Global Warming

Trump Hides Studies Proving Effects of Climate Change

The Trump administration has refused to publicize dozens of studies conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture that conclude climate change is having negative effects on everything from rice production to allergies, a Politico investigation revealed. The studies in question looked at the effects of rising carbon dioxide, increasing temperatures, and volatile weather. The investigation revealed the Trump administration would not share findings that show the potential dangers and consequences of climate change.

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Global Warming

Trump Seeks Strategy Advice from Climate Change Deniers

The Trump administration sought advice from a vocal climate-change denier to help shape its environmental message, according to the Associated Press, which saw emails acquired through the Freedom of Information Act. The emails, written in 2018 and 2019, included correspondence between William Happer, a member of the National Security Council, and officials from the Heartland Institute, one of America’s most vocal climate-change challengers. The AP quotes a March 3 email exchange between Happer and Heartland adviser Hal Doiron in which the Trump official was given arguments that would help counter environmentalists’ messaging. In those emails, Happer admitted he had also discussed the issue with another Heartland adviser. “It’s the equivalent to formulating anti-terrorism policy by consulting with groups that deny terrorism exists,” Matthew Nisbet, a professor of environmental communication and public policy with Northeastern University said.

Global Warming

Climate change is plunging Senegal’s herders into poverty

A 46-year-old Fulani pastoralist/herder returned to his village in Senegal’s northern Podor County after 10 months away with just half the number of sheep, cattle, and donkeys he set out with.

Losing half the herd means Saidou lost half his wealth. A year ago, he was not badly off, able to comfortably support his family. Now, because of the toll climate change has taken, coupled with a government ill-equipped to deal with the fallout, he’s bordering on poverty.

Six million people in the Sahel faced severe food shortages in a prolonged lean season between January and August this year; Senegal was one of the three worst affected countries in the region. It may get worse yet, as the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that 2.5 million livestock herders, or “pastoralists,” and those who raise both livestock and crops in the Sahel risk losing their income.

As soon as the rainy season ended last September, it became clear that erratic rainfall had led to diminished pasture across the Sahel. This forced northern herders like Saidou, who normally begin travelling south in January or February, to embark on their annual journey up to four months early, and in far greater numbers than usual.

Seasonal migration – which helps over-grazed regions recover by temporarily shifting the burden to areas with more pasture – is common way of life for the Fulani, one of the Sahel’s largest ethnic groups. But as the length of the migration period and the distance herders are forced to travel to find food and water for their livestock increases, their economic well-being and very way of life are at risk.

Life in pastoral communities revolves around their main source of financial capital: the herd. So when animals are placed under stress, the social fabric also suffers.

In the last five years, some areas in Senegal have reported decreases of between 50 and 100 percent in crops and grazing areas. This led to a spike in the demand for manufactured animal feed this year, which sent prices skyrocketing. A 40 kg sack of feed that cost around 7,000 CFA ($12) in October 2017 had risen to 13,000 CFA ($23) by March. Herders had to sell off animals to buy feed to sustain the rest of their herds, leaving a severe dent in their wealth.

In addition, livestock prices plummeted due to desperate herders bringing large numbers of animals to market. Cattle, sheep, and goats fetched half the price they had four months earlier; by March in Ranerou, a sack of feed cost more than a sheep.

Then on 27 June, Senegal’s first rains came, accompanied by an unseasonably cold wind. Tens of thousands of animals died in the space of a day as the long-awaited rains became a killer. Some herders lost everything.

The very real struggle for survival by millions of ordinary, hard-working people across the globe resultant upon climate change effects should be seen against the dismissive, arrogant and impossibly ignorant pronouncements by the US President Trump concerning the issue of climate change. It is incomprehensible for untold millions of people globally that the USA continues to allow its leader to destroy the future of our Earth and its people. Just yesterday President Trump sought to cast doubt on the latest UN Climate Change Report by seeking to cast aspersions upon the more than 91 scientists who compiled the report. It seems remarkable that a man who has been described as a buffoon should have the gall to seek to place his severely limited opinions above those of respected international scientists for no apparent purpose other than to facilitate the financial success of his political supporters.

Global Warming

Stephen Hawking: Trump Pushing Earth’s Climate ‘Over The Brink’

The world’s best-known living physicist, Stephen Hawking, says that President Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris climate change accord could lead humanity to a tipping point, “turning the Earth into Venus.”

“We are close to the tipping point where global warming becomes irreversible,” Hawking told the BBC. “Trump’s action could push the Earth over the brink, to become like Venus, with a temperature of 250 degrees, and raining sulphuric acid.”

Hawking, who is best known for his discoveries about black holes, called climate change “one of the great dangers we face, and it’s one we can prevent if we act now.

“By denying the evidence for climate change, and pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement, Donald Trump will cause avoidable environmental damage to our beautiful planet, endangering the natural world, for us and our children,” Hawking told the BBC.

Global Warming

Undoing Trump

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee became the 13 U.S. mayor to use public resources to repost Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) web pages on global warming that were deleted by the Trump administration earlier this year.

Lee said the “American people are entitled to the publicly-funded EPA research on climate change” in announcing his office would post the deleted pages on the city’s Open Gov website.

Drinking Water Along The US-Mexico Border Threatened By Global Warming

Global warming looms large in the Southwest as rising temperatures threaten to diminish already scarce water supplies. A 2014 United Nations report suggests that globally, the burden of climate change will impact the poor the most. Some of the most marginalized communities in the United States are found along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Some people living along the border already live without access to running water. In New Mexico, 90 percent of the population gets their drinking water from the ground — fed by melting snow packs from mountains, rivers and streams. But with rising temperatures and warmer and shorter snow seasons, less of that water is making it into the aquifer.

To keep up with plummeting water levels, municipal and private wells are being drilled deeper into the earth. But for people living in low-income communities along the border known as colonias, that is not a viable option.

Many residents depend on shallow wells dug by hand. Water is struck 25 feet below peoples’ homes, the families cannot not drink it because it is not safe. Instead, they used it to shower and do their laundry, until they realized that was a problem too. The clothes was like turning yellow and rotten.

A 2015 NASA climate study projects Southwest water supplies will only be diminished further with an even harsher drought projected in the next 30 years.

Florida reef rescuers race to keep pace with climate change

Ten years ago, when scientists in South Florida began a massive rescue effort to rebuild the nation’s only inshore reef, replanting nursery-grown staghorn coral with a gardening technique perfected in the Pacific seemed like an easy solution.

From Key West to Fort Lauderdale, volunteers and scientists planted thousands of staghorns in reef rescues. More than 90 percent of Lirman’s corals survived — about 10 percent more than expected —signaling a rousing success. The work helped shift reef restoration from uglier, more costly engineered artificial reefs created with scuttled ships, which are also more susceptible to invasive species and vulnerable to sea rise. Labs expanded to meet the growing demand, added more kinds and perfected techniques.

Then came back-to-back bleaching events that started in 2014. In 2015, more than half of Lirman’s transplanted staghorns died. Suddenly, the reef gardeners were faced with a daunting new obstacle: climate change.

So he began intentionally stressing the coral — exposing them to heat and light — in his lab. Those that recover are more hardened to future stresses.

If his field trial works, Baker said it’s possible to replicate the hardening elsewhere in the world, like the Great Barrier reef, where an ongoing bleaching has ravaged an area larger than Italy and covering two-thirds of the reef.

Global Warming

Hawaii Rebuffs Trump by Enacting Laws Supporting Paris Agreement

Following President Donald Trump’s announcement withdrawing the United States from the Paris Agreement, some politicians are taking a stand and making their own commitments to fight climate change.

Hawaii has become the first state to sign into law the commitments and goals of the Paris climate accord, which calls for countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and invest in “green” technology in the hope of slowing the effects of global warming. Hawaii Gov. David Ige signed two bills yesterday that will implement portions of the agreement.

Rising sea levels will boost moderate floods in some areas, severe floods in others

Rising seas are making flooding more common in coastal areas around the country. Now, a new study finds that sea-level rise will boost the occurrence of moderate rather than severe flooding in some regions of the United States, while in other areas the reverse is true.

The study by researchers at Princeton and Rutgers universities found that along the southeastern coast, where severe flooding due to hurricanes is relatively frequent, cities such as Charleston, South Carolina, will see a disproportionate increase in moderate flooding. However, areas that have little history of severe flooding, such as Seattle, are likely to experience a greater uptick in the number of severe, or even historically unprecedented, floods.

The study, published June 7 in the journal Environmental Research Letters, looked at how climate-driven sea-level rise is likely to amplify coastal flooding.

Global Warming

The Larsen C Iceberg Is on the Brink of Breaking Off

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The saga of the Larsen C crack is about reach its stunning conclusion. Scientists have watched a rift grow along one of Antarctica’s ice shelves for years. Now it’s in the final days of cutting off a piece of ice that will be one of the largest icebergs ever recorded.

It’s the latest dreary news from the icy underbelly of the planet, which has seen warm air and water reshape the landscape in profound ways.

The crack has spread 17 miles over the past six days, marking the biggest leap since January. It’s also turned toward where the ice shelf ends and is within eight miles of making a clean break. There’s not much standing in its way either.

“The rift has now fully breached the zone of soft ‘suture’ ice originating at the Cole Peninsula and there appears to be very little to prevent the iceberg from breaking away completely,” scientists monitoring the ice with Project MIDAS wrote on their blog.

Trump Pulls USA Out of Global Climate Change Pact

President Donald Trump is pulling the United States out of the Paris Agreement, a worldwide accord that was developed to curb rising global temperatures and limit climate change in the coming years.

“In order to fulfill my solemn duty to protect America and its citizens, the United States will withdraw from the Paris climate accord,” Trump said at a news conference on June 1.

The Paris Agreement is designed to slow global warming by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and by stepping up investments in “green” technology. Nearly 200 countries agreed on the deal in December 2015 and signed it in 2016. By working together, nations around the world are trying to keep the planet’s average temperature from rising more than 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius) above Earth’s average temperature during preindustrial times. However, the agreement has an even more ambitious goal: “to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius [2 degrees F],” according to the United Nations.

The United States’ departure won’t cause the agreement to fall apart, but it will likely weaken it, especially if other countries follow suit. Moreover, countries that remain a part of the agreement might cooperate less with the United States in the future and, in a worst-case scenario, even impose carbon tariffs on the U.S., according to The New York Times.

Methane ‘blowout’

Giant craters on the Arctic sea floor were formed when methane gas previously trapped in ice was released with such force it blew through bedrock, Norwegian researchers say.

A study published in the latest edition of the journal Science says that during the last ice age, a sheet of ice up to two kilometres thick lay on the floor of the Barents Sea off Norway, holding vast amounts of methane in hydrate form — an ice-like mix of gas and water.

According to the researchers, when a warming climate caused the ice sheet to dissipate around 12,000 years ago, the methane concentrated in mounds and then was “abruptly released,” causing the craters.

Methane continues to seep out into the water to this day, Andreassen said, through more than 600 “gas flares” that remain near the craters.

Methane gas in northern waters is also an issue in Canada. This August 2009 photo shows methane gas bubbles in the Mackenzie River Delta in the Northwest Territories.

Climate 09 troubling bubbles

Global Warming

US scuppers G7 joint statement on climate change

All countries except the US wanted to issue a joint declaration reaffirming the group’s commitment to the global climate agreement adopted by virtually every country in Paris in December 2015.

However, Rick Perry, US energy secretary, told his counterparts that Washington was still reviewing its policies and “reserves its position on this issue”, according to a “chair summary” of what the gathering discussed.

This meant it was not possible to sign a joint statement, said Carlo Calenda, Italy’s economic development minister and the host of the gathering, which ended on Monday.

Environment

Trump Ditches Clean Power Plan

President Donald Trump signed an executive order March 28 that dismantles the Clean Power Plan, an Obama-era regulation that would have set limits on emissions of carbon dioxide and other pollutants from power plants.

The executive order is aimed, in part, at reviving the coal industry, according to Trump. But it’s doubtful that this measure is more than a stopgap, as natural gas and renewable energies, including wind and solar, are already making strides toward supplying electricity on a large scale.

Global Warming

Coders Race to Save NASA’s Climate Data

A group of coders is racing to save the government’s climate science data.

On Saturday (Feb. 11), 200 programmers crammed themselves into the Doe Library at the University of California, Berkeley, furiously downloading NASA’s Earth science data in a hackathon, Wired reported. The group’s goal: rescue data that may be deleted or hidden under President Donald Trump’s administration.

The process involves developing web-crawler scripts to trawl the internet, finding federal data and patching it together into coherent data sets. The hackers are also keeping track of data as it disappears; for instance, the Global Data Center’s reports and one of NASA’s atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) data sets has already been removed from the web.

Climate Change Blocks Expansion of Austrian Airport

An Austrian court has blocked construction of a new runway at Vienna’s airport mainly on the grounds that the project would increase climate-changing greenhouse gas emissions in violation of Austrian and European environmental laws.

The decision was seen as affirming Austrians’ constitutional rights to a clean environment, including protection from climate change impacts. It may be the first time a court anywhere in the world has blocked a major public infrastructure project based heavily on climate-related laws or considerations, according to several legal experts.

Global Warming

Trump ‘will definitely pull US out of Paris climate change deal’

A former climate change adviser to Donald Trump has said the US President will pull America out of the landmark Paris agreement and an executive order on the issue could come within “days”. Myron Ebell, who took charge of Mr Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) transition team, said the President was determined to undo policies pushed by Barack Obama to restrict greenhouse gas emissions.

He said the US would “clearly change its course on climate policy” under the new administration and claimed Mr Trump was “pretty clear that the problem or the crisis has been overblown and overstated”.

“He could do it by executive order tomorrow, or he could wait and do it as part of a larger package. There are multiple ways and I have no idea of the timing.”

Global Warming

We can attack global warming without Trump

It would be nice if President-elect Donald Trump took one of the most serious threats to life on earth seriously, but he does not. Trump called global warming a Chinese “hoax” during the campaign, and he’s assigned a science dunce to lead the transition at the Environmental Protection Agency.

The comforting news is that America can move past the black hole of ignorance in Trump’s Washington — or New York or wherever he is. Enlightened state and city governments, as well as the private sector, can provide the leadership. As it happens, they’re already on the case.

Huge example: During the Paris climate change conference last December, Bill Gates organized a handful of billionaires and came up with $15 billion for his Breakthrough Energy Coalition. The group’s mission is to fund research on radical new clean energy technologies.

California’s war on greenhouse gases is already 10 years old. Its original goal was to reduce the state’s carbon footprint to the 1990 level by the year 2020. The new goal is to shrink the carbon footprint to 40 percent below the 1990 level by 2030. California is the world’s sixth-biggest economy.

Regional compacts in the West, in the Northeast and elsewhere are following California’s lead. There’s also one in South Florida, where “king tides” are now flooding streets on perfectly sunny days.

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy, again running for the office, vows to slap a carbon tax on American imports if Trump pulls us out of the Paris climate deal. Could that happen?

Absolutely, according to Esty. Countries failing to meet international standards that form the base line for fair competition can be punished. And 195 nations have joined the Paris agreement.

Climate change has become a major priority for the U.S. Department of Defense. Rising waters already threaten Navy installations along the mid-Atlantic coast. And as the Arctic ice melts, Russia is opening bases in the region.

Global Warming

Trump seeking quickest way to quit Paris climate agreement

The president-elect wants to bypass the theoretical four-year procedure to exit the accord, according to a Reuters source. Donald Trump is looking at quick ways of withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement in defiance of widening international backing for the plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions, Reuters has reported.

Since the US president-elect was chosen, governments ranging from China to small island states have reaffirmed support for the 2015 Paris agreement at 200-nation climate talks running until 18 November in Marrakesh, Morocco.

But, according to Reuters, a source in the Trump transition team said the victorious Republican, who has called global warming a hoax, was considering ways to bypass a theoretical four-year procedure for leaving the accord.

Despite the threat of a US withdrawal, US secretary of state John Kerry said on Sunday that he would continue his efforts to implement the Paris agreement until Barack Obama leaves office on 20 January.