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.

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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.

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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).

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

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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.

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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).

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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).

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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.

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Sizzling Midwest Feels a Preview of a Hotter Future Climate | InsideClimate News

‘Climate change is putting heat waves on steroids,’ says prominent climate scientist, with dire consequences for public health.

By Bob Berwyn, InsideClimate News

Jul 22, 2016This June was the hottest ever, and July has brought even more heat, particularly in the Midwest. Credit: NOAA

Extreme heat waves like the current string of scorching days in the Midwest have become more frequent worldwide in the last 60 years, and climate scientists expect that human-caused global warming will exacerbate the dangerous trend in coming decades. It comes with potentially life-threatening consequences for millions of people.

Research has shown that overall mortality increases by 4 percent during heat waves compared to normal days in the U.S. A study in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives in 2011 suggested that rising summer temperatures could kill up to 2,200 more people per year in Chicago alone during the last two decades of the 21st century.

“The climate is changing faster than we’ve ever seen during the history of human civilization on this planet, and climate change is putting heat waves on steroids,” Katharine Hayhoe, director of the Climate Science Center at Texas Tech University, said during a news conference on Thursday. “Heat waves are getting more frequent and stronger.”

Temperatures this week soared into the 90s from Minnesota to Iowa, combining with high humidity to send heat indices well above the 100-degree Fahrenheit mark, considered a threshold for conditions dangerous to human health.

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New Gas Infrastructure Is Going To Completely Undermine U.S. Climate Goals

A new report shows that with the proposed natural gas pipelines, the United States cannot meet its climate commitments.

The climate action movement has gotten a lot of wins during the Obama administration.

The Keystone XL pipeline permit denial. The Clean Power Plan. The proposed methane rules. These things are all part of an effort to limit carbon emissions and avoid the most catastrophic effects of climate change.

But, as it turns out, these actions are not enough.

The country is in the process of building hundreds of miles of natural gas pipeline that will tie the United States to fossil fuel production and consumption for decades — well past when most scientists predict we will have done irreparable harm to our human habitat.

The fossil fuel industry is building a giant machine to extract more fossil fuel in the United States

“Once the pipelines are built and permitted and operating, it significantly lowers the cost for operators to get their gas to market,” Stephen Kretzmann, executive director of Oil Change International, told ThinkProgress. “All of that additional production that gets triggered needs to be thought about.”

Building out production

In fact, if the United States continues with its current natural gas policy, there is no way for the country to meet its emissions reduction goals, according to a report released Friday by Oil Change International.

…(read more).

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Oil Lobby Paid Washington Post and Atlantic to Host Climate-Change Deniers at RNC

Alex EmmonsJuly 22 2016, 11:44 a.m.

At the award-winning seafood restaurant in downtown Cleveland that The Atlantic rented out for the entire four-day Republican National Convention, GOP Rep. Bill Johnson turned to me and explained that solar panels are not a viable energy source because “the sun goes down.”

Johnson had just stepped off the stage where he was one the two featured guests speaking at The Atlantic’scocktail caucus,” where restaurant staff served complimentary wine, cocktails, and “seafood towers” of shrimp, crab cakes, oysters, and mussels to delegates, guests, reporters and, of course, the people paying the bills.

The event was sponsored by the American Petroleum Institute, the lobbying arm of fossil fuel giants like ExxonMobil, Chevron, and ConocoPhilips.

Johnson, a climate denier and influential member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, spoke of a future when American scientists “solve these big problems” and “figure out how to harness the sun’s energy, and store it up, so that we can put it out over time.” His hypothetical invention, of course, is called a battery, and was invented over 200 years ago.

Instead of balancing Johnson with an environmentalist or a climate scientist, The Atlantic paired Johnson with another notorious climate denier: Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., who is an energy adviser to Donald Trump. Cramer has called global warming “fraudulent science by the EPA,” and once told a radio audience in 2012 that “we know the globe is cooling.”

…(read more).

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