December 6, 2016
President-elect Donald Trump is set to gut US environmental regulations, open up federal lands for fossil fuel extraction, and quit the Paris climate agreement, according to documents seen by Energydesk.
A memo penned by Thomas Pyle, head of the Department of Energy transition team, and obtained by the Center for Media and Democracy, lists 14 key energy and environment policies the incoming Trump administration is expected to enact.
The note – part analysis of Trump’s statements, part fossil fuel industry wish list – was sent on November 15th, just days before Pyle was brought on board by the Trump team.
It appears to reflect what Pyle wants from a future Trump administration — though little has yet emerged by way of formal energy policy.
Pyle is President of the Institute for Energy Research and the American Energy Alliance, which count among their major donors ExxonMobil, Peabody Energy and Koch Industries. He was also a top lobbyist for Koch Industries between 2001 and 2004.
The letter – ‘from the desk of Thomas Pyle’ – celebrates the Republican party victory in last month’s election, excitedly claiming that Trump will adopt what he describes as ‘pro-energy’ and ‘pro-market’ policies.
That’s good news for oil, gas and coal which – if Trump does end up enacting this agenda – will be free to mine and drill under federal lands from the Alaskan Arctic to the Wyoming outback.
I spent mid-October in the Miami Beach, Florida area, with Rolling Stone writer Jeff Goodell.
Jeff has been working on the climate and sea level rise story for quite a few years, and we originally met when Jeff came along with the first Dark Snow Project field trip in 2013. Since then I’ve followed and occasionally chatted with Jeff, especially about developments in South Florida, one of the most vulnerable and threatened regions of the planet.
While working on this piece, I’ve shown raw footage to friends, including journalists and regular folks – and the universal reaction is, “Why isn’t this being reported?”
Well, that’s starting to happen.
Florida’s future is now, and it is going to make life in the climate denial/Fake News business a little harder.
For decades, as the global warming created by human emissions caused land ice to melt and ocean water to expand, scientists warned that the accelerating rise of the sea would eventually imperil the United States’ coastline.
Now, those warnings are no longer theoretical: The inundation of the coast has begun. The sea has crept up to the point that a high tide and a brisk wind are all it takes to send water pouring into streets and homes.
Federal scientists have documented a sharp jump in this nuisance flooding — often called “sunny-day flooding” — along both the East Coast and the Gulf Coast in recent years. The sea is now so near the brim in many places that they believe the problem is likely to worsen quickly. Shifts in the Pacific Ocean mean that the West Coast, partly spared over the past two decades, may be hit hard, too.
These tidal floods are often just a foot or two deep, but they can stop traffic, swamp basements, damage cars, kill lawns and forests, and poison wells with salt. Moreover, the high seas interfere with the drainage of storm water.
In coastal regions, that compounds the damage from the increasingly heavy rains plaguing the country, like those that recently caused extensive flooding in Louisiana. Scientists say these rains are also a consequence of human greenhouse emissions.
“Once impacts become noticeable, they’re going to be upon you quickly,” said William V. Sweet, a scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Silver Spring, Md., who is among the leaders in research on coastal inundation. “It’s not a hundred years off — it’s now.”
Local governments, under pressure from annoyed citizens, are beginning to act. Elections are being won on promises to invest money to protect against flooding. Miami Beach is leading the way, increasing local fees to finance a $400 million plan that includes raising streets, installing pumps and elevating sea walls.
This most recent piece warns specifically about the threat to coastal real estate.
Real estate agents looking to sell coastal properties usually focus on one thing: how close the home is to the water’s edge. But buyers are increasingly asking instead how far back it is from the waterline. How many feet above sea level? Is it fortified against storm surges? Does it have emergency power and sump pumps?
December 6, 2016
More on this as it develops.
As Donald Trump continues to indicate that he might be willing to change his position on climate change, which he has long called a “hoax,” the president-elect met Monday with former vice president Al Gore, a prominent activist in the fight against global warming.
Gore was in New York for the Climate Reality Project’s 24-hour live broadcast, “24 Hours of Reality,” and was invited to Trump Tower to discuss the topic by Trump’s oldest daughter, Ivanka, who is not registered with a political party and has pushed her father to adopt some positions usually promoted by Democrats.
“I had a lengthy and very productive session with the president-elect. It was a sincere search for areas of common ground,” Gore told reporters after spending about 90 minutes at Trump Tower in Manhattan during the lunch hour Monday. “I had a meeting beforehand with Ivanka Trump. The bulk of the time was with the president-elect, Donald Trump. I found it an extremely interesting conversation, and to be continued, and I’m just going to leave it at that.”
December 4, 2016
As the incoming Trump administration promises a retreat on the issue of global warming, executives of major corporations gathered in Fort Lauderdale this week to discuss how businesses could reduce emissions of heat-trapping gases.
The Companies vs. Climate Change conference at the Hyatt Regency Pier 66 attracted representatives from Citigroup, Ingersoll Rand, Nasdaq, Avery Dennison, AmerisourceBergen, Bacardi, Alaska Airlines, United Airlines, JM Family Enterprises, Hertz, Office Depot, Subway, Amtrak, Walgreens and many other companies.
There were no representatives of oil companies or automobile manufacturers among the 200 or so participants, but the conference’s organizer said the turnout from major corporations showed that large segments of the business community were serious about dealing with climate change.
“In the wake of the election, it’s pretty clear that that climate solutions must – underline three times – must, be business driven,” said Jason Youner, chief executive officer of Companies vs. Climate Change, which organized the three-day conference that ended Friday. “The government’s not going to do it. The private sector has to do it. Corporations have to take the lead, and they really are. They’re doing a lot in this area. They know their customers want it. They’re making it happen, and that’s why we’re having a conference like this.”
Several corporate representatives said that reducing their environmental footprint has turned out to be good business.
“We are in touch with our key stakeholders – our employees, customers, our shareholders, and all of those constituents tell us that this is what they want to see,” said Joe Doolan, head of environmental affairs at TD Bank, founding sponsor of the event, which has 1,300 branches in the United States. “Quite frankly, it’s quite profitable.”
Leaders from 90 world “megacities” meeting in Mexico City this week are sending a message that they plan to act on climate change—whatever national leaders do. Read the rest of this entry »
December 4, 2016
Above, Carl Sagan, Scientist as poet.
Below, Walt Whitman, poet and lover of science.
I swear the earth shall surely be complete to him or her who shall
The earth remains jagged and broken only to him or her who
remains jagged and broken.
I swear there is no greatness or power that does not emulate
those of the earth,
There can be no theory of any account unless it corroborate the
theory of the earth,
No politics, song, religion, behavior, or what not, is of account,
unless it compare with the amplitude of the earth,
Unless it face the exactness, vitality, impartiality, rectitude of the
I swear I begin to see love with sweeter spasms than that which
It is that which contains itself, which never invites and never
I swear I begin to see little or nothing in audible words,
All merges toward the presentation of the unspoken meanings
of the earth,
Toward him who sings the songs of the body and of the truths
of the earth,
Toward him who makes the dictionaries of words that print can-
I swear I see what is better than to tell the best,
It is always to leave the best untold.
When I undertake to tell the best I find I cannot,
My tongue is ineffectual on its pivots,
My breath will not be obedient to its organs,
I become a dumb man.
December 3, 2016
Now reclassified from “Kids/Humor” to “Dystopian/Horror”.
Did Alec Baldwin work on his SNL chops here?
Climate deniers are in a bit of a bind. They’ve been riding the bogus “global warming stopped” meme for a decade and a half, as the video above explains.
Problem is, with the recent huge El Nino event, global temperatures have taken another “stair step” upwards – resulting in 3 record setting years in a row. (2014, 2015, with ’16 all but a lock)
Kevin Trenberth actually predicted this pattern almost 3 years when I interviewed him via Skype. (you can hear that starting at 8:50 or so here)
So the Anti-Science crowd is desperate to get back to that “no warming” nonsense, to salvage what they can of their rapidly fraying Trumped-up street cred.
What they’ve decided on, is to focus on the normal, expected El Nino pattern, which is a large spike in global temp, as heat pours out of the Pacific, followed by a downward spike as we slide into the complimentary “La Nina” event – and claim that a normal artifact of a global cycle signals a new period of “global cooling”.
But in the past week, particularly egregious claims emerged that have been perpetuated by outlets with large audiences.
These two dubious and deceptive assertions must be dismantled:
1) The global land temperature has just experienced its biggest drop on record.
2) Record cold is predicted for most of the U.S. next week.
The Earth’s temperature has not crashed at a record pace
The misleading claim that global land temperatures have plunged by a record margin was first reported by David Rose of the Daily Mail last week, and it was amplified today in a piece by James Delingpole at Breitbart News.
“Global average temperatures over land have plummeted by more than 1C since the middle of this year — their biggest and steepest fall on record,” Rose’s article begins. Yet it’s easy to explain why this assertion is not only misleading but also pointless.
First, Rose’s claim relies on the satellite record of Earth’s temperature estimated from space, which only dates to 1978. The surface-temperature record, which directly measures the planet’s temperature using thermometers and dates to the late 1800s, exhibits a drop but not a record drop.
Federal and international agencies have said that 2016 will likely be the hottest year on record, eclipsing the record set last year. In its report, The Daily Mail cited a recent decline in temperatures over land since the weather phenomenon known as El Niño ended this year, and said that El Niño, and not climate change, was responsible for the record heat.
But scientists said that while the recent El Niño did contribute to the record warmth, climate change played a major role, too.
“Nobody said the record temperatures were exclusively the result of climate change,” said Mike Halpert, the deputy director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center.
Deke Arndt, the chief of the climate monitoring branch at the NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information, said that the long-term warming trend was quite clear, and that the impact of El Niño was in addition to what were already higher temperatures. “You can have both climate change and a goose from El Niño,” he said.