Posts filed under ‘The Environment, Weather, Etc.’
By now it should be routine to put the word “news” in quotes when we talk about these shows. This is ridiculous:
A Media Matters analysis finds that news coverage of climate change on ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX remained low in 2012 despite record temperatures and a series of extreme weather events in the U.S. When the Sunday shows did discuss climate change, scientists were shut out of the debate while Republican politicians were given a platform to question the science.
Sunday Show Coverage Continued To Decline. Since 2009, climate coverage on the Sunday shows has declined every year. In 2012, the Sunday shows spent less than 8 minutes on climate change, down from 9 minutes in 2011, 21 minutes in 2010, and over an hour in 2009. The vast majority of coverage — 89 percent — was driven by politics, and none was driven by scientific findings.
ABC’s This Week covered it the most, at just over 5 minutes.
NBC’s Meet the Press covered it the least, in just one 6 second mention.
Of course we don’t hear about this in the U.S. because it’s well, outside the U.S.:
Australia is bracing for days of “catastrophic” fire and heatwave conditions.
Fires are already burning in five states as a search continued for people missing after devastating wildfires in the island state of Tasmania.
Bushfires were ablaze in five of Australia’s six states, with 90 fires in the most populous state New South Wales, and in mountain forests around the national capital Canberra.
Severe fire conditions were forecast for tomorrow (local time), replicating those of 2009, when “Black Saturday” wildfires in Victoria state killed 173 people and caused $4.4 billion worth of damage.
A record heatwave, which began in Western Australia on 27 December and lasted eight days, was the fiercest in more than 80 years in that state and has spread east across the nation, making it the widest-ranging heatwave in more than a decade, according to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology.
The highest “catastrophic” bushfire temperature conditions are expected tomorrow, said fire officials, under which people are advised to flee if fire threatens, as the blaze is likely to be too fierce for fire crews to easily extinguish.
In the Australian capital Canberra, hit by a firestorm in 2003 that destroyed hundreds of homes, authorities said they were expecting the worst conditions in the decade since, with a fifth day of searing temperatures and strong winds.
Imagine being told “to flee if fire threatens” because strong winds make any potential fire “too fierce for fire crews to easily extinguish.”
I can relate. This was the view from my living room last June:
The wind wasn’t blowing when I took this photo but it did before the fire was put out. We were all thinking embers. What if flying embers started a fire closer in.
My thoughts are with the folks in Australia tonight because it’s tomorrow there now. Wind, fire and drought are an awful, terrifying mix.
Good luck Australia. And h/t to the U.S. media for their total failure at ah, delivering news. Not to mention mentioning that thing called CLIMATE CHANGE.
I’m old enough to remember when no one had ever heard of bottled water and when people would have laughed at the thought. I’m old enough to remember when carrying around a bottle of water — as an accessory — was unheard of. I’m old enough to remember when we humans didn’t toss millions of plastic bottles into landfills. So imho, this is good. Very, very good:
Water, water everywhere — just not in plastic bottles, says a town in the US state of Massachusetts.
A law passed by the town of Concord went into effect with the New Year, making single-serving bottles of water illegal.
The ban is intended to encourage use of tap water and curb the worldwide problem of plastic pollution.
The bottled water corporatocracy has created a “need” in us for this product but the bottled water industry is the only winner and we’re fools to go along with it.
Here’s more info about the ridiculous use of disposable plastic water bottles here:
According to a report of the World Wide Fund for Nature, approximately 1.5 million tons of plastic are used in the bottling of 89 billion liters of water each year.
Again, I’m old enough to remember when this was unheard of.
A friend forwarded this to me today and nominated it for Dumbest Thing Done By Republicans in 2012. Republicans did and said a lot of dumb things this year that’s for sure — it was actually pretty overwhelming — and I have to agree, this is up there:
Virginia lawmakers will study the dangers of sea level rise provided one phrase is never uttered: “sea level rise.” Republican state lawmakers agreed to commission a study on the phenomenon as long as “left-wing” terms like “sea level rise” and “climate change” were removed. Democrats, wanting the study approved, agreed on the non-partisan phrase “recurrent flooding,” National Memo reports.
“Recurrent flooding” sounds so benign, doesn’t it?
Head in sand.
(H/t Chris A.)
It’s 9:24 p.m. ET Thursday, December 20, 2012 in the United States. It’s Friday, December 21, 2012 in Beijing, Sydney, Moscow and London.
So, I guess we dodged a bullet today but… Do the Google: Climate change / global warming.
A dust storm engulfs Lubbock today:
Chris Manno: Airline captain flying swept wing, flush-riveted jets coast to coast, north and south — and sharing the cockpit view here with TwitPix.
I’m thinking the folks in Lubbock have dust in their eyes, in their hair and between their teeth tonight. Ugh.
Just got home after seeing the documentary film about climate change, Chasing Ice. Everyone on Earth should see it.
Here’s the trailer:
Here is an interview with James Balog, the Founder and Director of the Extreme Ice Survey, out of which grew the film:
To learn more about the Extreme Ice Survey, here is its website.
What struck me the most was something Balog said in the film about climate deniers (paraphrasing): We’re still arguing over evolution and if we really put a man on the Moon. As for climate change, time is running out.
The Koch brothers think of everything in their attempt to influence coverage of environmental issues and to buy people off. What I wonder is, why would the Society of Environmental Journalists accept their money?
Notorious Polluters Sponsor a Conference for Environmental Journalists
In October, while finishing up my story “Kochworld” on oil refineries in Corpus Christi owned by billionaires Charles and David Koch I received an invitation to participate in a journalism conference in Lubbock, held by the Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ), the nation’s oldest and most venerable journalism organization for reporters who cover the environment.
I was happy to have been invited. Hundreds of environmental journalists were attending the conference which would be hosted by Texas Tech University. Some reporters had come from as far away as Europe and Latin America.
But first I’d have to finish my story. All I needed were the comments I was waiting on from Koch Industries. Imagine my surprise when I get an email back from Koch Industries’ spokesperson Katie Stavinoha: “I am working on it. Have been at a SEJ deal.”
My first thought was, “What’s Koch Industries doing at a conference filled with environmental reporters?”
Turns out Koch Industries was a sponsor. The SEJ and Koch struck me as an odd match. Not only are the Koch brothers top spenders on global-warming-denial organizations and Washington lobbyists, they also publicly attack reporters, on their web site KochFacts.com, who criticize their environmental record and business practices, and publish Internet ads on high traffic sites attacking reporters. (I would soon be subjected to this treatment.)
I probably wouldn’t have ever known the Kochs were sponsoring the conference if I hadn’t gotten that email from their public information officer. You’d be hard pressed to figure it out in the SEJ program. On page 33 of the 34-page conference booklet was a list of “generous contributors that made it possible for Texas Tech University to host the conference.”
Toward the end of that sponsor list was Matador Ranch. But no mention that the 130,000-acre ranch is owned and operated by Koch Agriculture Company, a subsidiary of Koch Industries. The ranch has hunting and deer breeding operations, as well as commercial and registered cattle, and Quarter horses.
Read more here about the “Devil’s bargain” the SEJ made with Texas Tech and the Koch brothers.
I see the problem but this kind of thing has got to stop. If I were a member of the SEJ, I’d be repulsed by this.
Maybe they could have their conferences online.
OMG, the poor folks in the Philippines. They can’t catch a break from Typhoon Bopha:
A powerful typhoon that has killed hundreds of people and wreaked devastation in the Philippines was set to smash into the country again Sunday, forecasters warned.
Typhoon Bopha had looked to be heading away after destroying whole communities in the south, but the official weather agency said Saturday it had unexpectedly turned and would make landfall again, this time in the north.
The agency urged people to prepare for fierce winds of up to 160 kilometres (about 100 miles) an hour and heavy rains when the storm slams into the northern tip of the main island of Luzon in the early hours.
The surprise development piles more pressure on a country that has called for international aid for the south, where floods and landslides sparked by Bopha have flattened whole villages and left tens of thousands of people homeless.
A United Nations aid assessment team flew to the southern island of Mindanao, which bore the brunt of the devastation, on Saturday and witnessed “100 percent destruction”, said Imogen Wall, spokeswoman for the UN office for the coordination of humanitarian affairs.
My heart goes out to the people of the Philippines. So much suffering.
Don’t do it!
Mosquito control officials in the Florida Keys are waiting for the federal government to sign off on an experiment that would release hundreds of thousands of genetically modified mosquitoes to reduce the risk of dengue fever in the tourist town of Key West.
If approved by the Food and Drug Administration, it would be the first such experiment in the U.S. Some Key West residents worry, though, that not enough research has been done to determine the risks that releasing genetically modified mosquitoes might pose to the Keys’ fragile ecosystem.
The trial planned by mosquito control officials and the British company Oxitec would release non-biting male mosquitoes that have been genetically modified to pass along a birth defect that kill their progeny before reaching maturity.
Oh great. The males “pass along a birth defect…” What could possibly go wrong?
Expect this kind of horrific thing to get worse if we continue to ignore global warming and overpopulation:
Uganda’s recent flood of Congolese refugees is having unexpected side-effects: some Ugandans are adopting the Congolese custom of eating primates, a new trend that may be linked to outbreaks of Ebola and represents a potential threat to the country’s endangered chimpanzee population.For some conservationists, protecting an animal that shares almost 99 percent of its DNA with humans is a deeply personal issue.[...]“The fear is that if they can eat a baboon, if they can eat a black-and-white colobus monkey, what would be the difference with eating a chimp?” she says. “In the case of chimpanzees, they are endangered, so they will actually go extinct from the face of the Earth if they are just eaten like that.”[...]The timing of the trend is not coincidence. Over the past year alone, tens of thousands of Congolese refugees have streamed over Uganda’s western border, fleeing civil war in the Democratic Republic of Congo, expanding the already large number of fellow refugees that arrived in previous years.[...]While rising food prices help to explain why Ugandans are seeking new sources of bush meat, health professionals continue to grapple with potential dangers of its widespread consumption.
This sounds very bad for the people living on the Philippine island of Mindanao:
Extremely dangerous Typhoon Bopha is bearing down on the Philippine island of Mindanao as a Category 5 storm with 160 mph winds. Bopha completed an eyewall replacement cycle on Sunday and has been steadily intensifying today, and will make landfall on Mindanao in the early morning on Tuesday local time.
Mindanao rarely gets hit by typhoons, since the island is too close to the Equator, and the infrastructure of Mindanao is not prepared to handle heavy typhoon rains as well as the more typhoon-prone northern islands. Bopha is potentially a catastrophic storm for Mindanao. The typhoon is following a similar track to last year’s Tropical Storm Washi, which hit Mindanao on December 16, 2011 with 60 mph winds and torrential rains. Washi triggered devastating flooding that killed 1268 people. Washi was merely a tropical storm, and Bopha is likely to hit at Category 4 or 5 strength, making it the strongest typhoon ever recorded in Mindanao.
The next time I hear someone say there is “disagreement” as to whether climate change is real I’m going to scream (or send them a copy of this post):
Polls show that many members of the public believe that scientists substantially disagree about human-caused global warming. The gold standard of science is the peer-reviewed literature. If there is disagreement among scientists, based not on opinion but on hard evidence, it will be found in the peer-reviewed literature.
A newly released report from the European Environment Agency (EEA) is warning that Europe is on the verge of catastrophic climate change if it does not act on commitments made to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. That report joins another from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) stating that the cuts needed to curb global warming has widened as there is now one-fifth more carbon in the atmosphere than there was in 2000.
The EEA announced in their report on Wednesday that the past decade was the warmest on record and continually rising temperatures could widen the gap between Europe’s rich and poor nations.
[...]“It is in human health aspects, in forests, sea levels, agriculture, biodiversity – the signals are coming in from right across the environment,” [EEA Executive Eirector Jacqueline McGlade said].
This is the drought map of the United States on November 22, 2011 per the U.S. Drought Monitor:
And this is the Drought Monitor’s U.S. map as of November 20, 2012:
Larger versions here. You can also check any month of any year going back to January, 2000 there. I compared all the maps posted in the vicinity of November 20 and this year is the worst.
Take a look at this monster, which they think might one day prevent flooding of tunnels such as happened in NYC during Hurricane Sandy:
With a few dull thuds, the one-ton bag of high-strength fabric tumbled from the wall of the mock subway tunnel and onto the floor. Then it began to grow.
As air flowed into it through a hose, the bundle inflated until it was crammed tight inside the 16-foot-diameter tunnel, looking like the filling in a giant concrete-and-steel cannoli.
The three-minute procedure, conducted on a chilly morning this month in an airport hangar not far from West Virginia University, was the latest test of a device that may someday help guard real tunnels during disasters — whether a terrorist strike or a storm like Hurricane Sandy, whose wind-driven surge of water overwhelmed New York City’s subway system, shutting it down for days.
“Water is heavy, there’s a lot of pressure,” said Greg Holter, an engineer with Pacific Northwest National Laboratory who helps manage the project. “So it’s not as simple as just inflating and filling the space. The plug has to be able to withstand the pressure of the water behind it.”
Interesting idea. Now we just need another Superstorm (not!) so we can test it.
Filmmaker Casey Neistat shot some footage of Hurricane Sandy that Al Gore’s team bought for $500.00. They are going to use it to help in their effort to educate people about climate change.
Neistat turned around and spent the $500.00 on sweatshirts and sweatpants and drove out to Staten Island to donate them.
This is his story:
This from the Editor of Bloomberg BusinessWeek:
Here’s the cover:
Uh oh. Are we on the verge of actually talking about global warming?
Oh, and I wish we would agree to use the term climate change instead of global warming. Global warming leaves room for the deniers to claim it can’t be happening because it’s snowing, which they do every winter.
On Monday night, Hurricane Sandy’s flood waters inundated electrical equipment underneath lower Manhattan and left hundreds of thousands of residents there without power. By Wednesday afternoon, nearly 240,000 were still in the dark, with no clear end in sight. Climate Desk visited one historic high-rise apartment where residents were running perilously low on water, food, and patience.
Notice how heat and hurricane deaths have spiked since the mid-90s:
Larger version here.
Bill Clinton today in Minnesota:
I was actually listening closely to what the candidates said in these debates. In the first debate, the triumph of the moderate Mitt Romney. You remember what he did? He ridiculed the president. Ridiculed the president for his efforts to fight global warming in economically beneficial ways. He said, ‘Oh, you’re going to turn back the seas.’ In my part of America, we would like it if someone could’ve done that yesterday. All up and down the East Coast, there are mayors, many of them Republicans, who are being told, ‘You’ve got to move these houses back away from the ocean. You’ve got to lift them up. Climate change is going to raise the water levels on a permanent basis. If you want your town insured, you have to do this.’ In the real world, Barack Obama’s policies work better.
It was inevitable:
As Hurricane Sandy blasts the eastern seaboard just over a week before Election Day, a number of conspiracy theorists have decided President Barack Obama engineered the mega-storm to secure his re-election.
InfoWars.com, TheIntelHub.com, and ConsfearacyNewz all posted stories over the last several days alleging that the The High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program, or HAARP, helped the president engineer Sandy.
HAARP, a research program managed by the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy, studies and conducts experiments relating to the ionosphere, or upper atmosphere. As NASA explains on its web site, the ionosphere is important because it often reflects radio waves and scatters GPS signals, leading to “a big impact on communications and navigation” on Earth.
Because of this, conspiracy theorists have blamed HAARP for a number of natural events over the years, saying the government uses the Alaska-based program to manipulate the weather with the help of electromagnetic waves.
On Friday, InfoWars published a story arguing that Sandy “will undoubtedly produce widespread chaos and present an ideal opportunity for Obama to come off as a strong and decisive leader.”
“Following the ‘perfect storm,’” wrote Infowars’ Kurt Nimmo, “the establishment media will naturally provide all the propaganda Obama needs to sweep the election on Tuesday, November 6, a week after the hurricane is projected to hit.”
Iconic image from Hurricane Sandy:
Thinking about everyone in the northeast, especially my friends Carrie, Linda and Libby.
There are times when I’m so overwhelmed by what’s going on in the world I want to take my head off, set it down, and walk away for a while.
That’s one way to be.
Here’s another. My Tweet of the Day:
In the end, I’d rather be me than her.
Oh, and BTW, Ms. Lohan endorsed Mitt. If she wants to do away with negativity and to have peace, she’s got a whole lot of prayin’ to do.
Want to watch Hurricane Sandy on your own terms and from a whole bunch of different locations? Here is a list of all the webcams that will be streaming it live.
Oh, and TimcastTV is another option though Tim, the proprietor, isn’t live 24/7.
WARNING: Contains Scientific Information — Those Who Are Science-Adverse Might Want to Click Away
Not-So-Permanent Permafrost: 850 Billion Tons of Carbon Stored in Frozen Arctic Ground Could Be Released
As much as 44 billion tons of nitrogen and 850 billion tons of carbon stored in arctic permafrost, or frozen ground, could be released into the environment as the region begins to thaw over the next century as a result of a warmer planet, according to a new study led by the U.S. Geological Survey. This nitrogen and carbon are likely to impact ecosystems, the atmosphere, and water resources including rivers and lakes. For context, this is roughly the amount of carbon stored in the atmosphere today.
So many of the climate change projections are happening faster than predicted so I’m willing to bet the “thaw over the next century” will happen sooner than that.
There are 21 children under the age of four on my block. I can’t help but think (1) what were their parents thinking when they brought them into this world and (2) they face a hellish future.
Fracking is a big issue here in Colorado People are very much against it.
Then there’s this:
Matt Damon’s latest film Promised Land – a tale about the impact of fracking on small-town America – doesn’t hit movie theaters until December 28, but it’s already being targeted by the fossil fuels lobby.
The story, written by Damon and John Kraskinski (best-known for The Office) and directed by Gus Van Sant (Good Will Hunting), centers on a small Pennsylvania town sitting atop rich natural gas reserves that can be tapped only if the residents allow fracking on their land. The economy is depressed and residents are tempted by the money they can get leasing their land for fracking.
The movie pits Damon, a slick natural gas company salesman, against Kraskinski, an environmentalist. The money looks great to local residents until Kraskinski exposes the tradeoffs – risks to their drinking water and air quality that Damon fails to mention.
The Independent Petroleum Association of America, which represents oil and gas interests, is so concerned about the film’s message that it’s planning several strategies for the upcoming release – including distributing leaflets to moviegoers, providing film reviewers with “data” and launching a social media campaign on Twitter and Facebook, reports The Wall Street Journal.
“We’ve been surprised at the emergence of what looks like a concerted campaign targeting the film even before anyone’s seen it,” James Schamus, CEO of Focus Features, told the Journal.
The lobbying group has already started screening their own documentary on the subject, “Truthland,” showing it incommunity centers and hotels across the US.
People, we can’t let the petroleum lobby win this one!
Here’s the trailer for Damon’s film: