The world that climate deniers want for their children, and yours.

Reuters:

“In May 2012, Hanson and Michael Rowe noticed an overpowering smell, like rotten eggs, seeping from an abandoned gas well on their land in Kentucky. The fumes made the retired couple feel nauseous, dizzy, and short of breath.

Regulators responding to the leak couldn’t find an owner to fix it. J.D. Carty Resources LLC had drilled the well near the Rowes’ home in 2006 – promising the family a 12.5% royalty and free natural gas, which they never got. But Carty went bust in 2008 and sold the site to a company that was later acquired by Blue Energy LLC. Lawyers for both companies deny any responsibility for the leak.”

“More than a century of oil and gas drilling has left behind millions of abandoned wells, many of which are leaching pollutants into the air and water. And drilling companies are likely to abandon many more wells due to bankruptcies, as oil prices struggle to recover from historic lows after the coronavirus pandemic crushed global fuel demand, according to bankruptcy lawyers, industry analysts and state regulators.”

Leaks from abandoned wells have long been recognized as an environmental problem, a health hazard and a public nuisance. They have been linked to dozens of instances of groundwater contamination by research commissioned by the Groundwater Protection Council, whose members include state ground water agencies. Orphaned wells have been blamed for a slew of public safety incidents over the years, including a methane blowout at the construction site of a waterfront hotel in California last year.

They also pose a serious threat to the climate that researchers and world governments are only starting to understand, according to a Reuters review of government data and interviews with scientists, regulators, and United Nations officials. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change last year recommended that U.N. member countries start tracking and publishing the amount of methane leaching from their abandoned oil and gas wells after scientists started flagging it as a global warming risk. So far, the United States and Canada are the only nations to do so.

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2014’s marine heat wave in the North Pacific was a notable high impact event. Now events like this have been linked to climate warming.

High-impact marine heatwaves attributable to human-induced global warming – Science:

Marine heatwaves (MHWs)—periods of extremely high ocean temperatures in specific regions—have occurred in all of Earth’s ocean basins over the past two decades, with severe negative impacts on marine organisms and ecosystems. However, for most individual MHWs, it is unclear to what extent they have been altered by human-induced climate change. We show that the occurrence probabilities of the duration, intensity, and cumulative intensity of most documented, large, and impactful MHWs have increased more than 20-fold as a result of anthropogenic climate change. MHWs that occurred only once every hundreds to thousands of years in the preindustrial climate are projected to become decadal to centennial events under 1.5°C warming conditions and annual to decadal events under 3°C warming conditions. Thus, ambitious climate targets are indispensable to reduce the risks of substantial MHW impacts.

Updated this topic with Kevin Trenberth last November in San Francisco.

Great video, typically good graphics, new faces explaining this year’s arctic extremes.
Great vid to share with climate science newbies.

Brain Eaters Warning in Texas

September 26, 2020

Naegleria Fowleri

Associated Press:

LAKE JACKSON, Texas (AP) — Texas officials on Saturday lifted a warning for all but one Houston-area community to stop using tap water because it might be tainted with a deadly brain-eating microbe.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality warned the Brazosport Water Authority late Friday of the potential contamination of its water supply by naegleria fowleri.

The authority initially warned eight communities not to use tap water for any reason except to flush toilets, but on Saturday it lifted that warning for everywhere but Lake Jackson. The city of more than 27,000 residents is the site of the authority’s water treatment plant. The advisory also was canceled for two state prisons and Dow Chemical’s massive Freeport works.

The advisory will remain in place until the authority’s water system has been thoroughly flushed and tests on water samples show the system’s water is again safe to use. The authority said in a statement that it was unclear how long it would be before the tap water was again safe.

The authority’s water source is the Brazos River.

Naegleria fowleri is a free-living microscopic amoeba, or single-celled living organism commonly found in warm freshwater and soil, according to the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It usually infects people when contaminated water enters the body through the nose, from where it travels to the brain and can cause a rare and debilitating disease called primary amebic meningoencephalitis.

The infection is usually fatal and typically occurs when people go swimming or diving in warm freshwater places such as lakes and rivers. In very rare instances, naegleria infections may also occur when contaminated water from other sources (such as inadequately chlorinated swimming pool water or heated and contaminated tap water) enters the nose.

The contamination of U.S. treated public water systems by the microbe is rare but not unheard of. According to the CDC website, the first deaths from naegleria fowleri found in tap water from treated U.S. public drinking water systems occurred in southern Louisiana in 2011 and 2013. The microbe was also found in 2003 in an untreated geothermal well-supplied drinking water system in Arizona, as well as in disinfected public drinking water supplies in Australia in the 1970s and ’80s and in 2008 in Pakistan.

Reuters:

HOUSTON (Reuters) – Nearly two-thirds of U.S. energy company executives polled by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas believe U.S. crude oil production has peaked, according to a survey released on Wednesday.

The COVID-19 pandemic has knocked global oil demand and prices, prompting deep cuts in drilling this year by shale oil producers. The United States last pumped 12.2 million barrels per day, taking top spot in global crude oil output.

Survey results said 66% of 154 oil and gas firm executives contacted by the Dallas Fed this month believe U.S. crude oil production has peaked. The survey includes executives from Texas, Louisiana and New Mexico.

The Dallas Fed did not say if the peak was considered temporary or permanent as major oil firms have been discussing.

Global demand destruction during the COVID-19 pandemic, work from home policies and the continued growth of electric vehicles has energy companies looking to a prolonged downturn in crude oil and fuel consumption.

Earlier this year, BP Plc BP.L said the pandemic would reduce demand by 3 million barrels per day (bpd) through 2025 and forecast a peak in demand between 2019 and 2050, according to the company’s energy outlook.

People We Can Do This

September 24, 2020

Don’t buy into the despair.
They are getting really, really freaked out and genuinely frightened by an earthquake that is building against them.

Lindsay Graham on making the rounds on Fox News begging for help against an onslaught of outrage and money going to his opponent Jaime Harrison.

Los Angeles Times:

Nate Trujillo sat on a windy ridge and watched California’s largest wildfire, the August Complex, work its way toward the cannabis-growing enclave of Post Mountain-Trinity Pines, where many of the locals are refusing to evacuate. 

Law enforcement officers went door to door warning of the danger a few days ago, but “we couldn’t force people to leave,” said Trujillo, a narcotics deputy in the Trinity County Sheriff’s Department. “It’s mainly growers. And a lot of them, they don’t want to leave because that is their livelihood.”

It is a critical time of year in the Emerald Triangle, a three-county corner of Northern California that by some estimates is the nation’s largest cannabis-producing region.

Trinity Pines alone is home to up to 40 legal farms, with more than 10 times that number of illegal grows hidden off its dirt roads, according to people familiar with this part off the Trinity Alps, inland from Humboldt.

Each farm has crops worth half a million dollars or more, and many are within days or weeks of harvest, making growers wary of leaving vulnerable to either flames or thieves. Among the holdouts are numerous Hmong families, originally from Laos and other Southeast Asian countries, who have moved to the area in recent years, along with Bulgarians and Russians and a smattering of neighbors drawn by the remote beauty of towering cedars and firs. 

One estimate put the value of the legal crop alone at about $20 million. 

“There [are] millions of dollars, millions and millions of dollars of marijuana out there,” Trujillo said. “Some of those plants are 16 feet tall and they are all in the budding stages of growth right now.”

As of Thursday, authorities and locals estimated that as many as 1,000 people remained in Post Mountain and Trinity Pines, communities where gunfire is common. Not long ago, nightfall brought what locals dubbed the “roll call,” in which cannabis cultivators, one after another, shot rounds from pistols and automatic weapons as a warning that outsiders should beware, said Post Mountain volunteer Fire Chief Astrid Dobo, who also manages legal cannabis farms. 

Though bullets can’t stop the current threat to the crops, locals are steadfast in their determination to defend what they have. That includes residents with no ties to the cannabis trade. 

Susan Bower has lived in Post Mountain since 1973 and stayed through multiple fires. Thursday, she remained at home and will leave only when “it’s actually burning the trees and grass on the other side of our garden fence,” she said. She and her husband have planned “an emergency way out if the forest is on fire” and have accepted that such blazes are “part of the regime” for living in wildlands.

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California Will Ban ICE: Michigan Commits to Carbon Neutrality

Michigan.gov:

“The science is clear – climate change is directly impacting our public health, environment, our economy, and our families,” said Governor Whitmer. “This dangerous reality is already causing harm throughout Michigan, with communities of color and low-income Michiganders suffering disproportionately, which is why I’m taking immediate action to protect our state. We owe it to our children and grandchildren to leave them a cleaner, safer and healthier world.

“Through comprehensive and aggressive steps, we will combat the climate crisis by formally setting and relentlessly pursuing a goal of statewide decarbonization by 2050. These bold actions will provide critical protections for our environment, economy, and public health, now and for years to come. It will also position Michigan to attract a new generation of clean energy and energy efficiency jobs.”

Executive Directive 2020-10 formally sets the goal of economic decarbonization in Michigan by 2050. Transitioning to carbon neutrality will mitigate the future harms of climate change and enable Michigan to take full advantage of the ongoing global energy transformation—from the jobs it will generate for our skilled workforce, to the protections it will provide for natural resources, to the savings it will bring to communities and utility customers.

To ensure steady progress toward this goal, and to prevent irreparable harm to Michigan’s ecosystem, residents, and businesses in the interim, the Executive Directive further provides that Michigan will aim to achieve a 28 percent reduction below 1990 levels in greenhouse gas emissions by 2025.

Additionally, the Department of the Treasury must develop and implement an Energy Transition Impact Project to assist communities in maintaining critical services and ensuring high quality employment for workers while moving toward a more sustainable future when faced with the closure of energy facilities.

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