Posts filed under ‘The Environment, Weather, Etc.’
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.
Republicans at work, killing stuff, which they’re so good at:
Usually when energy development moves into deeper waters to harness marine energy resources, coastal residents have nightmares of risky technology and oil spills.
But not when that development means floating wind turbines.
Statoil, the Norwegian-based oil and gas company, received approval from the United Kingdom’s Crown Estate to build five floating wind turbines in 100 meters of water off the coast of Aberdeenshire, Scotland. Combined, they will generate 30 megawatts of energy, and the planned hub will be the largest in Europe.
Offshore wind is big in Europe, but turbines are limited to shallow waters (around 60 meters) because the pylons that support them have to be blasted into the seabed. Floating turbines, however, just require a few cables to keep the floating shaft in one spot, and they can be installed in water as deep at 700 meters.
Statoil successfully demonstrated the world’s first floating turbine off the coast of Norway in 2009. In October, Statoil pulled the plug on a $120 million project off the coast of Maine due to regulatory uncertainty. Republican Governor Paul LePage had long opposed the project, which would have made his state a center of global offshore wind innovation, and pushed a law through the legislature that forced a delay in the negotiations over Statoil’s contract.
Wow. Astonishingly shortsighted on LePage’s part but of course he’s got to be loyal to his oil energy masters. Not only that, I’m sure this project would have created a lot, lot, lot of jobs and isn’t that what Republicans are always squawking about?
Remember back in late March when an Exxon oil pipeline burst and spilled gooey oil all over a residential neighborhood in Mayflower, Arkansas? Here are some pics.
Fast forward seven months and man-oh-man, the once tight community has been torn apart:
Eight months after an ExxonMobil pipeline leaked Canadian oil across an Arkansas subdivision, a cloud of uncertainty looms large over the young families, singles and retirees who chose the affordable, decade-old Northwoods neighborhood to establish roots. Nearly half of them have put their houses up for sale in search of a fresh start they never wanted.
“The area is blanketed with ‘For Sale’ signs,” said April Lane, a community health advocate who has worked with the spill victims. Twenty-nine of the development’s 62 homes have either been sold to Exxon under its buy-out program or are on the open market.
Some people were forced to sell because oil settled in their homes’ foundations, where removing it is nearly impossible. Others chose to leave because of fears about potential health effects and the marketability of their properties. Those who are staying aren’t necessarily doing so by choice: Many don’t have enough equity to afford a down payment on a new home in another suburb, according to local real estate brokers.
The upheaval has torn at the fabric of the once tight-knit central Arkansas neighborhood, where barbecues were regularly held and neighbors watched after each other’s kids, who played in Northwoods’ three cul-de-sacs and five streets. Ryan Senia, a 30-year-old bachelor who bought his Northwoods home in 2009, said it was either sell to Exxon now or risk “holding onto that thing forever.”
“It’s like selling a salvaged car—nobody wants to buy it.”
The subdivision was thrust into this position on March 29, when 5,000 barrels of oil spewed out of Exxon’s 65-year-old Pegasus pipeline. Twenty-two homes were evacuated, almost one-third of the Northwoods development.
The leaked oil was from Alberta’s tar sands region, similar to the diluted bitumen (dilbit) that would flow through the controversial Keystone XL project, if it’s built.
Really sad and entirely avoidable. Who the hell approved the construction of a subdivision on top of an oil pipeline?
Few if any even knew that an oil pipeline was buried under their lawns.
SMDH. This is really upsetting. It’s a case of the House of Representatives voting 100% against the interests of We the People and in favor of corporations that pollute the planet:
On Wednesday, the House passed a bill that will block the Department of the Interior (DOI) from regulating fracking in states that already have regulations in place. The bill, H.R. 2728, passed the House in a 235 – 187 vote. Twelve Democrats voted in favor of the legislation and two Republicans voted against it.
“Hydraulic fracturing has been safely and effectively regulated by states for decades,” said Rep. Doc Hastings (R-WA), according to The Hill. “So the Obama administration’s proposed regulations are unnecessary.”
On Tuesday, Hastings added a last-minute amendment to another piece of oil and gas industry-friendly legislation that was also passed by the House on Wednesday. His amendment to the Federal Lands Jobs and Energy Security Act cuts government funding for renewable energy projects by 50 percent.
If there is a God and if there is a Heaven and a Hell, Rep. Hastings will go to hell. He wants to cut government funding for renewable energy projects by 50 percent (as do his 234 colleagues who voted in favor) when we’re on the cusp of tipping into irreversible global warming? I don’t think God takes kindly to people who want to destroy our lovely planet and everything on it.
I lived through the floods in Boulder in September when 24″ of rain fell over the course of four days. On Monday night, 17 inches of rain fell on the Italian island of Sardinia in 90 minutes. 90 minutes!
Wow. That must have been quite an experience.
Here’s a graph showing the number of minutes the cable “news” outlets devoted to climate change between April 1 and August 13 this year. Note the stars on O’Reilly’s and Hannity’s shows. Those stars mean the coverage was dismissive of climate change (natch - hey, we’re talkin’ Fox).
Oh, and CNN is supposedly a flaming liberal channel, right? It looks like Erin Burnett’s show, OutFront, devoted about four minutes to the issue while Anderson Cooper didn’t touch it. Liberal? What a joke that is.
What a sorry state of affairs.
SAN FRANCISCO, Ca. (November 21, 2013)–The public is outraged more indigenous wild horses will be rounded up and permanently removed from public land to grab water and frack the land. Protect Mustangs is calling for protests to stand up for the American mustang and a tourism boycott targeted at Wyoming who promotes ”Roam Free” in their marketing yet ignores the wild horse. 700 Adobe Town and Salt Wells herds will be rounded up from the public-private land known as the “Checkerboard” starting this week. The majority will live in captivity, be at-risk for going to slaughter and forever lose their freedom to roam.
“Fracking for oil and gas is polluting the environment and wiping out America’s wild horses,” states Anne Novak, executive director of Protect Mustangs. “It’s time for clean energy that can coexist with wildlife.”
Amen, amen, amen to that.
After watching this video — Fukushima: Beyond Urgent — I’d say what’s happening at Fukushima these days should be reported on way more than it is, as in not at all (thanks “liberal media!”).
Words from the last frame:
Nothing like this has ever been attempted. All of humanity will be threatened for 1,000s of years if rods in Unit 4 pools touch during removal process.
See links to more info about Fukushima here (scroll down).
I live in Boulder, Colorado, the site of September’s “1,000 year flood.”
Now — two and a half months later — we’re seeing headlines like this around here:
That said, this would be the lead chyron on the Weather Channel this evening:
The Midwest Recovers? It’s been 24 hours since the tornadoes hit yet the “midwest” is recovering?
I challenge the Weather Channel to go back to Washington, Illinois — or Joplin, Missouri — remember that? — in a year or two to follow up as to what “recovery” means.
I’m thinking it won’t be a 24-hour fix like the Weather Channel wants us to believe.
Wow. My thoughts go out to people in the Philippines tonight:
Super Typhoon Haiyan, which slammed into the Philippines early Friday morning, is one of the strongest storms ever recorded on the planet. Here are some fast facts about the storm:
• Super Typhoon Haiyan has winds of 195 mph and gusts of 235 mph. This is one of the highest wind speeds ever recorded in a storm in world history.
• It made landfall as the most powerful typhoon or hurricane in recorded history.
• The strength of Haiyan is equal to that of an extremely powerful Category 5 hurricane in the Atlantic. (Typhoons are the same type of storms as hurricanes).
• It’s possible Haiyan could become the strongest storm ever recorded to make landfall, anywhere on Earth.
Check out this National Geographic interactive map showing how the world’s shorelines would change if all the ice everywhere on Earth melted, something that’s on its way to happening:
In September Texas Governor Rick Perry spoke “at an energy summit at the Bush Institute…[and] credited legendary oilman George Mitchell and the free market with creating the state’s energy boom, which helped Texas sustain a healthy economy in recent years as the nation plunged into an economic recessions.”
Sounds great huh?
Well let’s peel back a layer or two. Check out this photo of a fraction of the 100,000 fracking wells that are helping Texas “sustain a health economy.” The question is, at what cost and will it be worth it in the end? Are George Mitchell and the “free market” really doing Texas a favor?
Oh, and then there’s this from the American Petroleum Institute (API): 10 Facts Everyone Should Know About Shale Energy:
The economic impacts of developing shale gas resources are revolutionary. Hydraulic fracturing will account for nearly 75 percent of natural gas development in the future. Hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling apply the latest technologies and make it commercially viable to recover shale gas and oil. Without it, we would lose 45 percent of domestic natural gas production and 17 percent of our oil production within 5 years.
But again, at what cost? The API people undoubtedly envision a United States that is covered in fracking wells. Hey, let’s make it so the whole country looks like that photo.
I saw this ad on my local Denver/ABC News station tonight. I guess I better run out and sign up to have “Energy From Shale” put five or ten fracking wells in my backyard tonight. Sounds so idyllic!
I’d never eat meat from Ms. Kern’s ranch and man-oh-man, I feel sorry for her kids. I have a bad feeling about this. I think she’s going to regret it. When you “talk with experts” from the fracking industry about fracking ah, yeah, it’s gonna sound great.
As an aside, Ault, Colorado is in Weld County. On November 5, Weld County will vote on seceding (or not) from Colorado.
This article, from the Australian newspaper, The Herald, is about Ivan Macfadyen’s trek from Melbourne to Osaka, ten years go and then again this past spring:
IT was the silence that made this voyage different from all of those before it.
Not the absence of sound, exactly.
The wind still whipped the sails and whistled in the rigging. The waves still sloshed against the fibreglass hull.
And there were plenty of other noises: muffled thuds and bumps and scrapes as the boat knocked against pieces of debris.
What was missing was the cries of the seabirds which, on all previous similar voyages, had surrounded the boat.
The birds were missing because the fish were missing.
Exactly 10 years before, when Newcastle yachtsman Ivan Macfadyen had sailed exactly the same course from Melbourne to Osaka, all he’d had to do to catch a fish from the ocean between Brisbane and Japan was throw out a baited line.
“There was not one of the 28 days on that portion of the trip when we didn’t catch a good-sized fish to cook up and eat with some rice,” Macfadyen recalled.
But this time, on that whole long leg of sea journey, the total catch was two.
No fish. No birds. Hardly a sign of life at all.
But in March and April this year, only silence and desolation surrounded his boat, Funnel Web, as it sped across the surface of a haunted ocean.
North of the equator, up above New Guinea, the ocean-racers saw a big fishing boat working a reef in the distance.
“All day it was there, trawling back and forth. It was a big ship, like a mother-ship,” he said.
And all night it worked too, under bright floodlights. And in the morning Macfadyen was awoken by his crewman calling out, urgently, that the ship had launched a speedboat.
“And they gave us five big sugar-bags full of fish,” he said.
“They were good, big fish, of all kinds. Some were fresh, but others had obviously been in the sun for a while.
“We told them there was no way we could possibly use all those fish. There were just two of us, with no real place to store or keep them. They just shrugged and told us to tip them overboard. That’s what they would have done with them anyway, they said.
Macfadyen felt sick to his heart. That was one fishing boat among countless more working unseen beyond the horizon, many of them doing exactly the same thing.
No wonder the sea was dead. No wonder his baited lines caught nothing. There was nothing to catch.
If that sounds depressing, it only got worse.
After we left Japan, it felt as if the ocean itself was dead,” Macfadyen said.
“We hardly saw any living things. We saw one whale, sort of rolling helplessly on the surface with what looked like a big tumour on its head. It was pretty sickening.
“In a lot of places we couldn’t start our motor for fear of entangling the propeller in the mass of pieces of rope and cable. That’s an unheard of situation, out in the ocean.
Plastic was ubiquitous. Bottles, bags and every kind of throwaway domestic item you can imagine, from broken chairs to dustpans, toys and utensils.
And something else. The boat’s vivid yellow paint job, never faded by sun or sea in years gone past, reacted with something in the water off Japan, losing its sheen in a strange and unprecedented way.
Tough as it is, I recommend reading the whole article. It isn’t all that long and it’s good to get a first-person account — with a first-person, ten-year perspective — as opposed to reading about “what scientists predict…”
Far as I know, what Macfadyen experienced is what scientists are predicting will happen 30, 40 years from now, not RIGHT NOW.
My backyard in Boulder, Colorado this morning:
But the forecast is for sun and 65º tomorrow. Life.
The ripple effect of climate change is going to be devastating. It already is. Very sad news here:
For such large creatures, moose are a relatively hidden species. They are hard to count. They live where humans do not like to go, along the boggy fringes of northern lakes and rivers where the sound of summer mosquitoes fills the air. They thrive in cold weather, and their well-being depends on sharp, cold autumns and late springs, which protect them from their most important predator: not the wolf, but the winter tick.
Moose are dying off across North America for a number of reasons, most of which can be linked to a warming climate and an eroding winter. Long, warm autumns and early, wet springs benefit winter ticks, which can cluster on moose in unbelievable numbers, causing anemia, loss of appetite, hair loss from rubbing — weakening the animals at the onset of winter, just when they need their strength most.
In British Columbia, they have lost protective cover thanks to the die-back of white pine forests caused by an epidemic of pine bark beetles. The epidemic, largely attributed to climate change, has also robbed grizzly bears of the seeds they depend on for winter food.
The collapse in moose numbers — one Minnesota population has fallen from 4,000 animals to fewer than 100 — is something scientists can track but otherwise can do nothing about.
Sometimes — like right now — I’m so ashamed of we humans.
A once-in-a-decade typhoon threatened Japan on Tuesday, disrupting travel and shipping and forcing precautions to be taken at the wrecked Fukushima nuclear power plant.
Typhoon Wipha is moving across the Pacific straight towards the capital, Tokyo, and is expected to make landfall during the morning rush hour on Wednesday, bringing hurricane-force winds to the metropolitan area of 30 million people.
The center of the storm was 860 km (535 miles) southwest of Tokyo at 0800 GMT, the Japan Meteorological Agency said on its website. It was moving north-northeast at 35 kph (22 mph).
The storm had weakened as it headed north over the sea but was still packing sustained winds of about 140 kph (87 mph) with gusts as high as 194 kph (120 mph), the agency said.
The agency issued warnings for Tokyo of heavy rain, flooding and gales, and advised people to be prepared to leave their homes quickly and to avoid unnecessary travel.
A spokesman for the meteorological agency said the storm was a “once in a decade event”.
The typhoon is expected to sweep through northern Japan after making landfall and to pass near the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant, on the coast 220 km (130 miles) northeast of Tokyo, later on Wednesday.
Typhoon Wipha is the strongest storm to approach eastern Japan since October 2004. That cyclone triggered floods and landslides that killed almost 100 people, forced thousands from their homes and caused billions of dollars in damage.