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Saturday, June 28, 2008

climate review June (B)


-- post revised/updated 7.1 --


The Mississippi rushes through a break in a levee


Events are unfolding. Trendlines are playing out. The 6.19. story in Scientific American confirms the title of the previous post (6.13.). Clairvoyance this isn't: eco-tailspins entail predictable information.

Two items in Scientific American's June issue (vol. 298.6, 2008): Jeffrey Sachs, director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, wrote (p. 40) "Surging Food Prices and Global Stability". Kudos to Sachs for talking straight. Food prices are up b/c of overpopulation and overconsumption; because of climate shocks (Australia drought & worse to come); because of Gringo choices: subsidized diversion of the corn crop for profitable carbon-intensive ethanol production.

John Broome, professor of moral philosophy at Oxford, wrote (p. 97-102) "The Ethics of Climate Change". Kudos to the SciAm editors for this June cover. The cover title, in fact, is Ethics and Economics of Climate Change. (Broome is an economist-turned-ethicist.)

The June cover subtitle is Balancing Current Costs against Future Well-Being. The June online subtitle is Pay Now or Pay More Later? The article blurb says:


"Weighing our own prosperity against the chances that climate change will diminish the well-being of our grandchildren calls on economists to make hard ethical judgments."

Last term I argued, to no avail, with thick-headed administrators of the Honors College at USF, who reneged on their word to add a Climate Seminar to the Honors curriculum. Their curious argument, elliptically foreshortened, was that climate change is controversial, so only natural scientists should teach it, but social scientists and philosophers have no say. My reply, in a nutshell, had been that the Honors people are behind the times, because the scientific controversy is over (6.22.08 International Herald Tribune; "best quote" below). And because the scientific controversy is over, the debate starts in the social sciences. Trust me, I said. They didn't. You'll see, I said. Now they do. If Sci Am splays Ethics & Economics of Climate on the cover, I'll rest my case. Thanks, John Rennie!

(Fair Warning: on Professor Boone, en plus detail, in the next post)

Local news: Before the rains the Hillsborough River was dry and fish were flopping in the mud. There's not a single solar roof panel in Temple Terrace. This is historic: No solar power in the sunshine state! USF still doesn't have a car pool. I remain the only bicyclist.


Best quote:

A scientific and political consensus now exists on the threat posed to our civilization by climate change. The problem is generating the political will to take the steps necessary to radically reduce our consumption of fossil fuels. The present oil shock provides the answer to that problem - if our leaders have the courage to use it.

A. Lieven & A. Roswell, "Three strikes and we're out," IHT 6.22.08



CLIMATE EVENTS

... all-time wildfire record in California 7.1.
... olympic nightmare: red tide in yellow sea 6.30
... fish fade away, crabs take over 6.29.
... no ice at the North Pole this year? 6.27.
... what's really up with north pole sea ice? 6.27.
... climate change imperils native Cal. plants 6.24.
... typhoon fengshen: 700 dead in the Philippines 6.22.
... Mississippi river flood cresting 6.22.
... blistering heat wave continues in California 6.21.
... floodwaters breach levees in Illinois 6.18.
... jellyfish climate proliferation signal nature's out of sync 6.18.
... conflicts fuelled by climate change causing new refugee crisis, warns UN: total up 3m to 37.4m as downward trend reverses -- figures exclude those fleeing natural disasters 6.17.
... record heat wave continues in New York 6.9.
... too late to save Pacific nation Kiribati from submersion 6.6.
... forecast for big sea level rise 4.15.


CLIMATE POLICY

... N Stern to Washington: 'planet heading toward tipping point' 28.6.
... N Stern: cost of tackling climate change has doubled 26.6.
... warming threatens global security 25.6.
... K Annan calls for 'climate justice' 24.6.
... J. Hansen (I): 'tipping points near on global warming' 24.6.
... J. Hansen (II) warns U.S. Congress: 'this is the last chance' 23.6.
... J. Hansen (III) asking U.S. Congress: 'put oil firms on trial' 23.6.
... K├Ânig Abdullahs Beruhigungstropfen 22.6.
... Saudia Arabia boosts oil supply 6.22.
... federal report: warming = more harmful climate extremes 6.19.
... Australia, Indonesia pledge climate cooperation 6.13.
... progress falters on Bali Roadmap to new climate deal 6.13.
... officials say UN climate talks too slow 6.13.


GLOBAL MILIEU

... tropical deforestation 2008 map 7.1.
... forecast for Dec '08: Oil at $ 170 6.28.
... Oil at $ 143 6.27.
... the floods: a manmade disaster? 6.24.
... consumer confidence sinks to 16 year low 6.24.
... U.S. home prices tumble at record rate 6.24.
... life in U.S. exurbia becomes untenable 6.24.
... T. Friedman: the oil addict-in-chief 6.22.
... high fuel prices put brakes on indie band tours 6.22.
... wind power to drive UK's green revolution 6.21.
... householders could be forced to insulate homes in UK 6.21.
... the big pander to big oil 6.19.
... world population to hit 7 billion in 2012 6.19.
... how the rich confiscate natural beauty from the public 6.17.
... Midwest farmland flooding boosts food prices 6.17.
... world crude oil production has peaked: Pickens 6.17.
... is America's suburban dream collapsing into a nightmare? 6.16.
... how a Midwest flood can drag down a train-less nation 6.15.
... the decline of North Sea oil 6.9.
... Southern California home prices down 27% from '07 levels 6.16.
... Oil at $ 140 6.16.
... a legacy of salt in Uzbekistan 6.15.
... ABC News forum on surviving the century 6.12.
... the destruction of Africa 6.11.
... natural lab shows sea's acid path 6.8.
... China now no. 1. in CO2 emissions; USA in second position 5.31.
... surplus U.S. food supplies dry up 5.2.


ENLIGHTENMENT

... Austria levies carbon tax on fat cars 6.30.
... causal nexus: climate change-drought-wildfires 6.30.
... Amsterdam airport levies carbon tax 6.28.
... M. Davis: humanity's meltdown: farewell to the Holocene 6.26.
... UK's blueprint for a green revolution 6.21.
... G. Monbiot: leave fossil century behind to reach golden age 6.21.
... A. Goodman: weather reports are missing the story 6.19.
... J. Bageant: most Americans are afraid to feel outrage 6.19.
... Congress pushes to keep land untamed 6.16.
... Supreme Court rejects Exxon appeal in human rights case 6.16.
... J. Kunstler: status quo-oh 6.16.
... housing, inflation getting worse, data to show 6.15.
... native Americans: "water is alive; it hears our words" 6.14.
... climate change protesters hijack coal train 6.13.
... E. Savin: the solution: clean energy 6.11.
... US congressman moves to impeach Bush 6.10.
... M. Parry et al.: squaring up to reality 5.29.


DISENLIGHTENMENT

... McCain opposes trains 7.1.
... citing need for "assessments," U.S. stops solar energy 6.27.
... global energy demand up 50% until 2028, rely on coal & oil 6.25.
... no end seen on reliance on oil, fossil fuels 6.25.
... Bush calls for offshore drilling 6.18.
... McCain urges end to ban on offshore drilling 6.16.
... Bush regrets almost nothing 6.15.
... Republicans block extra taxes on oil companies 6.10.


CLIMATOLOGY FINDINGS

... D. Lawrence, "Accelerated arctic land warming and permafrost degradation during rapid sea ice loss" Geophys. Res. Lett. 35 L11506
... R. Kerr, "Variable sun and Maya collapse," Science 292 p. 1293
... "Climate change killed Maya civilization," Nat'l Geogr 5.13
... "Maya may have caused deadly climate change," Nat'l Geogr 2.29
... "Maya civilization done in by brightening of the Sun," Unisci 5.17.
... D. Bielo, "Ice core shows how fast climate changes," Sci Am 6.23.
... "Solar variability and climate change," Geosciences, June
... "Sea level rises and ocean temperatures: 50% higher," 6.19.
... C. Domingues et al. "Improved estimates of upper-ocean warming and multi-decadal sea-level rise," Nature 543, p. 1090-1093
... D. Perovich et al., "Extreme Arctic sea ice melt summer 2007," Geophys Res Letters 35 L11501
... D. Khvorostyanov et al., "Vulnerability of Siberia's frozen carbon stores to future warming," Geophys Res Letters 35 L10703
... G. Brumfiel, "Bleak future for acid oceans: volcanic vents give a glimpse of world w/o corals & other creatures," Nature news 6.6.
... M. Kennedy et al. "Snowball Earth termination by destabilization of equatorial permafrost methane clathrate," Nature 453 p. 642-643
... Wired comment: "Could methane trigger a climate doomsday within a human lifespan?" 5.28.
... M. Lynas: "Climate chaos is inevitable. We can only avert oblivion." 6.12.

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