Daily Archives: April 9, 2018

Here’s How Climate Change Could Make Air Travel Even Worse

Climate Change News
Published on Apr 8, 2018
Here’s How Climate Change Could Make Air Travel Even Worse.
Rising seas, increased storms, and other effects from climate change will take a toll on your travel plans.
Climate change: it’s disrupting our planet, and it’s going to disrupt your future travel plans, especially if you’re planning to fly. Weather disruptions will mean more delays and cancellations, strengthening jet streams at high altitudes means more turbulence, and traveling against the jet stream (like flying from Europe to the U.S.) means your flights will take longer.

Heat waves and rising temperatures cause the air to thin , which makes it harder for planes to generate enough lift during takeoff. Scientists predicted in the journal Climatic Change that between 10 to 30 percent of flights scheduled during the hottest time of the year will require weight restrictions. Short runways — like those at New York’s LaGuardia Airport — will be especially vulnerable.

For a Boeing 737, the average weight restriction would mean lightening up by 720 pounds, or taking off three passengers with their luggage. The numbers can add up. “If you did that to a bunch of flights, that would cost a lot of money,” says Ethan Coffel, a climate science graduate student at Columbia University.

Meanwhile, unexpected storms will continue to wreck havoc, damaging equipment and terminals, and flooding low-lying areas like airports in coastal regions. Blistering heat can literally melt airport tarmacs, as in 2012, when a plane sank four inches into the runway at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. Newer airports will plan for rising sea levels, and hope to be better prepped for flooding.

“We’ll be able to adapt to these things, but it does have a penalty,” says Coffel. “You have to spend money just to maintain today’s performance, so in that sense [with] any adaptation, even if its successful, you’re still basically paying the cost of climate change.”

There’s still hope on global warming — if the world gets to work

Climate Change News
Published on Apr 8, 2018
There’s still hope on global warming — if the world gets to work.
THE FIGHT against global warming is not hopeless. But the world must work harder. That is the upshot from a new report on the world’s energy use and emissions, which shows that modern economies can cut their addiction to carbon dioxide but that the pace must pick up.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) reported last month that global greenhouse emissions rose faster in 2017, after flattening out in the three previous years. Ramped-up economic growth in Asia is the main culprit. Despite China’s impressive investments in renewables and a more efficient Chinese economy, the nation also burned more coal to meet rapid growth in energy demand. Though it is installing new solar power capacity, India’s efforts to bring electricity to more of its citizens have nevertheless put upward pressure on its emissions. Emissions even ticked up in the European Union, which had aggressively slimmed its carbon footprint in previous years.

Perhaps surprisingly, the United States, which pulled out of the Paris climate accord last year, was a bright spot. U.S. emissions were down slightly last year, the third year in a row. Previous declines were driven by power companies switching from coal to less dirty natural gas. But the deployment of renewables accounted for much of last year’s drop. Renewables met about 17 percent of the nation’s electricity needs, while carbon-free nuclear power contributed about 20 percent. With the Trump administration abdicating its role in driving the needed energy transformation, it is crucial that states and Congress support further progress.
The United States, in other words, has restrained its emissions even as economic growth has ticked up. In large developing countries, emissions increases have not been as large as they would have been just a couple years ago for the same amount of economic growth. China’s commitment to renewables and, more recently, electric cars promises to improve this picture further, and the country still burns less coal than it did in 2013. Renewables now provide a quarter of the world’s electricity.

But the world does not have the time to wait for gradual change. To avoid the risk of very negative climate shifts, “global emissions need to peak soon and decline steeply to 2020,” the report warns . “The share of low-carbon energy sources must increase by 1.1 percentage points every year, more than five-times the growth registered in 2017,” the IEA concluded.

Every country in the world, the United States included, must put in more effort. Even if stringent global emissions goals seem too difficult to reach, it is still worth cutting the risk of truly catastrophic warming as much as possible. The most plausible vehicle for encouraging global effort, so the United States does not shrink its carbon footprint while others dawdle, is the Paris agreement that President Trump repudiated. Unless the president changes his mind and the United States rejoins the pact, the country will squander the moral currency it earns when reports like this come out.

Public Reading of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s Last Speech 2018

Boston City TV
Published on Apr 9, 2018

Hundreds gathered on the steps of City Hall Plaza to join in a reading of the final speech of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. The reading commemorates its 50th anniversary, and honors Dr. King’s passing.

Facebook’s Zuckerberg admits to mistakes in response to fake news

Jerry Mitrovica, Harvard University

Arthur M. Sackler Colloquia
Published on May 18, 2011

The Fingerprints of Sea Level Change This meeting was held March 31-April 2, 2011 at the AAAS Auditorium, in Washington, D.C. and was organized by Rita Colwell, Christopher Field, Jeffrey Shaman, and Susan Solomon

Meeting Overview Climate science is addressing issues that require an increasingly interdisciplinary perspective, posing new challenges to scientists and to the organization and support of this science. Like other interdisciplinary activities, recognition and support of interdisciplinary climate science by the broader scientific community—including university and government administrators, journal editors and reviewers, and funding agencies—is advancing slowly. Often it is easier to recognize ideas that would represent major advances within a discipline, than ideas that would provide major advances but cut across multiple disciplinary foundations. This circumstance poses a challenge to interdisciplinary research and may slow interdisciplinary scientific advances. Such issues are of particular significance for studies of climate impacts, which may, for example,represent linkages between physical and social science, as well as feedbacks among physical, chemical and biological systems.

This Sackler Colloquium will provide a forum for addressing these issues. Specifically: How are high-quality interdisciplinary scientific ideas best recognized and nurtured in their nascent phase? How can we improve this recognition process so as to better support interdisciplinary climate science advances? The colloquium will examine the history of successful, innovative interdisciplinary scientific advances, drawing on experience not only in climate science but also in other fields. The purpose of the colloquium is to identify patterns in the evolutions of research in these areas. Are there common characteristics and/or principles that allowed critical efforts to succeed, thereby leading to significant advances? Did they begin as small concepts or as big, break-out ideas? How were these efforts nurtured, supported, or hindered? At what career stages were the primary researchers? How might future, novel interdisciplinary ideas in climate science be better identified?

Yes, Virginia, Sea Level Really is Rising

Published on Jul 9, 2012

Most Recent action on North Carolina Sea Level Planning document, June 29, 2012 http://www.newsobserver.com/2012/07/0… http://in.reuters.com/article/2012/07…
PBS Need to Know on Norfolk Sea Level Rise http://rstreet.org/about/staff/eli-le…
PBS interview with Benjamin Strauss http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gwDvcT…
Seas level rising faster along US East Coast http://www.washingtonpost.com/politic… http://www.nature.com/news/us-northea…
Salt Marshes drowing along Chesapeake Bay http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-17…
North Carolina outlaws Sea Level Rise http://www.latimes.com/news/nationwor… http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505245_16… http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/p…
Virginia Lawmakers avoid the word “sea level rise” http://hamptonroads.com/2012/06/lawma… http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2012… Texas lawmakers dilute sea level science http://stateimpact.npr.org/texas/2011…
NPR Science Friday on Coastal Impacts http://www.sciencefriday.com/segment/…
Jerry Mitrovica of Harvard discusses some of the counter-intuitive details of sea level metrics. http://climatecrocks.com/2012/06/30/t… Sea Level Hotspot N. Carolina http://www.nature.com.proxy1.cl.msu.e…
R Street Institute http://rstreet.org/about/staff/eli-le…

Schumer Blasts Scott Pruitt The Swamp Monster

Ag Observatory: A Tool for Food Crisis Prevention

World Bank

Published on Apr 9, 2018

We are only a few crop failures away from a new global food crisis. The World Bank’s Agriculture Intelligence Observatory (‘Ag Observatory’ for short) harnesses publicly available data as well as data provided by a privately-operated platform to get ahead of the next crisis and better advise developing countries in a changing climate.


Historic Boston in Winter

History of Massachusetts Blog
Published on Feb 13, 2015

A photo slideshow of historic Boston in winter during the 19th and early 20th century. For more info on Boston History, check out: http://historyofmassachusetts.org/a-b…

Animal Agriculture and Climate Change | This video may change your life, for good!

Bhuvan Kalra
Published on Jul 28, 2016

Animal Agriculture is the leading driver of human induced climate change, deforestation, water depletion, habitat loss, species extinction and world hunger. Our planet is being eaten in front of our eyes. Care to watch this video, educate yourself and others. Warning: This video may change your life.