Daily Archives: June 20, 2013

Climate Change Worsens Drought, Strains Economy….

Here we have a nice new infographic for you to gaze at, share around on your facebook accounts, and so on. (It is below.) Here in Minnesota, we’ve got a problem getting that last one million acres of corn planted (about 1/8th of the normal amount), not because of drought, but because of excessive rain. However, all that extra rain is not expected to alleviate the effects of our drought long term, so we get to have both. If the price or availability of major food types (“commodities”) goes south (up and down, respectively) here and there, adjustments can be made. But if climate change induced shortages happen in several places at once, what happens then?

Anyway, here’s the graphic from Climate Nexus:


Buckled Roads, Broken Buoys, and Doomed Satellites

Two related things came across my desk this morning that should concern anyone who sees climate change as an important issue.

In Germany, the roads are buckling and breaking because of excessive heat, and there seems to be inadequate funding to re-engineer them. Here’s a photograph from Spiegel Online of what happens when the rubber meets the road (where the rubber is global warming):

"Crack on the A93 at Abensberg: Here the pad burst through the intense heat, a motorcyclist built so a fatal accident." (google translated)
“Crack on the A93 at Abensberg: Here the pad burst through the intense heat, a motorcyclist built so a fatal accident.” (google translated)

Meanwhile, over at The Guardian, John Abraham has a post describing the decline in numbers of critically important instruments measuring climate data. This includes sea moorings that collect temperature data and satellites that collect all sorts of data. Funding to maintain these and other types of equipment is lacking, and we can expect that over just a few years from now large amounts of important data will be unavailable unless this situation is reversed.

John tells us that these data collection programs…

…require adequate funding for equipment and personnel. Presently, many systems – in particular satellite platforms – are headed for declines in coverage. This means we will be operating blindly, in an information deficit. If we are to make good decisions about how to react to greenhouse gas increases, we need good information. When the economic costs of climate change are compared with the very modest costs of measurement, it seems that maintaining a robust measurement capacity is a no-brainer.

Egg Earth Photo Credit: AZRainman via Compfight cc

Breaking: Former Obama Campaign Staff’s Letter on Keystone XL

A letter signed by (so far) 145 former Obama campaign staff calls on President Obama to reject the Keystone XL pipeline. There is no doubt that President Obama’s action on climate change will be a large part of his legacy, and at this point, President Obama’s position on Keystone XL is unclear. It is true that the Obama administration is doing some good things (like this) but building the Keystone Pipeline is one of the worst things he could allow to happen.

Frustrated with this situation, the people who helped put President Obama in the White House, twice, are speaking out. Here is the letter:

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Obama,

On November 7th, the day after Election Day, we took a break from entering last-minute data or cleaning our OFA field offices and crowded around iPhones and laptops to listen to you talk.From strip malls, grungy basements, and non-descript headquarters in our adoptedcommunities of Petersburg, VA or Manchester, NH or Aurora, CO, we paused for five minutes tohear from the man who inspired us to leave our homes and give every last ounce of energy tore-elect our President, a leader so awe-inspiring that we’d tear up just knowing he’d be in our zip code. You told us on the phone that day, “When I was your age, I had this vague inklingabout making a difference, but I didn’t know how to do it…I ended up becoming a communityorganizer.” So did we.

It’s in that spirit that we write to ask you to reject the Keystone XL pipeline. We trust you tomake the right decision after you weigh all arguments, but one thing you taught us as organizersis that nothing can stand in the way of millions of voices calling for change. Mr. President, weare just a few of the millions of young people across the country who are frightened at theprospect of runaway climate change. One of the reasons we came to work for you in the firstplace is because we trust you understand how big this challenge is.

You can help cement your legacy as a climate champion by rejecting this pipeline. You alreadyknow all the reasons we can’t afford this pipeline — that it will lock in gigatons of carbon pollutionover the next four decades and that it could spill into our nation’s most valuable water sources –we’re just asking you to think of us when you make up your mind. Dozens of supporters acrossthe country told us they were casting their ballot for someone they could count on to make thetough calls when it came to our security and our health care and our climate. They voted for you,Mr. President, because we told them you’d be on the right side of history when you had to makethese calls. Because we knew you’d do the right thing and stop this pipeline.

You closed out our call on November 7th by saying to us, “Over the last four years when peopleask me how do you put up with the frustrations of Washington, I just look to you. I think aboutwhat you guys are going to do. That’s the source of my hope and my inspiration, and I know thatyou guys won’t disappoint me.” For so long you have been the source of our hope andinspiration. Please don’t disappoint us. Reject Keystone XL.


Then there are 145 signatures (see this document)

If you are a former Obama campaign staffer, you can click here to add your name.

HERE is the press release from We Are Power Shift