June 23, 1988.

Easy to remember, because it’s my birthday.
And the day I thought that, at last, humans were serious about the 800 pound gorilla of environmental issues.

Senior NASA scientist James Hansen, whose work I had been following for some time, came before the Senate, on a brutally hot summer day – and laid out his findings. He was pushing the envelope of what the data could tell, but his instincts were telling him that what he was seeing was real.

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How did he do?
I made a point to ask a number of senior scientists this question at last December’s American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting.

Hint:

hansenscen_skept

 

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miamimall

Sea level is rising. Malls are going bust everywhere. What’s the answer?

Build the biggest mall ever, at sea level.

Wall Street Journal:

At a time when store closures are accelerating and struggling malls pockmark the country, county commissioners in Florida have approved a plan to build what would be the largest mall in the U.S.

American Dream Miami would also be the most expensive mall ever built, according to Canadian developer Triple Five Worldwide Group of Cos. The 6.2-million-square-foot retail and entertainment complex would cost an estimated $4 billion, Triple Five says.

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The cost would include 2,000 hotel rooms, indoor ski slope, ice-climbing wall and water park with a “submarine lake,” where guests could enter a plexiglass submarine and descend underwater.

Edmonton, Alberta-based Triple Five secured zoning approval in May from the Miami-Dade County Commission in an 11-1 vote, and is now in the process to secure environmental and water permits for the 174-acre site.

The project provides a window into the thinking of North America’s largest mall developers as they confront the revolution in the shopping world sparked by e-commerce. They recognize it’s no longer enough to fill malls with stores selling clothing, food, electronics and other merchandise people can more easily buy online.

Rather developers are filling malls with restaurants, rides, trampoline parks, gyms, services and other types of entertainment. This strategy taps into the increasing preference of consumers to spend their money on experiences as opposed to goods.

NPR:

The seas are rising, frequently flooding the streets even when no storms are on the horizon. But that hasn’t stopped foreign investors from shelling out big dollars for Miami real estate. Many are in it for the relatively short-term investment, then they’ll try to sell before climate change takes its toll, observers of the local market say.

Visit South Florida and you would have no idea this boomtown was a subprime war zone just a decade ago. In the aftermath of that collapse, Miami’s skyline was dominated by half-empty buildings and idled cranes; condo associations had trouble collecting fees, and billboards advertised lawyers who swore they could wrest back your security deposit.

The notoriously boom-bust region was bailed out by foreign investors, who desired hard U.S. assets and a piece of the sun-kissed Miami dream. Eighty percent cash down payments became the new thing — and often sight-unseen: About 5 percent of South Florida foreign buyers snapped up local homes without even visiting; 18 percent bought with just one visit.

But accompanying this giddy ascent has been a gurgling anxiety at sea level.

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Increasing pressure on water supplies in crowded,  historically hostile,  nuclear armed region. What could go wrong?

Reuters:

Droughts are becoming more frequent, creating problems for India’s rain-dependent farmers. At the same time, disputes between states are on the rise.

Interstate disagreements are on the rise, with seven major disputes currently raging, pointing to the fact that limited frameworks and institutions are in place for national water governance.

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The report said there are seven major ongoing disputes over water resources, which highlights the limited framework and institutions for water governance.

Nearly 163 million of India’s population of 1.3 billion lack access to clean water close to home, the most of any country, according to a 2018 report by Britain-based charity WaterAid.

Al Jazeera:

bout 600 million Indians are facing high to extreme stress over water, according to theComposite Water Resources Management report by the government’s policy think-tank Niti Aayog this week.

The comprehensive study on the state of India’s water warned of conflict and other related threats, including food security risks, unless actions are taken to restore water bodies.

“Critical groundwater resources, which account for 40 percent of our water supply, are being depleted at unsustainable rates,” the report said.

More than 20 cities, including New Delhi, Bengaluru and Chennai, will run out of groundwater by 2020, affecting 100 million people, according to the report.

Agricultural baskets, states that are home to 50 percent of the population, are the low performers in the government policy body’s Water Index, that could pose a “significant food security risk” for India.

“What this report says was true 15 years ago, now the situation has worsened. Ninety cities in India do not have enough clean drinking water now to sustain its populace,” Rajendra Singh, a water conservation activist known as India’s “Waterman”, told Al Jazeera.

“Part of this is because of the rising temperature, and the changing rainfall patterns that come with the changing climate,” author Ramesh said.

“Part of it is because of unwise choices we have made in managing our waste and water – dumping our waste in canals, or streets – blocking the drains and reducing the canals for instance. Or building over water bodies,” she added.

New York Times:

SHIMLA, India — The people of Shimla haven’t agreed on much lately. A drought in the Himalayan resort has had residents blaming farmers, the tourism industry and one another for depleting the strained water supplies.

And everyone’s been angry at the key men. Read the rest of this entry »

darksnowfunder0618

Good news, right now, have enough raised to get me to Greenland in August – have some very interesting activities mapped out – more on that as things gel.
Bad news, budget is still very lean and bare bones. Will have to pack lunches.

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One more week for the fundraiser, help us get toward the goal for this year.

Below, Scientists Richard Alley and James Hansen on Greenland’s Dark Snow.

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Is that bad? That sounds bad.

But I thought “CO2 is plant food”.
Video above is 8 years old, one of my “Climate Denial Crock” series –  but more current than ever.

DeutscheWelle:

A new study has further revealed how climate change is reducing yields and sucking the nutrients from our vegetables and legumes, raising serious questions over the future of food security and public health around the world.

The report, which was led by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, is apparently the first of its kind to methodically examine to what extent environmental changes such as water scarcity, increases in temperature and a greater concentration of carbon dioxide could impact the nutritional quality and yield of crops vital to our everyday nutrition.

Previous research into the impact of environmental change on food has mostly focused on the yield of staple crops such as wheat, rice and corn. However, there has been comparatively little discussion on how climate change is affecting nutritious foods that are considered more important to a healthy diet.

The phenomenon of crops being stripped of their high nutritional qualities due to environmental factors has become known as the “junk food effect.”

For some time now, researchers have been aware that many of our most important plant-based foods are becoming less nutritious. Studies have shown how the mineral, protein and vitamin content in fruits and vegetables has decreased over the past few decades, although until recently this had been explained away by the fact that we had been prioritizing higher yields over nutrition.

“Vegetables and legumes are vital components of a healthy, balanced and sustainable diet, and nutritional guidelines consistently advise people to incorporate more vegetables and legumes into their diet,” says lead author Pauline Scheelbeek.

“However, our new analysis suggests that this advice conflicts with the potential impacts of environmental changes that will decrease the availability of these crops.”

The carbon dioxide factor

Alongside water scarcity and increasing temperatures, higher levels of carbon dioxide are being blamed for stripping crops of their nutritional value.

But carbon dioxide is good for plants, so why should we be worried about rising CO2 levels? While it’s true that plants do require carbon dioxide in order to grow and thrive, it’s possible to have too much of a good thing.

Rising carbon dioxide levels ramp up the process of photosynthesis — which is what allows plants to transform sunlight into food. While this certainly helps plants grow, it has the side effect of causing them to produce more simple carbohydrates such as glucose.

And this comes at the expense of other important nutrients we need in order to stay healthy including protein, zinc and iron.

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Climate as an amplifier.

As refugees crowd the US border, increasing extremes of heat, and precipitation portend greater misery in coming days.

El Paso Times:

As of Friday, the shelter in Tornillo had 400 beds prepared and Hurd said it is expected to hit its targeted capacity of 360 people shortly.

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Hurd said federal officials are evaluating whether to up the number of beds at the site to 4,000.

“Which is just absolutely nuts,” said Hurd, who serves on the House Homeland Security Committee.

The new shelters that have been constructed near the Tornillo Port of Entry resemble tents that federal officials used after Hurricane Harvey hit the Southeast coast of the state last year.

Each tent has bed space for 20 children and two adults, as the federal government requires one adult for every ten children. There are also showers, bathrooms, medical facilities, fire trucks and spaces for children to meet with case management workers and lawyers. Hurd said there is also a “chow hall that can fit a couple hundred people at one time.”

The heat in the area has been a key point of concern for El Paso area lawmakers, as temperatures in the area are expected to reach 105 degrees in the coming weeks. Hurd said each tent has a four-ton air conditioning unit.

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climatechanggraphic

Bloomberg:

The world’s biggest companies are increasingly worried about climate change.

The terms “climate” and “weather” combined were among the most frequently discussed topics among executives of Standard & Poor’s 500 companies, beating “Trump,” “the dollar,” “oil” and “recession” according to analysis of 10 years of earnings call transcripts by S&P Global Ratings.

“The effect of climate risk and severe weather events on corporate earnings is meaningful,” S&P said in the joint report with Hamilton, Bermuda-based Resilience Economics Ltd. “If left unmitigated, the financial impact could increase over time as climate change makes disruptive weather events more frequent and severe.”

The analysis shows that 15 percent of S&P 500 companies publicly disclosed an effect on earnings from weather events, with only 4 percent quantifying the effect. The average impact on earnings was 6 percent in financial year 2017.

More companies are expected to increase reporting on climate issues as management teams become more accountable for understanding the financial impact of weather events, S&P said.

“We may begin to see institutional investors build climate risk factors into their portfolio selection processes, thereby placing greater emphasis on climate when directing investments,” the ratings agency said.