The city of Chicago this weekend added a new climate-change page
to its website, and if it sounds familiar it’s because the information
on it comes from the climate page the Environmental Protection Agency used to have — until the Trump administration deleted it last week.
“While this information may not be readily available on the agency’s webpage right now, here in Chicago we know climate change is real and we will continue to take action to fight it,” the page reads. Read more (5/8/17)
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)
As an Arctic researcher, I’m used to gaps in data. Just over 1% of US Arctic waters have been surveyed to modern standards. In truth, some of the maps we use today haven’t been updated since the second world war. Navigating uncharted waters can prove difficult, but it comes with the territory of working in such a remote part of the world.
Over the past two months though, I’ve been navigating a different type of uncharted territory: the deleting of what little data we have by the Trump administration.
At first, the distress flare of lost data came as a surge of defunct links on 21 January. The US National Strategy for the Arctic, the Implementation Plan for the Strategy, and the report on our progress all gone within a matter of minutes. As I watched more and more links turned red, I frantically combed the internet for archived versions of our country’s most important polar policies.
I had no idea then that this disappearing act had just begun.
Since January, the surge has transformed into a slow, incessant march of deleting datasets, webpages and policies about the Arctic. I now come to expect a weekly email request to replace invalid citations, hoping that someone had the foresight to download statistics about Arctic permafrost thaw or renewable energy in advance of the purge.
This would be a huge blow for the people who fought for more than seven years against the project, a transnational pipeline that would extend from Canada to the Gulf Coast. The venture was killed by President Obama in 2015 because it would contribute to climate change and deter American efforts to reach a global deal addressing this issue.
Surprise! Humans are turning the earth into a garbage fire a lot quicker than previously thought.
According to Australian National University researchers,
humans are speeding up climate change 170 times faster than natural
“Human-caused greenhouse gas emissions over the past 45
years have increased the rate of temperature rise to 1.7 degrees Celsius
per century, dwarfing the natural background rate,” ANU climate
professor Will Steffen said in a statement on the university’s news page. Read more (2/13/17 3:31 PM)
Donald Trump is so spectacularly horrible that it’s hard to look away – especially now that he’s discovered bombs. But precisely because everyone’s staring gape-mouthed in his direction, other world leaders are able to get away with almost anything. Don’t believe me? Look one country north, at Justin Trudeau.
Look all you want, in fact – he sure is cute, the planet’s only sovereign leader who appears to have recently quit a boy band. And he’s mastered so beautifully the politics of inclusion: compassionate to immigrants, insistent on including women at every level of government. Give him great credit where it’s deserved: in lots of ways he’s the anti-Trump, and it’s no wonder Canadians swooned when he took over.
But when it comes to the defining issue of our day, climate change, he’s a brother to the old orange guy in Washington.
Not rhetorically: Trudeau says all the right things, over and over. He’s got no Scott Pruitts in his cabinet: everyone who works for him says the right things. Indeed, they specialize in getting others to say them too – it was Canadian diplomats, and the country’s environment minister, Catherine McKenna, who pushed at the Paris climate talks for a tougher-than-expected goal: holding the planet’s rise in temperature to 1.5C (2.7F).
But those words are meaningless if you keep digging up more carbon and selling it to people to burn, and that’s exactly what Trudeau is doing. He’s hard at work pushing for new pipelines through Canada and the US to carry yet more oil out of Alberta’s tar sands, which is one of the greatest climate disasters on the planet.
Last month, speaking at a Houston petroleum industry gathering, he got a standing ovation from the oilmen for saying: “No country would find 173bn barrels of oil in the ground and just leave them there.”
Yes, 173bn barrels is indeed the estimate for recoverable oil in the tar sands. So let’s do some math. If Canada digs up that oil and sells it to people to burn, it will produce, according to the math whizzes at Oil Change International, 30% of the carbon necessary to take us past the 1.5C target that Canada helped set in Paris.
That is to say, Canada, which represents one half of 1% of the planet’s population, is claiming the right to sell the oil that will use up a third of the earth’s remaining carbon budget. Trump is a creep and a danger and unpleasant to look at, but at least he’s not a stunning hypocrite.