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  • MOST DIRE CLIMATE CHANGE PREDICTIONS, WARNS NEW STUDY, ARE ALSO THE MOST ACCURATE...

    A new study suggests that the planet is far likelier to become four degrees Celsius warmer by 2100 than previously thought. (Photo: David McNew/Getty Images)

     

    New research shows emissions must go down every year starting in 2020 to prevent dangerous warming of planet...

    Climate change is occurring at a faster rate than has previously been predicted, according to a new study which suggests that the most extreme estimates of the effects of global warming are likelier than more optimistic predictions.

    With the current level of greenhouse gas emissions remaining steady, researchers say, there is a 93 percent chance that the planet will be more than four degrees Celsius warmer than it is now by 2100. Earlier estimates held that there was about a 62 percent chance of this level of warming.

    An earth that's four degrees warmer than it is today would bring severe prolonged heat waves and would likely eliminate coral reefs and small islands as a result of sea levels rising.

    The study, published in Nature and completed by Patrick Brown and Ken Caldeira at the Carnegie Institution for Science, suggests that the world's "carbon budget" is smaller than has previously been thought and that carbon emissions must go down faster than previous studies have found.

    The Paris Agreement on climate change, reached in 2015 by nearly 200 countries, holds that the governments must do their part to keep the earth from warming more than two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels—but according to Brown and Caldeira, the possibility that this goal is achievable is overly ambitious.

    As Professor Mark Maslin, a climatologist at University College London, told the Independent in response to the study, "To achieve these targets the climate negotiations must ensure that the global emissions-cuts start as planned in 2020 and continue every single year thereafter."

    Brown and Caldeira examined climate change models that have been used to predict the future of the planet based on its atmospheric conditions and compared them with recent satellite images of the atmosphere. The models that gave the most accurate predictions tended to show more warming of the planet in the future compared to those with more optimistic estimates.

    "The basic idea is that we have a range of projections on future warming that came from these climate models, and for scientific interest and political interest, we wanted to narrow this range," said Brown. "We find that the models that do the best at simulating the recent past project more warming."

    The researchers say their findings challenge the objections climate change deniers have put forth regarding the climate models that are used to predict global warming. Some have argued that since not all of the models have the same predictions, the science of climate change is up for debate.

    "This study undermines that logic," Brown told the MIT Technology Review. "There are problems with climate models, but the ones that are most accurate are the ones that produce the most warming in the future."

    On social media, observers highlighted the urgency of the study and called for an end to right-wing denials of climate science.

    Yup, climate science is biased - it has consistently underestimated the risks. Time to wake up people! http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/global-warming-temperature-rise-climate-change-end-century-science-a8095591.html …

    Worst-case global warming predictions are the most accurate, say climate experts

    Current predictions of climate change may significantly underestimate the speed and severity of global warming, according to a new study. Reappraisal of the models climate scientists use to determine...

    independent.co.uk

     

    Oh dear, 93% chance that global warming will exceed 4C by end of century! We need to act fast rather than just continuing ignoring it. http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/global-warming-temperature-rise-climate-change-end-century-science-a8095591.html …

    Worst-case global warming predictions are the most accurate, say climate experts

    Current predictions of climate change may significantly underestimate the speed and severity of global warming, according to a new study. Reappraisal of the models climate scientists use to determine...

    independent.co.uk

     

    TruthBwana @TruthBwana

    Every time scientists re-evaluate , things are worse than their previous worst case scenarios. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2017/12/06/the-most-accurate-climate-change-models-predict-the-most-alarming-consequences-study-claims/?utm_term=.4dc243a7be24 … Yet wants to help out one of his donors by allowing him to restart his old outdated coal-powered power plants.

    The most accurate climate change models predict the most alarming consequences, study claims

    The study adds to a growing body of bad news about how human activity is changing the planet's climate and how dire those changes will be in the future.

    washingtonpost.com

    by
     
    Published on
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    source: https://www.commondreams.org/

    original story HERE

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    Click here for information on the groundbreaking and disruptive new Climageddon book. It is about the global warming emergency and what you can do to help end it!
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  • 'SOUL-CRUSHING' VIDEO OF STARVING POLAR BEAR EXPOSES CLIMATE CRISIS, EXPERTS SAY...

    The starving bear was filmed struggling to find food for five hours... Caters News Agency

     

    Footage from Canada’s Arctic shows emaciated animal seeking food in scene that left researchers ‘pushing through their tears’...

    Video footage captured in Canada’s Arctic has offered a devastating look at the impact climate change is having on polar bears in the region, showing an emaciated bear clinging to life as it scrounged for food on iceless land...

    The scene was recorded by the conservation group Sea Legacy during a late summer expedition in Baffin Island. “My entire Sea Legacy team was pushing through their tears and emotions while documenting this dying polar bear,” photographer Paul Nicklen wrote on social media after publishing the footage this week.

    The video shows the bear struggling to walk as it searches for food. The bear eventually comes across a trashcan used by Inuit fishermen, rummaging through it with little luck.

    The bear, which was not old, probably died within hours of being captured on video, said Nicklen. “This is what starvation looks like. The muscles atrophy. No energy. It’s a slow, painful death.”

    The film-makers drew a direct line between the bear’s state and climate change. “As temperatures rise and sea ice melts, polar bears lose access to the main staple of their diets – seals,” the video noted. “Starving, and running out of energy, they are forced to wander into human settlements for any source of food.”

    1.2m views
    17.2k comments
    My entire @Sea_Legacy team was pushing through their tears and emotions while documenting this dying polar bear. It’s a soul-crushing scene that still haunts me, but I know we need to share both the beautiful and the heartbreaking if we are going to break down the walls of apathy. This is what starvation looks like. The muscles atrophy. No energy. It’s a slow, painful death. When scientists say polar bears will be extinct in the next 100 years, I think of the global population of 25,000 bears dying in this manner. There is no band aid solution. There was no saving this individual bear. People think that we can put platforms in the ocean or we can feed the odd starving bear. The simple truth is this—if the Earth continues to warm, we will lose bears and entire polar ecosystems. This large male bear was not old, and he certainly died within hours or days of this moment. But there are solutions. We must reduce our carbon footprint, eat the right food, stop cutting down our forests, and begin putting the Earth—our home—first. Please join us at @sea_legacy as we search for and implement solutions for the oceans and the animals that rely on them—including us humans. Thank you your support in keeping my @sea_legacy team in the field. With @CristinaMittermeier #turningthetide with @Sea_Legacy #bethechange #nature #naturelovers

    The association echoed a 2015 study from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature that ranked climate change as the single most important threat to the world’s 26,000 polar bears. Researchers – who described the bears as the canary in the coal mine – found a high probability that the population would decrease 30% by 2050 due to the changes in their sea ice habitat.

    As climate change boosts Arctic temperatures, sea ice – crucial to the bears for hunting, resting and breeding – is melting earlier in spring and refreezing later in autumn. The growing number of ice-free days could push the species past a tipping point with widespread reproductive failure and starvation in some areas, the report noted.

    Satellite data published last year revealed that the number of ice-covered days across the 19 Arctic regions inhabited by polar bears declined at a rate of seven to 19 days per decade between 1979 to 2014.

    Since posting the footage, Nicklen has been asked why he and his team did not help the bear. “Of course, that crossed my mind,” he told National Geographic. “But it’s not like I walk around with a tranquilizer gun or 400 pounds of seal meat.” Feeding polar bears is also illegal in Canada.

    “There was no saving this individual bear,” he noted on social media. Instead he highlighted the threat facing the species as a whole, which has become emblematic of the ravages of climate change. “The simple truth is this – if the Earth continues to warm, we will lose bears and entire polar ecosystems.”

    in Toronto

    Friday 8 December 2017 23.27 GMT

    source: https://www.theguardian.com/international

    original story HERE

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  • 2017 SKS WEEKLY CLIMATE CHANGE & GLOBAL WARMING NEWS ROUNDUP #49...

     

    Editor's Pick: Climate Science On Trial Again.

     

    OUR CHILDREN'S TRUST...

     

    On Monday, before a panel of three federal judges, a group of young Americans will argue that they should be able to take the government to trial next February for failing to take adequate action against global climate change. A Justice Department attorney will argue against them...

    Kids across America would be smart to send their good vibes to California this weekend. More specifically, they should focus on San Francisco and even more specifically on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

    While that may be a strange place for kids to think about, the quality of their lives in the years ahead is hanging in the balance. Another bunch of kids and young adults will battle a lawyer from the federal government in front of the Court’s three-judge panel Monday to argue that President Trump must do something about global climate change. The kids went to court because young people, present and future, will suffer most from the dangerous impacts of global warming, much worse than the wildfires, floods, hurricanes, droughts and rising seas we see today.

    The stakes are big. In their lawsuit, Juliana v. United States, the youngsters charge that the government is contributing to climate change by doing things like allowing coal and oil to be produced on public lands. They argue that a climate system capable of sustaining human life must be protected by the government as a public trust. But their most important argument – one that could take their case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court – is that the federal government’s failure to do enough about global warming will damage the planet so profoundly that it violates children’s constitutional rights to life and liberty. 

    Climate Science On Trial Again by William S Becker, HuffPost, Dec 8, 2017 


    Links posted on Facebook

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    Posted on 9 December 2017 by John Hartz

    source: https://skepticalscience.com/

    original story HERE

    About Skeptical Science

    Sign Up for Our Free Global Warming Blog RSS feed by clicking here. About once a week you will automatically get all the best blog stories of the week. (The blog now has thousands of articles.)

     

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  • SKEPTICAL SCIENCE: NEW RESEARCH, NOVEMBER 27 - DECEMBER 3, 2017...

    Figure is from paper #38.

     

    A selection of new climate related research articles is shown below...

    Climate change impacts

    1. Phenotypic plasticity and climate change: can polar bears respond to longer Arctic summers with an adaptive fast?

    "We found that bears on shore maintained lipid and protein stores by scavenging on bowhead whale (Balaena mysticetus) carcasses from human harvest, while those that followed the retreating sea ice beyond the continental shelf were food deprived. They had low ratios of blood urea to creatinine (U:C), normally associated with adaptive fasting. However, they also exhibited low albumin and glucose (indicative of protein loss) and elevated alanine aminotransferase and ghrelin (which fall during adaptive fasting). Thus, the ~ 70% of the SBS subpopulation that spends summer on the ice experiences more of a regular, rather than adaptive, fast. This fast will lengthen as summer ice declines. The resulting protein loss prior to winter could be a mechanism driving the reported correlation between summer ice and polar bear reproduction and survival in the SBS."

    2. Escalating impacts of climate extremes on critical infrastructures in Europe

    "We find that damages could triple by the 2020s, multiply six-fold by mid-century, and amount to more than 10 times present damage of €3.4 billion per year by the end of the century due only to climate change. Damage from heatwaves, droughts in southern Europe, and coastal floods shows the most dramatic rise, but the risks of inland flooding, windstorms, and forest fires will also increase in Europe, with varying degrees of change across regions. Economic losses are highest for the industry, transport, and energy sectors."

    3. Changes of heating and cooling degree-days in Europe from 1981 to 2100

    "For both RCPs, all simulations project a significant decrease for HDD, especially over Scandinavia and European Russia, and an increase of CDD which peaks over the Mediterranean region and the Balkans. Overall, degree-day trends do not show remarkable differences if population weighting is applied. If a constant population scenario is considered, the decrease in HDD will outbalance the increase in CDD in the 21st century over most of Europe. Thus the related energy demand (expressed as Energy Degree-days, EDD) is expected to decrease. If, however, population projections over the 21st century are included in the calculations, it is shown that despite the persisting warming, EDD will increase over northern Europe, the Baltic countries, Great Britain, Ireland, Benelux, the Alps, Spain, and Cyprus, resulting in an overall increase in EDD over Europe."

    4. Vulnerability of field crops to midcentury temperature changes and yield effects in the Southwestern USA

    "By midcentury, we predict yield reduction from heat stress will reduce cotton and maize yields by 37 and 27%, respectively, compared to potential yield. Our results contradict the notion that the warmest counties cultivating field crops will be the most impacted. Rather, future temperature, total crop area and crop sensitivity contribute to more complex county-level impacts."

    5. Species interactions can shift the response of a maerl bed community to ocean acidification and warming

    "Our results indicate that the response of marine communities to climate change will depend on the direct effects on species physiology and the indirect effects due to shifts in species interactions."

    6. Peak season plant activity shift towards spring is reflected by increasing carbon uptake by extra-tropical ecosystems

    "Climate change is lengthening the growing season of the Northern Hemisphere extra-tropical terrestrial ecosystems, but little is known regarding the timing and dynamics of the peak season of plant activity. Here we use 34-year satellite normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) observations, and atmospheric CO2 concentration and δ13C isotope measurements at Point Barrow (Alaska, USA, 71° N) to study the dynamics of the peak of season (POS) of plant activity. Averaged across extra-tropical (>23oN) non-evergreen-dominated pixels, NDVI data show that the POS has advanced by 1.2±0.6 days decade−1 in response to the spring-ward shifts of the start (1.0±0.8 days decade−1) and end (1.5±1.0 days decade−1) of peak activity, and the earlier onset of the start of growing season (1.4±0.8 days decade−1), while POS maximum NDVI value increased by 7.8±1.8% for 1982−2015. Similarly, the peak day of carbon uptake, based on calculations from atmospheric CO2 concentration and δ13C data, is advancing by 2.5±2.6 and 4.3±2.9 days decade−1, respectively. POS maximum NDVI value shows strong negative relationships (p < 0.01) with the earlier onset of the start of growing season and POS days. Given that the maximum solar irradiance and day length occur before the average POS day, the earlier occurrence of peak plant activity results in increased plant productivity. Both the advancing POS day and increasing POS vegetation greenness are consistent with the shifting peak productivity towards spring and the increasing annual maximum values of gross and net ecosystem productivity simulated by coupled Earth system models. Our results further indicate that the decline in autumn NDVI is contributing the most to the overall browning of the northern high latitudes (>50oN) since 2011. The spring-ward shift of peak season plant activity is expected to disrupt synchrony of biotic interaction and exert strong biophysical feedbacks on climate by modifying the surface albedo and energy budget."

    7. Climate change-induced heat risks for migrant populations working at brick kilns in India: a transdisciplinary approach

    8. Social learning as an adaptive measure to prepare for climate change impacts on water provision in Peru

    9. Cultural adaptation to climate change among indigenous people of South India

    10. Upstream with a shovel or downstream with a water right? Irrigation in a changing climate

    11. A comparison of definitions of affordability for flood risk adaption measures: a case study of current and future risk-based flood insurance premiums in Europe

    12. Patterns and drivers of biodiversity–stability relationships under climate extremes

    13. Environmental heterogeneity and biotic interactions mediate climate impacts on tropical forest regeneration

    14. Stronger ecosystem carbon sequestration potential of mangrove wetlands with respect to terrestrial forests in subtropical China

    15. New insights on plant phenological response to temperature revealed from long-term widespread observations in China

    16. Can mesophotic reefs replenish shallow reefs? Reduced coral reproductive performance casts a doubt

    17. Individual and interactive effects of warming and CO2 on Pseudo-nitzschia subcurvata and Phaeocystis antarctica, two dominant phytoplankton from the Ross Sea, Antarctica

    18. The short-term combined effects of temperature and organic matter enrichment on permeable coral reef carbonate sediment metabolism and dissolution

    19. Multi-model impacts of climate change on pollution transport from global emission source regions

    20. Small-holder farmers’ climate change adaptation practices in the Upper East Region of Ghana

    Climate change mitigation

    21. Drivers of stagnating global carbon intensity of electricity and the way forward

    "It finds that global ACI barely improved since 1990 because of a shift in electricity production from developed to developing countries with higher ACIs. This geographical shift offset consistent improvements to power generation efficiency worldwide and is likely to persist in the future. To keep the 2 °C target realisable, it is imperative to enhance international cooperation to lower the ACIs of emerging economies and deepen the penetration of renewables, which have thus far performed below expectations."

    22. The spatial distribution of Republican and Democratic climate opinions at state and local scales

    "We find substantial geographic variation in Republican climate opinions across states and congressional districts. While Democratic party members consistently think human-caused global warming is happening and support climate policy reforms, the intensity of their climate beliefs also varies spatially at state and local scales."

    23. How economic growth, renewable electricity and natural resources contribute to CO2 emissions?

    "Economic growth/renewable electricity consumption relation increases CO2 emissions."

    24. Raising awareness of climate change causes? Cross-national evidence for the normalization of societal risk perception of climate change

    25. Deforestation may increase soil carbon but it is unlikely to be continuous or unlimited

    26. China's rise: Challenging the North-South technology transfer paradigm for climate change mitigation and low carbon energy

    27. An assessment of U.S. rare earth availability for supporting U.S. wind energy growth targets

    28. Politics in the U.S. energy transition: Case studies of solar, wind, biofuels and electric vehicles policy

    29. The impact of urbanisation on energy consumption: A 30-year review in China

    30. Fuel Poverty Potential Risk Index in the context of climate change in Chile

    31. Investigating driving forces of aggregate carbon intensity of electricity generation in China

    32. Modeling uncertainty in estimation of carbon dioxide abatement costs of energy-saving technologies for passenger cars in China

    33. The cost of decarbonizing the Canadian electricity system

    34. Vulnerable yet relevant: the two dimensions of climate-related financial disclosure

    35. Scanning agroforestry-based solutions for climate change mitigation and adaptation in Europe

    Climate change

    36. Transient response of the global mean warming rate and its spatial variation

    "The Earth has warmed over the past century. The warming rate (amount of warming over a given period) varies in time and space. Observations show a recent increase in global mean warming rate, which is initially maintained in model projections, but which diverges substantially in future depending on the emissions scenario followed. Scenarios that stabilize forcing lead to much lower warming rates, as the rate depends on the change in forcing, not the amount. Warming rates vary spatially across the planet, but most areas show a shift toward higher warming rates in recent decades. The areal distribution of warming rates is also changing shape to include a longer tail in recent decades. Some areas of the planet are already experiencing extreme warming rates of about 1 °C/decade. The fat tail in areal distribution of warming rates is pronounced in model runs when the forcing and global mean warming rate is increasing, and indicates a climate state more prone to regime transitions. The area-proportion of the Earth displaying warming/cooling trends is shown to be directly related to the global mean warming rate, especially for trends of length 15 years and longer. Since the global mean warming rate depends on the forcing rate, the proportion of warming/cooling trend areas in future also depends critically on the choice of future forcing scenario."

    37. The Active Role of the Ocean in the Temporal evolution of Climate Sensitivity

    "The active OHU is responsible for the reduced effective climate sensitivity and weaker surface warming response in the fully-coupled simulation."

    38. Global precipitation trends across spatial scales using satellite observations

    "We show that warm climate regions exhibit decreasing precipitation trends while arid and polar climate regions show increasing trends. At the country scale, precipitation seems to have increased in 96 countries, and decreased in 104."

    39. Unidirectional trends in daily rainfall extremes of Iraq

    "The obtained results confirmed the increase in dry spells and droughts in the region."

    40. The drivers of variability in UK extreme rainfall

    41. Snow cover and vegetation-induced decrease in global albedo from 2002 to 2016

    42. Local and external moisture sources for the Arctic warming over the Barents-Kara Seas

    43. Tornado climatology of China

    44. Eurasian Winter Storm Activity at the End of the Century: A CMIP5 Multi-model Ensemble Projection

    45. Diagnosing ENSO and global warming tropical precipitation shifts using surface relative humidity and temperature

    46. Intercomparison of stratospheric temperature profiles from a ground-based microwave radiometer with other techniques

    47. A new method for temperature spatial interpolation based on sparse historical stations

    48. Causes of the Antarctic region record high temperature at Signy Island, 30th January 1982

    49. Spatiotemporal Patterns and Synoptics of Extreme Wet-Bulb Temperature in the Contiguous United States

    50. Climate change projections over China using regional climate models forced by two CMIP5 global models. Part I: evaluation of historical simulations

    51. Impact of the North Atlantic Oscillation on winter climate of Germany

    52. Modelling the occurrence of heat waves in maximum and minimum temperatures over Spain and projections for the period 2031-60

    53. The climate of the European region during the 20th and 21st centuries according to Feddema

    54. Spatiotemporal patterns of the fossil-fuel CO2 signal in central Europe: results from a high-resolution atmospheric transport model

    55. Some Pitfalls in Statistical Downscaling of Future Climate

    56. Atlantic Water advection vs. glacier dynamics in northern Spitsbergen since early deglaciation

    57. Supraglacial ponds regulate runoff from Himalayan debris-covered glaciers

    58. Dynamic and thermodynamic impacts of the winter Arctic Oscillation on summer sea ice extent

    59. Monte-Carlo Study of UAV-Measurable Albedo Over Arctic Sea Ice

    60. Mechanisms of interannual- to decadal-scale winter Labrador Sea ice variability

    61. Winter Sentinel-1 backscatter as a predictor of spring Arctic sea ice melt pond fraction

    62. On the drivers of wintertime temperature extremes in the High Arctic

    63. Comparison of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation in climate model simulations and observations

    64. Effects of projected changes in wind, atmospheric temperature, and freshwater inflow on the Ross Sea

    65. An energetic perspective on United States tropical cyclone landfall droughts

    Other papers

    66. The relationship between Neogene dinoflagellate cysts and global climate dynamics

    "The increase in the percentage of cold water species of dinoflagellate cysts recorded worldwide from the Early and Middle Miocene to the Late Pliocene indicates a global scale forcing agent on Neogene climate such as CO2."

    67. Simulation of climate, ice sheets and CO2 evolution during the last four glacial cycles with an Earth system model of intermediate complexity

    68. Impact of Volcanic Eruptions on Decadal to Centennial Fluctuations of Arctic Sea Ice Extent during the Last Millennium and on Initiation of the Little Ice Age

    69. Tune in on 11.57 µHz and listen to primary production

    Posted on 5 December 2017 by Ari Jokimäki

    source: https://skepticalscience.com/

    original story HERE

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  • THE MOST NORTHERLY TOWN IN THE WORLD IS AT RISK OF DISAPPEARING...

    A street in Longyearbyen, Norway, the most northerly town in the world, where the sun doesn't rise in winter.(Photo: Julie Ovgaard)

     

    LONGYEARBYEN, Norway — It’s freezing, snowing and so far north that the sun won’t rise again until March, but the 2,000 residents of the world’s most northerly town wish it were much colder...

     

    Experts say Arctic sea ice is disappearing earlier in summer and returning later in the fall. An AP animation shows how sea ice coverage has dropped an average of 34,000 square miles per year. (Aug. 15) AP

    That’s because the weather here on Norway’s Arctic Circle island of Svalbard is tame in comparison to what it should be, despite the icy breeze that flows in from the sea.

    Residents and experts fear this tight-knit community — where polar bears outnumber people — is at risk of disappearing because temperatures are rising at an accelerated pace compared to the rest of the world.

    “Every single consecutive month has been above average,” said Kim Holmén, international director of the Norwegian Polar Institute. “We have tremendous increase in the wintertime temperatures, almost 10 degrees Celsius (18 degrees Fahrenheit) increase over the past 30 years or so.”

    “Wherever I look there is change, very obvious change. The snow melts earlier in the spring, the glaciers are diminishing by a foot, 2 feet per year in thickness,” Holmén said from the Svalbard Science Center in Longyearbyen. “It influences life, it influences the landscape, and it influences the people, of course.”

    Melting permafrost and higher temperatures have caused havoc here in recent years, triggering sometimes deadly avalanches on the steep mountains that flank the town. Houses have been destroyed, while roads and some areas have been closed or declared unsafe to live because of the risk.

    Within the past two years, hundreds of residents have been affected, some having to evacuate from their homes.

    Mark Sabbatini, a local journalist, has lost his home

    Mark Sabbatini, a local journalist, has lost his home and is now bankrupt due to melting permafrost. In front of him sits the weekly alternative English language newspaper he publishes. (Photo: Julie Ovgaard)

    Mark Sabbatini, 49, a local journalist and Longyearbyen resident, said he lost his apartment because the melting permafrost created dangerous cracks in the foundation. Sabbatini, who is originally from Alaska, said he is now bankrupt.

    “We lost the whole value of the apartment, with no insurance compensation or any compensation. We had people who were left broke and had to leave the island, people like me who’ve been left bankrupt and living off borrowed funds and begging — literally begging at times — for just barely enough money to stay alive,” an emotional Sabbatini said.

    While Sabbatini’s home has been cordoned off by officials for being unsafe for habitation, other homes have been hit by avalanches.

    The region was seeing an “amplification” of global warming, Arctic climate expert David Barber of the University of Manitoba told USA TODAY. He warned that projections predict “profound effects on the physics, biology and geochemistry of the Arctic.”

    The consequences won’t be confined to the Arctic. Melting ice sheets from the north have the ability to influence ocean currents that also help control the climate farther south.

    Uncertainty about global warming and how it will transform Longyearbyen and the surrounding fragile landscape plagues this community.

    “There are some people who didn’t want to move back into homes that were hit by avalanches," Sabbatini said. "There are folks who are finding all the uncertainty about the town’s economic future hard as well — I’m certainly among them.”

    Longyearbyen, a former mining town established in 1906 by American businessman John Munro Longyearbyen, has diversified its economy in recent years, profiting from adventurous tourists as well as researchers studying the Arctic.

    The changing conditions could put these newer economic developments at risk.

    “At Scott Turner Glacier where we do our ice cave tours, we see from year to year how fast the ice is melting," said Martin Munck, founder of the Green Dog tour company in Svalbard. “If worst-case scenario comes, and there is no snow during winter ... I doubt anyone would like to live here. No tourism and four dark months, with no light-reflecting white snow and no way to go out on tours.”

    Like Sabbatini, Munck moved to the Arctic island several years ago from his native Denmark. In fact the island has no indigenous population, and Longyearbyen is mainly made up of migrants from mainland Norway, neighboring Scandinavian countries and Thailand.

    A building built on stilts in Longyearbyen due to melting

    A building built on stilts in Longyearbyen due to melting permafrost. (Photo: Julie Ovgaard)

    It’s a community of misfits from around the world, as one resident described the town, yet the concern is people may not want to stay as more parts of town become unsafe and life invariably gets tougher. 

    There’s also a clear pride in living in such an isolated and unique part of world, which helps foster the town's remarkable spirit that transforms the dark, winter months into a period of cozy community gatherings and communal projects.

    While people in other far north communities struggle with seasonal affective disorder — a winter depression from little sunlight — the illness is barely seen in Longyearbyen. 

    Yet with the annual average temperature of Longyearbyen expected to reach above freezing in the next year or two — a phenomenon never seen in the town's recorded history — there’s frustration and anger.

    “Man has changed the atmosphere,” Holmén lamented. “There are many people I hear now who are discussing moving down (to mainland Norway). But (Longyearbyen) is still a place that many newcomers find extremely attractive, and many fall in love with it. It is resilient.”

    More: Obama praises mayors as 'new face' of leadership on climate change in Trump era

    More: Humans to blame for global warming, massive federal government report says

    More: Global carbon dioxide emissions reach record high

    by: Matthew Vickery

    Special to USA TODAY Published 6:00 a.m. ET Dec. 8, 2017

    source: https://www.usatoday.com/

    original story HERE

     

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  • FALL AGU (American Geophysical Union) 2017...

     

    It’s that time of year again. #AGU17 is from Dec 11 to Dec 16 in New Orleans (the traditional venue in San Francisco is undergoing renovations)...

    As in previous years, there will be extensive live streams from “AGU On Demand” (free, but an online registration is required) of interesting sessions and the keynote lectures from prize-winners and awardees.

    Some potential highlights will be Dan Rather, Baba Brinkman, and Joanna Morgan. The E-lightning sessions are already filled with posters covering many aspects of AGU science. Clara Deser, Bjorn Stevens, David Neelin, Linda Mearns and Thomas Stocker are giving some the key climate-related named lectures. The Tyndall Lecture by Jim Fleming might also be of interest.

    As usual there are plenty of sessions devoted to public affairs and science communication, including one focused on the use of humour in #scicomm (on Friday at 4pm to encourage people to stay to the end I imagine), and a workshop on Tuesday (joint with the ACLU and CSLDF) on legal issues for scientist activists and advocates.

    AGU is also a great place to apply for jobs, get free legal advice, mingle, and network.

    A couple of us will be there – and we might find time to post on anything interesting we see. If any readers spot us, say hi!

    group @ 7 December 2017

    source: http://www.realclimate.org/

    original story HERE

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  • CLIMATE CHANGE IS THE STORY YOU MISSED IN 2017. AND THE MEDIA IS TO BLAME...

    ‘The effect of climate change on extreme weather has been dramatically undercovered’ Photograph: Enterprise/Rex/Shutterstock

     

    Some of Trump’s tweets generate more national coverage than devastating disasters. As the weather gets worse, we need journalism to get better...

    Which story did you hear more about this year – how climate change makes disasters like hurricanes worse, or how Donald Trump threw paper towels at Puerto Ricans?

    If you answered the latter, you have plenty of company. Academic Jennifer Good analyzed two weeks of hurricane coverage during the height of hurricane season on eight major TV networks, and found that about 60% of the stories included the word Trump, and only about 5% mentioned climate change.

    Trump doesn’t just suck the oxygen out of the room; he sucks the carbon dioxide out of the national dialogue. Even in a year when we’ve had string of hurricanes, heatwaves, and wildfires worthy of the Book of Revelation – just what climate scientists have told us to expect – the effect of climate change on extreme weather has been dramatically undercovered. Some of Trump’s tweets generate more national coverage than devastating disasters.

    Good’s analysis lines up with research done by my organization, Media Matters for America, which found that TV news outlets gave far too little coverage to the well-documented links between climate change and hurricanes. ABC and NBC both completely failed to bring up climate change during their news coverage of Harvey, a storm that caused the heaviest rainfall ever recorded in the continental US. When Irma hit soon after, breaking the record for hurricane intensity, ABC didn’t do much better.

    Coverage was even worse of Hurricane Maria, the third hurricane to make landfall in the US this year. Not only did media outlets largely fail to cover the climate connection; in many cases, they largely failed to cover the hurricane itself.

    The weekend after Maria slammed into Puerto Rico, the five major Sunday political talkshows devoted less than one minute in total to the storm and the humanitarian emergency it triggered. And Maria got only about a third as many mentions in major print and online media outlets as did Harvey and Irma, researchers at the MIT Media Lab found.

    The media has a responsibility to report the big story, and to help the public understand the immediacy of the threat

    When Trump visited Puerto Rico on 3 October, almost two weeks after Maria assailed the island, he got wall-to-wall coverage as journalists reported on his paper-towel toss and other egregious missteps. But after that trip, prime-time cable news coverage of Puerto Rico’s recovery plummeted, Media Matters found, even though many residents to this day suffer from electricity outages and a lack of clean water, a dire situation that deserves serious and sustained coverage.

    Scientists have been telling us that climate change will make hurricanes more intense and dangerous, an unfortunate reality made all too clear by this year’s record-busting hurricane season. “These are precisely the sort of things we expect to happen as we continue to warm the planet,” climate scientist Michael Mann, a distinguished professor of atmospheric science at Penn State, told Huffington Post.

    But while nearly three-quarters of Americans know that most scientists are in agreement that climate change is happening, according to recent poll, only 42% of Americans believe climate change will pose a serious threat to them during their lifetimes. Too many still believe – wrongly – that climate disasters are just something that will happen in the future. They are happening now.

    In the first nine months of 2017, the US was assailed by 15 weather and climate disasters that each did more than a billion dollars in damage – in the case of the hurricanes, much more. The combined economic hit from Harvey, Irma and Maria could end up being $200bn or more, according to Moody’s Analytics. And then in October, unprecedented wildfires in northern California did an estimated $3bn in damage.

    Climate change can be hard to see and intuitively grasp. It’s a relatively slow-moving scientific phenomenon caused by pollution from all around the globe. It’s not usually dramatic to watch like a candidate debate or the fallout from a White House scandal.

    But an extreme weather event is a moment when people can see and feel climate change – and if they’re unlucky, get seriously hurt by it. When those disasters happen, media outlets need to cover them as climate change stories. And when a number of them happen in quick succession, as they did this year, the media have an even greater responsibility to report the big-picture story about climate change and help the public understand the immediacy of the threat.

    If we are to fend off the worst possible outcomes of climate change, we need to shift as quickly as possible to a cleaner energy system. We could expect more Americans to get on board with that solution if they more fully understood the problem – and that’s where the critical role of the media comes in. As the weather gets worse, we need our journalism to get better.

    Thursday 7 December 2017 14.32 GMT

    • Lisa Hymas is the climate and energy program director at Media Matters

    source: https://www.theguardian.com/international

    original story HERE

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  • WHY REMOTE ANTARCTICA IS SO IMPORTANT IN A WARMING WORLD...

    The continent is home to 12 million penguins…and not much else. Andrew Peacock, footloosefotography.com

     

    Ever since the ancient Greeks speculated a continent must exist in the south polar regions to balance those in the north, Antarctica has been popularly described as remote and extreme. Over the past two centuries, these factors have combined to create, in the human psyche, an almost mythical land – an idea reinforced by tales of heroism and adventure from the Edwardian golden age of “heroic exploration” and pioneers such as Robert Falcon Scott, Roald Amundsen and Ernest Shackleton...

    Recent research, however, is casting new light on the importance of the southernmost continent, overturning centuries of misunderstanding and highlighting the role of Antarctica in how our planet works and the role it may play in a future, warmer world.

    Heroic exploration, 1913. wiki

    What was once thought to be a largely unchanging mass of snow and ice is anything but. Antarctica holds a staggering amount of water. The three ice sheets that cover the continent contain around 70% of our planet’s fresh water, all of which we now know to be vulnerable to warming air and oceans. If all the ice sheets were to melt, Antarctica would raise global sea levels by at least 56m.

    Where, when, and how quickly they might melt is a major focus of research. No one is suggesting all the ice sheets will melt over the next century but, given their size, even small losses could have global repercussions. Possible scenarios are deeply concerning: in addition to rising sea levels, meltwater would slow down the world’s ocean circulation, while shifting wind belts may affect the climate in the southern hemisphere.

    In 2014, NASA reported that several major Antarctic ice streams, which hold enough water to trigger the equivalent of a one-and-a-half metre sea level rise, are now irreversibly in retreat. With more than 150m people exposed to the threat of sea level rise and sea levels now rising at a faster rate globally than any time in the past 3,000 years, these are sobering statistics for island nations and coastal cities worldwide.

    An immediate and acute threat

    Recent storm surges following hurricanes have demonstrated that rising sea levels are a future threat for densely populated regions such as Florida and New York. Meanwhile the threat for low-lying islands in areas such as the Pacific is immediate and acute.

    Much of the continent’s ice is slowly sliding towards the sea. R Bindschadler / wiki

    Multiple factors mean that the vulnerability to global sea level rise is geographically variable and unequal, while there are also regional differences in the extremity of sea level rise itself. At present, the consensus of the IPPC 2013 report suggests a rise of between 40 and 80cm over the next century, with Antarctica only contributing around 5cm of this. Recent projections, however, suggest that Antarctic contributions may be up to ten times higher.

    Studies also suggest that in a world 1.5-2°C warmer than today we will be locked into millennia of irreversible sea level rise, due to the slow response time of the Antarctic ice sheets to atmospheric and ocean warming.

    We may already be living in such a world. Recent evidence shows global temperatures are close to 1.5°C warmer than pre-industrial times and, after the COP23 meeting in Bonn in November, it is apparent that keeping temperature rise within 2°C is unlikely.

    Melting away. eeilers / iStock

    So we now need to reconsider future sea level projections given the potential global impact from Antarctica. Given that 93% of the heat from anthropogenic global warming has gone into the ocean, and these warming ocean waters are now meeting the floating margins of the Antarctic ice sheet, the potential for rapid ice sheet melt in a 2°C world is high.

    In polar regions, surface temperatures are projected to rise twice as fast as the global average, due to a phenomenon known as polar amplification. However, there is still hope to avoid this sword of Damocles, as studies suggest that a major reduction in greenhouse gases over the next decade would mean that irreversible sea level rise could be avoided. It is therefore crucial to reduce CO₂ levels now for the benefit of future generations, or adapt to a world in which more of our shorelines are significantly redrawn.

    This is both a scientific and societal issue. We have choices: technological innovations are providing new ways to reduce CO₂ emissions, and offer the reality of a low-carbon future. This may help minimise sea level rise from Antarctica and make mitigation a viable possibility.

    Given what rising sea levels could mean for human societies across the world, we must maintain our longstanding view of Antarctica as the most remote and isolated continent.

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  • THE ENERGY 202: TRUMP HAS BACKED AWAY FROM REGULATING METHANE. NOW INDUSTRY SAYS IT WILL REDUCE EMISSIONS ITSELF...

    An oil well flares off excess methane in the desert east of Farmington, New Mexico. (Courtesy of Michael Eisenfeld)

     

    THE LIGHTBULB

    Amid an effort by the Trump administration to ease rules on the oil and gas sector, 26 companies said they will take voluntary steps to ratchet down emissions on a potent greenhouse gas the Obama administration tried to regulate...

     

    The week... the American Petroleum Institute, the largest oil and gas lobbying group in Washington, announced the launch of a program aimed at reducing emissions of methane from oil and natural gas production.

    "The program overall is set up to continuously improve the environmental performance for onshore operators throughout the country through the process of learning, collaborating and taking action," said Erik Milito, director of upstream and industry operations for API. "This is a very robust program."

    However, some environmental groups called the initiative, titled The Environmental Partnership, too little, too late given the industry’s embrace of Trump’s deregulatory agenda.

    “It’s somewhat amazing that the industry hasn’t already put forward its own standard,” said Chase Huntley, director of energy and climate at The Wilderness Society.

    Oil and gas firms participating in the program, which includes heavyweights like Chevron, BP, Royal Dutch Shell and ExxonMobil onshore subsidiary XTO Energy, have agreed to cut pollution by monitoring and repairing leaks and replacing or retrofitting “high-bleed” pneumatic controllers, identified by the Environmental Protection Agency as a top spot for the release of methane."It's a very targeted, surgical approach," Milito said.

    Methane is between 28 and 36 times more effective than carbon dioxide at warming the atmosphere over a 100-year time period, according to the EPA. The measures are also meant to curb the release of volatile organic compounds, which can act as a precursor to ground-level ozone, a component of smog linked to heart and lung problems.

    The voluntary program, in which 23 of the top 40 U.S. natural gas producers by volume are participating, focuses on the process of producing natural gas, not the final product — that is, not on the amount of methane actually released into the atmosphere. Under the program, API will publicly report on its progress, with the first report coming in 2019.

    Energy firms have a financial incentive to work together, as they are under this program, to capture as much methane as possible. Because methane is the main component of natural gas and can be burned for fuel, every molecule of methane emitted is lost energy — and lost revenue.

    The Obama administration, through rules issued by the EPA and the Interior Department, attempted to rein in methane emissions. But Trump has put both agencies’ policies under review, a move API and other industry players welcomed.

    For example, the Bureau of Land Management, finalized a rule in late 2016 designed to curb the practice on public lands of venting and flaring — or burning off some gas as it arises from a natural gas well — that the new API program leaves unaddressed. 

    After Congress narrowly voted against repealing the BLM rule, Interior decided to take action itself. On Friday, Interior will formally announce a two-year delay in the implementation of that rule, according to a Federal Register filing.

    “We suspect the timing is not coincidental with the administration’s next step of seeking to significantly revise the rule,” Huntley said of API’s announcement.

    The launch of API’s program follows a similar announcement earlier this month by eight large oil firms, including Exxon, BP and Shell, that they would significantly shrink the amount of methane emitted across the natural gas supply chain.

    “For years, many in industry have argued against government action to address their climate impact, touting voluntary corporate pollution reductions as a substitute for regulations,” Environmental Defense Fund, an environmental group that helped those firms develop that plan, wrote in a blog post.

    EDF says there is one important difference between the two initiatives: Their plan emphasizes that “regulations are needed," while API's does not. "We're looking at this outside of the regulatory scope," API's Milito said.

    “The last several months have produced a number of good examples of what leadership in reducing methane looks like,” said Matt Watson, EDF’s associate vice president of climate and energy. “At a time when API is aggressively putting its full weight into tearing down federal methane rules, this weak initiative does little to show that API is serious about tackling the methane problem.”

    The divide: Compliance with regulations is more costly for independent operators extracting gas domestically than it is for multinationals like Exxon, BP and Shell. In general, while industry giants may prefer watered-down rules, smaller players are more likely to favor little to no regulation at all.

     

    THERMOMETER
     
    1:38
    View from above: Fires ravage Southern California

    Drone footage captured fires burning near Lake Casitas on Dec. 5 (Nicholas Weissman/The Washington Post)

    -- Southern California is on fire: The blazes continued as wildfires in the Los Angeles and Ventura counties destroyed at least 100,000 acres and forced tens of thousands to flee their homes. A new blaze, dubbed the Skirball Fire, erupted Wednesday morning in Bel Air, requiring the closure of parts of I-405, one of the country’s busiest freeways, and forcing the evacuation of 1,200 homes, reports The Post’s Scott Wilson, Mark Berman and Eli Rosenberg.

    The Thomas Fire in Ventura County had burned 90,000 acres by Wednesday, with 50,000 people evacuating from 15,000 homes. By Thursday morning, officials said that blaze had surrounded the popular winter retreat of Ojai. Most of the Ojai Valley, which has about 8,000 residents, was under a mandatory evacuation order, WIlson, Berman and Rosenberg report. A number of areas east of Santa Paula, Calif. were also placed under mandatory evacuation late Wednesday.

    In Los Angeles County, two relatively smaller fires, the Rye and Creek Fires, had burned through more than 18,000 acres combined by Wednesday, according to the Los Angeles Times.

    “Our plan here is to try to stop this fire before it becomes something bigger,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti (D) said at a news briefing. “These are days that break your heart. But these are also days that show the resilience of our city.”

    California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) declared states of emergency in both affected counties. More than 4,000 firefighters were dispatched across the region, The Post reports. Many of those first responders had not yet slept since the blazes erupted Monday, Los Angeles Country Fire Department Chief Daryl L. Osby said.

    No deaths have yet been reported yet, though not all burned areas are accessible. But officials have warned the wildfire threat could continue and increase through the rest of the week.

    Late Wednesday, Los Angeles County residents received an ominous emergency alert on their phones:

     

    From the Los Angeles Times’s Laura Nelson:

    Ventura officials warned that the fire will likely grow north and west in the next two days, and Cal Fire official Tim Chavez said there’s a “large probability of spot fires that will spread easily and spread rapidly.”

    On Wednesday, Los Angeles officials said they were expecting another night of winds as high as 80 mph.

    “There will be no ability to fight fire in these kinds of winds,” Ken Pimlott, director of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said, according to the Los Angeles Times. “At the end of the day, we need everyone in the public to listen and pay attention. This is not ‘watch the news and go about your day.’ This is pay attention minute-by-minute … keep your head on a swivel.”

    Nelson shared a clip Wednesday from the Skirball Fire:

    Here's a seemingly apocalyptic and widely shared video of motorists driving toward the Skirball fire on the 405:

     

    From Los Angeles Times photographer Genaro Molina: 

    The New York Times's John Herman pointed out that people are using Snapchat's in-app map feature to map out the blazes:

    The Post's J. Freedom du Lac gathers some other stunning visuals of the devastation here. 

    -- The extreme weather conditions currently gripping both U.S. coasts may be connected: The fires raging in Southern California and the frigid cold forthcoming in the eastern United States are the result of extreme jet patterns that can make the West hot and dry while making the East cold, Capital Weather Gang’s Jason Samenow reports. And climate change might be to blame.

    This weather pattern is known as the North American Winter Dipole, a term used to describe the contrasting conditions. Samenow explains: “Under such a pattern, the jet stream, the super highway for storms that divides cold and warm air, surges north in the western half of the nation, and crashes south in the eastern half." So, how does the changing climate come into play? He notes the dipole pattern has increased in frequency as the climate has warmed in recent decades. UCLA climate scientist Daniel Swain, who authors the popular California Weather Blog, wrote there has “indeed been an increase in the number of days each winter characterized by simultaneously very warm temperatures across the American West and very cold temperatures across the East.”

    -- Predicting the worst-case scenarios: The climate change simulations that most accurately depict current conditions are also the ones that also forecast the most alarming levels of human-driven global warming, The Post’s Chris Mooney reports. A new study released in the journal Nature assessed models used to map out future conditions, and then examined their specific predictions.  “Those models generally predicated a higher level of warming than models that did not capture those conditions as well,” Mooney writes.

    Put another way, the models that best captured what the authors called the Earth’s “energy imbalance” were also the models that predicted more warming in the planet’s future.

    Mooney breaks down how some of these models’ findings differ: “Under a high warming scenario in which large emissions continue throughout the century, the models as a whole give a mean warming of 4.3 degrees Celsius (or 7.74 degrees Fahrenheit), plus or minus 0.7 degrees Celsius, for the period between 2081 and 2100, the study noted. But the best models, according to this test, gave an answer of 4.8 degrees Celsius (8.64 degrees Fahrenheit), plus or minus 0.4 degrees Celsius.”

    The report is the latest in the growing list of dire forecasts about the warming climate, he adds. But several scientists consulted by The Post warned that the research is not yet definitive. 

    POWER PLAYS

    -- It won't happen again: EPA scientists will now be able to speak freely about their work, agency head Scott Pruitt told lawmakers. In a letter to Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Pruitt responded to inquiries about why the EPA prevented two scientists and a consultant from speaking at a conference in October, the New York Times’s Lisa Friedman reports.

    “Procedures have been put in place to prevent such an occurrence in the future,” Pruitt wrote. “I have assured Office of Research and Development (“ORD”) political and career senior leadership that they have the authority to make decisions about event participation going forward. This has been communicated to all ORD staff throughout the country.”

    Read Pruitt’s full letter here via the New York Times.

    “After the E.P.A.’s reckless and shortsighted decision to muzzle its own scientists from presenting to the Narragansett Bay Estuary Program, we appreciate Administrator Pruitt’s commitment never to let this happen again,’’ Whitehouse and 11 other Democrats said in a Wednesday statement in response to Pruitt’s letter. “We will hold him to that commitment.”

    -- EPA expects even more of an earful about  Clean Power Plan repeal: The EPA announced Wednesday it plans to hold additional "listening sessions" on the proposed withdrawal from the Obama Clean Power Plan after holding two days of hearings in West Virginia last week. “Due to the overwhelming response to our West Virginia hearing, we are announcing additional opportunities for the public to voice their views to the Agency,” Pruitt said in the statement. Three additional sessions will be held in San Francisco, Gillette, Wyo., and Kansas City, Mo., though dates have not yet been announced. 

    John Walke, an attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council, notes the EPA calls the events "listening sessions" and not "hearings," perhaps for legal reasons:

    -- Dem demands Pruitt's time: House Energy and Commerce Committee ranking Democrat Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.) blasted Pruitt after reports that he will attend only part of a congressional subcommittee hearing today:

    “The Trump Administration and Administrator Pruitt continue to thumb their noses at Congress – defying any real attempts for Congressional oversight," Pallone said in a Wednesday statement. "It is outrageous enough that Mr. Pruitt is testifying before Congress for the first time since becoming Administrator, and now that outrage is taken to another level by the Administrator needing to leave after a mere one hour of testimony."

    The reason: According to reports, including one from Axios's Amy Harder, Pruitt needs to pop by the White House to discuss ethanol with Trump and lawmakers:

     -- EPA IG investigates Pruitt: The EPA’s internal watchdog plans to investigate Pruitt’s meeting with a mining group in April. House Energy and Commerce Committee Democrats shared a letter on Wednesday announcing the decision from the EPA’s inspector general.

    “We will review the single meeting between EPA Administrator Pruitt and the National Mining Association in April 2017 that you identified in your letter to me. The GAO stated to us that it could and would use the factual record regarding that meeting to conduct its analysis,” read the letter from Inspector General Arthur A. Elkins Jr. 

    An EPA spokeswoman told The Hill’s Devin Henry that the investigation is “merely an announcement that the OIG will begin work on a fact-based report."

    -- Monumental fight: Outdoor retailer Patagonia joined a growing list of lawsuits against President Trump following his announcement about a plan to drastically cut the size of the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante monuments in Utah. The California-based company filed the suit on behalf of a group of organizations looking to block changes to the Bears Ears monument and charged that the move exceeds the president’s authority, reports the Associated Press.

    On Monday, the company’s founder signaled his intention to sue the president over his decision to shrink the monument. "I'm going to sue him," Yvon Chouinard, the company’s founder told CNN.

    The Natural Resources Defense Council and the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, along with with Earthjustice on behalf of nine other groups, also filed lawsuit to block the Bears Ears decision. Those three groups were already part of a coalition suing over Grand Staircase-Escalante. The Energy 202 explains the legal fight over both monuments here.

     

    -- "A difficult position to defend:" Former President Barack Obama praised mayors, and other civic leaders for being the “new face of American leadership on climate change." His remarks came at a summit where the nation’s mayors signed the “Chicago Climate Charter,” pledging to continue working to reducing emissions as outlined in the Paris climate accord. Though he didn't mention Trump by name, Obama took a swipe at the president's decision to withdraw from the accord.

    “Obviously we’re in an unusual time when the United States is now the only nation on Earth that does not belong to the Paris agreement,” he said, per the Chicago Tribune. “And that’s a difficult position to defend. But the good news is that the Paris agreement was never going to solve the climate crisis on its own. It was going to be up to all of us.”

    -- “Good to go:” Just as President Trump was delivering his address on Inauguration Day, his then-National Security Adviser Michael T. Flynn sent a text to an ex-business associate saying a plan to work with Russia to build nuclear power plants in the Middle East was “good to go,” a whistleblower told Congressional investigators. The Post’s Tom Hamburger reports Flynn told his associate that U.S. sanctions against Russia would be “ripped up” by the Trump administration in order to help move the nuclear plant plan forward, the associate told the witness. The whistleblower’s account was detailed in a letter Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (Md.), the top Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, sent to the panel’s chairman Rep. Trey Gowdy (R- S.C).

    In the letter, Cummings urged Gowdy to subpoena the White House for documents on Flynn, adding that the panel has “credible allegations” that Flynn “sought to manipulate the course of international nuclear policy for the financial gain of his former business partners,” Hamburger reports.

    Read the full letter here.

    -- At risk: An area of protected land totaling 120 million acres, larger than the state of California, may be at risk from being opened to oil and gas drilling, a new analysis from Unearthed, a publication from Greenpeace reported.

    The publication says that “some highly protected areas may simply see rules around existing drilling weakened, or more drilling taking place on the borders of the parks.” Unearthed mapped protected parks that overlap with potential oil, gas and coal reserves, and listed that some of the sites potentially at risk include Gunnison national forest in Colorado, the Dakota Prairie Grasslands in north Dakota, Canyonlands National Park and Zion National Park in Utah and Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

    Interior Department spokeswoman Heather Swift said the publication’s report is “not accurate.”

    “[T]he Secretary has stated multiple times on the record he is not interested in drilling in national parks. I suggest you do more through [sic] research,” she said in a statement to Unearthed. 

    Greenpeace’s Damian Kahya shared a map: 

     

    California AG on Trump EPA: ‘It’s almost as if they believe they’re above the law’

    The state's Democratic attorney general slammed the EPA Wednesday, accusing the agency of insufficient transparency and policies that hurt the state under Trump.
    The Hill
     

    The environmental scandal in Scott Pruitt’s backyard

    It’s one of the dirtiest places in America. Former residents of Tar Creek, Oklahoma, want to know why Trump’s EPA chief didn’t prosecute allegations of wrongdoing during a federal buyout program.
    Politico Magazine
    OIL CHECK
     

    VW Executive Sentenced to 7 Years in Prison for Diesel Role

    A Volkswagen AG compliance executive who pleaded guilty in the U.S. for his role in the company’s $30 billion emissions cheating scandal was sentenced to 7 years in prison.
    Bloomberg News
     

    General Electric to cut 4,500 jobs in Europe: source

    General Electric plans to cut as many as 4,500 jobs in Europe as the U.S. industrial conglomerate shrinks its troubled power generation business, a labor union source said on Tuesday.
    Reuters
    DAYBOOK

    Today

    • EPA head Scott Pruitt testifies at a House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment hearing.
    • The Alliance to Save Energy holds an event on “The Business Case for Tax Incentives Promoting Energy Efficiency.”
    • The House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations holds a hearing on “Transforming the Department of the Interior for the 21st Century.”
    • The Center for Strategic and International Studies will host the launch of OPEC’s World Oil Outlook 2017.
    • The House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Federal Lands holds a legislative hearing.
    • The House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations holds a hearing on "Transforming the Department of the Interior for the 21st Century.”

    Coming Up

    • The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations holds a hearing on “Examining the Role of the Department of Energy in Energy Sector Cybersecurity” on Friday.
    • The NCAC holds a presentation on U.S. oil and natural gas on Friday.
    EXTRA MILEAGE

    House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) lit up the Capitol Christmas tree at an outdoor ceremony on Dec. 6. (Reuters)

     

     

    President Trump claims GDP would be higher "without the hurricanes:"

    President Trump claimed on Dec. 5 that the country's growth domestic product would have increased more "without the hurricanes, this last quarter." (Photo: JONATHAN ERNST/The Washington Post)

    Stephen Colbert on President Trump's decision to shrink two national monuments:

     

    https://youtu.be/Vgnjs0MRgoc

    The Daily Show with Trevor Noah compiles "Trump's Best Words of 2017:"

     

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  • US GOVERNMENT REPORT FINDS STEADY AND PERSISTENT GLOBAL WARMING...

    Miami Beach Coast, Florida. Photograph: Hoberman Collection/UIG via Getty Images

     

    All of nature’s thermometers indicate a rapid rise in global temperatures...

    The US Global Change Research Program recently released a Climate Science Special Report. It is clearly written – an authoritative summary of the science, and easy to understand.

    The first main chapter deals with changes to the climate and focuses much attention on global temperatures. When most people think of climate change, they think of the global temperature – specifically the temperature of the air a few meters above the Earth surface. There are other (better) ways to measure climate change such as heat absorbed by the oceans, melting ice, sea level rise, or others. But the iconic measurement most people think of are these air temperatures, shown in the top frame of the figure below.

    Nine signals of a changing climate. Illustration: USGCRP Climate Science Special Report

    The top chart is shown as a temperature “anomaly,” which means a departure from normal. Right now the anomaly is nearly 2°F, meaning that we have warmed 2°F from what the normal temperature should be. The graph shows four datasets, so it doesn’t matter whose temperature data we use; the results are the same. Global land-air temperatures have been rising pretty steadily since approximately 1960.

    Related: The Most Accurate Climate Models Predict Greater Warming, Study Shows...

    The next graph shows ocean surface temperatures. They too are rising and have been increasing for a number of decades. Sea surface temperatures are determined from satellites, from sensors on ships, and from floating instruments spread across the ocean. Over the decades, we have obtained better coverage of the ocean. Decisions are made from different research teams on how to combine measurements from different instruments and how to interpolate between measurement locations. But regardless of the decisions made, we see the temperatures rise.

    The third graph shows sea level. It has been rising for more than a century. Sea level rise is a favorite measurement for scientists because it integrates the heat added to the Earth’s climate. The heat ends up in the ocean waters and causes the waters to become less dense. The lower density of water causes much of the sea level rise in the graph.

    The center two images in the lower rows respectively show the amount of heat in the ocean and changes to Arctic ice. We see that ocean heat content is increasing and the amount of ice is decreasing. The lower right image represents the mass of the world’s glaciers. The decrease in glacier mass as glaciers warm, melt, and flow to the oceans is shockingly fast.

    Take some time to think about these climate signals. The figure shows nine different measurements, and all of them are consistent with a warming climate. So, next time someone tries to argue that we don’t really know if climate change is occurring, just remind them that all the signals show a global warming.

    With all nine of these signals, we don’t really need to just focus on the surface temperatures in the top frame. I don’t prefer surface temperatures because is they’re noisy. Some years they go up, other years down. You can’t just use one hot year to prove the world is warming, or one cold year to prove that it is cooling. If you insist on using surface temperatures, it is better to look at long-term trends, or decadal temperature trends. There is a clear steady rise in the decade-by-decade trend.

    Decadal average global surface temperatures. Illustration: USGCRP Climate Science Special Report These data from the USGCRP report are roadmaps. They show where we have been. They only give a suggestion about what will come in the future. With this in mind, all we can say is the world is changing and all the changes we observe are consistent with a warming world. A common sense view would help us understand that if we don’t change course, these trends will continue. But just by looking backwards in time, it is hard to predict where we will be in five or ten decades.

    Wednesday 6 December 2017 11.00 GMT

    source: https://www.theguardian.com/international

    original story HERE

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