Tag Archives: climate change

Watch DiCaprio’s Before the Flood film on saving the planet from climate change for free via NatGeo

leonardo_dicraprio_before_the_flood_watch_full
Source: still from Before the Flood
Academy Award winner Leonardo DiCaprio is a UN Messenger of Peace and now a producer of the documentary Before The Flood. In this film, DiCaprio takes us on a journey to see how climate change is evolving due to human actions, and he reveals how we are empowered to act to prevent it from permanently and chaotically disrupting life on our planet for nature and people.

Before the Flood debuted on the NatGeo channel on 30 October 2016 and is available free for viewing on the National Geographic Channel and YouTube.

Talking about #BeforeTheFlood across Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram will earn donations to Pristine Seas and the Wildlife Conservation Society (up to $50K each)

EPA Quiz: Do you know how much climate change affects our health?

Climate change knowledge quiz
Source: EPA
Take the EPA’s quiz to find out how much you know about the health impacts of climate change.

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Can’t teach what you don’t know: some facts about climate change for students & teachers

global pollution
Source: James Yang via The New York Times
A Science survey reported in the New York Times shows that K-12 teachers aren’t telling their students much about climate change and when they do teach about it, they give unhealthy doses of false information.

But if you’re looking for the real facts about climate change, the NYT also developed a “cheat sheet” Short Answers to Hard Questions About Climate Change

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Protecting old growth forests & reducing livestock will hugely mitigate climate change

Biodiversity Plan & Aichi TargetsI was just reading a fact sheet on the contributions that Aichi (Japan) Biodiversity Targets can make to land-based climate mitigation. My son Ivan Wei brought it back from COP21 – the Paris climate talks that happened in December 2015. It brought out some quite interesting points:

  • Old growth forests provide better greenhouse gas mitigation than newly planted ones. Meaning, let’s take care of our trees.
  • Organic, eco-friendly agriculture is a great way to sequester carbon and get it out of the air, where it causes climate change.
  • 1/3 of food is being lost to spoilage and waste. By sharply reducing food waste, we will reduce the amount of new cropland that gets planted, which will in turn dramatically mitigate climate change.
  • We need to manage livestock growing much better and probably reduce our meat consumption.

The facts are pulled from the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020, a multi-country 10 year framework adopted by the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity. Here’s the full Aichi Targets & Biodiversity Plan Synopsis.

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What if it’s a hoax and we create a better world for nothing?

what if we create a better world for nothing
Credit: Editorial cartoon by Joel Pett – displayed at ClimateActionReserve.org

A Joel Pett character asks a bonafide good question on Climate Change: “What if it’s a big hoax and we create a better world for nothing?”

See more of Pulitzer prize winner Joel Pett’s environmental cartoons at Climate Action Reserve. Thanks Samantha Tang for the fun share.

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Northeast US will have more heat, snow, rain according to powerful data modeling

NCA Heavy Precipitation map
Percent changes in the amount of precipitation falling in very heavy events (the heaviest 1%) from 1958 to 2012 by region. Source: 2014 National Climate Assessment
Civil and environmental engineering Professor Joshua Fu at University of Tennessee, Knoxville carried out a climate change study using a huge dataset on the university’s supercomputer. The results show that the Northeastern United States will become hotter, experience more heat waves and get more precipitation in coming years. Data-based climate models show what cities will experience 50 years into the future.

Harnessing the supercomputing power of UT’s Kraken and Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s (ORNL) Jaguar (now Titan, the fastest in the world), the researchers combined high-resolution topography, land use information and climate modeling. Then they used dynamical downscaling to develop their climate model results. Dynamical downscaling allowed the researchers to develop climate scales as small as four square kilometers.

“Instead of studying regions, which is not useful when examining extreme weather, dynamical downscaling allows us to study small areas such as cities with a fine resolution,” said Fu.

Global warming doesn’t mean that all regions of the earth will always be warmer. ThinkProgress explains:

One of the most robust scientific findings is the direct connection between global warming and more extreme precipitation or deluges. “Basic physics tells us that a warmer atmosphere is able to hold more moisture — at a rate of approximately 7 per cent increase per degree [Celsius] warming,” as the U.K. Met Office explained in its 2014 update on climate science. “This is expected to lead to similar percentage increases in heavy rainfall, which has generally been borne out by models and observed changes in daily rainfall.”

Fu cautions:

It is important that the nation take actions to mitigate the impact of climate change in the next several decades. These changes not only cost money – about a billion a year in the U.S. – but they also cost lives.

Speak out on NJ State DEP plans to redevelop the Meadowlands

The Federal Government has created a national competition to award $1 Billion dollars to assist communities with becoming more resilient to disasters. The New Jersey DEP has submitted an application for more than $326 million dollars in funds to create berms in the Meadowlands, a NJTransit garage in Teterboro, and Resiliency Planning Assistance to municipalities throughout the state. The New Jersey application (see it in English and Spanish) proposes a pilot project “service area” in the municipalities of Carlstadt, East Rutherford, Hackensack, Hasbrouck Heights, Little Ferry, Moonachie, Rutherford, South Hackensack, Teterboro, and Wood-Ridge.

It is critical that the State hear everyone’s thoughts on how this money should be spent. This project will affect our neighborhoods, our schools, our businesses and our quality of life.

There will be a meeting for residents to find out more about this application; assistance in providing comments will be available.

National Disaster Resilience Competition Residents’ Meeting
Monday 05 Oct 2015 | 6-9:30pm
North Jersey Vineyard Church
370 North Street, Teterboro, NJ 07608

(Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/824726964314802/)
If you can’t make the meeting, you can submit your comments from now through October 9, 2015, at 5:00 p.m.

By E-mail: ndrcpubliccomments@dep.nj.gov
By Postal Mail:
Office of Flood Risk Reduction Measures
Attention: Dave Rosenblatt
501 East State Street
Mail Code 501-01A
P.O. Box 420
Trenton, NJ 08625-0420

Pope Francis’ climate change encyclical might be a global game changer

vatican ws - encyclical imageOn Thursday, Pope Francis released his 180-page papal encyclical, “On Care for Our Common Home”, which sets for the need for the people of the world to halt climate change and end global social injustice. I have high hopes that his statement will change our world, transforming personal human choices that have led us to the brink of nature’s destruction and ultimately, our own … because the Pope’s standing as a world leader is never in dispute.

pope-francis-600I have noticed that even lapsed Catholics, people whom are not Catholics and people who do not believe in Christ, nonetheless respect the Pope and pay attention to His Holiness’ edicts and opinions.

The Guardian provides an overview of the encyclical. Here’s an excerpt:

Pope Francis has called on the world’s rich nations to begin paying their “grave social debt” to the poor and take concrete steps on climate change, saying failure to do so presents an undeniable risk to a “common home” that is beginning to resemble a “pile of filth”.

The pope’s 180-page encyclical on the environment, released on Thursday, is at its core a moral call for action on phasing out the use of fossil fuels.

But it is also a document infused with an activist anger and concern for the poor, casting blame on the indifference of the powerful in the face of certain evidence that humanity is at risk following 200 years of misuse of resources.

Up to now, he says, the world has accepted a “cheerful recklessness” in its approach to the issue, lacking the will to change habits for the good of the Earth.

“Climate change is a global problem with grave implications: environmental, social, economic, political and for the distribution of goods,” the papal statement says. “It represents one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day.”

…The pontiff included a personal handwritten note in his communication, ending with a plea for help: “United in the lord, and please do not forget to pray for me.”

Another Guardian article shares reactions from scholars and citizens around the world. Prof Ian Gough speaks to the difference between need and greed, terms Pope Francis reintroduces to global discussion that modern economics has buried:

• Pope Francis’s encyclical “on care for our common home” introduces two terms buried by modern economics: “need” and “greed”. These represent two opposing worldviews. One seeks to satisfy our wants or preferences, which are limitless, non-satiable, substitutable and amoral. The other prioritises meeting universal human needs, which are limited, sufficient, non-substitutable and with clear ethical grounding. By counterposing these and putting them centre-stage, he has clarified the egregious moral dilemma inherent in climate change in a way that can unite both religion and humanism.

The pope also takes issue with the arguments of green growth, which is the current dominant strategy to handle climate change. Yes, we must support the fastest possible decarbonisation of the global economy through eco-efficiency, as Nicholas Stern persuasively argues in his new book, but at some point, very soon, we will need to switch to post-growth strategies.

This revolutionary encyclical challenges both current ethics and economics.
Prof Ian Gough
London School of Economics

I’m interested in knowing your views on the Pope’s encyclical and the impact it may have on our world. Please share …

The scientific assessment: global warming is actually science

penguin on diminished ice floeTruthout has published a book excerpt from Unprecedented, subtitled Can Civilization Survive the CO2 Crisis?

Author David Ray Griffin addresses the failure of United States’ Big Media to cover climate change fairly, quoting three scientists who explain why this is a mistake.

Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway:

[O]nce a scientific issue is closed, there’s only one “side.” Imagine providing a “balance” to the issue of whether the Earth orbits the Sun, whether continents move, or whether DNA carries genetic information. These matters were long ago settled in scientists’ minds. Nobody can publish an article in a scientific journal claiming the Sun orbits the Earth.

James Hansen also regards misapplied science to be a major problem in communicating scientific conclusions to the public. He wrote:

The scientific method requires objective analysis of all data, stating evidence pro and con, before reaching conclusions. This works well, indeed is necessary, for achieving success in science. But science is now pitted in public debate against the talk-show method, which consists of selective citation of anecdotal bits that support a predetermined position. Why is the public presented results of the scientific method and the talk-show method as if they deserved equal respect?

And he references John Oliver’s segment on the topic:

In May 2014, John Oliver humorously demonstrated on his fake TV news show, “Last Week Tonight,” what this would mean in a “Statistically Representative Climate Change Debate.” Having described the typical TV debate between a climate scientist and a climate denier, he pointed out that the debate should really be representative of the two positions. So after having two more people join the denier, Oliver brought in 96 more to join the scientist.

See for yourself – Oliver’s always interesting (and fun).

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Wannabe NASA defunder Ted Cruz now in charge of NASA

Nasa climate graphic
Keith Cowing shared posts on the NASA Watch website about GOP darling Ted Cruz’ plans to defund the robust and highly informative NASA climate change research programs. On 12 Jan 2015 Keith posted:

The new Republican-led Congress is currently busy picking people to chair its many committees and subcommittees. Guess what! Tea Party hero Senator Ted Cruz is the new chair of the Subcommittee on Space, Science and Competitiveness. That means he will oversee NASA. Yep – the climate-denying Tea Party hero who tried to defund NASA is now in charge of NASA.

NASA Defunder Now Sets NASA’s Agenda in The Senate

8 Dumb Quotes About Science From New NASA Overseer Ted Cruz on Gizmodo

Keith notes:

Cruz is not a lightweight. You may not agree with him, but he is sharp. Last year there was a hearing on the threat of asteroids to Earth. Unlike all of the other senators who asked questions, Cruz looked straight at the witnesses without referring to notes (i.e. questions written by staffers) and asked a series of questions – some prompted by witness responses – without the usual fumbling you often see from Senators who have no idea what anyone is talking about (ala Bill Nelson). Yes, he got his partisan jabs in – but everyone does that. As such NASA is going to be up against someone who can run non-stop semantic circles around Charlie Bolden – if he is inclined to do so. Dava Newman’s confirmation hearing will be interesting should he decide to use the hearing as an opportunity to go after the Administration.

Sign the White House Petition to remove Ted Cruz from the position of NASA oversight of the Subcommittee on Space, Science and Competitiveness

And on 08 Jan 2015, Keith shared additional information in his post about Cruz and fellow Republican climate change denier Marco Rubio Political Climate Change Ahead for NASA and NOAA:

The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee today announced who will chair its subcommittees in the 114th Congress. Ted Cruz (R-TX) will chair the subcommittee that oversees NASA, while Marco Rubio (R-FL) will chair the one with jurisdiction over NOAA.

Senate Commerce Names Subcommittee Chairs: Ted Cruz for NASA, Marco Rubio for NOAA

Second warmest December boosted 2014 to 34th warmest year for contiguous U.S; eight weather and climate disasters exceeded $1 billion in damages

2014 U.S. temperature exceeds 20th-century average for the 18th consecutive year

Texas Senator Ted Cruz, another climate denier, may be next-in-line to become chair of the Subcommittee on Science and Space, which oversees agencies like the National Science Foundation, NASA, and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Climate Denier Ted Cruz Is Poised to Become a Lead Senator on Science, New Republic

I do not believe that human activity is causing these dramatic changes to our climate the way these scientists are portraying it,” Rubio said on ABC’s “This Week.

Marco Rubio says human activity isn’t causing climate change, LA Times

Sign the White House Petition to remove Ted Cruz from the position of NASA oversight of the Subcommittee on Space, Science and Competitiveness

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