There is much speculation as to the total CO2 equivalent of all greenhouse gases mankind has pumped into the atmosphere directly and indirectly (positive feedback loops of thawing tundra and permafrost, ocean clathrates, etc). There was a study done in 2005:
“The total CO2 equivalent (CO2-eq) concentration of all long-lived GHGs is currently estimated to be about 455ppm CO2-eq” (Solomon et al. 2007), as of 2005.”
And more recently there was a study done roughly 8 years later by Ron Prinn, Professor of Atmospheric Science in MIT’s Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, which came up with a figure of 478ppm.
Robert Scribbler has written an informative post which puts all of this in context, including the temporary negative feedback of aerosols from the burning of fossil fuels. From my research, his essay provides the clearest picture of where we are at: a world locked into roughly 4C of warming if all emissions stopped today.
We know that fossil fuels remain the primary source of energy throughout the world with countries like India and China continuing to increase their consumption of coal:
The facts are horrifying enough. At some point fossil fuels will cease to be burned, and for the cynical-minded that time appears to be when industrial civilization can no longer physically dig them out of the ground.
On the highway to a smokestack hell, Faust met a devil who said to him:
“Give me all your tomorrows, all your children and all your children’s children, and I will make this one day, for you, a paradise.”
* * * * *
Understanding how much warming may be in store from all the CO2, methane, N2O and other greenhouse gasses humans have pumped into the atmosphere can be a bit problematic. First, definitions have tended to be confused due to the fact that equilibrium climate sensitivity measures (Charney) used to project warming for this century by the IPCC only take into account about half of long-term (slow feedback) warming should CO2 and other greenhouse gas levels remain high.
For example, equilibrium climate sensitivity measures show an effective rate of warming by about 3 degrees Celsius (C) for every doubling of CO2 from 1880 onward. By this…
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Here comes the Mass Extinction Event
Larger Animals Show Greatest Response to Climate Change
“This is the first time anyone has identified specific traits that tell us which mammals are responding to climate change and which are not,” McCain said. “Overall the study suggests our large, charismatic fauna — animals like foxes, elk, reindeer and bighorn sheep — may be at more risk from climate change. The thinking that all animals will respond similarly and uniformly to temperature change is clearly not the case.”
Animals’ response to climate change was more pronounced for species living in higher latitudes such as pika, polar bears and reindeer.
Larger animals are ecological keystone, or super-keystone species, and shape entire ecosystems. Take them out of the environment and the whole system could collapse.
I’m reminded of this story from last year:
The Disappearance of Top Predators accelerates CO2 emissions (Nature Geoscience, Feb 2013)
Kevin Moore said:
Most of the ‘old’ models and ‘old’ calculations for CO2 equivalence use a figure for CH4 which is far too low.
A lot of people still talk about 20 times or 23 times the effect of CO2 , yet the -over-a-century figure for CH4 s now accepted as being around 34, and the instantaneous figure (which is what really counts now that we have triggered self-reinforcing and mutually reinforcing feedbacks) is well over 100.
We are on track for 1000ppm CO2 equivalent.
7 years ago:
‘2.It [the Stern Report of Oct 2006] talks in terms of stabilising the carbon dioxide level at 450 to 550 ppm, when there is no evidence whatsoever that such stabilisation can be achieved. Positive feedback mechanisms are already being triggered that are releasing trapped carbon dioxide and methane at historically unprecedented rates: they could easily take the carbon dioxide equivalent level to a 1,000ppm or more.’
Now that we have entered a new phase of global climate chaos denial becomes increasingly difficult.
However, I see no possibility of governments or corporations or money-lenders promoting anything other than business-as-usual and converting ever larger regions of the globe into ‘sacrifice zones’ as the meltdown accelerates.
Prinn’s MIT study quoted in the essay is the most recent and authoritative.
Also Scribbler pointed out that if we were already at 500 to 700ppm CO2e then that would be reflected in the energy imbalance of the upper atmosphere:
One more point to look at is the energy imbalance at the top of the atmosphere. In recent years we’ve ranged between .6 to .9 Watts per meter squared. This is in rough alignment with a net forcing around 400 ppm CO2e when factoring in solar flux and taking into account feedbacks not yet in play (but that are likely locked in). This gives us a Charney warming (equilibrium) of around 1.6 C total and an Earth Systems Sensitivity warming of around 2.8 to 3.2 C, long term at steady state net forcing.
If actual CO2e were in the 500 or 700 ppm range, you’d expect energy imbalance to be double to triple what we see now.
DO THE MATH (yourself)
CO2 @ 400 ppmv = 400 ppmv CO2e
CH4 @ 120 ppmv CO2e (using the IPCC’s ‘high-end’ value, since its obviously rising fast)
Actually, CH4 is currently at almost 2 ppmv (soon will be) x 10-yr factor of 100(+) = 200+ ppmv CO2e (and rising fast)
N2/Ox @ 324 ppbv (2013 Mauna Loa) x 290 (20-yr. relative forcing factor) or (0.324 ppmv x 290) = 94 ppmv CO2e
OTHER gasses combined (per IPCC graph), composite RF at approx 2/3’s that of CH4 forcing (or more) – for approx. 70 ppmv CO2e
Aerosols (masking, aka dimming ) at approx. 55 ppm CO2e (per Scribbler article)
TOTAL (w/ ‘global dimming’ removed) at 740 ppm CO2e – past tense
If (when) CH4 does reach 2 ppmv (if not already) (& at 10-yr RF @ 100x+) then TOTAL RF becomes 820 ppmv CO2e
400 + 120 (ntm 200) + 94 + 70 + 55 DOES NOT equal 480, not even close – WTF???????????
SO: IMO, THIS (allegedly ‘scary’ Scribbler FLUFF-piece) IS YET ANOTHER LIE (deliberate distortion).
OR my calculator(s) and copy of Excel are broken.
I’d ‘luv’ to be shown how/where I’m wrong.
Kevin Moore said:
See response to your data. I reckon we’re at about 700ppm CO2 equivalent without considering minor greenhouse gases. Waiting for someone to demonstrate an error. .
Yes, well above 600ppm CO2 equivalent.
Previous dealings with Scribbler suggest he sees what he want to see.
Mike’s responses (below) would suggest to me that he has chosen to accept IPCC’s long-term/minimalist values for relative forcing of non-CO2 gasses whole-cloth. IMO, the near-term impacts (aka temporal reality) are what will destroy us/life. Long-term consequences are wholly irrelevant to the dead and gone. Or, WTF am I missing from his (non)argument?
Wrong formulas equals wrong answers. Understand?
Your math is wrong.
Look at the following graphs below and you’ll see the main problem is CO2, not any other gas like methane and black carbon which, although potent, are short-lived compared to CO2; thus their CO2e values are lower than what you have calculated. Time factors into the calculation. Different formulas apply to different gasses.
The climate forcing of CO2 is by far the greatest:
Forcing from CO2 rise since 1880: 1.8 Watts per meter squared.
Forcing from CH4 rise since 1880: .6 Watts per meter squared.
Forcing from NOx rise since 1880: .1 Watts per meter squared.
[click to enlarge…]
I do appreciate the effort/time you expended in an attempt to alleviate my anxiety wrt total radiative forcing. OTOH. I can add and multiply. So please show me, if you can (peer-reviewed, other than as sifted thru the out-dated IPCC filter), whereby on a molecule per molecule basis, that CH4 is not 100 times or more ‘potent’ than CO2 over a 10-year interval, or where NOx is not 290 times more ‘potent’ than CO2 over a 20-year interval. TMK, those values are generally accepted to be ‘in-the-ballpark’. 100 and/or 1000-year intervals are entirely irrelevant to me/us (life as we knew it).
If these relative forcing factors (as stated) are indeed correct, or anywhere near to correct, then the result of ‘my’ multiplication and addition has not been challenged much less refuted.
So you can’t look at the graphs and see right away the errors you made????
When I get some time I’ll track down the various formulas to show the errors in your calculations. Right now I’m going to a book reading.
i’d enjoy your remarks on the book-reading, if you feel so inclined. I’ve written TC Boyle’s book titles down and i’ll check one out at the library when i’m there on Tuesday, see where this guy’s coming from. Any recommendations?
Kevin Moore said:
I think we at the “Winston, how many fingers am I holding up’ moment.
Nobody dispute that CO2 is the main culprit at this stage.
However, there is a basic flaw (fraud) in the ‘official’ evaluation of CH4. CH4 is treated at though it is a short term greenhouse gas which is oxidised to CO2 and therefore decreases in concentration over time. It is treated as though after a century it will all be gone and converted into CO2. Although conversion to CO2 applies to individual molecules, any CH4 that is oxidised to CO2 is replaced by new releases of CH4, So the quantity of CH4 in the atmosphere remains fairly constant, or if the rate of release exceeds the rate of oxidation, actually increases (which is what we have been witnessing since 2007).
Since newly released molecules are arriving in the atmosphere at the rate of something like 10 to the power 30, faster than they are being oxidised, we must use the instantaneous absorbance-reradiation factor, which is in excess of 100 X CO2.
So, at approximately 2ppm x 100 relative warming factor we get 200ppm equivalent for methane, taking us to 600ppm CO2 equivalent before we even consider anything else.
It really does not matter what theoretical climate scientists, theoretical physicists or anyone else might say about ‘expected energy imbalance in the upper atmosphere’, this is basic chemistry. And Robert Scribbler has already demonstrate how weak his basic chemistry is.
Perhaps you should publish a paper to prove your point or at least write a detailed essay on it.
I’ll wait for it…………………
Kevin Moore said:
Thanks for the suggestion, Mike, but having written 5 books and dozens of articles, and made dozens of speeches on all this stuff over the past 15 years, and having made no impression whatsoever on those in control or on the ‘ignorant masses’, I have got to the point of ‘can’t be bothered anymore’.
I am happy to challenge misinformation and screwy ideas presented by others, and will be very happy to be proven wrong; I am still waiting for someone to do that; all that ever happens is whatever I write/say get ignored (like the detailed report to the mayor and the regional environment officer) and the behemoth keeps rolling along. , .
If my personal situation changes and get some inspiration I may change my mind. But really, at this point I’d rather be pruning fruit trees or harvesting than continue to bang my head against the walls of ignorance and apathy..
I wasn’t really aware of this…
Kevin Moore said:
A bit more of ‘clean, green New Zealand:
‘The ironsands off the west coast of the North Island of New Zealand, are a unique geological and marine environment, currently in the crosshairs of global mining companies looking to exploit their high iron content and low extraction costs.
Initiatives to mine for minerals in much deeper waters have recently been unveiled in Papua New Guinea, and it appears this is the beginning of an era of sea floor exploration, as land reserves begin to diminish. Nearer to home, there are already companies looking at the feasibility of extracting phosphates from the Chatham Rise.
However much of the science around the environmental impacts of all these emerging ideas is incomplete and unproven. The common consequence of all types of operations is the obliteration of any marine life in the mined area and in surrounding areas due to the smothering effects of the plume created when unwanted matter is released back to the sea floor.’
I suspect that the problem with KASM is that the folk there still think the submission process is authentic and that corporations can be stopped from exploiting profitable resources by citizen’s protest; it’s blatantly obvious now that it’s all a rigged game.
The recent drop in oil prices keeps the show on the road.
Neither is Ray Kurzweil and the entire singularity gang.
GD! WTF! Because of my intimate relations with the Almighty,LOL, he told me he was ending the world using Global Warming & it would be so hot that we would think the end was by fire.
Kevin Moore said:
One might have some respect for ‘Christians’ if they actually followed the teachings of Christ. Or if they at least tried .
Many of you out there are probably already aware of Holmgren’s future scenarios and the one which he agrees we are now in is the Brown Tech Future in which:
…the decline of fossil fuels unfolds slowly, “but the severity of global warming symptoms is at the extreme end of current mainstream scientific predictions.” The political system is Corporatist, and emphasis is placed on replacing declining conventional fossil fuels with lower grade fossil fuels, which are both more expensive and also release more GGE (Greenhouse Gas Emissions), which exacerbates Climate Change even further….
…Holmgren makes the case that while it may be too late for the Green Tech scenario to materialize, it may still be possible to avoid the worst effects of the Brown Tech scenario (a 4 to 6 degree “Climate Cooker” Lifeboats scenario)….
Well as we can see since the CO2e is already at 480, there is no chance that we can avoid a 4-6C climate cooker rise. Business-as-usual is still the norm de rigueur and coal is king:
This guy is giving up. Can’t blame him.
He’s ending the blog, because extinction is assured, yet sales will remain open till the bitter end. Only in America!
LOL. Good one.
He’s done that before, and come back.
WIPP Expert: Nuclear waste is getting out above ground — Plutonium / Americium found in “every single worker” on site when leak began — New Mexico officials ‘totally unsatisfied’ with lack of info from Feds — “We don’t know how far away it’s gone” — Continuing threat for long time to come [audio interview]
Paul Chefurka writes:
…What I’ve discovered seems to be the root cause of collective (social) human behavior. Since that root is in the laws of physics – open system thermodynamics and the operation of selection under competition as described by the Lotka/Odum Maximum Power Principle – there is literally nothing we can do to short-circuit its operation. Now I realize that the concept is too abstract for most people to understand, and it implies a determinism to our collective behavior that most people are not open to considering. Even if they could understand and accept the idea, it would make no difference to anyone or anything.
Since there is no possibility whatever that we can pull back from the brink, we might as well live out our remaining time doing whatever we think is right or useful, no matter what anyone else’s norms may be. It’s a very peaceful place to have discovered…
And he adds..
Thermodynamics and evolutionary psychology have a lot more to say about why we’re in this situation than morality or the minutiae of technology or politics.
There seems to be a massive diminution of “free will” in the behavior of social collectives compared to that of isolated individuals. It can be laid at the feet of our evolved psychology (group cohesion, status seeking and energy conservation), which in turn is all predicated on the operation of thermodynamic principles in the context of natural selection.
My opinion, mostly bullshit. There’s plenty of ‘free will’ to wreak havoc in Ukraine quite effectively. Why isn’t that directed towards cutting emissions of Co2 ?
It’s coming from effing Mad McCain who is a zionist shill backed by big money from US arms industry, etc, and from Victoria Fuck the EU Nuland whose husband is Kagan, whose father wrote Project for a New American Century the Neocon Bible, the strategy for trashing Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Eqypt, Syria, etc, etc.
Paul C.’s mechanistic abstract model of the world as a thermodynamic machine is cute, and relieves everyone of any responsibility, especially him, but it’s sort of Platonic Idealism, which is one objection I have, second is, it only works if the Universe is a closed system, which is doubtful, third, quantum mechanics probably turns the whole principle into mush, fourth, Lee Smolin reckons laws of physics are not fixed but evolve… etc… which gives some room for manouvre…
If we had some effing LEADERSHIP things could be changed, because the bad guys sure can change things. Exxon and Kochs have blocked any effective action quite successfully.
Fascism = Capitalism + Murder
~ Upton Sinclair, 1944.
I agree with you which is why I have spent some time deconstructing and criticizing capitalism.
Tiny correction U. Robert Kagan, Vicky’s husband, founded PNAC together with Bill Kristol. Donald Kagan, the father, was (only) an original signatory of the PNAC blueprint for world conquest. Start looking into either the Kagan or Nudelman family stories and you’ll be quickly nauseated.
McCain is a zero. Military brat. Without his father he’d have vanished long ago. Americans do love a man on horseback, McCain is the saddest iteration of that model. I doubt he even knows day to day who is playing him. Useful idiot.
Your larger points I leave to you. My head swims.
Thanks for the correction J.C.W.
All I can say is Rock Snot
See, now, this is why I heave a sigh of relief when you say you’re done writing or trying to convince anyone of anything but then come back calling bullshit on someone. You do it so well.
The cute mechanistic abstract model proposed by Chefurka (quoted above — I couldn’t locate it at the links) makes sense to me in the abstract. But then, it doesn’t pass the obviousness test, which is that humans do in fact possess agency even if we’re essentially herd animals. Further, there is a significant discontinuity lying somewhere between (abstract) demographics and real-world activity of individuals, kinship groups, and other small assemblies, just like there are nagging discontinuities between quantum, molecular, human-scale, and cosmic-scale space and time. Pretending those discontinuities don’t exist to make a point and/or build a moral escape hatch is clever (or cute) but ultimately unsatisfying.
Sigh… Bugger… I have to sleep.. I can’t let that pass, can I… Maybe I’ll try tomorrow, it’s a very hard problem to consider, and it has so many facets, and if Paul has found an answer that satisfies HIM, is it morally wrong for me to demolish it ? and I may be wrong also, because ultimately there are so many unknown unknowables… but I think while we CAN we fight, just like Survival Acres sells food, to stay alive and keep others alive… but thanks for the stimulation, Brutus… sort of 🙂
I believe free will to be a function of spiritual maturity. When Jesus said of his Roman tormentors, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do,” he was speaking literally. Their cruelty was purely reactive and conditioned leaving no space in which free will could operate.
Brutus, but what if this is only a *perceived*, false agency? I can see times in my own life where I have spent more energy “saving energy” than I would have otherwise believed possible. I think we are generally hard-wired to minimize personal energy expenditures and maximize personal energy incomes.
And/or, any limited agency we *may* have just isn’t enough to have a reversing impact on the larger process. Agency is too individualistic a notion, since we make an impact in the aggregate.
Donella Meadows, in “Thinking in Systems”: “self-organization is such a basic property of living systems that even the most overbearing power structure can never fully kill it…” “…out of simple rules of self-organization can grow enormous, diversifying crystals of techonology, physical structures, organizations and cultures. …the world, or at least the parts of it humans think they understand, is organized in subsystems aggregated into larger subsystems, aggregated into still larger subsystems…” What allows this process to happen is energy, and any chosen strategies to reduce one’s immediate personal use of energy are still only directed towards survival, that is, to consume again another day, not to reduce consumption to a minimum, which would require suicide.
Nice pair of hypotheticals you got going there. Let’s say I grant them … where does that get us? So we’re all just meat robots obeying our genetic instructions to replicate. Or consciousness is merely a computer simulation of sorts manifesting the semiosphere (pointed to by Ulvfugl). Or we’re mindless bacteria bouncing around blindly seeking nourishment. Or worse, we’re just (proverbially) fleas on the backs of tics on the backs of dogs on the surface of the planet, itself spinning around a star spinning around a galaxy in a larger universe destined to heat death as entropy increases. We’re powerless because these large structures overwhelm us so completely; we’re just along for the ride and may as well absolve ourselves of responsibility for anything we do in the process.
That’s nihilism, the refuge of scoundrels, what I called before a moral escape hatch. It’s also the way some very smart people outwit themselves with excursions into abstraction. Lots of filters exist through which to perceive and understand ourselves, the world, and the universe. The field of biosemiotics attempts to bridge material and information paradigms. I can’t claim to be familiar at all with that field, but I sense that humanity (and perhaps other social species, I dunno) is something other than (just) material, energy processing units and stores, or information processing units and stores. Sure, we all consume and expel waste (both energy and information) as part of our basic life processes, but that’s far too reductive to account for phenomenal experience.
The obviousness test for me is that human activity in life has an amazingly complex array of objectives beyond mere survival or even unsatiated consumption. We haven’t struck an optimal balance with respect to the immoderation of our consumption vis a vis available resources. So our greediness for something else, something more than mere existence, has led to ultimately self-defeating outcomes with delayed effects due to interactions of timescales beyond human history (evolutionary, geological, and cosmic time). None of that makes it acceptable to me to adopt a point of view that says, “Oh well, we are just small pieces of the puzzle” when it’s obvious that we are the lynchpin that has produced what will be the collapse of the entire biosphere.
We have no choice but to act with individual agency, even if the effect is washed out in aggregate.
Jerry McManus said:
“Since there is no possibility whatever that we can pull back from the brink, we might as well live out our remaining time doing whatever we think is right or useful, no matter what anyone else’s norms may be. It’s a very peaceful place to have discovered…”
This encapsulates my worldview better than anything else I’ve read in the last ten years, by far. And believe me, in that time I have read quite a bit of so-called “doomer porn”.
For some time now I have been quite at peace with my understanding of the thermodynamic nature of our predicament, and as such I have no desire whatsoever to change anyone’s behavior.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to engage people in conversations about the various civilization ending crises we face, should the topic happen to arise, but I don’t waste one moment of precious life trying to convince anyone that they are “wrong”.
Other than that I spend most of my time doing whatever my heart desires (including a fair amount of volunteer work at food banks and other non-profits). I am pleased to report first hand that it is in fact a very peaceful place indeed.
Have never read any of T.C. Boyle, but he’ll be at the local college tonight for a book reading; after I looked into his work and perspectives, I thought I’d go.
From a 2012 interview: T. C. Boyle, Doomsday Preacher
So just dying slowly? No getting hit by a meteor?
My dear fellow, we all put our heads down, don’t we? In previous generations, there was purpose; you had to die, but there was God, and literature and culture would go on. Now, of course, there is no God, and our species is imminently doomed, so there is no purpose. We get up, raise families, have bank accounts, fix our teeth and everything else. But really, there is utterly no purpose except to be alive.
Imminently doomed? What sort of time frame are we talking?
In “A Friend of the Earth,” I projected 2025 for the effects of global warming to really disturb us, but I should have cut that by 10 years. It’s so depressing. You read any environmentalist — there’s not a breath of hope for our species.
From reviews of one of his books…
…His stories have won accolades for their irony and black humor, for their verbal pyrotechnics, for their fascination with everything bizarre and queasy, and for the razor-sharp way in which they dissect America’s obsession with image and materialism…
These stories find Boyle partying like it’s 1999. He zeroes in on our age’s most uncomfortable obsessions, its late-capitalist fetishes and millenarian fears: nervous Los Angelenos suckered into buying a Montana survivalist’s retreat (“On for the Long Haul”); a hygienically obsessed girlfriend who insists on wearing a full-body condom (“Modern Love”); a rich, guilty couple suffocating under the weight of a lifetime’s possessions (“Filthy with Things”). Elsewhere, he updates Gogol for late Soviet times (“The Overcoat II”), retells the death of blues god Robert Johnson (“Hellhound on My Trail”), even goes clubbing with that hot ’90s property, the author of Mansfield Park (“I Dated Jane Austen”). Boyle’s comic range is unparalleled, his timing razor-sharp as he skewers everyone from burglar alarm salesmen to the Beats. Like all tricksters, the author uses our own vanity and hypocrisy against us–but with barbs as witty as those found in T.C. Boyle Stories, not even his victims will mind….
Boyle read a couple short stories, one called ‘The Relive Box’ which is about how our digital devices are taking over our lives… pulling us out of the ‘here and now’ and into a fabricated world. That story is going to be published in The New Yorker in the next few weeks. Boyle is a great story performer.
A question from the audience that got the most laughs concerned how the author viewed the future of the printed book and literature with all of this digital media blanketing the world…
“I see doom. Doom for literature, destruction of our culture, and death to everyone.”
His views on technology mirror my own — that it has overwhelmed and dehumanized society to a great extent. He unplugs from all digital devices for periods of time.
Saw this link over at Nature Bats Last:
“The Final Post – Extinction Is Now Our Only Future”
The Iditarod is affected by climate change:
The Iditarod, the annual sled-dog race across 975 miles of Alaska, started in earnest on Sunday. While much of the local buzz is on whether the usual strong slate of Alaskan mushers can hold off the Norwegians, much of the attention has turned to how the race will be affected by the warm weather Alaska experienced earlier this year.
“It’s a minefield out there,” said former Yukon Quest champion Hugh Neff. “It’s the roughest I’ve ever seen,” said Jeff King, a 22-time race finisher. Aliy Zirkle reported “No snow. Zip. Zero. None.” Many suffered crashes, busted knees, bruises, and sprained ankles. Several are out of the race already.
With the polar vortex shifting winter upside-down and melting large parts of Alaska with springlike temperatures, the state began the year with more melting snow than usual. In fact, across the globe, January 2014 was the fourth-hottest January on record, according to NOAA.
The abnormally warm weather melted snow in Alaska, which made a return toward more normal cooler temperatures in much of February create a different kind of dangerous condition: ice, and hard debris.
DeeDee Jonrowe of Willow trained on “ribbons of ice” that reduced her usual number of training miles. Snowpack is what mushers need to race well, and even when it hasn’t been warm enough to rain, real snowfall can be hard to come by. In February, snowfall in Fairbanks is a foot below normal.
“The problem has been frequent mild days, which have been knocking down the snowcover,” said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Jack Boston.
The Anchorage Daily News reported in its pre-race rundown that “conditions are hard, fast, and icy south of the Alaska Range — or at least they were before the latest heat wave.”
In fact, the main reason that the race was not moved north from Willow to Fairbanks is because a construction company used specialized equipment to rebuild the trail.
Usually there is so much snow that race organizers have to pack down drifts of 10 feet or more to allow mushers to stop to resupply and get their dogs checked out. At the checkpoint near Finger Lake, volunteers encountered an entirely different kind of challenge: having to drill into the ice to even place trail markers.
When Martin Buser was training for his 31st race in January, he ran into some “challenging” conditions — like open water on the trail.
“We’ve encountered a lot of water and a lot of ice. … And rain,” he said.
Photo shows dead pines – make that dead pine forest – trees falling down. No one notices.
Someone smarter than me please tell us what this does come summer. What’s the weather and climate effect? Just short term is all we need to know. And wrt sea ice one of the big factors in the summer melt is spring snow cover. I’ve checked various charts through the winter and the graphic representation always says there’s snow over the whole hemisphere. Much more than usual. Now that visible light MODIS photos are available it sure looks like Alaska Canada Siberia have thin or no snow at high latitudes. I religiously follow Neven, his forum and the Arctic News blog and see nothing noted. Anyone?
JCW, I don’t know about smarter, but I live in British Columbia and I see the pine beetle damage everyday. Very sad. David Suzuki explains it best.
OK, you’re at ground zero and you’ve had a few years to observe. What happens to weather? My first guess is it gets hotter and drier but I’ve zero confidence it is that simple. Hundreds of millions of acres have been taken by beetles now and it has to have consequence. Beyond weather, what happens to humans who have to live in the denuded landscape? What’s happened to the critters that once lived in the forest?
I’m near Chicago. We have no beetles reported here. Anything coniferous within a couple hundred miles is in deep shit. The few ornamentals that have seemed to do better are succumbing. We’re mostly deciduous here so the landscape is not so immediately and drastically altered. But it’s bad enough. Plantation pine where we have it is all dead/terminal.
A Prankster Gave a Homeless Man a Fake Winning Lottery Ticket — You Won’t Believe What Happened Next! (Video)
Rahat knows a thing or two about both deception and jokes; he’s a magician who specializes in playing pranks on the public. Drive-through workers seem like a particularly rich target, but anyone is fair game. That evidently include one unnamed homeless man, who Rahat noticed hanging out at a local shopping center.
The video begins with Rahat telling the homeless man that he didn’t have any cash to give him, but he did have a winning lottery ticket. They just needed to take it into the store nearby to cash it. The man is understandably wary; there’s no telling how many people have played cruel jokes on him, offering a morsel of hope and happiness only to maliciously pull it away at the last moment. The ugly side of human nature is never more evident than to those in need of the best.
And indeed, the lottery ticket WAS a loser; at any other store, it would have been just so much paper. But not this one. Rahat had already given the cashier $1,000, which made it back to the lucky “winner’s” hands when he cashed the ticket. You can see the man’s hands shake as he hesitatingly takes the money from the cashier. He approaches it as though it were a poisonous snake, and the cashier were heartlessly setting him up for arrest, abuse or simply a very cruel joke.
Somehow, on the streets, that seems like the more likely scenario.
When he finally does realize that no, this isn’t a set-up, and yes the money really is his, the homeless man does something that some might find amazing. In tears of joy and disbelief, he counts out five $100 bills and tries to give them back to Rahat. A gift for his “friend,” who had just given him so much and asked nothing in return.
A miracle, for certain.
Or maybe not.
Those who have never lived in destitution will never know how deadly greed can be. There’s something about having nothing, about living on nothing, when few others around you have any more, that drives many people to want to share what they have. That’s how society formed in the first place: people in need, sharing and giving to each other to the mutual benefit of all. Greed, so often, is a luxury of those who have no need for it; charity is the hallmark of those who have known what “need” truly means, and who have lived to experience the charity of others.
For the truly destitute, giving back is a way of life. Greed lives in marble halls… the best of humanity thrives in the gutter outside.
Thanks for sharing this. I had a lump in my throat as I read thru it and I cried as the homeless man wanted to share this gift with his “friend.”
I’d like to believe there is this gem inside most of us. There is still part of me that this is how the majority of us could have lived and behaved towards each other. Instead we have extinction and all the horrible things we have and will be doing to each other.
Those last two paragraphs say it all for me. We should all be living in the gutters where the best of humanity thrives.
Can’t say much at this moment.
PMB: i had the same reaction. Unfortunately the disease (or ‘sin’) of greed has infected most of mankind. The vast majority of us are headed toward the gutter as things continue to get worse economically, environmentally and socially. It was nice to see what someone who has essentially nothing does when he comes into a “windfall” but this reaction is the exception. I bet he makes it last a long time (or shares it with others). Remember, the money is going to become worthless sooner or later, but his gesture is pure and illustrates the real value, at least to me.
Friday, 7 March
US judge sides with Chevron against Ecuadorians
U.S. Judge Sides With Chevron in Case Against Ecuadorians, Allows Oil Giant to Evade Justice
Amazon Watch stands with Ecuadorian communities in rejecting a misguided judgment delaying justice for some 30,000 indigenous people and farmers who continue to suffer from the company’s toxic legacy in the Amazon rainforest. The decision—handed down yesterday by New York District Court Judge Lewis Kaplan—also underscores the threat that well-financed corporations pose to justice and the rule of law with their ability to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on efforts to attack victims and their allies.
Since Chevron filed the bogus RICO action, Ecuadorians and their allies have been relentlessly attacked by the company’s army of lawyers and PR agents. These actions were unrelated to real events in Ecuador, setting a dangerous precedent for corporate attacks on constitutional rights.
“This decision also effectively outlaws core activity protected by the First Amendment such as bringing lawsuits, holding protests, issuing press releases and engaging public officials,” said Deepak Gupta, attorney for the appellate team in response to the verdict. “This is particularly appalling given that this case is about holding a corporation accountable for refusing to clean up decades of toxic pollution in the Amazon.”
[read the rest]
Climate change to destroy Great Barrier Reef irreversibly in just 16 years
ANI | Sydney March 6, 2014 Last Updated at 14:58 IST
It may be Thirty years too late, but some leaders are finally getting it.
WASHINGTON — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Thursday that climate change is a really big deal — the biggest, in fact.
“Climate change is the worst problem facing the world today,” said the Nevada Democrat at a roundtable with reporters.
Reid has been growing ever more assertive on climate change. Last June, he said in a speech on the Senate floor that “we have no more important issue in the world than this issue, period.”
Four years ago, it was the Democrat-led Senate that effectively killed off major climate legislation. And it was Reid who delivered the bill’s eulogy, remarking that he knew he just didn’t have the votes to pass it.
Senators who have long advocated for more action on climate change have taken Reid’s recent rhetoric as a positive sign. Rhode Island Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse has said Reid’s climate remarks are evidence that the profile of the issue has “climbed considerably.” Next Monday, a group of senators is planning to take over the Senate floor for a whole night to discuss the importance of addressing climate change.
Reid also bashed the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, the approval of which is pending before President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry. The pipeline would carry oil from the tar sands of Alberta, Canada, to refineries in Texas. “To think that that pipeline would be built … That just doesn’t sound like a very good idea to me,” said Reid, who has previously said he opposes the pipeline.
Reid also insinuated that Charles and David Koch, the prominent conservative funders who have made much of their money off oil, gas and chemicals, are behind the push to approve Keystone XL. While reports have argued that Koch Industries and its subsidiaries stand to benefit from the pipeline’s construction, the company has said that it has “no financial stake” in the project. Reid has been on an anti-Koch kick of late, accusing the billionaire brothers of “buying America.”
“Anything that’s dirtying the environment, look around and they’re involved in it most of the time,” said Reid. “It’s hard to find anything dirtier than coal. But you look around, you got tar sands — that beats it.”
HuffPost’s Jennifer Bendery contributed reporting.
And others are dumber than ever:
THURSDAY, MARCH 06, 2014
Ex-Greenpeacer Patrick Moore Questions Climate Change, Challenges Liberals
As a former Greenpeace insider, Patrick Moore wasn’t surprised by the heated reaction from the left on his explosive testimony about climate change last week before a Senate committee.
Mr. Moore drew headlines for disputing the environmental movement’s doomsday scenario, depicting climate change over the past century as “minor warming” and arguing that “there is no scientific proof that human emissions of carbon dioxide are the dominant cause.”
As a result, Mr. Moore came under fire for “climate denial” from the liberal group Media Matters for America. He has been persona non grata at Greenpeace for years.
The Next Financial Bubble Is Coming… Courtesy of Fossil Fuels Industry
Report exposes real costs of investing in carbon
– Sarah Lazare, staff writer
I don’t usually read Huffpo, but
New Government Report Warns of ‘Cascading System Failures’ Caused By Climate Change
WASHINGTON — From roads and bridges to power plants and gas pipelines, American infrastructure is vulnerable to the effects of climate change, according to a pair of government reports released Thursday.
The reports are technical documents supporting the National Climate Assessment, a major review compiled by 13 government agencies that the U.S. Global Change Research Program is expected to release in April. Scientists at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory put together the reports, which warn that climate-fueled storms, flooding and droughts could cause “cascading system failures” unless there are changes made to minimize those effects. Island Press has published the full-length version of the reports, which focus on energy and infrastructure more broadly.
Thomas Wilbanks, a research fellow at Oak Ridge and the lead author and editor of the reports, said this is the first attempt to look at the climate implications across all sectors and regions. Rather than isolating specific types of infrastructure, Wilbanks said, the report looks at how “one impact can have impacts on the others.”
Previous extreme weather events, which scientists warn may be exacerbated by climate change, offer insight to the types of failures they’re talking about. For example, during Hurricane Katrina, the loss of electricity in the region meant that several major oil pipelines could not ship oil and gas for several days, and some refineries could not operate. Gas prices rose around the country.
Other scenarios include a major storm wiping out communications lines, a blackout that cuts power to sewage treatment or wastewater systems, and a weather event that damages a bridge or major highway. In the latter case, the damage would not only cost money to repair, but could cause traffic backups or delays in the shipment of goods, which could in turn have wider economic implications. As the report describes it:
A central theme of the report is that vulnerabilities and impacts are issues beyond physical infrastructures themselves. The concern is with the value of services provided by infrastructures, where the true consequences of impacts and disruptions involve not only the costs associated with the cleanup, repair, and/or replacement of affected infrastructures but also economic, social, and environmental effects as supply chains are disrupted, economic activities are suspended, and/or social well-being is threatened.
While many reports on climate change focus on the long-term impacts, looking ahead 50 or 100 years, the effects described in Thursday’s reports are the kind that cities, states and the federal government can expect to see in the next few decades, Wilbanks said.
“There’s this crunch between vulnerability of infrastructure because it’s aging or stressed because they are so heavily used, and they’re being exposed to new threats like more frequent, extreme weather events,” says Wilbanks. All this comes at a time, Wilbanks said, where governments at every level are facing “great difficulty in coming up with public sector financing to replace or revitalize them.”
The energy report also exposes vulnerabilities in the system. It points to recent cases where heat waves caused massive spikes in energy use for cooling buildings, putting strain on the power grid. It also highlights instances where power plants were at risk of flooding, or had to shut down or scale back operations due to high temperatures and droughts.
“One-quarter of existing power generation facilities are in counties associated with some type of water sustainability concern,” said David Schmalzer, co-author of the energy-focused report. “Warmer air and water are expected to reduce the efficiency of thermal power, while hydropower and biofuels will also face increased uncertainty. Even electricity sources not dependent on water supplies, such as wind and solar power, also face increased variability, as a changing climate will potentially impact the variability of their resources.”
“Fixing infrastructure resilience problems [requires] a partnership between different levels of government, industry, nongovernmental organizations and community groups. No one party is the best to do it all,” said Wilbanks. “What we really need is some innovative thinking about financing.”
couple more, then I gotta ‘get busy’
Groups sue EPA to force it to move on pesticide disclosures
Three environmental and public health groups sued the Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday, seeking to press it to move forward with rules that would require public disclosure of certain pesticide ingredients.
The Center for Environmental Health, Beyond Pesticides, and Physicians for Social Responsibility, all non-profit advocacy groups, filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in San Francisco.
The groups claimed there has been an “unreasonable delay” on the EPA’s part in finalizing rules to require chemical manufacturers to disclose hazardous inert ingredients in their pesticide products.
The groups said there are more than 350 inert pesticide ingredients that can be just as hazardous as active ingredients that are labeled and can comprise up to 99 percent of a pesticide’s formulation. Of the common inert ingredients, many are classified as carcinogenic, possibly carcinogenic or potentially toxic, the lawsuit said.
More than 20 public health groups and a coalition of state attorneys general petitioned EPA in 2006 to take action on this issue. EPA said in 2009 that it was starting the rule-making process regarding disclosures of such ingredients.
But the lawsuit claimed that since 2009 EPA has taken no further action to adopt any new rules on disclosure of inert ingredients.
“EPA’s unreasonable delay continues to leave the public uninformed and unable to protect themselves from the hazardous chemicals they are being exposed to through the use of pesticide products,” the lawsuit said.
EPA officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
In a 2009 letter to the groups, EPA said that it intended to “effect a sea change in how inert ingredient information is made available to the public.” But it also said it was not committing to any particular outcome.
Minnesota Mystery: What’s Killing the Moose?
GRAND PORTAGE, Minn. — For moose, this year’s winter-long deep freeze across the Upper Midwest is truly ideal weather. The large, gangly creatures are adapted to deep snow: Their hollow fur insulates them like fiberglass does in a house. And the prolonged cold helps eradicate pests that prey on moose, like ticks and meningeal worm, or brain worm. Yet moose in Minnesota are dying at an alarming rate, and biologists are perplexed as to why. [read the rest]
The good news just keeps rolling in:
Scorcher summers predicted for Europe
Paris (AFP) – Europe is headed for scorching summers with temperatures well over 40 degrees Celsius (104 deg Fahrenheit) and droughts in the south within the next 40 years, climate scientists said Friday.
Europe is expected to witness some of the most dramatic climatic changes due to global warming, according to research published in the journal Environmental Research Letters.
As well as hotter summers, Europe’s north should see considerably milder winters — some 5 C to 8 C warmer in Scandinavia and Russia.
“Most of Europe will experience higher warming than the global average” of 2 C, said the team.
UN negotiators are aiming to keep global warming at only 2 C above pre-Industrial Revolution surface temperatures, saying that it threatens rising sea levels, more droughts and floods, and an increasing spread of disease.
If only “moderate actions” are taken to curb Earth-warming greenhouse gas emissions, the 2 C warming will already have been reached by mid-century, the team said, and even sooner if current trends continue.
“Even the achievement of the 2 C goal will be accompanied by a significantly changed climate from today, and will necessitate adaptation,” they wrote.
A global increase of 2 C will mean particularly large increases in Europe, except for the UK which will have lower relative warming.
In summer, daily maximum temperatures could be 3-4 C higher over southeast Europe and the Iberian Peninsula “and rise well above 40 C in regions that already experience some of the highest temperatures in Europe, such as Spain, Portugal and France,” said the statement.
“Such higher temperatures will increase evaporation and drought”, and increase heat stroke risk.
In winter, maximum daily temperatures could be 2-3 C higher in central and southern Europe, and 5-8 C in Scandinavia and Russia.
“The higher winter warming in Northern Europe will have a mix of positive as well as negative effects, including reduced winter heating” and a drop in cold-related deaths, said the study.
It would negatively impact winter tourism and ecosystems.
Rainfall may decline by up to 10 percent in southern Europe on average, and increase by the same margin in the north, said the study.
“Most of the continent will experience an increase in instances of extreme precipitation, increasing the flood risks which are already having significant economic consequences,” such as in England at the moment.
The team used climate models to simulate changes under a warming scenario of rapid economic growth and moderate greenhouse gas emissions.
The average global temperature has already increased by 0.8 C on pre-industrial levels.
According to the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), it could rise an added 2.6 to 4.8 C by the end of this century, on a high-emissions scenario.
Yeah, but you don’t get it, and Paul doesn’t get it, because you’re still in a 19thC materialist paradigm of reality, thinking of the Earth as a locomotive shovelling in coal to keep the water boiling.
Forget the material stuff. It’s about the information flowing through the Semiosphere that regulates ‘the locomotive’.
It doesn’t NEED any energy, because it isn’t energy. It’s like the value on Bill Gates Windows CD, it’s not the plastic, is it.
The information optimised the Earth system for life, by regulating the energy. Paul’s idea, that we are condemned to inevitably use more and more energy because that is what life does, is saying that the locomotive is designed to go faster and faster until it overheats and explodes (which the first ones did, and is the way capitalism is designed) but what I’m saying is that the Semiosphere is/was designed to ensure that THAT DID NOT HAPPEN.
WE have fucked that up.
Sorry, that was meant for Lidia and Brutus
buz painter said:
Yeh, I know it was. You always do this to me- derail my day with fascinating stuff. How can I continue in the bliss of ignorance when you keep sabotaging it?
I present evidence, almost everyday, indicating that not only is the collapse of civilization happening, but our extinction (if not all life) is clearly indicated by the sheer volume, the wide-ranging area of topics (all interrelated), the intensity with which it’s proceeding (to hell in a handbasket) and our powerlessness in the face of it (there’s simply too much for us to deal with, even being as “clever” as we are).
Yet, I get denial and people being picky over irrelevant points, imprecise measurements (here’s a clue – it changes every moment), and other non-sense as “rebuttal,” people like Martin who wants to argue minutia while the ship is sinking. i’m not arguing with or getting involved in pointless discussions with anyone who doesn’t at least own up to the fact that none of the evidence I’m citing is “made-up” and that most of it is measurable if not obvious and continuing in the same direction (down and out) by all indications. Scott (the scientist) is another one. Look, if you don’t see what’s plain reality every single day, that it’s getting worse, harder and more dire each week, I can’t help you and don’t have time to contend with your slow learning curve.
Figure it out for yourself, or not – it won’t matter! In a few more years, 10 max, it’ll be so obvious that we’re goners that discussion will cease in the face of utter chaos (and by that time the internet will probably be gone too).
I wanted to post this on NBL in reply to Martin, but can’t because of the puerile two-post rule. Sorry to readers here, to whom my rant wasn’t directed.
Your whining on xraymike’s blog about a rule you can’t handle on Guy McPherson’s blog? Who is the childish one?
and now, back to our regular feature:
Global warming spreads malaria to higher altitudes – ‘In Ethiopia, based on the distribution of malaria with altitude, a 1C rise in temperature could lead to an additional three million cases in under-15-year-olds per year’
Warmer temperatures are causing malaria to spread to higher altitudes, a study suggests.
Researchers have found that people living in the highlands of Africa and South America are at an increased risk of catching the mosquito-borne disease during hotter years.
They believe that temperature rises in the future could result in millions of additional cases in some areas.
The research is published in the journal Science.
Prof Mercedes Pascual, from the University of Michigan in the US, who carried out the research, said: “The impact in terms of increasing the risk of exposure to disease is very large.”
Vulnerable to disease
Areas at higher altitudes have traditionally provided a haven from this devastating disease.
Continue reading the main story
This expansion could in a sense account for a substantial part of the increase of cases we have already observed in these areas”
Professor Mercedes Pascual
University of Michigan
Both the malaria parasite and the mosquito that carries it struggle to cope with the cooler air.
Prof Pascual said: “The risk of the disease decreases with altitude and this is why historically people have settled in these higher regions.”
But the scientists say the disease is entering new regions that had previously been malaria-free.
To investigate, scientists looked at densely populated areas in the highlands of Colombia and Ethiopia, where there are detailed records of both temperature and malaria cases from the 1990s to 2005.
They found that in warmer years, malaria shifted higher into the mountains, while in cooler years it was limited to lower elevations.
“This expansion could in a sense account for a substantial part of the increase of cases we have already observed in these areas,” said Prof Pascual.
The team believes that rising temperatures could cause a further spread.
In Ethiopia, where nearly half of the population live at an altitude of between 1,600m (5,250ft) and 2,400m, the scientists believe there could be many more cases.
“We have estimated that, based on the distribution of malaria with altitude, a 1C rise in temperature could lead to an additional three million cases in under-15-year-olds per year,” said Prof Pascual.
The team believes that because people living in areas that have never been exposed to malaria are particularly vulnerable to the disease, attempts to stop the spread should be focused on areas at the edge of the spread. The disease is easier to control there than at lower altitudes where it has already established.
According to the latest estimates from the World Health Organization, there were about 207 million cases of malaria in 2012 and an estimated 627,000 deaths. Most deaths occur among children living in Africa.
Kevin Moore said:
I have sent you an email on the matter of CO2 equivalence.
If we hear nothing to refute it in the next week or so you can use it as the basis for an item on the site if you wish, and see if generates any response.
This stuff well known here but a good explanation for others.
apneaman: yeah, sorry about the whining. It’s not that i can’t handle the rule (I abide by it), it just seems unnecessary and childish. I was just pissed that I couldn’t respond to Martin’s comment because i’d already used up my two. You can ignore my posts if you’d like.
Robert Scribbler’s 500th blog post:
Climate Change Pushing World to Brink of Food Crisis as FAO Price Index Jumps to 208.1 in February
[read it if you’re interested]