Tag Archives: Climate Change

President Obama and Vice President Gore

Syria Will Sign The Paris Climate Accord

It is now being reported that Syria will sign the Paris Climate Pact.

This will leave the United States as the only country in the entire world that has not signed the accord. This may be the first time that the US was quite so alone in an international agreement. The reason the US has not signed is because Donald Trump decided this. Many assume this is because Trump, the Petroleum Industry and Russia are in cahoots over oil. I think not. The main driving force for Trump Policy is this one single thing: Did the black guy do it? If the black guy did it, then undo it. Paris is a product of President Obama’s administration, therefore it can not stand under Trump. Never ind what our country, or the world, wants or needs. Continue reading Syria Will Sign The Paris Climate Accord

Nicaragua Poised To Embarrass America

We, and by “we” I mean “Donald Trump and his Republicans,” are already in a position of disdain by most of the rest of the world for being only one of three nations not signed on to the Paris climate pact.

The other two countries were a) Syria, not really a country any more, and b) Nicaragua.

Nicaragua is now joining the pact, according to Vice President Murillo, reported here:

“It is the only instrument we have in the world that allows the unity of intentions and efforts to face up to climate change and natural disasters,” Murillo said.

Nicaragua, a poor Central American nation that is often threatened by hurricanes, was the only nation to reject the agreement in 2015, and has argued for far more drastic action to limit rising temperatures.

The latest round of negotiations take place after a string of powerful hurricanes ravaged Caribbean island nations and caused billions of dollars in damage along the Texas and Florida coastlines.

Climate scientists have said warmer air and water resulting from climate change may have contributed to the severity of the storms. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has disputed such claims as an attempt to “politicize” natural disasters.

Dire Predictions: Understanding Climate Change, Must Read Book

Dire Predictions: Understanding Climate Changeis everyperson’s guide to the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report. The IPCC issues a periodic set of reports on the state of global climate change, and has been doing so for almost two decades. It is a massive undertaking and few have the time or training to read though and absorb it, yet it is very important that every citizen understands the reports’ implications. Why? Because human caused climate change has emerged as the number one existential issue of the day, and individuals, corporations, and governments must act to implement sensible and workable changes in behavior and policy or there will be dire consequences.

Continue reading Dire Predictions: Understanding Climate Change, Must Read Book

Watching the Earth breath from space: OCO-2 and measuring CO2

The OCO-2, aka, Orbiting Carbon Observatory 2, is a satellite that measures CO2 in the atmosphere, using a spectrograph.

From a news article in today’s Science, “One of the crowning achievements of modern environmental science is the Keeling curve, the detailed time series of the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) begun in 1958 that has enabled deep insights into the mechanisms of global climate change. These measurements were difficult to make for most of their 60-year history, involving the physical collection of air samples in flasks at a small number of sites scattered strategically around the globe and the subsequent analysis of their CO2 inventories in a handful of laboratories throughout the world.”

The purpose of the OCO-2 was to make these measurements much more accurate and efficient, and to provide more granularity in the details. The space craft was launched in July 2014, replacing an earlier OCO (OCO-1, if you like) which was launched in 2009.

Do not tell Donald Trump about this satellite. He’ll have it shot down.

Anyway, the current issue of Science Continue reading Watching the Earth breath from space: OCO-2 and measuring CO2

Tragic and Unprecedented California Deadly Fire

The news is bad, and is being widely covered. Here I just want to make a remark or two about the link between big fires and global warming.

As of last report, there are 15 known dead and 150 or more missing. Hopefully they are only virtually and not actually missing; there is a lot of confusion and communication resources are in many cases down.

Wild fires are tricky in more ways then one. It is easy to get caught in one (I’ve manage that myself), and it is hard to predict or fully understand why some years have more than others. There has been a long term trend nationally towards fewer wild fires, for several reasons, most of which have to do with human activities. The most significant part of that trend is that humans caused many, huge, often deadly wild fires in the past. The worst wildfire ever in Minnesota, in terms of Death toll, was during World War I and had mainly to do with farming and railroads being a bad mix. Cutting lots of land to farm provides the fuel, and in those days, railroads were travelling tinderboxes sparking fires everywhere they went. Continue reading Tragic and Unprecedented California Deadly Fire

Climate and energy are becoming focal points in state political races

Just a pointer to my colleague John Abraham’s current post in The Guardian:

The latest example, Minnesota gubernatorial candidate Rebecca Otto has a strong clean energy proposal

As soon as Donald Trump won the presidential election, people in the US and around the world knew it was terrible news for the environment. Not wanting to believe that he would try to follow through on our worst fears, we held out hope.

Those hopes for a sane US federal government were misplaced. But they are replaced by a new hope – an emerging climate leadership at the state level and a continuation of economic forces that favor clean/renewable energy over dirty fossil fuels. In fact, it appears that some states are relishing the national and international leadership roles that they have undertaken. Support for sensible climate and energy policies is now a topic to run on in elections.

This change has manifested itself in American politics. One such plan stems from my home state, but it exemplifies work in other regions. I live in the state of Minnesota where we are gearing up for a gubernatorial election, which is where this plan comes from.

My state is well known as somewhat progressive, both socially and economically. The progressive policies resulted in a very strong 2007 renewable energy standard, which helped to reduce carbon pollution and create 15,000 jobs.

As an aside, it is really painful for me to…

Click here to find out about John’s pain!

An Interesting New Graphic Showing Climate Change

This graphic, by Boggis Makes Videos and put on YouTube just a few days ago, breaks all the rules of how to make effective, understandable graphs for the general public. However, if you follow all those rules, it is difficult or impossible to get certain message across. Therefore, this graphic is necessary if a bit difficult. I would like you to watch the graphic several times with a prompt before each watching so that you fully appreciate it. This will only take you six or seven minutes, I’m sure you weren’t doing anything else important. Continue reading An Interesting New Graphic Showing Climate Change

An interesting new graphic showing climate change

This graphic, by Boggis Makes Videos and put on YouTube just a few days ago, breaks all the rules of how to make effective, understandable graphs for the general public. However, if you follow all those rules, it is difficult or impossible to get certain message across. Therefore, this graphic is necessary if a bit difficult. I would like you to watch the graphic several times with a prompt before each watching so that you fully appreciate it. This will only take you six or seven minutes, I’m sure you weren’t doing anything else important.

Pass 1: How to read the graph

This graph’s basic data are temperature anomaly, not temperature, but difference in observed temperature averaged out over a month, using a baseline of 1961-1990. Global warming was already underway for this period, but it still works as a baseline. Anyway notice the scale shown at the beginning of the presentation.

The Graph shows the temperature anomaly across latitude, using a circle meant to represent the earth, so the north pole is on top, the south pole on the bottom, the equator half way between, etc.

The height of the graph’s bars, as well as their color, show the anomaly, but the beginning of the graphic shows you how far out, in standard deviations, the values are.

The Graphic display starts at 1900. The values are shown for each month, but they are 12 month moving average values, otherwise this graphic would give you a seizure.

So watch the first 20 seconds or so as many times as you need to, to fully understand these details.

Pass 2: It is getting warmer and weirder

On the first pass, just note that as the earth gets warmer, at sea and on land (see the two graphics at the bottom). Notice that the variation from year to year as well as the increase in temperature really takes off in the 1980s. Notice that the surface warmth values increase dramtically starting in the 1990s. Notice that things get really wild over just the last ten years or less.

Pass 3: Ends and middles

On your third pass, and this may take a few passes, notice the difference between the equatorial, temperate, and polar regions, as well as the difference between the two poles.

Consider that the increased warming in arctic regions compared to other regions affects many aspects of our weather.

Consider that the increases in temperate and tropical regions means that over some periods of time an increasingly lager area of the earth becomes uninhabitable without air conditioning.

Notice that the northern and southern hemisphere don’t have the same exact pattern.

What else did you see?