas concentrations are stabilized.”

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  7. eleggua

     /  August 14, 2019

    wharf rat commented about this unusual lightning event in Robert’s last post. Here’s a Guardian article published today with that info.

    ‘North Pole: multiple lightning strikes follow record-low sea ice levels ‘
    13 Aug 2019
    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/aug/13/north-pole-multiple-lightning-strikes-follow-record-low-sea-ice-levels

    “Multiple lightning strikes have been observed 300 miles from the North Pole, according to the US National Weather Service, in the latest sign of extreme changes to the Arctic environment.

    The strikes, detected by the NWS station in Fairbanks, Alaska, were produced by towering storm clouds. They were detected on Saturday, and while not unique, come as the region is experiencing record-low sea ice levels, high temperatures and widespread fires on areas of tundra.

    An extreme ice-melt in Greenland is estimated to have produced a run off of 197bn tons of ice-sheet water into the Atlantic, enough to raise sea levels by 0.5mm, or 0.02in, in a one-month time frame. On a single day, 1 August, Greenland lost 12.5bn tons of surface ice to the sea.

    At the same time, a wildfire has been burning in western Greenland while Siberian wildfires have produced smoke haze circling the upper regions of the globe.

    According to a NWS tweet and statement, the lightning strikes hit an area of sea ice or open ocean waters mixed with ice, near 85 degrees north, 120 degrees east.

    “This is one of the furthest north lightning strikes in Alaska forecaster memory,” the NWS stated.

    Fairbanks meteorologist Ryan Metzger told the Washington Post that he could not say if the strikes were unique, partly because meteorologists say they don’t always focus on that area.

    “I wouldn’t say it’s never happened before, but it’s certainly unusual, and it piqued our attention,” Metzger said.

    The strikes are the latest sign that Arctic warming is accelerating beyond predictions due to human-caused global climate change. In July, Alaska had its hottest month on record with temperatures breaching 90F in Anchorage, exceeding those in Miami.

    There is no longer any sea ice present in Alaskan waters, with Bering Sea ice beginning its annual melt in February while the extent of Arctic sea ice is at its lowest in at least 1,500 years, according to research.”

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  8. eleggua

     /  August 14, 2019

    Wrapped in plastic. (…paging Leland Palmer…)

    ‘It’s raining plastic: microscopic fibers fall from the sky in Rocky Mountains ‘
    13 Aug 2019
    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/aug/12/raining-plastic-colorado-usgs-microplastics

    “Plastic was the furthest thing from Gregory Wetherbee’s mind when he began analyzing rainwater samples collected from the Rocky Mountains. “I guess I expected to see mostly soil and mineral particles,” said the US Geological Survey researcher. Instead, he found multicolored microscopic plastic fibers.

    The discovery, published in a recent study (pdf) titled “It is raining plastic”, raises new questions about the amount of plastic waste permeating the air, water, and soil virtually everywhere on Earth.

    “I think the most important result that we can share with the American public is that there’s more plastic out there than meets the eye,” said Wetherbee. “It’s in the rain, it’s in the snow. It’s a part of our environment now.”…”

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  9. wharf rat

     /  August 14, 2019

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    • eleggua

       /  August 14, 2019

      Radioactivity is in the air for you and me.

      ‘Missile Explosion Prompts Radiation Warnings in Russia’
      https://www.popularmechanics.com/military/weapons/a28648523/russian-missile-explosion-radiation-warning/

      “…Although the Russian government hasn’t given time specifics, radiation levels in the area started to rise about 10 minutes before 12 p.m. local time. The location is also 29 miles west of Severodvinsk, a city of 185,000…

      The Ministry of Defense made clear that “there were no harmful emissions into the atmosphere, the radiation background is normal.” Greenpeace, on the other hand, citing data from the government’s own Emergencies Ministry, revealed that radiation levels in Severodvinsk briefly reached 20 times normal levels. ..

      The BBC, in its reporting of the incident, wrote, “A woman in Severodvinsk named only Alina told Russian news site lenta.ru: ‘I work in the hospital where they’re bringing the injured. They advise everyone to close their windows and drink iodine, 44 drops per glass of water.'”

      The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says potassium iodide is used to prevent the buildup of the radioactive isotope Iodine-131 in the thyroid gland, which could lead to thyroid cancer. Iodine-131, the CDC explains, “is produced commercially for medical and industrial uses through nuclear fission. It also is a byproduct of nuclear fission processes in nuclear reactors and weapons testing.”

      …the data revealed by Greenpeace says the radiation release is over and local radioactivity has returned to normal levels. “Twenty times normal levels” may sound alarming, but consider that normal background radiation is a tiny, nearly insignificant amount. And although the radiation should be expected to drift a considerable distance, it’s not bad enough to be a worldwide cause for alarm.”

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  10. eleggua

     /  August 14, 2019

    The Russian coverup of the missle explosion’s radiation release will advance the cause of pro-democracy protests there, a positive amidst the negative.

    ‘Moscow court ruling won’t end the growing protests in Putin’s Russia, analysts say’
    2019/08/14
    https://www.cnbc.com/2019/08/14/moscow-court-victory-but-more-protests-for-putin-and-russia.html

    “Protesters demanding that independent candidates can run in a Moscow city election appear to have won a notable concession from Russian authorities.

    On Tuesday night, a Moscow city court canceled a decision by the election commission to bar a Russian opposition candidate, Sergei Mitrokhin from taking part in the vote. Mitrokhin had been originally denied registration after a district election commission claimed his support contained suspect signatures…

    Protests have taken place in Moscow every Saturday for at least 5 weeks in a row as crowds gathered to dispute the disqualifications of candidates. Violence and arrests marked the July 27 demonstration with an estimated 1,300 people taken into custody.

    Footage from the march, broadcast across Russia, appeared to show excessive violence from police against at least one unarmed woman. The pictures horrified many Russians, leading to criticism and a swell in support for a subsequent event on August 3…

    Despite Mitrokhin now being allowing to contest the municipal vote, the Senior Vice President at Teneo Intelligence, Otilia Dhand, said more protests would continue right up until at least the September 8 vote.

    Speaking to CNBC Tuesday, Dhand, said the dynamic of the protest was changing to an indictment of how United Russia, the party of President Vladimir Putin, and the Kremlin are conducting themselves in the in the office.

    “They were calling for candidates to be to be allowed to take part in the elections three or four weeks ago, now they are calling for the release of protesters that were arrested in recent weeks,” said Dhand via a telephone call…”

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  11. eleggua

     /  August 14, 2019

    “Be Water”

    In Hong Kong, protest continues to advance the pro-democracy cause with wonderful tactics, worthwhile of adoption by activists all over the planet.

    ‘“Be Water!”: seven tactics that are winning Hong Kong’s democracy revolution’
    1 August 2019
    https://www.newstatesman.com/world/2019/08/be-water-seven-tactics-are-winning-hong-kongs-democracy-revolution

    “…Initially sparked by a government proposal to introduce a law that would allow the extradition of criminal suspects to stand trial in mainland Chinese courts, the protests have morphed into a broader pro-democracy movement, demanding greater government accountability and universal suffrage. Protests have largely been driven by young activists, who have developed and adapted their strategies during weekly protests and clashes with police, offering a masterclass in protest for activists worldwide. Here are some of their key tactics.

    No more occupying – “Be Water!”

    The worldwide “occupy” movements following the Global Financial Crisis of 2008 served as the inspiration for Hong Kong’s previous mass act of civil disobedience – a series of protests known as “Occupy Central” or the “Umbrella Movement” – in 2014. These protests adopted the “occupation” logic of the prior movements, with protesters occupying the city’s main thoroughfares for 79 days in the hope that the disruption would force the government to the negotiating table. The government refused to budge, and the protests ended in failure.

    This time around, Hong Kong’s protesters are taking their inspiration from a source closer to home: local hero, kung-fu movie star Bruce Lee, who famously advised: “Be Water”.

    Hong Kong’s young protesters are eschewing the fixed, immobile occupation strategies of the past, in favour of a highly mobile, agile style of protest. A rally may turn into a march; a march may begin in one direction and abruptly change to another direction; the focus of a particular protest action may only emerge in the course of the march itself. In recent protests, small sub-groups of protesters dispatched themselves to carry out targeted “wildcat” occupations of a government building, flooding the entrance lobbies, escalators and lifts. When the government declared the building closed and dismissed staff for the day, the protesters dispersed and moved on to their next target. As Bruce Lee said, “Water can flow, or it can crash!” …

    Supply lines and sign language

    The experiences of the Umbrella Movement and recent clashes with police have taught protesters what equipment they need at the front lines. To ensure new supplies can reach the front lines quickly, Hong Kong’s protesters have developed a unique system of hand signals, to send messages through the crowd about what equipment is required.

    A sign is passed onwards through the crowd back to the supply depots where goods have been transported near to the protest site, and the requested items are then passed through the crowd along a human chain back to where they are needed. These human supply chains have stretched as far as a kilometre in length, and are an impressive sight to behold…”

    The end ~is~ now. The beginning is nigh. Blight the power!

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    • eleggua

       /  August 14, 2019

      Melting ice everywhere? Be Water! Biomimicky and bio-memetics.
      Peaceful global revolution: the planet does that every instance of our existence.

      HK tactics in action.

      Hand signals and human chains.

      Young and old, sharing and teaching.

      Blight the power!

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  12. wharf rat

     /  August 15, 2019

    The Antarctic ice sheet is melting and, yeah, it’s probably our fault.

    Glaciers in West Antarctica have thinned and accelerated in the last few decades. A new paper provides some of the first evidence that this is due to human activities.

    by Eric Steig

    In this post, I’d like to provide a bit of context for our new paper, and to emphasize some points about our findings that are generally going to be lost in popular accounts of our work.

    The key finding is that we now have evidence that the increasing loss of ice from the West Antarctic Ice Sheet is a result of human activities — rising greenhouse gas concentrations in particular. Now, some may be surprised to learn that this wasn’t already known. But the argument that humans are responsible has rested largely on the grounds that there must be a connection. After all, why should melting have increased only in the late 20th century, precisely when the impacts of anthropogenic climate change were becoming more and more apparent? It seems an unlikely coincidence.

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2019/08/the-antarctic-ice-sheet-is-melting-and-yeah-its-probably-our-fault/

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  13. wharf rat

     /  August 15, 2019

    Deforestation of the Amazon rainforest increased by 278% in July 2019 compared with July 2018, resulting in the destruction of 870 square miles (2,253 square kilometers) of vegetation, new satellite data from the Brazilian National Institute for Space Research (INPE) show.

    That’s an area about twice the size of the city of Los Angeles. And, while the forest still spans some 2.1 million square miles (5.5 million square km — just a little bit bigger than Mexico), the spike in tree loss is part of a dangerous trend. According to the Associated Press, this is the single biggest surge in rainforest destruction since INPE began monitoring deforestation with its current methodology in 2014.

    https://www.livescience.com/66120-amazon-rainforest-deforestation-bolsonaro.html?fbclid=IwAR1crUOqpPS-Os_2-n0NPSpyFVi2q_mZcvTRrqbeQw6sF9YYIQMC0cLJkxM

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  14. mike gordon

     /  August 15, 2019

    Coal is Over
    August 14, 2019

    Everybody knows it now.

    Guardian:

    Set in a wooded valley between the Tug Fork river and the Mate creek, Matewan, West Virginia, was the site of the 1920 Matewan massacre, a shootout between pro-union coalminers and coal company agents that left 10 people dead and triggered one of the most brutal fights over the future of the coal industry in US history.
    The coal industry in Appalachia is dying – something that people there know better than anyone. Some in this region are pinning their hopes on alternative solutions, including rising Democratic star Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal.
    “Coal is over. Forget coal,” said Jimmy Simpkins, who worked as a coalminer in the area for 29 years. “It can never be back to what it was in our heyday. It can’t happen. That coal is not there to mine.
    https://climatecrocks.com/2019/08/14/coal-is-over-2/

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    • eleggua

       /  August 16, 2019

      Thanks for posting this one. Great pull-quotes in the Guardian article.
      https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/aug/12/west-virginia-appalachia-miners-green-new-deal

      ““A lot of guys thought they were going to bring back coal jobs, and Trump stuck it to them,” said 69-year-old Bennie Massey, who worked for 30 years as a coalminer in Lynch, Kentucky.”

      “Carl Shoupe, a retired coalminer in Harlan county, Kentucky, who worked as a union organizer for 14 years, said people in Appalachia need to start moving away from relying solely on the coal industry as an economic resource for the region.

      “What we’ve been doing is trying to transition into the 21st century and get on past coal,” he said.”

      “It’ll kill millions of jobs. It’ll crush the dreams of the poorest Americans and disproportionately harm minority communities,” the US president said last month.
      Shoupe doesn’t think so. “They have bushwhacked this Green New Deal, told all kinds of lies. For different people in different parts of the country, it means different things,” he said.

      Stanley Sturgill, a coalminer for 41 years in Harlan county, Kentucky, explained the Green New Deal would open the door for elected officials to use the plan to render solutions needed in their own communities.

      “If it was called the Red New Deal, it would be approved by now,” said Sturgill. “What you’re doing with the Green New Deal is you’re opening the door to infringe on the Republicans’ money and that’s what they’re afraid of. Republicans laugh and say you can’t pay for it. But if you tax everybody what they should be taxed, and I’m talking about the wealthy, there wouldn’t be a problem.”

      Sturgill cited the coal companies that receive billions of dollars in annual government subsidies and tax breaks, while hiring expensive lawyers to fight paying black lung benefits to coalminers. “I fought seven years before I got my black lung benefits, and they were hoping I died before getting paid,” added Sturgill.”

      ““McConnell came in, never did sit down and said ‘I thank you for being here. I know you’re concerned about your taxes on black lung, I just want you to know we’re going to take care of it,’ and out the door. I said: ‘no he didn’t!’ We drove ten hours to sit with our representatives and talk to them and that’s all we get,” said George Massey, who worked as a coalminer in Benham, Kentucky, for 23 years and has served on the town’s council for 19 years.

      “They look at us like we’re something under their shoes. They couldn’t care less about coalminers in south-east Kentucky,” Massey added.”

      Terry Steele, who worked as a coalminer for 26 years in Matewan and is still an active member of UMWA Local 1440, explained the nostalgic hope behind Trump’s promises are rooted in racism and sexism, while ignoring that the “good old days” where when labor unions were much stronger.

      “The good old days you should remember is when we had unions and we could look forward to a future and our kids had a better future,” said Steele. “Now our kids are scared to death of their future. It’s because of greed and everything flowing to the top.”

      Steele emphasized the need for renewable energy jobs to concentrate in Appalachia.

      “Build something where these people used to work in the mines, and good paying jobs, not having to work three jobs to make what you used to be able to make with one. We want other jobs for our kids to work at,” he added. ”

      ““It’s a racket. Miners are being robbed every day,” said Bethel Brock, who was a coalminer for 32 years in Wise, Virginia. Between 1968 to 2014, an estimated 76,000 coalminers died of black lung disease. He fought coal companies for 14 years to secure his own black lung benefits after he was diagnosed.

      “The coal operators don’t care, they just want to take you like a piece of worn out mining equipment and set you out in a field somewhere, that’s their philosophy.””

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      • wharf rat

         /  August 17, 2019

        Rat used his pen name for that one
        =

        The Tree That Is Live-Tweeting Climate Change
        With a little help from scientists, an oak in the Harvard Forest is sharing updates about its life.

        https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/tweeting-tree-climate-change?fbclid=IwAR28-NrL6n8k_oETmqJjxpZfXdixec9Uisynow2o1sfKtbIVkSMUG8PaMh4

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        • eleggua

           /  August 17, 2019

          Overstory telling our overstory.

          https://harvardforest.fas.harvard.edu/witness-tree

          “The Harvard Forest Witness Tree was chosen for this project specifically because it is not unusual. It is one of thousands of similarly picturesque, interesting, and ecologically valuable red oak trees at Harvard Forest. We ask that you do not seek to find and visit the tree for two reasons: 1) it is purposefully located off the beaten track, in a research area that is filled with wires and delicate equipment that can be easily tripped over and dislodged, disrupting the important work underway, and 2) foot traffic is hard on forests. Trampling the plants in the pathway near and around the tree also disrupts our research.

          We ask that if you visit the Harvard Forest, you stick to designated trails, and marvel at the incredible, 100+ year-old oak trees that surround you there.”

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    • eleggua

       /  August 16, 2019

      The Guardian was founded in 1821 as The Manchester Guardian by John Edward Taylor.
      Taylor was at St. Peter’s Field in Manchester, England on August 16th, 1819, and witnessed what became known as the Peterloo Massacre.

      Today is the 200th Anniversary of the Peterloo Massacre.
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peterloo_Massacre

      60,000 to 80,000 peaceful, non-violent protestors gathered there for a speech from Henry Hunt, radical speaker and supporter of the working class. Local magistrates sent in the sabre-, rifle- and bayonet-armed Cavalry, who slashed, stabbed, shot and trampled the unarmed citizenry.

      More than a dozen citizens died and over 400 were injured. Estimates of the dead vary from 11 to 18; the injured, from 450 to 700. The first to die was a two-year boy, knocked from his mother’s arms and trampled by a charging Cavalry horse.

      With peaceful non-violent protest on the rise globally, and an organized International protest on the horizon in October, a good time to reflect on what happened in Manchester 200 years ago.

      British film director Mike Leigh’s ‘Peterloo’ from last year is a historically accurate dramatization of the massacre and what led up to it.

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  15. wharf rat

     /  August 15, 2019

    Not the Onion…

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    • eleggua

       /  August 16, 2019

      Mexico will pay for it, right after they complete payment for the Wall.

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    • eleggua

       /  August 17, 2019

      You know the place where nothing is real…

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      • eleggua

         /  August 18, 2019

        Well here’s another place you can go where everything flows…

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      • eleggua

         /  August 18, 2019

        …here’s another place you can be…

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        • eleggua

           /  August 18, 2019

          ‘Millions gear up to take part in September’s global climate strikes, week of escalation’
          https://350.org/press-release-usa-climate-strikes-1/

          “Millions will take part in global climate strikes on the 20th and 27th of September, with communities across the country and around the world taking action during the entire “Week for Future and Climate Justice.” Led by youth climate strikers, people will walk out of school and work to join mass marches and rallies, music concerts, sit-ins and nonviolent direct action. Organizers say it is on course to be the largest-ever global mobilization for climate action, with over 6000 people in 150 countries already pledging to organize events…

          Art, music, and song will be centered everywhere, as communities escalate the fight to stop fossil fuels projects, build just and equitable climate solutions to transition to 100% renewable energy, and hold accountable fossil fuel executives most responsible for the climate crisis….”

          bee seeing you…

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  16. mlp in nc

     /  August 16, 2019

    SST 36.5C/97.7F in the Persian Gulf.

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  17. Syd Bridges

     /  August 16, 2019

    Looking at the latest NASA GISSTEMP at
    https://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/tabledata_v3/GLB.Ts+dSST.txt

    I see that the anomaly shown for July 2019 is 90 or 0.9 putting it .08 deg C ahead of July 2016 and July 2017. This presumably does make it the warmest month ever recorded and by a substantial margin. However, the yearly average looks likely to come in below 2016, as the early months then were so hot.

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  18. eleggua

     /  August 16, 2019

    The kids are alright!

    “Krishna Ariola, a youth climate striker from the Philippines, shares the story of her province that has been caught in a tug-of-war between coal and renewable energy for decades.”

    August 9, 2019
    ‘I’m ready for the Global Climate Strikes, are you?’
    https://globalclimatestrike.net/im-ready-for-the-global-climate-strikes-are-you/

    “…I’m writing to ask you to join me and millions around the world to strike for the climate this September. You can find a local event near you, or organise one yourself.

    4 proposed coal plants, countless mobilizations, and 22 years later: not a single coal-fired power plant has been built on our beautiful island. The women-led grassroots campaigns have gained momentous victories and since then, we have been dubbed the renewable energy capital of the Philippines, and the solar power capital of Southeast Asia…

    Many say that adults have failed us—but mine is a different story. My parents and grandparents stood strong in protecting our province. They made it clear they would not allow energy development to come at the expense of ecosystems, the climate, and our people. My generation owes it to them to continue this fight.

    That’s why I joined over 2,000 youth climate strikers to protest in front of the provincial capital last March calling on our Governor to declare Negros Occidental a coal-free province. And he did. Once again in June over 1000 youth and community members greeted a newly elected Governor to ensure they’d uphold that promise and create a Negros Renewable Energy Council to coordinate all programmes in the province. You can win progress like this where you live too—we’ve shown that people power works…

    Please help us make the climate strikes in September a turning point not just for the Philippines, but globally. Talk to your leaders, engage with your community, and be brave enough to imagine a better future. That is where we are heading together.

    See you in the streets.”

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  19. Interview with Julia King, UK Committee on Climate Change: “The elephant in the room is that the economy is based on increasing consumption. Continually trying to drive endless GDP growth in the developed and rich world is not only a bad example to the rest of the world, it’s unsustainable.”

    https://blog.planetaryecology.org/2019/08/16/view-from-the-uk-interview-with-julia-king-of-the-committee-on-climate-change/

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    • eleggua

       /  August 16, 2019

      Great takeaways from ^that^ interview.

      “RM: On the whole, do you feel that this steady pressure over a long period, within this framework, will be sufficient?

      Julia King: We need the help of the public and of green groups like Extinction Rebellion and of the press. More and more of the press are now on our side. The BBC has increased their number of environment correspondents from two to something like eleven. It’s for the same reason that the Conservative Party has become committed to the net zero target: young people are very concerned about this, while BBC viewers have an average age of 55 and Conservative Party members have an average age of 69 – well roughly, I probably haven’t got the numbers quite right! So they have to appeal to younger voters and younger viewers. It’s crucial that this interest from young people continues. Greta Thunberg and Extinction Rebellion have been very helpful.”

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  20. Interview with Martin Rees, UK Astronomer Royal: “a technical optimist, but a political pessimist”. Climate change, population, cyberterrorism, AI, space.

    https://blog.planetaryecology.org/2019/08/03/on-the-future-an-interview-with-martin-rees/

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    • eleggua

       /  August 16, 2019

      Thanks so much for doing those interviews and for reposting here. Great questions; stimulating and inspiring.

      “Martin Rees: That’s why we should welcome all these campaigns like Extinction Rebellion, and also we should welcome the importance of charismatic figures. There’s a nice quote from the anthropologist Margaret Mead, who said, “It takes only a few determined people to change the world. Indeed nothing else ever has.” And that’s true if you think of slavery, women’s suffrage, civil rights, gay rights. All those things start with a few people. Once there is a sufficient fraction of the public concerned, then politicians will take it on board.”

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  21. eleggua

     /  August 16, 2019

    “there’s a lot higher potential for Greenland to melt more quickly than we thought”

    Serious news from Greenland via NASA.

    ‘NASA scientists fly over Greenland to track melting ice’
    8/15/2019
    https://www.apnews.com/463978d56972479c89a588603fb3783b

    “…If (NASA scientist Josh) Willis’ theory that much of the damage is from the water turns out to be correct, he said, “there’s a lot higher potential for Greenland to melt more quickly than we thought.” And that means seas rising faster and coastal communities being inundated more.

    Greenland contains enough ice to make world sea levels rise by 20 feet if it were all to melt. In a single day this month, it lost a record 13.7 billion tons (12.5 billion metric tons) by one estimate.

    “It’s a little scary,” Willis said as looked down on an area filled with more water than ice. “We’re definitely watching the ice sheet disappear in front of us.”

    Willis’ project — called Oceans Melting Greenland, or OMG — is showing that it is. Now the question is how much and how fast.

    What Willis is measuring is the water 660 feet (200 meters) or more below the surface, which is warmer and saltier than the stuff that touches the air. It’s this deep water that does the major damage.

    To measure this, NASA is spending five years crisscrossing the island in a tricked-out 77-year-old DC-3 built for World War II. Willis, project manager Ian McCubbin and mechanic Rich Gill drop long, cylindrical probes through a special tube in the floor of the plane, watching as the sensors parachute down and then dive into the chilly water.

    McCubbin then waits for a tone on his computer that tells him the probe is underwater and measuring temperature and salinity. When all of the flight’s five probes start signaling — with a sound McCubbin likens to “a fax machine or an AOL modem” — he and Willis high-five.

    Meanwhile, pilots Andy Ferguson and Don Watrous bank the plane toward the blue-green spots, looking for the next target and pointing out stunning giant icebergs and signs of glacial retreat over the radio.

    As the data is radioed back from one $2,000 probe now deep in the water near Kangerlussuaq in eastern Greenland, it initially looks like the temperature hasn’t changed much over the last year or two, which could be good news. But that’s just one data point. Each year for the past four years, NASA has been looking at all of Greenland, and the numbers overall haven’t been quite as comforting.

    If the water is playing a much bigger role than scientists thought, it could mean seas will be rising faster and higher than expected. That’s because 90% of the heat energy from climate change goes into the oceans, Willis said. Warm water provides “a bigger bang for the buck” than air when it comes to melting ice, Willis said.

    Just how crucial seawater is to melting was illustrated, somewhat paradoxically, by the Jakobshavn glacier, the fast-shrinking glacier on Greenland’s more populated west coast. In recent years, it suddenly started to grow a bit, probably because of a cooling of waters as a result of a temporary shift in weather and water-current patterns, Willis said…

    A 2017 study concluded that coastal glaciers and icecaps — what Willis is studying — reached a “tipping point” for ice loss in 1997 and since then have been rapidly deteriorating. A NASA satellite found that Greenland’s ice sheet lost about 255 billion metric tons a year between 2003 and 2016, with the loss rate generally getting worse.

    It will take centuries for all of Greenland’s massive ice sheet to melt, but how fast is the key question. If warm water plays a bigger role than scientists suspect, by the year 2100, Greenland alone could cause 3 or 4 feet (more than 1 meter) of sea level rise, Willis said.

    Other scientists, such as the University of Colorado’s Ted Scambos, say Greenland’s contribution to sea level rise by 2100 would probably be closer to 1 foot (30 centimeters).

    That’s a big spread.

    “I tend toward the higher number, but I’m hoping for a lower number,” said University of Maryland Baltimore County glaciologist Christopher Shuman, whose family owns property along the coast.”

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  22. The last coal-fired power station in Wales, the 1560MW Aberthaw station, will close in March 2020. Under UK plans it would have closed by 2023 or 2025 at the latest, but they are now citing “adverse market conditions” & closing early.

    https://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/aberthaw-power-station-close-coal-16679614

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    • eleggua

       /  August 17, 2019

      With a little help from our friends.

      http://thesprout.co.uk/blog/protest-at-a-power-station/
      Feb. 2, 2017

      “Last weekend I attended a protest against Wales’ largest coal-fired power station; along with over 150 people coming from London, Bristol and Cardiff, people who belonged to groups such as the United Valleys Action group, Reclaim the Power, Bristol Rising Tide and the Coal Action group.

      The protest consisted of two sections; the first being a gathering on a nearby beach while various people explained what the problem was and what could be a solution, Then secondly there was a march around the perimeter of the power station. This ended in another empowering speech full of shocking facts and a conclusion to the event.

      The reasons for the protest at Aberthaw are almost endless and shocking; in short – it is killing us! Statistics show that the power station emits five times the amount of pollution into the atmosphere than the law allows, making it illegal. The pollution from Aberthaw can cause lung problems such as asthma and can lead to premature deaths. It’s emissions kill 400 people each year and doesn’t just affect Wales; it has an effect on much of south England and Europe too! It is calculated to cost 35000 days of lost work a year in total. So why hasn’t it been closed down ?…

      Aberthaw ranks 70 out of 14326 worse polluters in Europe. It emits so much pollution that closing it would be the equivalent of removing every vehicle off the roads of Newport and Cardiff ! It is the third largest point source of toxic nitrogen oxides in Europe. Advocate General Michael Bobek of European court of justice described Aberthaw’ sky-high pollution levels as ‘untenable’. Not only does Aberthaw emit extreme amounts of nitrogen dioxide but it is also one of the UK’s biggest emitters of mercury, 0.6% of the UK’s total emissions…”

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  23. wharf rat

     /  August 17, 2019

    Molly Ivins on Climate Change Deniers

    “One theory of government is that it only reacts to a crisis; trouble comes when we cannot even agree on what a crisis is. Pardon me if some left-wing bias is showing here, but I’d rather get my scientific information from scientists than from Limbaugh”, Ivins wrote in a 1995 column about Congress’ lukewarm response to the threat of global warming.

    Editor’s Note: This month, we’re reprinting some of our favorite Molly Ivins columns in celebration of her birth month and the upcoming wide release of Raise Hell: The Life & Times Of Molly Ivins, the documentary about her life. This column from 1995 remains prescient today.

    https://www.texasobserver.org/molly-ivins-on-climate-change-deniers/

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  24. eleggua

     /  August 18, 2019

    The end is now…

    ‘And Now, the Really Big Coal Plants Begin to Close
    By Benjamin Storrow, E&E News on August 16, 2019
    https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/and-now-the-really-big-coal-plants-begin-to-close/

    “When the Navajo Generating Station in Arizona shuts down later this year, it will be one of the largest carbon emitters to ever close in American history…

    The Navajo Generating Station isn’t alone. It’s among a new wave of super-polluters headed for the scrap heap. Bruce Mansfield, a massive coal plant in Pennsylvania, emitted nearly 123 million tons between 2010 and 2017. It, too, will be retired by year’s end…

    …in western Kentucky, the Paradise plant emitted some 102 million tons of carbon over that period. The Tennessee Valley Authority closed two of Paradise’s three units in 2017. It will close the last one next year…

    In 2015, the United States closed 15 gigawatts of coal capacity, or roughly 5% of the coal fleet. That still stands as a record amount of coal capacity retired in one year.

    Yet the emissions reductions were modest by today’s standards. The units retired in 2015 emitted a combined 261 million tons in the six years prior to their retirement, according to an E&E News review of EPA emissions data. On average, they annually emitted about 43 million tons over that period.

    Contrast that to 2018, when almost 14 GW of coal was retired. Those units emitted 511 million tons of carbon between 2010 and 2015. Their combined average annual emissions rate was 83 million tons.

    The U.S. Energy Information Administration expects almost 8 GW of coal to retire in 2019, or a little more than half the capacity retired in 2015. Yet the units retired this year emitted more than their 2015 counterparts. Between 2010 and 2015, their combined emissions were 328 million tons, giving them an annual emissions average of 55 million tons.

    There are several caveats to consider. Units scheduled for retirement generally produce less in the years running up to their closure, meaning the plants that closed in 2015 once emitted more than they did near the end of their lives.

    There’s also this: The vast majority of super-polluters have no closure date in sight. That’s because massive coal plants generally benefit from large economies of scale. Because they crank out power around the clock, their cost of generating electricity is relatively cheap.

    “The coal plants remaining have generally installed all the environmental controls,” Larsen said. “There are no additional regulatory threats, or they are cost-effective in a world where gas is $2.50 per MMBtu.”

    Another caveat: Coal plant closures don’t guarantee power-sector emissions reductions on their own. In 2018, power-sector emissions increased for the first time in many years because electricity demand rose, prompting natural gas generation to spike…

    if there is a notable trend with the current round of plant closures, it is this: The large coal plants closing today are in places like Arizona, Pennsylvania and Kentucky.

    “You’re not seeing climate policy close these plants,” said Mike O’Boyle, director of electricity policy for Energy Innovation, a nonprofit that advocates for a transition to clean energy. “Coal plants are becoming more expensive to operate over time.””

    The beginning is nigh…

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  25. eleggua

     /  August 18, 2019

    ‘Invasive Pests are Significantly Decreasing U.S. Forests’ Ability to Store Carbon’
    August 14, 2019
    https://e360.yale.edu/digest/invasive-pests-are-significantly-decreasing-u-s-forests-ability-to-store-carbon

    “More than 450 non-native insects and diseases have found their way into U.S. forests, and the millions of trees killed by these pests each year contain more than 5.53 teragrams of carbon (TgC) — equal to the emissions of 4.4 million cars, or the carbon released by one-fifth of all wildfires in the U.S. annually, according to a new study…

    The study also notes that most of these pests have not spread throughout their full potential range, leaving 41 percent of U.S. forests at risk of future damage.”

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  26. eleggua

     /  August 19, 2019

    Things are not OK.

    ““OK the first Icelandic glacier to lose its status as a glacier.
    In the next 200 years, all our glaciers are expected to follow the same path.
    This monument is to acknowledge that we know
    what is happening and what needs to be done.
    Only you know if we did it.

    Ágúst 2019
    415ppm CO2”

    The funeral for OK was today.

    ‘Iceland holds funeral for first glacier lost to climate change ‘
    18 Aug 2019
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/aug/19/iceland-holds-funeral-for-first-glacier-lost-to-climate-change

    “…As the world recently marked the warmest July ever on record, a bronze plaque was mounted on a bare rock in a ceremony on the barren terrain once covered by the Okjokull glacier in western Iceland.

    Around 100 people walked up the mountain for the ceremony, including Iceland’s prime minister, Katrin Jakobsdottir, former UN human rights commissioner, Mary Robinson, and local reseachers and colleagues from the United States from who pioneered the commemoration project.

    “I hope this ceremony will be an inspiration not only to us here in Iceland but also for the rest of the world, because what we are seeing here is just one face of the climate crisis,” Jakobsdottir said…

    Glaciologists stripped Okjokull of its glacier status in 2014, a first for Iceland. In 1890, the glacier ice covered 16sq km (6.2 square miles) but by 2012 it measured just 0.7sq km, according to a report from the University of Iceland in 2017.

    In 2014, “we made the decision that this was no longer a living glacier, it was only dead ice, it was not moving”, Oddur Sigurdsson, a glaciologist with the Icelandic Meteorological Office, told AFP.”

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  27. eleggua

     /  August 19, 2019

    The kids are alright!

    https://www.youthunited4climatecrisisaction.org/

    “On behalf of all that we love and all that lives:
    WE THE PEOPLE

    THE YOUTH OF NORTHERN NEW MEXICO,

    Declare a climate emergency and call on the adults that love us and the government that claims to represent us – to join the call and take immediate action to save our futures and all life on earth.

    9/20 STRIKE & WEEK OF DISRUPTION

    9/20 11:30am-1:30pm STATEWIDE CONVERGENCE ON THE CAPITOL & ACTION

    A CALL TO ACTION:

    YUCCA (Youth United for Climate Action) echoes the calls for robust and urgent measures in response to the climate crisis. We thereby pledge our support and participation in the General Climate Strike and 7 Days of Resistance in September, and are fastidiously working to ensure that the most vulnerable of our communities can voice their concerns, ideas, and desires for the actions and organizing of the strike to be as reflective of their lives as possible; the vibrancies of our state are being funnelled into our planning efforts as a reminder that any movement for climate justice must be an intersectional one encompassing Indigenous, Black, Latinx, gender, and economic justice.

    The demonstrated inability of elected officials to act on the climate crisis serves to remind us that we cannot limit our efforts to avenues sanctioned by the state; the foundations of the US are built on stolen land supplemented by stolen labor, and this country continues to enrich itself through militarism, imperialism, and extraction to this day. Nonetheless, we are calling on representatives of New Mexico to embrace the Green New Deal – an as-of-yet unsupported resolution by Senators Udall and Heinrich or Governor Lujan Grisham – as one step to tackle the climate crisis, even if only to signal the urgency of the situation and a commitment to act. Plainly, in striving for a guaranteed future away from fossil fuels, we cannot dismiss any and all avenues available; we urge New Mexico officials to Declare a Climate Emergency and meet our demands to secure our future.

    With immediacy, we call on our adult allies to step out of their routines, workplaces, and comfort zones on the 20th of September and the week following to show their support for and invest in our cause and the future.”

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  28. wharf rat

     /  August 19, 2019

    HUGE WILDFIRES IN THE ARCTIC AND FAR NORTH SEND A PLANETARY WARNING

    “The planet’s far North is burning. This summer, over 600 wildfires have consumed more than 2.4 million acres of forest across Alaska. Fires are also raging in northern Canada. In Siberia, choking smoke from 13 million acres – an area nearly the size of West Virginia – is blanketing towns and cities. Fires in these places are normal. But, as studies here at the University of Alaska’s International Arctic Research Center show, they are also abnormal.”

    https://www.pbs.org/newshour/world/huge-wildfires-in-the-arctic-and-far-north-send-a-planetary-warning

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    • eleggua

       /  August 19, 2019

      Map from last week showing forest fires in Siberia.

      Total amount burned there so far this year, larger than Greece.

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  29. wharf rat

     /  August 19, 2019

    Earth Stopped Getting Greener 20 Years Ago
    Declining plant growth is linked toward decreasing air moisture tied to global warming

    Scientists say the greening effects from rising levels of carbon dioxide might be over. Credit: NASA

    The world is gradually becoming less green, scientists have found. Plant growth is declining all over the planet, and new research links the phenomenon to decreasing moisture in the air—a consequence of climate change.

    The study published yesterday in Science Advances points to satellite observations that revealed expanding vegetation worldwide during much of the 1980s and 1990s. But then, about 20 years ago, the trend stopped.

    https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/earth-stopped-getting-greener-20-years-ago/

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    • eleggua

       /  August 19, 2019

      From ^that^ article:
      “…Some recent studies have revealed that parts of the Arctic are “greening” as the chilly landscape warms….”

      ‘Arctic Greening Confirmed by 30 Years of Satellite Data’
      September 05 2018
      https://weather.com/science/environment/news/2018-09-05-arctic-greening-climate-change-satellite-images-study

      “A compilation of satellite images taken over the past 30 years confirmed that the Arctic’s greening is consistent with the warming of Earth, according to a new study.

      Researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and the University of California, Berkeley decided to use satellite images captured by NOAA’s Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer, according to a press release, to document exactly when and where vegetation has bloomed over the past 30 years as the world’s coldest areas warm.

      The scientists said they were able to track, down to a pixel, which represents approximately 25 square miles, the “ebb and flow of plant growth in cold areas of the Northern Hemisphere, such as Alaska, the Arctic region of Canada, and the Tibetan Plateau.”…

      “Although the greening might sound like good news as it means more carbon uptake and biomass production, it represents a major disruption to the delicate balance in cold ecosystems,” said lead author Trevor Keenan, a faculty scientist in Berkeley Lab’s Earth & Environmental Sciences Area and an assistant professor in UC Berkeley’s Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management…”


      “NASA scientists used almost 30 years of data from the NASA/U.S. Geological Survey Landsat satellites to track changes in vegetation in Alaska and Canada. Of the more than 4 million square miles, 30 percent had increases in vegetation (greening) while only 3 percent had decreases (browning).”

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  30. eleggua

     /  August 19, 2019

    More on OMG.

    ‘At the bottom of a glacier in Greenland, climate scientists find troubling signs’
    August 19, 2019
    https://www.cnn.com/2019/08/19/weather/greenland-nasa-climate-battle-intl/index.html

    “…As our plane approached Helheim, the scientists spotted an ice-free “lake” at the very front of the glacier, something they said they don’t see often. The probes also brought back troubling data — Helheim was surrounded by warm water along its entire depth, more than 2,000 feet below the surface.

    “It’s very rare anywhere on the planet to see 700 meters of no temperature variation, normally we find colder waters in the upper hundred meters or so, but right in front of the glacier it’s warm all the way up,” said Ian Fenty, climate scientist at NASA. “These warm waters now are able to be in direct contact with the ice over its entire face, supercharging the melting.”…”


    “Ice-free “lake” at the front of Helheim glacier seen from a DC-3 plane.”

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  31. eleggua

     /  August 19, 2019

    Forest fires in the Amazon currently producing nearly as much smoke as the fires in Siberia.

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  32. eleggua

     /  August 19, 2019

    ‘Scientists Have Been Underestimating the Pace of Climate Change
    A book titled Discerning Experts explains why – and what can be done about it’
    August 19, 2019

    https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/scientists-have-been-underestimating-the-pace-of-climate-change/

    “…recent updates, suggesting that climate change and its impacts are emerging faster than scientists previously thought, are consistent with observations that we and other colleagues have made identifying a pattern in assessments of climate research of underestimation of certain key climate indicators, and therefore underestimation of the threat of climate disruption. When new observations of the climate system have provided more or better data, or permitted us to reevaluate old ones, the findings for ice extent, sea level rise and ocean temperature have generally been worse than earlier prevailing views…

    …In our new book, Discerning Experts, we explored the workings of scientific assessments for policy, with particular attention to their internal dynamics, as we attempted to illuminate how the scientists working in assessments make the judgments they do. Among other things, we wanted to know how scientists respond to the pressures—sometimes subtle, sometimes overt—that arise when they know that their conclusions will be disseminated beyond the research community—in short, when they know that the world is watching. The view that scientific evidence should guide public policy presumes that the evidence is of high quality, and that scientists’ interpretations of it are broadly correct. But, until now, those assumptions have rarely been closely examined.

    We found little reason to doubt the results of scientific assessments, overall. We found no evidence of fraud, malfeasance or deliberate deception or manipulation. Nor did we find any reason to doubt that scientific assessments accurately reflect the views of their expert communities. But we did find that scientists tend to underestimate the severity of threats and the rapidity with which they might unfold.

    Among the factors that appear to contribute to underestimation is the perceived need for consensus, or what we label univocality: the felt need to speak in a single voice. Many scientists worry that if disagreement is publicly aired, government officials will conflate differences of opinion with ignorance and use this as justification for inaction. Others worry that even if policy makers want to act, they will find it difficult to do so if scientists fail to send an unambiguous message. Therefore, they will actively seek to find their common ground and focus on areas of agreement; in some cases, they will only put forward conclusions on which they can all agree…”

    What a fool believes…

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  33. wharf rat

     /  August 20, 2019

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  34. mlp in nc

     /  August 21, 2019

    The Northwest Passage appears open on Climate Reanalyzer. Cruise ships scheduled from Aug 17 – Sep 26.

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    • eleggua

       /  August 21, 2019

      “Party ships have no place in the Arctic.”

      ‘Polar cruise boom harming the Arctic, explorer warns ‘
      13 Aug 2019
      https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/aug/13/polar-cruise-increase-harming-the-arctic-explorer-arved-fuchs-warns

      “One of the world’s leading polar explorers has warned against the explosive growth in cruise ship tourism in the Arctic, calling it damaging to both the local environment and its inhabitants.

      Arved Fuchs, a German adventurer and the first person to reach both the north and south poles on foot in a year, said: “The number of cruise ships is rising, that’s the crux. And the bigger the ship, the more problematic this is. Party ships have no place in the Arctic,” he told the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung in an interview.

      Fuchs, a celebrated environmentalist who runs an annual climate camp to teach European students about global warming, said he had witnessed small Inuit villages being inundated by day trippers spilling out of cruise ships.

      “Some of the small Inuit villages are regularly flooded with cruise ship passengers,” he said. “They do nothing more than gawp and give little back to the people who live there. The visitors are the only ones to profit, not the residents.”

      The number of cruise ships operating in the Arctic is on the rise, with major travel companies offering journeys or “expeditions” as they are often marketed, to regions hitherto rarely visited by ordinary tourists, plugging them as “the last true frontiers”, and offering attractions such as the chance to see rare wildlife, spectacular scenery, even melting ice caps…

      “Travel destinations are now limitless … with people taking cruises to the Antarctic in order to watch the ice caps melting, whilst they sip their prosecco,” Spiegel wrote in its damning front cover article entitled “S.O.S – Crazy Cruises and the Dark Side of the Dream Holiday”. It details the environmental damage caused by cruise liners as well as their operators’ ability to avoid billions of dollars in tax and the need to abide by EU work legislation by registering the ships outside the EU.

      On a recent cruise of the Mediterranean by German holidaymakers it found a man from the Philippines working onboard as a cleaner for seven days a week, 10 hours a day to earn $2.81 (£2.32) an hour…

      Fuchs, who is currently leading a scientific investigation into the amount of plastics in the sea, said he did not want to dampen the recent growth of interest in the polar regions, where dramatic climatic changes were taking place.

      “I welcome the fact that this topic is now considered so important. As we see the permafrost is melting, glaciers are melting. Entire settlements are having to be evacuated and resettled elsewhere. In some places the coast is eroding at a rate of up to 16 metres a year.

      “The Arctic acts as something like an early warning system. What happens there will later happen elsewhere in the world.””


      What could go wrong…

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    • eleggua

       /  August 21, 2019

      The Mounties always get their man.

      ‘Canadian Forces plan surveillance of Northwest Passage during Nunavut operation’
      19 August, 2019
      https://nunatsiaq.com/stories/article/canadian-forces-plan-surveillance-of-northwest-passage-during-nunavut-operation/

      “From now until the end of August, members of the Canadian Armed Forces plan to keep a close eye on marine traffic in the Northwest Passage.

      That’s the main focus of the Nanook-Nunakput military operation underway in and around Cambridge Bay, and all the way to Pond Inlet.

      “We’re going to be sending people along the Northwest Passage in a surveillance operation because the Northwest passage has opened up for more navigation,” said Major Gabriel Martin-Benoit, the task force commander for Operation Nanook 19, from Cambridge Bay…

      This August will see eight cruise ships heading though the passage, as well as other vessels of various sizes.

      Security and safety issues such as threats from ship-borne terrorists, drug dealers, poachers, artifact hunters and illegal refugees have long been a concern in Cambridge Bay, which has already seen its share of problems due mainly to visitors arriving by yachts and other watercraft.

      These include jet-skiers who wanted to go through the Northwest Passage for a reality television show and ended up being rescued, misbehaving private yacht crews like those on board the Fortrus, who partied on illegal alcohol and set off fireworks, and the Berserk II’s wild Vikings who were in Canada illegally.

      Since last year’s grounding of the Arctic cruise ship the Akademik Ioffe near Kugaaruk, which required a major evacuation and remediation effort, safety issues have also again been raised with respect to people and the environment…”


      “A Zodiac ferries passengers from the grounded Akademik Ioffe to its sister ship Akademik Sergey Vavilov on Aug. 25, 2018.”

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      • eleggua

         /  August 21, 2019

        ‘Cruise ship that grounded in Nunavut “sustained major hull damage”: TSB update’
        2 May, 2019
        https://nunatsiaq.com/stories/article/tsb-continues-its-look-august-2018-cruise-ship-grounding-in-nunavut/

        “A small amount of fuel spilled when the Akademik Ioffe cruise ship grounded near Kugaaruk last August, according to the Transportation Safety Board.

        That’s at odds with the cruise ship’s owner’s earlier reports, which claimed that no fuel spill took place.

        And the 117-metre vessel “sustained major hull damage” when it grounded on Aug. 24, the TSB says in an online update for its ongoing investigation.

        Three ballast water tanks and two bunker fuel oil tanks were breached and took on water, and about 80 litres of fuel was released, according to information from the TSB…

        While the TSB investigation report may take many more months to complete, the cruise ship grounding, which put people and the environment at risk, remains on the minds of many.

        The Akademik Ioffe’s grounding was mentioned during the recent Nunavut Impact Review Board hearing into offshore oil and gas development in the eastern Arctic and the NIRB technical meeting in Baffinland Iron Mines Corp.’s expansion plans, which would see much more shipping to and from the north Baffin Mary River mine site…”

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  35. Jean Swan

     /  August 21, 2019


    “Time to Act Now” with Roger Hallam w Extinction Rebellon

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    • eleggua

       /  August 22, 2019

      “Roger Hallam giving a talk in Penzance, Cornwall, speaking about Extinction Rebellion, the climate emergency and the ecological crisis all around the world.
      Let’s stop pretending and ACT NOW.
      If you believe we need to do something about the climate crisis join us in October for the international Rebellion.
      In October 2018, we declared The Rebellion.
      In April 2019, we declared The Emergency.
      In October 2019, we will declare The Truth.

      Starting on Monday 7 October, we are joining together as global family in an International Rebellion as we grieve the suffering and destruction of our beautiful homeworld.
      We will gather with our communities across cities, countries, and continents, to rise up and rebel for our deep love of life and the need to protect it. ”

      Join the Rebellion:
      https://xrebellion.org/

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  36. mlp in nc

     /  August 22, 2019

    Fracking prompts global spike in atmospheric methane, study suggests. Source:
    European Geosciences Union. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/08/190814090610.htm
    The fracking methane is the light carbon type, like that from wetlands and cows. So how can you tell how much is due to the cows?

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  37. eleggua

     /  August 22, 2019

    ‘Brazil’s Amazon rainforest is burning at a record rate, research center says’
    August 21, 2019
    https://www.cnn.com/2019/08/21/americas/amazon-rainforest-fire-intl-hnk-trnd/index.html

    “Fires are raging at a record rate in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest, and scientists warn that it could strike a devastating blow to the fight against climate change.
    The fires are burning at the highest rate since the country’s space research center, the National Institute for Space Research (known by the abbreviation INPE), began tracking them in 2013, the center said Tuesday.
    There have been 72,843 fires in Brazil this year, with more than half in the Amazon region, INPE said. That’s more than an 80% increase compared with the same period last year….

    Dramatic images and videos on social media show giant plumes of smoke rising from the greenery and lines of fire leaving blackened waste in their wake.
    The smoke has reached all the way to Sao Paulo, more than 1,700 miles away. Images from the city show the sky pitch-black in the middle of the afternoon, the sun blanketed by smoke and ash.
    The European Union’s satellite program, Copernicus, released a map showing smoke from the fires spreading all along Brazil to the east Atlantic coast. The smoke has covered nearly half of the country and is even spilling over into neighboring Peru, Bolivia and Paraguay…”

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    • eleggua

       /  August 22, 2019

      That word again: “unprecedented”.

      “…the destruction this year is “unprecedented””

      ‘Blame humans for starting the Amazon fires, environmentalists say’
      August 22, 2019
      https://www.cnn.com/2019/08/22/americas/amazon-fires-humans-intl-hnk-trnd/index.html

      “…Environmental organizations and researchers say the wildfires blazing in the Brazilian rainforest were set by cattle ranchers and loggers who want to clear and utilize the land, emboldened by the country’s pro-business president.
      “The vast majority of these fires are human-lit,” said Christian Poirier, the program director of non-profit organization Amazon Watch. He added that even during dry seasons, the Amazon — a humid rainforest — doesn’t catch on fire easily, unlike the dry bushland in California or Australia.

      Farmers and ranchers have long used fire to clear land, said Poirier, and are likely behind the unusually large number fires burning in the Amazon today. ..

      The country’s space research center (INPE) said this week that the number of fires in Brazil are 80% higher than last year. More than half are in the Amazon region, spelling disaster for the local environment and ecology.
      And 99% percent of the fires result from human actions “either on purpose or by accident,” Alberto Setzer, a senior scientist at INPE, said. The burning can range from a small-scale agricultural practice, to new deforestation for a mechanized and modern agribusiness project, Setzer told CNN by email…

      This year’s fires fit into an established seasonal agricultural pattern, Brink said. “It’s the best time to burn because the vegetation is dry. [Farmers] wait for the dry season and they start burning and clearing the areas so that their cattle can graze. And that’s what we’re suspecting is going on down there.”
      The peak of the dry season is still to come in September, she added.
      Compared to previous years, the destruction this year is “unprecedented,” Poirier said.

      …just weeks ago, the director of INPE was fired after a spat with the president. The director had defended satellite data that showed deforestation was 88% higher in June than a year earlier, which Bolsonaro characterized as “lies.”

      Bolsonaro, who has previously said he is not “Captain Chainsaw” in reference to Amazon deforestation, has dismissed accusations of responsibility for the fires. On Wednesday, he speculated that the Amazon fires could have been caused by nonprofit organizations who are suffering from lack of funding, to “generate negative attention against me and against the Brazilian government.”

      Poirier warns that shrugging off the fires could embolden farmers to burn more and “land grabbers” to illegally occupy, parcel out, and resell plots of land to ranchers. There have previously been attempts to rein in these rainforest “mafia” — but these attempted crackdowns are rare and often met with strong public opposition.

      All the while, the Amazon veers toward potential disaster.

      “The Amazon is incredibly important for our future, for our ability to stave off the worst of climate change,” said Poirier. “This isn’t hyperbole. We’re looking at untold destruction — not just of the Amazon but for our entire planet.”

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  38. eleggua

     /  August 22, 2019

    Good news.

    ‘The Florida Aquarium Becomes First Organization in History to Induce Spawning of Atlantic Coral; A New Hope to Save Florida’s Reefs’
    | 8/21/2019
    https://www.floridatrend.com/article/27675/the-florida-aquarium-becomes-first-organization-in-history-to-induce-spawning-of-atlantic-coral-a-new-hope-to-save-floridas-reefs

    “For the first time ever, endangered Atlantic pillar coral have spawned through lab-induced techniques. The scientific breakthrough occurred this week in a research laboratory at The Florida Aquarium’s Center for Conservation in Apollo Beach as part of Project Coral. Scientists believe the historic breakthrough could ultimately help save corals in the Florida Reef Tract from extinction.

    This conservation effort enables coral sexual reproduction to occur entirely outside of the ocean using innovative technology. This is a world-first coral reef restoration and research advancement in which Atlantic coral, living for several years at the Center as part of a genetic archive, has been reproduced through induced spawning, setting a new stage for saving coral reefs in Florida and the Caribbean.

    “When history is made, there is hope, and today’s scientific breakthrough by The Florida Aquarium’s team of coral experts gives us real hope that we can save the Florida Reef Tract from extinction,” said Roger Germann, The Florida Aquarium President and CEO. “And, while many coral experts didn’t believe it could be done, we took that challenge to heart and dedicated our resources and expertise to achieve this monumental outcome. We remain fiercely committed to saving North America’s only barrier reef and will now work even harder to protect and restore our Blue Planet.”

    This project is a “head start” program for coral – the Aquarium will raise the juvenile corals long enough to give them a better chance of survival than they would have had as larvae in the ocean. This effort brings The Florida Aquarium Center for Conservation scientists a huge step closer to helping restore Florida’s reefs.

    This breakthrough is just one of The Florida Aquarium’s coral projects currently underway. Aquarium researchers are working on different approaches to save multiple endangered species of coral that are imperative to the restoration and overall health of the Florida Reef Tract. ”

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    • eleggua

       /  August 22, 2019


      “Keri O’Neil, left, senior coral scientist with the Florida Aquarium, and a colleague work at the sea floor introducing corals to the Florida Reef Tract. [Photo courtesy of Florida Aquarium]”

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  39. eleggua

     /  August 22, 2019

    Getting harder to keep one’s wits about them…

    ‘Pollution linked to increase in depression and bipolar disorder, massive study suggests’
    8.21.2019
    https://www.ajc.com/news/world/pollution-linked-increase-depression-and-bipolar-disorder-massive-study-suggests/UvQ055VFyCZbckoi9B87VL/

    “…high levels of air pollution can also hurt our brains, our cognitive abilities and our overall mental well-being.

    In fact, a new study published Tuesday in the journal PLoS Biology found that among more than 100 million individuals in the United States and Denmark, poor air quality was associated with an increased risk of both major depression and bipolar disorder.

    “These neurological and psychiatric diseases—so costly in both financial and social terms—appear linked to the physical environment, particularly air quality,” study author and computational biologist Atif Khan said in a statement.

    Khan, senior author Andrey Rzhetsky and their University of Chicago colleagues first dug into a database of 151 million Americans with 11 years of inpatient and outpatient claims for neuropsychiatric diseases, mental disorders typically attributed to diseases originating from the nervous system that impair one’s ability to learn, work or emotionally cope.

    The researchers compared the medical claims with the air quality of their respective geographies. Khan and his team measured 87 different air pollutants (pulled from the Environmental Protection Agency) and found that compared to places with the best air quality, areas with the worst air quality had a 27% increase in rates of bipolar disorder and a 6% increase in rates of major depression.

    They also noted a “strong association between polluted soil and an increased risk of personality disorder,” according to a university article…”

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  40. eleggua

     /  August 22, 2019

    Upward trends.

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  41. eleggua

     /  August 22, 2019

    Boooo.

    The day after Jay Inslee withdraws his candidacy, this DNC debacle diminishes the discussion re: climate issues even further.

    ‘DNC votes down climate-focused debate’
    8/22/2019
    https://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/458445-dnc-votes-down-climate-focused-debate

    “A committee within the Democratic National Committee (DNC) on Thursday voted down a proposal for a debate focused on climate change.

    The DNC’s resolution committee voted against the measure, though a resolution calling for a climate debate could still be considered for a vote by the full committee Saturday as they continue to meet over the weekend.

    The committee defeated the resolution in a 17-to-8 vote…

    A number of candidates have heeded calls for a climate-focused debate, but one of the loudest of those voices, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, ended his presidential bid late Wednesday night.

    Christine Pelosi, a member of the executive committee and the resolution committee, was one of three DNC members to introduce a resolution that called for a standalone climate debate.

    Pelosi, daughter of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), introduced the resolution Thursday that read: “Therefore, be it resolved that one of the first of several DNC Presidential Debates should be focused on Climate Change issues and solutions.”

    “There are a number of us who want to have a standalone debate on the issue of climate. It’s more than an issue. We need a climate crisis response blueprint,” Pelosi previously told The Hill.

    The DNC has so far held two presidential primary debates. Each devoted a period of time to asking candidates about climate change, but some have criticized the timing as not enough compared to the threat.

    Nevertheless, environmental activists believe one silver lining emerged from Thursday’s voting activity. The committee passed Resolution 4, an amendment that would in part allow for candidates to appear side by side on stage to have a discussion on a single issue, such as climate change…

    DNC officials however pushed back on the characterization, saying the language did not expressly allow future unsanctioned climate debates. Currently the DNC only allows candidates to appear on stage one at a time at single issue forums. The debate ban warned that candidates who participated in such events would be bared from participating in future DNC debates…”

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  42. eleggua

     /  August 23, 2019

    Bernie weighs in heavily.

    ‘Bernie Sanders’s ‘Green New Deal’: A $16 Trillion Climate Plan
    Aug. 22, 2019

    “Senator Bernie Sanders on Thursday released a $16.3 trillion blueprint to fight climate change, the latest and most expensive proposal from the field of Democratic presidential candidates aimed at reining in planet-warming greenhouse gases.

    Mr. Sanders unveiled his proposal one day after Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington, who made climate change the central focus of his campaign, announced he was dropping out of the 2020 race. Mr. Inslee’s absence could create an opening for another presidential aspirant to seize the mantle of “climate candidate.”…

    …his new plan, which calls for the United States to eliminate fossil fuel use by 2050.

    It declares climate change a national emergency; envisions building new solar, wind and geothermal power sources across the country; and commits $200 billion to help poor nations cope with climate change…

    “I have seven grandchildren, and I’m going to be damned if I’m going to leave them a planet that is unhealthy and uninhabitable,” he added…

    Mr. Sanders’s plan would be funded in part by imposing new fees and taxes on the fossil fuel industry. He described the proposal as putting “meat on the bones” of the Green New Deal resolution and laying the groundwork for a rapid energy transformation…

    Mr. Sanders’s campaign estimated that roughly $3.1 trillion would be generated from “making the fossil fuel industry pay for their pollution” through new but unspecified fees and eliminating $15 billion in annual subsidies; another $1.2 trillion would come from “scaling back military spending on the global oil supply,” and $2.3 trillion would be collected from new income tax revenues from new jobs in the renewable energy industry, among other measures.

    The spending would go toward researching energy storage and electric vehicles, supporting small farms and developing ways to “make our plastic more sustainable through advanced chemistry.” Under the plan, the federal government would also provide five years of unemployment insurance, a wage guarantee, housing assistance and job training to “any displaced worker” in the fossil fuel industry.”

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  43. Robert in New Orleans

     /  August 23, 2019

    David Koch has died.
    But I suspect we will all suffer because of his legacy of evil.

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    • eleggua

       /  August 24, 2019

      Things go bitter with Koch.

      We’ve suffered enough. Things are progressing toward the positive and the pace is quickening. Phase shift moment coming up relatively fast.

      The torch will be passed to a new generation.

      ‘David Koch’s reclusive nephew is next in line to inherit the family legacy, and he may be planning a shift away from conservative politics’
      8/23/2019
      https://www.businessinsider.com/david-koch-dead-chase-nephew-next-in-line-shift-conservative-2019-8

      “…it’s time for another Koch to step up and succeed David in the family business.

      With all of David’s children under the age of 25, and Charles’ eldest child, Elizabeth, uninvolved in Koch Industries or its network at large, that role falls to Chase Koch, 42, Charles’ son.

      …Chase has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to Republican congressional candidates, including Sens. Mike Lee of Utah, James Lankford of Oklahoma, and Tim Scott of South Carolina, Politico reported.

      He has not given any money to President Donald Trump’s campaigns, which isn’t surprising, given that his father and uncle have taken overt steps to distance themselves from the GOP after Trump won the primary and oppose many of his proposed ideas and policies, including his tariffs, travel ban, and stance on immigration…

      After graduation (from Texas A&M), Chase remained in Austin, Texas, playing Led Zeppelin covers in a garage band…

      Chase is less focused on the tangled web of political policy in Washington, DC, choosing to live and work in Wichita, Kansas…

      His relaxed approach to politics exudes libertarian ideals, such as championing the free market and principles of independent growth.

      At a retreat Chase held for two dozen wealthy young professionals in Vail, Colorado, in May 2018, the Koch heir shifted away from the usual Koch network attire of suits and loafers, preferring wool and trendy sneakers, Politico Magazine reported.

      Chase also strayed from talking about conservative politics and policy, as is usual at Koch summits and workshops, and focused instead on broader libertarian ideals of personal transformation and “North Stars,” or driving passions, encouraging the retreat’s attendees to focus on helping solve problems through nonprofits and advocacy work.

      Chase has taken opportunities to invest in social justice after the rise of Trump’s divisive rhetoric.

      “Market-based Management” is one of the key principles that has allowed the Koch family to become one of the most influential forces in American politics and business. Chase has used the same mindset to apply growth-based tactics to social-justice causes, some of which wouldn’t typically jibe with GOP principles.

      Barron’s reported that Chase has invested in criminal-justice-reform initiatives, including getting companies to hire former convicts — Koch Industries told Business Insider it was one of the very first large companies to do this, using its “ban-the-box” policy of removing criminal-history questions from its job applications.

      Through the Koch-funded philanthropic anti-poverty organization Stand Together, Chase has worked with a Dallas restaurant that trains and hires juvenile offenders…”

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  44. eleggua

     /  August 24, 2019

    Chernobyl of the sea.

    ‘Russia floating nuclear power station sets sail across Arctic’
    23 August 2019
    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-49446235

    “Russia has launched a pioneering floating nuclear power station, which will sail 5,000km (3,000 miles) from the Arctic port of Murmansk to Chukotka in the far east.

    The nuclear agency Rosenergoatom says the Akademik Lomonosov’s mobility will boost the power supply to remote areas.

    One of its targets is to power the Chaun-Bilibin mining complex in Chukotka, which includes gold mines.

    Greenpeace sees the project as high-risk, in a harsh weather environment.

    Critics including Greenpeace point to previous Russian and Soviet nuclear accidents and warn that the Akademik Lomonosov’s mission increases the risk of polluting the Arctic – a remote, sparsely-populated region with no big clean-up facilities…

    The floating power station’s highly radioactive spent fuel will be stored on board. Others of similar design will follow to serve remote areas…

    The Northern Sea Route connecting European Russia with far eastern ports is becoming navigable for longer periods because global warming is reducing pack ice…

    The Lomonosov was built in St Petersburg and has two nuclear reactors of the type used in Russian icebreakers. They are KLT-40S reactors with a combined capacity of 80 megawatts, and are reported to be tsunami-proof.

    Russia’s Vesti news programme says the facility will have enough power to illuminate and heat a town of about 100,000 inhabitants. The crew on board is expected to be about 70-strong.

    It is 140m (459ft) long, 30m (98ft) wide and is expected to operate for 40 years.

    In the period 1968-1976 the US Army used a floating nuclear power plant at the Panama Canal, for canal operations, called the MH-1A Sturgis. It was a converted World War Two cargo ship, and was later decommissioned….”

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