Friday, May 27, 2016

Climate Change: More “Business As Unusual”

The extreme highs in atmospheric carbon continue to occur.  This week is virtually certain to surpass 408 ppm, and therefore the month as a whole is virtually certain to surpass 407.6 ppm, a new historic high, and probably more than 4 ppm greater than last year.  If trends continue, the increase in ppm will probably set another new record, being much greater during the first five months of this year than last year’s average gain of 3.05 ppm (my off-the-cuff estimate so far is 3.5 ppm).  To repeat, this is a greater increase and percentage increase than that during the last comparable el Nino.  This calls into question, I repeat, whether our present efforts (as opposed to those to which Paris climate talks committed) are really doing anything significant to avoid “business as usual.”

Meanwhile, Arctic sea ice extent is far below even the previous record low for this time of year.  The apparent cause is increased sea and air temperatures plus favorable melting conditions in both the North Atlantic and North Pacific, partially supplemented by unusually early “total melt” on land in both Canada/Alaska and Scandinavia/Russia.  Unless present weather trends sharply change over the next 3 months, new record Arctic ice lows are as likely as not, and “ice-free” (less than 1 million sq kilometers) conditions are for the first time a (remote) possibility.

Finally, here are the climate change thoughts of the Republican candidate for next President of the United States, with commentary (which I echo) from David Roberts:
[The excerpt starts with footage from a press conference, followed by an introduction, followed by Trump’s speech]
This is ... not an energy speech.
Trump now arguing that coal mining is a delightful job that people love to do.
Trump wants the Keystone pipeline, but he wants a better deal -- 'a piece of the profits for Americans.'
Facepalm forever.
'We're the highest taxed nation, by far.' That is flatly false, not that anyone cares.
75% of federal regulations are 'terrible for the country.' Sigh.
'I know a lot about solar.' Followed by several grossly inaccurate assertions about solar.
I can't believe I just got suckered into watching a Trump press conference.
And now I'm listening to bad heavy metal as I wait for the real speech. This day has become hallucinatory.
Speech finally getting under way. Oil baron Harold Hamm here to introduce Trump.
Oh, good, Hamm explained energy to Trump in 30 minutes. We're all set.
Here's ND's [North Dakota] own Kevin Cramer, representing the oil & gas industry. Thankfully, he's gonna keep it short.
What even is this music?
Trump loves farmers. 'Now you can fall asleep while we talk about energy.' Wait what.
Trump now repeating Clinton coal 'gaffe,' a story the media cooked up & served to him. Awesome, media.
Honestly, Trump sounds like he's reading this speech for the first time. Like he's reacting to it, in asides, as he reads it.
Trump promises 'complete American energy independence -- COMPLETE.' That is utter nonsense.
This is amazing. He is literally reading oil & gas talking points, reacting to them in real time. We're all discovering this together.
Clinton will "unleash" EPA to "control every aspect of our lives." Presumably also our precious bodily fluids.
Trump is having obvious difficulty staying focused on reading his speech. He so badly wants to just do his freestyle-nonsense thing.
Can't stop laughing. He's reading this sh** off the teleprompter & then expressing surprise & astonishment at it. Reading for the 1st time!
He can't resist. Wandering off into a tangent about terrorism. Stay focused, man!
Oh, good, renewable energy gets a tiny shoutout. But not to the exclusion of other energies that are "working much better."
We're gonna solve REAL environmental problems. Not the phony ones. Go ahead, man, say it ...
(1) Rescind all Obama executive actions. (2) Save the coal industry (doesn't say how). (3) Ask TransCanada to renew Keystone proposal.
(4) Lift all restrictions on fossil exploration on public land. (5) Cancel Paris climate agreement. (6) Stop US payments to UN climate fund.
(7) Eliminate all the bad regulations. (8) Devolve power to local & state level. (9) Ensure all regs are good for US workers.
(10) Gonna protect environment -- "clean air & clean water" -- but, uh, not with regulations!
(11) Lifting all restrictions on fossil fuel export will, according to right-wing hack factory, create ALL THE BILLIONS OF US MONIES.
Let us pause to note: this is indistinguishable from standard GOP energy policy, dating all the way back to Reagan. Rhetoric unchanged.
"ISIS has the oil from Libya."
Notable: not a single mention of climate change, positive or negative. Just one passing reference to "phony" environmental problems.
And this, in the Senate and House of Representatives, is what keeps the US from far more effective action on climate change.  To slightly alter George Lucas in the Star Wars series, this is how humanity ends most of itself --- to thunderous applause.
That is all.


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