Daily Archives: August 8, 2017

Why some scientists are concerned a government climate change report won’t be released

PBS NewsHour

Published on Aug 8, 2017

A draft climate change report is making headlines as scientists reportedly express concerns about how the Trump administration will respond. The New York Times reported on key findings in the preliminary document, including that “evidence for a changing climate abounds” and that human activities are primarily responsible for the changes. Lisa Friedman of The New York Times joins Judy Woodruff.

‘Dodgy’ greenhouse gas data threatens Paris accord – BBC News

By Matt McGrath Environment correspondent

  • 8 August 2017

Potent, climate-warming gases are being emitted into the atmosphere but are not being recorded in official inventories, a BBC investigation has found.

Air monitors in Switzerland have detected large quantities of one gas coming from a location in Italy.

However, the Italian submission to the UN records just a tiny amount of the substance being emitted.

Levels of some emissions from India and China are so uncertain that experts say their records are plus or minus 100%.

These flaws posed a bigger threat to the Paris climate agreement than US President Donald Trump’s intention to withdraw, researchers told BBC Radio 4’s Counting Carbon programme.

Bottom-up records

Among the key provisions of the Paris climate deal, signed by 195 countries in December 2015, is the requirement that every country, rich or poor, has to submit an inventory of its greenhouse-gas emissions every two years.

Leaked Government Report Finds Human Link To Climate Change | Here & Now

carbon air 1000x667

August 08, 2017

Scientists from 13 federal agencies have drafted a report, leaked to several news organizations, which finds that temperatures in the U.S. are rising and human activity — especially greenhouse gas emissions — is “primarily responsible.” Some scientists have expressed concerns that the Trump administration will suppress the report, since Trump and members of his cabinet doubt the effect of human contribution to climate change.

Here & Now‘s Jeremy Hobson speaks with Washington Post reporter Steven Mufson (@StevenMufson) about the latest on the report.

This segment airs on August 8, 2017. Audio will be available after the broadcast.


Scientists Fear Trump Will Dismiss Blunt Climate Report – The New York Times



The coal-burning Plant Scherer in Juliette, Ga., is one of the top emitters of carbon dioxide in the United States. A draft report by government scientists concludes that Americans are feeling the effects of climate change right now. Credit Branden Camp/Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The average temperature in the United States has risen rapidly and drastically since 1980, and recent decades have been the warmest of the past 1,500 years, according to a sweeping federal climate change report awaiting approval by the Trump administration.

The draft report by scientists from 13 federal agencies, which has not yet been made public, concludes that Americans are feeling the effects of climate change right now. It directly contradicts claims by President Trump and members of his cabinet who say that the human contribution to climate change is uncertain, and that the ability to predict the effects is limited.

“Evidence for a changing climate abounds, from the top of the atmosphere to the depths of the oceans,” a draft of the report states. A copy of it was obtained by The New York Times.

The authors note that thousands of studies, conducted by tens of thousands of scientists, have documented climate changes on land and in the air. “Many lines of evidence demonstrate that human activities, especially emissions of greenhouse (heat-trapping) gases, are primarily responsible for recent observed climate change,” they wrote.

The report was completed this year and is a special science section of the National Climate Assessment, which is congressionally mandated every four years. The National Academy of Sciences has signed off on the draft report, and the authors are awaiting permission from the Trump administration to release it.

One government scientist who worked on the report, Katharine Hayhoe, a professor of political science at Texas Tech University, called the conclusions among “the most comprehensive climate science reports” to be published. Another scientist involved in the process, who spoke to The New York Times on the condition of anonymity, said he and others were concerned that it would be suppressed

…(read more).

Leaked Government Report Sounds Alarm on Climate Change Before Trump Could Suppress It


By Andy Rowell

The Trump administration is getting more Orwellian by the day, but as fast as it tries to bury the truth about climate change, scientists are fighting back and showing that they will not be silenced by the climate deniers in the White House.So while the administration tries to suppress its agencies talking about climate change, a leaked report has concluded that millions of Americans are feeling the effects of climate change right now.

“The last few years have seen record-breaking, climate-related, weather extremes, as well as the warmest years on record for the globe.” So said the executive summary of a draft report by scientists from 13 federal agencies, which was leaked to the New York Times after scientists felt it could be suppressed.

The report is a major rebuttal and rebuke to the climate-denying president.

“Evidence for a changing climate abounds, from the top of the atmosphere to the depths of the oceans,” the report outlined: “Thousands of studies conducted by tens of thousands of scientists around the world have documented changes in surface, atmospheric, and oceanic temperatures; melting glaciers; disappearing snow cover; shrinking sea ice; rising sea level; and an increase in atmospheric water vapor.”

It is explicit that humans are to blame: “Many lines of evidence demonstrate that human activities, especially emissions of greenhouse (heat-trapping) gases, are primarily responsible for recent observed climate changes,” and “Human activities are now the dominant cause of the observed changes in climate.”

The report outlines how the average temperature in the U.S. has risen rapidly since 1980, and recent decades have been the warmest of the past 1,500 years.

One government scientist who worked on the report, Katharine Hayhoe, a professor of Political Science at Texas Tech University, told the Times that the conclusions were among “the most comprehensive climate science reports” to be ever written.

Whether the Trump administration will ever officially publish the report remains to be seen. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), currently led by Scott “Polluting Pruit” is one of the agencies that has to approve it by mid-August. It is unlikely to be published unscathed. According to the Times, “Scientists say they fear that the Trump administration could change or suppress the report.”

As one commentator noted, “The leak of the report is a clear middle finger to Trump, Pruitt and their plan to derail federal climate research and policy, and it ensures the public has an opportunity to review it before they get their big, grubby mitts all over it.”

(read more).

City Plots A Series Of Defenses For East Boston’s Coast | WBUR News

August 02, 2017 Updated August 02, 2017 6:55 PM

Sea level rise isn’t the first worry on the mind of Dolores Rivas — more like the sixth or seventh. But living in a housing development near the water in East Boston, the specter of flooded city streets is never too far off.

“My first priority is financial, because if somebody is not financially prepared, you can’t do anything,” she said in Spanish, standing a block away from the water. “In the case of a disaster I would need a lot of help. Help moving. I wouldn’t be prepared.”

Of the city’s 23 neighborhoods, East Boston is considered among the most vulnerable to coastal flooding. The city estimates that in 50 years, nearly half of East Boston’s territory will be at risk during a major storm.

Now officials want to build a series of defenses along a three-mile stretch of the East Boston coast. The goal is to prevent the neighborhood from losing ground to the ocean, and also to open up access to the water with parks and walkways.

The effort to defend East Boston comes as the neighborhood is rapidly gentrifying. But it’s still one of the most diverse parts of the city. Half the residents are Hispanic, and nearly as many have limited English skills.

City officials say they want to reach people like Rivas in their effort to defend East Boston from sea level rise. But even with the citywide Climate Ready Boston plan in full swing, Rivas hasn’t heard a word.

“There has to be more efforts to educate people about [the
climate risk],” she said. “We live here near the water.”

…(read more).

See also:

This segment aired on August 2, 2017.



Extreme weather deaths in Europe ‘could increase 50-fold by next century’ | Science | The Guardian

Wildfires in Portugal killed 64 people in June; the recent study explores how often and where similar weather-related disasters are likely to occur in the coming years. Photograph: Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images

If no action is taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions or protect citizens, weather disasters could kill 152,000 a year between 2071 and 2100, says study

Nicola Davis

Friday 4 August 2017 18.30 EDT

Deaths from weather disasters could increase 50-fold in Europe by the start of the next century if no action is taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions or protect citizens, researchers have warned.

A new study estimates a toll of 152,000 deaths a year between 2071 and 2100 as a direct result of hazards relating to extreme weather, with those living in southern Europe likely to be the hardest hit.

“Governments and policies should be focused more on designing suitable adaptation measures,” said Giovanni Forzieri, a co-author of the study from the European Commission Joint Research Centre in Italy. “If no adaptation measures [are] taken, these estimates are really alarming.”

Writing in the journal Lancet Planetary Health, Forzieri and colleagues describe how they used state-of-the art predictions to explore how often and where seven types of weather disasters – including heatwaves, wildfires and floods – are likely to occur across Europe in the coming years if no action on global warming is taken.

The analysis also used large datasets from disasters in recent years to calculate a fixed value of human vulnerability for different weather events, and incorporated projections on how populations were likely to change.

Looking at the impact on Europeans over 30-year intervals, the team found that two in three people in Europe could be affected by weather-related disasters annually by the period 2071-2100 – an estimated 351 million people. By contrast, between 1981 and 2010, 25 million people were exposed – just 5% of Europe’s population.

(read more).



Increasing risk over time of weather-related hazards to the European population: a data-driven prognostic study – The Lancet Planetary Health




The observed increase in the effects on human beings of weather-related disasters has been largely attributed to the rise in population exposed, with a possible influence of global warming. Yet, future risks of weather-related hazards on human lives in view of climate and demographic changes have not been comprehensively investigated.


We assessed the risk of weather-related hazards to the European population in terms of annual numbers of deaths in 30 year intervals relative to the reference period (1981–2010) up to the year 2100 (2011–40, 2041–70, and 2071–100) by combining disaster records with high-resolution hazard and demographic projections in a prognostic modelling framework. We focused on the hazards with the greatest impacts—heatwaves and cold waves, wildfires, droughts, river and coastal floods, and windstorms—and evaluated their spatial and temporal variations in intensity and frequency under a business-as-usual scenario of greenhouse gas emissions. We modelled long-term demographic dynamics through a territorial modelling platform to represent the evolution of human exposure under a corresponding middle-of-the-road socioeconomic scenario. We appraised human vulnerability to weather extremes on the basis of more than 2300 records collected from disaster databases during the reference period and assumed it to be static under a scenario of no adaptation.


We found that weather-related disasters could affect about two-thirds of the European population annually by the year 2100 (351 million people exposed per year [uncertainty range 126 million to 523 million] during the period 2071–100) compared with 5% during the reference period (1981–2010; 25 million people exposed per year). About 50 times the number of fatalities occurring annually during the reference period (3000 deaths) could occur by the year 2100 (152 000 deaths [80 500–239 800]). Future effects show a prominent latitudinal gradient, increasing towards southern Europe, where the premature mortality rate due to weather extremes (about 700 annual fatalities per million inhabitants [482–957] during the period 2071–100 vs 11 during the reference period) could become the greatest environmental risk factor. The projected changes are dominated by global warming (accounting for more than 90% of the rise in risk to human beings), mainly through a rise in the frequency of heatwaves (about 2700 heat-related fatalities per year during the reference period vs 151 500 [80 100–239 000] during the period 2071–100).


Global warming could result in rapidly rising costs of weather-related hazards to human beings in Europe unless adequate adaptation measures are taken. Our results could aid in prioritisation of regional investments to address the unequal burden of effects on human beings of weather-related hazards and differences in adaptation capacities.

…(read more).

Cuba Part III: The Evolution of Revolution


Published on Feb 26, 2015

On this special episode of Breaking the Set, Abby Martin features the third installment of BTS’ trip to Cuba, focusing on reforms to the country’s economic and agricultural models. Abby first gives an overview of how Cuba’s organic movement evolved and the challenges of the country’s food subsidy system. Abby then speaks with agricultural co-op founder, Miguel Angel Salcines Lopez, about how Cuba’s cooperative and food system works. Abby then talks to Ernesto Blanco, owner of La Fontana restaurant in Havana, about the difficulties of operating a private business in Cuba and how entrepreneurs are being impacted by recent economic reforms. Abby then speaks with Ricardo Alarcón, Cuba’s former minister of foreign affairs and president of the People’s National Assembly of Power, about the normalization process with the US and the biggest hurdles still remaining in the negotiations.


Cuba’s Green Revolution


Published on Oct 2, 2013

Part 2: