Politicians who in the past may have seen climate change as an issue to avoid or ignore are now changing behavior in response to polling data that indicates rising voter concern with the issue. One indicator is that Florida’s conservative Governor Rick Scott, who has in the past dodged questions about the science of climate, felt pressured to meet with a group of actual climate scientists,  – who educated him on the issue, and expressed their urgent concerns – leaving him with no further room to dodge climate questions. His opponent in this fall’s campaign, Charlie Crist, has made support for environment and renewable energy issues an important part of his effort.

In part, the new climate on climate is due to some serious campaign money being pumped into selected races around the country by billionaire Tom Steyer, through his NextGen political action committee.
Above, a television ad paid for by Nextgen. Below- another ad attacks Scott with a non-climate environmental theme.

Reuters:

When Charlie Crist last governed Florida, his green energy and climate policies made him few friends among the state’s powerful electricity corporations.

Now, as the Republican-turned Democrat bids to return to the governor’s mansion, it may be payback time.

Florida’s three largest utilities have poured money into the re-election campaign of Republican incumbent Governor Rick Scott in an expensive and closely watched political battle for the nation’s largest swing state.

The election spending is notable in a tight race where the issues of energy and climate change have taken center stage in recent weeks, with both candidates asserting their environmental credentials.

As Republican governor between 2007 and 2011, Crist “sent shivers through the entire utility system,” said Colleen Castille, who headed the Florida Department of Environmental Protection under Governor Jeb Bush. Read the rest of this entry »

We barely had a chance to look up when somebody was alert enough to spot three fighter jets doing a low pass directly over Dark Snow Camp.

I’m guessing they were using the weather station at our site as a navigation check-point for their flyover of the Greenland Ice sheet. Turns out one of the flyers was apparently recording the exercise on go-pro cameras, and the resulting video has had hundreds of thousands of views on youtube.  Looks like the Dark Snow base got edited out of the final upload.

Below, one of the pictures I snapped as Jason Box looks up to watch fighter jets scream by us, the morning of August 7.

jetbuzz-7115small

New Campaign urges young people to Ask Why? and Why Not?  on climate problems and the solutions.
This video has gotten some traction to the tune of 95,000 views, and I understand there are other vloggers involved in the effort.

Above, an ad from Siemens, a manufacturer of  wind turbines.

Below, a Nextgen campaign ad attacking Iowa Senate Candidate Joni Ernst on environmental and clean energy grounds. (see more details in story at top of page)

Dr. Alan Steinman is an expert on the Aquatic biology of North America’s Great Lakes.
He has been studying the combined effects of invasive species, warming waters, increasing pollution, and expanding population on the Great Lakes system.

I called Dr. Steinman to discuss the recent cutoff of water supplies to 400,000  residents of Toledo, Ohio, after a noxious bloom of toxin-producing algae covered much of the western end of Lake Erie.

Dr. Steinman was a member of a team which discovered Cylindrospermopsis raciborskii, an invasive, toxin forming micro-organism, formerly associated with more southerly climates, surviving in a tributary of Lake Michigan. In a 2006 paper, Steinman observed:

C. raciborskii is able to produce multiple toxins, and was implicated in one of Australia’s worst cases of human poisoning (Falconer 2001). At least three distinct toxins can be produced by Cylindrospermopsis (Chorus and Bartram 2004): cylindrospermopsin, which targets primarily the liver and kidneys, and anatoxin-a and saxitoxin, which are both neurotoxins.
Because of its potential to produce these toxins and its highly adaptable growth, this genus ranks near the top of the watch list of toxic cyanobacteria for water managers (WHO 1999).

The bloom-forming and toxin-producing cyanobacterium Cylindrospermopsis raciborskii-recently observed in a tributary of Lake Michigan, and on the increase in northern latitudes.

 

We Are Groot

August 28, 2014

 
One of the most ominous phrases in the English language, just a few notches below “uncontrollable Arctic methane belch”, is “..a movie with a heart.”
In the case of Guardians of the Galaxy, you can relax.
Starts hooking you emotionally at the start, then descends into silliness, but keeps coming back to surprising emotional notes – so you’re wondering, “is Director James Gunn,  serious? – or was that an accident?”
By the time they get to the last one, you believe it – no accident. Powerful images of emotional realization, ecological relationship, and group transformation. You can see why this is so popular among millennials, and apparently, with a Rotten Tomatoes score of 92, almost everyone else.
Like I said, prepare for periods of silliness, but the rewards are there.
groot
Spoilers:
Star-Lord jumps, Slow Motion towards a floating stone, Ronan reaching his arm out, in hope, hope that he will catch it, before Quill does. Then, Normal Pace, Quill’s fingers lock around the stone as Gamora screams.
A Blue light surrounds them, engulfing them, screaming and writhing Quill holds on tight to the stone, he stands straight, facing Ronan, who is standing in the light, staring at Quill, then Quill hears something, a scream, his name, coming from his side.
Gamora: (screaming) Peter, Take My Hand!!!!
Peter turns at his friend, her hand outstretched. Then…

NYTimes:

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is working to forge a sweeping international climate change agreement to compel nations to cut their planet-warming fossil fuel emissions, but without ratification from Congress.

In preparation for this agreement, to be signed at a United Nations summit meeting in 2015 in Paris, the negotiators are meeting with diplomats from other countries to broker a deal to commit some of the world’s largest economies to enact laws to reduce their carbon pollution. But under the Constitution, a president may enter into a legally binding treaty only if it is approved by a two-thirds majority of the Senate.

To sidestep that requirement, President Obama’s climate negotiators are devising what they call a “politically binding” deal that would “name and shame” countries into cutting their emissions. The deal is likely to face strong objections from Republicans on Capitol Hill and from poor countries around the world, but negotiators say it may be the only realistic path.

“If you want a deal that includes all the major emitters, including the U.S., you cannot realistically pursue a legally binding treaty at this time,” said Paul Bledsoe, a top climate change official in the Clinton administration who works closely with the Obama White House on international climate change policy.

Business Insider:

“There’s some legal and political magic to this,” Jake Schmidt, an expert in global climate negotiations with the Natural Resources Defense Council, an advocacy group, told the Times. “They’re trying to move this as far as possible without having to reach the 67-vote threshold” in the Senate
-

The move from Obama largely syncs with his domestic strategy toward climate change, which has been geared around executive actions and orders that have sidestepped Congress. Earlier this year, the Environmental Protection Agency unveiled new proposed regulations that aim to force power plants to cut their emissions by as much 30% from 2005 levels by 2030. The EPA estimates the rule will cost approximately $5.5 billion in 2020, vs. net climate and health “benefits” of $26 billion to $45 billion to the economy.

Carbon pollution from power plants accounted for 33% of the U.S.’s total greenhouse gas emissions in 2011, according to the EPA. The U.S.’s carbon emissions have already fallen by about 10% since 2005, due in part both to the recession and the natural-gas boom. The new regulations are expected tol be a cornerstone toward accomplishing Obama’s 2009 pledge during international climate talks of reducing U.S. carbon emissions 17% from 2005 levels by 2020.

The budding international climate accord and the new EPA regulations are likely to be the last significant moves for the Obama administration on climate change during Obama’s time in office.

 

 

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