AuthorTopic: The Environment Board  (Read 37469 times)

Offline Surly1

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'Florida really tops the charts' of states climate change will heat up
« Reply #180 on: July 19, 2019, 04:58:21 AM »
'Florida really tops the charts' of states climate change will heat up, report says

https://phys.org/news/2019-07-florida-tops-states-climate.html



Miamians are already used to stifling heat waves that leave them sprinting from air-conditioned cars to air-conditioned buildings or flocking to the beach to cool off. Or so they think.

But if a new report on climate-change induced global warming is right, residents could feel the heat a lot more by the middle of the century. Scientists from the climate advocacy group Union of Concerned Scientists are predicting that the city could go from a couple weeks a year that feel like 100 degrees to nearly four months of scorching hot days, with the rest of Florida not far behind.

High temperatures are linked to all kinds of health problems, from heart and lung conditions to exacerbating mental health issues. In South Florida, almost a dozen elderly people elderly people died when the air conditioning went out after Hurricane Irma. Soaring thermometer readings have already forced some outdoor workers to shift their labor earlier or later in the day.

"Florida really tops the charts on so many different metrics," said Erika Spanger-Siegfried, lead climate analyst for the group. "The southeast region leads the nation, and Florida is the state within that region that will be most affected."

Spanger-Sigfried and her team analyzed historical heat records from 1970 to 2000 to come up with historical averages for cities, counties, states and regions in the lower 48 states, and used 18 different climate models to project temperatures into the future. What they found: with no action to cut carbon emissions, temperatures could soar to harmful, even deadly, levels by mid-century.

High temperatures are historically most common in the southwest, where it got so hot in 2017 that airplanes couldn't take off.

But it's not temperature alone that matters for physical well-being. As most Floridians already know, it's not the heat—it's the humidity.

"Our bodies can cope with high temperatures if we can sweat," said Spanger-Siegfried. "But as the humidity rises, it gets harder for our body to cool."

The heat index is a combination of temperature and humidity that results in a "feels like" temperature.

Right now, there are about 25 days a year that feel like they're above 100 degrees in Florida, like the heatwave last month. Without action to change emissions, scientists estimate there will be 105 of those 100 degree plus days a year in Florida in a few decades, around 2036 to 2065. By late century, that number could climb to 141 days.

Predictions for Miami-Dade County are worse. Instead of the statewide average of 25 days where it feels like 100 degrees, Miami-Dade already has 41 and by the middle of the century, that could be 134. That's more than any other county in the state.

The researchers created an interactive tool to show how hot it might get in specific cities and counties depending on how much climate change is slowed, or if it's not slowed at all.

More hot days spells trouble for outdoor workers, who don't always have strict guidelines for breaks. More than half of agricultural workers in Homestead surveyed by the organization WeCount! last year reported they weren't allowed to rest in the shade, and 69% said they had experienced symptoms of heat-related illness.

It doesn't help that the natural instinct when the temperatures rise is to crank up the AC, which Spanger-Siegfried pointed out consumes even more electricity and burns even more fuel.

"If we use dirty sources of fuel to keep our indoor areas cool, we're making our outdoor areas warmer," she said.

Not that everyone even has AC. Federal rules for public housing don't require air conditioning, leaving low-income residents to buy their own or suffer without one.

On a hotter planet, people who use public transit will also bear the brunt of the higher temperatures. While Miami often reaches intense temperatures, the county installed its first—and what appears to be its only—air-conditioned bus stop in 2016.

A cheaper way to cool down urban areas, which are usually hotter than rural areas thanks to all the metal, glass and pavement, is nature's original solution: trees. Miami-Dade did a tree canopy survey in 2016 with the University of Florida and Florida International University and found that the county has about 20% of its land covered by trees, out of a possible 44 percent. Researchers found the trees were clustered in wealthier, whiter neighborhoods like Coral Gables and were lacking in lower income neighborhoods primarily occupied by people of color.

The county began the Million Trees Miami program to solve the problem and bring the total average canopy in the county up to 30% by 2020. They've since scrapped the deadline, said Gabriela Lopez, community image manager for Neat Streets Miami, and instead just focus on adding trees wherever they can.

"We have been able to record the planting of approximately 300,000 trees. However, we know that more trees have probably been planted since the initiative began," she said.

But while trees can help cool down a neighborhood, soak up flood waters and even raise property values, the ultimate solution to stop rising temperatures at their source is to emit less into the atmosphere, said Spanger-Siegfried.

"We need to start and end with thinking about making emissions cuts," she said.
“The old world is dying, and the New World struggles to be born: now is the time of monsters.”

Offline John of Wallan

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Re: The Environment Board
« Reply #181 on: July 22, 2019, 08:35:58 PM »
Tree of the week:
Eucalyptus leucoxylon ‘Euky Dwarf’

Already have one similar I planted nearly 20 years ago on the property I will post a few pictures of shortly.
Do well in this area. Should be fairly drought tolerant.

Not looking forward to heat waves in the summer if what you guys in the Northern Hemisphere are going through are indications of what we can expect. We already get regularly into the low 40's for a week or so. (Over 100 in the old scale). If we start getting 5 or 6 degrees hotter than usual it will be unlivable. Even Eucalyptus trees start to shut down and stress can kill once it gets much over 40,particularly if dry. A lot of native birds suffer pretty badly too if much over 40.

We have plenty of water here at the moment just North of Melbourne, but further North and inland is in severe drought. South West Queensland, Western NSW and North Western Victoria and into South Australia is pretty bad. Will look at  adding more tanks in next year or so to collect more winter rains.

Plant a tree a week. Save what you can.

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Offline RE

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🏭 No Climate Event in 2,000 Years Compares to What’s Happening Now
« Reply #182 on: July 25, 2019, 06:34:53 AM »
https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2019/07/why-little-ice-age-doesnt-matter/594517/

No Climate Event in 2,000 Years Compares to What’s Happening Now

While parts of the world have warmed or cooled in the past, modern climate change is happening just about everywhere at the same time.

Robinson Meyer
Jul 24, 2019


A firefighting plane dumps flame retardant on a wildfire in Chaveira, Portugal, on July 22, 2019.
Climate-change heat has helped fuel searing temperatures and wildfires across Portugal this year, such as this one in Chaveira.Rafael Marchante / Reuters


From the planet’s perspective, one of the most significant events of the past 2,000 years occurred on April 5, 1815, when the Indonesian volcano Mount Tambora began to erupt. “The noise was, in the first instance, almost universally attributed to a distant cannon,” wrote a British statesman stationed hundreds of miles away on Java. Soon “the sun became obscured” with ash, and by the next week, fog-like smoke reduced visibility to 900 feet, while earthquakes shook the island.

Tambora was the largest volcanic eruption since the end of the last Ice Age, one of a series of eruptions that pumped huge amounts of sunlight-reflecting gas into the atmosphere. This gas darkened and chilled summers in Europe. It weakened the monsoons in India and West Africa. It allowed glaciers to advance in the Alps.

In other words, these eruptions brought about a kind of natural climate change. But it was felt differently in different places. And new research confirms that it pales in comparison to the climate change we now face.

Read: The unprecedented surge in fear about climate change

Absolutely nothing resembling modern-day global warming has happened on Earth for at least the past 2,000 years, a new study published today in Nature confirms. Since the birth of Jesus Christ, the climate has sometimes naturally changed—some parts of the world have briefly cooled, and some have briefly warmed—but it has never changed as it’s changing now. Never once until the Industrial Revolution did temperatures surge in the same direction everywhere at the same time. They’re doing so now, the study finds.

Drawing on a huge database of climate-recording objects from all over the world—including tree rings, cave formations, and ancient pollen trapped in lake mud—the study concludes that 98 percent of Earth’s surface experienced its hottest period of the past 2,000 years within living memory. That uniform heat spike “is unprecedented over the Common Era,” it says.

This latest finding may not surprise most climate scientists, who suspect that the planet is as hot now as it’s ever been in at least the past 125,000 years. But it may shock some politicians, who have downplayed modern-day climate change by talking about those past shifts. “The climate has always been changing. There has never been a time when the climate has not changed,” said Senator Marco Rubio at a Republican presidential debate in 2016.

To which the study replies: Sure. It just hasn’t changed like this.

In fairness, that wasn’t always clear. Decades ago, researchers talked about the past periods of climate change as global events. They cited the Little Ice Age, which began in roughly 1550 and ended around 1850, as an era when global temperatures fell everywhere. But this study—and work from other scholars—suggests that the Little Ice Age wasn’t global at all, and mostly lowered temperatures in western Europe and parts of North America.

“Traditionally, the understanding of climate over [the past 2,000 years] is that there were globally coherent periods of climate variability—that there was a cold period called the Little Ice Age, [or] that there was a warm period called the Medieval Climate Anomaly,” said Nathan Steiger, an author of the paper and a research scientist at Columbia, at a press conference this week. “What we show is that these periods weren’t globally coherent, as previously thought.”

Read: Are we living through climate change’s worst-case scenario?

What makes those older eras different from modern warming is coherence—that climate change is happening today just about everywhere at the same time. “That coherence cannot be explained by the natural variability of the climate system,” Steiger said. And it does not characterize any previous era.

“This study is another nail in the coffin of the idea of that there was a globally warm or cold period that fit tidily into a specific couple of centuries,” said Yarrow Axford, a climate scientist at Northwestern University, in an email. She was not involved in writing the new paper. The idea that the Little Ice Age or eras like it were uniform global events was “already dying within the scientific community,” she said, yet that idea remains “perennially popular with nonexperts who want to sow doubt about the significance of the dramatic and truly global warming that has occurred in the past century.”

Among the nonexperts who have tacitly embraced that idea: Donald Trump. The president has repeatedly brought up the fluctuating nature of the climate in order to downplay current change. “Something’s changing, and it’ll change back again,” he said on 60 Minutes last year.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.
Robinson Meyer is a staff writer at The Atlantic, where he covers climate change and technology.
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Offline Surly1

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Only through the insurrection of civil societies will we avoid the worst
« Reply #183 on: July 25, 2019, 07:06:04 AM »

Climate and collapse: Only through the insurrection of civil societies will we avoid the worst



Translation of an interview of Christophe Bonneuil, French historian and research director at the CNRS, by Ivan Du Roy for BastaMag, published on October 16th, 2018. [PDF version]



"Another end of the world is possible"



Are we under the threat of an imminent "collapse" as a result of global warming and the over-exploitation of resources? For the historian Christophe Bonneuil, there is no question: major social, economic and geopolitical upheavals have already been triggered and will only accelerate. Instead, the issue needs to be repositioned, in turn inciting "political thinking" of the current situation: who will be the winners and the losers? How can we exert an influence on the nature of these changes? Mass migrations, risk of conflicts over resources: despite his brutal observation of this emerging world, the historian appeals to avoid the trap of a "romanticism" of collapse. "Another end of the world is possible," he says. It is up to civil societies to write the final scenario. Interview.



Basta Mag: How has the climate situation evolved since the signing of the Paris Agreement - in the context of the COP 21 -, at the end of 2015?

Christophe Bonneuil [1]
: Greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise everywhere, France included. In view of the trajectory of global emissions, if we continue down that path, we take the direction of an overall increase in temperatures of at least +3°C well before the end of the century. We see here the limits of the non-compulsary nature of the agreement signed three years ago, at the Paris Climate Conference, the COP 21. The Paris Agreement is dangerously close to the 1938 Munich Agreement, which, believing it avoided a world war, actually precipitated it. This summer, the CO2 concentration of the atmosphere exceeded 411 ppm (part per million), a level unmatched for 800,000 years to 4 million years. We must be even more gullible than a "munichois" to believe that it will not have consequences of geological magnitude, or cause human disasters and major geopolitical upheavals.

What are the indicators showing that a fateful threshold, which would pave the way to a "Hothouse Earth", may likely be crossed in the coming decades?

Since the Quaternary era, the Earth oscillates approximately every 100,000 years between a glacial state and an interglacial state, between two periods of glaciation. What threatens us is an exit from the limits of this oscillation. The probability of a scenario in which Earth would switch to a hothouse state was accredited by an article published in July in the journal of the American Academy of Sciences [2]. In India, projected temperatures in ten or fifteen years show that some regions will experience peaks above 50°C [3], which could also happen in France at the end of the century [4]. Bodies will not be able to bear it, regions will become unlivable, and the poorest will be most affected.

Part of our greenhouse gas emissions is absorbed by the oceans, which have themselves not been as acidic for 300 million years. This destroys coral reefs and threatens aquatic wildlife. On land, the speed of plant migration is also not fast enough to adapt to climate change [5]. Added to this is the extent of deforestation, habitat fragmentation and the impacts of chemicals used by intensive agriculture: in German nature reserves, scientists have observed a fall of more than 75% in insect populations in less than three decades [6].

Some talk of a coming "collapse". Is this an adequate way of presenting the risks?

It is no longer about positioning oneself as optimistic or pessimistic, as an informed catastrophist – by appealing to the possibility of a catastrophe in order to arouse the mobilisation that will prevent it - or, on the contrary, as someone who refuses to use fear because it would be politically problematic. Whether we like it or not, a report was presented at the last World Geological Congress in 2016, declaring that the Earth has left the Holocene to enter a new geological era, the Anthropocene. Whether we like it or not, hundreds of scientific works show that thresholds have been crossed or are being crossed for a range of parameters of the Earth system, beyond which the evolutions are brutal: runaway climate change as a source of extreme events, rising sea levels requiring to move hundreds of large cities and billions of people across the century, biodiversity collapse, the cycle of nitrogen, phosphorus and water... multiple collapses are either already underway or coming.

What is looming over us is not a climate crisis to manage with "solutions" or economic globalisation to regulate, but the possibility of a collapse of the world we currently live in, a globalised industrial civilisation resulting from five centuries of capitalism. Some people prefer to define collapse as the extinction of the human species. Even with the worst climate and ecological scenario, this perspective remains less likely today than it was during the Cold War and the threat of nuclear winter.

Imagine the worst: climatic, ecological and geopolitical upheavals, devastating wars between powers for resources, civil wars fueled by xenophobic or religious fanaticism, clan wars in a devastated world... But why wouldn’t the few humans surviving and resisting barbarism, find no resource and habitable place on Earth? To adopt the end of the human race as the framework of thought for collapse is to risk inhibiting all thought and politics. I think that this scenario should not monopolise our attention: it only distracts from any geopolitical, social or geographical analysis.

What would be the most likely collapse scenario?

A more interesting definition, otherwise more probable in the 21st century than human extinction, is one given by Yves Cochet and the Momentum Institute: the collapse as a "process through which the basic needs (water, food, housing, clothing, energy...) are no longer provided - at a reasonable cost - to a majority of the population by services regulated by law". Just as the violence of the Greek crisis has shown us, this type of collapse can affect entire countries, even in Europe. Given the interconnected nature of the world economy, we can extend the hypothesis to that of the collapse of a system: the civilisation of industrial capitalism and its consumerist culture, nowadays a globalised civilisation, regardless of the vast disparities in social and territorial domains.

Following the erasure of so many political systems across the last 50 centuries, and while reports from all over describe the coming upheavals, isn’t it reckless to regard industrial and consumerist capitalism as immortal? Given it is the cause of global disarray [7], it seems rather interesting to think about its collapse, or even to prepare it!

How?

By multiplying, for example, the acts of non-cooperation with the consumerist model, by resisting the fascist drifts or oppressions enabled by the ecological crisis, by opposing useless projects and the pursuit of fossil fuel extraction and ore processing, by reinforcing emerging alternatives. With the image of the post-apocalyptic and Hollywood's individualistic “last man” in mind, I rather prefer the image of the collectives participating in the collapse of an old productivist world: those blocking the mines and bringing down the share price of multinationals, those reinventing the commons - from the transition movement of the Zone to Defend. Another end of the world is possible! [8]

Have such upheavals ever occurred in the past? What were the social, economic and geopolitical consequences?

It is interesting to look at the past, or else we will remain very politically naive, especially in the face of this fear of a future collapse. This kind of sublime of a collapse that will happen later is a representation of rich Western, white people. Populations and societies are either seeing their lives turned upside down, or have already seen it in the past. With the arrival of Europeans in America, Amerindian populations literally collapsed from 55 million people to 5 million between 1492 and 1650. Is that not a collapse? This genocide has left traces in the ice cores of climatologists. There is a drop of more than 5 ppm in the carbon concentration in the atmosphere between 1492 and 1610 [9]. This decline is due to the fact that, with 50 million Indians disappearing, more than 50 million cultivated hectares have returned to the fallow land and forest, capturing carbon in turn.

This European expansion was also a consequence of another upheaval, the Black Death of the 14th century. Nearly half of the European population was decimated. There was less manpower in the countryside, which in turn weakened the seigniorial power. Less numerous, the peasants then obtained certain rights. The aristocracy then went in search of new spaces to dominate and expand within, financing oceanic expeditions to Africa and the Americas. The establishment of the first sugar company in Madeira, off the coast of Morocco, served as a base for departure to the Americas. From the 16th to the 18th century, an important supply of European money came from mines exploited in the New World.

So there are winners and losers to the collapse?

After the Black Death, European peasantry was able to establish for itself a better position in society, ultimately recovering. The aristocracy and the nascent financial bourgeoisie continued to contribute to the emergence of capitalism and European expansion. The vanquished were Amerindians and Africans, captured as slaves until the 19th century. For this reason, we cannot say that everyone is in the same boat in the event of collapse.

Another example: in the years 1870-1900, El Niño events - the large-scale warming of ocean surface waters - caused droughts and famines in the Amazon, Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, killing nearly 40 million people [10]. The consequences of these natural climatic phenomena were then aggravated by European expansion, in turn bringing with them geopolitical implications. In China, the Qing dynasty was weakened by European Imperialism following the Opium War. The imperial dynasty no longer had the means to meet the needs of its population in the event of a natural disaster, and lost its legitimacy. Hence the Boxer war in 1899-1901, which led to the fall of the dynasty in 1912. The disrupted monsoons also caused millions of deaths to famine in India because the British colonial power, far from supporting the rural population, continued to puncture their commodities, which at the time were exported to Britain. Colonial empires also benefited from the climate disruptions that profoundly destabilised Africa. The droughts and famines of the 1890s in East Africa facilitated colonial penetration, which in turn aided rinderpest and sleeping sickness that decimated livestock, wildlife and African societies in the early 20th century.

These examples illustrate how the impacts of ecological and climatic disasters, both their causes and their consequences, are never separated from forms of domination and exploitation. As a result, we cannot think of the collapse purely politically by simply comparing a graphed curve of the world's population against a curve of resource availability or planetary limits. These curves say nothing about what is happening geopolitically, how social and political relations evolve, lest of all who the winners and losers are in these upheavals. The poorest can lose even more than what they have already, while the richest 1% emerge unscathed.

What could be the consequences of the current climate and environmental upheavals?

A disastrous scenario could be that of an unrecognisable Earth, less habitable overall, with hundreds of millions of refugees ruined and forced to leave their homes, whole sub-continents left to the chaos of civil wars and the extraction of resources, and ultra-militarised world powers. These authoritarian regimes would fight each other for the control of Earth's resources, and would internally reign a dictatorship in the name of the ecological emergency and the exclusion of destitute foreigners hurrying to their doors.

In the name of climate emergency and in the face of a rapid degradation of Earth's habitability, these regimes will abolish the moral and social boundaries: we will be offered servitude and submission in exchange for survival. The control of our personal data will guide our behaviours. This totalitarian order will present itself as an ecologist and will ration the use of resources, but will maintain enormous inequalities between a general population with diminished life and an elite that will continue to over-consume.

This is the scenario of a capitalism partially de-globalised, and re-structured in dictatorial blocks, in which the militarised state and the economic power would become one. Fully privatised ecological service markets, climate geoengineering, military and extractivist space conquest or trans-humanism would be the "solutions" proposed by these regimes to the problems of the planet. This scenario sends chills up the spine. Yet we are already experiencing these premises, in China, the United States, Russia, Europe or Brazil.

Only a massive mobilisation of civil societies and victims of climate change already facing the damage of existing "globalisation", only an ethical and political insurrection against all attacks against the living and human dignity itself, only an archipelago of revolutionary changes towards well-being and self-reliant societies can thwart this scenario of ecofascist capitalism.

Yet many are those saying to themselves "So far, so good, so far, so good"...

If we look in the short term at how global imbalance changes the game, it seems that for a number of years to come, the top 5% to 10% of the world, living mainly in OECD countries [which includes the 36 most developed countries in the world, ed] as well as China and Russia, do not yet fully realize the seriousness of the situation: they are less fragile, live in relatively stable states erecting barriers against migrants, have access to a standard of living that requires an unequal ecological exchange with the rest of the planet, where most of the production workshops and sites of extraction are located. For them, "everything is fine" as long as they continue to benefit from a political and economic system externalising violence towards other territories, populations and species of the world.

On the other hand, the most underprivileged half of humanity, could be in vital danger. This half has received nothing from the wealth generated in 2017 worldwide while 82% of it benefited the richest 1% of the world [11]. While some buy lifeboats, others toil in the workshops of the world under conditions of extreme pollution, or on land becoming less and less fertile. Between 200 million and one billion people could become refugees by 2050. We must realise the violence of climate change that is adding to, and combining with, the social violence suffered by these "Wretched of the Earth".

We must therefore expect considerable political and geopolitical upheavals...

Europe is in the grip of a xenophobic push. On our doorstep, the drowning rate of migrants trying to cross the Mediterranean has increased from one in 42 in 2017 to one in 18 in 2018, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. It's appalling! India erected a 4000 km long separation wall with Bangladesh. With the melting ice in the Himalayas and the disruption of monsoons, water regimes are changing, with effects on dams and irrigation systems. This is already creating tensions between China, India and Pakistan. The Himalayas become a kind of geopolitical bedlam, subject to a "hyper-siege" as Jean-Michel Valantin has shown [12]. Their populations are stuck between rising water on one side, and the relative drying of the Himalayan water tower on the other. This conjunction of climatic phenomena and geopolitical tensions is worrying in an area with nuclearised countries.

The disturbances of the planet also redistribute the power relations between nation-states as we have known them since the end of the Cold War. Among the potential winners, there is Russia, which has room - Siberia - which will be able to accommodate populations in the future. North America and China also have clear lands, which Europe doesn't have. These lands will allow the cultivation of millions of hectares of wheat.

Paradoxically, global warming also opens up new potential for fossil energy exploitation, doesn’t it?

The thaw of the Arctic sea ice is accelerating Russian fossil fuel extraction projects with massive Chinese funding, which, incidentally, may further worsen global warming. A new maritime route is opening, the passage of the North-East [which connects the Pacific to the Atlantic through northern Russia and Scandinavia, note]. The first big methane tanker - Christophe de Margerie [named after the former CEO of Total who died in 2014, ed] - sailed for the first time in the summer of 2017 without the necessity of an ice-breaking ship. The Northeast Passage is the equivalent of the Suez Canal or Panama in the 19th century: it brings China closer to Europe by three weeks. Floating nuclear power plants will likely be established by Russia in the Arctic, to provide power to the first cities that are set up in this 'frozen far-west', as well as the exploitation of gas and oil fields.

When we see the gap between the richest and the billions of people most affected by climate damage, or the differences in the costs and benefits of the warming depending on regions or states, it is clear that the rhetoric of "We are all concerned, we must act together", doesn’t hold water. There will be winners and losers to global warming. Some countries - like Russia and the oil monarchies of the Gulf - and some social groups have no interest in this changing. No, we are not all in the same boat, or not in the same class or with the same access to the restaurant and canoes [reference to Titanic]. A "positive ecology" made of concrete alternatives is useful, but it will not be enough without a fight. This is also the lesson to be learned from Nicolas Hulot's failure in the government [Nicolas Hulot was the French Minister of the Environment under Macron, resigning in August 2018].

Won’t the extraction of fossil fuels stop by itself, because of the limits of these resources, for example oil?

Since the 1970s, the environmental movement has highlighted these limits. But in terms of fossil resource reserves, we have, according to a study published in 2015, largely enough to increase the global temperature of the planet by more than 8°C, and the level of the oceans by 30 meters during the 3rd millennium [13]. We can no longer count on these limits and on a shortage of resources - the famous oil "spike" - to stop us on time. Only political voluntarism, spurred by an insurrection of civil societies, can help avoid the worst.

We know the existence of fossil reserves under our feet, which we must absolutely learn not to extract. We must leave a model of development dating back 500 years, when the conquistadores killed Amerindians for mere kilos of gold or silver. This model that must be overcome is capitalism: it is not only a question of returning to a Keynesian capitalism with a little more ecology in it. Our conception of the individual, "who is by himself a perfect and solitary whole" according to Rousseau, our conception of beings other than human beings, of the good life and of property, must be rethought.

We must work on the issue of the commons. And, beyond a collapsing industrial modernity, we must invent terrestrial futures[14]. In politics, it's time for the focus to shift. Political leaders, institutions or companies can no longer be taken seriously if they don’t have clear proposals to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the ecological footprint within the next five years. While they currently place competitiveness, growth and business above all, they will have to give way to policies more adequate to preserve our lives, our values of solidarity, and a habitable world.


Translated by Crystelle Vu - Edited by Julian Oliver - 2018 / Written with VIM / Last edit 30.10.2018


Notes
[1] Historian, research director at the CNRS, co-author of "L’événement Anthropocène. La Terre, l’histoire et nous" (Seuil, « Points Histoire », 2016) and director of the « Anthropocene » collection at Ed. du Seuil.
[2] Trajectories of the Earth System in the Anthropocene.
[3] Deadly heat waves could hit South Asia this century.
[4] France could experience heat peaks of 50°C at the end of the century, 'Le Monde' article in French
[5] Richard T. Corlett & David A.Westcott. « Will plant movements keep up with climate change ? ».
[6] More than 75 percent decline over 27 years in total flying insect biomass in protected areas
[7] Christophe Bonneuil & Jean-Baptiste Fressoz, L’événement Anthropocène. La Terre, l’histoire et nous (Seuil, « Points Histoire », 2016).
[8] It is the slogan of a graffiti illustrating the political radicalisations of recent years, and the title of the latest book by Pablo Servigne, Raphael Stevens and Gauthier Chapelle, Une autre fin du monde est possible (Another end of the world is possible) (Seuil, 2018)
[9] Simon L. Lewis et Mark A. Maslin, « Defining the Anthropocene », Nature, 519, 2015, p. 171-180.
[10] Read the book by Mike Davis, Late Victorian Holocausts: El Niño Famines and the Making of the Third World.
[11] Report by Oxfam NGO, january 2018.
[12] Jean-Michel Valantin, Géopolitique d’une planète déréglée (Seuil, 2017).
[13] R. Winkelmann, A. Levermann, A. Ridgwell, K. Caldeira, « Combustion of available fossil-fuel resources sufficient to eliminate the Antarctic Ice Sheet », Science Advances, 1 (2015).
[14] « Devenirs terrestres » (fr) : http://www.terrestres.org/2018/05/10/devenirs-terrestres/

“The old world is dying, and the New World struggles to be born: now is the time of monsters.”

Offline Surly1

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Europe is burning
« Reply #184 on: July 25, 2019, 07:55:08 AM »
Europe is burning just as new research offers a chilling truth about the volatility of climate change
Cooler years mask the underlying behaviour of the system. As natural variations move in the other direction, they can unleash a period of supercharged heating


It’s not the fall that will kill you, but the suddenness of the stopping. Just as it is with a plane crash, so it is with global heating. Changes in the climate don’t in themselves represent a significant risk – the Earth’s climate has been changing for billions of years after all – but it is the abrupt changes that could spell disaster for us. 

New research suggests that climate models which predict greater global warming in the future also have more volatile warming trends. If that is the case, and the climate is as sensitive to our carbon dioxide emissions as many of the latest models suggest, this will seriously threaten our ability to adapt. And it is that which will put a significant fraction of humanity in jeopardy.  

Many scientists focus on how much warmer the Earth’s climate will become because of the extra carbon dioxide humans have put into the atmosphere. The technical term for this is Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity(ECS). Equilibrium because it takes years, decades or centuries for the climate system to respond to extra heating.

Think how much energy it takes to heat a bathtub full of water and how long it can stay warm for. The amount of energy required to heat the trillions of litres of the Earth’s oceans is enormous. 

Consider that bath of water again. Imagine the tap is dripping because it’s not entirely closed, so the water level in the bath is increasing, but only very slowly. Trying to track changes in water level just by eye would be as difficult as seeing the march of time in the hour hand of a watch. Now picture someone is in the bath. Unless the person stays absolutely still, they will have an impact on the water level as their movements will make waves. Depending on how much they move, these waves can be plain to see and would easily mask the very slow water level increase. 

ECS tells us where the climate system will end up – what the final water level will be. But it may not tell us a great deal about how we will get there. Will we have a smooth increase or a much bumpier ride? How much will the climate fluctuate as it responds to being heated up? How big will the “waves” in temperatures be? These are the answers that this recent research has addressed and why on reading it my first response was “Oh no. This isn’t good”.

Because what the team lead by University of Exeter PhD researcherFemke Nijsse found, is that more sensitive climates have higher fluctuations. Using extensive climate simulations, they discovered that if a climate system reacts strongly to increased greenhouse gases, then it is also more likely to have decades when temperatures are much higher or sometimes much lower than the longer-term average. In fact, more sensitive climates may have a run of years that are cooler than less sensitive climates.

But these cooler years are masking the underlying behaviour of the system. As natural variations move in the other direction, they can conspire with the sensitive climate to unleash a period of supercharged heating. OK, but why should we be worried about that?

Because the warming trend of the Earth’s real climate between 2002-2012 was a bit less than what it should have been given how much we have been increasing greenhouse gases. Some people leapt at that as being evidence that the climate is less sensitive than was initially feared. They argued we shouldn’t decarbonise too rapidly, or even at all, because there is no urgency to do so.

But this period of depressed warming is consistent with the Earth’s climate having higher fluctuations. What this means is that at some point in the future we may see temperatures swing across to much faster warming trends. This period of hyper-warming could swamp whatever adaptation measures we are currently putting in place. 

When in the future? Perhaps now, as witnessed by the near continual breaking of temperature records around the world and much faster rates of glacier retreat than expected. Rather than a brief anomaly, this may be the beginning of an acceleration of global heating; an acceleration of a trend that is already greater than any warming trend for the past 2000 years.

Exploring the relationship between sensitivity and fluctuations is very complex, and no single study can be considered to provide the last word on the matter. But this new research has kicked away another support against the collapse into despair about how we are affecting the climate. 

Because, remember, it’s not the fall, but the sudden stop. And the mess our civilisation will make if climate change sends us plummeting hard and fast to the floor will not be pretty.

James Dyke is a senior lecturer in global systems at Exeter University

“The old world is dying, and the New World struggles to be born: now is the time of monsters.”

Offline Surly1

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The Guardian view on James Lovelock: Earth, but not as we knew it
« Reply #185 on: July 26, 2019, 06:15:35 AM »
The Guardian view on James Lovelock: Earth, but not as we knew it

The Guardian view on James Lovelock: Earth, but not as we knew it

As he celebrates his centennial birthday, the scientist continues to rewrite our future
James Lovelock pictured near his home on the Dorset coast in September 2016. ‘“I’m a romantic,” he said once. “I’m much more of a poet by nature than anything else.”’
James Lovelock pictured near his home on the Dorset coast in September 2016. ‘“I’m a romantic,” he said once. “I’m much more of a poet by nature than anything else.”’ Photograph: Adrian Sherratt/The Guardian

James Lovelock, the scientist and writer, is 100 years old on Friday and remains a combination of environmental Cassandra and Old Testament prophet. Unlike them, though, he changes his mind about what the future holds. Foolish consistency, Emerson wrote, is the hobgoblin of little minds, and Mr Lovelock’s mind is not little. More than 10 years before the record high July temperatures, Mr Lovelock flatly told the Guardian that 80% of human life on Earth would perish by 2100 because of the climate emergency. He imagined a dystopian end of humanity where “the few breeding pairs of people that survive will be in the Arctic where the climate remains tolerable” by the end of the 21st century.

As a scientist (his first letter to Nature was published in 1945, on the subject of writing on petri dishes), Mr Lovelock’s life has been studded with insight. He invented an electron capture detector that could pick up minute traces of pollutants – such as the pesticides that spurred Rachel Carson to write the 1962 book Silent Spring. At home he built instruments that ended up on Mars, helping Nasa to establish that the red planet was lifeless.

Mr Lovelock’s imagination has not narrowed, but his vision has become bleaker with time. His new book Novacene: The Coming Age of Hyperintelligence proposes that the 300,000-year Anthropocene era of Earth’s human domination is ending. Novacene is a new age where our species is doomed to a worse fate than clinging on for dear life at the north pole as previously imagined. Instead we will become lackeys of cyborgs able to think 10,000 times faster than humans. We will be kept on to ensure there are habitable temperatures for these superior intelligences.

Novacene’s thesis is a straight-line extrapolation of Mr Lovelock’s breakthrough idea which he began to develop while a consultant at Nasa in the 1970s; the thought that the planet was a superorganism. In 1974, he and biologist Lynn Margulis proposed the Gaia hypothesis, which holds that Earth is in some way alive. The paper suggested our planet metabolises and responds to changes in its environment to survive. In bestselling books such as The Revenge of Gaia, Mr Lovelock argued that humans have exploited Earth and the “old lady” would eliminate us unless we treated her with greater reverence. That is why the Novacene will start, he now reasons: because a superintelligence will recognise that all living tissue will be consumed by climate crisis and will act with Gaia to keep the life going.

When it came out, the Gaia theory immediately chimed with the incipient green movement. Tough-minded scientists, though, initially reacted as if – as one critic put it – Mr Lovelock had let off a bad smell at the vicar’s tea party. Its appeal, they wrongly sneered, was to devotees of faith-healing and mysticism.

But Mr Lovelock has stuck to his guns and refused to be co-opted by environmentalism. He backs nuclear power and has zigzagged on global heating, saying that some alarmist books – including his own – had made unwarranted predictions. He even told the Guardian: “We’ve got to really make it clear to those very silly people who think we can save the planet to cease and desist.” And what of the Gaia hypothesis? Evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould described it as “a metaphor not a mechanism”. Its truth is poetic not literal. That echoes how Mr Lovelock sees himself. “I’m a romantic,” he said once. “I’m much more of a poet by nature than anything else.”

He might be best seen then as a 21st-century William Blake – one whose words are no more testable than verse, but no less valuable for that.

“The old world is dying, and the New World struggles to be born: now is the time of monsters.”

Offline John of Wallan

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Re: The Environment Board
« Reply #186 on: August 02, 2019, 02:26:01 AM »
Tree of the week:
Planted a Rhododendron in a shaded spot and a passion fruit vine on the front fence last week end. Not really a tree, but hey, a plant is a plant.
Planning on getting an apple this week end. Will plant it in the chicken pen to try and keep insects away without sprays.
Not sure what variety. Want something good for eating and cooking.
Attached is  picture of "Euky Dwarf" I planted around 18 years ago. Doing well in this climate.
Save what you can. Plant a tree a week.

JOW

Offline AJ

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Re: The Environment Board
« Reply #187 on: August 02, 2019, 03:23:21 AM »
I love your tree a week program. My problem is deer. They would kill any tree I planted if I didn't put up T-posts and 6' high fence around them. It seems that every deer resistant tree gets eaten, including fig (which they are never supposed to eat). The deer eat the young shoots (maybe they don't have the toxins that are supposed to "deter" them. I could plant more douglas fir but I am already surrounded by them.
Thanks for the pictures.
AJ
Nullis in Verba

Offline John of Wallan

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Re: The Environment Board
« Reply #188 on: August 02, 2019, 02:49:10 PM »
AJ,
I have similar problems with Kangaroos and rabbits. I put tree guards on everything now until established. The plants they dont eat they crush when hopping away if they are small.

Next plan is to get another small dog or 2. My last yappers died a year ago from old age. I will post a pic of my deceased pooches if I can find some.

25km away on the property where I chop fire wood is lousy with Sambar deer. (Another introduced pest species like rabbits!) Plastic tree guards seem to deter them somewhat also. I will post a pic of my very simple tree guards. I have a roll of clear builders plastic I cut into sheets and seal into a ring with my clothes iron and a bit of newspaper to stop it sticking.

Get a bit angry and depressed with current environmental death spiral. Sick of trying to enlighten stupid people. Plating is best remedy I can find. Still some people dont like me doing it for god knows what reason... Makes me feel better and makes the local environment much nicer for all creatures great and small, including old fat bearded bastards such as myself.  ;D
A tree a week until I die will be my legacy. Dont care who else knows, as long as I know I have done something.
Save what you can.

JOW
PS Tree guard pic is not fantastic. I will take some better pics next time I make one. In the background you can see a flock of local Rosella's (birds) eating grass. Pretty well live on my property now with all the trees.

Offline John of Wallan

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Re: The Environment Board
« Reply #189 on: August 03, 2019, 09:34:54 PM »
Tree of the week:
Gone a bit crazy this week.... Have planted another 5 Callistemon's, (Bottle brush), in a bit of a hedge alternating white and red varieties to give a bit of a wind break for the vegetable garden. Should also attract bees for pollination, and birds for insect control. All have tree guards until established to stop roos trampling them.
Also now have a bare rooted apple to plant out. Royal Gala. Will make up raised bed in chicken pen and plant out this week.
Next door has some local self sown wattle trees. I will jump the fence and see if I can find some seed pods to propagate. Will make good display tree for winter.
Will post some pics shortly.
Plant a tree a week until I die. Save what you can.
JOW

Offline Surly1

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Re: The Environment Board
« Reply #190 on: August 04, 2019, 01:45:36 AM »
Tree of the week:
Gone a bit crazy this week.... Have planted another 5 Callistemon's, (Bottle brush), in a bit of a hedge alternating white and red varieties to give a bit of a wind break for the vegetable garden. Should also attract bees for pollination, and birds for insect control. All have tree guards until established to stop roos trampling them.
Also now have a bare rooted apple to plant out. Royal Gala. Will make up raised bed in chicken pen and plant out this week.
Next door has some local self sown wattle trees. I will jump the fence and see if I can find some seed pods to propagate. Will make good display tree for winter.
Will post some pics shortly.
Plant a tree a week until I die. Save what you can.
JOW

You're providing a great example.

 :emthup: :emthup:
“The old world is dying, and the New World struggles to be born: now is the time of monsters.”

Offline Surly1

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Global Ocean Circulation Appears To Be Collapsing Due To A Warming Planet
« Reply #191 on: August 06, 2019, 02:26:15 PM »
Global Ocean Circulation Appears To Be Collapsing Due To A Warming Planet
Arctic ice loss is potentially negatively impacting the planet's largest ocean circulation system. While scientists do have some analogs as to how this may impact the world, we will be largely in uncharted territory.



Global ocean circulation appears to be slowing NASA

Scientists have long known about the anomalous "warming hole" in the North Atlantic Ocean, an area immune to warming of Earth's oceans. This cool zone in the North Atlantic Ocean appears to be associated with a slowdown in the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), one of the key drivers in global ocean circulation.

A recent study published in Nature outlines research by a team of Yale University and University of Southhampton scientists. The team found evidence that Arctic ice loss is potentially negatively impacting the planet's largest ocean circulation system. While scientists do have some analogs as to how this may impact the world, we will be largely in uncharted territory.

AMOC is one of the largest current systems in the Atlantic Ocean and the world. Generally speaking, it transports warm and salty water northward from the tropics to South and East of Greenland. This warm water cools to ambient water temperature then sinks as it is saltier and thus denser than the relatively more fresh surrounding water. The dense mass of water sinks to the base of the North Atlantic Ocean and is pushed south along the abyss of the Atlantic Ocean.

Schematic of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation

Schematic of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation

WIKIPEDIA

This process whereby water is transported into the Northern Atlantic Ocean acts to distribute ocean water globally. What's more important, and the basis for concern of many scientists is this mechanism is one of the most efficient ways Earth transports heat from the tropics to the northern latitudes. The warm water transported from the tropics to the North Atlantic releases heat to the atmosphere, playing a key role in warming of western Europe. You likely have heard of one of the more popular components of the AMOC, the Gulf Stream which brings warm tropical water to the western coasts of Europe.

Evidence is growing that the comparatively cold zone within the Northern Atlantic could be due to a slowdown of this global ocean water circulation. Hence, a slowdown in the planet's ability to transfer heat from the tropics to the northern latitudes. The cold zone could be due to melting of ice in the Arctic and Greenland. This would cause a cold fresh water cap over the North Atlantic, inhibiting sinking of salty tropical waters. This would in effect slow down the global circulation and hinder the transport of warm tropical waters north.

Measured trend in temperature variations from 1900 to 2012.

Measured trend in temperature variations from 1900 to 2012.

NOAA

Melting of the Arctic sea ice has rapidly increased in the recent decades. Satellite image records indicate that September Arctic sea ice is 30% less today than it was in 1979. This trend of increased sea ice melting during summer months does not appear to be slowing. Hence, indications are that we will see a continued weakening of the global ocean circulation system.

This scenario of a collapse in AMOC and global ocean circulation is the premise for the movie "The Day After Tomorrow." As a disclaimer, the plot line in which much of New England and Western Europe gets plunged into an ice age is significantly over exaggerated and unrealistic on human time scales.

While geologists have studied events in the past similar to what appears to be happening today, scientists are largely unsure of what lies ahead.

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Trevor Nace
Senior Contributor

I am a geologist passionate about sharing Earth's intricacies with you. I received my PhD from Duke University where I studied the geology and climate of the Amazon. 

“The old world is dying, and the New World struggles to be born: now is the time of monsters.”

Offline John of Wallan

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Re: The Environment Board
« Reply #192 on: August 07, 2019, 05:34:37 PM »
EAT THE PROBLEM!

https://www.abc.net.au/radio/melbourne/programs/drive/foodietuesday-eat-the-problem/11389130

I think I would rather eat the stupid than cane toads.... Ugly critters.
I have had stinging nettle. Bland.


JOW

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The Environment Board, 4 JoW.....
« Reply #193 on: August 08, 2019, 10:24:49 AM »

Bizarre Forest ‘Superorganism’ is Keeping Dead Trees Alive, Study Finds

The new information “dramatically changes our view of forest ecosystems as ‘superorganisms’.”

MANDY FROELICH

(TMU) — While hiking in the New Zealand wilderness, Sebastian Leuzinger of the Auckland University of Technology and a colleague made an astonishing discovery: a tree stump that should have died was being kept alive by neighboring trees. After conducting an experiment, the researchers concluded that nearby trees were funneling water and nutrients to the stump through an interconnected root system. The revelation supports the understanding that trees and other organisms work together for the benefit of a forest.

For the study, Leuzinger and his teammate decided to put continuous water monitors in the kauri (Agathis australis) stump and in two nearby adult trees of the same species. Then, they waited. After several weeks, they discovered a relationship between the water flow in the trees and the stump.

When nearby trees evaporated water through their leaves during the day, the water movement in the stump remained low. But, when the trees were dormant during the evening, the water would begin circulating through the stump. Furthermore, when it was overcast or rainy and the water flow dropped in the trees, the stump picked it up.

As NewScientist reports, water flow is largely driven by evaporation in healthy trees. But, without leaves, the stump’s water flow was dependent on the movement of its neighbors.

The finding, which was published in iScience, undermines the notion of trees as individual or separate entities. We’ve long known the symbiotic relationship between fungi and tree roots, but the new information “dramatically changes our view of forest ecosystems as ‘superorganisms’,” said Leuzinger.

He added that the networking of water makes the trees more resistant to water scarcity. However, it also increases the risk of disease spreading. This could be problematic for Kauri trees which are affected by a deadly disease called kauri dieback.

Living stumps have been reported as far back as the 1800s. But, this is one of the first studies ever on how they survive. There are several theories as to why trees help each other out. The most probable of which suggests that a leafless stump simply becomes part of the host tree’s broader root system.

According to Greg Moore at the University of Melbourne, Australia, trees are “ruthlessly efficient” in maximizing their resources. “So the fact that this stump is being supported by nearby trees tells you they are getting a benefit,” he said.


https://themindunleashed.com/2019/08/bizarre-forest-superorganism-keeping-dead-trees-alive.html
I know exactly what you mean. Let me tell you why you’re here. You’re here because you know something. What you know you can’t explain, but you feel it. You’ve felt it your entire life, that there’s something wrong with the world.
You don’t know what it is but its there, like a splinter in your mind

Offline John of Wallan

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Re: The Environment Board
« Reply #194 on: August 08, 2019, 06:45:20 PM »
Yes thanks mate! Amazing.
This is typical of the current situation: We know very little about the wonders of the natural environment, yet we are steaming along full speed ahead destroying it.
There are a few other interesting "Super organisms" I have read about. Apparently some entire forests of oaks are one organism connected at the roots and genetically clones of each other. Gives new meaning to the web of life....

If only humanity could collectively figure out that we are part of the natural environment not the ruler over it, we may have a future. We cant live without the natural environment. It gives us food, water, shelter and oxygen.
Colonizing another planet sure as shit wont save us when we destroy what we have here on this lonely blue dot in the Galaxy.
   
Plant a tree a week until I die is my answer.
Save what you can.

JOW

 

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