By Robert A. Vella. It may seem paradoxical to laypeople that we would have severe cold weather spells in wintertime given that the world is rapidly warming up due to manmade climate change; and, climate change deniers are quick to exploit this paradox for political reasons. But, it is true. Global warming is increasing the incidence of extreme weather events of every kind from prolonged droughts and powerful storms to deadly heat waves and brutal cold snaps. The following details the basic science behind the phenomenon popularly, though inaccurately, known as the “polar vortex.” The real polar vortex is something else altogether…
Co-Sponsors of Green New Deal Resolution, Five goals of Green New Deal, Green New Deal Resolution, November 2018 Fourth National Climate Assessment: Volume II Impacts Risks and Adaptation in the United States, October 2018 Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5℃ by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Rep. Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York), Sen. Edward Markey (D-Massachusetts), Sunrise Movement
Sunrise Movement protesters outside then Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s Office – December 10, 2018
Photo Credit: Sunrise Movement
While our president is fixated on building a wall along our southern border to keep us safe from the invasion of “bad hombres,” he refuses to acknowledge our greatest existential threat: climate change disruption. Young climate change activists, clamoring for bold action, have found a champion in the newly elected Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York). At twenty-nine years, she is the youngest member of the US House of Representatives.
On February 7, 2019, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Edward Markey (D-Massachusetts) introduced a nonbinding resolution that sets out the framework for the Green New Deal. The proposal has gathered 64 House and nine Senate Co-Sponsors, including presidential hopefuls Sen. Cory Booker, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Sen. Kamala Harris, Sen. Bernie Sanders, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren. In an interview with Politico, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California), not present at the unveiling, referred to the proposal as a mere suggestion.
“It will be one of several or maybe many suggestions that we receive,” Pelosi said. “The green dream or whatever they call it, nobody knows what it is but they’re for it right?”
The Green New Deal Resolution – List of Co-Sponsors
Photo Credit: Sunrise Movement
In the preamble, the Green New Deal Resolution cites the critical findings of the October 2018 “Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5℃” by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the November 2018 Fourth National Climate Assessment: Volume II Impacts, Risks, and Adaptation in the United States. Continue reading
Chronic coastal flooding, Coastal real estate market, Global warming, High-risk coastal cities, Sea level rise, Underwater: Rising Seas Chronic Floods and the Implications for US Coastal Real Estate June 2018
Price Reduced Waterfront Property – East Coast USA
Photo Credit: Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) June 2018 Report
On September 14th, Hurricane Florence hit the North Carolina coast. With warmer oceans driven by climate change, the massive, slow-moving storm dumped more than 20 inches of rain on its arrival. The storm surge reached levels of 9 to 13 feet. Hundreds of inundated home owners may never recover from the damages.
Ten years ago, on September 15, 2008, another kind of disaster struck our nation with the collapse of Lehman Brothers and the insurance giant AIG. The worst financial crisis since the Great Depression sent rogue waves across our nation and worldwide. The fallout—foreclosures, shrinking home values, and millions of job losses—battered Americans.
With rising sea levels—the result of ongoing heating of our oceans and atmosphere—another massive, slow-moving crisis is brewing. Hundreds of thousands of coastal properties will increasingly face chronic high-tide flooding. Their falling property values will threaten local and regional real estate markets that could cascade nationwide into a coastal real estate bust. Continue reading
2018 Report: Indicators of Climate Change in California, California fire season, California wildfires, Carr and Mendocino Comples Fires in Northern California, Climate Change, Heat stress, Hothouse Earth, Report Indicators of Climate Change in California May 2018, Trajectories of the Earth System in the Anthropocene August 2018
Mendocino Complex Fire now largest fire in California history – August 2018 – California/USA
Photo Credit: ABC News (Noah Berger/AFP)
In Southern California, we’re experiencing temperatures of 88 to 98 degrees Fahrenheit. At our local garden center two Saturdays ago, around ten o’clock, I had to seek shelter from the Sun. Heat stress aborted my fun-time outdoors while selecting succulent plants. Then, the following week, I suffered another episode of heat stress at the hair salon. The air-condition system in the one-story, flat-roof building wasn’t up to the task.
The danger is far greater in areas where firefighters battle to contain ferocious wildfires. The Carr and Mendocino Complex Fires in Northern California have together burned more than 486,000 acres of land and destroyed 1,828 structures. Hundreds more structures are damaged or under threat. Only 51 percent of the wildfires is contained. The California Fire Department expects to contain the Mendocino Complex Fire by September 1st. Continue reading
Global transformation to renewable energy, International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), Primal Sonic Visions by Bill Fontana, Renewable energy photographer Joan Sullivan, Venice Architecture Biennale 2018
Primal Sonic Visions by Bill Fontana
Photo Credit: Venice Science Gallery, Italy
Joan Sullivan – a Canadian-based renewable energy photographer, blogging at Artists and Climate Change – has opened my senses to diverse artists working to help us embrace our transition to a 100 percent renewable energy economy. In her post, “Renewable Energy Soundscapes,” published on July 12, 2018, Sullivan introduces us to Bill Fontana’s Primal Sonic Visions, now on exhibition at the Venice Architecture Biennale 2018.
Seventy-one-year-old Bill Fontana, an American composer and sound art pioneer, told Sullivan that the project, commissioned by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), transformed him as an artist through his experimentation with moving images and invention of a new visual language.
“Primal Sonic Visions prompts deep reflection on the power and effectiveness of energy capable of ensuring the future of our planet and triggers an emotional response to the environment, now under violent attack from the effects of climate change and atmospheric agents,” Fontana said at the opening of the exhibition in May 2018. “As people enter the space, they are met with an emotional experience that at first instills a sense of wonder, and later transforms into a deep reflection of the potential and power of these energy sources to be used in securing a future for our planet.” Continue reading
Climate Change, Climate Reality Project, Climate-related natural disasters, Extreme Weather & the Climate Crisis: What You Need to Know, Global warming, Jet Stream, NASA’s Carbon Monitoring System (CMS)
U.S. 2017 Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters
Photo Credit: NOAA
Earlier this month, while the Trump administration quietly cancelled NASA’s Carbon Monitoring System (CMS), concentrations of carbon dioxide at the Mauna Loa Observatory averaged above 410 parts per million (ppm) throughout April. With such irresponsible action, we-the-people must prepare ourselves for more extreme weather.
Extreme Weather & the Climate Crisis: What You Need to Know, published by the Climate Reality Project (March 2018), helps us to understand the challenges we now face. As the captioned NOAA chart shows, climate-related and other natural disasters are costly. Total damages in 2017 left the U.S. with a bill of $306 billion. Families who were hit are still recovering from their loss. Families in poor communities may never recover.
Here’s what we need to know about our extreme weather and the climate crisis. Bear in mind that weather refers to short-term atmospheric changes in temperature, humidity, precipitation, wind, cloud cover, and visibility. Climate is the average of weather patterns over a longer period of 30 or more years.
Hurricanes – With average global sea surface temperatures becoming warmer, hurricanes can become more powerful. A warmer ocean also means an increase in evaporation, thereby feeding hurricanes with much more water to dump on those of us who live in their path. It gets worse. As melting ice caps and glaciers raise sea levels, storm surges caused by hurricanes will be stronger and carry water farther and farther inland.
Flooding – As air temperatures increase, more water evaporates into the atmosphere. Because warmer air holds more water vapor, some places get more rain and snow than their average annual amounts; other places may experience intense rainstorms. At the same time, rising sea levels are worsening coastal flooding worldwide.
Drought – Soils dry out when evaporation increases over land. When the rain comes, the hard, cracked ground absorbs little water. The run-off carries pollutants in the dry soil into our streams, rivers, and lakes. Drought also worsens forest fires.
Wildfires – Droughts kill plant life. Dried out, dead vegetation can ignite with a spark. Once started, these fires are harder to contain. With warm weather arriving earlier and extending further into the fall, we now face longer fire seasons. To make matters worse, pests like the mountain pine beetle thrive in the warm, dry weather. The dead trees dry out, adding to the fury of our forest fires.
Extreme Heat – Of the 18 hottest years on record, 17 have occurred this century. If we don’t reduce the greenhouse gases heating up our atmosphere, more and more of us will face the deadly threshold of extreme heat on our fragile human bodies.
Extreme Cold – As global temperatures rise and the Arctic continues to warm, the jet stream is slowing and becoming more wavy. This causes bone-chilling Arctic air to linger longer in northern regions and spread much farther south than usual.
While we cannot prevent climate-related natural disasters from occurring, it’s our responsibility to do everything we can to prevent the worst of it. And it certainly could get much worse.
Two weeks ago, we looked at the struggles the city of Venice endures as it slowly sinks into the surrounding waters. Today, we turn to the submerging Pacific Island nation of Kiribati. Without any mountains, low-lying Kiribati is sinking like the disastrous Titanic, under rising seal levels caused by global warming. Located exactly in the center…
Thomas Fire – Santa Barbara County – Southern California – December 12, 2017
Photo Credit: Mike Eliason/Santa Barbara County Fire Department
Here in California, after years of drought, ferocious wildfires have consumed the tinder and everything in their path. Ignited on December 4, 2017, the Thomas Fire was not fully contained until January 12, 2018. Now ranked as the largest fire in California’s modern history, it burned about 281,900 acres, equivalent to the size of Dallas and Miami combined. It destroyed 1,063 structures and damaged another 280.
Torrential rainfall on January 9, a welcome respite for firefighters, brought more distress to residents in the area. Mudslides roared down fire scarred slopes, destroying and damaging hundreds of homes, as well as commercial property. Twenty people lost their lives; three are still missing.
Home damaged by mudslides – Montecido – Santa Barbara County – Southern California
January 10, 2018
Photo Credit: Kenneth Song/Santa Barbara News
Meanwhile, extreme winter weather on America’s East Coast provides vindication for climate change deniers. But, as world-renowned climate scientist Dr. Michael Mann explains, this is “an example of precisely the sort of extreme winter weather we expect because of climate change.” What’s happening is the collision of increasingly warm Atlantic Ocean waters with cold Arctic air masses. To make matters worse, the warmer oceans also mean more moisture in the atmosphere to fuel the storm and produce larger snowfalls.
Woman walks down street in East Boston – Massachusetts – January 4, 2018
Photo Credit: Michael Dwyer/AP
In November 2017, the U.S. Global Change Research Program released its 477-page Climate Science Special Report (CSSR), in compliance with regulations issued by the Department of Commerce/National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The CSSR is “designed to be an authoritative assessment of the science of climate change, with a focus on the United States, to serve as the foundation for efforts to assess climate-related risks and inform decision making about responses.”
Dotard & Rocket Man
play nuclear war games
while Frankenstorms rage.
Bill Moyers, managing editor of Moyers & Company and BillMoyers.com, recently sat down with 91-year-old Robert Jay Lifton, a renowned American psychiatrist and historian. They talked about his just published book, The Climate Swerve: Reflections of Mind, Hope, and Survival. Lifton borrowed the term “swerve” from Harvard humanities professor Stephen Greenblatt who used the term to describe a major historical change in human consciousness. Lifton has turned his attention to climate change, which, he says, “presents us with what may be the most demanding and unique psychological task ever required of humankind.”
I share with you some excerpts from Lifton’s responses to Moyers during the interview. Continue reading
America’s Clean Energy Momentum, Electric & plug-in hybrid vehicles, Reducing carbon emissions, Renewable energy capacity, Renewal energy jobs, Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), US investments in energy efficiency, US wind & solar power generation
The news is good. Despite our pro-fossil-fuel administration of climate change deniers, the use of renewal energy is growing across the United States. So says the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) in their report Clean Energy Momentum: Ranking State Progress released in April 2017.
Across America, the growth of wind and solar power generation is impressive. Over the past decade, wind power expanded more than tenfold, supplying energy to more than 20 million households in 41 states. Since 2011, solar power has sprinted ahead with more than 900 percent in growth. In 2016, two million more households now use solar-powered electricity.
That’s not all. Investments in energy efficiency, over the last 25 years, have reduced our need for constructing more than 300 large carbon-emitting power plants. Last year alone, we saved a year’s worth of electricity usage of 20 million households. Continue reading