News and Blog

25 February 2019

Climate change: We really don't know clouds at all

As we are constantly reminded: we don’t know what we don’t know. So, it should not be surprising that things could get worse than the scientific community’s best climate models predict.  Case in point: a new study in Nature Geoscience suggests another alarming concern, namely that excessive CO2 in the atmosphere could eliminate our planet's ubiquitous cloud cover and that could lead to an additional 8 degrees Celsius of global warming. That would be on top of the warming without cloud loss.

At this point, I can only think of Joni Mitchell’s profound reflections:

Rows and flows of angel hair

And ice cream castles in the air

And feather canyons everywhere

I've looked at clouds that way

But now they only block the sun

They rain and snow on everyone

So many things I would have done

But clouds got in my way

I've looked at clouds from both sides now

From up and down and still somehow

It's cloud's illusions I recall

I really don't know clouds at all

- Joni Mitchell from Both Sides Now

10 February 2019

“This will have catastrophic consequences for both the planet’s ecosystems and for the survival of mankind”

Insects on the planet Earth are heading for extinction. Let me say that again, with emphasis, INSECTS ON THE PLANET EARTH ARE HEADING FOR EXTINCTION! A new study published in the journal Biological Conservation found that the rate of extinction of insects is eight times faster than the rate of extinction of mammals, birds and reptiles, with 40% of insect species in decline and one-third endangered. Insect mass has been declining at a rate of 2.5% per year over the past 25-30 years. If that rate continues, in the next 10 years 25% of the insect mass will be gone; in the next 50 years, 50% will be gone; and, in 100 years all insects will be gone.

The main cause of insect extinction is agricultural intensification and the use of synthetic fertilizers and insecticides. Because industrial agricultural practices are also a major contributor to climate change (another insect extinction cause), big agri-business must change its practices posthaste.

Until big agri-business acknowledges the urgency of this existential threat, we must take action to slow down, if not deactivate this time bomb. One thing we can do now is to use the power of our voices, our votes and our pocket books (buy organic foods). Please come to ClimateDonor.org and join us in taking action now.

A planet without insects will mean a planet without birds, animals and us.

5 December 2018

United Nations Secretary General António Guterres: “We are in deep trouble with climate change”

Speaking at the COP24 climate conference in Poland this week, UN Secretary General António Guterres did not mince words about the state of the planet. His words reflected the the sense of urgency in the wake of the new report published by the Global Carbon Project. Secretary Guterres added “It is hard to overstate the urgency of our situation. Even as we witness devastating climate impacts causing havoc across the world, we are still not doing enough, nor moving fast enough, to prevent irreversible and catastrophic climate disruption.” People have caused the climate change we are seeing today and people need to be part of the solution — we can wait no longer to put all hands on deck. You can act now by making a tax deductible donation to help fund ClimateDonor.org's web-based platform for getting main street citizens involved. Please donate today!

31 October 2018

Things just got worse. It’s time to act.

A new climate study published in Nature has some really bad news. But, we shouldn’t be surprised - the world has been rolling the dice for far too long when it comes to catastrophic climate change. Now we know we’re in deep shit - sitting on the come line with the inevitable odds stacked against us. Every gambler’s luck eventually runs out because they can’t change the probabilities. While a smart gambler can walk away from the casino, naive or addicted gamblers end up staying in the game too long, not unlike the proverbial frog in a soon-to-boil kettle of water. In the casino gambling situation, most people are not affected. Such is not the case with climate change. The world’s primary greenhouse gas emitters are effectively going to make the entire world pay for their reckless gambling. It’s way past time to get our corporations and politicians on a 12 step program to admit we have an addiction to CO2 that is going to land everyone in hot water.

10 October 2018

Hail Mary

I was raised as a Catholic in the early 60s and dutifully did my confessions every week because if I didn’t then I was bound for a fiery hell (according to my Catechism teachers). After every confession, I sat in silence and said my Hail Mary’s as my penance so that I could be forgiven. Those prayers seemed to have worked because I survived adolescence and, apparently, an early trip to Hades. As a football player in high school, Hail Mary’s took on a different meaning. It usually meant that a team was behind in the waning seconds of a game and had to effectively pray for a miracle touch down — usually a long bomb thrown into a crowd of players jostling for position in the end zone. Sometimes it worked, most times it didn’t, but it all depended on what side you were on.

I gave up believing in organized religion a long time ago. Likewise, I have also given up believing in our political parties. Organized religions and political parties have a lot of things in common. Mostly, they are good at creating an enemy or demon of which people should fear. Another thing they have in common is that they are really good at keeping themselves relevant and powerful. They do that by exploiting the fear they put in people.

Surrealistically, I am now witnessing Hades (in the form of our rising global temperatures) coming at me, at us. I am also witnessing an authoritarian and his greedy enablers helping to hasten the destruction of our biosphere (amongst other transgressions against humanity).

Having not given up hope altogether in our dire situation (read the newly published UN report), I now ask myself, should we give a Hail Mary (or two, or three, or …) a try? I can confidently say the liturgical kind is highly unlikely to produce any tangible relief (but meditation can certainly put your mind at peace). But what about the pigskin kind? What have we got to lose? Unlike in football, however, in this game we’re all on the same side.

7 August 2018

Point of no return?

As Maddie Stone in Earther.com reports, "The possibility that a point of no return could be close at hand “should get the attention of every citizen, business person, and politician around the world.”".  Thanks to Maddie Stone and Earther.com in reporting on a new paper published in PNAS that describes what would happen, climate-wise, if there is no period of stability when the average global temperature reaches the 2 degrees centigrade threshold. Basically, what may happen is that all hell will break loose.  Our politicians have been irresponsible long enough.  If you want to lend a hand, please contact us or go to VoterCapital.org if you want to create or join a grassroots action to influence your elected representatives.

24 May 2018

Trump Administration Kills NASA Monitoring Program - Jeopardizing GDP in Trillions of Dollars Globally. 

The old adage that you can't manage what you don't measure sums up the grossly negligent move by the Trump Administration to eliminate NASA's carbon monitoring program.  Didn't President Trump claim to be a business genius?  What kind of business genius kills a $10 million program that could help to mitigate losses in GDP that could be in the trillions of dollars? 

According to a new Stanford study, if we are able to keep global temperatures from reaching the Paris Accord's hoped-for 1.5 degree Celsius rise, rather than the catastrophic 2 degree Celsius rise, there is a 60% chance that $20 trillion dollars in lost GDP will be saved.  High school students, who are likely to bear the burden of the President's decision, would likely be able to make a better business decision.

22 March 2018

According to a new report from the International Energy Agency, global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions increased by 1.4% in 2017, after three years of remaining flat.   Carbon emissions reached a historical high of 32.5 gigatonnes in 2017.  The full report is here.

October 30, 2017

The World Meteorological Organization has reported that concentrations of CO2 in the Earth's atmosphere dramatically surged in 2016 to a level that Earth has not experienced in 800,000 years.  CO2 concentration hit a level of 403.3 ppm, a 3.3 ppm increase from the prior year that is 50% higher than the average increases over the past 10 year periods.  The BBC reports that scientists feel that the unfortunate news risks making global temperature targets largely unattainable.

September 18, 2017

It's official now: 2017 Summer temperatures set an all-time record in California. One of the major repercussions of the heat is being felt by the wine industry. What looked like it was going to be a good vintage year for California wine grape growers is now looking dismal if not catastrophic. The 112 degree heat from Healdsburg to Lodi over the Labor Day weekend had the regions' red wine grapes turning into raisins. One vintner reporting losing 50% of their crop. This summer is going to remembered for a long time for the costs associated with crop damage, fires, floods and hurricanes (not to mention the tremendous tragedy of many lives lost)... at least until, maybe next summer's records are broken.

August 7, 2017

The New York Times has received a draft copy of U.S. government's Climate Science Special Report (please contact us if you would like a copy).  The Report confirms what most of us already know (and makes the case that things are actually worse than expected).   The present dangerous warming of the earth is due to human activity.  The earth's temperature is on a highly likely trajectory that will surpass the 2 degrees centigrade limit that we needed to stay under to avoid catastrophic climate change.  The present administration has to approve the Report before it is officially released and is likely to suppress it.  It hardly matters if this report is suppressed by the present administration (it has already done immense damage to our climate progress). What matters is what we do. The real inconvenient truth is that we have our work cut out to try to get our friends and neighbors to engage like there is no tomorrow. Because the tomorrow we really don't want to see is right around the corner.

June 1, 2017

"It's all b***s***"

In an interview in the Atlantic, Princeton Professor Michael Oppenheimer offered his assessment of President Trump's decision to pull the US out of the Paris Climate Accord.

Read the full interview here.

 

March 14, 2017

Gallup Poll finds global warming concern at three decade high in US.

See poll results here.