While Australia burns past the “Tipping Point” Trump fiddles by dismantling environmental laws

Australia’s Burning Forests, A sign We’ve Passed a Global Warming Tipping Point

Photo from CNN

Nobody saw it coming this soon,’ one scientist said. ‘It’s likely the forests won’t be coming back as we know them.’

As extreme wildfires burn across large swaths of Australia, scientists say we’re witnessing how global warming can push forest ecosystems past a point of no return.

Some of those forests won’t recover in today’s warmer climate, scientists say. They expect the same in other regions scarred by flames in recent years; in semi-arid areas like parts of the American West, the Mediterranean Basin and Australia, some post-fire forest landscapes will shift to brush or grassland.

More than 17 million acres have burned in Australia over the last three months amid record heat that has dried vegetation and pulled moisture from the land. Hundreds of millions of animals, including a large number of koalas, are believed to have perished in the infernos. The survivors will face drastically changed habitats. Water flows and vegetation will change, and carbon emissions will rise as burning trees release carbon and fewer living trees are left to pull CO2 out of the air and store it.

In many ways, it’s the definition of a tipping point, as ecosystems transform from one type into another.

The surge of large, destructive forest fires from the Arctic to the tropics just in the last few years has shocked even researchers who focus on forests and fires and who have warned of such tipping points for years.

The projections were seen as remote, “something that would happen much farther in the future,” said University of Arizona climate scientist David Breashers. “But it’s happening now. Nobody saw it coming this soon, even though it was like a freight train.

“It’s likely the forests won’t be coming back as we know them.”

The link between global warming, forests and wildfires is multifaceted but very clear, said Nerilie Abram, a climate researcher at Australian National University.

“Increasing temperatures dry out fuel and lead to more days of extreme fire weather,” she said. “The poleward shift of the Southern Hemisphere westerly winds is drawing winter rainfall away from southern Australia, causing a long-term drying trend that makes the landscape more vulnerable to burning.”

The cycle feeds itself, she explained: Drought and loss of forests cause higher temperatures over the land and a lower humidity, which, in turn, worsens wildfire conditions. And there’s no reason to think that a gradual temperature rise will cause a similar gradual increase in fire risk, she said, citing a recent study showing that incremental warming increases fire damage exponentially by drying out fuels.

“Each degree of warming has a bigger effect on forest fire than did the previous degree of warming,” that study’s lead author, Park Williams of Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University, wrote on Twitter when the study was released.

In a recent Australian television interview, Pennsylvania State University climate scientist Michael Mann said the heartbreaking loss of irreplaceable forests in Australia is a clear sign of a climate tipping point playing out before our eyes. Similar scenarios are apparent in forests around the world, he said.

Some of the forests lost to the ongoing fires in Australia aren’t likely to come back anytime soon, said Australian National University climate scientist Christopher Brack.

“These fires burning through the Southern Alps (in Australia) at the moment are re-burning alpine and mountain ash trees that were regenerating from fires less than 20 years ago,” Brack said. In the warming climate, the current forests are likely to be replaced by brush and other shorter-lived and more flammable species that will intensify the fire cycle, he said.

On the world’s current emissions path, with warming of about 3.5 degrees Celsius (6.3°F) by the end of the century, fire frequency is expected to increase on more than 60 percent of global land area, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned in a 2018 report that identified Southern Australia, along with Central and South America, South Africa and the U.S. West as at risk.

Human activity has also contributed to increased fire risk in other ways. Logging can dry up forests and make the remaining trees more susceptible to fire, and the building of more roads and residential areas in the forests means there is more chance of fires igniting from power lines or cars, as well as more property damage and people at risk when fires break out.

Mountain Forests and Even Rainforests Are Drying

Australian Cam Walker, a forest conservation advocate and volunteer firefighter, has been battling to keep the flames away from a resort village near the Mt. Hotham Ski Area.

“This is subalpine country dominated by snow gums, a type of eucalyptus. This area has been burnt three times in about 12 years, and snow gums have a limited ability to cope with repeated fire,” he said.

The fires are also threatening some of the most ancient forests on Earth, relics from 180 million years ago, when all the planet’s continents were joined in the super-continent of Gondwana. The moist Gondwana rainforests, with damp microclimates under a dense canopy, have little history of fires, but global warming is drying them out.

“We are seeing ever more of these areas burning because conditions are so dry. This has been happening also in relic sub-alpine vegetation in Tasmania, where we are witnessing more regular dry lightning strikes,” Walker said.

“The costs to Australia of not acting on climate change will be catastrophic. Already scientists are warning that many ecosystems will collapse under high-emissions scenarios,” he said.

Australia heat, temperature and wildfires. Credit: Nerilie Abrams

Research in recent years reinforces that view, said David Bowman, director of the Fire Centre Research Hub at the University of Tasmania.

“Global climate change is stressing vegetation much more than we realized. Stressed vegetation recovers more slowly and rapid changes from forest to non-forest are possible,” he said. “Increased fire frequency reduces the capacity of forests to bounce back after recurrent fires.”

Warming Also Drives Forest Die-Offs and Fire Risk in Other Ways

Even without fire, trees are dying around the world at increasing rates because of global warming.

During extreme heat events and droughts, air bubbles can form in their moisture transport systems, essentially choking them to death. Warming also increases outbreaks of tree-killing insects. And logging, as well as land-clearing fires in the Amazon are threatening to push that critical forest ecosystem past a tipping point with global implications for carbon cycling.

“Why are these trees in all these different regions dying at the same time when they’ve been around for such a long time? It’s heartbreaking,” said Breshears. “Ten years ago, I didn’t think we’d be in this situation. I’m still kind of shocked myself at how much is occurring.”

A series of studies in the past 10 years help explain the global tree die-off, said U.S. Geological Survey research ecologist Craig D. Allen.

There’s evidence that most tree species around the world already routinely operate near damaging thresholds of water stress, and that they are unable to cope with the rising frequency and intensity of heat extremes, Allen said.

Another recent study showed how a declining snowpack and rising summer temperatures combine to limit regrowth, which is clear evidence of the negative impact of human-caused climate warming on subalpine forests. Pine seedlings need cool and moist summers to thrive, but those conditions occur less frequently with global warming. As a result, some Rocky Mountain forests will pass a tipping point with “shifts from forest to non-forest vegetation types across a broad range of elevations in Front Range forests,” the study concluded.

Some tipping points may be less sudden than we think and already underway, said University of Montana forest entomologist Diana Six, who studies how global warming affects destructive insects that have been killing trees in the U.S. West in the past few decades.

“Older forests are established and may look fine. But what happens when they die? What comes back?” she said. On a warming planet, there’s no guarantee that those older carbon-sequestering forests will regenerate—in fact, there is plenty of research suggesting that many will not.

Even limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7°F) as targeted by the Paris climate agreement may not be enough to save some forests. “With the changes and extinction we are seeing now, I would say no. But less bad than if we let things go further,” she said.

The multiple studies and reports on increases in fire season length, fire size, magnitude, and intensity, as well as forest die-back events and pest outbreaks, show that forest ecosystems at the very core of our life support on the planet are under severe stress, said Alistair Jump, head of biological and environmental sciences at the University of Stirling (UK).

“The changing climate is massively exacerbating the risk of catastrophic fire, and we are seeing the consequences of that globally,” he said. “Even where fire isn’t taking forests out, we are seeing drought-driven mortality risk escalate. Add to that changing pest and pathogen distributions and rampant deforestation, and trees are really in trouble just at the time that we need them most. The big risk of all of this being that carbon already locked away gets released in the blink of an eye.

“We take forests for granted—but we can see just how fast we can change the way forests work and how seriously it can impact us in return.”

Meanwhile, Trump is going to make our children’s lives miserable and much shorter

Trump on Thursday proposed sharply limiting environmental reviews of pipelines and other major federally permitted infrastructure projects, a move that would sweep away a hurdle slowing his agenda for unfettered fossil fuel development.

The new guidance would curb federal agencies from considering climate impacts by specifying that agencies are only required to analyze impacts that are immediate, local and direct. The administration’s proposed rule, which will be open for public comment before being finalized, also would relieve agencies of any duty to consider cumulative environmental impacts.

“Many of America’s most critical infrastructure projects have been tied up and bogged down by an outrageously burdensome federal approval process,” Trump said in an address from the Roosevelt Room of the White House. “From day one, my administration has made fixing this regulatory nightmare a top priority. For the first time in 40 years, we’re going to completely overhaul the dysfunctional bureaucratic system that has created these massive obstructions.”

The move to overhaul implementation rules for the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), which marked its 50th anniversary on Jan. 1, was portrayed by Trump as a modernization.

But critics argue that the president is proposing changes that would undermine the bedrock environmental protection law, which establishes the duty of the federal government to act “as trustee of the environment for succeeding generations.” They vowed to fight the effort.

“While our world is burning, Climate denier Trump is adding fuel to the fire by taking away our right to be informed and to protect ourselves from irreparable harm,” said Gina McCarthy, the new president and CEO of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). McCarthy, who served as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency in the Obama administration, added: “We will use every tool in our toolbox to stop this dangerous move and safeguard our children’s future.”

Flanked by men in hard hats and orange construction vests, industry officials and members of his economic team, Trump stressed his aim to speed the building of highways, roads and bridges. But the NEPA impact that has proved most nettlesome to the administration has been stalling the oil and gas pipelines and coal leasing Trump’s administration has sought to push.

Trump’s move follows a series of federal court rulings that have stymied his efforts to spur fossil fuel projects—most notably the high-profile Keystone XL pipeline to expand U.S. imports of carbon-intensive Canadian tar sands oil. Trump had signed an executive order within days of taking office to reverse President Barack Obama’s decision to halt the project over climate concerns. But Keystone XL has been tied up in litigation since then, with a federal judge ruling last August that federal agencies “cannot escape their responsibility” to evaluate alternatives under NEPA.

Amid the corrupt Trump administration’s all-out effort to ease the regulatory burden on the fossil energy industry, federal courts have repeatedly ruled that agencies were failing to live up to their duties under NEPA. Courts slowed construction of a major natural gas pipeline in the Southeast, and expansion of coal mining in the Powder River Basin of Montana and Wyoming and on Navajo land in Arizona. The federal Bureau of Land Management’s Utah office in September voluntarily suspended 130 oil and gas leases under the threat of NEPA lawsuits.

Trump’s Interior Secretary, David Bernhardt, a former oil industry lobbyist now in charge of agencies that oversee oil, gas and coal leasing on federal lands and coastlines, called the NEPA plan “a really, really big proposal” that “affects virtually every significant decision made by the federal government that affects the environment.”

Turning from the podium to Trump, Bernhardt said, “I believe it will be the most significant deregulatory proposal you ultimately implement.”

Refusing the Consideration of Climate Change

The fossil fuel industry and its allies have long railed against NEPA, especially over the past decade, when courts began ruling that NEPA required that both direct and indirect climate impacts be assessed. Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) led an effort to amend NEPA to bar consideration of global warming impacts, but it never garnered sufficient support to advance in Congress.

From the start, Trump took up the cause of NEPA reform with all the enthusiasm of a real estate developer who saw his own projects derailed over environmental concerns.

His administration has issued and proposed five other pieces of guidance to circumscribe NEPA reviews, including a plan, floated last summer to limit consideration of greenhouse gas emissions in planning for federal projects. But in the new proposal, the White House said it determined it was “not appropriate” to address a single category of impacts in regulations. Instead, the proposal seeks to limit the scope of all NEPA reviews in a way that appears to rule out consideration of climate change.

The only environmental effects that federal agencies would be required to consider are those that are “reasonably foreseeable and have a reasonably close causal relationship to the proposed action or alternatives.”

“Effects should not be considered significant if they are remote in time, geographically remote, or the product of a lengthy causal chain,” the proposal says. It also specifies that environmental reviews are not required under NEPA for non-discretionary decisions or for those with minimal federal funding or involvement—giving many developers an opportunity to elude the environmental review process altogether. The proposal sets a time limit of two years for detailed environmental reviews.

Vickie Patton, general counsel of the Environmental Defense Fund, said the proposal would “punch loopholes into long-standing protections under the National Environmental Policy Act and would put communities at risk and worsen climate change.”

Gene Karpinski, president of the League of Conservation Voters, called it “one of the most egregious actions the Trump administration has taken to limit the federal government’s response to climate change yet.”

Trump’s Red Tape Claims vs. White House Data

The proposal, in essence, would fulfill a wish list delivered to the White House last fall by 33 industry groups, led by the American Petroleum Institute (API) and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, who complained of “unreasonable costs and long project delays” caused by NEPA.

API President and CEO Mike Sommers praised the proposal in a prepared statement: “Reforming the NEPA process is a critical step toward meeting the growing demand for cleaner energy and unlocking job-creating infrastructure projects currently stuck in a maze of red tape.”

Trump’s description of the NEPA process—”It takes 20 years, 30 years, it takes numbers nobody would even believe”—is at odds with reality for the vast majority of projects. The White House Council on Environmental Quality’s own statistics show that 95 percent of the more than 50,000 actions subject to NEPA each year are already exempt from detailed environmental review.

Environmental groups argue that the subset of actions that require a detailed review—like the Keystone XL Pipeline—warrant the scrutiny, pointing to the spill of thousands of gallons of oil from the Keystone system in North Dakota this past October.

Responsibilities as ‘Trustee of the Environment’

NEPA, among the first environmental laws passed by Congress and signed by President Richard Nixon, requires comprehensive studies into the potential environmental impacts of “major” federal actions or projects—with an analysis of alternatives. The sweeping language of the statute asserts the federal government’s duty to “use all practical means. … To fulfill the responsibilities of each generation as trustee of the environment for succeeding generations.”

“As a global multigenerational problem that affects all of humanity and natural resources, climate change would seem to fit precisely within what the statute has in mind,” said Michael Gerrard, founder and director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University.

Gerrard, who spent many years as a litigator, said that if he were representing a project applicant he would want consideration of climate change included in the environmental impact analysis even if Trump succeeds in his NEPA overhaul.

“There’s a good chance the courts will … say it needs to be considered and an [environmental impact statement] could well be struck down for failure to consider it regardless of what this guidance says,” Gerrard said. “Rational planning involves looking at foreseeable conditions, and arguably it’s malpractice for an architect or engineer to ignore foreseeable considerations when designing a project.”

The overhaul of NEPA guidance is just the latest of dozens of actions by the Trump administration to throw open the doors to unfettered fossil energy development and abandon even recognition of the threat of climate change. Just this week, the Trump administration released the federal government’s latest annual National Preparedness Report, which for the first time in the eight-year history of the accounting of threats and hazards failed to mention climate change, drought or sea-level rise.

There will be a 60-day public comment period on the NEPA proposal, with public hearings scheduled in Denver and in Washington, D.C., in February.

 

from InsideClimate News

 

 

A huge threat to all life on Earth

Greenhouse gas concentrations continued to rise in 2018, with carbon dioxide levels hitting an all-time high of 407.8 parts per million (ppm), according to a report released by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) on Monday. The grim assessment comes just days before the UN Climate Change Conference begins on Dec. 2, highlighting the increasing levels of three greenhouse gases contributing to global heating as a result of human activities.

The last time the Earth had comparable concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was approximately 3 million years ago when the temperature was approximately 3 degrees Celsius (5.4 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer and sea levels were up to 20 meters (65 feet) higher.

“There is no sign of a slowdown, let alone a decline, in greenhouse gases concentration in the atmosphere despite all the commitments under the Paris Agreement on Climate Change,” said Petteri Taalas, secretary-general of the WMO, in a press release.

The report details concentrations of three greenhouse gases known to greatly contribute to global heating: Carbon dioxide (CO2), methane and nitrous oxide. These gases can remain in the atmosphere for long periods of time, trapping heat. The higher the concentration, the more heat they can trap. Of the measured gases, CO2 contributes the most to heating and is also absorbed by the oceans, lowering (raising) their acidity and wreaking havoc on marine life.

Data is obtained by a suite of over 100 monitoring stations around the globe. The stations are able to assess the minute changes in gas concentrations at any given location and this information is used to work out a global average. The average has been rising at a rate much faster than previous natural increases, driven by fossil fuel combustion, agriculture activities, and industrial sources. Notably, it will continue to rise.

“I can tell you they’re going to go up next year and the following one and then the next decade and the following decade,” says Pep Canadell, a climate scientist with Australia’s CSIRO and executive director of the Global Carbon Project. “It’s not until you bring those emissions to zero, that you can begin to inspire stabilization in the atmosphere.”

The Global Carbon Project is expected to release its yearly “carbon budget” report on Dec. 4, revealing where CO2 is being generated and how limiting emissions can stabilize concentrations in the atmosphere. “The budget is truly like your household finance budget,” says Canadell. “[It measures] how much carbon we put into the atmosphere, how much carbon accumulates in the atmosphere and how much carbon gets pulled out of the atmosphere through the oceans and land.”

The Project also measures atmospheric CO2 and provides its own measure for the current year. The rise in carbon dioxide concentration will continue, as Canadell notes unless emissions are drastically reduced.

That poses a huge threat for all life on Earth. The climate crisis is already having negative effects on human health, threatening species with extinction and sending temperatures soaring. On Nov. 5, over 11,000 scientists declared a climate emergency.

Jackson Ryan for c|net

 

Scam artist Trump and the Climate disaster will bankrupt the US

Climate crisis disasters are happening at the rate of one a week, the UN has warned. Seen here is the damage left by Cyclone Kenneth in a village north of Pemba, Mozambique: Mike Hutchings/Reuters

 

For decades Donald Trump has been losing millions and driving normally profitable businesses into the ground. Now, this idiot is poised to do this on an international scale.

Climate- and weather-related events have directly cost the US more than $500 billion over the past five years, according to a Federal Reserve official.

In addition to causing damage to natural resources and infrastructure, the Climate Crisis is expected to disrupt business operations and economic activity in the coming years.

In January, top economists from both sides of the aisle signed a letter that said climate change was “a serious problem calling for immediate national action.”

The Climate Crisis and its weather-related events have directly cost the US more than $500 billion over the past five years, according to Kevin Stiroh, an executive vice president at the New York Fed who is responsible for bank regulation.

“Climate change has significant consequences for the US economy and financial sector through slowing productivity growth, asset revaluations and sectoral reallocations of business activity,” Stiroh said at the GARP Global Risk Forum in New York on Thursday.

In addition to causing severe damage to natural resource and infrastructure damage, global warming is expected to disrupt business operations and economic activity in the coming years. Stiroh said climate-related changes raised the potential for losses related to policy changes, consumer sentiment, and how technological innovations affect the value of certain assets and liabilities.

“These effects will be felt across business sectors and asset classes, and on the strategies, operations and balance sheets of financial firms,” Stiroh said.

Fed Chairman Jay Powell told Congress this year that while addressing climate change fell under the direction of other agencies, the central bank would “use its authorities and tools to prepare financial institutions for severe weather events.” Others in Washington have issued similar warnings.

In a more than 1,500-page report released in late 2018, scientists from 13 federal agencies predicted that climate change would slash gross domestic product …..if steps weren’t taken to reduce the carbon emissions that warm the planet.

The scientists said extreme weather would wreak havoc on growth through adverse effects on the healthcare system, infrastructure, supply chains, labor productivity, agriculture, tourism, power generation, and electricity costs.

“With continued growth in emissions at historic rates, annual losses in some economic sectors are projected to reach hundreds of billions of dollars by the end of the century—more than the current gross domestic product of many US states,” the report said.

In January, top economists from both sides of the aisle signed a letter that said climate change was “a serious problem calling for immediate national action” and called for a national tax on carbon.

But Climate denying Trump has steadily taken steps in the opposite direction. Over the past several years, the White House has taken steps to loosen environmental rules and shrugged off a series of landmark reports on climate change.

Edited From a story in Business Insider

Please, we have 12 short years to start making big changes

Back a few days ago the Times-Standard ran a “My Word” about the future of our planet from a very aware 14-year-old who lives in a small town in Northwest California. Since then local right-winger-climate deniers have been going crazy. How dare some child call out our ignorance and greed.

 Well, we thought it was great. Since many of our readers haven’t seen it, here it is:

 

Hello, my name is Kaden Hunter Crosby, and I have just turned 14. I live in the small town of Orleans, California. It is a beautiful place but is slowly slipping away due to climate change.
As I write this letter I am filled with fear for the future of our planet. I simply request that our country leaders, businessmen, spiritual leaders, tribal leaders, and every human on this beautiful world of ours to look at how far we have come.

It doesn’t matter if you’re rich or poor, religious or not, conservative or liberal. It doesn’t matter. We’re all human and we all face a common threat, climate change.
So I ask you this, do you know of any other species that has made it as far as we have? Do you know of any other species that can make it to the moon or tells stories about real or unreal subjects? Do you know of any other species that has mastered electricity like we have?
We can now cure diseases that once wiped out entire tribes of our ancestors. Look at how our ancestors of our great country came together to fight the Nazis with our allies. We should not push them away but bring them closer along with new ones.

As we look back on our country we see that we have made many mistakes but there are also times when have come together as a nation to fight a common foe. This is one of those times. So please don’t let it all end because of our greed and hubris.
I also ask you this: Who will watch your movies and buy your merchandise when we’re all gone? Who will dine at your restaurant when we’re all gone? Who will vote for you and support your laws and ideals when we’re all gone? Who will shop at your stores when we’re all gone? Who will buy your video games and read your books when we’re all gone? Who will come to your for spiritual advice when we’re all gone? I ask you these questions and hope that you can take it to heart.

I would give up everything that I have so that people on this earth can have a chance at a life. So they learn about how beautiful life here is, not about how we messed it up.
We cannot keep sticking our heads in the sand and hope that things will get better. This is the time that we come together as a people as a nation, as a planet, and show that we can build a better future for our children.

We have to start making big changes or all that we accomplished is for naught. You have had a childhood; why can’t future generations have one, too? Why can’t we come together and build a brighter future for the next generations?

Please, we have 12 short years to start making big changes. We need to take this opportunity to make our earth livable again. I am only 14. I don’t want to live in a world of the dead and the dying. I don’t want to have my children and their future children living in this hell of a home. To tell them that we had a chance but were too greedy and pigheaded to change. So I hope that with this letter I can inspire you to take action. For the future of all that lives on this beautiful earth.
Kaden Hunter Crosby resides in Orleans.

“I don’t believe in Global Warming”

A big UN report arrived on recently, saying in no uncertain terms that the world has up to two decades to massively cut emissions by transforming the global economy if we want to avoid terrible climate impacts.

Given the implications of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) findings — government intervention, progressive social policies, more international aid — it’s perhaps not surprising that those who deny climate change is real or a problem pushed back. It took a few days, but the climate science deniers’ response to the IPCC report is now in full flow.

What we see is three distinct layers of climate science denial at play here:

There’s the ‘this isn’t happening’ sun-spot brigade.

There’s the ‘this is happening but it’s all a Communist ruse’ zealots.

And then there’s the team who reluctantly admit they’ve lost the debate but shoehorn in a number of caveats and excuses to justify why nothing should happen.

‘This isn’t happening’

Over at Steve Bannon’s alt-right hate machine Breibart, James Delingpole calls the IPCC report: “wailing hysteria and worryingly eco-fascistic policy prescriptions”.

Quoting Benny Peiser of the oft-debunked Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF), he claims that the climate breakdown “hasn’t been supported by real-world evidence”.

Delingpole draws on an old friend, author Rupert Darwall, to claim that “science” is really just a pretext, devised by “ideological Euro Greenies, to destroy the fossil fuel hegemony of countries like the U.S. and to impose on them a new, eurocentric, renewable energy global tyranny.”

Now in full flow, Delingpole mocks reporting (such as ours) that points to the egregious media coverage in the UK, which favoured Strictly Come Dancing over ecological crisis. He asks, could it be that within the media universe “a few vestiges of the old standards still prevail? That maybe some editors still recognise a complete non-story when they see one?”

The BBC’s editors decided it was a story, but had a slightly odd approach to covering it.

As DeSmog UK pointed out, Newsnight chose to invite on US climate science denier Myron Ebell.

Ebell is the former head of President Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) transition team and a Director of the libertarian US think tank the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI).

His appearance has been heavily slated. Environmental writer Mark Lynas described the interview as “utterly pointless and embarrassing. Car-crash television, and a waste of time that could have been used addressing the real questions.”

“If you want political analysis, ask a policy analyst. If you want propaganda, ask Myron Ebell,” said Simon Lewis, professor of global change science at University College London.

Not to be denied their place in the sun, LBC radio got in on the action, giving a platform to GWPF-founder Lord Nigel Lawson to spout his stock in trade — that all this talk of climate action is just “PC claptrap”.

Not content with giving Nigel Lawson a platform, LBC doubled up by bringing Piers Corbyn on to deny not just climate breakdown — “I’ll challenge the IPCC and the professor just speaking, there is no scientific paper in existence that shows that increases of carbon dioxide worldwide drive world temperature rises” — but that coral reefs were under threat.

The IPCC’s report compiled evidence from more than 6,000 papers. It said 70 to 90 percent of coral reefs would be lost with 1.5C of warming, and almost all with 2C of warming.

‘It’s all a ruse’

Over at Conservative Woman — which regularly runs pieces by Conservative non-woman and GWPF researcher Harry Wilkinson — a headline runs “Top scientist shoots the climate-change alarmists down in flames”. In that article, Wilkinson quotes American climate science denier Richard Lindzen, who the GWPF contrived to give its annual lecture on the day the IPCC report was released.

In an extraordinary talk, Lindzen equates the climate consensus with “the suicide of industrial society”. His talk is a homage to oil and coal arguing: “the power these people desperately seek includes the power to roll back the status and welfare that the ordinary person has acquired and continues to acquire through the fossil fuel generated industrial revolution and return them to their presumably more appropriate status as serfs.”

Lindzen has form. Back in 2017 writing at Merion West, Lindzen argued that believing climate change is largely caused by increases in carbon dioxide is “pretty close to believing in magic.”

In 2015 The Daily Mail reported Lindzen compared people believing in global warming to religious fanatics: “As with any cult, once the mythology of the cult begins falling apart, instead of saying, oh, we were wrong, they get more and more fanatical.”

The Spectator would seem to agree. Its beleaguered editor Fraser Nelson tweeted a sneering comment in support of Ross Clark’s article, in which he states:

“It isn’t hard to spot the problem with issuing frightening-sounding deadlines. If the deadlines come and go, without us managing to lower emissions and yet still life goes on, it makes the people setting the deadlines look rather foolish.”

“It is also somewhat counter-productive. Given the failure of the world to come to an end, it is tempting to say, just as we do when religious cults and other fantasists make doom-laden predictions which fail to come to pass: well, the whole thing must be a hoax. What is the point of listening any further?”

Clark has a long history of climate denial. Back in 2015 he wrote in the Express the sort of paean to fossil fuel capitalism that Richard Lindzen would have been proud of:

“Climate change is not the greatest risk to the world: the biggest danger we face is the economic decline which would result from the loss of the cheap energy which has improved lives beyond all recognition over the past two centuries.”

“You name it: better food, better transport, better medical care. Ultimately, all the fantastic improvements in our lives since 1800 have been down to one thing: our ability to harness energy from fossil fuels.”

In summary: Everything’s getting better forever and ever. Except the IPCC report tells us that’s very much not the case, unless we take radical action. Which is perhaps why, in a second Breitbart article, Delingpole took aim at the organisations charged with implementing this ‘green tyranny’ that would see a move away from fossil fuels — specifically the Committee on Climate Change’s (CCC) Chief Executive, Chris Stark.

He’s a man full of “revolutionary fervour” for cutting the UK’s emissions and helping the world avoid terrible climate impacts, Delingpole (sort of) writes. “If this doesn’t chill you to the marrow, it should”, apparently.

He’s not the only one that’s scared the CCC might now become empowered. Nick Timothy, a former SPAD for Theresa May who is credited with getting the UK’s Department of Climate Change shut down, urges Telegraph readers to “take back control” from “unaccountable entities” such as the CCC.

And entities such as the Nobel committee, perhaps.

Bjorn Lomborg over at the Wall St Journal took the opportunity to distort the work of just-announced Nobel Prize winner, climate economist, William Nordhaus. Lomborg claims Nordhaus said that “proposed cost of CO2 cuts aren’t worth it”.

But as Carbon Brief’s Simon Evans points out on Twitter, Nordhaus literally wrote in one of his many, many papers on the economic rationale for climate action:

“The future is uncertain so we should have more climate policy, not less.”

In one sense the new ideological discomfort of the shrinking climate denial network is understandable. As the IPCC reports outlines, mass systemic change is required –  a systemic change that is incompatible with the economic system the climate science deniers revere.

‘It’s happening, but…’

The Daily Mail – a bastion of climate science denial under former editor Paul Dacre – started uncharacteristically promisingly with Peter Oborne’s excellent report from Bangladesh, which seems to be based on actual facts and actual reporting and firmly grounded in reality.

But then on Wednesday they had Stephen Glover veer from acknowledging the level of crisis, to arguing that it’s all just too expensive so nothing should be done. He writes:

“This week’s IPCC report judged that global warming must be kept to a maximum of 1.5C warmer than pre-industrial levels, rather than the 2C ceiling previously envisaged. How can scientists be so sure that the lower figure should become the new goal?

“I ask because it carries enormous extra costs. The IPCC estimates that new energy infrastructure — wind, solar and electricity storage — as well as technologies that can capture CO2 from the atmosphere, could cost a jaw dropping £1,800 billion.”

“This will be paid for by the likes of you and me.” He’s not the only one that acknowledges climate change is a problem but isn’t really willing to countenance the solutions.

Rod Liddle in The Sun takes aim first at vegetarians, then at windfarms.

Of the IPCC’s suggestion that we’re going to have to eat a lot less meat, he says: “Climate change is a fact. But when they conflate two issues for reasons of fashion, I begin to smell a rat”.

So Rod isn’t going veggie. But what of another IPCC finding, that the world is going to need a heck of a lot more windfarms? No. He doesn’t fancy that either:

“Wind turbines are a blight on our landscape”, he says, “causing misery wherever they are”.

That’s all pretty normal messaging for newspapers known for objecting to climate policy. But what’s new about the latest spate of climate science denial is its politics.

Having overwhelmingly lost the scientific debate, these groups are now pivoting to a new position which is centered around two ideas: first that the new is too apocalyptic and second that it’s too expensive.

Given what is required is systemic change, they are swiftly changing positions to defend the indefensible — an economic system based on extraction and exploitation of natural resources and mass consumerism that the IPCC tells us must be in its end-phase.

But it’s not all bad…

Amongst the torrent of climate science denial from the usual suspects, there are also a few shoots of refreshing reality appearing.  For instance, the normally obstinate Times runs an editorial that breaks with their own columnist Matt Ridley’s vehement do-nothingery and points to the IPCC report to make his stance look absurd:

“The IPCC report’s authors warn that cutting emissions fast enough to keep the planet sufficiently cool could mean a $2.5 trillion hit to global GDP. Others estimate that switching to electric cars will create new industries worth $7 trillion a year in the US alone. It is true that a revolution will be necessary, but it should be bloodless and it will be good for us. So bring it on.”

By Mike Small at:

https://www.desmog.co.uk/2018/10/11/climate-science-deniers-respond-ipcc-report-anger-fear-and-distortion

OOPS!

Climate change denial on the wane…………finally

Hold on to your snowballs:

More Americans accept the reality of climate change than ever before

Seventy-three percent! That’s the proportion of Americans who now think there is “solid evidence” of global climate change, according to a new report released by National Surveys on Energy and the Environment (NSEE). It’s the highest percentage since the survey started in 2008.

Good news? Sort of. Even those who accept the reality of climate change are still hazy on the causes. Only 34 percent of those sampled believed that climate change is due primarily to human activity, as established science indicates. As for the rest, 26 percent thought it was partially due to humans and 12 percent blamed natural causes.

Here’s a quick lesson in the types of climate denial. “Trend deniers” are people who question whether the climate is changing at all — like the infamous snowball-throwing James Inhofe. “Attribution deniers,” on the other hand, question whether the changes can be linked to human influence — more in line with Scott Pruitt’s oh-so-vague climate beliefs.

Evidence suggests that trend deniers are on a sharp decline. Only 15 percent of those sampled in this study believed the climate was not changing at all. “That’s the lowest percentage since we started the survey,” says Barry Rabe, coauthor of the report and professor at the University of Michigan.

This has been a long time coming. Americans are experiencing more extreme weather on a personal level (heat waves, anybody?) and are seeing a growing number of reports about rising sea levels and melting polar ice.

National Surveys on Energy and Environment

But at the same time, attribution deniers are still around — and they present problems for anyone hoping to pass climate legislation.

“Those who are averse to mitigation aren’t as vehemently challenging the science of climate change, as they are the ability of policies to make any difference,” says Christopher Borick, director of the Muhlenberg Institute of Public Opinion and another co-author of the report.

This has been particularly visible in the Trump administration, where climate denial has taken the form of rejecting human influence rather than rising temperatures more generally. And, by denying the role of humans, the Trump team has absolved itself of making any significant policy changes — well, except for rolling back environmental regulations.

At least we don’t have to waste as much paper showing why a single snowball doesn’t disprove the reality of a warming world. But if you think that climate change is only partially — or not at all — caused by humans, you’re even less likely to take the drastic actions needed to prevent catastrophe.

“In general, having Americans accept the existence of climate change is a necessary condition for policy action,” Borick argues. “But it’s not sufficient.”

Borick and Rabe are hopeful that we will continue to see slow movement toward both acceptance and action. The surveys show some hints that trend deniers can become attribution deniers — and that attribution deniers, in turn, may eventually accept the full science of climate change. But, if the last decade is any indication, it’s going to take a while.

By Shannon Osaka Jul 12, 2018 Grist

Hold on to your snowballs: More Americans accept the reality of climate change than ever before

 

If you don’t read anything else……….you need to read this

16,000 scientists sign dire warning to humanity over health of planet

Human beings and the natural world are on a collision course

More than 16,000 scientists from 184 countries have published a second warning to humanity advising that we need to change our wicked ways to help the planet.

In 1992, 1,700 independent scientists signed the “World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity.” The letter warned that “human beings and the natural world are on a collision course” and if environmental damage was not stopped, our future was at risk.

That letter made headlines 25 years ago, but the world still faces daunting environmental challenges. So environmental scientist William Ripple and his colleagues decided to create a new letter that has also struck a nerve. Since it was published in the journal BioScience on Monday, hundreds more scientists have signed on to the letter.

The letter essentially says that if there is not a groundswell of public pressure to change human behavior, the planet will sustain “substantial and irreversible” harm.

“This is not about some natural phenomenon that is removed from humans,” said Ripple, a distinguished professor of ecology at Oregon State University. “If we don’t have a healthy biosphere, as it is called, if we continue to have major environmental problems and climate change problems, then this goes directly to the welfare of humans. People need to understand that we are trying to save ourselves from catastrophic huge misery.”

Though there have been a handful of positive changes, current data show that many environmental problems have gotten “alarmingly” worse since the last letter was penned.

Since 1970, carbon dioxide emissions have increased sharply, by about 90%. About 78% of that comes from fossil fuel combustion, such as through the use of coal to heat our homes and driving cars that use gas, and through basic industrial processes and human activity which accounts for the majority of the total greenhouse gas emissions increase from 1970 to 2011, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

That human activity has helped raise the global average temperature. 2016 was the warmest year on record, according to NASA. In fact, the 10 warmest years on the 136-year record have occurred since 1998, according to the most recent data available.

Though the Trump administration has said climate change programs are a “waste of your money” and that climate change itself is an “expensive hoax,” the data suggest that temperature increases will probably cause a shortage in the world’s food crops. The weather will become more damaging, with more intense storms. Sea levels will rise and threaten coastal cities like Miami and New Orleans.

The new letter lists data showing a 75% increase in the number of ocean dead zones since the publication of the first letter. Dead zones are the areas in oceans, large lakes and rivers where marine life either dies or is driven away because the zone lacks sufficient oxygen.

Although dead zones can occur naturally, they are created largely by excessive nutrient pollution from human activities like farming and industrial pollution, according to the National Ocean Service. There are many along the US East Coast and in the Great Lakes, and the second largest in the world is in the northern Gulf of Mexico.

Scientists believe there are at least 405 dead zones worldwide, including near South America, Japan, China and southeast Australia.

That’s not merely bad news for the fish that live there; it is bad news for the humans who eat the fish and other seafood that need the fish to survive. The dead zone in the Chesapeake Bay, for instance — which measures 1.89 cubic miles, or nearly the volume of 3.2 million Olympic-size swimming pools — results in the loss of tens of millions of fish, which both humans and crabs eat. It threatens the oysters there, too.

Despite the challenges there, the proposed Trump budget would cut cleanup funds for the Chesapeake Bay, the Great Lakes and other bodies of water with dead zones.

There has been an increasing appetite for fish, but it is getting harder to catch them. The recent revision of the US dietary guidelines urged Americans to eat more fish for heart health and weight control. More people have started to see the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet, which also emphasizes fish over meat.

The fishing industry has upped its efforts, but there has been a large drop in the harvest of wild-caught fish. In fact, a 2006 study found that all species of wild seafood could collapse within the next 50 years if more isn’t done to protect these populations. About 2,300 species of fish are listed as endangered or threatened according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

In earlier research, scientists also predicted that this drop could compromise people’s need for protein and for micronutrients, particularly in developing nations. Already, 45% of deaths among children under age 5 is due largely to health problems caused by undernutrition according to a 2013 study.

Earth has seen a 26% reduction in the amount of fresh water available per capita since the 1992 letter. If conservation efforts and industry levels of pollution don’t change, UNESCO predicts that the world will face a 40% global water deficit by 2030.

Population growth, industrialization, urbanization and an increase in water consumption have threatened our freshwater sources significantly, research shows.

Currently, 20% of the world’s aquifers are being over-exploited.

Investment in water infrastructure has gone up globally and in the US, but some scientists question whether that investment will be enough.

Between 1990 and 2015, the world has lost 129 million hectares of forest land — an area about the size of South Africa.

Most deforestation has happened in tropical areas, but the US has also lost significant forest land. Studies have projected that with US population growth continuing as predicted, the country could lose 50 million more acres by 2050.

Trees aren’t merely pretty; they help clean the air and water, provide lumber for construction, create habitats for animals and help mitigate the impact of climate change.

There is some hope when it comes to forests though, as studies have shown that deforestation has slowed and more forests are better managed globally, suggesting that if humans put their minds to it, negative environmental trends can change.

There has been a 35% increase in the human population since the 1992 letter, putting a strain on the increasingly limited number of available natural resources. That trend is not expected to change anytime soon.

Researchers predict that there will be nearly 10 billion people living on Earth by 2050, according to the United Nations, with much of the population growth occurring in developing nations with the highest fertility rates but also the lowest food security.

Progress has also been seen when it comes to slowing growth, in the form of increasing education for women and girls and concentrated family planning efforts.

There has been a nearly 29% collective reduction in the number of animals in the world since the 1992 letter. Scientists say we are living in the sixth mass-extinction event, which means three-quarters of all species could disappear in the coming centuries.

A 2017 publication also looked at a well-studied group of 177 mammal species and found that all of them had lost at least 30% of their territory between 1900 and 2015; more than 40% of those species “experienced severe population declines,” meaning they lost at least 80% of their geographic range during that time. Put another way: This particular extinction is “more severe” than previously thought.

n the past 25 years, ozone depletion is the one significant positive trend.

There had been a steady decline in the Earth’s ozone layer, caused in part by gasses released by aerosol spray cans and refrigerants, reducing the ozone layer’s ability to absorb ultraviolet radiation.

After 1987, when the world’s governments came together to craft the United Nations Montreal Protocol, emissions of ozone-depleting gasses decreased significantly. The ozone is expected to see a significant recovery by the middle of the century.

The effort to help the ozone is one example, Ripple said, that when people come together to work on something, they can make a huge impact. That’s what he hopes the new letter will accomplish.

In addition to seeing more scientists sign the letter after its publication, Ripple has been overwhelmed by the number of other people who have reached out, some sending poems and songs that they have created about the environment, and pledged to help.

Ripple and his co-authors aren’t sure what the next steps will be, but like many a manifesto writer before him, he is hopeful, despite the dire tone of the letter.

“I’m an optimist,” he said. “My hope is that this letter triggers a worldwide conversation about these environmental and climate trends and perhaps more fundamentally that it can raise people’s awareness of the seriousness of global environmental problems so we can come together. It is so important to work together as a human race to make a sustainable future on planet Earth.”

http://www.cnn.com/2017/11/14/health/scientists-warn-humanity/index.html

End of the world? THOUSANDS of Scientists issue bleak warning about future of mankind

16000 Scientists Sign Dire Warning to Humanity Over Health of Planet

World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity: A Second Notice | BioScience | Oxford Academic