Scientists lay out how to save a melting Antarctica — and the rest of the world – CNN

CNN goes inside Antarctica 03:41

(CNN)Sea levels will rise and all coastal countries could be seriously threatened by flooding if nothing is done to stop the massive melt of sea ice in Antarctica, according to nine award-winning scientists who have spent decades studying the icy continent and the waters around it.

They are proposing two scenarios, onebleak, one promising, for what could happen by 2070 in Wednesday’s edition of the journal Nature.
The paper is highly speculative rather than making forecasts. These scenarios are more like data-driven conversation starters according to the authors, all who have won the Tinker-Muse Prize for Science and Policy in Antarctica game out what could happen if the world does nothing — or if policy-makers take significant action in the next 10 years to stop the destruction.
Related interactive: Protecting the Antarctic
And although you may never get to see Antarctica for yourself, these scientists want you to know that what happens in this remote region has a significant impact in your own backyard.

Story highlights

  • Nine scientists think though what could happen if sea ice melts in Antarctica by 2070
  • If no steps are taken, sea levels will rise; fish and penguins will die; the US could see $1 trillion in damage
  • If policy-makers try to limit pollution, Antarctica will still be vulnerable but can be saved

(CNN)Sea levels will rise and all coastal countries could be seriously threatened by flooding if nothing is done to stop the massive melt of sea ice in Antarctica, according to nine award-winning scientists who have spent decades studying the icy continent and the waters around it.

Related interactive: Protecting the Antarctic
And although you may never get to see Antarctica for yourself, these scientists want you to know that what happens in this remote region has a significant impact in your own backyard.

They are proposing two scenarios, onebleak, one promising, for what could happen by 2070 in Wednesday’s edition of the journal Nature.
The paper is highly speculative rather than making forecasts. These scenarios are more like data-driven conversation starters according to the authors, all who have won the Tinker-Muse Prize for Science and Policy in Antarctica game out what could happen if the world does nothing — or if policy-makers take significant action in the next 10 years to stop the destruction.

Why we should care about Antarctica

Yes, there are adorable penguins living there, but that’s not the only reason we should care about Antarctica. It is covered by ice sheets that get channeled into the oceans through a network of ice streams and glaciers. Recently, the continent has seen a reduction in the extent of floating ice shelves. The shelves have also thinned due to our warming planet, scientists think.

Penguins, Seals, and Krill: Antarctica’s fragile food chain

The Southern Ocean that surrounds the continent is vital to the health of all the rest. It soaks up more heat and carbon than any other ocean, and in doing so, it helps slow the speed with which the atmosphere is warming. The region also does the world a real service by returning nutrient-rich deep water to the surface, and it exports these nutrients to lower latitudes that rely on them to support the life in our seas.

…(read more).

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Globe rallies newspapers to protect free press from Trump attacks – The Boston Globe

Lane Turner/Globe Staff
The offices of the Boston Globe at 53 State Street in downtown Boston.
By Bob Salsberg Associated Press August 10, 2018

BOSTON (AP) — A Boston newspaper is proposing a coordinated editorial response from publications across the U.S. to President Donald Trump’s frequent attacks on the news media.‘‘We are not the enemy of the people,’’ said Marjorie Pritchard, deputy managing editor for the editorial page of The Boston Globe, referring to a characterization of journalists that Trump has used in the past. The president, who contends he has largely been covered unfairly by the press, also employs the term ‘‘fake news’’ often when describing the media.

The Globe has reached out to editorial boards nationwide to write and publish editorials on Aug. 16 denouncing what the newspaper called a ‘‘dirty war against the free press.’’

…(read more).

‘Not the Enemy of the People’: 70 News Organizations Will Blast Trump’s Attack on the Media

By Cleve R. Wootson Jr., The Washington Post

The Washington Post article: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/arts-and-entertainment/wp/2018/08/11/not-the-enemy-of-the-people-70-news-organizations-will-blast-trumps-attack-on-the-press/

13 August 18

For most of the past 19 months, President Trump’s war of words with American news organizations has been more of a one-sided barrage — at least according to the Boston Globe’s editorial board.

Trump labeled the news media “the enemy of the American people” a month after taking the oath of office. In the year that followed, a CNN analysis concluded, he used the word “fake” — as in “fake news,” “fake stories,” “fake media” or “fake polls” — more than 400 times. He once fumed, the New York Times reported, because a TV on Air Force One was tuned to CNN.

And last week, at a political rally in Pennsylvania, Trump told his audience that the media was “fake, fake disgusting news.”

“Whatever happened to honest reporting?” he asked the crowd. Then he pointed to a group of journalists covering the event. “They don’t report it. They only make up stories.”

… (read more).

The US’ hidden methane problem

Arch Coal’s West Elk mine near Somerset, Colorado, is the only still-active large coal mine in the North Fork Valley and is the state’s largest emitter of methane (Photo: Mark Olalde)

Published on 13/08/2018, 1:29pm

Unregulated, unnoticed coal mines across the US are leaking a potent greenhouse gas with the same greenhouse effect as 13 million cars

By Mark Olalde

Across the US, a major, uncontrolled leak of a potent greenhouse gas is going unregulated and largely unnoticed.

Climate Home News analysis of government data has identified roughly 300 active and 200 abandoned coal mines, which are the source of almost one-tenth of US methane pollution.

Methane has 34 times the long-term warming effect of carbon dioxide and accounts for 10% of US greenhouse gas emissions. Its emissions from the oil and gas industry and the efforts of the Trump administration to roll back regulations on them have been widely publicised.

Meanwhile, US coal mines released 60.5 MMTCO2e of methane in 2016, with roughly the same warming impact as 13 million cars. Efforts to control the problem are being hampered despite those with the technical expertise claiming a whole industry could be built on capturing these emissions and turning them into electricity.

Data collected by the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), shows Warrior Met Coal Mining’s No 7 Mine in Alabama emits the most methane of any mine in the US.

“The coal seams Warrior Met Coal mine contain high levels of methane gas. Much of the gas is captured prior to, during and after active mining operations and distributed into commercial pipelines,” Warrior spokesperson Bill Stanhouse said in an emailed statement. Even with these efforts, the mine emits at least 262,700m3 of methane into the atmosphere per day.

The remainder of the top five methane-emitting coal mines, according to MSHA’s data, are:

  • Alliance Resource Partners’ recently closed Pattiki mine in Illinois – more than 113,300m3 per day
  • ERP Compliant Fuels’ Pinnacle Mine in West Virginia – more than 111,700m3 per day
  • Sunrise Coal’s Oaktown Fuels Mine No 1 in Indiana – more than 86,600m3 per day
  • Txoma Mining’s P8 North mine in Oklahoma – more than 81,900m3 per day

Besides Warrior, none of these companies replied to requests for comment.

The data shows many of the most gaseous abandoned mines are in Kentucky and West Virginia and belonged to large operators such as Alpha Natural Resources, which also did not respond to requests for comment, and Alliance Resource Partners. Sealing shafts and allowing abandoned mines to flood can significantly decrease methane emissions.

The owner of the third-highest emitting coal mine, ERP Compliant Fuels, is part of the Virginia Conservation Legacy Fund network, a nonprofit group that claims to be operating coal mines in order to reclaim them.

Even as US coal production has plummeted over the past decade, and the number of active mines halved, coal mine methane emissions fell at a much slower pace, EPA data published in April shows. This indicates mines are not being fully sealed as they shut down.

…(read more).

Effects of environmental stressors on daily governance | PNAS

Significance

Public servants are often first responders to disasters, and the day-to-day completion of their jobs aids public health and safety. However, with respect to their individual psychological and physiological responses to environmental stressors, public sector workers may be harmed in much the same way as other citizens in society. We find that exposure to hotter temperatures reduces the activity of two groups of regulators—police officers and food safety inspectors—at times that the risks they are tasked with overseeing are highest. Given that we observe these effects in a country with high political institutionalization, our findings may have implications for the impacts of climate change on the functioning of regulatory governance in countries with lower political and economic development.

Abstract

Human workers ensure the functioning of governments around the world. The efficacy of human workers, in turn, is linked to the climatic conditions they face. Here we show that the same weather that amplifies human health hazards also reduces street-level government workers’ oversight of these hazards. To do so, we employ US data from over 70 million regulatory police stops between 2000 and 2017, from over 500,000 fatal vehicular crashes between 2001 and 2015, and from nearly 13 million food safety violations across over 4 million inspections between 2012 and 2016. We find that cold and hot temperatures increase fatal crash risk and incidence of food safety violations while also decreasing police stops and food safety inspections. Added precipitation increases fatal crash risk while also decreasing police stops. We examine downscaled general circulation model output to highlight the possible day-to-day governance impacts of climate change by 2050 and 2099. Future warming may augment regulatory oversight during cooler seasons. During hotter seasons, however, warming may diminish regulatory oversight while simultaneously amplifying the hazards government workers are tasked with overseeing.

Day-to-day regulatory governance supports the functioning of society (1). Insufficient government oversight can worsen health outcomes (2), amplify environmental degradation (3), diminish public safety (4), and hamper government performance (5). Critically, regulatory governance cannot occur without those who enforce the rules (6). Street-level government workers, using their own discretion (7, 8), enforce government rules and policies in their communities (9). These government workers have physiological and psychological limitations (1), political biases (6, 10), and personal strategic goals (11). They are—in short—human.

Government workers—like other workers (12, 13)—likely experience the productivity-diminishing physiological (14) and psychological (15) effects of environmental stress. Adverse climatic conditions harm human well-being (16). Hot temperatures undermine cognitive performance (17), reduce hours worked (18), and diminish overall output (19, 20).

If realized, weather-related reductions in government worker efficacy will likely occur simultaneously with increased demand for their social services. Climate change is also likely to worsen general societal well-being (16) by amplifying the occurrence of violent crime and interpersonal conflict (21) and by worsening the public health risks faced by citizens (14, 22).

These facts combine to suggest that the same environmental stressors likely to increase the citizenry’s need for effective governance may also reduce the ability of government workers to respond to those needs. To investigate this possibility, we measure the effect of meteorological conditions on US regulatory enforcement across over 70 million police stops between 2000 and 2017 and across over 4 million food safety inspections between 2012 and 2016. We also examine the effect of the weather on vehicular crashes and food safety compliance, hazards these government inspectors are tasked with overseeing. (Our publicly available data and replication materials are available on Harvard University’s Dataverse at https://doi.org/10.7910/DVN/G1BMI8. The proprietary food safety data can be obtained from the firm Hazel Analytics.) Using these data, we examine three questions.

First, does adverse weather induce fewer regulatory stops by police officers at the same time as it amplifies the public health risks from vehicular accidents and violent crime? Second, does adverse weather reduce the probability of food safety inspections at the same time as it increases the risk of food-borne illness? Finally, might future warming alter the ability of government workers to respond to the public health and safety risks posed by climate change?

…(read more).

Michael Mann – Can Humanity Survive Climate Change?

The Big Picture RT
Published on Jun 29, 2016

Dr. Michael Mann, Earth Science Center-Penn State University/Dire Predictions: Understanding Climate Change (2nd edition) joins Thom. As record heatwaves sweep the nation and the world – are we catching a glimpse of the future under runaway climate change? And if so – can human civilization survive it?

Noam Chomsky: Survival of Organized Human Life is at Risk Due to Climate Change & Nuclear Weapons


Democracy Now!

Published on Jul 30, 2018

https://democracynow.org – At least eight people have died in California as climate change-fueled wildfires rage statewide. In total, firefighters are battling seventeen wildfires blazing across California, engulfing more than 200,000 acres and forcing mass evacuations, including in Yosemite National Park. The fires comes amid a surge of deadly extreme weather worldwide, including in India, where more than 500 people have died as a result of flooding and heavy rains in recent weeks. Scientists have linked increased flooding and rainfall to climate change. For more we speak with world-renowned political dissident, author, and linguist Noam Chomsky. He is a laureate professor in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Arizona and Professor Emeritus at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he taught for more than 50 years.