Climate Change Is Happening Now – A Carbon Price Must Follow

montana-thunderstorm-615 The extreme weather events of 2012 are what we have been warning of for 25 years, but the answer is plain to see

James Hansen, The Guardian, November 30, 2012

Will our short attention span be the end of us? Just a month after the second “storm of a century” in two years, the media moves on to the latest scandal with barely a retrospective glance at the implications of the extreme climate anomalies we have seen.

Hurricane Sandy was not just a storm. It was a stark illustration of the power that climate change can deliver – today – to our doorsteps. Continue lendo

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Historic ‘Super Typhoon’ Bopha Smashes Into Philippines

bopha-landfall‘Most southerly typhoon ever recorded in the Western Pacific’ expected to bring ‘life-threatening impacts’

Common Dreams staff, December 3, 2012

Historic and potentially catastrophic Super Typhoon Bopha has made a direct hit on the southern Philippines on Tuesday morning, raising fears the impacts of the storm may be far worse than a much weaker 2011 storm that killed over 1200 people.

The powerful storm made landfall at 3:45 PM EST on Monday, 4:45 AM Tuesday local time. The Category 5 Super Typhoon has sustained winds of over 161 mph – gusting to 195 mph – and is the most southerly typhoon ever recorded in the Western Pacific. AccuWeather reports it “is expected to bring life-threatening impacts.”

Weather Underground co-founder Dr. Jeff Masters writes that the “extremely dangerous” storm “is following a similar track to last year’s Tropical Storm Washi, which hit [the southern Philippine island of] 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 potential destruction of this typhoon is no joke,” Philippine President Benigno Aquino said in a national TV address on Monday.

We will lead on climate change

New York must press ahead with urgency to equip itself for the new age of extreme weather

Andrew Cuomo, New York Daily News, November 15, 2012

In just 22 months as governor, I’ve witnessed firsthand the destructive force of three powerful storms that have crippled the state: Irene, Lee and now Sandy.

Each has taken an immeasurable toll on communities. Precious lives have been lost, and homes and businesses destroyed. This storm alone was responsible for 60 deaths to date and more than $30 billion in damage in New York State.

Extreme weather is the new normal. In the past two years, we have had two storms, each with the odds of a 100-year occurrence. Debating why does not lead to solutions — it leads to gridlock. The denial and deliberation from extremists on both sides about the causes of climate change are distracting us from addressing its inarguable effects. Recent events demand that we get serious once and for all.

We need to act, not simply react. Continue lendo

Climate change ‘likely to be more severe than some models predict’

Scientists analysing climate models warn we should expect high temperature rises – meaning more extreme weather, sooner

Fiona Harvey, guardian.co.uk, November 8, 2012

Climate change is likely to be more severe than some models have implied, according to a new study which ratchets up the possible temperature rises and subsequent climatic impacts.

The analysis by the US National Centre for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) found that climate model projections showing a greater rise in global temperature were likely to be more accurate than those showing a smaller rise. This means not only a higher level of warming, but also that the resulting problems – including floods, droughts, sea level rise and fiercer storms and other extreme weather – would be correspondingly more severe and would come sooner than expected. Continue lendo

Sandy: Frankenstormentas y cambio climático, o cómo el 1% creó un monstruo

Chris Williams, Sin Permiso, 4 de noviembre de 2012

Si el estudio al que te aplicas tiende a debilitar tus afectos y destruir tu gusto por esos placeres sencillos en los que no es posible que se mezcle ninguna aleación, entonces ese estudio es ciertamente ilícito y no le conviene a la mente humana.

Si se observase esta regla, si a ningún hombre se permitiera ejercicio alguno cualquiera que interfiriese en la tranquilidad de sus afectos domésticos, no habría sido esclavizada Grecia, César le habría ahorrado penurias a su país, América se habría descubierto más gradualmente, y los imperios de México y Perú no habrían sido destruidos.

Frankenstein, o el moderno Prometeo,

Mary Shelley

Pocas dudas hay de que estas extrañas tormentas, formadas de manera anormal, son un anticipo de lo que el futuro nos depara en un sistema económico que interfiriendo “en la tranquilidad de los afectos domésticos”, ha galvanizado las fuerzas de la naturaleza en una furia de dislocaciones en choque a medida que bombeamos más gases de los que atrapan el calor a nuestra atmósfera y más porquería industrial a nuestros pulmones.

Las aguas revueltas del cambio climático están comenzando a desgarrar el tejido de nuestra biosfera conforme el sistema climático de la Tierra da tumbos en pesadas y torpes sacudidas, desde la estabilidad relativamente latente y benévola de los últimos 10.000 años, hacia un nuevo estado climático más volátil y violento, menos hospitalario, antes desconocido para la civilización humana. Continue lendo

E o homem criou Sandy

Nós, homens modernos, costumamos nos imaginar como seres racionais, que orientam suas ações pela lógica da causa e efeito, capazes de domar a natureza com os instrumentos avançados da ciência e da tecnologia. Construímos metrópoles, civilizações e uma inabalável autoconfiança. E então, de um dia para o outro, uma tempestade de proporções bíblicas ameaça a cidade-símbolo da riqueza e da potência humana. E a natureza cobra seu preço dos inquilinos de um planeta que se torna pequeno diante de suas ambições.

Ivan Marsiglia entrevista Peter Singer, O Estado de S. Paulo, 4 de novembro de 2012

“Em primeiro lugar, deixe-me dizer que o furacão Sandy não foi um evento ‘natural’.” Com essas palavras, surpreendentes na boca de um filósofo da ciência, o australiano Peter Singer começa a entrevista que você lê a seguir.

Continue lendo

A Grim Warning from Science

Bill McKibben, The New York Review of Books, November 1, 2012

One of the things that makes Sandy different from Katrina is that it’s a relatively clean story. The lessons of Katrina were numerous and painful—they had to do with race, with class, with the willful incompetence of a government that had put a professional Arabian horse fancier in charge of its rescue efforts.
Sandy, by contrast, has been pretty straightforward. It’s hit rich, poor, and middle class Americans with nearly equal power, though of course the affluent always have it easier in the aftermath of tragedy. Government officials prepared forthrightly for its arrival, and have refrained from paralysis and bickering in its wake. Which allows us to concentrate on the only really useful message it might deliver: that we live in a changed world, where we need both to adapt to the changes, and to prevent further changes so great that adaptation will be impossible. Continue lendo

The Science Behind Hurricane Sandy: Climate Change or Freak Storm?

 Terrence Henry, State Impact, October 28, 2012

As Hurricane Sandy approaches the East Coast, many are wondering about the science behind this ‘Frankenstorm’ and whether it has any clear connection to global climate change. In a piece titled ‘Frankenstorm: Has Climate Change Created a Monster?’, NPR’s Adam Frank notes that 2012 has been a banner year for weather anomalies: droughts, fires, floods, and extreme temperatures. But while some of those events can be tied to climate change, others cannot.

“There is a hierarchy of weather events which scientists feel they understand well enough for establishing climate change links,” Frank writes. “Global temperature rises and extreme heat rank high on that list, but Hurricanes rank low.” That being said, Frank write that warmer ocean temperatures do lead to more evaporation, “and that likely leads to storms with more and more dangerous rainfall of the kind we saw with Hurricane Irene last year.” Continue lendo

Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math

Bill McKibben, Rolling Stone, August 2nd, 2012

If the pictures of those towering wildfires in Colorado haven’t convinced you, or the size of your AC bill this summer, here are some hard numbers about climate change: June broke or tied 3,215 high-temperature records across the United States. That followed the warmest May on record for the Northern Hemisphere – the 327th consecutive month in which the temperature of the entire globe exceeded the 20th-century average, the odds of which occurring by simple chance were 3.7 x 10-99, a number considerably larger than the number of stars in the universe.

Meteorologists reported that this spring was the warmest ever recorded for our nation – in fact, it crushed the old record by so much that it represented the “largest temperature departure from average of any season on record.” The same week, Saudi authorities reported that it had rained in Mecca despite a temperature of 109 degrees, the hottest downpour in the planet’s history. Continue lendo

Oxfam alerta para o agravamento da crise alimentar

Entidade aponta que mudanças climáticas elevarão os preços dos alimentos, que devem pelo menos dobrar nos próximos 20 anos, fazendo com que as famílias mais pobres tenham que gastar 75% do seu rendimento em comida.

Fabiano Ávila, CarbonoBrasil, 6 de setembro de 2012

Segundo dados da Secretaria Nacional de Defesa Civil, 1.123 cidades brasileiras, reunindo mais de oito milhões de pessoas, estão a enfrentar a pior seca dos últimos 30 anos, que pode estender-se até 2013. A Companhia Nacional de Abastecimento (Conab) já teria inclusive reduzido a estimativa para a produção de grãos deste ano, o que vai contribuir para a alta dos preços dos alimentos não apenas no Brasil, mas em todo o planeta. Continue lendo

A Summer of Extremes Signifies the New Normal

This summer has seen record heat waves and wildfires in the U.S, the worst flooding in Beijing’s modern history, and droughts that devastated the U.S. corn crop and led India to set up “refugee camps” for livestock. These extreme events were not freak occurrences – this is how the Earth works now.

Bill Mckibben, Yale Environment 360, September 4, 2012

Just as the baseball season now stretches nearly into November, and the National Football League keeps adding games, so the summer season is in danger of extending on both ends, a kind of megalomaniac power grab fueled by the carbon pouring into the atmosphere.

In fact, you could argue that the North American summer actually started two days before the official end of winter this year, when the town of Winner, South Dakota turned in a 94-degree temperature reading. It was part of that wild July-in-March heat wave that stretched across two-thirds of the country, a stretch of weather so bizarre that historian Christopher Burt called it “probably the most extraordinary anomalous heat event” that the nation has ever seen. International Falls, “the icebox of the nation,” broke its heat records 10 straight days, and Chicago nine. In Traverse City, Michigan, on March 21, the record high was 87 degrees. But the low was 62 degrees, which was 4 degrees higher than the previous record high. The technical word for that is, insane. Continue lendo

A era dos extremos climáticos começou

Em 2011, acentuaram-se grandes secas, cheias, ondas de calor e desastres ambientais. É preciso agir já, contra reação em cadeia.

Janet Larsen e Sara Rasmussen, Earth Policy Institute / Esquerda.net, 4 de fevereiro de 2012

A temperatura média global em 2011 foi de 14,52ºC. Segundo cientistas da Nasa, foi o nono ano mais quente desde que os dados passaram a ser coletados, há 132 anos – a despeito da influência resfriadora do fenómeno atmosférico e oceânico La Niña, e de irradiação solar relativamente baixa. Desde os anos 1970, cada nova década foi mais quente que a anterior – e nove dos dez anos mais quentes de todos os tempos estão no século 21. Continue lendo

Climate Change Denial Still Runs Strong in US

Agence France Presse, November 28, 2011

On the US political stage, skepticism and denial of climate change are as popular as ever, and experts say that world talks which opened Monday in Durban, South Africa are unlikely to turn the tide.

But while a binding deal on harmful carbon output remains elusive by the world’s second biggest polluter after China, some small signs of progress have emerged at the state and individual levels. Continue lendo