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.”
As a geographer and former high school geography teacher, I must confess that I take some scientific facts for granted, such as climate and the water cycle. A recent post “Climate Science Meets a Stubborn Obstacle: Students” by fellow blogger Robert Vella brought to my attention the challenges some of our high school science teachers face in regions of America where climate change denial creates havoc in the minds of our youth.
When your father has raised you to believe that the coal they once mined, or still mine, can in no way affect our climate, it’s difficult to have an open mind to scientific consensus on the issue.
Geography lessons in high school expanded my curious mind to our relationship with our world: land, oceans, atmosphere, and all the in-between. When taking a climatology course at university, I found myself at a disadvantage for having chosen to study art instead of physics in high school. I had lots of catching up to do. Our course in biogeography alerted me to the ways that we humans are degrading our ecosystems. Those were the days before the Internet and Wikipedia. Continue reading
With atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations having reached a “symbolic and significant milestone” in 2015—and with no signs of them abating this year—the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said Monday that “a new era of climate change reality” is upon us.
The campaign to hold Exxon accountable for their climate cover-up just took a big step forward.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced on September 20, 2016, that they’re opening an investigation into whether Exxon has failed to account for the risk climate change and climate regulations could pose to their business model.
Learn more at 350.org.
Photo Credit: Maps of World
Here’s how our top four presidential candidates propose to address climate change.
Hillary Clinton – Democratic Party
I won’t let anyone take us backward, deny our economy the benefits of harnessing a clean energy future, or force our children to endure the catastrophe that would result from unchecked climate change.
~ Hillary Clinton, November 29, 2015
On day one, Hillary Clinton will set bold, national goals that will be achieved within 10 years of taking office. Learn more at https://www.hillaryclinton.com/issues/climate/
Jill Stein – Green Party
A Green New Deal: Create millions of jobs by transitioning to 100% clean renewable energy by 2030, and investing in public transit, sustainable agriculture, and conservation.
Protect Mother Earth: Lead on a global treaty to halt climate change. End destructive energy extraction: fracking, tar sands, offshore drilling, oil trains, mountaintop removal, and uranium mines. Protect our public lands, water supplies, biological diversity, parks, and pollinators. Label GMOs, and put a moratorium on GMOs and pesticides until they are proven safe. Protect the rights of future generations.
Learn more at http://www.jill2016.com/plan
Photo Credit: American Meteorological Society
The year 2015 saw the toppling of several symbolic mileposts: notably, it was 1.0°C warmer than preindustrial times, and the Mauna Loa observatory recorded its first annual mean carbon dioxide concentration greater than 400 ppm. Beyond these more recognizable markers, trends seen in recent decades continued.
~ American Meteorological Society, State of the Climate 2015, August 2016.
DOWNLOAD STATE OF THE CLIMATE 2015
The report, compiled by NOAA’s Center for Weather and Climate at the National Centers for Environmental Information is based on contributions from scientists from around the world. It provides a detailed update on global climate indicators, notable weather events, and other data collected by environmental monitoring stations and instruments located on land, water, ice, and in space.
Last week, we were among a handful of organizations who received a letter signed by 13 members of Congress claiming that we may be violating Exxon’s right to free speech. They’re requesting that we divulge any communication we may have had with state officials and many private organizations with regard to looking into what Exxon knew about climate change and when. At face value this request is a threat to constitutional rights.
The new film Disobedience about the global movement to break free from fossil fuels is now available for free download and streaming at watchdisobedience.com!
The film is a powerful journey, featuring Break Free organizers in Canada, Germany, Turkey and the Philippines as they prepare to mobilize for major actions this May. It shows that the global movement to keep fossil fuels in the ground is growing in size and courage.
Disobedience features author and activist Naomi Klein, 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben, as well as board member Lidy Nacpil and dozens of inspiring voices from front-line fights around the world.
It’s about 40 minutes long, and I think it makes for inspiring watching ahead of the Break Free wave of action starting a few days from now.
If you’re inspired by what you see — and I think you will be — then I hope you will both share the film, and join thousands of people across the planet in Break Free actions next month. Across the United States, people are standing up to the power and pollution of the fossil fuel industry — from the frack fields of California, to the tar sands networks of the Midwest, to the oil train rail lines in the Northeast. This is where you can go to join Break Free.
Onwards, to a future beyond fossil fuels,