Daily Archives: April 15, 2016

Jim Hansen | Regional Climate Change and National Responsibilities

Nick Shepherd via Getty Images
03/02/2016 11:43 am ET | Updated Mar 02, 2016

  • Dr. James Hansen Climatologist and Adjunct Professor, Columbia University Earth Institute

Global warming of about 1°F (0.6°C) over the past several decades now “loads the climate dice.” Fig. 1 updates the “bell curve” analysis of our 2012 paper1 for Northern Hemisphere land, which showed that extreme hot summers now occur noticeably more often than they did 50 years ago. Our new paper2 shows that there are strong regional variations in this bell curve shift, and that the largest effects occur in nations least responsible for causing climate change.

In the United States the bell curve shift is just over one standard deviation in summer and less than half a standard deviation in winter (Fig. 2). Measured in units of °F (or °C) the warming is similar in summer and winter in the U.S., but the practical implication of Fig. 2 is that the public in the U.S. should notice that summers are becoming hotter but is less likely to notice the change in winter. Summers cooler than the average 1951-1980 summer still occur, but only ~19% of the time. Extreme summer heat, defined as 3 standard deviations or more warmer than 1951-1980 average, which almost never occurred 50 years ago, now occur with frequency about 7%.

Warming in Europe (see paper) is modestly larger than in the U.S. In China (Fig. 2) warming is now almost 1½ standard deviations in summer and one standard deviation in winter, a climate change that should be noticeable to people old enough to remember the climate of 50 years ago. Bell curve shifts in India (see paper) are slightly larger than in China.

In the Mediterranean and Middle East the bell curve shift in summer is almost 2½ standard deviations (Fig. 2). Every summer is now warmer than average 1951-1980 climate, and the period with “summer” climate is now considerably longer. Given that summers were already very hot in this region, the change affects livability and productivity as noted below. Bell curve shifts in the tropics, including central Africa (see paper) and Southeast Asia (Fig. 2), which also was already quite hot, are about two standard deviations and occur all year round.

…(read more).

See also:

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

James Hansen | What You Need to Know About the Irreparable Harm of Climate Change

Ingram Publishing via Getty Images
03/22/2016 08:58 am ET | Updated Mar 22, 2016

Dr. James Hansen Climatologist and Adjunct Professor, Columbia University Earth Institute

We made a video discussing some of the main points in our “Ice Melt” paper, which is about to be published in Atmos. Phys. Chem.:

The main point that I want to make concerns the threat of irreparable harm, which I feel we have not communicated well enough to people who most need to know, the public and policymakers. I’m not sure how we can do that better, but I comment on it at the end of this transcript.

From the video:

Hi, I’m Jim Hansen, Director of the Climate Science, Awareness and Solutions program at Columbia University Earth Institute. I want to discuss some implications of the paper Ice Melt, Sea Level Rise and Superstorms that is being published in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, a paper on which I have 18 exceptional American and international co-authors.

We have uncovered information and a partial understanding of feedbacks in the climate system, specifically interactions between the ocean and the ice sheets. These feedbacks raise questions about how soon we will pass points of no return, in which we lock in consequences that cannot be reversed on any time scale that people care about.

…(read more).

See:

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

Over 200 Rally Outside Mass. Hall to Support HUDS Workers


By Brandon J. Dixon, CRIMSON STAFF WRITER
Over 200 Harvard affiliates gather to protest for higher wages and increased health benefits for Harvard University Dining Services Workers. The rally is the latest in a series of events SLAM has hosted since launching their “One Harvard” campaign. Thomas W. Franck UPDATED: April 14, 2016, at 11:15 p.m.

On a day when workers and students took to the streets across the country to rally for minimum wage reform, over 200 Harvard affiliates gathered in front of Massachusetts Hall to push for higher wages and increased health benefits for Harvard’s dining services employees.

The rally comes on the heels of the announcement earlier this week that Harvard made history in fundraising for its capital campaign, surpassing all of its peer institutions to yield an unprecedented amount of at least $6.5 billion in donations thus far.

Harvard is currently the world’s wealthiest university, touting a $37.6 billion endowment. Referencing the University’s financial strength, demonstrators marched in a circle chanting “Hey Harvard, you’ve got cash, why do you treat your employees like trash?” among other phrases.

Tania DeLuzuriaga, a spokesperson for the University, wrote in an emailed statement that “Local 26 employees currently receive highly competitive wages that are among the highest for the local and national workforce for comparable positions in the foodservice industry.”

Unite Here Local 26 is a local union that represents Harvard’s dining services employees.

Gabe G. Hogdkin ’18, a member of the Student Labor Action Movement, said he initially expected a turnout of around 75 people. Participants said they were surprised to see that more than 200 Harvard affiliates attended the march. Some had been notified about the event ahead of time, via Facebook; others passed by the demonstration and decided to join in.

(read more).

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

With At Least $6.5 Billion Raised, Harvard Sets Higher Education Fundraising Record


Massachusetts Hall. The Crimson Staff

By Andrew M. Duehren and Daphne C. Thompson UPDATED: April 12, 2016, at 12:33 p.m.

Harvard has surpassed its public goal and Stanford’s $6.2 billion capital campaign, which set a higher education record in 2012

Harvard has raised at least $6.5 billion in its capital campaign, breaking a higher education fundraising record after only two and half years of its five year-long public drive, according to two donors with direct knowledge of the campaign’s progress.

With $6.5 billion raised, Harvard has surpassed its public goal and Stanford’s $6.2 billion capital campaign, which ended in late 2011 and set a higher education record. The first capital campaign at Harvard to involve each of the University’s 12 schools simultaneously, the fundraising drive aims to support student financial aid, a new campus in Allston, and the renewal of undergraduate Houses, among other priorities.

By the time of its public launch in September 2013, the “One Harvard” campaign had already raised $2.8 billion in gifts and pledges during its “quiet phase.” Since then, Harvard has attracted multiple high-level gifts that moved its total closer to the $6.5 billion target.

Harvard last detailed the progress of its overall campaign in October 2015, when donations totaled $6.1 billion. Harvard administrators are generally tight-lipped about campaign data, and University President Drew G. Faust said earlier this month that Harvard times announcements to coincide with the end of the fiscal year or tax year. She said Harvard does not plan to release an updated figure until later this spring or summer.

…(read more).

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

Goal In Hand, Harvard Campaign Polishes Priorities

 

By Andrew M. Duehren and Daphne C. Thompson, CRIMSON STAFF WRITERS April 13, 2016

When Paul J. Finnegan ’75, a Harvard Corporation member, stood before a packed Sanders Theatre in September 2013 to announce that Harvard would seek to raise $6.5 billion in its next capital campaign, he drew a standing ovation.

A record-setting effort, the capital campaign set out to fund a number of priorities across the University’s 12 schools, including student financial aid and House renewal. The campaign, entitled “One Harvard,” would be Harvard’s moment to “seize an impatient future,” as University President Drew G. Faust said in her address announcing the drive.

It did not have to wait long.

Helen Y. Wu

With a $2.8 billion nucleus already in the bank by the time Harvard publicly launched its fundraising drive, the campaign started strong. Harvard progressed smoothly towards its target goal, receiving a number of landmark gifts as it ticked through major numerical benchmarks—$3 billion, $4 billion, $5 billion, and $6 billion.

Now, after blowing through its goal two years before the fundraising drive’s scheduled 2018 end, Harvard will focus on raising money for individual priorities and programs—including financial aid, House renewal, and the new campus in Allston—that still need the money. The campaign has reached its overall monetary goal well ahead of schedule, and top Harvard administrators, including Faust and Tamara E. Rogers ’74, vice president development and alumni affairs, have previously said the University will not raise its $6.5 billion goal.

Its goal reached and some of its largest gifts collected, the “One Harvard” campaign will now finish the more humble task of polishing off priorities and engaging rank and file donors.

(read more).

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

Report: UC Davis Spent $175,000 Trying to Scrub Reports on 2011 Pepper-Spraying of Students + Dozens Arrested as UMass Amherst Students Demand Fossil Fuel Divestment

April 15, 2016 Headlines

Newly disclosed documents show the University of California at Davis spent at least $175,000 to try to scrub the Internet of criticism following the 2011 pepper-spraying of student protesters by campus police. The school made national headlines after video showed police spraying seated students directly in the face at close range. The Sacramento Bee reports UC Davis paid consultants to improve its online image, in part by scrubbing negative search results related to the pepper-spray incident. UC Davis is a public university supported by taxpayer money.

April 15, 2016 Headlines

At University of Massachusetts, Amherst, about three dozen people have been arrested after launching a sit-in this week to demand the university divest from fossil fuels. Students launched their occupation of an administrative building on Tuesday. Hours later, UMass officials pledged to “advocate for a policy that would see the five-cpus UMass system divest and prohibit direct investment in fossil fuel companies.”

See also:

 

 

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

Military Historian Agrees with Bernie Sanders: Hillary Clinton is an Unreconstructed Hawk


Democracy Now!

Published on Apr 8, 2016

http://democracynow.org – In the Democratic presidential race, Senator Bernie Sanders has often clashed with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton about U.S. policy in the Middle East. At one debate, he accused Clinton of being “too much into regime change.” We ask military historian Andrew Bacevich for his assessment.

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice