Posts filed under ‘The Environment, Weather, Etc.’
I guarantee you won’t see this on the corporate media tonight:
Happening today at 6:33 p.m. ET:
And there’s this tidbit about We the People having the right to assemble:
This is from the University of Maine, Climate Change Institute. Look how screwy the temperatures are. It’s deeply cold over much of the U.S. and it’s “hot” in northern Canada and the Arctic.
I’ll say it again: I’m going to die at the right time. I knew the planet when it was relatively clean. Good luck to today’s kids. They’re going to need it. Oil/gas and coal companies (oh, and Monsanto) are destroying the only home we know, thanks to politicians who are owned by the corporatocracy.
Australia’s Great Barrier Reef Marine Park — a supposedly protected natural area containing thousands of reefs, which together are visible from space and attract nearly $6 billion a year in tourism — is a pretty terrible place to dump loads of silt. But it’s happening: The federal agency that governs the reef approved plans to dump up to 3 million cubic meters of silt that will be dredged from the marine park to help carve a superhighway for tankers ferrying coal to Asia.
It’s the final piece in Australian Prime Minister (and known climate denier) Tony Abbott’s already-approved master plan to dredge the shipping lane, expand an existing coal terminal, and extensively mine the northeastern state of Queensland for coal.
Reuters reports that backers of the coal export project, including two Indian firms and the heiress to an Australian mining empire, hope to deliver an estimated $28 billion of coal to Asian markets once it’s complete.
Oh, and to everyone who has a kid under 40: Get out there and make noise if you care what their life will be like when they’re your age, not to mention your grandkids. Geezus.
Somehow or another this tweet landed in my Twitter feed. Poor guy. 54 to 56 minutes to go five miles? Yikes.
Hang in there Atlanta.
Here in Boulder, Colorado it’s going to be something like 9º overnight tonight. Meanwhile, in Alaska, it’s so warm an avalanche broke loose south of Valdez, cutting off the only access road to the town and creating a new lake. (Pro tip: In Alaska, everything having to do with water should be frozen this time of year.)
My Tweet of the Day:
When the effects of climate change really take hold, when masses of people are crossing borders trying to escape heat and drought and floods in order to find food and eek out a meager existence and when countries are fighting each other over scarce resources, you and I don’t be able to pack our millions into a suitcase and go live in an artificial shangri la away from the seething 99%, but the super-wealthy will, and those places are already being built.
New, Privatized African City Heralds Climate Apartheid: Nigeria’s Eko Atlantic augurs how the super-rich will exploit the crisis of climate change to increase inequality and seal themselves off from its impact.
t’s a sight to behold. Just off Lagos, Nigeria’s coast, an artificial island is emerging from the sea. A foundation, built of sand dredged from the ocean floor, stretches over ten kilometres. Promotional videos depict what is to come: a city of soaring buildings, housing for 250,000 people, and a central boulevard to match Paris’ Champs-Élysées and New York’s Fifth Avenue. Privately constructed, it will also be privately administered and supplied with electricity, water, mass transit, sewage and security. It is the “future Hong Kong of Africa,” anticipates Nigeria’s World Bank director.
Eko Atlantic is where you can begin to see a possible future – a vision of privatized green enclaves for the ultra rich ringed by slums lacking water or electricity, in which a surplus population scramble for depleting resources and shelter to fend off the coming floods and storms. Protected by guards, guns, and an insurmountable gully – real estate prices – the rich will shield themselves from the rising tides of poverty and a sea that is literally rising. A world in which the rich and powerful exploit the global ecological crisis to widen and entrench already extreme inequalities and seal themselves off from its impacts – this is climate apartheid.
Prepare for the elite, like never before, to use climate change to transform neighbourhoods, cities, even entire nations into heavily fortified islands. Already, around the world, from Afghanistan to Arizona, China to Cairo, and in mushrooming mega-cities much like Lagos, those able are moving to areas where they can live better and often more greenly – with better transport and renewable technologies, green buildings and ecological services. In Sao Paulo, Brazil, the super-rich – ferried above the congested city by a fleet of hundreds of helicopters – have disembedded themselves from urban life, attempting to escape from a common fate.
Here’s a video of “Eko Atlantic:”
<iframe width=”430″ height=”242″ src=”//www.youtube.com/embed/glYH_9lO0-0?rel=0″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen>
This planet is going to be an awful place to live in about 50 years, maybe less. I think of the children I know, who are two and three years old, and I dread the future for them.
(1) The corporatocracy is out of control and, (2) what price are we willing to pay to maintain our dependence on oil (never mind what fracking’s doing to us).
More crude oil was spilled in U.S. rail incidents last year than was spilled in the nearly four decades since the federal government began collecting data on such spills, an analysis of the data shows.
Including major derailments in Alabama and North Dakota, more than 1.15 million gallons of crude oil was spilled from rail cars in 2013, according to data from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.
By comparison, from 1975 to 2012, U.S. railroads spilled a combined 800,000 gallons of crude oil. The spike underscores new concerns about the safety of such shipments as rail has become the preferred mode for oil producers amid a North American energy boom.
This morning I came across this:
ALEC Plans Massive Environmental Attack for 2014
The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has a big year ahead of them, as they attempt to dismantle a slew of environmental protections from state to state. More specifically, the corporate front group is hoping to pass dirty energy friendly legislation to ease the rules for electric utilities.
From state to state, ALEC is drafting legislation that would cut renewable energy, increase dependence on coal and dismantle energy efficiency standards.
And then I remembered reading about this a few days ago:
[Colorado's "Democratic"] Governor Hickenlooper has chosen Glenn Vaad, a former state representative from Weld County, as the newest of the three-member Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC). Mr. Vaad is no friend of clean energy for Colorado—his voting record allied primarily with the fossil fuel industry at the expense of Colorado’s clean energy economy. Mr. Vaad is also a former high-ranking member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a powerful corporate lobbying group whose members include Koch Industries and others pushing state legislatures to turn back the clock on adoption of renewable energy in Colorado and elsewhere.
If a so-called Democratic governor is appointing “former high-ranking” members of ALEC to state boards — any board — we’re doomed. Seriously. It illustrates the fact that this isn’t about Republicans versus Democrats anymore — they’re all being corrupted — it’s about the corporatocracy and the monied class against the rest of us.
Ever heard of the Thames Barrier? The Thames Barrier is a moveable flood control device on the Thames River just outside central London.
Operational since 1982, its purpose is to prevent the floodplain of all but the easternmost boroughs of Greater London from being flooded by exceptionally high tides and storm surges moving up from the North Sea. When needed, it is closed (raised) during high tide; at low tide it can be opened to enhance the river’s flow towards the sea.
This is what it looks like when it’s open:
It’s going to close again today.
Turns out, this will be the 15th closure thus far this year (yes, in 2014).
Here’s a YouTube video posted on January 4, 2014 by Michael Snasdell (here and here) showing the Thames sloshing into a park, indicating that while the barrier is closed and working, the water behind it isn’t being contained anymore. (Fast forward to about 2:30.)
All that said, the point of this post, and what started this saga, was this tweet from Peter Gleick of the Pacific Institute and a member of the National Academy of Science, which struck me as pretty darn chilling:
“The day is coming when it will be unusual to ‘open’ the Thames barrier.” Ugh. I fear for what lies ahead for our children.
This is really something. It’s a photo of people in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square watching the sun rise on an LED screen the morning of Thursday, January 16, 2014. They can’t see the real thing because the smog’s too thick.
Wow. Just. Wow.
Look at this video of a massive tire fire, which is producing massive amounts of what looks like putrid smoke, in the United Kingdom:
SHERBURN-IN-ELMET, England, January 16, 2014 (ENS) — An estimated 15,000 tonnes of waste tires are on fire at a recycling plant in Sherburn-in-Elmet, North Yorkshire in a blaze that can be seen from space.
Local media quoted North Yorkshire’s fire chief as saying the fire will “go on for days.”
North Yorkshire County Council has contacted area schools to warn that pupils and staff should be kept indoors, and the fire department is advising all local residents to keep their doors and windows closed against the toxic smoke.
This is it from afar:
It’s horrible seeing all that gunk go into the atmosphere.
Maybe it’s just me, but have you noticed how the cable “news” networks cycle through so-called news stories roughly every eight, ten, 15 minutes and repeat themselves ad nauseam all day (unless there’s “breaking news” of course, like a high-speed police chase or an apartment fire)?
And maybe its just me but have you noticed how the right constantly screams about how liberal the U.S. media is?
Imagine how this country would change if the media really was liberal and they repeated this kind of thing every day, all day:
– Giving Employees Paid Sick Leave is Good for Business: A large majority of employers in Connecticut — where paid sick leave has been mandatory since January, 2012 — “reported that the law did not affect business operations and that they had no or only small increases in costs.”
– The NSA’s Sweeping Surveillance Programs Don’t Stop Terrorism: On June 5, 2013, the Guardian broke the first story in what would become a flood of revelations regarding the extent and nature of the NSA’s surveillance programs. Facing an uproar over the threat such programs posed to privacy, the Obama administration scrambled to defend them as legal and essential to U.S. national security and counterterrorism. Two weeks after the first leaks by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden were published, President Obama defended the NSA surveillance programs during a visit to Berlin, saying: “We know of at least 50 threats that have been averted because of this information not just in the United States, but, in some cases, threats here in Germany. So lives have been saved.”
However, our review of the government’s claims about the role that NSA “bulk” surveillance of phone and email communications records has had in keeping the United States safe from terrorism shows that these claims are overblown and even misleading. An in-depth analysis of 225 individuals recruited by al-Qaeda or a like-minded group or inspired by al-Qaeda’s ideology, and charged in the United States with an act of terrorism since 9/11, demonstrates that traditional investigative methods, such as the use of informants, tips from local communities, and targeted intelligence operations, provided the initial impetus for investigations in the majority of cases, while the contribution of NSA’s bulk surveillance programs to these cases was minimal.
Climate change will complicate the Philippines’ efforts to become self-sufficient in rice, the country’s economic planning secretary said Monday.
Arsenio Balisacan said preliminary data showed that 74% of the estimated damage from natural disasters in the country last year came in the farm sector, primarily affecting rice. The natural disasters include extreme weather caused by global warming, he said.
“We expect these extreme events and unpredictable phenomena to become the new normal,” Mr. Balisican told a workshop on efforts to address the impact of climate change in agriculture.
No government regulation! Woo hoo. A Libertarian paradise (unless you need to take a shower, drink water, wash your clothes, make dinner or wash your face).
Regarding that chemical spill in West Virginia:
Here’s the president of “Freedom Industries,” Gary Southern, speaking to the press on Friday, January 10, 2014 after his company caused 300,000 West Virginians to be without potable water.
He isn’t the star here. Kallie Cart is. Listen to her insisting Mr. Big Bad Boy Southern Corporate Asshole With a Let-Them-Eat-Cake attitude, tries to walk away because he had a really, really bad day. Poor baby. Never mind the thousands who will have to drag water to their homes to do basic things like make coffee in the morning, brush their teeth or rinse their baby’s bottle for who knows how long:
Follow Kallie Cart on Twitter here for updates on what will undoubtedly be long, long saga. I’m thinking Superfund site.
I presume you’ve heard about the horrible chemical spill in West Virginia (who knows what with Chris Christie and “Bridgegate” sucking all the air out of the atmosphere).
As it turns out, 300,000 people are affected. Here are the gory details:
1. No one knows when water will be safe to drink again.
2. No one knows when the leak started or how much has leaked into the Elk River.
3. The water company has had no contact with Freedom Industries, the company that manufactures the spilled chemical.
4. There is no standard process for testing the toxicity of the spilled chemical in water.
5. It’s unclear just how dangerous the diluted chemical is to drink or breathe.
6. The chemical may have leached into the soil.
And then there’s this depressing headline. People have been told not to use water for anything other than flushing their toilets:
I hadn’t heard of ice boulders until five minutes ago. These are “ice boulders” on Lake Michigan. Pretty.
Via DuygusalDoktor on YouTube.
Wow. Some of the ramifications of climate change are absolutely horrifying:
About 100,000 bats have fallen from the sky and died during a heatwave in Australia that has left the trees and earth littered with dead creatures.
In scenes likened to “an Alfred Hitchock thought bubble”, a heatwave across the north-east state of Queensland in recent days caused mass deaths of flying foxes from an estimated 25 colonies.
“It’s a horrible, cruel way to die,” a conservation worker, Louise Saunders, told The Courier Mail.
“Anything over 43 degrees [Celsius, 109F] and they just fall. We’re just picking up those that are just not coping and are humanely euthanising what we can.”
Health experts have warned residents not to touch the dead creatures amid concerns about the spread of virus or bites and scratches from bats that may still be alive. At least 16 people have been are receiving antiviral treatment after coming into close contact with a bat.
“The heatwave was basically a catastrophe for all the bat colonies in south-east Queensland,” a spokesman, Michael Beatty, told ABC News.
There will obviously be consequences to this. Bats eat insects. Watch. They’ll have some sort of insect invasion in six weeks. I mean, the ecology of the region could go haywire.
Check out this photo of moisture freezing as it rises off of Lake Michigan:
Yesterday it was 60º here in Boulder, Colorado. This is my backyard today as of 2:10 p.m. MST and it’s still snowing.
Gee. Somehow we’re managing. No national media freakout like when it snows in NYC. I mean, why is it “breaking” national news that consumes hours and hours of air time for three days when it snows in NYC? Far as I know it has snowed in NYC every winter for millenia. Same with Boston for God’s sake.
At next week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Ford will be displaying a solar-powered concept car that the company says can get the same performance from using a day’s worth of sunlight as the plug-in hybrid gets in a four-hour battery charge.
According to Ford, the vehicle’s estimated combined city-highway mileage is 100 mpg, and an average driver will be able to reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions by about four metric tons. With a range of 620 miles, including 21 electric-only miles, Ford said that three-quarters of all trips made by normal drivers could be powered by the sun.
Great idea: Name extreme storms after policy makers who deny climate change:
Tongue-in-cheek but dead serious:
The growing fracking industry is “yielding gushers” of campaign donations for congressional candidates—particularly Republicans from districts with fracking activity—according to a new report from the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.
The report, “Natural Cash: How the Fracking Industry Fuels Congress,” examines data compiled by MapLight covering a period spanning from 2004 to 2012. In that time, CREW finds, contributions from companies that operate hydraulic fracturing wells and fracking-related industry groups rose 180 percent, from $4.3 million nine years ago to about $12 million in the last election cycle.
Rep. Joe Barton, a Republican from Texas, was head and shoulders above his fellow candidates in donations from the fracking industry. Barton accepted more than half a million dollars—$100,000 more than any other candidate. In the past, he chaired the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, and he sponsored legislation in 2005 to exempt the fracking industry from the Safe Drinking Water Act.
Check out Barton’s Wikipedia page. Scroll down and read the paragraph titled: “Barton Family Foundation.” What a piece of work this guy is. He probably thinks of himself as a good Christian too.
From the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association/Climate on YouTube (no audio):
Amount of Old Ice in Arctic, 1987-2013
The most destructive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico ever, after which people and animals are still suffering is mesmerizingly beautiful?
Really? Is that where we are? Is that what we’ve become? People who see beauty in oil spills?
More wacky weather.
New White House Adviser Forced to Recuse Himself From the Keystone LX Pipeline Issue Because He’s AGAINST It
The Big Question: If a newly-appointed adviser to President Obama is forced to recuse himself from the Keystone XL pipeline issue because he’s against it, why aren’t advisers and others who are for it made to recuse themselves too?
(I met John Podesta in July, 2004 at the premiere of Outfoxed at The New School in New York City. I don’t think the guy has an ounce of fat on his body. He must be a runner.)
The electricity has been off at my house for roughly three hours today. (That’s what it’s like in Baghdad.)
This is Al waiting for it to come on:
Xcel’s gas was out at my brother’s house for roughly 48 hours over the weekend. The temps were in the below zeros.
Xcel doesn’t want to invest in infrastructure and nobody’s saying it should. It wants to steer its profits to the execs and shareholders and our tax laws are structured such that they can; they encourage them to do that (thanks bought-and-sold congress).
Meanwhile, Al and I wait…
Pray tell I’ll have time to look into the subsidies I’m paying for this piece of shit “public utility.”
Love how that label has stuck.
What a lie.
Imagine spending $8 trillion on solar power here in the U.S. which we wouldn’t have to spend billions “guarding” every year:
It has cost the United States $8 trillion to provide military security in the Gulf since 1976. According to Roger Stern, a Princeton economist, the US has spent as much on Gulf security as it spent on the entire Cold War with the Soviet Union! In recent years through 2010 it has been $400 billion a year, though the US withdrawal from Iraq at the end of 2011 and the gradual withdrawal from Afghanistan this year and next presumably means that the figure is substantially reduced. Still, we have bases in Kuwait, Qatar and elsewhere, and a Naval HQ in Bahrain, none of which is cheap. If it were $200 billion a year, that is a fair chunk of the budget deficit the Republican Party keeps complaining about. And if we could get that $8 trillion back, it would pay down half of the national debt.
And shame on our so-called leaders for not talking about cutting some of this expense instead of food stamps for the poor.
Oh, and this is what just one trillion dollars looks like. Multiply this by eight and you have an idea how much we’re spending guarding our oil.
Where’s Pat Robertson when you need him to explain all this? It’s the gays!
In June, 2012 we had fire. In September this year we had a 1000 year flood (this was the scene a block from my house) and now we’re getting near-hurricane force wind and the coldest temperatures in 15 years.
Needless to say, the puppies and the hubby and I are hunkering down:
High Wind Warning in Northeastern Colorado
Gusty Downslope winds persist in and near the front range Foothills this evening, then taper off late tonight. The strongest winds will be possible in the foothills of Boulder and Jefferson counties.
High Wind Warning remains in effect until 5 am MST Tuesday.
Timing: After a lull early this evening, occasional strong and gusty west winds may again develop overnight.
Winds: west winds of 25 to 40 mph can be expected with a few gusts to around 75 mph.