Nov 022012

Long Beach New York, the town I grew up in, was devastated by hurricane Sandy.  I don’t know what else to say, except to recognize once again that I need to get back to eco-blogging.   I don’t know if it will do any good, but we have to do what we can

 Posted by at 8:57 pm
May 052012


Heartland Institute compares belief in global warming to mass murder | Leo Hickman | Environment | guardian.co.uk

From the Guardian

The Heartland Institute, a Chicago-based rightwing thinktank notorious for promoting climate scepticism, has launched quite possibly one of the most ill-judged poster campaigns in the history of ill-judged poster campaigns.

Heartland’s press release  leaves us shaking our head

Billboards in Chicago paid for by The Heartland Institute point out that some of the worlds most notorious criminals say they “still believe in global warming” – and ask viewers if they do, too…The billboard series features Ted Kaczynski, the infamous Unabomber; Charles Manson, a mass murderer; and Fidel Castro, a tyrant. Other global warming alarmists who may appear on future billboards include Osama bin Laden and James J. Lee who took hostages inside the headquarters of the Discovery Channel in 2010.These rogues and villains were chosen because they made public statements about how man-made global warming is a crisis and how mankind must take immediate and drastic actions to stop it.Why did Heartland choose to feature these people on its billboards? Because what these murderers and madmen have said differs very little from what spokespersons for the United Nations, journalists for the “mainstream” media, and liberal politicians say about global warming. The point is that believing in global warming is not “mainstream,” smart, or sophisticated. In fact, it is just the opposite of those things. Still believing in man-made global warming – after all the scientific discoveries and revelations that point against this theory – is more than a little nutty. In fact, some really crazy people use it to justify immoral and frightening behavior.

And then they add this

Of course, not all global warming alarmists are murderers or tyrants.

via Heartland Institute compares belief in global warming to mass murder | Leo Hickman | Environment | guardian.co.uk.

 Posted by at 12:10 pm
Apr 182012

Every tree in urban Tennessee provides an estimated $2.25 worth of measurable economic benefits every year. Might not seem like a lot, but with 284 million urban trees in the state, the payoff’s pretty big.

Through energy savings, air and water filtering and carbon storage, the urban trees of Tennessee account for more than $638 million in benefits, according to a report [PDF] conducted by the Forest Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and released earlier this year.

via The High Cost of Losing Urban Trees – Jobs & Economy – The Atlantic Cities.

 Posted by at 8:45 am
Apr 172012

The network news shows have stopped talking about climate change  –  Where they discuss it at all, they talk about the politics of climate change, and not the science.   Most egregious of all…

Each Network Covered Donald Trump More Than Climate Change In 2011. Every program included in our analysis devoted more airtime to Donald Trump’s flirtation with a presidential run and birther antics than to climate change in 2011, with the exception of ABC World News, which gave equal time to the two topics. Together, the broadcast networks spent more than twice as much time covering Donald Trump. The discrepancy was most glaring on NBC’s Meet the Press, which devoted 23 minutes to Trump but did not cover climate change at all in 2011.

via STUDY: Climate Coverage Plummets On Broadcast Networks | Media Matters for America.

This needs to change

 Posted by at 7:02 pm
Apr 162012

RealClimate: Arctic Sea Ice Volume: PIOMAS, Prediction, and the Perils of Extrapolation.

I am not a climate scientist.  But the folks over at RealClimate definitely are.  The writing is mostly for other scientists, and the discussions detailed.

RealClimate tends to avoid making big claims, but if you want to know the science behind the big claims, this is the place to go

This article talks about some of the different models used to predict the amount of arctic sea ice minimums, and when the arctic will be ice free.

If you are looking for an answer to that question, you don’t get it here.  While the authors acknowledge that all the models show the arctic going ice free, they also want to drive to a better definition.






 Posted by at 10:49 pm
Apr 142012

California Climate Change Study: Golden State Most Likely To Survive Global Warming.

OK – I love California as much as anyone.  One of the many things I love about our state is that we tend to be one of the more forward looking states, and one where a large number of residents are concerned about the environment.

So it comes as no surprise to us that NRDC rated California as one of the states most ready to deal with the effects of global warming.

Yes, we should do as much as possible.  My problem, however is that the ultimate effects of climate change are likely to be so severe that no amount of preparation can completely mitigate them.  We also believe that the impact is not entirely predictable.

Therefore, it is crucial that we do what we can to stop or slow down climate change as much as we can


 Posted by at 7:26 pm
Apr 132012

So,  I started reading the BBC news report What should be done about plastic bags?. and could tell in the first paragraph where the report was going”

Every year 800,000 tonnes of so-called single-use plastic bags are used in the European Union – the average EU citizen used 191 of them in 2010, the Commission says, and only 6% were recycled.

(emphasis mine)  So called single use?  Give me a break – the vast majority of these bags ARE single use.

The article points to a report from Britain’s Environmental Agency telling us that long life bags need to be reused in order to have a lower environmental impact than single use bags.  I am not exactly sure what it cost the agency to produce the report, but the conclusion falls in the “well-duh” category.  Now they do quantify the trade-off.    For example, they state that a cotton bag needs to be used 131 times to have a lower globak warming effect than lightweight plastic bags.

First of all, the global warming effect is not the only environmental impact.  We have long said that plastic shopping bags are bad news on a lot of levels.   Among other things

They can last 1000 years in landfill, but most never actually make it into landfill, instead they wind up in rivers, lake, and oceans, where they degrade into smaller and smaller pieces, and end up in the food stream.

Most of the cloth shopping bags I use take the place of 3-4 plastic bags ON EACH TRIP, and I have bags that I have used almost every week for well over 10 years.

As the Environmental Agency report notes

The key to reducing the impacts (of all types of bags) is to reuse it as many times as possible.

Directly in line with our thinking  – Reduce – Reuse – Recycle




 Posted by at 10:13 am
Apr 082012

Climate scientists: It’s basically too late to stop warming | Grist.

Grist reports some sobering news

Scientists have been saying for a while that we have until between 2015 and 2020 to start radically reducing our carbon emissions, and what do you know: That deadline’s almost past! Crazy how these things sneak up on you while you’re squabbling about whether global warming is a religion. Also, our science got better in the meantime, so now we know that no matter what we do, we can say adios to the planet’s ice caps.

Natural climate feedbacks will take over and, on top of our prodigious human-caused carbon emissions, send us over an irreversible tipping point. By 2100, the planet will be hotter than it’s been since the time of the dinosaurs, and everyone who lives in red states will pretty much get the apocalypse they’ve been hoping for. The subtropics will expand northward, the bottom half of the U.S. will turn into an inhospitable desert, and everyone who lives there will be drinking recycled pee and struggling to salvage something from an economy wrecked by the destruction of agriculture, industry, and electrical power production.

A definite Yikes.    Well, I never like to give up while there is still hope.  First thing we have to do is pull our heads from the sand (or wherever they are) and face reality.    Hard choices have to be made, and short term thinking won’t do


 Posted by at 2:25 pm
Apr 082012

Ice age study delivers blow to global-warming skeptics – CSMonitor.com.

Global warming “skeptics”  (also known as paid hacks or reality deniers) have pointed to studies of Antarctic ice cores that seem to indicate that a rise in temperature preceded the rise in atmospheric CO2.  While the studies showed a strong relationship between temperature and CO2, it appeared that the rise in temperature came first.

A new study by Harvard researcher Jeremy D. Shakun and colleauges   in Nature takes another look.  Shakun describes the issue

People drilled down through the Antarctic ice sheets, and we actually have a record of [the link between CO2 and temperature] that goes back to almost a million years ago. … ..if you look at these two [CO2 and temperature] together, you see that they have this amazing correlation. It’s a better correlation than you almost ever get from nature – the two just go lockstep up and down together over the ice ages for the last 1 million years almost”

The curveball, as Shakun puts it, is that when scientists looked more closely at the ice-core records they had from Antartica, they found that the temperature in Antartica actually started changing a bit before the CO2 did ….This is something that [current] global warming skeptics have jumped on, to say ‘ah jeez, obviously CO2 must not cause warming because if we look in the past, in these ice cores, the CO2 comes after the warming.

The problem is that while CO2 levels from the ice core bubbles tell us the global concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere, the temperature is ONLY from one place.  In order to gain an understanding of global temperature change, you need to take temperature measurements from a variety of sources.  We see this today.  While the data clearly shows an increase in global temperatures, you can find individual locations that have gotten cooler.

To get a better picture Shakun and colleagues from Harvard, Columbia, and other research institutions, searched for as many temperature readings from the end of the last ice age as possible.

“People have records of temperature from ice cores in Greenland, we have lots of ocean cores that people pull up from the sea floor, we have lake cores on land… people have used all these different kinds of ways to construct what temperature was in the past,” Shakun said. This data is especially rich from around the last ice age, as a point in the not-too-distant past of vast importance for past climate research. Samples can also be dated reliably using carbon-dating, ensuring an excellent picture of past climate conditions

“What you see when you put them all together is a pattern of global warming at the end of the ice age that really strongly mirrors the rise in CO2 at the end of the ice age. Even more interesting, you find that the global temperature started warming a bit after the CO2 rose.” This is very different from the view that many people currently hold that temperature changed first during the last glacial melt. “That is true for Antartica, but if you look globally, that’s not the case,” Shakun said. “Global temperatures are following CO2.”

And this should come as no surprise to anyone.  The only questions we have to ask are what we can do to reduce CO2 levels,  and whether it is too late to stave off the effects of global warming


 Posted by at 12:34 am