Daily Archives: July 22, 2016

Not enough being done to stop potential ‘Canadian Fukushima’ – whistleblowers

RT America

Published on Jul 22, 2016

Whistleblowers are raising concern about the state of Canada’s nuclear power plants. The country has five aging nuclear power plants with apparently very little oversight and improper licensing procedures. This is according to a letter to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, penned by whistleblowers with knowledge of Canada’s nuclear infrastructure. To discuss, RT correspondent Alex Mihailovich joins RT America’s Manila Chan.

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

Former Treasury Chiefs Tell SEC to Crack Down on Climate – Scientific American

Three former Treasury secretaries say firms are not giving investors honest information

Federal law requires companies to tell investors about risks that may significantly affect their business. Still, public companies’ financial statements often are vague, and multiple firms are known to use verbatim answers when explaining how a given risk relates to their operations. Credit: Sam Valadi via Flickr

Three former secretaries of the U.S. Treasury yesterday forcefully urged the Securities and Exchange Commission to manage financial disclosures related to climate change.

In a letter to the SEC, the bipartisan trio of secretaries Henry Paulson (R), Robert Rubin (D) and George Shultz (R) applauded the agency for issuing in 2010 a blueprint to help businesses explain how climate change affects them. But, they said, that measure isn’t enough.

“We recommend that the Commission now move to promote and enforce mandatory and meaningful disclosures of the material effects of climate change on issuers,” they wrote.

Paulson, Rubin and Shultz, all members of climate research group the Risky Business Project, said investors deserve to know how the private sector is preparing for climate change hazards.

Federal law requires companies to tell investors about risks that may significantly affect their business. Still, public companies’ financial statements often are vague, and multiple firms are known to use verbatim answers when explaining how a given risk relates to their operations.

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

Republicans in Cleveland Deny Climate Change as Arctic Snow Turns Pink

Alleen BrownJuly 21 2016, 1:58 p.m.

Donald Trump’s reported top pick for energy secretary, oil and fracking billionaire Harold Hamm, declared on the Republican National Convention stage on Wednesday night, “Every time we can’t drill a well in America, terrorism is being funded.”

One day earlier, NASA had announced that this June was the hottest June on record, and that the same could be said for every month in 2016 — part of a long-term climate trend that has exacerbated geopolitical conflicts.

The convention adopted a platform that rejected the Paris climate agreement, the Kyoto Protocol, and the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change. Meanwhile, researchers published a study indicating that climate change worsened a 2003 heat wave enough to kill 570 more people in Paris and London than would have died in an unchanged world.

Rep. Marsha Blackburn from Tennessee, who will take the convention stage Thursday, told a Cleveland panel on Tuesday that “the earth is no longer warming and has not. For about the past 13 years, it has begun to cool.”

Meanwhile, another group of scientists estimated that temperature rises had helped cause 1 trillion tons of Greenland glacial ice to melt between 2011 and 2014.

…(read more).

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

Professor: Climate Science Easy Target For ‘Alarmism’ | The Daily Caller

2016 06 10t160656z 1 lynxnpec5915u rtroptp 4 usa election environment e1466716203885

Chris White – 2:30 PM 07/22/2016

Academics are teaching college students how to be climate and energy advocates, not climate scientists, a noted global warming researcher said Friday.

“What I have observed is that students are increasingly being fed climate change advocacy as a surrogate for becoming climate science literate,” David Legates, a professor of geography at the University of Delaware, wrote in a blog post Friday at global warming skeptic website Wattsupwiththat.

Legates added: “This makes them easy targets for the climate alarmism that pervades America today.”

Studying Earth’s climate is a complicated mess, Legates wrote, mostly because it requires academics and students having a detailed understanding of several natural science fields. Climate research has gained a lot of traction as the fear of so-called man-made global warming continues.

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

How meltwater from the ice sheets disturbed the climate 10,000 years ago

by Staff Writers
Bochum, Germany (SPX) Jul 22, 2016

Today, a negative correlation is observed in the amount of rainfall in north-western Africa and north-western Europe. If a humid winter climate prevails in north-western Europe, the climate in north-western Africa is dry. Due to melting ice sheets, this correlation was reversed in the early Holocene period; this resulted in both regions being humid respectively dry at the same time. Radical climate change occurred. The researchers have published their report in the current edition of Nature Geoscience.

Winter climate in north-western Europe and in the Mediterranean region is controlled by the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), i.e. the variation in the difference of atmospheric pressure between the Azores high in the south and the Icelandic low in the north. The researchers aimed to find out how the NAO will respond to melting ice sheets and glaciers around the North Atlantic as they are doing now due to climate change.

Climate journal from the cave
To this end, they used speleothems as climate archives: they were able to demonstrate that the ratio of the oxygen isotopes 18O and 16O contained therein is affected by, among other factors, the amount of rainfall. With the aid of speleothems in north-western Morocco and western Germany, they were able to draw conclusions regarding the climate in those regions for the early to late Holocene period from 11,700 to 2,500 years ago.

The researchers show that on multi-decadal to multi-centennial timescales a negative correlation existed between the amount of rainfall in both regions druing during the mid-Holocene from 8,000 to 5,900 years ago and the late Holocene from 4,700 to 2,500 years ago. That means that one region experienced less rainfall when the other experienced a lot, just like today. In the early Holocene, however, a positive correlation existed between both regions. During the transition from the mid to the late Holocene, the correlation reversed.

Climate simulations illustrate how climate reacts to the melting of ice
In order to identify the reasons for this behaviour, the team carried out climate simulations using a coupled atmosphere and ocean model.

“A possible explanation for the negative correlation is the melting of the North American ice sheet in the early Holocene period,” explains Jasper Wassenburg, who conducted the analyses in collaboration with Prof Dr Adrian Immenhauser at the Department of Sediment and Isotope Geology at the Ruhr-Universitat Bochum and is now at the Institute of Geosciences at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz. During the most recent ice age, this ice sheet covered large areas of Canada. Huge volumes of meltwater flowed into the North Atlantic and changed its circulation pattern.

“Using the simulations of our climate model, we demonstrated that the positive correlation of rainfall in Morocco and Germany is caused by a combination of effects: namely the impact of the North American ice shield on the atmospheric circulation and the impact of its meltwater on the oceanic circulation,” explains Dr Stephan Dietrich, who evaluated the simulations at the Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum fur Polar- und Meeresforschung and is now at the Bundesanstalt fur Gewasserkunde in Koblenz.

Ice sheet had a strong cooling effect
Atmospheric circulation patterns such as the NAO are determined by atmospheric pressure patterns that occur as a result of heating and cooling of air. Oceanic currents play an important role, because they affect the distribution of heat and, thus, atmospheric circulation. The North American ice sheet has a strong cooling effect: snow and ice reflect most of the solar radiation; researchers refer to this as the albedo-effect. This was the reason why a stable high-pressure field developed above the ice sheet.

…(read more).

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

Democratic Platform Calls For WWII-Scale Mobilization To Solve Climate Crisis

by Joe Romm Jul 22, 2016 1:41 pm

CREDIT: Mark Stehle/Invision for NRG/AP Images

Micro-wind turbines and solar panels installed at Lincoln Financial Field generate renewable energy during NRG Home’s 2nd Annual Media Charity Flag Football Game in Philadelphia Wednesday, November 19, 2014.

This month, the full Democratic Platform Committee approved the strongest statement about the urgent need for climate action ever issued by a major party in this country.

The platform makes for the starkest possible contrast with a party that just nominated Donald Trump — a man who has called climate change a hoax invented by and for the Chinese, who has denied basic reality such as the drought in California, and who has vowed to (try to) scuttle the unanimous agreement by the world’s nations in Paris to take whatever measures are necessary to avert catastrophic warming and keep total warming “well below 2°C.”

In contrast, one party in this country has finally embraced the blunt — and scientifically accurate — language of climate hawks as to what those measures actually entail:

We believe the United States must lead in forging a robust global solution to the climate crisis. We are committed to a national mobilization, and to leading a global effort to mobilize nations to address this threat on a scale not seen since World War II. In the first 100 days of the next administration, the President will convene a summit of the world’s best engineers, climate scientists, policy experts, activists, and indigenous communities to chart a course to solve the climate crisis.

James Hansen, America’s leading climatologist, and his colleagues have been make such a call for a while. In 2008, in The Open Atmospheric Science Journal, they explain why the effort needed is “herculean, yet feasible when compared with the efforts that went into World War II.” So have activists like 350.org founder, Bill McKibben. McKibben is on the 15-member Platform Drafting Committee — as is Neera Tanden, who is President and CEO of the Center for American Progress (CAP) and the CAP Action Fund (where I have worked for 10 years), and as is Carol Browner, who is a former EPA Administrator and on the CAP Board.

I have been making this case regularly on Climate Progress for years — and at great length in my 2006 book, “Hell and High Water,” where I pointed out, “This national (and global) re-industrialization effort would be on the scale of what we did during World War II, except it would last far longer.” I was not, however, involved in the platform drafting at all.

Climate change is indeed a “first 100 days” priority. The platform immediately follows that cri de cœur with this pledge:

Our generation must lead the fight against climate change and we applaud President Obama’s leadership in forging the historic Paris climate change agreement. We will not only meet the goals we set in Paris, we will seek to exceed them and push other countries to do the same by slashing carbon pollution and rapidly driving down emissions of potent greenhouse gases like hydrofluorocarbons. We will support developing countries in their efforts to mitigate carbon pollution and other greenhouse gases, deploy more clean energy, and invest in climate resilience and adaptation.

Again, that’s quite a contrast to Trump, who has said that if he’s elected president he would stop U.S. efforts to meet our climate goals. He further said, “We’re going to cancel the Paris climate agreement and stop — unbelievable — and stop all payments of the United States tax dollars to U.N. global warming programs.”

….(read more).

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

Why Women Will Save The Planet: Friends of the Earth

This provocative collection gathers essays and interviews from the leading lights of the international environmental and feminist movements to mount a powerful case that gender equality is essential to environmental progress. Up to now, women’s issues have been largely ignored by major environmental and conservation groups, but in We Should All Be Ecofeminists contributors like Vandana Shiva, Caroline Lucas, and Maria Mies help us see the undeniable links between the two.

Using specific case studies, the contributors lay out the ways in which women’s issues intersect with environmental issues, and they detail concrete steps that organizations and campaigners big and small can take to ensure that they are pursuing these goals in tandem. A rallying cry designed to unify—and thus strengthen—two crucial movements in the global fight for social justice, this book will spur action and, crucially, collaboration.

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice