Climate change deniers are at it again. The logic goes, “How could global warming be real when your driveway is
piling up with cold, cold snow?”
Well, there’s bad news for deniers — research has shown that
extreme weather, for example, massive snowstorms, are actually linked
to climate change.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, which has studied climate change extensively winter storms have increased in both “frequency and
intensity,” and climate change is “increasing the odds of more extreme
weather events taking place.”
meteorologist Eric Holthaus wrote in Slatein
2016, just after a record-breaking winter storm dropped 26.6 inches of
snow on New York City in just one day, “there is clear evidence global
warming is boosting the odds of recent big Northeast snowstorms.” Read more (3/13/17 6:21 PM)
The Montmorency tart cherry is pretty much the only sour cherry grown in the U.S. And cherry growers in Michigan know the tree really well. It was brought here from France a couple hundred years ago. “This is older than most people think of as heirloom varieties and it’s our main variety to this day,” says Jim Nugent, a cherry grower in northern Michigan.
The tree is “very cold hardy” in the dead of winter, he says, and grows well in the state. But it is susceptible to damage from spring frost, making it very sensitive to the extreme weather shifts made more likely by climate change. And that made tart cherry growers nervous.
Warmer days in early spring have caused cherry buds to come out earlier on average. That combined with erratic spring weather, especially when it brings severe cold snaps, has already proved disastrous for the crop.
Cutting Science Funding Today Costs Us More Overall
“How much money will we save by cutting funding to the EPA? To NASA Earth Science? To the National Institutes for Health? Take all those numbers for all those organizations that the proposed federal budget would slash and add them up. Now, do the math on the other side. What’s the cost of environmental pollution? Of unclean, unsafe water? Of air that puts us at risk of health problems like asthma, lung disease and COPD? Of a loss of Earth monitoring for extreme weather, climate change, sea level rise, droughts, and natural disasters? Of the cessation of medical research, working to fight preventable diseases, and working to cure some of society’s greatest afflictions such as cancer, heart disease, alzheimers and more?”
The President of the United States just released his proposed budget for the next fiscal year, and there are some big losers in the scientific world. The EPA, the NIH, NASA Earth Science and many other organizations that exist for the benefit of America and all of humanity are poised to lose a significant amount of federal funding. This doesn’t simply affect the scientists who lose their jobs. If we take as a given that the projects that these organizations invest in are vital at some level, and that they will need to be accomplished at some point, we’re actually making it far more expensive in the long run. The loss of expertise, the cessation of production and the exodus of the team that would provide scientific continuity are all extremely costly, and will make all of these projects cost us more than they would have overall. We saw this lesson firsthand just a few years ago with James Webb.
Climate change is now affecting every country on every continent. It is disrupting national economies and affecting lives, costing people, communities and countries dearly today and even more tomorrow. People are experiencing the significant impacts of climate change, which include changing weather patterns, rising sea level, and more extreme weather events. The greenhouse gas emissions from human activities are driving climate change and continue to rise. They are now at their highest levels in history. Without action, the world’s average surface temperature is projected to rise over the 21st century and is likely to surpass 3 degrees Celsius this century—with some areas of the world expected to warm even more. The poorest and most vulnerable people are being affected the most. Affordable, scalable solutions are now available to enable countries to leapfrog to cleaner, more resilient economies. The pace of change is quickening as more people are turning to renewable energy and a range of other measures that will reduce emissions and increase adaptation efforts. But climate change is a global challenge that does not respect national borders. Emissions anywhere affect people everywhere. It is an issue that requires solutions that need to be coordinated at the international level and it requires international cooperation to help developing countries move toward a low-carbon economy. To address climate change, countries adopted the Paris Agreement at the COP21 in Paris on 12 December 2015. The Agreement entered into force shortly thereafter, on 4 November 2016. In the agreement, all countries agreed to work to limit global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius, and given the grave risks, to strive for 1.5 degrees Celsius. Implementation of the Paris Agreement is essential for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, and provides a roadmap for climate actions that will reduce emissions and build climate resilience.
A female kangaroo lies dead after she was hit by a car while moving to higher ground away from floodwaters in Rockhampton, Tuesday, April 4, 2017. Flood waters are expected to hit levels not seen in 60 years. Climate change is intensifying extreme weather events such as these as well as making them hit more frequently. Such events, as well as other climate impacts, are forcing animals to move around the world, often resulting in population decline and local extinction. Photograph: Dan Peled/AAP
Climate change is rapidly becoming a crisis that defies hyperbole.
For all the sound and fury of climate change denialists, self-deluding politicians and a very bewildered global public, the science behind climate change is rock solid while the impacts – observed on every ecosystem on the planet – are occurring faster in many parts of the world than even the most gloomy scientists predicted.
Given all this, it’s logical to assume life on Earth – the millions of species that cohabitate our little ball of rock in space – would be impacted. But it still feels unnerving to discover that this is no longer about just polar bears; it’s not only coral reefs and sea turtles or pikas and penguins; it about practically everything – including us.
Three recent studies have illustrated just how widespread climate change’s effect on life on our planet has already become.
More than half of the world’s humans today live in cities – but that won’t make any of us immune to the changes going on in nature. According to Scheffer’s research, humans will see a drop in productivity of various crops or timber species, a drastic loss in marine fisheries, a potential rise in new diseases as well as disease spreading to places they’d never been before. Meanwhile, declines in coral reefs, kelp forests and mangroves could lead to more lives lost in climate-fueled storms. Loss of global biodiversity will also have knock-on effects in societies around the world, from less productive ecosystems to impacts we simply can’t predict today.
It’s really simple why fighting climate change is so important: climate change ⇒ ⇒ erratic or extreme weather ⇒ ⇒⇒ global warming ⇒ ⇒ temperature rising ⇒ ⇒ ⇒⇒⇒ many (if not all) species of cockroach flourish in warmer conditions
When we think “drought,” we think California, or just a couple of years ago, Texas, or the American Southwest generally. We don’t think, “Alabama.” Until this story popped up on my screen, I wasn’t aware of a drought in Alabama.
Excerpt from the Huffington Post story:
Alabama is in the midst of the worst drought in at least a decade, though anecdotally, many say it’s the most severe in modern memory. More than 98 percent of the state is now suffering drought conditions, with parts of the northeast and east-central Alabama enduring “exceptional drought” ― the worst possible kind. Rivers and streams have run dry, wildlife have perished, and raging wildfires have consumed more than 12,000 acres of land statewide.
Forecasters said this week that the drought is showing no signs of abating. Alabama will likely experience not a wet, but a drier than usual winter this year, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The agency said the drought is expected to persist through Jan. 31, bringing worsening conditions to areas already in the grips of a crisis. It’s anticipated that drought will consume the entire state by year’s end.
With climate change promising to bring more frequent and intense droughts and wildfires in the coming decades, local activists and water management experts say the ongoing drought is a foreshadowing of “scary” things to come.
The current emergency has also cast a harsh spotlight on the state’s abject failure to prepare for times of drought crisis, they say.
Alabama has been dubbed “America’s Amazon.” It has the most navigable water channels in the country and boasts the most freshwater biodiversity. So dead and dying rivers and streams can spell disaster for ecosystems, as well as local communities living near water bodies and industries relying on these water channels for survival.
Drought also severely threatens the health of wildlife populations, including threatened species. Other than being one of America’s most biodiverse states, Alabama is also home to the third-largest number of endangered species in the country, including aquatic creatures like fish, freshwater mussels and crayfish.
The climate and the current weather pattern is creating the drought. But the state’s government isn’t helping the situation:
It is important that you understand the seriousness of this situation. Though there is extensive coverage in print and online media, climate change gets less press than celebrity diet secrets and rap feuds. Write to your senators and congressmen. Sign petitions. Organize and take part in demonstrations. Activism is important.
We are not going to save everything. The world is going to change. People are dying and will continue to die. Property will be destroyed, possibly whole cities. Some species will go extinct. We need to act now, and pressure our elected officials to pass serious legislation to mitigate climate change. We don’t have to lose everything.
Sharing and liking tumblr posts isn’t enough. You must do more.
Climate change will make people sicker. Trump is pulling out of Paris anyway.
Whether Trump acknowledges it or not, climate change and human health are inextricably linked. President Donald Trump is making good on his campaign promise to pull the US out of the Paris climate agreement — a move that’s been called a moral disgrace and that’s expected to hinder much needed progress in the fight against global warming. A failure to tackle climate change will mean more extreme weather, dirtier air and water, and more food shortages. Read more
*At the rate things are going, these wicked old men might be glad to be in a nice safe white-collar prison instead of a climate-crisis refugee camp.
The following is the text of a letter written by a number of scientists asking for a federal investigation of climate science denial under the RICO statute.
Letter to President Obama, Attorney General Lynch, and OSTP Director Holdren
September 1, 2015
Dear President Obama, Attorney General Lynch, and OSTP Director Holdren,
As you know, an overwhelming majority of climate scientists are convinced about the potentially serious adverse effects of human-induced climate change on human health, agriculture, and biodiversity. We applaud your efforts to regulate emissions and the other steps you are taking. Nonetheless, as climate scientists we are exceedingly concerned that America’s response to climate change – indeed, the world’s response to climate change – is insufficient. The risks posed by climate change, including increasing extreme weather events, rising sea levels, and increasing ocean acidity – and potential strategies for addressing them – are detailed in the Third National Climate Assessment (2014), Climate Change Impacts in the United States. The stability of the Earth’s climate over the past ten thousand years contributed to the growth of agriculture and therefore, a thriving human civilization. We are now at high risk of seriously destabilizing the Earth’s climate and irreparably harming people around the world, especially the world’s poorest people.
We appreciate that you are making aggressive and imaginative use of the limited tools available to you in the face of a recalcitrant Congress. One additional tool – recently proposed by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse – is a RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) investigation of corporations and other organizations that have knowingly deceived the American people about the risks of climate change, as a means to forestall America’s response to climate change. The actions of these organizations have been extensively documented in peerreviewed academic research (Brulle, 2013) and in recent books including: Doubt is their Product (Michaels, 2008), Climate Cover-Up (Hoggan & Littlemore, 2009), Merchants of Doubt (Oreskes & Conway, 2010), The Climate War (Pooley, 2010), and in The Climate Deception Dossiers (Union of Concerned Scientists, 2015). We strongly endorse Senator Whitehouse’s call for a RICO investigation.
The methods of these organizations are quite similar to those used earlier by the tobacco industry. A RICO investigation (1999 to 2006) played an important role in stopping the tobacco industry from continuing to deceive the American people about the dangers of smoking. If corporations in the fossil fuel industry and their supporters are guilty of the misdeeds that have been documented in books and journal articles, it is imperative that these misdeeds be stopped as soon as possible so that America and the world can get on with the critically important business of finding effective ways to restabilize the Earth’s climate, before even more lasting damage is done.
Jagadish Shukla, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA Edward Maibach, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA Paul Dirmeyer, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA Barry Klinger, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA Paul Schopf, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA (continued on page 2) Letter to President Obama, Attorney General Lynch, and OSTP Director Holdren David Straus, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA Edward Sarachik, University of Washington, Seattle, WA Michael Wallace, University of Washington, Seattle, WA Alan Robock, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ Eugenia Kalnay, University of Maryland, College Park, MD William Lau, University of Maryland, College Park, MD Kevin Trenberth, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO T.N. Krishnamurti, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL Vasu Misra, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL Ben Kirtman, University of Miami, Miami, FL Robert Dickinson, University of Texas, Austin, TX Michela Biasutti, Earth Institute, Columbia University, New York, NY Mark Cane, Columbia University, New York, NY Lisa Goddard, Earth Institute, Columbia University, New York, NY Alan Betts, Atmospheric Research, Pittsford, VT