Breaking Latest forecast suggests ‘Godzilla El Niño’ may be coming to California
The National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center said Thursday that all computer models are now predicting a strong El Niño to peak in the late fall or early winter. A host of observations have led scientists to conclude that “collectively, these atmospheric and oceanic features reflect a significant and strengthening El Niño.”
At the moment, this year’s El Niño is stronger than it was at this time of year in 1997. Areas in red and white represent the warmest sea-surface temperatures above the average. (Source: NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory at La Cañada Flintridge – their climatologist Bill Patzert)
To see the graphs – please go to Los Angeles Times or Rolling Stones – our source at:
After the strongest El Niño on record muscled up through the summer of 1997, the following winter gave Southern California double its annual rainfall and dumped double the snowpack in the Sierra Nevada, an essential source of precipitation for the state’s water supply, Patzert said.
A strong El Niño can shift a subtropical jet stream that normally pours rain over the jungles of southern Mexico and Central America toward California and the southern United States.
But so much rain all at once has proved devastating to California in the past. In early 1998, storms brought widespread flooding and mudslides, causing 17 deaths and more than half a billion dollars in damage in California. Downtown L.A. got nearly a year’s worth of rain in February 1998.
The effects of this muscular El Niño – nicknamed “Bruce Lee” by one blogger for the National Weather Service – are already being felt worldwide. While a strong El Niño can bring heavy winter rains to California and the southern United States, it can also bring dry weather elsewhere in the world.
Already, El Niño is being blamed for drought conditions in parts of the Philippines, Indonesia and Australia, as occurred in 1997-98.
Drought is also persistent in Central America. Water levels are now so low in the waterways that make up the Panama Canal that officials recently announced limits on traffic through the passageway that links the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.
El Niño also influenced the heavy rainstorms that effectively ended drought conditions in Colorado, Texas and Oklahoma.
There are a couple reasons why scientists say El Niño is gaining strength.
First, ocean temperatures west of Peru are continuing to climb. The temperatures in a benchmark location of the Pacific Ocean were 3.4 degrees above the average as of Aug. 5. That’s slightly higher than it was on Aug. 6, 1997, when it was 3.2 degrees above normal.
The mass of warm water in the Pacific Ocean is also bigger and deeper than it was at this point in 1997, Patzert said.
Second, the so-called trade winds that normally keep the ocean waters west of Peru cool — by pushing warm water further west toward Indonesia — are weakening.
That’s allowing warm water to flow eastward toward the Americas, giving El Niño more strength.
For this year’s El Niño to truly rival its 1997 counterpart, there still needs to be “a major collapse in trade winds from August to November as we saw in 1997,” Patzert said.
“We’re waiting for the big trade wind collapse,” Patzert said. “If it does, it could be stronger than 1997.”
There is a small chance such a collapse may not happen.
“There’s always a possibility these trade winds could surprise us and come back,” Patzert said.
Overall, the Climate Prediction Center forecast a greater-than-90% chance that El Niño will continue through this winter in the Northern Hemisphere, and about an 85% chance it will last into the early spring.
In California, officials have cautioned the public against imagining that El Niño will suddenly end the state’s chronic water challenges. A forecast is never a sure thing, they say.
And they also want to remind the public that California has been dry for much of the last 15 years. Even if California gets a wet winter this year, it could be followed by another severe multi-year drought.
“We certainly wouldn’t want people to think that, ‘Gee, because it’s an El Niño this year, it’s going to be wet and therefore we can stop conserving water,” Jeanine Jones, the California Department of Water Resources’ deputy drought manager, said in July.
Another problem is that the Pacific Ocean west of California is substantially warmer than it was in 1997. That could mean that though El Niño-enhanced precipitation fell as snow in early 1998, storms hitting the north could cause warm rain to fall this winter. Such a situation would not be good news “for long-term water storage in the snowpack,” said Daniel Swain, a climate scientist at Stanford University.
Drought officials prefer snow in the mountains in the winter because it slowly melts during the spring and summer and can trickle at a gentle speed into the state’s largest reservoirs in Northern California. Too much rain all at once in the mountains in the winter can force officials to flush excess water to the ocean to keep dams from overflowing.
Swain said it’s important to keep in mind that all El Niño events are different, and just because the current El Niño has the potential to be the strongest on record “doesn’t necessarily mean that the effects in California will be the same.”
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“A strong El Niño is very likely at this point, namely because we’ve essentially reached the threshold already, but a wet winter is never a guarantee in California,” Swain said in an email.
“I think a good way to think about it is this: There is essentially no other piece of information that is more useful in predicting California winter precipitation several months in advance than the existence of a strong El Niño event,” Swain said. “But it’s still just one piece of the puzzle. So while the likelihood of a wet winter is increasing, we still can’t rule out other outcomes.”
Updated Aug. 13, 8:10 a.m.: In another sign that El Niño is gaining strength, sea surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean have risen to their highest level so far this year.
That temperature increase — 3.4 degrees Fahrenheit above the average — was recorded Aug. 5 by the National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center at a benchmark location in the Pacific. That is slightly higher than it was on Aug. 6, 1997, when it was 3.2 degrees Fahrenheit above normal.
California will soon have toughest shower head requirements in nation
Another El Niño sign: Ocean temps hit highest level of the year
OUR ANSWER IS NOT – POUR MORE MONEY DOWN THE DRAIN – BUT WE ADVOCATE A CULTURAL CHANGE OF LIFE-STYLES IN THE INDUSTRIALIZED WEST AND IN THE COPY-CAT STATES OF THE EAST AND SOUTH. WE ALSO SEE NO SENSE IN TAKING ADVANTAGE OF THE MELTING ICE COVER AT THE POLES IN ORDER TO REACH MORE RESOURCES TO FIRE UP FURTHER OUR PLANET.
WE THINK THE PHILIPPINES WOULD BE MORE FAVORED IF RATHER THEN STRETCHING OUT A HAND FOR AID – THEY TOOK LEADERSHIP IN CANGING WHAT WE DO NORMALLY INTO SOMETHING THAT DOES LESS HARM TO COUNTRIES LIKE THE PHILIPPINES.
It’s hard to comprehend the scale of the disaster in the Philippines, where a massive typhoon may have killed more than 10,000 people. But climate delegates who have gathered today in Warsaw, Poland, for a fresh round of U.N. climate talks will need to do just that.
The Philippines is a densely populated, low-lying archipelago state that sits in warm Pacific Ocean waters — and warm ocean waters tend to produce vicious tropical storms. The country’s geography puts its islands in the path of frequent typhoons (typhoon is the local word — Americans call such storms hurricanes and others refer to them as cyclones). The Philippines’ low and unequally distributed national wealth, meanwhile, leaves its populace highly vulnerable to them.
And in terrible news for Filipinos, climate models show that global warming is making typhoons even more powerful.
Meteorologists have blamed a rise in water temperatures of nearly 2 degrees Fahrenheit and other weather conditions last week for stirring up Typhoon Haiyan, which grew to become one of the most damaging storms in world history. Here’s a high-level account of the devastation from Reuters:
Officials from the Philippines are blaming climate change for the ferocity of Typhoon Haiyan, and demanding that climate negotiators get serious in Warsaw.
Though climate scientists aren’t ready to attribute the blame quite so directly, there is mounting evidence that climate change is making storms like Haiyan worse.
As we’ve explained, the oceans are absorbing much of the extra heat that’s being trapped on Earth by greenhouse gases, which is helping to stoke more powerful tropical storms. Ben Adler recently reported on the results of a study in Indonesia, just south of the Philippines, which found that local ocean waters were warming at a historically unprecedented rate.
“What my country is going through as a result of this extreme climate event is madness,” said Naderev “Yeb” Saño, lead negotiator for the Philippines at the climate talks. “The climate crisis is madness. We can stop this madness. Right here in Warsaw. Typhoons such as Haiyan and its impacts represent a sobering reminder to the international community that we cannot afford to procrastinate on climate action.”
This is not the first time Saño has warned the world that it must take action to prevent super-storms from devastating his country and so many others. At the 2012 U.N. climate talks in Doha, Qatar, he broke down in tears during his address, linking climate change to Typhoon Bopha, which killed hundreds of people in his country late last year.
We told you on Friday that climate delegates representing poor and developing countries are begging wealthy countries for financial help — not just for help in reducing their carbon emissions, but also for help in dealing with crazy weather that’s already happening. They say they can’t afford to do it alone, and many of them feel that their countries shouldn’t have to, since the rich nations of the world have pumped so much of the excess carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
Rich countries have pledged to provide $100 billion in annual climate assistance starting in 2020 via the Green Climate Fund, but they’ve contributed very little so far. “We have not seen any money from the rich countries to help us to adapt,” Saño said. And some delegations in Warsaw are seeking more funding still, to compensate developing countries for the damage caused by climate disasters.
If wealthy nations don’t come through with significant funding, hopes of meaningful global climate cooperation could be doomed. And if the world doesn’t cooperate on climate change, greenhouse gas emissions will keep spiraling up, pushing global average temperatures up more than 2 degrees Celsius (3.7 Fahrenheit) compared with preindustrial times. That would not only mean worse typhoons for the developing world — it would mean worse hurricanes, droughts, fires, and floods in the U.S. and across the world.
CHINA and INDIA, obsessed with growth, caused during 2000-11 most of the increase in CO2 emissions and a new book – GREENPRINT” – says finally they ought to take over global leadership in Climate Change matters.
China, India and climate change.
Take the lead
Emerging markets are a big part of the problem; they are essential to any solution.
Feb 2nd 2013 THE ECONOMIST FRONT PAGE ARTICLE – From the print edition
Some tricky turns up ahead
Greenprint: A New Approach to Cooperation on Climate Change. By Aaditya Mattoo and Arvind Subramanian.
Buy from: Amazon.com
MOST books about the environment take the West as their starting point. This is understandable. For decades America was the world’s biggest polluter, contributing more to the problem than any other country, whereas Europe—at least in its politicians’ minds—has model environmental laws and holds plenty of righteous talks to negotiate new solutions.
But Europe and America are becoming supporting actors in the world’s climate-change drama. The lead players are China and India. China is the world’s largest emitter, contributing nearly a quarter of current global emissions. With India it accounted for 83% of the worldwide increase in carbon emissions in 2000-11. Though global warming began with industrialised countries it must end—if it is to end—through actions in developing ones. All the more reason to welcome “Greenprint”, the first book on climate change to concentrate on this growing part of the problem. Written by Aaditya Mattoo, an economist at the World Bank, and Arvind Subramanian, a senior fellow at the Centre for Global Development, the book offers an unflinching look at what one might realistically expect emerging markets to do.
From an environmentalist’s point of view, India and China elicit despair. They are obsessed with growth. To fuel it, they are building ever more coal-fired power stations, a filthy form of energy. Their cities fume. Their rivers catch fire. There is not much anyone can do about it.
But an attractive quality of this book is that it goes beyond such fatalism. The West, the authors argue, has failed to mitigate global warming, so developing countries will have to take over. This is necessary, they say, because global warming will affect developing countries more than rich ones, partly because tropical and subtropical lands are more sensitive to warming than cold or temperate ones, and partly because rich people can afford better flood controls and drought-resistant seeds than poor ones.
One estimate by William Cline, an economist, found that a rise of 2.5% in global temperatures would cut agricultural productivity by 6% in America but by 38% in India. In light of their disproportionate vulnerability, emerging giants will have to push rich countries to make more environmental compromises. To make these demands credible, they themselves will have to make some changes too.
The trouble, as the authors admit, is that emissions cuts will also be costly for China and India. Messrs Mattoo and Subramanian estimate that if the two countries were to reduce emissions by 30% by 2020 (compared with doing nothing), their manufacturing output would fall by 6-7% and their manufactured exports by more than that. As still relatively poor countries, they are less able to bear the pain.
These challenges help to explain why it is so difficult for India and China to take the lead on climate change. After considering different ways to allocate emissions cuts among nations, the authors concede that the fairest approach would be to allow developing countries to consume as much energy as rich ones did during their own industrial revolutions. But if the aim is to limit the rise in global temperatures to two degrees, which most scientists think necessary, this would allow developing-country emissions to rise by 200% whereas rich-country emissions would have to fall by an amount that is politically inconceivable.
The authors supply more reasonable solutions. They reckon that China and others could and should invest more in new technologies, such as carbon capture and storage, in order to boost improvements in clean energy. They also provide a detailed and convincing case for rich countries to put a price on carbon by introducing a modest border tax on imports from developing countries.
The book does not quite provide the promised “greenprint” for developing countries to reduce emissions. But that would be a tall order. As a first stab at analysing one of the world’s most intractable problems, it provides a wealth of analysis and fuel for thought.
Climate change was predicted to arrive tomorrow but it is happening today. For this reason, the moment for climate justice has arrived. But in 2012 all what was achieved was to send the UN Climate Travellers to Doha, Qatar, in order to sensitize to the issue leaders of the Arab Middle East – otherwise the results are as it was expected – nil. Even the always-diplomat UNSG Ban Ki-moon had a hard time keeping a straight-face for the one third page length final press release.
A CLIMATE CLIFF in Doha, Qatar, at a time industrialized countries talk of A FISCAL CLIFF – talking only about money transfer from the poor-rich to the rich-poor will not help future generations on planet earth. If the subject of the Doha talks does not revert to building a bridge of SUSTAINABILITY to future generations, even good meaning organizations like Oxfam will have wasted airline-engine-fuel in vain. In the mean-time the Conference opened Monday November 26th with the highest per capita polluter being the host so environmentalists have no hope for results for at least one more year.
The following article is written as if nothing was learned from the outcome of the June 2012 meeting in Rio de Janeiro and continues the old line of calls of transfer of funds without calling for joint projects that address increased efficiency in use of energy in order to decrease CO2 emissions.
The Huffington Post on-line today has also articles about New York City and New Jersey State following Hurricane Sandy’s visit, that should have brought home the issue of Climate Change. Those articles, and information about climate events in China, India, Brazil, Mexico, besides common information rolling out for years from Bangladesh and the Island-States, ought to be a joint inter-National starting point to the Doha deliberations.
2012 UN Climate Talks In Doha, Qatar, Face Multiple Challenges.
AP | By KARL RITTER Posted: 11/25/2012
DOHA, Qatar (AP) — As nearly 200 countries meet in oil-and-gas-rich Qatar for annual talks starting Monday, November 26, 2016, on slowing global warming, one of the main challenges will be raising climate aid for poor countries at a time when budgets are strained by financial turmoil.
Rich countries have delivered nearly $30 billion in grants and loans promised in 2009, but those commitments expire this year. And a Green Climate Fund designed to channel up to $100 billion annually to poor countries has yet to begin operating.
Borrowing a buzzword from the U.S. budget debate, Tim Gore of the British charity Oxfam said developing countries, including island nations for whom rising sea levels pose a threat to their existence, stand before a “climate fiscal cliff.”
“So what we need for those countries in the next two weeks are firm commitments from rich countries to keep giving money to help them to adapt to climate change,” he told The Associated Press on Sunday.
Creating a structure for climate financing has so far been one of the few tangible outcomes of the two-decade-old U.N. climate talks, which have failed in their main purpose: reducing emissions of heat-trapping gases that scientists say are warming the planet, melting ice caps, glaciers and permafrost, shifting weather patterns and raising sea levels.
The only binding treaty to limit such emissions, the Kyoto Protocol, expires this year, so agreeing on an extension is seen as the most urgent task by environment ministers and climate officials meeting in the Qatari capital.
However, only the European Union and a few other countries are willing to join a second commitment period with new emissions targets. And the EU’s chief negotiator, Artur Runge-Metzger, admitted that such a small group is not going to make a big difference in the fight against climate change.
“I think we cover at most 14 percent of global emissions,” he said.
The U.S. rejected Kyoto because it didn’t cover rapidly growing economies such as China and India. Some hope for stronger commitments from U.S. delegates in Doha as work begins on drafting a new global treaty that would also apply to developing countries including China, the world’s top carbon emitter. That treaty is supposed to be adopted in 2015 and take effect five years later.
Climate financing is a side issue but a controversial one that often deepens the rich-poor divide that has hampered the U.N. climate talks since their launch in 1992. Critics of the U.N. process see the climate negotiations as a cover for attempts to redistribute wealth.
Runge-Metzger said the EU is prepared to continue supporting poorer nations in converting to cleaner energy sources and in adapting to a shifting climate, despite the debt crisis roiling Europe. But he couldn’t promise that the EU would present any new pledges in Doha and said developing countries must present detailed “bankable programs” before they can expect any money.
Sometimes, developing countries seem to be saying, “OK give us a blank check,” he told AP.
Climate aid activists bristled at that statement, saying many developing countries have already indicated what type of programs and projects need funding.
“They need the financial and technical support from the EU and others. Yet they continue to promise ‘jam tomorrow’ whilst millions suffer today,” said Meena Raman of the Third World Network, a nonprofit group.
Countries agreed in Copenhagen in 2009 to set up the Green Climate Fund with the aim of raising $100 billion annually by 2020. They also pledged to raise $30 billion in “fast-start” climate financing by 2012.
While that short-term goal has nearly been met by countries including the EU, Japan, Australia and the U.S., Oxfam estimates that only one-third of it was new money; the rest was previously pledged aid money repackaged as climate financing.
Oxfam also found that more than half of the financing was in the form of loans rather than grants, and that financing levels are set to fall in 2013 as rich countries rein in aid budgets amid debt problems and financial instability.
Meanwhile, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere keeps going up. It has jumped 20 percent since 2000, primarily from the burning of fossil fuels such as coal and oil, according to a U.N. report released last week.
A recent projection by the World Bank showed temperatures are on track to increase by up to 4 degrees C (7.2 F) this century, compared with pre-industrial times, overshooting the 2-degree target on which the U.N. talks are based.
UN Climate Change Conference Opens In Doha, Qatar.
AP | By KARL RITTER Posted: 11/26/2012 2:37
DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Anticipating an onslaught of criticism from poor nations, the United States claimed “enormous” strides in reducing greenhouse emissions at the opening of U.N. climate talks Monday, despite failing to join other industrialized nations in committing to binding cuts.
The pre-emptive U.S. approach underscores one of the major showdowns expected at the two-week conference as China pushes developed countries to take an even greater role in tackling global warming.
Speaking for a coalition of developing nations known as the G77, China’s delegate, Su Wei, said rich nations should become party to an extended Kyoto Protocol — an emissions deal for some industrialized countries that the Americans long ago rejected — or at least make “comparable mitigation commitments.”
The United States rejected Kyoto because it didn’t impose any binding commitments on major developing countries such as India and China, which is now the world’s No. 1 carbon emitter.
American delegate Jonathan Pershing offered no new sweeteners to the poor countries, only reiterating what the United States has done to tackle global warming: investing heavily in clean energy, doubling fuel efficiency standards and reducing emissions from coal-fired power plants. Pershing also said the United States would not increase its earlier commitment of cutting emissions by 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020. It is half way to that target.
“I would suggest those who don’t follow what the U.S. is doing may not be informed of the scale and extent of the effort, but it’s enormous,” Pershing said.
“It doesn’t mean enough is being done. It’s clear the global community, and that includes us, has to do more if we are going to succeed at avoiding the damages projected in a warming world,” Pershing added. “It is not to say we haven’t acted. We have and we have acted with enormous urgency and singular purpose.”
The battles between rich and poor nations have often undermined talks in the past decade and stymied efforts to reach a deal to keep global temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees C (3.6 F), compared to pre-industrial times. Efforts taken in the absence of a deal to rein in emissions, reduce deforestation and promote clean technology are not getting the job done. A recent projection by the World Bank showed temperatures are expected to increase by up to 4 degrees C (7.2 F) by 2100.
Countries are hoping to build on the momentum of last year’s talks in Durban, South Africa, where nearly 200 nations agreed to restart stalled negotiations with a deadline of 2015 to adopt a new treaty and extend Kyoto between five and eight years. The problem is that only the European Union and a handful of other nations — which together account for less than 15 percent of global emissions — are willing to commit to that.
Delegates in the Qatari capital of Doha are also hoping to raise billions of dollars to help developing countries adapt to a shifting climate.
“We owe it to our people, the global citizenry. We owe it to our children to give them a safer future than what they are currently facing,” said South African Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, who led last year’s talks in Durban.
Environmentalists fear holding the talks in Qatar — the world’s biggest per capita emitter — could slow progress. They argue that the Persian Gulf emirate has shown little interest in climate talks and has failed to reign in its lavish lifestyle and big-spending ways.
There was hope among activists that Qatar might use Monday’s opening speech to set the tone of the conference. But Abdullah Bin Hamad Al-Attiyah, the president of the conference and a former Qatari oil minister, didn’t offer any voluntary emission targets or climate funding for poor nations.
“Some countries, especially the one where we are sitting, have the potential to decrease their carbon emissions. They have the highest per capita emissions, so they can do a lot,” said Wael Hmaidan, a Lebanese activist and director of the Climate Action Network.
“If nations that are poorer than Qatar, like India and Mexico, can make pledges to reduce their carbon emissions, then countries in the region, especially Qatar, should easily be able to do it. … They still haven’t proven they are serious about climate change.”
Al-Attiyah defended Qatar’s environmental record at a later news conference, insisting it was working to reduce emissions from gas flaring and its oil fields. Qatar is already doing plenty to help poor countries with financing, he said, adding that it was unfair to focus on per capita emissions.
“We should not concentrate on per capita. We should concentrate on the amount and quantity that each country produces individually,” al-Attiyah said. “The quantity is the biggest challenge, not per capita.”
The concentration of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide has jumped 20 percent since 2000, according to a U.N. report released last week. The report also showed that there is a growing gap between what governments are doing to curb emissions and what needs to be done to protect the world from potentially dangerous levels of warming.
At the same time, many scientists say extreme weather events, such as Hurricane Sandy’s onslaught on the U.S. East Coast, will become more frequent as the Earth warms, although it is impossible to attribute any individual event to climate change. The rash of violent weather in the U.S., including widespread droughts and a record number of wildfires this summer, has again put climate change on the radar.
“While none of these individual events are necessarily because of climate change, they are certainly consistent with what we anticipate will happen in a warming world,” Pershing said. “The combination of these events is certainly changing minds of Americans and making clear to people at home the consequences of increased growth in emissions.”
In Washington, Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., urged the U.S. delegation at the talks to “heed the warnings from Sandy and other extreme weather supercharged by climate change.”
“If the United States does not aggressively pursue sharp reductions in carbon pollution following the droughts, storms and other extreme weather events we have endured, the rest of the world will doubt our sincerity to address climate change,” Markey said. “It’s time to attack the carbon problem head on, and adapt to a climate already changed for the worse.”
Many countries referenced Hurricane Sandy as a rallying cry for tough action to cap emissions, including a group of small island nations that said the monster storm may have jolted the world to recognize “that we are all in this together.”
“When the tragedies occur far away from the media spotlight, they are too often ignored or forgotten,” the island nations said in a statement.
Blown back into office by a superstorm of events, President Obama has put climate change back on his agenda—along with a sick economy. The solution to both is a clean energy future, says Earthjustice President Trip Van Noppen.
17 November 2012,
Climate Change Re-elected As Political Issue.
The New York Times Op-Ed Contributor
We Need to Retreat From the Beach.
By ORRIN H. PILKEY – From Durham, N.C. – Published in the New York Times : November 14, 2012
Related: Weighing Sea Barriers as Protection for New York (November 8, 2012)
THE WORLD WAS NOT READY TO SPEND MONEY AND POLITICAL CAPITAL TO MITIGATE CLIMATE CHANGE – BUT GLOBAL WARMING WAS NOBODY’S JOKE AND IT KEPT ADVANCING ON US.
THE BILLIONS WE WILL BE SPENDING NOW ON REBUILDING, AND ON BUILDING NEW DEFENSES, ARE MUCH MORE THEN WHAT WOULD HAVE BEEN SPENT ON AN HONEST EFFORT TO AVOID GLOBAL WARMING BY DECREASING THE USE OF FOSSIL CARBON.
ONE CANDIDATE FOR THE US PRESIDENCY CASTIGATED THE OTHER CANDIDATE AS THE PERSON WHO PROPOSED TO SLOW THE RISE OF THE OCEAN – BUT BY GOD OR NATURE – THAT IS EXACTLY THE KIND OF PRESIDENT THE US AND THE WORLD NEED FOR THE USA.
Opinion in The New York Times
Deciding Where Future Disasters Will Strike.
By McKENZIE FUNK
Published: November 3, 2012
WE all have an intuitive sense of how water works: block it, and it flows elsewhere. When a storm surge hits a flood barrier, for instance, the water does not simply dissipate. It does the hydrological equivalent of a bounce, and it lands somewhere else.
The Dutch, after years of beating back the oceans, have a way of deciding what is worth saving with a dike or sea wall, and what is not. They simply run the numbers, and if something is worth less in terms of pure euros and cents, it is more acceptable to let it be flooded. This seems entirely reasonable. But as New York begins considering coastal defenses, it should also consider the uncomfortable truth that Wall Street is worth vastly more, in dollar terms, than certain low-lying neighborhoods of Brooklyn, Staten Island and Queens — and that to save Manhattan, planners may decide to flood some other part of the city.
I think I was the only journalist who witnessed the March 2009 unveiling of some of the first proposed sea-wall designs. “Against the Deluge: Storm Surge Barriers to Protect New York City” was a conference held at N.Y.U.’s Polytechnic Institute in Brooklyn, and it had the sad air of what was then an entirely lost cause. There was a single paying exhibitor — “Please visit our exhibitor,” implored the organizers — whose invention, FloodBreak, was an ingenious, self-deploying floodgate big enough to protect a garage but not at all big enough to protect Manhattan. When we lined up for the included dinner, which consisted of cold spaghetti, the man waved fliers at the passing engineers. But as I look back over my notes, I can see how prescient the conference was. A phrase I frequently scrawled is “Breezy Point.”
One speaker got a sustained ovation. He was an engineer from the Dutch company Arcadis, whose $6.5 billion design is one with which I suspect we will all soon be familiar. It is a modular wall spanning 6,000 feet across the weakest point in New York’s natural defenses, the Narrows, which separates Staten Island and Brooklyn. Its main feature is a giant swinging gate modeled on the one that protects Rotterdam, Europe’s most important port. Consisting of two steel arms, each more than twice as long as the Statue of Liberty is tall, Rotterdam’s gate is among the largest moving structures on earth. And New York’s barrier would stretch across an even larger reach of water — “an extra landmark” for the city, he said triumphantly. That’s when everyone began clapping.
The engineers in the room did not shy away from the hard truth that areas outside a Narrows barrier could see an estimated two feet of extra flooding. If a wave rebounding off the new landmark hits a wave barreling toward it, it could make for a bigger wave of the sort that neighborhoods like Arrochar and Midland Beach on Staten Island and Bath Beach and Gravesend in Brooklyn may want to start fretting about.
I attended the conference not just because I was interested in the fate of New York, my onetime home, but because I was recently back from parts of Bangladesh decimated by a cyclone. By now it is commonplace to point out that climate change is unfair, that it tends to leave the big “emitter countries” in good shape — think Russia or Canada or, until recently, America — while preying on the low-emitting, the poor, the weak, the African, the tropical. But more grossly unfair is the notion that, in lieu of serious carbon cuts, we will all simply adapt to climate change. Manhattan can and increasingly will. Rotterdam can and has. Dhaka or Chittagong or Breezy Point patently cannot. If a system of sea walls is built around New York, its estimated $10 billion price tag would be five times what rich countries have given in aid to help poorer countries prepare for a warmer world.
Whether climate change caused Sandy’s destruction is a question for scientists — and in many ways it’s a stupid question, akin to asking whether gravity is the reason an old house collapsed when it did. The global temperature can rise another 10 degrees, and the answer will always be: sorta. By deciding to adapt to climate change — a decision that has already been partly made, because significant warming is already baked into the system — we have decided to embrace a world of walls.
Some people, inevitably richer people, will be on the right side of these walls. Other people will not be — and that we might find it increasingly convenient to lose all sight of them is the change I fear the most. This is not an argument against saving New York from the next hurricane. It is, however, an argument for a response to this one that is much broader than the Narrows.
McKenzie Funk is a journalist who is writing a book on the business of climate change.
Fractured Recovery Divides the Region.
Todd Heisler/The New York Times
Katya Slepak carried donated supplies to her cousins’ home in the Midland Beach neighborhood of Staten Island. More Photos »
By JAMES BARRON, SAM DOLNICK and MICHAEL SCHWIRTZ
Proponents of Shrink-the Government are scary, and after Hurricane Sandy need not apply a Halloween Mask – their face is likened to Dracula and scary enough by itself. We offer here the proposition that the role of Government among other things is to lead on avoiding man-made catastrophes. Former Governor Eliot Spitzer and Professor Michael Oppenheimer spill out the beans in conversation with Christiane Amanpour.
Ready to ship!
WE HAVE HERE TWO LENGTHY ARTICLES WE PICKED UP TODAY – OCTOBER 31, 2012 – HALLOWEEN NIGHT.
WHILE CUTE KIDDIES CAME TO OUR DOOR FOR TRICK OR TREAT I WAS BUSY THINKING OF THE REAL-LIFE MONSTERS THAT SCARE US THESE ELECTION DAYS. LET US HOPE THAT A WEEK FROM NOW THIS NIGHTMARE WILL BE OVER, AND PRESIDENT OBAMA, HAVING SANDY AS A GUIDE-LIGHT, WILL BE ABLE TO BEGIN THE START OF PROGRAMS THAT ARE ON HOLD FOR 20 YEARS.
OUR HOPE: COMING NOVEMBER 8-TH, PRESIDENT OBAMA WILL END CLIMATE SILENCE AND START A RECONSTRUCTION PROGRAM THAT ALLOWS FOR USA LEADERSHIP IN BUILDING THAT MISSING BRIDGE TO THE FUTURE GENERATIONS ON WHICH IS WRITTEN ALL OVER – S U S T A I N A B I L I T Y .
THE US GRANTS ITS PRESIDENT POWERS TO ACT IN CASE OF NATIONAL EMERGENCY – AND FINALLY EVERYONE REALIZES THIS IS A NATIONAL EMERGENCY – AND IF FACED BY A RECALCITRANT CONGRESS, THE PRESIDENTIAL POWERS ARE SUCH THAT MANY DECISIONS CAN BE TAKEN SIMPLY BY PRESIDENTIAL ORDER. THE FOLLOWING ARTICLES MAKE IT CLEAR THAT THIS MIGHT BE ONE WAY OF JUMP-STARTING THE NEEDED ACTIVITY LIKE IT WAS DONE WHEN NEW MINIMUM FUEL EFFICIENCY IN MOTOR VEHICLES WERE RELEASED BY THE ADMINISTRATION.
EXCUSE US FOR THE SELF-INDULGENCE OF BRINGING UP THE FULL LENGTH OF THESE IMPORTANT ARTICLES.
October 31st, 2012
By Edward Alden, CFR
Editor’s Note: Edward Alden is a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. This entry of Renewing America was originally published here. The views expressed are the author’s own.
Grover Norquist, the anti-tax crusader, is famously believed to have said that he has no wish to eliminate government, but only to “shrink it to the size where we can drown it in a bathtub.” Americans up and down the east coast can be grateful in the wake of Hurricane Sandy that he has not yet succeeded, or they might well have drowned in their own homes.
For those who wonder just what it is our tax dollars pay for, consider just a small list of government actions before and during the storm that made it far less catastrophic than it might have been:
– The Commerce Department’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which is responsible for tracking the path of hurricanes and other storms, predicted days in advance – and with astonishing accuracy – both the path and strength of Hurricane Sandy. That gave governments throughout the region time to plan a response.
– New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg ordered the evacuation of nearly 400,000 people from low-lying areas of the city, and set up emergency shelters. That order probably saved countless lives given the heavy flooding in Lower Manhattan that came at the peak of the storm.
– New York Governor Andrew Cuomo shut the city’s subway, rail, and commuter buses. The record storm surge led to severe flooding in seven subway stations, the worst in the system’s 100-year history. But no one was hurt in the empty stations.
– New Jersey Governor Chris Christie ordered the evacuation of Atlantic City and shut the region’s casinos to keep people away from the dangerous coastline.
– In neighborhoods everywhere, like my own in Maryland, county and city governments provided constant updates on road conditions, dangerous wires, downed trees, and other hazards, and advertised available shelters for those who lost power or had storm damage to their homes.
– In the aftermath, the Obama administration quickly declared the hardest hit areas of New York and New Jersey to be disaster areas, freeing up millions of federal dollars for temporary housing and repairs to homes and businesses.
This list could be much longer, but each represents a success born of planning and coordinated action to improve outcomes for large numbers of people – exactly what governments can and should be doing.
The contrast with the failed preparation and response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005 is striking. In the years prior to Hurricane Katrina, the Louisiana Army Corps of Engineers had identified some $18 billion in projects necessary to shore up the levees in New Orleans against hurricanes and flooding. Instead, Army Corps funding in the state was cut in half in the four years before the 2005 hurricane, with predictable consequences. Both federal and state governments failed to preposition supplies as the storm barreled in, there was little pressure on local residents to evacuate, and emergency responders took days to get to the scene after the storm to rescue the tens of thousands stranded in the city.
The vastly improved response this time around shows that governments – like private businesses – can learn from past mistakes. Governor Christie of New Jersey praised the federal government’s response to Hurricane Sandy, calling it “outstanding.”
There are some basic lessons in all this. First, we should invest in government services because we want them to be there when we are in a time of need. Whether it’s a natural disaster that affects millions or a company closure that leaves hundreds out of work, government has the resources to help people get back on their feet and start over. Second, governments – like businesses or individuals – can learn to do things better. The preparations for Hurricane Sandy would likely have been much poorer if not for the lessons from Katrina, from Irene, and from this past summer’s “derecho” storms in Washington. Third, the effort to pit state and local governments against the federal government is mistaken; when a genuine crisis hits, we need all three working effectively and in concert.
As with all such disasters, human memory is short. Most of us will quickly forget Hurricane Sandy, move on with our lives, and grumble about high taxes. But if we keep letting them do their jobs – rather than continuing to cut them down — our governments will be busy preparing for the next time we really need them.
Aftermath of Hurricane Sandy; Sandy’s Strength Due to Climate Change?
Aired October 31, 2012 – 16:00:00 ET – On CNN program AMANPOUR.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED, says CNN.
The devastating superstorm Sandy has finally cleared the East Coast, but the crisis she left behind is spreading fast. Here in New York City another hospital is right now in the process of being evacuated. It’s Bellevue, the city’s main public hospital. It has no power and its generator isn’t working. Seven hundred patients, including a number in critical condition, are being moved to other hospitals.
This after another major hospital, NYU, also had to evacuate during the early hours of the storm. It had no working generator at all. The city that never sleeps is heavily stressed out. All day it’s been in the grip of an epic traffic snarl.
Approximately 5 million people ride the New York City subway every day, and with that system flooded and closed, most of the people are now driving or forming huge lines for buses and ferries. At least half of New York City has no power and many people won’t get that power back for days.
How bad is it?
The U.S. Navy is now moving three amphibious landing ships toward the coast of New York and New Jersey. The Navy says it’s in case local officials need more assistance.
New York’s LaGuardia Airport remains closed. JFK and Newark have reopened, but very few flights have taken off so far.
And across the river from New York, the National Guard has arrived to help in flooded Hoboken, New Jersey. Rescue efforts have been going on there since yesterday, but there are still people trapped in their homes. President Obama is in New Jersey today. He and the Republican governor of that state, Chris Christie boarded Marine One to tour the devastated areas.
Tonight, we’ll be exploring just how it got this bad. What officials knew or should have known. But first, a look at the other stories we’re covering.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR (voice-over): Get used to it. Sandy is the new normal.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible).
AMANPOUR (voice-over): Scientists warn denying climate change is hazardous to your health.
And underwater, the town that gave the world Frank Sinatra, the town that was the setting for Marlon Brando “On the Waterfront.”
“TERRY MALLOY”: I could have been a contender.
AMANPOUR (voice-over): Today, Hoboken, New Jersey, fights for its life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: We’ll get to that in a bit. But first, for many years, scientists have been warning of just this sort of disaster.
Eliot Spitzer was governor of New York, and he knows as well as anyone the problems associated with taking all the necessary action to prevent this kind of thing.
So, first let me ask you, Governor, you obviously had been briefed; you were prepared in your time.
Did Sandy shape up as bad as you thought? Or was it about what you thought? Was it worse?
ELIOT SPITZER, FORMER NY GOVERNOR: Worse in terms of the aftereffects. I think during the storm itself, people kind of heaved a sigh of relief and said, oh, my goodness; it was not as devastating at the moment.
But then when we could step back and look at the scope of the harm, the magnitude of the damage to the infrastructure, and it has highlighted exactly what you just said, the preparations have not been made, were not made, were not properly — investments that should have been made years ago simply have not occurred.
AMANPOUR: Well, you were governor.
SPITZER: That’s right.
AMANPOUR: Why have these investments not been made? You were warned, presumably, along with all the governors.
SPITZER: Well, there are issues that have a timeframe of one year, five years and then 20 years. And when you are told sometime in the next hundred years we will get a storm of this magnitude, it doesn’t get you to the point of decision that needs to — where you need to get in terms of investing in the infrastructure to protect the subway, the hospitals, the energy system.
We have not had a mass transit investment system in nationally out of Washington for 20 years. And so at so many levels, our politics are failing us; global warming was not mentioned in the presidential debates. And so, at many levels, there’s a crisis. As a governor of a state, should we have done more? Absolutely.
AMANPOUR: Well, let me get to that. Governor Cuomo, your successor, is being — having his daily briefings. And he has talked about an antiquated infrastructure, the never anticipated this kind of thing, and that needs to be rebuilt faster. But I’m going to play you something he said. And I was struck. And I’ll tell you what struck me. I’ll see if it struck you as well.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDREW CUOMO, GOVERNOR OF NEW YORK: I’m hopeful that not only we’ll – - we rebuild this city and metropolitan area, but we use this as an opportunity to build it back smarter. There has been a series of extreme weather incidents. Anyone — that’s not a political statement; that is a factual statement. Anyone who says there’s not a dramatic change in weather patterns I think is denying reality.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, Governor, even in the direst need of New York, the governor is feeling the heat. He feels defensive, even talking about these weather patterns, even talking about this climate shift and swing.
AMANPOUR: I mean, what does that say about the atmosphere here in the United States?
SPITZER: Well, look, let me state a few things that are also facts. There was, as I said, no question about global warming during the presidential debates. There are still people — and I don’t want to make this partisan, but still people in the Republican Party who deny the existence of climate change.
The president, several years ago, President Obama did make a — take a first step in the direction of either a carbon tax or some sort of emissions policy that would have been smart, and yet it went nowhere in Congress. When he went internationally, he could not get the coalition together. We have a long way to go.
Al Gore, whom I respect enormously, he is a colleague of mine now, but where I work, he has done more to galvanize public opinion about that, but still we have so far to go before we can get tax dollars invested in the sorts of measures to save us from these consequences.
AMANPOUR: Well, I mean, you are the politician. How do you galvanize people? Is it a storm like this? Or will people just forget about it, once the clearup has happened? I mean, it’s not just the carbon tax, which obviously is needed, but this big infrastructure, you know, big storm barrage gates.
SPITZER: Look, we have Mitt Romney. And, again, I don’t want to be partisan, even though it is just a week before the presidential race — Mitt Romney and the Republican Party denying the need for government to invest in infrastructure because government didn’t build that. They want to deny that government is a necessary partner.
Now a storm like this can have sort of — can provide a metastasizing effect in terms of public opinion. So people will say, yes, this is critically necessary. Whether it is the relatively small issue of the subway system — small in the context of global issues we need to think about — or issue of a carbon tax, which is a very conservative idea in terms of economics.
We need to go to both extremes. We need to reinforce our subway system and the hospitals and the energy system and do a global tax, a carbon tax of some sort.
AMANPOUR: You had the balance books in front of you as governor of the state. How painful would it be in terms of dollars and cents, in terms of years spent, in terms of political capital spent, to get this kind of infrastructure done?
SPITZER: Here’s the problem. When I was governor, the imperative — and perhaps rightly so — was our educational system. The educational system ate up every penny of spare cash we had, because we are languishing. Folks overseas should appreciate we in the United States feel that we are not educating our kids properly.
So every spare penny we had went into improving our educational system. If you say to parents, we want to increase your taxes and then use those dollars to deal with the one in 50 possibly of a storm as opposed to putting more teachers in the classrooms; you can see the political — now I’m not justifying it. I’m explaining the dynamic that makes it so hard.
AMANPOUR: Right. But you’re also a communicator and you know that it’s no longer just one in 50. These once-in-a-lifetime, one-in-a-hundred- years storms are coming up every couple of years.
SPITZER: That’s exactly right.
AMANPOUR: And not only that, physically, the water around New York is rising faster than it has ever done.
SPITZER: That’s right.
AMANPOUR: Is there a way of communicating that to people so that they understand it?
Can you survive another one of these?
SPITZER: Unfortunately, the best way to communicate it is this storm. In other words, when you speak of things in hypotheticals, people discount the reality. After this storm, perhaps public opinion will be galvanized. We can only hope so because, you’re right. We cannot survive a succession of these storms without saying to ourselves something (inaudible). (Inaudible) Katrina in New Orleans.
AMANPOUR: And Governor, I know you’ve not wanted to be partisan, but you have blamed the Republicans. But look, even under Democratic presidents, politically it has been very, very difficult to get a sort of tipping point momentum to concentrate people’s minds. And America is the biggest polluter in the world.
Other democracies are actually getting together with climate change and trying to figure out what to do. So again –
AMANPOUR: — (inaudible) take?
SPITZER: (Inaudible) in the first half of your comment, all I can say that you’re right. And you’re right. I want — I want to be able to point the finger at Republicans, but that’s not an answer. That is finger- pointing. The Democratic Party has been better.
I look at Ed Markey, who is a friend of mine, who has crafted the Waxman-Markey bill, very important. I look at President Obama who embraced the issue of global warming. But nobody has yet made it the imperative that it should be, other than Al Gore, back when he was –
AMANPOUR: Explain the Waxman-Markey bill.
SPITZER: It would set limits and it would create a marketplace so that you could sell or buy the right to pollute.
It is the notion of several years back, that at least if you impose a cost upon pollution, then people will either avoid it or somehow transfer the burden to consumers so they will consume fewer products that pollute. It’s sort of an old-fashioned economic concept. But it is not going to happen.
AMANPOUR: Now when you look around, I mean, New York is an international hub, not just for the financial trading, not just for tourism, but also the ports, the ports taking huge amounts of goods and materiel. These ports have been devastated, I mean, cars have been destroyed, 15,000 in one port in New Jersey alone.
AMANPOUR: Can these ports recover to be the economic hub that they need to be?
SPITZER: Look, without any question, the answer for that is yes. The resilience of a city, whether it’s New Orleans or New York in particular, look, we had 9/11, which we should not forget the devastation on 9/11, what was — it’s hard to sort of –
SPITZER: This is a broader geographic area. That one was emotionally worse, of course, in terms of lives lost. That one was much worse.
But we are resilient. We will bounce back. A month from now, people will say, oh, yes. They will begin to talk about this in the past tense. In most of the city, not in the particular communities that have been utterly destroyed and in New Jersey as well. And I feel for Chris Christie and the folks across the river.
But we will bounce back and I think we will — the question is, the one you’re posing: will we respond wisely and invest so that it does not happen again? And this is an issue for London, New York, San Francisco, any city that is proximate to water.
AMANPOUR: Do you think we will respond wisely?
SPITZER: All I can say is I hope so. And I hope, again — I don’t want to be partisan. I hope that whoever’s elected president — obviously, I’m for Barack Obama — uses this as a catalyst to say to Congress and to the public, this is something we must deal with, both in terms of investment and infrastructure and the megaissue of global warming.
AMANPOUR: Do you think it’ll make a difference if Obama is elected? And you’ve tried not to be partisan. But obviously, this election is coming up. Obama today is touring with one of the most well-known Republican governors and they’re being very nice to each other.
AMANPOUR: Is this a momentum generator for the president as he goes into the election? Or is this a momentum, you know, stopper for Mitt Romney? How does this play?
SPITZER: It’s more the latter. I think the past several weeks, the politics of this has been that Mitt Romney, for reasons that are hard to get my arms around, has been on a roll since the first debate, which he clearly won. He has captured the public’s imagination and bizarrely has been the positive, affirmative voice of change and hope. How bizarre and quixotic is that?
And Barack Obama has been playing defense. This storm, I think, stopped that and got people to focus, again, the meme in the Republican Party at their convention was mocking the notion that government had built anything that mattered. I think now the public appreciates government matters.
When you see the folks showing up to rescue the elderly, when you see the policemen going down to save people at the subway system, government matters. So I think that helps Barack Obama.
But he needs to build on that in a second term. I still think he’ll win. I still think Ohio is his firewall. He will win, but he needs to use this to say to the Republican leadership, to Mitch McConnell and John Boehner, guys, we must find a common ground.
AMANPOUR: He tried that the first time around. It didn’t work, not just because of the Republicans, but his techniques as well weren’t thoroughly successful.
SPITZER: I would go beyond that.
SPITZER: He caved on too many issues, but that’s OK. One learns as one goes forward.
AMANPOUR: All right. Will it be different in a second term?
SPITZER: Yes. He will be freed of some of the constraints. He won’t worry about reelection. He will be — he’s galvanized the public that is his base. He is firmer in his beliefs. I think November 7, when he wakes up a reelected president, he says, I’ve got four years now to stand up for the principles I believe in. And I think he will be a fundamentally stronger.
AMANPOUR: And do you believe — because he did try it in his first term, and he regretted not going for it, that he will do climate change in his second term?
SPITZER: I do indeed. I think he wants to be the historic president. He’s done health care. He will bring us back economically. There’s a slow, painful grind, but I think he sees climate change as something he can do.
AMANPOUR: Well, I think all our lives depend on it. And our children’s and our grandchildren’s.
SPITZER: I agree.
AMANPOUR: Governor, thank you very much for being with us.
SPITZER: Thank you for inviting me.
AMANPOUR: And despite Sandy, as we’ve been saying, there are people out there who still deny climate change. We’ve just been discussing it. And when we come back, we’ll meet a scientist who said those skeptics are literally whistling past the graveyard — their own.
But before we go to a break, another glimpse of this superstorm. Take a look at this view from Brooklyn looking towards Manhattan as the lights went out. We’ll be right back.
AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program. Superstorm Sandy is just a taste of things to come, both here in the United States and around the world. That is according to my next guest, climate scientist Michael Oppenheimer. He’s been studying climate change for three decades, and is currently a geoscientist professor at Princeton University.
Welcome, thank you.
MICHAEL OPPENHEIMER, PROFESSOR, PRINCETON UNIVERSITY: Glad to be here.
AMANPOUR: Also one of the authors of the IPCC, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
OPPENHEIMER: Right. That’s the U.N. agency that puts out assessments of this problem periodically.
AMANPOUR: So are you stunned by what happened? Did you, in your wildest dreams, believe that this is — this would be the result?
OPPENHEIMER: Well, sort of professionally, I knew it could happen. But until it happens to you, and hits you on the head, you don’t really fully appreciate what it’s like to be in a situation like this. I live in the area of Manhattan that’s blocked out, that’s blacked out.
I went down to the coast before the storm peaked to watch the seas rising. And even though we’ve predicted stuff like this in the past, it was a shock to me to see it.
AMANPOUR: I mean, it is a little third world, if you don’t mind me saying that, about this great city, it’s half in the dark, hundreds of thousands of people don’t have power. Did you expect that to happen?
OPPENHEIMER: Before the storm hit in its full fury, my wife asked me if we needed to worry about the electricity going out. I said, nah, you know, we don’t live in the flood zone. We’re a little higher than that. It’s not going to affect us.
Little did I realize that the utility had so many transformers and some of their substations right in the area that could be flooded. Why it’s like that, I’m not sure; possibly because the system was designed 100 years ago. That was before sea level rose by a foot, which now threatens a lot more of the city. And that’s the heart of the problem.
AMANPOUR: Well, let’s talk about this. You heard my conversation with the former governor, Eliot Spitzer, talking about what needs to be done and this sort of antiquated system, and the political will needing to be corralled to fix it and to move forward. You, though, and your fellow scientists, have been briefing and warning all sorts of officials.
OPPENHEIMER: That’s right.
AMANPOUR: What do you tell them? And then what do they tell you?
OPPENHEIMER: Well, the officials, particularly in this city, know. They’ve been hearing it for at least 20 years. We had one of these hundred-year storms in 1992, and since then, they’ve know the subway system could flood. They’ve known the power could go out.
And they — and actually laid plans for the future, which are sensitive to global warming and the threat, but they don’t have the political will to actually start moving very fast and putting anything into effect.
So they raised some of the subway station and (inaudible). But in order to make them less difficult, more difficult to flood, they made a few changes here and there, but really grappling with it, they haven’t done. But you know, in this city, we have, in the past, built infrastructure with the future in mind.
We have a glorious water supply system, which we built over the course of 150 years. People thought ahead. We can still do it.
AMANPOUR: So what does need to happen? What are the big things, big ticket items that are vital?
OPPENHEIMER: We need to make it more difficult for people to situate infrastructure right on the coast. Actually, we shouldn’t allow it unless it’s absolutely necessary.
AMANPOUR: So ban it, bring everything in from the coast?
OPPENHEIMER: (Inaudible) all new buildings should be in.
Second of all, we need to take the easy steps to prevent things like subways from getting flooded. We need to raise the entrances. We need to protect roadways and change the gratings so water doesn’t automatically go down to a low point. We need to raise the highways that are right along the coastline.
And then we need to consider the more long-term and more difficult, more expensive measures, like the possibility of doing what London did, which is build a storm barrier, which is lowered when there’s a big storm coming up and protects London from a Thames tidal surge. We got to start thinking for the long term.
AMANPOUR: How much would that cost, do you think, and how long would that take?
OPPENHEIMER: It would costs tens of billions of dollars. It would take decades to complete. But if you don’t start now, as the world warms and these storms become more frequent, we’re going to be caught out again.
So if we want to avoid having this, more of these devastating surges and having nothing to do to deal with them except run for our lives, we have to start thinking, planning and even spending right now.
AMANPOUR: Well, look at this, in our desk; we have this Arctic ice mass. This is 1980, big. It’s there still.
AMANPOUR: And now the latest picture shows, look, 2012. I mean, half if not more is gone.
OPPENHEIMER: The Arctic ice pack is very vulnerable to warming because the Arctic is warming twice as fast as the average of the planet. So this has gradually been shrinking for the last 30 years. And now it looks like Arctic ice in summer. It’ll always be there in winter, but in summer, it’s probably going to disappear during this century.
AMANPOUR: During the century?
OPPENHEIMER: During the century, maybe even during the first half of this century.
AMANPOUR: Well, so let me ask you, New York City has 520 miles of coastline. And from what I read, the sea level is rising exponentially faster.
OPPENHEIMER: Right. It’s not the Arctic ice as a whole that affects sea level, it’s just the Greenland ice sheet, this part over here. Land- based ice, as it melts, goes into the sea; it causes sea level to rise. If that happens, if this whole ice sheet goes — which we project would happen if warming exceeded a few degrees — then sea level would rise globally by about 23 feet.
This is — there’s also another chunk in Antarctica, which could contribute about 17 feet. That’s 40 feet of sea level rise. The only way New York City or many other coastal cities survive in a sea level 40 feet higher globally is if they built sea walls. That might have to happen. But this doesn’t have to necessarily occur.
We can still slow the warming and eventually stop it if we start reducing emissions today. We can prevent such catastrophes.
AMANPOUR: But we’re behind the curve.
OPPENHEIMER: We’re behind the curve. Other countries, particularly some countries in northern Europe are moving quicker than the U.S. is. But the U.S. has gradually, even quietly, starting introducing measures to cut emissions by introducing more fuel, cars with higher fuel economy and reducing, mandating reductions in emissions of the greenhouses gases from its power plants.
We need a new future, which is not based on coal and oil, but which is based on renewable energy. We have a potential bridge to that future from natural gas, which reduces carbon dioxide emissions in the short term.
AMANPOUR: I want to see if we can get that picture. It’s an animation that was actually in Al Gore’s film, in “An Inconvenient Truth,” about the worst-case scenario, Lower Manhattan being flooded.
Is that science fiction? I mean, we’ve seen the floods.
AMANPOUR: But is it science fiction to think that it will disappear? And try to tell me, try to sort of compare it to what happened in Bangladesh.
OPPENHEIMER: OK. Well, Bangladesh is kind of a worst case, because the highest point in Bangladesh at all, I think, is something like 60 feet. And most of the country is very close to sea level; storms come up there; they submerge a third of the country.
It used to be that a million people would die in a cyclone. That doesn’t happen anymore, by the way, because they’ve gotten very good at the sort of inexpensive near-term measures that we should be paying attention to.
Here in Bangladesh, they built concrete — they built concrete bunkers and they have a good early warning system. So now when a cyclone comes by that would have killed a million people, instead, it’s still terrible; a few thousands. But it’s a hundredth as many people. We can do that kind of thing here, too, and we’re not.
AMANPOUR: And does it trouble you that even the forecasting is behind the curve? I mean, they’re saying that this European model, for instance, is way more accurate than the newest forecasting. Is that true?
OPPENHEIMER: Let’s be careful. The forecasters did an amazing job on this storm. This storm followed a weird an unusual S-curve trajectory instead of the usual, from your side, coming near the coast and going out that way, it went like this. That’s very hard to predict. And the fact that the models got it almost perfectly right within a few days shows us what our science can do when we have a chance.
The problem now is that our satellites, our satellite system hasn’t been well maintained. So the models don’t have the data being input into them that they should. And we’re going to have a gap of a few years.
So the first thing that government needs to do is pay for the science, because the science (inaudible) dividends, start reducing emissions, start preparing plans to save people from these kind of disasters that are going to happen, to some extent, in any event.
AMANPOUR: Professor Oppenheimer, thank you very much indeed for joining me.
OPPENHEIMER: A pleasure to be here.
AMANPOUR: And we’ll be right back after a break.
AMANPOUR: And finally tonight, as we mentioned, directly across the river from New York City, just a short drive through the Lincoln Tunnel, Hoboken, New Jersey, is struggling to keep its head above water — literally. The National Guard has been called in to rescue thousands of residents trapped in their homes by rising waters for the past few days.
But half a century ago, this riverfront town helped shape American popular country — culture, rather. Imagine a world without Frank Sinatra.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR (voice-over): The iconic crooner was born in Hoboken in 1915. He dropped out of the local high school and he started singing with a group called The Hoboken Four. The rest, as we know, is history.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And now imagine that same world without Marlon Brando or his memorable performance in “On the Waterfront.” The movie was shot on the docks of Hoboken back in the 1950s.
That’s it. Thank you for joining us. Goodbye from New York.
The US politics do not make place for a discussion on the future of climate – but the hot summer intrudes on the politicians nevertheless leading to unscientific argumentation by those that would like to see the US vote for a better world.
From: Maggie L. Fox, Climate Reality email@example.com
Yet climate deniers continue spreading the same tired falsehoods we’ve heard over and over again. But, we’re fighting back and connecting the dots to show that climate change is happening now. And we need your help.
Last week, we took our “I’m Too Hot” campaign into Austin, Texas — where the temperature shot past 100 degrees each day and it was impossible to ignore the heat. We talked to the people we met about how the climate crisis is affecting their lives. We invited them to post messages on Twitter or Facebook using our “I’m Too Hot!” hashtag. Along with sharing some of our ice cream accompanied by climate messages, people in Austin were connecting the dots and sharing the truth about climate change.
This campaign was a success. We helped spark an urgent and necessary conversation about the reality of our changing climate. And now, with your help, we want to take our “I’m Too Hot!” campaign to more cities where the temperatures are soaring.
The best way to engage people is to make the connection to what they experience every day — to bring the connections home. So we’ve created a simple, innovative campaign with a serious purpose: Helping more and more people understand how climate change impacts their everyday lives.
In Austin, one person after another told us that while they’re used to hot summers in Texas, this year is exceptional – and worrisome. As word of mouth spread, more and more people came up to us carrying on the conversation about climate change.
And the conversation spread online. Thousands of people posted to their social networks about the reality of climate change in their communities. That is leading to thousands more people who are sharing the truth about climate change and the need for us to take action without delay.
Climate change isn’t something that could happen in the future. It’s happening now, today. Globally, 9 of the 10 hottest years on record have occurred since 2000. This fact is sobering. It’s absolutely essential for all of us to grasp the reality of climate change and share the need for action with others.
Help us bring our “I’m Too Hot!” campaign to more cities across the country. Donate $5 today and support The Climate Reality Project.
With your help, we can make a difference!
Thanks for all you do,
Maggie L. Fox
I am please to announce the publication of a new paper in [VertigO] on adaptation to climate
Migration and cliamte change in South America : issues
This literature overview aims to review the relationship between climate change and migration with a special focus on the Latin American continent. After a brief history of the debate raised by the relationship between the environment and migration, we identify the main environmental consequences of climate change. Aspects related to hurricanes, floods, droughts, sea level rise and melting glaciers are most specifically studied. The paper then uses historical analogies : a synthesis of the past migratory consequences of these environmental degradations allows underlining the main migratory issues related to climate change. (paper in French).
Editor in chief,
Dr. James E. Hansen
“Storms of My Grandchildren”, by James Hansen
On the webpage “Updating the Climate Science: What Path is the Real World Following?”, Drs. Makiko Sato and James Hansen update figures in the book Storms of My Grandchildren (see LA Times review and appearance on Letterman show), and present updated graphs and discussion of key quantities that help provide understanding of how climate change is developing and how effective or ineffective global actions are in affecting climate forcings and future climate change. A few errata in Storms are also provided.
Dr. Hansen periodically posts commentary on his recent papers and presentations and on other topics of interest to an e-mail list. To receive announcements of new postings, please click here.
October 2010: Video clip for “The Million Letter March for Effective Climate Legislation” posted on YouTube.
August 2011: Drawing a Line in the Tar Sands: Why Stopping the Pipeline is Vital to the Future of Our Children & Our Planet:Preentation at National Press Club in Washington, DC, on Aug. 29
Recent Scholarly Publications
Hansen, J., Mki. Sato, P. Kharecha, and K. von Schuckmann, 2011: Earth’s energy imbalance and implications. Atmos. Chem. Phys.,11, 13421-13449, doi:10.5194/acp-11-13421-2011.
Other Recent Publications
2010. The Price of Change. Op-ed in South China Morning Post, Nov. 3.
India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, and even the States along the Danube, have reported this year very large numbers of Eco-refugees – this ought to be another topic of discussion on President Obama’s Asia tour, and of the meetings at the two major Conferences he will be attending. We look for any sign that this is the case. Valerio Calzolaio just released a book on a topic that was also recognized as a matter of security as in potential of leading to wars.
VALERIO CALZOLAIO, a journalist, ecologist, and ex-member of Italian parliament, is the author of:
“ECO-REFUGEES: FORCED MIGRATION YESTERDAY, TODAY, AND TOMORROW.”
He writes, as reported by Roberto Savio of IPS, from Rome, October 8, 2010:
“For the entire month of August the front pages of the world’s major daily papers gave considerable coverage of developments in the Indus Valley: monsoon rains in the north of Pakistan in late July, the flooding of rivers and tributaries, submerged land, villages, and towns, then more flooding in the centre and south of the country, the contamination of wells and aqueducts and other sources of water, inadequate international funding, flight, desperation, and anger.
Almost two thousand dead were immediately confirmed, thousands and thousands of people lost, six million left homeless, 10 million evacuated, 20 million effected in some way. They could be defined climate- or eco-refugees.
It was a disaster on a planetary scale represented in shocking photographs of the distant suffering. But alongside this story ran a range of national matters of varying importance -in Italy, for example, the story about a drop in prices of homes in Montecarlo. Now the climate refugees of the Indus have vanished from the media. For two months we have heard nothing more about the disaster, though hundreds of thousands of people remain in camps and normal life has not returned for millions of Pakistanis.
In recent weeks, however, news has arrived about another wave of climate refugees elsewhere in the world, in Indonesia, the Amazon, and the Danube in Hungary. For almost twenty years the proliferation of climate refugees has been a source of diffuse emergencies, migrants driven to leave their homes by bad choices or the mistaken behaviour of humans. In the case of climate change, they are fleeing because of actions that we are taking here.
In 2008 and 2009 the number of international “political” refugees (those who are given “refugee” status) was about 15 million; the official number of international eco-refugees was higher. The number of eco-refugees even exceeds that of internal political refugees (who remain within their country’s border). With world conferences about to be held yet again on biodiversity (Nagoya) and the climate (Cancun), in November and December, it is time the UN is provided permanently with the means to help eco-refugees and prevent the creation of more of them.
In a book now being released in Italy, I have tried to reflect on these figures and means. Whether we like it or not, hundreds of thousands of eco-refugees are arriving in Europe each year, and their numbers will only rise. Moreover it is we that are responsible for their lack of homes. They cannot stay in camps forever, not will all manage to find a home in their own country, and the sooner we recognise this the better.
I recognise that since Adam and Eve there have always been environmental and climate refugees. It is not by chance that I dedicated the first part of the book to migratory species and the archaeology of the original waves of human migration. The migration of individuals and groups of our species have always had multiple causes and environmental and climatic effects and repercussions, especially when forced, when people were driven from their homes.
In the history and evolution of homo sapiens, the other major causes of migration are war and conflict. Refugees and eco-refugees are not an invention of modernity. Today those made refugees by “political” causes -violence or persecution by institutions or human communities- are granted “refugee” status and assistance by a United Nations commission. And yet climate refugees are victims of human action, too, so shouldn’t they be given this same status? We must find a way to provide the same assistance and take the same preventive measures in the case of migration caused by contemporary human-caused climate change. The second part of my book is dedicated to this subject.
I have tried to reconstruct the infancy and adolescence of the UN system, showing who’s in charge (and how) of human rights and the right to asylum, aid, and protection from climate change. I have sought to gather together the most advanced proposals from UN agencies, scientists, and researchers to address the migration caused by rising sea levels, by the increasing frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, and by the shrinking availability of water for drinking and sanitation.
Forecasts indicate that in the next two decades there will be tens of millions of new eco-refugees, especially in certain areas, headed primarily towards Europe, mostly across the Mediterranean. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports call attention to global developments that are certain to occur though they will vary in intensity according to location: rising sea level, water scarcity, and extreme weather events.
For example, according to the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR), the real risk of deaths resulting from flooding has risen by 13 percent from 1990-2007 while the percentage of the world population directly effected has increased by 28 percent in that period. Moreover, on the basis of past experience and forecast models, over 75 percent of these risks will be concentrated in a handful of countries: those effected by monsoons (Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan) and China.
The risks are not the consequence of exposure and intensity alone: an island or sparsely-populated country or a small poor country risks both the life and development of entire populations for generations. Forced emigration is the near certain outcome. By 2050 the risk of becoming climate refugees as a result of these developments, even in a best case scenario, will cast its shadow over no fewer than 200 million people.”
It is official – 2000s Warmest Decade – Global Warming is Man-made and Cancun will be a bust or – in order to avoid this – the start of the implementation of moves initiated in Copenhagen by a smaller group of representatives. Big Business in Washington guarantees to try to interfere.
WORLD NEWS – JULY 29, 2010
Climate report shows Earth has heated up over 50 years.
Which in the printed Wall Street version was rechristened – “CLIMATE STUDY CITES 2000 as WARMEST DECADE.” This appropriate to the US inward look of New York, while the above title is clear better positioned for the world at large -
By GAUTAM NAIK
A new assessment concludes that the Earth has been getting warmer over the past 50 years and the past decade was the warmest on record.
The State of the Climate 2009 report, published Wednesday as a special supplement to the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, was compiled by 300 scientists from 48 countries and drew on measures of 10 crucial climate indicators.
Seven of the indicators were rising, including air temperature over land, sea-surface temperature, sea level, ocean heat and humidity. Three indicators were declining, including Arctic sea ice, glaciers and spring snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere.
“Each indicator is changing as we’d expect in a warming world,” said Peter Thorne, senior researcher at the Cooperative Institute for Climate and Satellites, a research consortium based in College Park, Md., who was involved in compiling the report.
The report’s conclusions broadly match those of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a United Nations body, which published its last set of findings in 2007. The IPCC report contained some errors, which further stoked the debate about the existence, causes and effects of global warming.
The new report incorporates data from the past few years that weren’t included in the last IPCC assessment. While the IPCC report concluded that evidence for human-caused global warming was “unequivocal” and was linked to emissions of greenhouse gases, the latest report didn’t seek to address the issue.
The report said, “Global average surface and lower-troposphere temperatures during the last three decades have been progressively warmer than all earlier decades, and the 2000s (2000-09) was the warmest decade in the instrumental record.” The troposphere is the lowest layer of the atmosphere.
The scientists reported that they were surprised to find Greenland’s glaciers were losing ice at an accelerating rate. They also concluded that 90% of planetary warming over the past 50 years has gone into the oceans. Most of it had accumulated in near-surface layers, home to phytoplankton, tiny plants crucial to virtually all life in the sea.
A new study has found that rising sea temperature may have had a harmful effect on global concentrations of phytoplankton over the past century.
BUT THE WALL STREET JOURNAL IS VERY ANEMIC ON CONTENT OF ABOVE NEWS – IF YOU WANT TO KNOW WHAT REALLY HAPPENED, AS MOSTLY ALMOST – GO TO THE FINANCIAL TIMES. HERE YOU FIND FIONA HARVEY’S FULL ARTICLE – SHE CONTRIBUTES TO THE EDITORIAL SECTION AS WELL. YOU WILL BE IN THE CLEAR ABOUT THE MACHINATIONS IN WASHINGTON AS WELL.
You will also see there the Washington rot as in the following: “Myron Ebell, of the Competitive Enterprise Institute in the US, formerly in charge of energy with the powerful CSIS, said the new report would not change people’s minds. “It’s clear that the scientific case for global warming alarmism is weak. The scientific case for [many of the claims] is unsound and we are finding out all the time how unsound it is.”
You will find that there was no doubt about the implication that it is humans who did it except in the words of that outspoken minority of industry lobbyists that hold power over Washington.
July 28th, 2010 by Fiona Harvey
What does the number 350 mean?
350 is the most important number in the world—it’s what scientists say is the safe upper limit for carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
Two years ago, after leading climatologists observed rapid ice melt in the Arctic and other frightening signs of climate change, they issued a series of studies showing that the planet faced both human and natural disaster if atmospheric concentrations of CO2 remained above 350 parts per million.
Everyone from Al Gore to the U.N.’s top climate scientist has now embraced this goal as necessary for stabilizing the planet and preventing complete disaster. Now the trick is getting our leaders to pay attention and craft policies that will put the world on track to get to 350.
Is 350 scientifically possible?
Right now, mostly because we’ve burned so much fossil fuel, the atmospheric concentration of CO2 is 390 ppm—that’s way too high, and it’s why ice is melting, drought is spreading, forests are dying. To bring that number down, the first task is to stop putting more carbon into the atmosphere. That means a very fast transition to sun and wind and other renewable forms of power. If we can stop pouring more carbon into the atmosphere, then forests and oceans will slowly suck some of it out of the air and return us to safe levels.
Is 350 politically possible?
It’s very hard. It means switching off fossil fuel much more quickly than governments and corporations have been planning. But we can change that–if we mobilize the world to swift and bold climate action, and shift the world to a clean energy future.
What was the day of action in 2009?
On October 24, the International Day of Climate Action covered almost every country on earth, the most widespread day of environmental action in the planet’s history.
There were be big rallies in big cities, and incredible creative actions across the globe: mountain climbers on our highest peaks with banners, underwater demonstrations in island nations threatened by sea level rise, churches and mosques and synagogues and ashrams engaged in symbolic action, star athletes organizing mass bike rides–and hundreds upon hundreds of community events to raise awareness of the need for urgent action.
Every event highlighted the number 350–and people gathered at some point for a big group photo depicting that all important message. At 350.org, we assembled all the photos for a gigantic, global, visual petition.
The thousands of events on October 24 will drive 350 and all that it represents into the human imagination, and helped shift the political climate around climate change. Countries on the front lines of climate change are no longer willing to settle for weak efforts and half-measures. All the actions on October 24 will help our leaders realize we need a real solution that pays attention to the science.
How did this make a difference?
October 24 has finally put the focus where it needs to be: on the science and the citizens, not the special interests and the backroom deals.
People have sent in thousands of images of citizens gathering at important places around the world—from the melting peaks of Mt. Everest to the sinking beaches of the Maldives—displaying the number 350 in a creative way. 350.org staff will display these photos on the big screens in Times Square and projecting them at the UN headquarters. Those photos are appearing in newspapers large and small—the same newspapers that politicians all over the world use as a barometer of public opinion. We’re also delivering copies of the images—and the stories that go with them—to national delegates, environment ministers, and heads of state the world over.
Grassroots global action will be useful to put pressure on world leaders. Together we can remind our leaders that they need to take physical reality—and not political expediency—into account when they’re making decisions about our collective future. 350 is a clear and specific goal (unlike vague demands to “stop global warming”) that helps move politics n the direction science and justice demand. At 350.org, we make sure your voice is heard, and this debate is re-framed in time to make a difference.
350.org is an international grassroots campaign that aims to mobilize a global climate movement united by a common call to action. By spreading an understanding of the science and a shared vision for a fair policy, we will ensure that the world creates bold and equitable solutions to the climate crisis. 350.org is an independent and not-for-profit project.
It’s been a tough year: in North America, oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico; in Asia some of the highest temperatures ever recorded; in the Arctic, the fastest melting of sea ice ever seen; in Latin America, record rainfalls washing away whole mountainsides.
So we’re having a party.
Circle 10/10/10 on your calendar. That’s the date. The place is wherever you live. And the point is to do something that will help deal with global warming in your city or community. We’re calling it a Global Work Party.
From SEEM – The Indian Society of Energy Engineers and Managers – a definition of the ROSENFELD. One Rosenfeld equals the output of a 500 megawatt coal-fired power plant. A new unit for what we called the Nega-Watts. Energy saved is also the most economic way of growth. Since 1973 Professor Arthur H. Rosenfeld has saved the US $900 Billion.
“Conserving energy is cheaper and smarter than building power plants” (Dr. Arthur Rosenfeld).
The watt. The volt. The ohm. All electrical terms are named after famous engineers and physicists from the 18th and 19th century. Now, an acclaimed 20th century scientist is lending his name to a new unit of energy savings – the ‘Rosenfeld.’
The proposed term – a ‘Rosenfeld’ – would represent the electricity savings of 3 billion kilowatt-hours per year — the annual output of an existing 500 megawatt coal-fired power plant – and avoid generating three million metric tons of CO2 emissions. The new energy-savings measurement term was authored by 54 scientists from 26 research institutions and announced in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Research Letters.
For your leisure time reading – a clean energy monthly E-zine from India E_mag_June_2010.pdf
MRM says: We shall be pleased if you could send us your views/comments/suggestions to make our publication more informative and useful.
With a decades-long career in energy analysis and standards, Rosenfeld is often credited with being personally responsible for billions of dollars in energy savings.
How to cut energy use, carbon? Do it – One “Rosenfeld” at a time.
Arthur Rosenfeld, who recently retired at the age of 83 after two five-year terms on the California Energy Commission, led the way in helping the state set its first-ever energy standards for household appliances and buildings. His mission as an energy-efficiency evangelist was launched in 1973 during the OPEC oil embargo … rather than rail on the oil producers, he reasoned, wouldn’t it be better if the US could find ways to stop wasting so much energy?
His impact on California’s per capita electricity consumption, which has remained flat since the mid-’70s, has long been dubbed the “Rosenfeld effect.” And he himself coined “Rosenfeld’s Law,” which asserts that the amount of energy required to produce one dollar of economic output has decreased by about 1 per cent per year since 1845.
Arthur H. Rosenfeld, Ph.D. was originally appointed to the California Energy Commission by Governor Gray Davis in April 2000. The Commissioner was reappointed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger January 26, 2005. The five members of the Energy Commission are appointed by the Governor to staggered five-year terms and requires Senate confirmation. By law, four of the five members of the Energy Commission have professional training in specific areas – engineering or physical science, environmental protection, economics, law, and one commissioner from the public-at-large. Commissioner Rosenfeld filled the physical science position until his retirement in January 2010.
Commissioner Rosenfeld was presiding member of the Research, Development and Demonstration Committee and the Dynamic Pricing Committee (Ad Hoc Committee); and was the second member of the Energy Efficiency Committee.
Art Rosenfeld received his Ph.D. in Physics in 1954 at the University of Chicago under Nobel Laureate Enrico Fermi, and then joined the Department of Physics at the University of California at Berkeley. There he joined, and eventually oversaw, the Nobel prize-winning particle physics group of Luis Alvarez at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) until 1974. At that time, he changed his research focus to the efficient use of energy, formed the Center for Building Science at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and led it until 1994.
CO2 emissions – global warming – sea water increased temperature – permafrost heating – CH4 escapes – we start on a curve that speeds towards the tipping point or the point of no return. Honest scientists see it coming.
Arctic Shelf Leaking Potent Greenhouse Gas
By Stephen Leahy