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  • 9 questions about climate change you were too embarrassed to ask...

    (NASA/NOAA/GSFC/Suomi NPP/VIIRS/Norman Kuring)

     

    Basic answers to basic questions about global warming and the future climate...

    There is a decisive and growing fissure in America right now as climate change science and federal climate change policy move steadily in opposite directions.

    In his first year in office, President Donald Trump has shirked all responsibility on the issue, rejecting or beginning to dismantle President Obama’s signature climate policies: the Paris climate agreement and the Clean Power Plan, the main domestic policy for limiting greenhouse gas emissions.

    Trump has appointed to key positions more than 20 climate change skeptics, including Scott Pruitt and Rick Perry to lead the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy. And officials at these and other science agencies have been removing the words “climate change” from government websites and press releases.

    Meanwhile, the science of climate change is growing ever more robust as researchers zero in on how the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are radically altering Earth’s systems and shaping the future.

    Atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations now top 408 parts per million, a threshold the planet hasn’t seen in millions of years. This year, Arctic sea ice is at the lowest extent on record and has been declining faster than it has in 1,500 years.

    The big questions now are how these changes will reverberate throughout the rest of the world, and what we should do about them. The answers bridge decades of research across geology, economics, and social science, which have been confounded by uncertainty and obscured by jargon. That’s why it can be a bit daunting to join the discussion for the first time, or to revisit the conversation after a hiatus.

    To help, we’ve provided some answers to some fundamentals about climate change you may have been afraid to ask.

    1) What is global warming?

    In short: The world is getting hotter, and humans are responsible.

    Yes, the planet’s temperature has changed before, but it’s the rise in average temperature of the Earth's climate system since the late 19th century, the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, that’s important here. Temperatures over land and ocean have gone up 0.8° to 1° Celsius (1.4° to 1.8° Fahrenheit), on average, in that span:

    NASA Earth Observatory

    Many people use the term “climate change” to describe this rise in temperatures and the associated effects on the Earth's climate. (The shift from the term “global warming” to “climate change” was also part of a deliberate messaging effort by a Republican pollster to undermine support for environmental regulations.)

    Like detectives solving a murder, climate scientists have found humanity’s fingerprints all over the planet’s warming, with the bulk of the evidence pointing to the extra greenhouse gases humans have put into the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels. Greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide trap heat at the Earth’s surface, preventing that heat from escaping back out into space too quickly. So when we burn coal or oil for energy or cut down forests, thereby adding even more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, the planet warms up.

    Global warming also refers to what scientists think will happen in the future if humans keep adding greenhouse gases to the atmosphere.

    Though there is a constant stream of new studies on climate change, the most robust aggregation of the science remains the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s fifth assessment report from 2013. The IPCC is convened by the United Nations, and the report draws on more than 800 expert authors. It projects that temperatures could rise at least 2°C (3.6°F) by the end of the century under many plausible scenarios — and possibly 4°C or more. A more recent study by scientists in the United Kingdom found a narrower range of expected temperatures if atmospheric carbon dioxide doubled, rising between 2.2°C and 3.4°C.

    Many experts consider 2°C of warming to be unacceptably high, increasing the risk of deadly heat waves, droughts, flooding, and extinctions. Rising temperatures will drive up global sea levels as the world’s glaciers and ice sheets melt. Further global warming could affect everything from our ability to grow food to the spread of disease.

    Avoiding drastic global warming would likely require a complete overhaul of our energy system. Fossil fuels currently provide just over 80 percent of the world’s energy. To zero out emissions this century, we’d have to replace most of that with low-carbon sources like wind, solar, nuclear, geothermal, or carbon capture.

    Beyond that, we may have to electrify everything that uses energy and start pulling greenhouse gases straight from the air.

    That’s a staggering task, and there are huge technological and political hurdles standing in the way. As such, the world's nations have been slow to act on global warming — many of the existing targets for curbing greenhouse gas emissions are too weak, yet many countries are falling short of even these modest goals.

    2) How do we know global warming is real?

    The simplest way is through temperature measurements. Agencies in the United States, Europe, and Japan have independently analyzed historical temperature data and reached the same conclusion: The Earth’s average surface temperature has risen roughly 0.8° Celsius (1.4° Fahrenheit) since the early 20th century.

    But that’s not the only clue. Scientists have also noted that glaciers and ice sheets around the world are melting. Satellite observations since the 1970s have shown warming in the lower atmosphere. There’s more heat in the ocean, causing water to expand and sea levels to rise. Plants are flowering earlier in many parts of the world. There’s more humidity in the atmosphere. Here’s a summary from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration:

    NOAA

    These are all signs that the Earth really is getting warmer — and that it’s not just a glitch in the thermometers. That explains why climate scientists say things like, “Warming in the climate system is unequivocal.” They’re really confident about this one.

    3) How do we know humans are causing global warming?

    Climate scientists say they are more than 95 percent certain that human influence has been the dominant cause of global warming since 1950. They’re about as sure of this as they are that cigarette smoke causes cancer.

    Why are they so confident? In part because they have a good grasp on how greenhouse gases can warm the planet, in part because the theory fits the available evidence, and in part because alternate theories have been ruled out. Let's break it down in six steps:

    1) Scientists have long known that greenhouse gases in the atmosphere — such as carbon dioxide, methane, or water vapor — absorb certain frequencies of infrared radiation and scatter them back toward the Earth. These gases essentially prevent heat from escaping too quickly back into space, trapping that radiation at the surface and keeping the planet warm.

    2) Climate scientists also know that concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere have grown significantly since the Industrial Revolution. Carbon dioxide has risen 45 percent. Methane has risen more than 200 percent. Through some relatively straightforward chemistry and physics, scientists can trace these increases to human activities like burning oil, gas, and coal.

    3) So it stands to reason that more greenhouse gases would lead to more heat. And indeed, satellite measurements have shown that less infrared radiation is escaping out into space over time and instead returning to the Earth’s surface. That’s strong evidence that the greenhouse effect is increasing.

     

    4) There are other human fingerprints that suggest increased greenhouse gases are warming the planet. For instance, back in the 1960s, simple climate models predicted that global warming caused by more carbon dioxide would lead to cooling in the upper atmosphere (because the heat is getting trapped at the surface). Later satellite measurements confirmed exactly that. Here are a few other similar predictions that have also been confirmed.

    Skeptical Science

    5) Meanwhile, climate scientists have ruled out other explanations for the rise in average temperatures over the past century. To take one example: Solar activity can shift from year to year, affecting the Earth's climate. But satellite data shows that total solar irradiance has declined slightly in the past 35 years, even as the Earth has warmed.

    6) More recent calculations have shown that it’s impossible to explain the temperature rise we’ve seen in the past century without taking the increase in carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into account. Natural causes, like the sun or volcanoes, have an influence, but they’re not sufficient by themselves.

    Ultimately, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluded that most of the warming since 1951 has been due to human activities. The Earth’s climate can certainly fluctuate from year to year due to natural forces (including oscillations in the Pacific Ocean, such as El Niño). But greenhouse gases are driving the larger upward trend in temperatures.

    And as the Climate Science Special Report, released by 13 US federal agencies in November 2017, put it, “For the warming over the last century, there is no convincing alternative explanation supported by the extent of the observational evidence.”

    More: This chart breaks down all the different factors affecting the Earth’s average temperature. And there’s much more detail in the IPCC’s report, particularly this section and this one.

    4) How has global warming affected the world so far?

    Here’s a list of ongoing changes that climate scientists have concluded are likely linked to global warming, as detailed by the IPCC here and here.

    Higher temperatures: Every continent has warmed substantially since the 1950s. There are more hot days and fewer cold days, on average, and the hot days are hotter.

    Heavier storms and floods: The world’s atmosphere can hold more moisture as it warms. As a result, the overall number of heavier storms has increased since the mid-20th century, particularly in North America and Europe (though there’s plenty of regional variation). Scientists reported in December that at least 18 percent of Hurricane Harvey’s record-setting rainfall over Houston in August was due to climate change.

    Heat waves: Heat waves have become longer and more frequent around the world over the past 50 years, particularly in Europe, Asia, and Australia.

    Shrinking sea ice: The extent of sea ice in the Arctic, always at its maximum in winter, has shrunk since 1979, by 3.3 percent per decade. Summer sea ice has dwindled even more rapidly, by 13.2 percent per decade. Antarctica has seen recent years with record growth in sea ice, but it’s a very different environment than the Arctic, and the losses in the north far exceed any gains at the South Pole, so total global sea ice is on the decline:

     

    Global, Arctic and Antarctic Sea Ice Area Spiral February 2018

    Shrinking glaciers and ice sheets: Glaciers around the world have, on average, been losing ice since the 1970s. In some areas, that is reducing the amount of available freshwater. The ice sheet on Greenland, which would raise global sea levels by 25 feet if it all melted, is declining, with some sections experiencing a sudden surge in the melt rate. The Antarctic ice sheet is also getting smaller, but at a much slower rate.

    Sea level rise: Global sea levels rose 9.8 inches (25 centimeters) in the 19th and 20th centuries, after 2,000 years of relatively little change, and the pace is speeding up. Sea level rise is caused by both the thermal expansion of the oceans — as water warms up, it expands — and the melting of glaciers and ice sheets (but not sea ice).

    Food supply: A hotter climate can be both good for crops (it lengthens the growing season, and more carbon dioxide can increase photosynthesis) and bad for crops (excess heat can damage plants). The IPCC found that global warming was currently benefiting crops in some high-latitude areas but that negative effects are becoming increasingly common worldwide. In areas like California, crop yields are estimated to decline 40 percent by 2050.

    Shifting species: Many land and marine species have had to shift their geographic ranges in response to warmer temperatures. So far, several extinctions have been linked to global warming, such as certain frog species in Central America.

    Debated impacts

    Here are a few other ways the Earth’s climate has been changing — but scientists are still debating whether and how they’re linked to global warming:

    Droughts have become more frequent and more intense in some parts of the world — such as the American Southwest, Mediterranean Europe, and West Africa — though it’s hard to identify a clear global trend. In other parts of the world, such as the Midwestern United States and Northwestern Australia, droughts appear to have become less frequent. A recent study shows that, globally, the time between droughts is shrinking and more areas are affected by drought and taking longer to recover from them.

    Hurricanes have clearly become more intense in the North Atlantic Ocean since 1970, the IPCC says. But it’s less clear whether global warming is driving this. 2017 was an exceptionally bad year for Atlantic hurricanes in terms of strength and damage. And while scientists are still uncertain whether they were a fluke or part of a trend, they are warning we should treat it as a baseline year. There doesn’t yet seem to be any clear trajectory for tropical cyclones worldwide.

    5) What impacts will global warming have in the future?

    It depends on how much the planet actually heats up. The changes associated with 4° Celsius (or 7.2º Fahrenheit) of warming are expected to be more dramatic than the changes associated with 2°C of warming.

    Here’s a basic rundown of big impacts we can expect if global warming continues, via the IPCC (here and here).

    Hotter temperatures: If emissions keep rising unchecked, then global average surface temperatures will be at least 2ºC higher (3.6ºF) than preindustrial levels by 2100 — and possibly 3ºC or 4ºC or more.

    Higher sea level rise: The expert consensus is that global sea levels will rise somewhere between 0.2 and 2 meters by the end of the century if global warming continues unchecked (that’s between 0.6 and 6.6 feet). That’s a wide range, reflecting some of the uncertainties scientists have in how ice will melt. In specific regions like the Eastern United States, sea level rise could be even higher, and around the world, the rate of rise is accelerating.

    Heat waves: A hotter planet will mean more frequent and severe heat waves.

    Droughts and floods: Across the globe, wet seasons are expected to become wetter, and dry seasons drier. As the IPCC puts it, the world will see “more intense downpours, leading to more floods, yet longer dry periods between rain events, leading to more drought.”

    Hurricanes: It’s not yet clear what impact global warming will have on tropical cyclones. The IPCC said it was likely that tropical cyclones would get stronger as the oceans heat up, with faster winds and heavier rainfall. But the overall number of hurricanes in many regions was likely to “either decrease or remain essentially unchanged.”

    Heavier storm surges: Higher sea levels will increase the risk of storm surges and flooding when storms do hit.

    Agriculture: In many parts of the world, the mix of increased heat and drought is expected to make food production more difficult. The IPCC concluded that global warming of 1°C or more could start hurting crop yields for wheat, corn, and rice by the 2030s, especially in the tropics. (This wouldn’t be uniform, however; some crops may benefit from mild warming, such as winter wheat in the United States.)

     

    Extinctions: As the world warms, many plant and animal species will need to shift habitats at a rapid rate to maintain their current conditions. Some species will be able to keep up; others likely won’t. The Great Barrier Reef, for instance, may not be able to recover from major recent bleaching events linked to climate change. The National Research Council has estimated that a mass extinction event “could conceivably occur before the year 2100.”

    Long-term changes: Most of the projected changes above will occur in the 21st century. But temperatures will keep rising after that if greenhouse gas levels aren’t stabilized. That increases the risk of more drastic longer-term shifts. One example: If West Antarctica’s ice sheet started crumbling, that could push sea levels up significantly. The National Research Council in 2013 deemed many of these rapid climate surprises unlikely this century but a real possibility further into the future.

    6) What happens if the world heats up more drastically — say, 4°C?

    The risks of climate change would rise considerably if temperatures rose 4° Celsius (7.2° Fahrenheit) above preindustrial levels — something that’s possible if greenhouse gas emissions keep rising at their current rate.

    The IPCC says 4°C of global warming could lead to “substantial species extinctions,” “large risks to global and regional food security,” and the risk of irreversibly destabilizing Greenland’s massive ice sheet.

    One huge concern is food production: A growing number of studies suggest it would become significantly more difficult for the world to grow food with 3°C or 4°C of global warming. Countries like Bangladesh, Egypt, Vietnam, and parts of Africa could see large tracts of farmland turn unusable due to rising seas. Scientists are also concerned about crops are crops getting less nutritious due to rising CO2.

    And humans could struggle to adapt to these conditions. Many people might think the impacts of 4°C of warming will simply be twice as bad as those of 2°C. But as a 2013 World Bank report argued, that’s not necessarily true. Impacts may interact with each other in unpredictable ways. Current agriculture models, for instance, don’t have a good sense of what will happen to crops if increased heat waves, droughts, new pests and diseases, and other changes all start to combine.

    “Given that uncertainty remains about the full nature and scale of impacts,” the World Bank report said, “there is also no certainty that adaptation to a 4°C world is possible.” Its conclusion was blunt: “The projected 4°C warming simply must not be allowed to occur.”

    7) What do climate models say about the warming that could actually happen in the coming decades?

    That depends on your faith in humanity.

    Climate models depend on not only complicated physics but the intricacies of human behavior over the entire planet.

    Generally, the more greenhouse gases humanity pumps into the atmosphere, the warmer it will get. But scientists aren’t certain how sensitive the global climate system is to increases in greenhouse gases. And just how much we might emit over the coming decades remains an open question, depending on advances in technology and international efforts to cut emissions.

    The IPCC groups these scenarios into four categories of atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations known as Representative Concentration Pathways. They serve as standard benchmarks for evaluating climate models, but they also have some assumptions baked in.

    RCP 2.6, also called RCP 3PD, is the scenario with very low greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere. It bets on declining oil use, a population of 9 billion by 2100, increasing energy efficiency, and emissions holding steady until 2020, at which point they’ll decline and even go negative by 2100. This is, to put it mildly, very optimistic.

    The next tier up is RCP 4.5, which still banks on ambitious reductions in emissions but anticipates an inflection point in the emissions rate around 2040. RCP 6 expects emissions to increase 75 percent above today’s levels before peaking and declining around 2060 as the world continues to rely heavily on fossil fuels.

    The highest tier, RCP 8.5, is the business-as-usual scenario, with no policy changes. It expects a global population of 12 billion and triple the rate of carbon dioxide emissions compared to today by 2100.

    Here’s how greenhouse gas emissions under each scenario stack up next to each other:

    Skeptical Science

    And here’s what that means for global average temperatures, assuming that a doubling of carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere leads to 3°C of warming:

    Skeptical Science

    As you can see, only RCP 3PD is the only trajectory that keeps the planet below 2°C of warming. Recall what it would take to keep emissions in line with this pathway and you’ll understand the enormity of the challenge of meeting this goal.

    8) How do we stop global warming?

    The world’s nations would need to cut their greenhouse gas emissions by a lot. And even that wouldn’t stop all global warming.

    For example, let’s say we wanted to limit global warming to below 2°C. To do that, the IPCC has calculated that annual greenhouse gas emissions would need to drop at least 40 to 70 percent by midcentury.

    Emissions would then have to keep falling until humans were hardly emitting any extra greenhouse gases by the end of the century. We’d also likely need to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

    Cutting emissions that sharply is a daunting task. Right now, the world gets 87 percent of its primary energy from fossil fuels: oil, gas, and coal. By contrast, just 13 percent of the world’s primary energy is “low carbon”: a little bit of wind and solar power, some nuclear power plants, a bunch of hydroelectric dams. That’s one reason global emissions keep rising each year.

    To stay below 2°C, that would all need to change radically. By 2050, the IPCC notes, the world would need to triple or even quadruple the share of clean energy it uses — and keep scaling it up thereafter. Second, we’d have to get dramatically more efficient at using energy in our homes, buildings, and cars. And stop cutting down forests. And reduce emissions from agriculture and from industrial processes like cement manufacturing.

    The IPCC also notes that this task becomes even more difficult the longer we put it off, because carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases will keep piling up in the atmosphere in the meantime, and the cuts necessary to stay below the 2°C limit become more severe.

    9) What are we actually doing to fight climate change?

    A global problem requires global action, but with climate change, there is a yawning gap between ambition and action.

    The main international effort is the 2015 Paris climate accord, of which the United States is the only country in the world that wants out. The deal was hammered out over weeks of tense negotiations and weighs in at 31 pages. What it does is actually pretty simple.

    The backbone is the global target of keeping global average temperatures from rising 2°C (compared to temperatures before the Industrial Revolution) by the end of the century. Beyond 2 degrees, we risk dramatically higher seas, changes in weather patterns, food and water crises, and an overall more hostile world.

    Critics have argued that the 2-degree mark is arbitrary, or even too low, to make a difference. But it’s a starting point, a goal that, before Paris, the world was on track to wildly miss.

    (Javier Zarracina/Vox)

    Paris is voluntary

    To accomplish this 2-degree goal, the accord states that countries should strive to reach peak emissions “as soon as possible.” (Currently, we’re on track to hit peak emissions around 2030 or later, which will likely be too late.)

    But the agreement doesn’t detail exactly how these countries should do that. Instead, it provides a framework for getting momentum going on greenhouse gas reduction, with some oversight and accountability. For the US, the pledge involves 26 to 28 percent reductions by 2025. (Under Trump’s current policies, that goal is impossible.)

    There’s also no defined punishment for breaking it. The idea is to create a culture of accountability (and maybe some peer pressure) to get countries to step up their climate game.

    In 2020, delegates are supposed to reconvene and provide updates about their emission pledges and report on how they’re becoming more aggressive on accomplishing the 2-degree goal.

    However, many countries are already falling behind on their climate change commitments, and some, like Germany, are giving up on their near-term targets.

    Paris asks richer countries to help out poorer countries

    There’s a fundamental inequality when it comes to global emissions. Rich countries have plundered and burned huge amounts of fossil fuels and gotten rich from them. Poor countries seeking to grow their economies are now being admonished for using the same fuels. Many low-lying poor countries also will be among the first to bear the worst impacts of climate change.

    The main vehicle for rectifying this is the Green Climate Fund, via which richer countries, like the US, are supposed to send $100 billion a year in aid and financing by 2020 to the poorer countries. The United States’ share was $3 billion, but with President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris accord, this goal is unlikely to be met.

    The agreement matters because we absolutely need momentum on this issue

    The Paris agreement is largely symbolic, and it will live on even though Trump is aiming to pull the US out. But, as Jim Tankersley wrote for Vox, “the accord will be weakened, and, much more importantly, so will the fragile international coalition” around climate change.

    But the Paris accord isn’t the only international climate policy game in town

    There are regional international climate efforts like the European Union’s Emissions Trading System. However, the most effective global policy at keeping warming in check to date doesn’t have to do with climate change, at least on the surface.

    The 1987 Montreal Protocol, which was convened by countries to halt the destruction of the ozone layer, had a major side effect of averting warming. In fact, it’s been the single most effective effort humanity has undertaken to fight climate change. Since many of the substances that eat away at the ozone layer are potent heat-trappers, limiting emissions of gases like chlorofluorocarbons has an outsize effect.

    The Economist

    And the Trump administration doesn’t appear as hostile to Montreal as it does to Paris. The White House may send the 2016 Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol to the Senate for ratification, giving the new regulations the force of law. If implemented, the amendment would avert 0.5°C of warming by 2100.

    By Brad Plumer, Brian Resnick, and Umair Irfan

    Mar 7, 2018, 8:28am EST

    Further reading:

    Avoiding catastrophic climate change isn’t impossible yet. Just incredibly hard.

    Reckoning with climate change will demand ugly tradeoffs from environmentalists — and everyone else

    Show this cartoon to anyone who doubts we need huge action on climate change

    It’s time to start talking about “negative” carbon dioxide emissions

    A history of the 2°C global warming target

    Scientists made a detailed “roadmap” for meeting the Paris climate goals. It’s eye-opening

    source: https://www.vox.com/

    original story HERE

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  • Why the world's wealthiest individuals and corporations are responsible for the escalating global warming emergency and saving us from extinction...

     Anne Ward Penguin

     

    In both moral and practical terms the world’s wealthy are responsible to fix our current global warming nightmare...

    When we talk about who is responsible for global warming, we need to think about it in two distinct ways—moral or ethical responsibility (climate justice as it is often called) and practical responsibility (someone who has responsibility and can do something about it).

    Moral and ethical responsibility is a relatively simple concept:

    The more you created or contributed to the problem, the greater your moral responsibility for fixing it...

    The moral or ethical responsibility for resolving global warming lies proportionately with those individuals, corporations, and nations that have created the fossil fuel burning global warming problem since the First Industrial Revolution in the 1880s. While this is morally true, in practical terms it presents a considerable challenge.

    We could spend many more decades we do not have trying to determine or litigate the proper proportion of moral and ethical global warming responsibility for every nation, corporation, and individual on earth. Next, we would have to try to enforce that moral and ethical responsibility on the nations, corporations, and individuals all over the planet. This alone could take many decades, if it could even be done.

    This presents another imposing dilemma. Because many of these individuals, corporations, and nations have varying and frequently conflicting cultural, religious, or other value criteria and definitions for responsibility, morality, ethics, and justice, finding some kind of agreed upon determination of the common and universal meaning of moral and ethical responsibility is all but impossible within the dwindling time window for meaningful control we need.

    In other words, as wonderful, fair, and reasonable as it sounds to simply enforce moral and ethical responsibility proportionately on all of the creators of global warming to achieve true climate justice, the practicality nightmare is that we could still be arguing about implementing such enforcement issues many decades from now long after we have tumbled past our current state of irreversible global warming into extinction.

    If we can't successfully take a moral and ethical responsibility approach to solve the global warming emergency in the time that is left, we need to find another approach. The Job One Plan proposes the practical responsibility approach.

    Practical responsibility in the context of global warming is defined by several factors:

    1. Who has enough influence and power to create the verifiable and enforceable global warming remedial laws or treaties in time to slow and lessen the 20 worst consequences of our current irreversible global warming and prevent extinction.

    2. Who has the most to gain or lose.

    3. Who has good reasons for also bearing at least some additional moral and ethical responsibility.

    4. What will take into practical account the unbearable reality that we do not have enough time left to bottom-up educate the masses about the incredibly complex and difficult issues of global warming as a complex adaptive climate system. We also do not have enough time left to slowly build political will person-by-person from the bottom up until the growing public will finally demands that its self-interested politicians create these critical new laws or treaties.

    So this then leads us to the 600-trillion-dollar question: Who has the greatest practical responsibility for resolving global warming? You and I as average individuals do have moral and ethical responsibility for global warming to the degree that we have contributed to it in our lifetimes, but we do not hold much effective practical responsibility for resolving it, as we have so little real influence in the necessary areas.

    Because the United Nations, the IPCC, and our national governments have failed so horribly over the last 30+ years, the 5 key entities that now bear the greatest practical responsibility for resolving the global warming emergency in order of priority are:

    1. the world's wealthiest nations
    2. the world's wealthiest corporations
    3. the world's wealthiest individuals
    4. the world's wealthiest celebrities
    5. the world’s intelligence agencies (as discussed in the Job one plan)

    To explain the reasons for this, we must first explain what this does not mean. We are not talking about the world's wealthiest nations, corporations, individuals, and celebrities individually setting up new companies and/or research projects to find new technological and non-technological solutions to global warming. That will never work in time without globally enforceable and verifiable warming reduction laws or new treaties and a global Fee and Dividend program already in place.

    This also does not mean that the world's wealthiest nations, corporations, individuals, and celebrities cannot privately invest in global warming remedial solutions; it just means we can't exclusively or primarily rely on their individual or private wealth to solve the global warming problem.That being said, there is successful experience the world's wealthiest nations and corporations can bring to the table to help other national governments plan and execute the largest energy generation transition project in human history.

    As far as the world's wealthiest celebrities are concerned, their importance in educating the masses about the seriousness of the emergency and the necessity of the changes we must all endure cannot be overestimated. The celebrities of the world command the attention needed to be successful.

    We also have to be diligent

    From many experiences over the last 30 years, we have learned that some of the world's wealthiest nations, corporations, and individuals greenwash their political and profit-making activities to make themselves look like good citizens while not actually doing anything. Their real motivation for the greenwashing remains to increase profits, often in some other area of their existing carbon-polluting activities. For more information on greenwashing, see this article by Tim McDonnell.

    Greenwashing allows wealthy nations, individuals, and corporations to look like good global citizens in public while continuing to do business and pollute as usual. In the Job One collective action steps we steer away from this fatal flaw that, unfortunately, too many previous big environmental groups have embarrassingly fallen prey to.

    Wealthy nations, individuals, and corporations should not be allowed to greenwash. Rather they need to be educated and inspired to use their influence and control to get the politicians of their respective nations to enact the necessary global warming remedial laws or treaties previously mentioned. If they try to greenwash with insincere and hypocritical actions, they need to be exposed.

    While not ignoring the greenwashing risk—in fact, being vigilant about it instead—it’s still true that the world's wealthiest corporations, individuals, and celebrities without a doubt have the necessary influence and control to get the attention and/or compliance of the world's political leaders to create and enforce the new laws or treaties that must be enacted if we are going to survive.

    The reason they should or will want to use that influence is because they are the ones who have the most to gain or lose. These wealth-endowed entities control 90 percent or more of the world's wealth and assets. They do in fact have the very most to gain or lose as escalating global warming continues, the consequences of irreversible global warming worsen and  extinction looms closer.

    As we move into more of the 20 worst consequences of irreversible global warming, millions and then hundreds of millions of their citizens or customers or fans (not to mention themselves) will begin to suffer and die. First weak and then stronger national economies will begin to crash. As national economies crash, so will governments.

    Normal business as we have known it will become impossible to conduct because the safe, stable, and consistent environment needed for any kind of reliable and continuous manufacturing, supply distribution, retail, or other business operations will be so unpredictable and so disrupted that maintaining a continually profitable business of any kind will be all but impossible.

    Irreversible global warming is a no-win game for everyone, no matter how much wealth you have. The wealthy corporations, individuals,, and celebrities who are already buying land and facilities in northern countries will eventually not be safe there. Mass migrations of desperate, aggressive, and armed climagees (climate refugees) and national armies will eventually overrun any and all border security measures, angrily take their fair share of what's left, and punish anyone who by either commission or omission had any significant part in letting this horrific global warming meltdown and catastrophe occur.

    Eventually even the private security companies of the ultra-wealthy corporations, individuals, and celebrities will eventually turn against their affluent bosses, realizing that they now live in a late-phase Climageddon Scenario world where only firepower and military-style personal training determine survival, final ownership, and safety. Worse yet, and worth repeating, the climagee survivors of the most painful and devastating catastrophe in human history will be so angry and traumatized they will seek a horrible vengeance on everyone and anyone they hold responsible for causing or contributing to the catastrophe, or for failing to act when they reasonably could have prevented the worst of it.

    In their unimaginable anger and pain, some of the remaining climagee survivors who desperately fight their way into the remaining temporarily safe zones, like some survivors of the Holocaust, will relentlessly hunt down anyone who they believe knew about the escalating global warming emergency and had the influence or resources to address it, but did not. Things will be even worse for wealthy corporations, individuals or celebrities who acted to protect only themselves, did nothing, or intentionally sought to profit from the escalating global warming catastrophes and chaos as they developed.

    When those individuals are identified by the enraged climagee survivors for their unconscionable commissions and omissions, it is highly likely that all their wealth will be removed from them as well as from their trusts, heirs, and businesses. They will be imprisoned for what will be defined later in the history of the global warming emergency as crimes against humanity and the future.

    It gets even worse for the world’s wealthy

    As if the proceeding was not enough to convince the world's wealthiest corporations, individuals and celebrities they need to do everything they can to slow and lessen global warming so they will survive, there is still more. The fate of those who move to the temporarily safe global warming zones near the 45th fifth parallel north or south will also have to to deal with four other devastating realities:

    1.Decommissioning hundreds of nuclear reactors in global warming unsafe zones between the 45th parallel north and south which will no longer be able to be kept secure or maintained by stable or functioning governments. If these nuclear reactors melt down or go critical, it will not matter where you are in the world. No location will be safe from fallout and radiation that will go on for centuries! (On a lesser note, the same holds true for all toxic chemicals and biological and chemical weapons stored within the global warming unsafe zones. Once those zones are generally abandoned, these commodities will slowly leak out and affect areas far beyond their original locations.)

    2.How to solve the critical food production issue above the 45th parallel north or below the 45th parallel south where the soil quality and seasonal sunlight will be grossly inadequate to grow enough food for the massive migrating populations using traditional or existing methods.

    3.If the northern countries do not allow enough individuals from the global warming safe zones to migrate, there will not be enough human genetic diversity to survive the waves of new diseases that will occur in the far north or far south because of unknown pathogens released from the melting permafrost (which humanity has never seen before) as well as from the existing pathogens that are always mutating.

    4.How to quickly move enough of the world’s key infrastructure for modern civilization to continue into the global warming safe zones above the 45th parallel north or below the 45th parallel south. All of this must be done within about two decades using the relative stability which many parts of the world will still have while global warming escalates.

     

    At some point, the world's wealthiest corporations individuals and celebrities will recognize their money and power won't save them from this monster. They will realize that we either cooperate and work together or die together.

    They will understand that irreversible global warming will last from centuries to thousands of years. They will understand that at this point, all we can do is slow and lessen it enough so that some of us will survive as long as we do not let carbon parts per million in the atmosphere cross 600 ppm.

    As of March 2018, we are at 408 ppm carbon. Once we cross the carbon 500 ppm level, ALL ice and ALL glaciers on Earth will go into complete meltdown.

    Crossing the carbon 500 ppm threshold has happened repeatedly in Earth's geological history. When this occurred, the sea level inevitably rose to the 70 meters (230 feet) range. At our current annual carbon ppm emission rates, we will reach this catastrophic carbon 500 ppm range by 2042.

    If we cross that carbon level of 500 ppm, our average global temperature will soar to 4°C (7.2 degrees Fahrenheit). At 4°C, a large portion of humanity will die of starvation (or of increased heat's other related consequences), and governments and societies will collapse in most areas of the world.

    If we cross the carbon 500 ppm battle line, we will continue crossing more of the 11 critical global warming tipping points within the climate’s many systems and subsystems, at an even faster rate. Because of this and other factors, it is highly probable we will reach carbon 600 ppm within 25-30 years.

    The carbon 600 ppm level will raise the average global temperature to 5°C (9 degrees Fahrenheit) and will initiate massive methane releases from ocean coastal shelves and permafrost. Because methane is 86 times more potent than carbon as a greenhouse gas, this will once again rapidly spike average global temperatures and bring about the extinction of most of humanity.

    As we reach the carbon 500 and 600 ppm levels, we will cross into the most dangerous phases of the Climageddon Scenario model for predicting future climate changes with all of its unconscionable 20 worst consequences.

    Noblesse oblige and the global warming emergency

    Another component of their moral and ethical obligation resides within the concept of “wealth obliges,” similar to the old French concept of noblesse oblige. The updated concept of noblesse oblige also implies the moral and ethical obligation that possessing great wealth extends beyond mere economic influence, comforts, and privileges. It also requires the person or entity who holds such status to take on reasonable and rational social and leadership responsibilities to promote and protect the common well-being. Under this updated concept that wealth obliges, the world's wealthiest nations, corporations, individuals and celebrities are in fact more morally and ethically bound to act and lead.

    Two Last Factors

    1. The world’s wealthiest corporations, individuals and celebrities have good reasons for bearing more moral and ethical responsibility. This is because they have caused measurably more fossil fuel pollution in the creation and maintenance of their vast wealth than any of the rest of us, and because they continue to use vastly more fossil fuels in the maintenance of their current jet-setting luxury lifestyles and business activities.
    2. There isn’t enough time for anyone else with sufficient influence over the world’s politicians to remedy the situation. Yes, we really are out of time.

     

    We should have started making the necessary changes 30 years ago. Now there is no one else available with the necessary levels of immediate controlling influence over self-interested politicians than the world's wealthiest corporations, individuals, and celebrities.

    To solve escalating global warming before we cross more global warming tipping points, we need to act at levels of effective coordinated global action and mobilize like we’ve never seen before in human history. We simply do not have adequate time left to build a movement of individual citizens from the bottom up as was done in the past to influence our politicians to pass the new laws or treaties to resolve this rapidly escalating emergency.

    If you are not one of the world’s wealthiest individuals, corporations, or celebrities and you are not a high-ranking member of an intelligence agency cognizant of the damage being created, you now know you are not the one who is primarily responsible to fix this mess.

    From the research and editorial team at Job One for Humanity

    End Notes

    1. Tim McDonnell. "The fossil fuel industry is bankrolling the Paris Climate talks." Mother Jones. December 2, 2015. http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2015/12/climate-change-summit-par...

    source: http://www.joboneforhumanity.org/#_=_

    March 9, 2018

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  • WANNA LIMIT GLOBAL WARMING TO 1.5°C? BETTER GET CRACKING...

                 Coal: it’s not an option. Kym Farnik

     

    Analysis breaks down what it would take—and it’s a lot...

    One surprise in the international Paris Agreement on greenhouse gas emissions was the addition of the aspirational goal of limiting global warming to just 1.5 degrees Celsius. Nations have long stated that their aim was to avoid exceeding 2-degree warming (though they've largely failed to follow through with actions that would make that possible), and so scientists have studied that scenario in great detail. But nobody had been promising to keep this a 1.5-degree world, so the information was lacking.

    A new study led by Joeri Rogelj of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis digs into this problem, providing a breakdown of plausible scenarios that will form the basis of future research efforts. This work uses computer models of the global economy to simulate the costs and effects of things like transitioning away from fossil fuels at different paces.

    Scenario building

    The simulations rely on a set of five scenarios that represent different socioeconomic futures. This includes idealistic scenarios like a world built around sustainability, with a global population of just 7 billion at the end of this century, rather than the expected 10 billion. At the other extreme, there's an all-consuming world in which energy demand grows rapidly and is fulfilled almost entirely by fossil fuels. This system is a little easier to wrap your head around than scenarios based purely on greenhouse gas concentrations because you can picture what these worlds are really like.

    For each of these five worlds, the researchers essentially work out whether their models can find a way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions enough to keep the world below 1.5 degrees of warming in 2100—even if it peaks a couple tenths of a degree above that before coming back down.

    Given that our options for limiting warming to 2 degrees Celsius already require hey-maybe-the-glass-is-actually-full optimism, it should come as no surprise that 1.5-degree scenarios involve herculean transformations of our behavior. Global emissions would have to peak within the next few years and then drop like a rock—reaching zero around the 2060s. At our current rate of emissions, we would probably emit the maximum allowable total of greenhouse gas in less than a decade.

    To avoid that, the use of coal to generate electricity would have to disappear before 2050, with the use of oil ending soon after. Renewable electricity from sources like solar and wind would have to account for 60-80 percent of our generation by mid-century. The role of natural gas varies widely among the different model simulations, spanning everything from more than doubling to declining by 80 percent.

    These scenarios also require a crutch that is commonly invoked even though it has yet to be employed at a significant scale: running biofuel power plants, capturing the emitted CO2, and storing it underground. Because the crops used as biofuels get their carbon from the atmosphere, this takes atmospheric CO2 and shoves it in the ground while generating electricity along the way. This is not without drawbacks, chief among them the need for agricultural land that might otherwise be used for food crops.

    Capturing carbon

    This technique (and others that removed carbon dioxide from the air) has to be employed in a big way to make the numbers work in these scenarios. Reducing net emissions (released minus removed) to zero isn’t even good enough—we’d have to remove more than we emit in the latter half of this century. By 2100, we could need to have removed up to 30 years’ worth of CO2 at today’s emission rate. That would be a massive deployment of carbon dioxide removal techniques alongside a revolution in the energy sector.

    If you compare this to the actions required to meet the no-more-than-2-degrees-warming goal, more carbon dioxide removal is only part of it. The emissions cuts are stronger and faster, which means they’re more expensive. And it’s not just the sources of energy that have to change—there has to be more efficiency and less energy demand, too.

    In general, the researchers say that there are some general socioeconomic trends in these scenarios. Scenarios that limit warming to 1.5 degrees see major shifts toward renewable sources of electricity, less energy use overall, and significant carbon dioxide renewal. The scenarios that fail to hit this goal, on the other hand, feature energy-intensive economic growth, more geographic inequality, and a hodgepodge of uncoordinated, short-term climate policies.

    The researchers say their work shows that “multiple technologically salient options are available,” but this obviously doesn’t mean any of them are likely to come to pass. The picture painted is one of razor-thin margins for error. Even capturing all the CO2 coming out of existing fossil fuel power plants wouldn’t be good enough, because the mere production of fossil fuels leaks too much greenhouse gas.

    There’s simply no escaping the fact that things would have to change immediately if we want that 1.5—or 2-degree—future, regardless of the goals set at international negotiations. The world has dithered too long for an easy fix to still be on the table.

    Nature Climate Change, 2018. DOI: 10.1038/s41558-018-0091-3  (About DOIs).

    - 3/7/2018, 5:20 PM

    Scott K. Johnson Scott is a hydrogeologist and educator who has been covering the geosciences for Ars since 2011. Email scott.johnson@arstechnica.com // Twitter @SJvatn
     
     
    original story HERE

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  • SEA LEVEL RISE WILL RAPIDLY WORSEN COASTAL FLOODING IN COMING DECADES, NOAA WARNS...

       The nuisance flooding that accompanies seasonal high tides in parts of the Miami area will become more common as sea level rises. Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

     

    A new report shows how vulnerable U.S. coastal areas are to rising seas, with some flooding daily by 2100. San Francisco faces a double whammy: it's also sinking...

    Coastal communities should expect much more frequent flooding in coming decades as sea levels rise, according to a new federal report. Many places that are dry now could flood every day by the end of the century.

    The report, published by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, projects the impact of sea level rise on coastal flooding along the nation's shorelines and says it's already having an effect, particularly on the East Coast. In the Southeast, the average number of days with high-tide floods has more than doubled since 2000, to three per year, while the number in the Northeast has increased by about 75 percent, to six per year.

    "We're seeing an accelerated increase up and down most of the Atlantic Seaboard," said William V. Sweet, an oceanographer at NOAA and the lead author of the report. "That's not a good place to be, because impacts are going to become chronic rather quickly."

    While Miami currently experiences only a few days of high-tide flooding per year, for example, it should expect 10 days each year by the early 2030s under an intermediate scenario for sea level rise. Just a decade later, that number could triple. And flooding would likely occur every other day by 2060.

    Flood Risk Varies Region to Region

    It doesn't take a scientist to tell you that rising seas will worsen coastal flooding, but the new report shows how the effects will vary greatly across different regions.

    The Northeast currently experiences the most frequent flooding, largely because of regular winter storms—including a recent series of storms that has caused flood damage across the region.

    In places where the weather is relatively calm most of the year and the difference between low and high tides is smaller, such as Southeast, coastal flooding is not yet as frequent. But those same factors that create a relatively constant water level mean that once flooding begins, it will worsen more quickly. This is what we're seeing now in places like Miami and Charleston, South Carolina, where tidal flooding is quickly becoming more than just a nuisance.

    By mid-century, the Western Gulf of Mexico should expect to have 80 to 185 days of flooding per year, and the coastal Northeast should expect 45 to 130 days. The Southeast and the Eastern Gulf of Mexico will likely experience between 25 and 85 days per year, and the West Coast fewer still.

    By the end of the century, though, the gap narrows or disappears, with most of the East and Gulf coasts experiencing flooding at least every other day under a lower estimate of rising seas, and every day under a higher one.

    Sinking San Francisco

    The report uses two scenarios—an "intermediate low" of about 1.5 feet by 2100 and an intermediate of about 3 feet. The two represent the lower and upper bounds of what's likely to occur, Sweet said, though the actual rise could be far greater if greenhouse gas emissions don't fall later this century or if Antarctic ice sheets begin to collapse.

    Even under the more moderate scenarios, however, flooding could still be worse than NOAA projects in some places. Land is sinking across many coastal areas, and while broader regional rates are generally well known and incorporated into sea level rise estimates—it's part of why the Northeast is experiencing higher relative sea level rise—subsidence can vary greatly on a more local level.

    A separate study, published Wednesday in Science Advances, uses satellite data to examine subsidence across the San Francisco Bay Area. It found that most places are sinking at a rate of less than 2 millimeters per year, but that certain spots, including San Francisco International Airport, are sinking at up to 10 millimeters per year. Add this all up, the authors write, and rising seas could actually inundate perhaps twice as much land as expected in the Bay Area. Many other coastal cities, including Tokyo, Jakarta, and the Hampton Roads region of Virginia, have similar problems with subsidence.

    What Can Cities Do?

    Of course, the actual impact of flooding will depend on how cities adapt, such as by building seawalls, flood gates or abandoning some low-lying spots. New York, Miami, Norfolk, Virginia, and other coastal cities have already begun to implement some measures, such as requiring that new buildings be elevated a certain amount—called freeboard—above the flood level, generally between 1 and 3 feet.

    Sweet said the NOAA report shows how vulnerable most places are to rising seas. He found that minor coastal flooding generally occurs when waters rise about 1.5 feet above normal, and damaging flooding occurs with less than 3 feet of water.

    "It's kind of laid bare America's infrastructure," he said. "There's really not that much freeboard separating our infrastructure from sea levels."

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  • CLIMATE CHANGE TIGHTENS GRIP ON US WEST COAST DESPITE PROGRESSIVE ASPIRATIONS...

    An aerial view of San Francisco. One of the greenest cities in the US is facing a major threat from global warming. Photograph: Alamy Stock Photo

     

    California, Washington and Oregon have led criticism of Trump’s climate policies, but change hasn’t been easier closer to home...

    California’s exposure to climate change has been laid bare with warnings that San Francisco faces a far worse threat from rising seas than previously thought, while the agricultural heart of the state will increasingly struggle to support crops such as peaches, walnuts and apricots as temperatures climb.

    The findings, from two new scientific studies, come as California’s neighboring west coast states Oregon and Washington have both faltered in their legislative attempts to address climate change and deliver a rebuke to Donald Trump’s dismissal of the issue.

    The problems faced by the progressive coastal bastions have been sobering on two fronts: not only is the western flank of the US experiencing the escalating consequences of climate change, but widespread Democratic dominance at state level has failed to enact ambitious policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

    “In Washington, we are holding a very good policy hostage because it’s not perfect. Inclusion and equity concerns means we are losing momentum and public support on climate change.”

    The quibbling comes as climate change tightens its grip on the west coast. San Francisco can lay claim to being one of the greenest cities in the US, through its embrace of clean energy, mandated recycling and banning of single-use plastic bags, yet it faces a steep challenge to avoid the ravages of sea level rise.

    Researchers using satellite-based radar and GPS have discovered large areas of land beside the San Francisco bay is sinking, exacerbating the threat from sea level rise and storms. Places such as San Francisco airport, Foster City and Treasure Island are subsiding by as much as 10mm a year, doubling the area previously considered at risk of flooding by the end of the century, according to the Science Advances-published study.

    A satellite image of the San Francisco bay. Large areas of land beside the bay have been discovered to be sinking. Photograph: UniversalImagesGroup/UIG via Getty Images

    In all, around 48 to 166 sq miles of the bay’s shoreline is set to be prone to flooding, even under a moderate rate of sea level rise. This scenario would worsen if melting glaciers in Greenland and Antarctica trigger a far faster rate of ocean expansion.

    “There are about 7 million people living on the bay who could be vulnerable” said Patrick Barnard, a geologist at the US Geological Survey who wasn’t involved in the research.

    “A huge number of people along the west coast are in low-lying areas, in Los Angeles and San Francisco all the way up to Seattle. All the options will have to be on the table, from replenishing coastal marshes to sea walls to managed retreat.”

    California is facing a buffeting from increased flooding – around $763bn if its assets are exposed to inundation – at the same time as parts of its agriculture base declines due to rising temperatures.

    Faced with such threats, the governors of California, Washington and Oregon have spearheaded criticism of Trump for taking a hammer to national climate policies and withdrawing the US from the Paris climate accords. But progress hasn’t been much easier closer to home.

    While California has a statewide emissions reduction scheme, it has clashed with the Trump administration over the state’s stringent vehicle fuel standards. And California’s neighbors to the north are struggling to demonstrate that states can compensate for the lack of federal action on climate change, even those where Democrats have a firm grip on power.

    An almond farm in Turlock, California, during the drought in 2014. Photograph: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

    Last week, an effort to introduce the first straight tax on carbon dioxide emissions failed in Washington state, with governor Jay Inslee admitting it couldn’t pass the Democrat-controlled senate. “On the arc of history, we’re not quite far along enough on the arc,” said Inslee, a Democrat and vocal proponent of action on climate change. “That day will come, but it wasn’t quite here yet.”

    The tax, which would’ve started at $20 per ton CO2 emitted, faced criticism it would increase the cost of energy or, conversely, that it wouldn’t generate sufficient money for clean energy programs. Meanwhile, in Oregon, another state dominated by elected Democrats, lawmakers failed to agree on a cap on greenhouse gases and will instead revisit the issue in 2019.

    The stuttering progress of climate change policies sits awkwardly with international assurances from the broad coalition opposed to Trump that the US has not given up on tackling dangerous global warming.

    “Rather than getting bogged down in how money from a carbon tax would be spent, we need to make climate change a bipartisan issue again,” said Aseem Prakash, the director of the center for environmental politics at the University of Washington.

    “Environment groups need to reach out to Republicans for workable policy, not policy that’s perfect in every single way.”

    Wed 7 Mar 2018 14.20 EST

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

    original story HERE

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  • SEA LEVEL RISE IN THE SF BAY AREA JUST GOT A LOT MORE DIRE...

    Treasure Island, which sits between San Francisco and Oakland, is sinking fast, at a rate of a third of an inch a year. Frank Ramspott/Getty Images

     

    If you move to the San Francisco Bay Area, prepare to pay some of the most exorbitant home prices on the planet. Also, prepare for the fact that someday, your new home could be underwater—and not just financially...

    Sea level rise threatens to wipe out swaths of the Bay's densely populated coastlines, and a new study out today in Science Advances paints an even more dire scenario: The coastal land is also sinking, making a rising sea that much more precarious. Considering sea level rise alone, models show that, on the low end, 20 square miles could be inundated by 2100. But factor in subsiding land and that estimate jumps to almost 50 square miles. The high end? 165 square miles lost.

    The problem is a geological phenomenon called subsidence. Different kinds of land sink at different rates. Take, for instance, Treasure Island, which resides between San Francisco and Oakland. It’s an artificial island made of landfill, and it’s sinking fast, at a rate of a third of an inch a year. San Francisco Airport is also sinking fast and could see half its runways and taxiways underwater by 2100, according to the new analysis.

    Now, subsidence is nothing new to climate scientists. “People have been aware that this is an issue,” says UC Berkeley’s Roland Burgmann, coauthor of the paper. “What was missing was really data that has high enough resolution and accuracy to fully integrate” subsidence in the Bay Area.

    To get that data, the researchers took precise measurements of the landscape from lidar-equipped aircraft. They combined this with data from satellites, which fire radar signals at the ground and analyze the return signals to estimate how fast land is moving either toward the spacecraft or away from them.

    By comparing data from 2007 to 2011, the team showed that most of the Bay’s coastline is subsiding at a rate of less than 2 millimeters a year. Which may not seem like much, but those millimeters add up, especially considering a study that came out last month suggested sea level rise is accelerating.

     

    "You talk to someone about, Oh the land is going down a millimeter a year, and that can be kind of unimpressive," says the University of Nevada Reno's William Hammond, who studies subsidence but was not involved in the study. "But we know as scientists that these motions, especially if they come from plate tectonics, that they are relentless and they will never stop, at least as long as we're alive on this planet."

    Speaking of being alive on this planet: Humans have induced subsidence at an astonishing scale by rapidly depleting aquifers. Take the South Bay, for instance. “Parts of San Jose have been lowered up to 12 feet due to groundwater extraction,” says USGS coastal geologist Patrick Barnard. Fortunately, the extraction policies that led to those losses are kaput. But the same can’t be said for the rest of the planet, in particular for communities that are suffering drought exacerbated by climate change.

    “It's not a major concern for the Bay anymore,” Barnard adds, “but it is for in general aquifers worldwide, especially in developing countries where a lot of groundwater is extracted from these large river deltas where millions of people live. They're already extremely vulnerable to sea level rise.”

    The developing world is nowhere near ready to deal with subsidence and rising seas, but neither is the developed world. This is a problem that defies human ingenuity. It’s not like the San Francisco Bay Area can build one giant sea wall to insulate itself. And it’s not like low-lying Florida can hike itself up, or New York City can move itself inland a few hundred miles.

    “There is no permanent solution to this problem,” says Arizona State University geophysicist Manoochehr Shirzaei, lead author of the paper. “This will impact us one way or another. The forces are immense, it's a very powerful process, the cost of really dealing with it is huge, and it requires long-term planning. I'm not so sure there's a good way to avoid it.”

    Save for keeping seas from rising in the first place. That, of course, would require a tremendous global effort to cut back emissions. But even conservative projections suggest future sea level rise could be dramatic. Which means we as a species have to seriously reconsider the idea of a coastal town, or in case of the Bay Area, a sprawling coastal metropolis. Because the sea is coming to swallow us, and there’s nothing we can do to stop it.


    More Climate Science

     

    source: https://www.wired.com/

    original story HERE

     

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  • TRUMP’S CLIMATE SCIENCE DOUBTERS...

    YouTube

     

    More than 20 top political appointees and nominees across the Trump administration either decline to acknowledge that humans are the main cause of climate change or say that significant questions exist about how much people contribute to the problem...

    A few even say global warming could be a good thing or might not be happening at all. Their views are in stark contrast to mainstream science, raising questions about how they will make decisions about the impact of climate change on issues like energy policy, disaster planning and national security.

    Read related story: How Trump’s climate skeptics are changing the country

    White House

    President Donald Trump

    “Perhaps we could use a little bit of that good old Global Warming.”

    What they said: Trump has called global warming a hoax (and worse) created “by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing noncompetitive” — claims with no grounding in fact. During December’s frigid weather, he tweeted that “perhaps we could use a little bit of that good old Global Warming.” He later told interviewer Piers Morgan that polar ice caps are “at a record level,” though NASA says Arctic sea ice is shrinking more than 13 percent a decade.

    Why it matters: Trump has begun a wholesale unraveling of former President Barack Obama’s climate agenda. That includes ordering rewrites of major regulations that would limit carbon emissions, promoting greater production of fossil fuels like coal, and announcing the U.S. withdrawal from the 2015 Paris climate agreement.

    White House

    Vice President Mike Pence

    “Follow the science” instead of “rushing into” restrictions on the economy

    What they said: Pence acknowledged in a CNN interview in 2016 that human activities have “some impact on climate,” but said he and Trump want to “follow the science” instead of “rushing into” restrictions on the economy.

    Why it matters: Pence often represents the United States on the foreign stage, where the U.S. is facing pushback from the president’s decisions to exit the Paris agreement and place tariffs on imports of solar power panels.

    White House

    Mick Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget

    “I'm not yet convinced that it is a direct correlation between man-made activity and the change in the climate.”

    What they said: Mulvaney has acknowledged that climate change is real but said that “I’m not yet convinced that it is a direct correlation between man-made activity and the change in the climate.” He says his views on the science shouldn’t change the way he does his job “analyzing the costs and benefits” of regulations and policies.

    Why it matters: As the official in charge of writing Trump’s budget proposals, Mulvaney has sought to slash or zero-out a host of climate and green energy programs throughout the executive branch — including a proposed 26 percent budget cut for EPA — and has described climate research as “a waste of your money.” His office is also the gatekeeper for federal agencies’ regulations, giving him outsize power on climate actions across the executive branch.

    Justice Department

    Attorney General Jeff Sessions

    Carbon dioxide “is plant food” that “doesn’t harm anybody except that it might include temperature increases.”

    What they said: In a congressional hearing in March 2015, the then-senator from Alabama asserted that “carbon pollution is CO2, and that’s really not a pollutant. It’s a plant food, and it doesn’t harm anybody except that it might include temperature increases.”

    Why it matters: His lawyers at the Justice Department have vast power over the fate of Obama’s regulations and Trump’s regulatory rollbacks. Already, they have sought to delay court decisions while agencies repeal and rewrite Obama-era rules facing attack from industry. And they will have the task of defending Trump’s proposals against legal challenges filed by environmental groups and Democratic-leaning states.

    Regulator

    Scott Pruitt, Environmental Protection Agency administrator

    “We know that humans have most flourished during times of what? Warming trends.”

    What they said: Pruitt, one of the administration’s most vocal climate science doubters, has refused to agree that man-made carbon pollution is “a primary contributor” to temperature increases — and said global warming may even be good for people. “We know that humans have most flourished during times of what? Warming trends,” he told a Nevada television station. “Do we really know what the ideal surface temperature should be in the year 2100?”

    Why it matters: He is rolling back the federal government’s only major climate regulations, including the Obama-era greenhouse gas limits for power plants. He has forced scientists off science advisory panels, replacing them with people from industry, and persuaded Trump to exit the Paris accords. He is also going after climate research itself — he plans to launch a public debate about the soundness of the science.

    Regulator

    Bill Wehrum, EPA’s air chief

    Humans’ influence on the climate is an “open question.”

    What they said: In his confirmation hearing in October, Wehrum acknowledged that “human activity contributes to climate change” but said it’s an “open question” whether it is the main cause.

    Why it matters: His office will oversee the repeal of Obama’s climate standards for the power industry. It is working to replace them with narrow rules for coal plants that are unlikely to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

    Regulator

    Cathy Stepp, EPA’s Midwest administrator

    “I’ve read competing pieces so, yes, I would say there is debate out there.”

    What they said: She told the Wisconsin State Journal that she believes substantial scientific disagreement exists on the cause of climate change.

    Why it matters: At EPA, Stepp is in charge of environmental protection in a region that runs mostly on coal plants. She formerly ran the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, which under her leadership cut science funding and changed information on websites to suggest that the cause of climate change is uncertain.

    Regulator

    Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke

    There’s debate on “what that influence is, what can we do about it.”

    What they said: In his confirmation hearing, Zinke acknowledged that “climate is changing” and “man has had an influence,” noting that glaciers are receding. But he said he believes that debate still exists on “what that influence is, what can we do about it.” In 2015, Zinke told a Montana newspaper that President Barack Obama shouldn’t claim Hurricane Sandy was related to climate change because that is “not based on fact.”

    Why it matters: The Interior Department manages a fifth of U.S. land, including 35,000 miles of coastline and 1.7 billion acres of the Outer Continental Shelf. Interior’s inspector general, an internal watchdog, says that means the department will face significant effects from climate change, including wildfires, water scarcity and harm to native tribes.

    Regulator

    Douglas Domenech, Interior’s assistant secretary for Insular Areas

    “Climate alarmists are once again predicting the end of the world as we know it. This time the culprit is carbon dioxide.”

    What they said: Domenech, who also headed the agency’s transition team, has warned that fulfilling Obama’s pledge in the Paris agreement would “wreak havoc on the economy, jobs and electricity rates — and, in the process, on the lives of millions of people.” In his confirmation hearing, however, he agreed that “climate is changing and man has a role in that.”

    Why it matters: Domenech’s portfolio includes Insular Areas, International Affairs, and the department’s Ocean, Great Lakes and Coastal Program, all of which face effects from climate change. Sea-level rise and ocean acidification are particularly troubling for the island territories he oversees.

    Regulator

    Steven Gardner, nominee to head Interior’s Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement

    “Climate Change is real. It always has been. It's not new!”

    What they said: “Climate Change is real. It always has been. It’s not new!” he wrote on Facebook, according to E&E News.

    Why it matters: Gardner would be the nation’s top coal mining regulator. He has said coal workers are “unfairly profiled as polluters” and defends the controversial practice of “mountaintop removal” mining, which the Obama administration sought to regulate under a rule that Trump blocked.

    Regulator

    Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue

    “Liberals have lost all credibility when it comes to climate science.”

    What they said: Perdue has said “scientists on both sides” have views about whether humans contribute to climate change. He has also expressed frustration when people link damaging weather to climate change, saying liberals have “lost all credibility” on climate science.

    Why it matters: As global temperatures rise, droughts have become more intense and longer-lasting, and rainfall patterns are changing — which puts the Agriculture Department on the front lines. Last year, The Guardian reported, USDA staffers told employees to avoid making direct references to climate change in their work, preferring terms like “weather extremes.”

    Regulator

    Energy Secretary Rick Perry

    “Climate’s changing, always has. Man at this particular point in time is having an effect on it. How much effect is what’s at debate here.”

    What they said: Perry contends that the “science is out” on whether humans are the dominant cause of climate change, saying at the White House last year that “climate’s changing, always has. Man at this particular point in time is having an effect on it. How much effect is what’s at debate here. And, more importantly, what is the United States going to do to affect that?”

    Why it matters: Perry has unsuccessfully pushed federal regulators to subsidize money-losing coal plants. He has also restructured the Energy Department to focus more on basic research and development, and less on commercial deployment of advanced energy technologies that could help cut greenhouse gas emissions.

    Regulator

    Bruce Walker, assistant energy secretary for the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability

    “I think there is a contribution from man. I couldn’t quantify exactly what that is.”

    What they said: Asked about climate change during his September confirmation hearing, Walker said: “I believe the climate has been changing and will continue to change as long as we’re on the planet. I think there is a contribution from man. I couldn’t quantify exactly what that is.”

    Why it matters: Walker’s office is tasked with helping ensure that the U.S. energy system is “secure, resilient and reliable.” He has a say in how federal dollars are devoted to research and infrastructure as the electric grid shifts away from coal toward natural gas and renewable power. His department coordinates responses to weather that affects the electrical grid.

    Regulator

    Diana Furchtgott-Roth, nominee for assistant transportation secretary for Research and Technology

    “Over the past 15 years, despite increasing greenhouse gas emissions, the warming by some measures has stopped.”

    What they said: She said in 2015 that “the Earth has been warming and cooling for millennia, certainly before the Industrial Revolution. … Over the past 15 years, despite increasing greenhouse gas emissions, the warming by some measures has stopped.” In fact, NASA says 2017 was the second-warmest year on record since 1880, second only to 2016.

    Why it matters: Transportation is the biggest source of man-made greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S., according to the Energy Information Administration. Limiting transportation’s effects on climate change was a key focus of Furchtgott-Roth’s office under the Obama administration.

    National security

    CIA Director Mike Pompeo

    “There’s some who think we’re warming, there’s some who think we’re cooling.”

    What they said: Is the Earth even warming at all? Pompeo expressed uncertainty on that point in 2013, saying on C-SPAN that “there are scientists that think lots of different things about climate change. There’s some who think we’re warming, there’s some who think we’re cooling, there’s some who think that the last 16 years have shown a pretty stable climate environment.”

    Why it matters: A 2014 Pentagon report called climate change an immediate threat to national security, saying it increases risks from terrorism, infectious disease, global poverty and food shortages. Obama and President George W. Bush both acknowledged climate change as a security risk, but Trump’s Pentagon excluded the issue from the 2018 National Defense Strategy.

    National security

    Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen

    “I can’t unequivocally state it’s caused by humans. ...There are many contributions to it.”

    What they said: Nielsen says climate change is happening but has not acknowledged that humans are the main cause. “I can’t unequivocally state it’s caused by humans,” she said during her confirmation hearing in November. “There are many contributions to it.”

    Why it matters: DHS’s Federal Emergency Management Agency responds to hurricanes and other natural disasters, which scientists expect to become harsher as temperatures rise. FEMA also examines risks to determine where and how Americans can rebuild their homes after storms along the coasts, where sea-level increases make flooding more likely. At the Coast Guard — another arm of DHS — Obama’s military advisers described climate change as a national security issue.

    National security

    Tom Bossert, White House homeland security adviser

    “We continue to take seriously the climate change — not the cause of it, but the things we observe.”

    What they said: He hedged on the science after last year’s historic hurricanes battered Houston, saying the administration does “continue to take seriously the climate change — not the cause of it, but the things we observe.” He declined to say whether he thinks the hurricanes were worsened by rising temperatures.

    Why it matters: Homeland Security officials will be responsible for responding to more intense storms and flooding, as well as wildfires and other large-scale disasters that could strain federal resources. For example, two research groups have concluded that the rainfall brought by Hurricane Harvey was much higher than it would have been without global warming.

    Housing

    Ben Carson, Housing and Urban Development secretary

    “I know there are a lot of people who say ‘overwhelming science,’ but then when you ask them to show the overwhelming science they never can show it.”

    What they said: “I know there are a lot of people who say ‘overwhelming science,’ but then when you ask them to show the overwhelming science they never can show it,” Carson told the San Francisco Chronicle in 2015.

    Why it matters: HUD tells states how to spend disaster recovery money allotted by Congress. Trump last year rescinded an executive order requiring federally funded projects to consider higher flooding risks caused by climate change, but HUD recently required that structures built in floodplains be built above projected flood levels anyway.

    Business

    Linda McMahon, Small Business Administration head

    “I just don’t think we have the answers as to why it changes. … The bottom line is we really don’t know.”

    What they said: “I just don’t think we have the answers as to why it changes … I’m not a scientist, so I couldn’t pretend to understand all the reasons. But the bottom line is we really don’t know,” McMahon said in 2010.

    Why it matters: McMahon has said she wants to strengthen disaster relief for small businesses, citing SBA’s slow response after hurricanes. During the Obama administration, SBA sought to help small businesses become more resilient to the risks posed by climate change.

    Science

    Jim Bridenstine, NASA administrator nominee

    Do humans cause climate change? “That is a question that I do not have an answer to.”

    What they said: The Republican congressman from Oklahoma said in his November confirmation hearing that he accepts that humans are a cause of climate change — but he would not acknowledge that they are the main contributor. “That is a question that I do not have an answer to,” he said. He has criticized Obama for spending more on climate research than on tornado warning systems, and has claimed that global temperature changes are linked to sun output and ocean cycles.

    Why it matters: NASA studies Earth science and is responsible for satellites that monitor climate, programs that researchers fear are imperiled under Trump. NASA says unequivocally on its websites and in its scientific reports that most scientists agree humans are the main cause of the current global warming trend.

    By Emily Holden and Jeremy C.F. Lin

    03/06/18 06:00 AM EDT

    source: http://www.politico.com/

    original story HERE

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  • HEALTH SAVINGS OUTWEIGH COSTS OF LIMITING GLOBAL WARMING – STUDY...

    To date, the average global temperature is thought to have increased by 1 C since the Industrial Revolution. Image: Jorge Guerrero / AFP

     

    The estimated cost of measures to limit Earth-warming greenhouse gas emissions can be more than offset by reductions in deaths and disease from air pollution, researchers said on Saturday...

    It would cost $22.1 trillion (17.9 trillion euros) to $41.6 trillion between 2020 and 2050 for the world to hold average global warming under two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), a team projected in The Lancet Planetary Health journal.

    For the lower, aspirational limit of 1.5 C, the cost would be between $39.7 trillion and $56.1 trillion, they estimated.

    But air pollution deaths could be reduced by 21-27 percent to about 100 million between 2020 and 2050 under the 2 C scenario, the team estimated, and by 28-32 percent to about 90 million at 1.5 C.

    “Depending on the strategy used to mitigate climate change, estimates suggest that the health savings from reduced air pollution could be between 1.4-2.5 times greater than the costs of climate change mitigation, globally,” they wrote.

    Health costs from air pollution include medical treatment, patient care, and lost productivity.

    The countries likely to see the biggest health savings were air pollution-ridden India and China, said the researchers, who used computer models to project future emissions, the costs of different scenarios for curbing them, and the tally in pollution-related deaths.

    “The health savings are exclusively those related to curbing air pollution,” study co-author Anil Markandya of the Basque Centre for Climate Change in Spain told AFP.

    “Other health benefits are not included, which of course makes our figures underestimates of the total benefits.”

    The costs of limiting warming, Markandya explained, included higher taxes on fossil fuels like oil and coal, which in turn raise the costs of production.

    The world’s nations agreed on the 2 C limit in Paris in 2015, and undertook voluntary greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets.

    These pledges, even if they are met, place the world on a 3 C trajectory, scientists say.

    To date, the average global temperature is thought to have increased by 1 C since the Industrial Revolution.

    “We hope that the large health co-benefits we have estimated… might help policymakers move towards adopting more ambitious climate policies and measures to reduce air pollution,” said Markandya.

    Air pollution from fossil fuel emissions, particularly fine particulate matter and ozone, has been linked to lung and heart disease, strokes, and cancer.

     
    07:03 PM March 05, 2018

    RELATED STORIES:

    Germany eyes free transport to banish air pollution

    Satellite images show extent of air pollution worldwide

    World’s nations adopt plan ‘towards a pollution-free planet’

     
     
    original story HERE

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  • ARCTIC HAS WARMEST WINTER ON RECORD: 'IT'S JUST CRAZY, CRAZY STUFF'...

    Frozen fields on the Lofoten Islands in the Arctic Circle in northern Norway. Scientists say conditions in the region are unprecedented. Photograph: Olivier Morin/AFP/Getty Images

     

    Sea ice has hit record lows for time of year as experts say global warming probably fueled big storms in Europe and north-eastern US...

    The Arctic winter has ended with more news that is worrying even the scientists who watch the effects of climate change closely.

    The region experienced its warmest winter on record. Sea ice hit record lows for the time of year, new US weather data revealed on Tuesday.

    “It’s just crazy, crazy stuff,” said Mark Serreze, director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colorado, who has been studying the Arctic since 1982. “These heat waves – I’ve never seen anything like this.”

    Experts say what’s happening is unprecedented, part of a global warming-driven cycle that probably played a role in the recent strong, icy storms in Europe and the north-eastern US.

    The land weather station closest to the North Pole, at the tip of Greenland, spent more than 60 hours above freezing in February. Before this year, scientists had seen the temperature there rise above freezing in February only twice before, and then extremely briefly. Last month’s record-high temperatures have been more like those typical of May, said Ruth Mottram, a climate scientist at the Danish Meteorological Institute.

    Of nearly three dozen different Arctic weather stations, 15 of them were at least 10F (5.6C) above normal for the winter.

    In February, Arctic sea ice covered 5.4m sq miles, about 62,000 sq miles smaller than last year’s record low, the ice data center reported, and it was 521,000 square miles below the 30-year normal.

    Sea ice is frozen ocean water that, in contrast to icebergs and glaciers, forms, grows and melts on the ocean. It is still growing, but “whatever we grow now is going to be thin stuff” that easily melts in the summer, Serreze said.

    Something similar has been noted in the Pacific with open water on the normally iced-up Bering Sea, said the data center senior scientist Walt Meier. To be happening on opposite sides of the Arctic at the same time was unusual, he added.

    “Climate change is the overriding thing,” Meier said.

    Associated Press 

    Wed 7 Mar 2018 10.19 EST

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

    original story HERE

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  • THE 20 WORST CONSEQUENCES OF GLOBAL WARMING...

     

    Overview:

    Large-scale changes to our atmosphere and environment that normally happen over thousands of years are now happening over decades...

    As our global atmosphere heats up and becomes warmer and more turbulent from fossil fuel burning and its greenhouse gas effect, our personal, business, and national lives will soon become more turbulent in many new ways as described below.

    The following graphic contains an overview of many of the worst consequences of global warming. Most of the consequences below are already occurring around the world at various levels. A few will soon be occurring as global warming continues to increase our average global temperature.

    Further down this page, you will find detailed explanations for each of these consequences, beginning with the ever-worsening financial consequences we will continue to face.

    This list of unfolding consequences above will also provide critical early warning signals that every prudent person should be monitoring.

    Month-by-month and year-by-year, the consequences of escalating global warming will increasingly:

    • cut into your personal, business, and national budgets,

    • change your normal day-to-day personal and work life in increasingly negative ways,

    • significantly affect the plans you are making for your future, and eventually

    • cause you to consider migrating above or below the 45 parallel north or south to reduce your suffering and survive longer.

    Chapter_3_Global_Warming_Warning_Signals.png

    Although the list of global warming consequences below is scary, there is still hope to slow and lessen the effect of these consequences. The unhappy vision of future consequences you will see unfolding below occurs only if we fail to act immediately using effective strategies like those offered in the Job One For Humanity Plan.

    The financial costs consequences of the escalating global warming emergency

    We are starting out the list of worst global warming consequences with the personal, business, and national financial costs of global warming. This is because financial loss and preventing financial disasters are something that most people are concerned about and monitor constantly for their future wellbeing...

    See the rest of this story HERE

    by Lawrence Wollersheim

    source: http://www.joboneforhumanity.org/

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