04 November 2012

Climate News

Week ending 4 November 2012

PICKS OF THE WEEK

Note: The impact of Superstorm Sandy is the biggest climate story of the year. What happened corresponds with much of the scientific research, and it has changed the political landscape. Our picks of the week focus on this agenda-changing event

SUPERSTORM SANDY: SCIENCE

Hurricane Sandy and the Climate Connection
http://www.skepticalscience.com/news.php?n=1693
Given the unprecedented nature of this event, many people are asking whether it was caused by or its impacts amplified by global warming, and many others are of course trying to deny any hurricane-climate links.  There is actually a fairly simple answer to this question: human-caused climate change amplified the hurricane's impacts.

How Global Warming Made Hurricane Sandy Worse
http://www.climatecentral.org/news/how-global-warming-made-hurricane-sandy-worse-15190
Andrew Freedman, Climate Central, October 31, 2012
As officials begin the arduous task of pumping corrosive seawater out of New York City’s subway system and try to restore power to lower Manhattan, and residents of the New Jersey Shore begin to take stock of the destruction, experts and political leaders are asking what Hurricane Sandy had to do with climate change.

How Does Climate Change Make Superstorms Like Sandy More Destructive?
http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2012/10/31/1117091/how-does-climate-change-make-hurricanes-like-sandy-more-destructive/
Joe Romm, Climate Progress, 31 October 2012
Climate science explains how global warming can make a superstorms like Sandy more destructive in several ways.

Scientists look at climate change, the superstorm
http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gyDYLoEBEHUsG0OikBJSF6bXaYAw
Set Borenstein, Associated Press, Oct 30, 2012
Some individual parts of Sandy and its wrath seem to be influenced by climate change, several climate scientists said.

Superstorm Sandy and the climate debate surge
http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/4343312.html
Stephan Lewandowsky, ABC Unleashed, 31 October 2012
Nearly all weather events now have a contribution from climate change and it is up to us to manage and reduce that risk with mitigative action.

Hurricane Sandy: the new normal?
http://theconversation.edu.au/hurricane-sandy-the-new-normal-10408
Gary W Yohe, The Conversation, 30 October 2012
Are we now experiencing the “new normal” climate? Let’s look at the recent evidence.

Hurricane Sandy mixes super-storm conditions with climate change
https://theconversation.edu.au/hurricane-sandy-mixes-super-storm-conditions-with-climate-change-10388
Kevin Trenberth, The Conversation, 29 October 2012
As I write this, Hurricane Sandy remains a very large, powerful hurricane. On Sunday afternoon (local time), Sandy brought winds gusting to 103km/h to coastal North Carolina

Sandy superstorm 'made worse' by climate change
http://www.abc.net.au/am/content/2012/s3624925.htm
Sara Everingham, ABC AM, November 3, 2012
As we've just heard the massive recovery from Hurricane Sandy is continuing in the US.

SUPERSTORM SANDY: POLITICS

It's Global Warming, Stupid
http://www.businessweek.com/printer/articles/79420-its-global-warming-stupid
Paul M. Barrett, Business Week, November 01, 2012
Yes, yes, it’s unsophisticated to blame any given storm on climate change. Men and women in white lab coats tell us—and they’re right—that many factors contribute to each severe weather episode. Climate deniers exploit scientific complexity to avoid any discussion at all.

In wake of Sandy, media may finally be willing to discuss climate change
http://grist.org/news/post-sandy-the-media-may-finally-be-willing-to-discuss-climate-change/
Philip Bump, Grist, 1 November 2012
Yesterday, Wen Stephenson, a former Boston Globe editor (and occasional Grist contributor), described how the paper’s inaction on climate change prompted him to focus on activism from outside the media. Perhaps he should have stuck around a bit longer.

Sandy forces climate change on US election despite fossil fuel lobby
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/oct/31/sandy-climate-change-us-election
Bill McKibben, Guardian, 31 October 2012
Such is Big Energy's hold on DC, neither Obama nor Romney talk about climate change. But Americans are joining the dots

Sandy's Legacy? Vote As If Future Generations Depend On It
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/paul-douglas/sandys-legacy_b_2067606.html
Paul Douglas, Huffington Post, 2 October 2012
Were you impacted by "Nor'easter-cane" Sandy?" Statisticians will debate whether it was a 1 in 100 year storm -- or something worse. Insurance companies will calculate how many tens or hundreds of billions of dollars were lost. It will be a big number, probably the most expensive storm clean-up and recovery in American history. It's "media hype" until it injures your loved ones, cuts the power, floods your home, or shuts down your small business.

Bloomberg Endorses Obama, Challenges Climate Change Silence
http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/closeread/2012/11/bloomberg-endorses-obama-and-challenges-climate-change.html
Amy Davidson, New Yorker, November 1, 2012
What is most striking about Michael Bloomberg’s endorsement of Barack Obama—announced, unexpectedly, on Thursday afternoon—is that it could not be ascribed to a single aspect of the Mayor’s persona or philosophy

SUPERSTORM SANDY: IMPACTS

Billion-Dollar Disasters Mount: Superstorm Sandy Adds To Record Heat, Drought, And Wildfires For The U.S.
http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2012/11/01/1122911/billion-dollar-disasters-mount-superstorm-sandy-adds-to-record-heat-drought-and-wildfires-for-the-us/
Daniel J. Weiss and Jackie Weidman, Climate Progress, 1 November 2012
Our thoughts and prayers are with the millions of Americans harmed by Hurricane Sandy. Its devastating winds, rains, and ocean surges caused a huge swath of destruction in the mid-Atlantic region of the United States before dumping vast quantities of snow in the Midwest.

Hurricane Sandy cost may hit $50 billion
http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/sandy-cost-hit-50-billion-article-1.1194978
AP, 30 October 2012
Superstorm will cost about $20 billion in property damages and another $10 billion to $30 billion more in lost business.

Sandy hits poor hardest of all
http://grist.org/news/sandy-hits-poor-hardest-of-all/
Susie Cagle, Grist, 1 November 2012
Along the Eastern seaboard, Sandy devastated the rich and poor alike. But they’ve not been equally equipped to deal with that devastation.

Flood risk will rise with climate change, experts say
http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/flood-risk-will-rise-with-climate-change-experts-say/2012/11/01/f5c0c82e-22ba-11e2-8448-81b1ce7d6978_story.html
Juliet Eilperin, Washington Post, 1 November 2012
As the Northeast struggles with the aftermath of the massive storm Sandy, many experts say the government for years has underestimated how much of the nation is prone to flooding, given the increasing likelihood of extreme weather because of climate change and the prospect of future sea level rise.

ENERGY AND INNOVATION

Coal? It’s Over
http://www.theglobalmail.org/feature/coal-its-over/448/
Mike Seccombe, Global Mail, October 29, 2012
There are good reasons — both ecological and economic — to think the slowdown in demand for coal is not a slump, but the start of a post-coal world.

Why Australia must stop exporting coal
http://theconversation.edu.au/why-australia-must-stop-exporting-coal-9698
Peter Christoff, The Conversation, 2 November 2012
Why get worked up about our climate responsibilities when Australia’s contribution to global emissions – around 1.5% of the total – is small?

Coal resurgence threatens climate change targets
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/oct/29/coal-threatens-climate-change-targets
Fiona Harvey, The Guardian, 29 October 2012
Biggest increase in coal usage for 50 years could throw the UK's green ambitions off course

Geoengineering: Testing the Waters
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/28/opinion/sunday/geoengineering-testing-the-waters.html
Naomi Klein, NYT, 27 October 2012
FOR almost 20 years, I’ve been spending time on a craggy stretch of British Columbia’s shoreline called the Sunshine Coast. This summer, I had an experience that reminded me why I love this place, and why I chose to have a child in this sparsely populated part of the world.

Baillieu faced with falling polls and rising 'TWIMBYs'
http://reneweconomy.com.au/2012/baillieu-faced-with-falling-polls-and-rising-twimbys-72005
Giles Parkinson, ReNewEconomy, 29 April 2012
Castlemaine community wind project galvanises Victorian wind proponents and gives rise to new term – Turbines Wanted in My Backyard.

Mitt Romney's Fracking Hit List
http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/pictures/mitt-romneys-fracking-hit-list-20121102
Tim Dickinson, Rolling Stone, 2 November 2012
The top 10 targets for destructive drilling if Romney is elected

POLITICS AND POLICY

We cannot avoid the global crisis… but we can deal with it
http://reneweconomy.com.au/2012/we-cannot-avoid-the-global-crisis-but-we-can-deal-with-it-32289
Paul Gilding, ReNewEconomy, 1 November 2012
Speech by Paul Gilding delivered to the AGM of World Business Council for Sustainable Development Seoul, South Korea on October 31st, 2012.

Carbon price won’t halt Australia’s emissions
http://www.climatespectator.com.au/commentary/carbon-price-won-t-halt-australia-s-emissions
Tristan Edis, Climate Spectator, 2 November 2012
The Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency has just released its latest emissions projections out to 2030. In spite of the introduction of a carbon price, Australia’s emissions will continue to rise to 2020 due largely to expansion in liquefied natural gas, as well as a bizarre one-year blip in emissions from land-use activities.

Scientific consensus shifts public opinion on climate change
http://theconversation.edu.au/scientific-consensus-shifts-public-opinion-on-climate-change-10356
Sunanda Creagh, The Conversation, 29 October 2012
People are more likely to believe that humans cause global warming if they are told that 97% of publishing climate scientists agree that it does, a new study has found.

Will our infrastructure stand up to extreme weather?
http://www.climatespectator.com.au/commentary/will-our-infrastructure-stand-extreme-weather
John Connor and Stella Whittaker, Climate Spectator, 29 October 2012
Slowly but surely businesses and governments around the world have begun confronting the reality that, in the not-too-distant future, they will need to respond to more extreme weather events and rising climate risks which will challenge their assets, supply chains, core infrastructure and social stability

SCIENCE AND IMPACTS

Climate change poses hazard to infrastructure, report says
http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/national/business-govt-must-protect-infrastructure/story-fncynkc6-1226504977361
Katina Curtis, AAP, October 29, 201
AS a land of droughts and flooding rains, Australia should be well prepared for the extreme weather that climate change will bring - but it isn't.

Climate change, fire may wipe out Australia’s giant gum trees
http://theconversation.edu.au/climate-change-fire-may-wipe-out-australias-giant-gum-trees-10491
Megan Clement and David Bowman, The Conversation, 2 November 2012
As Australia gears up for another risky bushfire season this summer, some of its most iconic and valuable forests are at risk.

Flood risk will rise with climate change, experts say
http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/flood-risk-will-rise-with-climate-change-experts-say/2012/11/01/f5c0c82e-22ba-11e2-8448-81b1ce7d6978_story.html
Juliet Eilperin, Washington Post, November 2, 2012
As the Northeast struggles with the aftermath of the massive storm Sandy, many experts say the government for years has underestimated how much of the nation is prone to flooding, given the increasing likelihood of extreme weather because of climate change and the prospect of future sea level rise.

Wild Weather Doesn’t Have to Cause a Malthusian Nightmare
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-10-28/wild-weather-doesn-t-have-to-cause-a-malthusian-nightmare.html?alcmpid=view
Editors Oct 29, 2012 9:30 AM ET
Almost 1 billion people around the world don’t get enough to eat. Climate change, which is already contributing to food-price increases in poor and prosperous countries alike, promises to make it even harder to feed a growing population.

Corporations Profiting Out Of Food Crisis
http://www.zcommunications.org/corporations-profiting-out-of-food-crisis-by-simon-butler
Simon Butler, ZNet, October 27, 2012
The United Nations has warned that world grain reserves have fallen to critically low levels as world food prices have risen to levels close to that of 2008 — a year in which food riots took place in more than 30 countries.

Food switch could offset climate threat to staples - study
http://www.trust.org/alertnet/news/food-switch-could-offset-climate-threat-to-staples-study/
Megan Rowling, AlertNet, 31 October 2012
Climate change could significantly depress yields of maize, wheat and rice, constrain supplies of animal protein, and force a rethink of diets and the crops farmers grow, say researchers.

Farming may contribute a third of emissions, study finds
http://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/farming-may-contribute-a-third-of-emissions-study-finds-20121031-28jzn.html
SMH, 31 October 2012
Food production accounts for up to 29 per cent of man-made greenhouse gases, twice the amount the United Nations has estimated comes from farming, a study published on Wednesday said.

Rising Sea Levels
http://hot-topic.co.nz/rising-sea-levels/
Bryan Walker, Hot Topic, October 29, 2012
Of all the consequences of human-caused global warming, sea level rise has always held special alarm for me in its inexorability, its extension into the future, and the enormous disruption it threatens to centres of high population and essential infrastructure.





1 comment:

  1. It seems obvious that the sea-level rise and the size of the storm are related to the energy humans are adding to the system by burning fuel and releasing millions of tons of greenhouse (heat-trapping) gases into the atmosphere. That’s high school science and as obvious as plate tectonics. Remember when that was a controversy? Or that seat belts in cars, or helmets for bikes save lives? Asking if climate change has something to do with Sandy is like asking if smoking has something to do with lung cancer. Remember when people could say with a straight face that it didn’t?

    Having said that, there is a very large story that isn't being reported which has little to do with climate change although it derives from the same processes.

What is being ignored in this storm (and Irene as well) is the real source of the massive power outages that are so disruptive - which is all the trees that are falling on the lines. Trees didn't used to fall with regularity on power lines - or people, cars and houses. The winds in both those storms were not extraordinary, nothing that a healthy tree shouldn't be able to withstand.

    Why are they falling now? 

The answer is pretty obvious if you trouble to actually LOOK at them. They are all dying. Every species, every age, every location. They have obvious symptoms - broken branches, cankers, splitting bark, holes, thin crowns, early leaf drop, lack of autumn color, yellowing needles, bark covered with lichens and fungus. You can't find a healthy tree anymore.

    So the question becomes, why are they dying? Most foresters and scientists will say, climate change and/or invasive pests. But those explanations don't fit the empirical evidence which is that even native pests and diseases have run amuck, and even young trees grown and watered and fertilized in nurseries exhibit the identical symptoms of decline. Even annual, tropical ornamentals in enriched soil in pots that like heat, and aquatic plants in ponds have injured foliage and stunted growth.

    What do all of these plants have in common? 

The answer is, the composition of the atmosphere. Most people don't realize it, because it's invisible, but the background level of tropospheric ozone is inexorably increasing. Precursors from Asia travel across oceans and continents, and the persistent concentration has reached a threshold that is intolerable to the plants that absorb it when they photosynthesize. Agricultural yield and quality are reduced, and especially trees that are exposed to cumulative damage season after season are universally - around the world - in decline.

This process has been well known to foresters and agronomists for decades, and demonstrated in field observations and controlled fumigation experiments. They just don't want to publicize it, or even admit it, because the source is the emissions from industrial civilization itself. They would rather point to drought, insects, fungus and disease EVEN THOUGH it is well known that ozone debilitates plants causing their root systems to shrink as they allocate more energy to repairing damaged foliage, rendering them more vulnerable to drought and wind...AND impinges on their natural immunity to attacks from insects, disease and fungus, which exist precisely to break down dying trees, not destroy healthy trees.

    Most of the trees that fell during Sandy were rotted inside. New Jersey looks like the ecopocalypse has arrived. Photos here: http://witsendnj.blogspot.com

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