Sunday, February 23, 2020

Climate Lifeboats of the Rich and Famous?

For many years, I told my creative writing students to listen deeply for circles, threads, and connections.  I laughed when it was widely reported the world's second richest man, Bill Gates ($96.5 billion), bought -- then didn't buy -- Sinot's AQUA, "the world's first hydrogen-powered yacht for $650 million" according to businessinsider.com' s Taylor Gorden, and other reporters. It was like when the world's wealthiest man, Amazon's Jeff Bezos ($131 billion), allegedly bought -- then didn't buy -- "one of the worlds largest and most luxurious super yachts Flying Fox" according to stuff.co.nz's John Anthony, and other reporters.

These yes -- no -- reports are like the dead parrot scene in Monty's Python's sketch about the "resting" Norwegian Blue.

Maybe these two yacht reports are slick advertising campaigns, or just plain wrong. Maybe not. I guess if Gates and Bezos can't go to Mars yet to escape or wait out climate chaos, the sea may be the next best thing. About a week ago "Jeff Bezos Commit[ed] $10 Billion to Address Climate Change" according to New York Times' Karen Weise so climate is on his mind.

As John Lennon sang, "Strange days indeed" in his song "Nobody Told Me."

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Two Charts Showing What 2 C, 3 C, 4 C, and 5 C Mean. Global Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) Agreed to in Paris in 2016 Were 3.5 C (6.3 F) Over Pre-Industrial Levels, and Global Emissions Are Still Rising.


Used with permission of Datawrapper.

Here is the second chart from Climate Action Tracker showing while India is "2 C COMPATIBLE," USA and Russian Federation trajectories put us at a "4 C + WORLD" and are labeled "CRITICALLY INSUFFICIENT." As noted above, a "4 C + WORLD" means "Deadly heatwaves every summer, hundreds of drowned cities, devastation of the majority of eco-systems, more tipping points are crossed, leading to intensified warming." Earth's "most likely scenario + 3.2 C" brings "High risk of reversing of carbon cycle triggering runaway warming spiral. Droughts and famine for billions of people, leading to chaos and wars."

There is even more bad news. Amanda Erickson noted in the Washington Post October 11, 2018, "Few countries are meeting the Paris climate goals." It's small comfort "the rate of emissions growth is lower than in the previous 2 years" according to a February 3, 2020 article by CORDIS at phys.org.  That's like a doctor saying "Yes, on this course the patient is terminal, but she is dying more slowly than before."  Given all this, Extinction Rebellion's second demand makes sense: "Government must act now to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025."

In a previous post I wrote, "Johan Rockström, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany, [noted] at 4 C above preindustrial 1850 baseline, 'It’s difficult to see how [Earth] could accommodate a billion people or even half of that.I have also written the IPCC report noted 'Coral reefs, for example, are projected to decline by a further 70–90% at 1.5°C (high confidence) with larger losses (>99%) at 2°C (very high confidence).' I have seen pushback claiming humanity is not in a climate crisis, but tell that to the estimated 500 million to 1 billion people depending on those coral reefs for food and/or jobs that will clearly be lost unless some miracle science, not yet invented, saves them."

I agree with James Baldwin, "Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced."

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Climate Grief

About 9 years ago, my life partner of 6 years died suddenly and unexpectedly. She was laughing and joking at breakfast, and nearly gone by evening. My mom, dad, and companion animal, about the same time, also suffered horrible deaths. The family thought mom had the flu, but it was much worse. One moment we were talking at the dinner table, and shortly after, I and paramedics were unable to save her. I will spare you the gory details. The Tibetan Buddhist idea of "impermanence" I teach in World Literature was becoming clear. The point is my grief counselor taught me 4 things that may help those waking up to climate reality, and suffering climate grief:

1) "Emotions come through in waves. Accept the waves."

2) "Take time to grieve, and not to grieve."

3) "Know you will feel different tomorrow than today."

4) "Understand the importance of storytelling in healing."

As the climate crisis necessarily accelerates, because, as Brian Kahn on December 3, 2014, at climatecentral.org noted, "CO2 Takes Just 10 Years to Reach Planet’s Peak Heat," more people will wake up and grieve. There seems to be a natural grieving process when, for example, a Jan. 14, 2020, Los Angeles Times article “An Australia in flames tries to cope with an ‘animal apocalypse.’ Could California be next?” reported "Scientists estimate that, so far in Australia, fires have killed from hundreds of millions to more than 1 billion native animals," or students see one koala bear rescued. Similarly, it was stressful when The International Organization for Migration, “a related agency of the UN system” (according to its Website), reported in 2015 “Current forecasts for the number of climate induced migrants by 2050 vary between 25 million and one billion, depending on various climate scenarios, the adaptation measures taken and other political and demographic factors.4” A Sep. 12, 2019 Vice magazine article, citing The International Organization for Migration, updated the number to as high as “1.5 billion.”

Even climate scientists are grieving. As I wrote in a previous post, “Scientist and Forbes writer James Conca noted September 10, 2019, ‘To bring this home, all you have to do is see how climate scientists are seeking psychiatric help for the depression, anxiety and PTSD that happens when you see a train wreck coming but no one seems to want to do anything about it - and you’re on the train.’"

Previously, I posted about "Climate Scientists Expressing Nightmare/Anger/Fear/Gratitude/Other Feelings." In the first letter, Professor Stefan Rahmstorf, Head of Earth System Analysis, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, wrote "Sometimes I have this dream. [par break] I’m going for a hike and discover a remote farm house on fire. [par break] Children are calling for help from the upper windows. So I call the fire brigade. But they don’t come, because some mad person keeps telling them that it is a false alarm."

NASA climate scientist Peter Kalmus' 2018 Yes! Magazine article "The Best Medicine for My Climate Grief" clarified what was coming, and yesterday's Guardian article by Christiana Figueres and Tom Rivett-Carnac, "‘The only uncertainty is how long we’ll last’: a worst case scenario for the climate in 2050," shows where we may be going barring major changes for better or worse.  

Monday, February 3, 2020

Best Practices for Climate Crisis

“If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.” ― Gospel of Thomas

Nation = Morocco and The Gambia

Leader = Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland

City = Vancouver, B. C.

College = Middlebury in Vermont

Organization = Extinction Rebellion, 350.org, and Olympic Climate Action

Individual = Roger Hallam and Dr. Gail Bradbrook

Scientist = James HansenHans Joachim Schellnhuber, and Johan Rockström

Activist = Ken Ward and Valve Turners

Astronaut = Piers Sellers

Lawyer = Julia Olson, executive director and chief legal counsel for Our Children’s Trust and Thomas Linzey

Organizer = Bill McKibben

Youth Climate Movement = Greta Thunberg

Musician = Ruth MundyLudovico Einaudi, and Coldplay

Rap Artist = Baba Brinkman

Writer = Thomas BerryElizabeth Kolbert and Dahr Jamail

Artist = Pinar YoldasSean Yoro (HULA), and Guy Denning

Explainer = Dave Borlace


Dance Performance = KT Nelson's Dead Reckoning 

Thinker = Paul Kingsnorth and Derrick Jensen

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Koala Bear Dream

"Tree With No Words" on Oregon Coast
I dreamed Koalas with human voices asked for a seat at the UN.

The UN said no.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Process Work Institute's CLIMATE FORUM: Is Portland [Oregon] Making a Difference? Jan. 17, 2020

I was glad to attend Process Work Institute's CLIMATE FORUM: Is Portland [Oregon] Making a Difference?, and I hope other cities will follow this format of diverse perspectives, patient listening, and community building. I heard Native Americans and Pacific Islanders, healing song, words of students and high school teachers, authors, local residents, political candidates, business perspectives, and those voicing concerns for refugee rights, climate justice, and future humans and nonhumans. The group of about 80 included those from Siberia, Ukraine, Poland, Italy, Seattle, Los Angeles, and Korea. The event began with three minute presentations from Portland Audubon, Pacific Climate Warriors, Center for Sustainable Economy, Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon Yang Gang, and Portland Clean Energy Fund. This was followed by two minutes of sharing from others. 

When it was my turn, I spoke about nonviolent civil disobedient success and three demands of Extinction Rebellion which were greeted with loud applause. 

Friday, January 17, 2020

Dissenting Judge Staton in Lost Case 18-36082 Kelsey Rose Juliana v. USA (Children's Trust Climate Lawsuit Permission to Proceed to Trial Against USA Heard by Case Panel: MURGUIA, HURWITZ, STATON): "In these proceedings, the government accepts as fact that the United States has reached a tipping point crying out for a concerted response – yet presses ahead toward calamity. It is as if an asteroid were barreling toward Earth and the government decided to shut down our only defenses. Seeking to quash this suit, the government bluntly insists that it has the absolute and unreviewable power to destroy the nation.”

For background, click here.

The above quote is from Lee Van der Voo's Jan. 17, 2020 article in The Guardian.

Interesting this comes the same day CNN reporter Drew Kann wrote "Almost 6 in 10 Americans are either 'alarmed' or 'concerned' by global warming, marking what researchers say is a major shift in public perception of the issue."

It is also interesting Carolyn Kormann in The New Yorker wrote "The judges will take a few weeks to issue their decision," but it took over seven months.  What forces behind the scenes, if any, influenced this verdict?  What forces in land, sea, and sky will result from this verdict? What will future generations say about it?

John Kruzel, writing at The Hill, quoted Julia Olson, executive director and chief legal counsel for Our Children’s Trust, “The Juliana case is far from over. The Youth Plaintiffs will be asking the full court of the Ninth Circuit to review this decision and its catastrophic implications for our constitutional democracy."

In my opinion judges Murguia and Hurwitz, calling for "the electorate at large" to "change the composition of the political branches through the ballot box" (according to cnn.com reporter Dan Berman) completely ignored the science regarding rate of change, regardless of what they said to media, each other, or themselves in dead of night.

Taylor Perse, writing for eugeneweekly.com, added a quote from Staton's dissent "When the seas envelop our coastal cities, fires and droughts haunt our interiors, and storms ravage everything between, those remaining will ask: Why did so many do so little?"

Nicholas Kusnetz and David Hasemyer, writing for insideclimatenews.org, included a quote by Hurwitz complementing Staton's dissent, "Absent some action, the destabilizing climate will bury cities, spawn life-threatening natural disasters, and jeopardize critical food and water supplies."

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Judge Gives New Meaning to "Swiss Bank Account"

Feb. 6, 2020 Update from Leonard Higgins, Valve Turner: "Regretfully, the Skagit County Superior Court granted the Prosecution’s last-minute motion to delay fellow Valve Turner Ken Ward’s [climate necessity defense] trial (that was scheduled to begin on Monday) to sometime later this Spring. This delay comes at a huge financial cost to us, as we have already sunk thousands of dollars into trial preparations, and for the lodging and travel expenses of our expert witnesses."

I missed local English Bulldog Agility Trials because Suz said we needed to see the tax man. I'm sure I'll get over it in a few decades.

On a more serious note, it was great to read Jordan Davidson's Jan. 14, 2020 article at ecowatch.com, "Swiss Judge Clears Climate Crisis Protestors, Says Actions Were ‘Necessary and Proportional’." Davidson wrote "A Swiss court on Monday cleared a dozen activists of wrongdoing and a hefty fine [of '$22,200']  for a stunt they pulled in a Credit Suisse bank in November 2018. [par break] The protestors had occupied the bank and played tennis to demand an end to fossil fuel funding and to ask tennis star, Roger Federer, to end his endorsement deal with the bank, as the AP reported. [ . . . . ] The judge, Philippe Colelough, said the protestors who wore completely white tennis outfits and wigs were justified because of the imminent threat posed by the climate crisis, according to Deutsche Welle."

According to Davidson, Federer responded in a Reuters report, "I appreciate reminders of my responsibility as a private individual, as an athlete and as an entrepreneur, and I'm committed to using this privileged position to dialogue on important issues with my sponsors [ . . . . ] I take the impacts and threat of climate change very seriously, particularly as my family and I arrive in Australia amidst devastation from the bushfires."

This is timely because Valve Turner Ken Ward, tried a third time, will face a "climate necessity defense trial" February 10-14, 2020 in Skagit Superior Court, Mt Vernon, WA. Last year I showed a film about him, The Reluctant Radical, at my college, and posted a link to the trailer. My English 205 students ranked it as one of their favorite films in the course.  Climate Scientist Dr. James Hansen praised the film, "They told him he was crazy, but crazy is sitting idly by as disaster for young people is knowingly locked in." In a previous post I wrote "Professor James Hansen said in his COP25 Press Conference '450 [ppm of  CO2] is a disaster if you leave it in the air for long because we would eventually lose all coastal cities. The safe level is something less than 350 ppm but we are already at 410 ppm.' [I added] that should be on the front page of each newspaper on Earth."

It was interesting last time Valve Turners received permission to use the "necessity defense," "a last-minute change of mind by [ . . . a Minnesota] trial judge" "acquitted [ . . . ] Emily Johnston and Annette Klapstein of all charges," according to Mark Hand Oct. 10, 2018, at thinkprogress.org.

It was reported Valve Turner Michael Foster, a family therapist, is on day 3 of a hunger strike at the start of a legislative session In Olympia, WA, to "fast each day until Gov Inslee calls for a Citizens' Assembly and Emergency Special Session for Climate. It is 2020. Washington emissions are higher than when Inslee took office. Our families won't survive another few years of tinkering around the edges. Cut pollution now or make Life pay forever." I recall Washington Governor Jay Inslee ran for President on a climate platform noted in my post that included "Radiohead - Idioteque" used with permission of Extinction Rebellion.

Monday, January 6, 2020

Mary Annaïse Heglar's "My wish for 2020 [. . .]"

I found this tweet at Olympic Climate Action's blog Hot Off the Wire 1/3/2020, and received permission from Natural Resources Defense Council Publications Director Mary Annaïse Heglar to repost. l previously wrote about Extinction Rebellion Co-founder Roger Hallam's "Emotional and Intellectual Honesty," and saw these strengths in Annaïse Heglar's Twitter page, her climate  manifesto "The Fight for Climate Justice Requires a New Narrative," and sensitivity to national and global communities mostly-silenced in corporate media.

As a reminder, I wrote a climate manifesto in 2014, and posted former Director of Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research Hans Joachim Schellnhuber's idea of creating "a climate passport [or Nansen passport for climate refugees] 'to enter at least about 50 countries']." as he claimed "Rising Seas Could Affect 1.4 Billion People by 2060." Annaïse Heglar wrote in her October 22, 2019 Guernica article "After the Storm -- How Hurricane Katrina and the murder of Emmett Till shaped one woman’s commitment to climate justice," "we never thought we’d see New Orleanians referred to as refugees in their own country. It was as heartbreaking as it was unbelievable."

Annaïse Heglar's comment about "refugees" reminds me of Global Oneness Project's short video "In Celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr." noting the reality of all humans being "interdependent [, . . . . ] interrelated" and how "we must either learn to live together as brothers or we are all going to perish together as fools." King's quote has taken on greater importance with the climate crisis. 

Annaïse Heglar's comment also fits John D. Banusiewicz's writing for DoD News at The U. S. Department of Defense, citing former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel's position on global warming: "food and water shortages, pandemic disease, disputes over refugees and resources, and destruction by natural disasters in regions across the globe." In one of my most-visited posts, "Cornel West's Great Essay 'Brother Martin Was a Blues Man.'" West noted  "But when [ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.] was speaking the truth, he was radically unsettling folk. [ . . . .]  The New York TimesNew YorkerAtlantic MonthlyNew Republic, exemplary liberal [ . . . ] pushed Martin aside. [ . . . .]"  Annaïse Heglar's willingness to "speak the rude truth" as King, Jr did, and as Emerson wrote, is in good company in this regard.

In related matters, Elizabeth Kolbert, author of 2015 Pulitzer Prize for nonfiction, The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History, has a great essay in the January 13, 2020 issue of The New Yorker"What Will Another Decade of Climate Crisis Bring?"; the January 3, 2020 issue of The Guardian reported "Jakarta floods: cloud seeding planes try to break up heavy rain"; and Amy Goodman of Democracy NOW! reported "Australia is bracing for what is expected to be the worst weekend yet in an already devastating climate-fueled wildfire season that has ravaged the southeastern part of the country, killed at least 18 people and nearly half a billion animals, and destroyed 14.5 million acres of land. As thousands of evacuees fled to the beaches, conservative Prime Minister Scott Morrison is facing growing outrage for his inaction on climate and close ties with the coal industry." Regarding the Jakarta, Indonesia "cloud seeding." I wrote about geoengineering on this blog quoting Corey Gabriel, Executive Director of Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Masters of Advanced Studies in Climate Science and Policy: "In the event that geoengineering did cause disparate regional impacts, a regulatory scheme would need to develop that would contain enforceable compensation mechanisms to compensate those who suffer any damages." 

DOCUMENTARY: Climate skeptic examines what scientists know and how they know it (by Verify Road Trip in Dallas, Texas)


Thanks to David Schechter / Verify Road Trip for permission. 

In addition to climate work in Texas, this video focuses on climate impacts in Alaska along with effects on glaciers, salmon, and permafrost experienced by a climate skeptic willing to meet outdoors with scientists. The skeptic, 38-year-old Justin Fain, is a "politically conservative"  honest and curious Texas roofer with a great sense of humor so the video is fun to watch.  

Included are climate skeptic Dr. John R. ChristyAlabama State Climatologist, and climate scientist, Dr. Katharine Hayhoe, a former Exxon-funded climate scientist whom, in addition to being a co-author on the 2018 Fourth U.S. National Climate Assessmentwas noted by Neela Banerjee in the Los Angeles Times as "driven as much by the tenets of her faith [as an evangelical Christian] as the urgency of the science" and is committed to "protecting God’s creation and loving one’s neighbors" clearly suffering climate impacts today in Australia, island nations, and developing nationsWhile I agree with Dr. Christy "climate has been hotter [and colder] in the past," "ice [has] melted there before" and "sea level [has] risen before," my reading shows the anthropogenic (human-caused) argument is still convincing. Reasons include increased rate of carbon release along with increased rate of global heating, unprecedented rate of global heating in the past 2,000 years according to Chelsea Harvey in the July 25, 2019 E&E News and Scientific American, and widely reported current rate of melting glaciers.

For example, in the video, Dr. Jay Banner says "The rate of change happening today is 40,000 times faster [. . . than] our past records of CO2," and journalist David Schechter, informed by scientist Dr. Brian Brettschneidersays "Whereas glaciers might have receded over hundreds or thousands of years, now it's decades." See former climate skeptic James Balog's trailer for Chasing Ice (2,184,698 views as of today).  

I imagine Dr. Christy noting, regarding CO2, "correlation is not causation" and I am writing about "thousands of years," while he is speaking about geologic time when, for example, according to ScienceDaily, "alligators thrived in High Arctic 50 million years ago." However, as Dr. Andy Dessler in the above video said, and many other scientists argued, skeptics' main competing climate "suspects" of "Earth's orbit," "sun getting hotter," and "El Niño," are easily discredited while, according to Dessler, "COis guilty beyond a reasonable doubt."

Native Alaskan Karlin Itchoak, of the Nome Eskimo Community, says "I think we're 10 years behind at least, maybe more [ . . . .] What I'm worried about is by time folks in Texas don't have to question whether or not climate change is happening, we won't be able to reverse it and we'll all just be in survival mode and figure out how we can adapt." Some of my fishing buddies, colleagues, and relatives are serious climate skeptics, but love salmon and fishing, so it would be good for them, and other skeptics, to see this video.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

"2020 spring salmon forecast mirrors previous year’s [low returns]" -- The Columbian

Suz on a river near our house about three years ago.
Low water steelhead fishing on Oregon coast.
Suz and I got in a big fight because her veggie casserole smelled up my sandshrimps, and fish wouldn't bite. Before that, I was scolded for being too fat, and scolded for not eating enough. I guess I'm still learning about married life.

The coho run was a bust in area rivers and fall chinook season closed early so hopefully winter steelhead fishing will be better. Oddly, coho jack counts last year were good (year-early smaller fish) but, Terry Otto of The Columbian reported Dec. 18, 2019, "Staff from [Washington and Oregon] expressed concern about the fact that the big jack return of 2018, which should have been a sign of a very strong return in 2019, [. . .] did not pan out. [par break] The fact that there were so many jacks that did not survive to spawn means something happened to adult coho in the ocean. Managers can only speculate about the reason. [. . . .] 'Certainly, the ocean has turned a little bit (poor) again in 2019.' said Tucker Jones, the ODFW manager of ocean salmon and Columbia River. 'Climate change is going to make everything more variable and dynamic, so for sure it’s a real possibility.'"  In 2016 The Columbian posted my letter about the climate/salmon issue noting "[In 2015] the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife trucked salmon up low rivers to spawn, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife trucked salmon out of Central Oregon due to warm waters, and California trucked smolts to the ocean."

I will speculate 2019 low runs were due to return of the "blob" impacting ocean feeding, increasing weakened fish' vulnerability to marine predators, and killing more fish from river disease. Specifically, I wrote in a previous post September 1, 2019 about return of the Pacific fish-killing "blob." Scott Sistek's linked katu.com news article reported "Research scientists with NOAA Fisheries note that a new expanse of unusually warm water has quickly grown in much the same way [as in 2014-15], in the same area, to almost the same size -- again [in 2019] stretching from Alaska to California."

Similarly, the Statesman Journal reported "To help the remaining [fall] Chinook spawn, officials have closed the entire North [Oregon] Coast to all salmon angling effective Dec. 13 to 31. [. . . .] [ODFW Biologist Robert] Bradley blamed abnormally dry conditions in Oregon for the spread of the [cryptobia] parasite, which has caused fish deaths in the past but never on this scale."  

In my December 8, 2013 post Dr. David Welch, a world expert on salmon migratory patterns, whom sent maps on coho, chinook, sockeye, and steelhead Pacific Ocean migrations, claimed "global warming" was one of the biggest threats to long-term survival of the Pacific Northwest's iconic fish. This fit what Bob Lackey, Professor of Fisheries at Oregon State University, emailed me: "In a 100 years wild salmon runs south of Canada will be reduced to remnant runs."

A similar nightmare is unfolding in Tasmania

One of my Native friends of many years told me in June some tribal elders said this may be the last human generation on Earth so it's time for gratitude for many gifts received, and time to help young people as we can.

Monday, December 16, 2019

Planck Epoch to Precambrian to Anthropocene to Titanicene, "What a long strange trip it's been." -- Grateful Dead

When the "unsinkable" Titanic went down, some rich people died. History.com noted "Of the 2,240 passengers and crew on board, more than 1,500 lost their lives in the disaster." Among the drowned was "the wealthiest passenger [ . . .] John Jacob Astor IV, heir to the Astor family fortune." Businessinsider.com reported wealthy victims included John Thayer, "railroad executive," Isidor Straus, "co-owner of Macy's— and his wife Ida," Benjamin Guggenheim, "mining magnate," George Dennick Wick, "steel magnate," and Charles Melville Hays, "railroad executive." I'm guessing it will be the same with climate crisis as insulated countries become more vulnerable with each passing year. 

Titanic has become a cliche for climate change. In an earlier post, I wrote "Barry McGuire's protest song "Eve of Destruction" written by P. F. Sloan in 1964 is a good COP25 theme song." In tribute to failed COP25, I now offer the term "Titanicene."  I chose this partly because of Dave Borlace's report "A team of climate scientists has released a new study in the journal Nature showing that the Greenland ice sheet is now melting seven times faster than it was back in 1992. [. . . and] a similar study back in June that revealed Antarctica is losing 200 billion tonnes of ice a year representing a threefold rate of loss compared to 2012." 

Sometimes asking politicians to see truth is like Kabir wrote: "people won't wake up -- Not until they feel death's club inside their skulls." In a related matter, my post PLAYA Climate Change Discussion July 7, 2016 received over 600 views, maybe because of Jason Box's comment "out of the ten possible scenarios on climate change, nine result in loss of society as we know it."  Since the climate crisis is much worse now, I'm guessing our odds are less. I recall David Suzuki said in his Dec. 16, 2018 video Why it’s time to think about human extinction "We've got a 5% chance of keeping temperature below 2 degrees [Celsius global average above year 1850 preindustrial]" [32:27 on timeline] but "We don't know enough to say it's too late [35:14 on timeline] [. . . .] Now, the hope I cling to [. . . is] based on reality. [. . . .] The biggest run of sockeye [salmon] in the world is in the Fraser River here in British Columbia, and we like to get 20 to 30 million sockeye coming back in their run. In 2009 we got just over one million sockeye [. . .] and I vividly remember turning to my wife and I said 'That's it. [. . . .] The sockeye are gone.' One year later we got the biggest run of sockeye in a hundred years [36:04 on timeline] [. . . .] Nature shocked us, and I believe that nature has many many more surprises, some of them not so great, but I think she will be far more generous than we deserve. We've got to pull back. We've got to protect every bit of nature we've got left, and work like hell to cut our ecological footprint. [ . . . .] But it's a very narrow window. [. . . .] I say that we need new technology but it's got to be technology done with great humility and care, and I believe the guiding principle of technology has got to be what's called biomimicry" [38:30 on timeline].

Suzuki asked "Who do we look to if our own politicians we elect to high office don't even care about our children? What the hell? What kind of a species are we? You're damn right it's doom and gloom" [28:27 on timeline].

Saturday, December 14, 2019

"'The Most Extreme Fires We’ve Ever Seen': Record Climate-Fueled Wildfires Engulf Australia in Smoke" Democracy NOW! at COP25



Jan. 14, 2020 Update: "An Australia in flames tries to cope with an ‘animal apocalypse.’ Could California be next?" is a front page Los Angeles Times story by Joseph Serna and Susanne Rust with a two-minute video on attempts to save koalas as "50 to 80% of [their] habitat" was destroyed by recent fires.The article notes "Scientists estimate that, so far in Australia, fires have killed from hundreds of millions to more than 1 billion native animals."

January 3, 2020 BBC News Update on Australia's Fires

In the above Democracy NOW! video Bill Hare, Australian environmental scientist and director of Climate Analytics, coordinator of Climate Action Trackersaid “I’ve seen more tears at this COP [2019 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Madrid, Spain] than I’ve ever seen in the previous 24 COPS. This is the crying COP. We’re having people coming from small island states whose islands are going under absolutely devastated, almost panicking about the state of the threat they face. [. . . .] The Great Barrier Reef [. . .] on the west coast [. . .] and north [is] going under from coral bleaching. We’re seeing enormous problems happening with biodiversity. We have 400 kilometers of dead mangroves of the Gulf of Carpentaria. The scientists in my community are saying we’re beginning to see ecosystem collapse.”

In a previous post I wrote "U. S. winter is Australia's summer so it's vital to watch what is happening in Australia 'with summer yet to start' according to Nine News Australia to preview the trend of possible U. S. climate impacts June through September 2020. The 40.9 C Melbourne's 'hottest November day on record' equals 105.6 F."

The slowness of meaningful COP response is like being at a party inside a house on fire where so-called leaders are fighting over the last bag of chips.  I recall a Shell CEO told Hans Joachim Schellnhuber (Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research), "The climate problem is real but it is completely intractable. You can not solve it. So, let's get rich quick before the world ends, huh?'" In addition, see my August 29, 2018 post Schellnhuber: "Rising Seas Could Affect 1.4 Billion People by 2060."

Chilean Economist Manfred Max-Neef spoke in 2013 about what a sane global economy would look like. The start of his 5 min. video notes "five postulate[s] and one fundamental value principle." He said "The value principle I propose is that no economic interest whatsoever, under any circumstances, can be above the reverence for life. And I say life meaning much more than just human beings -- life in all its manifestations of which we are one example."

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Climate Crisis Underreported in KPBS Roundtable Discussion in San Diego

As I wrote on the back of Hawk on Wire, "the INDC (Intended Nationally Determined Contributions) agreed to in Paris in 2016 of 3.5° C (6.3° F) over pre-industrial levels are insanely irresponsible to present and future generations of all species." 

The October 2017 170 California fires and November 2018 Camp Fire in Paradise, CA, widely reported as the "deadliest" in California history, may help explain the Dec. 6, 2019 Los Angels Times report by David Lauter, "Hit by fires and droughts, California [Democratic primary] voters call climate change their top priority." 
 The report notes "Overall, 47% chose climate change, followed by 32% picking healthcare reform, 14% immigration and 3% criminal justice."

For anyone still on the fence about climate change being human caused, consider James Powell's Nov. 20, 2019 article "Scientists Reach 100% Consensus on Anthropogenic Global Warming" in Bulletin of Science, Technology & Society. Powell's abstract notes "The consensus among research scientists on anthropogenic global warming has grown to 100%, based on a review of 11,602 peer-reviewed articles on 'climate change' and 'global warming' published in the first 7 months of 2019." His  biography notes he "has a PhD from MIT in Geochemistry and is the former college president, museum director, and 12-year member of the US National Science Board appointed first by President Reagan and then by the President G. H. W. Bush."  

Subject: Dec. 6 KPBS Round Table Climate Change Discussion

Editors:

Today in the KPBS Round Table discussion on climate change, I was disappointed how the danger of the climate crisis, as noted by top scientists, was underreported.

Your speakers probably know one of the most credible scientists on Earth regarding this topic is James Hansen. Hansen, former Director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York City, warned the U. S. Congress about the climate crisis threat in 1988. 

This is what he said in his December 4, 2019, COP25 press conference, which I also linked and reported in the fifth paragraph of my recent blog post "Look, Look, Look," "450 [ppm of  CO2] is a disaster if you leave it in the air for long because we would eventually lose all coastal cities. The safe level is something less than 350 ppm but we are already at 410 ppm." I added "That should be on the front page of each newspaper on Earth."

Another credible scientific source is the IPCC. On my November 24, 2019 post "Climate Equity Graph from Meinshausen et al. 2009, and Aerosol Killing / Cooling Double Bind" I wrote the recent IPCC report noted "Coral reefs, for example, are projected to decline by a further 70–90% at 1.5°C (high confidence) with larger losses (>99%) at 2°C (very high confidence)." Here is why the IPCC is a credible source. There is no doubt among the mainstream scientific community that we will blast through 2°C because of the CO2 already in the system. In that same post I wrote "Brian Kahn on December 3rd, 2014, at climatecentral.org noted 'CO2 Takes Just 10 Years to Reach Planet’s Peak Heat' so we have some worse effects locked in."

The main [problem] with underreporting the danger of the climate crisis is that people will not plan for it.  As I asked at the end of my September 1, 2019, post  "Welcome to the Future -- Thoughts and Prayers for Those in Dorian's Path," "My two questions are: 1) What would city planning, agriculture, wilderness preservation, transportation, and colleges look like if our leaders told us this truth? and  2) What potential does humanity have if we stop playing this game of musical chairs with our and nonhuman survival?"

Please let me know if you have questions. Be advised I may post your response on my blog that has readers in 99 countries. 

Best regards,

Scott T. Starbuck

Thursday, December 5, 2019

"Look, Look, Look"

Some thought my last post was a bit dramatic, but it was, unfortunately, factual.
In other words, look, look, look at news the past two days:

"Huge waves and disease turn Marshall Islands into ‘a war zone,’ health official says"
by Susanne Rust in Los Angeles Times. "This week, the picture grew even bleaker as
climate change, disease and political unease collided and officials put out an international
plea for help." See The GroundTruth Project and FRONTLINE's great interactive video "The Last Generation" that "places you in the shoes of [three Marshall Islands] children as they grapple with the possibility of seeing their homeland disappear." The project won "an Emmy Award, an Online Journalism Award, World Press Photo’s Inaugural Interactive of The Year Award, a Scripps Howard Award, and a Webby Award."

"Climate crisis is 'challenge of civilisation', says pope" by Fiona Harvey in The Guardian.
Kat Kramer, "the global climate lead at Christian Aid" mentioned in the article,
noted "The studies published this week showing temperatures and emissions hitting new highs
suggests our leaders are failing us. It’s no wonder that Pope Francis has felt the need to step
in once again to remind politicians they need to do a much better job."

"Florida Keys Deliver a Hard Message: As Seas Rise, Some Places Can’t Be Saved" by
Christopher Flavelle and Patricia Mazzei in The New York Times. "To protect against expected
flooding levels in 2060, the cost would jump to $181 million [ par break] And all that to protect
about two dozen homes. [. . . .] How do you tell somebody, ‘We’re not going to build the road
to get to your home’? And what do we do?' Mr. Gastesi asked. 'Do we buy them out? And how
do we buy them out — is it voluntary? Is it eminent domain? How do we do that?'” Other serious issues, as my students and I wrote before, include what to do about "survivors and victims of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, especially those from islands of Barbuda and Puerto Rico, as well as Californians affected by fires, and millions globally enduring floods in Bangladesh [widely reported as 1/3 underwater in 2017], Peru, Nepal, India, China, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Canada, Iran, Norway, England, Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand, Vietnam, Zimbabwe, and other places." That was before the recent disaster in The Bahamas.

The climate crisis is so obvious, one has to work hard not to notice.  Professor James Hansen said in his COP25 Press Conference "450 [ppm of  CO2] is a disaster if you leave it in the air for long because we would eventually lose all coastal cities. The safe level is something less than 350 ppm but we are already at 410 ppm." That should be on the front page of each newspaper on Earth.

In another COP25 video Paul Beckwith used the metaphor of humans as the stubborn knight in Monty Python's The Holy Grail which I is something I wrote about in my post "The Black Knight and Climate Change" September 5, 2017. with the video linked.  The difference was I faulted "world leaders" because as Isaac Asimov said, "Well, it’s perhaps not important that every human being thinks so. How about the leaders thinking so? How about the opinion-makers thinking so? Ordinary people might follow them. If we didn’t have leaders who are thinking in exactly the opposite way; if we didn’t have people who are shouting hatred and suspicion of foreigners; if we didn’t have people who are shouting that it’s more important to be unfriendly than to be friendly; if we didn’t have people shouting somehow that people inside the country who don’t look exactly the way the rest of us look, that something’s wrong with them."

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Open Letter to World Leaders on "Eve of Destruction" at COP25 Dec. 2 – Dec. 13, 2019, Madrid, Spain

I may be a fisherman, and you may be the most powerful puppets on Earth, but your unbalanced goal to pursue competitive advantage over sustainable cooperation will, according to your scientists in your countries, kill most everyone and everything you value unless you rise to a higher level of consciousness by telling Big Oil their time is over. Will Pinocchio become a real boy?

Barry McGuire's protest song "Eve of Destruction" written by P. F. Sloan in 1964 is a good COP25 theme song.

Monday, December 2, 2019

Is the boat on fire or is Suz reeling in a halibut?

Sometimes I take a break from climate work to fish. On March 31, 2019, I wrote "The problem is greenhouse gases are invisible, and solution is to require by international law fossil fuel emissions in all countries be immediately colored purple the same way rotten egg scent is added to natural gas to alert homeowners to danger of leaks.  This way people can see what humans are doing in local real time to build social, political, economic, and legal will necessary to reduce emissions and preserve a livable planet.  The truth would no longer be silenced in some areas, with building catastrophic events in others, because it would be in everyone's face every second of every day [. . . .] To increase albedo, make it a nearly white purple.  [. . . .] My idea, while expensive, is not insane. What is insane is doing nothing significant to reduce emissions."

No world governments, as far as I know, took my advice.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

"Climate Scientist [Oxford Doctor Adam Levy] reacts to Donald Trump's climate comments"


Used with permission of ClimateAdam also known as a doctor in atmospheric physics (University of Oxford) focused on communicating complex scientific ideas with engaging multimedia stories on his award-winning YouTube channel. I found this at skepticalscience.com. Listen to Dr. Piers Sellers, former NASA astronaut and Director of the Earth Science Division at NASA/GSFC, in the film Before the Flood complement Dr. Levy's points.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Climate Equity Graph from Meinshausen et al. 2009, and Aerosol Killing / Cooling Double Bind

and used by Paul Beckwith

As a reminder, here is why the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) is not a radical group. I've written on this blog about its "Global Warming of 1.5 C Report." I provided a video of implications and included a statement by Johan Rockström, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany, noting at 4 C above preindustrial 1850 baseline, "It’s difficult to see how [Earth] could accommodate a billion people or even half of that." I have also written the IPCC report noted "Coral reefs, for example, are projected to decline by a further 70–90% at 1.5°C (high confidence) with larger losses (>99%) at 2°C (very high confidence)." I have seen pushback claiming humanity is not in a climate crisis, but tell that to the estimated 500 million to 1 billion people depending on those coral reefs for food and/or jobs that will clearly be lost unless some miracle science, not yet invented, saves them. 

In the graph above, vertical above the "My kids" line, the nightmare scenario of 4 C is within their lifetimes, with increasing climate chaos for those alive now in the absence of meaningful carbon reductions. In addition, as I wroteBrian Kahn on December 3rd, 2014, at climatecentral.org noted "CO2 Takes Just 10 Years to Reach Planet’s Peak Heat" so we have some worse effects locked in. 

However, there is also the increasingly-reported problem of the role aerosols from human carbon emissions play in cooling Earth so we need a solution for that as well. Eric Holthaus reported February 8, 2018 in Grist, "According to a new study, we might be locked in this deadly embrace. Research by an international team of scientists recently published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters says that the cooling effect of aerosols is so large that it has masked as much as half of the warming effect from greenhouse gases. So aerosols can’t be wiped out. Take them away and temperatures would soar overnight." He continues "If we magically transformed the global economy overnight, and air pollution fell to near zero, we’d get an immediate rise in global temperatures of between 0.5 and 1.1 degrees Celsius, according to the new study. (For reference: The climate has warmed about 1.2 degrees Celsius since the start of the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century.) The warming would be concentrated over the major cities of the northern hemisphere, close to where most aerosols are emitted. In the hardest hit parts of highly-urbanized East Asia, for example, the complete removal of aerosols would likely have a bigger effect than all other sources of climate change combined. Temperatures in the Arctic could jump as much as 4 degrees Celsius — a catastrophe that would shove the region further toward a permanently ice-free state." As a reminder, President Niinistö of Finland said in Joint Press Conference with President Trump, August 28, 2017, "If we lose the Arctic, we lose the globe." 

Years before the 2018 Grist article was republished in Rolling Stone, I heard about the aerosol problem, currently noted as The McPherson Paradox, but I also saw how McPherson was challenged by climate scientist Michael E. Mann, The Guardian, and others.  Unfortunately, McPherson's ideas about "the aerosol masking effect" or "global dimming" are not easily dismissed, and I am uncertain about the magnitude of this problem. I wrote a post in 2018 "Climate Scientists Expressing Nightmare/Anger/Fear/Gratitude/Other Feelings" with a video of Australian climate scientists' fears of having children. Bill McKibben's most recent book Falter asks in its subtitle "Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out?"

In short, this aerosol killing / cooling situation may have us in a double bind. The double bind idea is explained by writer / activist Derrick Jensen at about 5 minutes and 20 seconds into his Forget Shorter Showers video made by Jore. The problem may be that reducing carbon emissions, if humans can do this, is only half the solution with no widely-published plans for resulting removal of aerosol cooling effect. If you have a scientifically-viable plan, please let me know at rivermuses@gmail.com, and maybe I will add it to this post. 

James Hansen in 2012 spoke about the aerosol problem as "Doubling Down on the Faustian Bargain" at 35:48 on this Climate One video

U. S. winter is Australia's summer so it's vital to watch what is happening in Australia "with summer yet to start" according to Nine News Australia to preview the trend of possible U. S. climate impacts June through September 2020. The 40.9 C Melbourne's "hottest November day on record" equals 105.6 F.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

The [Torture] Report

I saw the great film The [Torture] Report at Digital Gym in San Diego, and hope a similar one is in the pipeline about climate crisis and fossil fuel companies, another national disgrace. Showtimes are here. Former San Diego Mesa College student Annette Bening plays California U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, effectively showing what happens when incompetent unqualified leaders (not her) are elected or appointed at any level of responsibility.  "Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive!" wrote Sir Walter Scott in 1808.  Watch one diligent honest investigator fight for human decency and justice.  Former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger spoke about the situation in this quote in a previous blog post regarding his anger at fossil fuel companies lying for 60 years.

In The [Torture] Report there is a reckoning for some, as there may soon be at Exxon reported by the Los Angeles Times yesterday. This guardian.com video of "Martin Hoffert, a scientist consultant for Exxon Research and Engineering in the 1980s" makes it clear for the sake of climate justice, Exxon must compensate developing nations. Bill Mckibben recently published an article about this at yesmagazine.org. He wrote "Indeed, the high-end estimate for economic damage from the global warming we’re on track to cause is $551 trillion, which is more money than exists on planet Earth. Even that figure is notional: How do you compensate the generations of people yet unborn who will inherit a badly degraded world? Even if Exxon et al were to disgorge every dirty penny they’d ever made, it wouldn’t pay for relocating Miami, much less Mumbai [ . . . . ] But at this point, even the best-case scenarios are relentlessly grim; lots of damage has been done, and far more is in the offing. We’re going to have to remake much of the world to have a chance at survival. And if we’re going to try, then that repair job shouldn’t repeat the imbalances of power and wealth that mark our current planet. Justice demands a real effort to make the last, first this time around."

In other business, I'm grateful feedspot.com added this blog to the top 40 list of "Top 60 Global Warming Blogs & Websites To Follow in 2019" joining Skeptical Science in Australia, Google News -Global WarmingThe New York Times - Climate and EnvironmentThe Guardian - Climate change in EnglandNASA Climate ChangeUnion of Concerned Scientists - Global Warmingand others. As a former editor for SanDiego350 who served on their coordinating committee for the Road Through Paris action, I also follow Bill McKibben's Twitter Site. A good list of updated climate links is at Olympic Climate Action's Hot Off the Wire.