By Alister Doyle and William Schomberg
OSLO/LONDON (Reuters) - Investments to help fight climate change can also spur economic growth, rather than slow it as widely feared, but time is running short for a trillion-dollar shift to transform cities and energy use, an international report said on Tuesday.
The study, by former heads of government, business leaders, economists and other experts, said the next 15 years were critical for a bigger shift to clean energies from fossil fuels to combat global warming and cut health bills from pollution.
“It is possible to tackle climate change and it is possible to have economic growth at the same time,” Felipe Calderon, a former Mexican president and head of the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, told a news conference.
Many governments and businesses wrongly fear that measures to slow climate change will undermine jobs and growth, he said. The report is meant to guide world leaders at a Sept. 23 climate summit hosted by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
George Dvorsky at Io9 has some really bad news for us. If only all those people out there denying that our actions are effecting the climate, had stopped and actually helped us solve the problem instead. Maybe than we wouldn’t be facing this terrifying prospect in the future.
During the 1930s, America’s High Plains were ravaged by an 8-year long drought, resulting in the dreaded Dust Bowl. Scientists now warn that, owing to global warming, this could happen again — and that by next century many parts of the world could experience “megadroughts” lasting for several decades.
The new study, which was conducted by Cornell University, the University of Arizona, and U.S. Geological Survey researchers, used climate model simulations and paleoclimate data to predict that the chances of the southwestern United States experiencing a decade-long drought is at least 50%. The analysis suggests that the risk is at least 80%, and possibly as high as 90%, in certain areas.
The month of June was the planet’s hottest, federal scientists said Monday, a record that dates back through 134 years of report-keeping and underscores a trend of increasingly warmer global temperatures.
June’s average temperature — 61.2 degrees — marked the 38th consecutive June that the mercury has been above the 20th century average, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
California made history, too. A warm June helped the state log its hottest start to the year on record, with a temperature 4.8 degrees above the 20th century average for the six-month period, and 1.1 degrees above the previous high in 1934.
San Francisco, Sacramento and Fresno all experienced their hottest six-month starts on record. Los Angeles saw its second warmest start, while San Diego saw its third warmest.
Wingnuts are deliberately making their vehicles pollute more, to protest the government restricting their ability to pump carbon dioxide into the atmosphere! People are turning their cars and trucks into machines that spout black soot, and they’re calling it “Rolling Coal.”
My hope is that we can ban this state by state. It’s terrible, not only for its effect on climate change, but for people’s health in general.
According to Slate this thing as been around for awhile.
“Rolling coal” is not new. It grew out of the modifications people would do on their vehicles for truck pulls. It’s just only recently entered the online culture wars. I’d seen the memes and a couple of the trucks. But I hadn’t seen the left reply until this month, when Vocativ ran an expose of “pollution porn for dudes with pickup trucks.” Progressives reacted with disbelief to Facebook communities like “Rollin’ COAL” and (naturally) “Prius Repellent,” and to the sheer number of Instagram and Tumblr entries that recorded this stuff. They reacted with a mid-June surge of comments, sprinkled throughout these pages, all about the breeding patterns and penis sizes of the coal-rollers.
This is as dumb as it sounds. Maybe this shouldn’t be a surprise though. Save for some cranks like William Happer, ( Who isn’t even in a relevant field of study ) the overwhelming majority of scientists realize that global warming is real.
Yet there are people out there that “roll coal” and turn their car or truck into a black smoke spewing, polluting machine to protest “the Man.” They refuse to accept the harmful effects of what they’re doing.
NASA engineers recently created a satellite to monitor the amount of carbon dioxide we’re pumping into the atmosphere, as USA Today points out,
From its perch 438 miles above Earth’s surface, the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 will be NASA’s first satellite with the sole purpose of measuring atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas linked to global warming.
During its two-year mission, the satellite will provide more-accurate readings of CO2 levels on global and regional scales, allowing scientists to better understand how natural processes and human activity affect concentrations of the greenhouse gas.
Unfortunately this, along with the news of the melting polar ice caps may not have any effect on climate change deniers, especially those that are “rolling coal”
Steven Colbert had the perfect response to this new wingnut trend.
Yet this is just a symptom of a much larger problem. Maybe if we had better science education, fewer people would do stuff like this. Instead of “rolling coal,” to protest restrictions that are actually perfectly justified to fight climate change, maybe some of these people would actually be trying to help solve the problem. If they knew better maybe they’d realize why this is bad for our future, not to mention everyone’s health including their own. I wouldn’t bring my lungs anywhere near one of these black smokers. That would be common sense, even if I didn’t know carbon dioxide causes global warming.
Update: 7/19/14 at 11:16 am
Randall Gross just posted some more information about the negative health effects in a recent comment
Forget about climate for a minute, all benzene ring compounds ( like those spewed by these exhausts) cause cancer and several other serious health problems:
CDC on Benzene:
Long-term health effects of exposure to benzene
The major effect of benzene from long-term exposure is on the blood. (Long-term exposure means exposure of a year or more.) Benzene causes harmful effects on the bone marrow and can cause a decrease in red blood cells, leading to anemia. It can also cause excessive bleeding and can affect the immune system, increasing the chance for infection.
Some women who breathed high levels of benzene for many months had irregular menstrual periods and a decrease in the size of their ovaries. It is not known whether benzene exposure affects the developing fetus in pregnant women or fertility in men.
Animal studies have shown low birth weights, delayed bone formation, and bone marrow damage when pregnant animals breathed benzene.
The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has determined that benzene causes cancer in humans. Long-term exposure to high levels of benzene in the air can cause leukemia, cancer of the blood-forming organs.
How you can protect yourself, and what to do if you are exposed to benzene
First, if the benzene was released into the air, get fresh air by leaving the area where the benzene was released. Moving to an area with fresh air is a good way to reduce the possibility of death from exposure to benzene in the air.
If the benzene release was outside, move away from the area where the benzene was released.
Don’t forget to read the rest of what he has to say so you can see just how serious being exposed to the chemicals from one of these modified vehicles could be.
He also provided a link to CDC on the health effects of exposure to diesel exhaust that backs up everything he wrote.
We all know a conspiracy theorist. Maybe it’s that kid from high school who keeps putting photos of “chemtrails” on his Facebook wall, or an uncle who listens to alternative radio and thinks Obama is a reptilian creature in a human skin suit. It’s easy to laugh at them and congratulate ourselves for being smarter than they are, but in doing so you’d be missing something important:
Yeah, it’s time to take conspiracy theorists seriously, but not for the reasons they want us to.
Here’s some good environmental news for a change. It was brought to us by Ari Phillips via Think Progress.
Kevin Johnson, at podium, Sacramento Mayor, President, The United States Conference of Mayors gestures as he responds to questions during a news conference at the annual meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors as Columbus, Ohio Mayor Michael B. Coleman, center left, Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter, right, show their support, Friday, June 20, 2014, in Dallas.
CREDIT: AP/Tony Gutierrez
Confronting climate change is a major agenda item at this week’s U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting in Dallas, Texas, including climate protection awards, climate panels, and a discussion with U.S. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and U.S. DOE Secretary Ernest Moniz. Mayors signed the latest version of the Climate Protection Agreement — endorsed by over 1,000 mayors, it supports a national goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent from 1990 levels by 2050 amongst other things.
This is a scene from this weeks upcoming episode of Cosmos. Tyson debunks one of the most common claims made by climate change deniers. He explains why short term cooling doesn’t prove that the carbon dioxide we’re pumping into the atmosphere is not causing global warming. The episode will air on Fox This Sunday, and National Geographic the following Monday.
Rising sea levels threaten the very existence of the world’s island nations, including some of the most romantic places on earth, such as Maldives and more 1,500 islands of Indonesia.
While big countries like the USA, Australia and China twiddle their thumbs over reducing fossil fuel energy consumption, the world’s island nations are preparing for a future in which they will cease to exist.
A transition toward renewable energy sources, namely wind, water and solar power, requires political will and ethical prioritizing. In 2011, global investment in renewable energy overtook investment in fossil fuels for the first time, and hit $228 billion in 2012; the market is expected to account for 25 percent of all energy generation by 2018. Still, in 2012, global fossil fuel subsidies totaled $544 billion, while renewable energy sources got just $101 billion in government support. Last month, CO2 levels in the atmosphere exceeded 400 parts per million for the first time in human history. This means we are fast approaching our “acceptable” threshold; it’s not too late to put a cap on climate change but concrete action is needed now.
Author and journalist, Naomi Klein, articulated the underlying challenges of concrete action perceptively in a recent article. She wrote that climate change “entered mainstream consciousness in the midst of an ideological war being waged on the very idea of the collective sphere.” Klein points out that this mistiming deeply affects our ability to decisively act. Addressing climate change requires collective, prudent action, action that goes against the grain of shortsighted, self-serving capitalism. “It has meant that corporate power was ascendant at the very moment when we needed to exert unprecedented controls over corporate behaviour in order to protect life on earth. It has meant that we are ruled by a class of politicians who know only how to dismantle and starve public institutions, just when they most need to be fortified and reimagined.”
The article also details the “willful ignorance,” as one critic puts it, of the conservatives currently in power in Australia. The Abbott government is doing what America’s TPGOP would like to do: stymie scientific studies and deny global warming to benefit the fossil fuel industry’s profiteering.
WASHINGTON — Of all the states that stand to suffer from climate change, Florida is facing potentially the bleakest consequences. A New York Times report noted last week that global warming was already having an effect on everyday life, like leading to flooding on streets that never used to flood.
Meanwhile, a National Climate Assessment has named Miami as the city most vulnerable to damage from rising sea levels. While a Southeast Florida Regional Climate Compact paper warned that water in the area could rise by as much as two feet by the year 2060.
On Sunday, one of the state’s U.S. senators, Marco Rubio (R), was pressed about the general subject of climate change, and despite the warnings outlined above, he argued that there was nothing lawmakers could or should do to reverse the climate trends (whose origins he also questioned).
“I do not believe that human activity is causing these dramatic changes to our climate the way these scientists are portraying it,” Rubio said, according to excerpts released by ABC “This Week,” “and I do not believe that the laws that they propose we pass will do anything about it, except it will destroy our economy.”