Here, There and Everywhere

Posts tagged ‘weather’

Nowhere Else in the World

walrus_emailNowhere Else in the World

The Arctic Ocean is like nowhere else in the world. Home to walruses, beluga whales, and polar bears, this frozen landscape is teeming with life. But soon this fragile habitat could be swarming with oil rigs instead.

Oil companies may soon be able to start buying up new leases in the Chukchi Sea, the first step to oil drilling and, eventually, oil spills.

Act now to oppose new oil and gas leases in the Chukchi Sea »

The Pacific walrus dives deep down to the seafloor to hunt for shellfish. It needs a stable, healthy environment to survive. If an oil spill were to hit the Chukchi Sea, walruses could be forced to swim through oil. Even worse, the effects of a spill could kill food on which walruses, whales, and other animals depend, leaving these incredible animals hungry.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is preparing to sell oil and gas leases in the Chukchi Sea. Drilling in the Arctic is very risky due to icy waters, bad weather, and the complete lack of proven spill response technologies. Shell’s efforts to drill exploration wells have been met with failure after failure, culminating in the grounding of a drilling rig near Kodiak, Alaska. If oil drilling is allowed in the Chukchi Sea, it will only be a matter of time until a disaster strikes.

Walruses and whales need a safe home. Submit a public comment telling BOEM that oil drills don’t belong in the Chukchi Sea »

If enough of us speak up, we can convince BOEM to keep unsafe oil drills out of the U.S. Chukchi Sea entirely.

This important sea needs to be kept safe for the walruses, whales and polar bears who live, hunt, and migrate within its waters.

For the Arctic,
Rachael Prokop
Oceana

Hurricanes & Global Warming

We Are Not Powerless to Confront Climate Change
by Amy Goodman
From Nation of Change
1 November 2012

Millions of victims of Superstorm Sandy remain without power, but they are not powerless to do something about climate change. The media consistently fail to make the link between extreme weather and global warming. Through this catastrophe, people are increasingly realizing that our climate has changed, and the consequences are dire.

One meteorologist who defies the norm is Dr. Jeff Masters, who founded the weather blog Weather Underground. As Sandy bore down on the East Coast, I asked Masters what impact climate change was having on hurricanes. He said: “Whenever you add more heat to the oceans, you’ve got more energy for destruction. Hurricanes … pull heat out of the ocean, convert it to the kinetic energy of their winds.”

Masters’ blog became so popular, it was purchased by The Weather Channel. As Sandy moved up the coast, Masters continued with our interview: “When you do heat the oceans up more, you extend the length of hurricane season. And there’s been ample evidence over the last decade or so that hurricane season is getting longer—starts earlier, ends later. You’re more likely to have this sort of situation where a late-October storm meets up with a regular winter low-pressure system and gives us this ridiculous combination of a nor’easter and a hurricane that comes ashore, bringing all kinds of destructive effects.”

Mitt Romney must rue that line in his Republican National Convention speech, days after Hurricane Isaac narrowly missed hitting Tampa, Fla., and the convention, when he quipped: “President Obama promised to slow the rise of the oceans and to heal the planet. My promise is to help you and your family.” Romney drew a big laugh from those gathered to nominate him. No one is laughing now. Sandy’s U.S. death toll has reached 50, with 8 million without power. Initial estimates put the cost of the damage at tens of billions of dollars.

Romney’s latest position on climate change is no surprise, since it conforms with his consistent pivot to the right, away from his previously held views. As recently as 2007, he told CNBC’s “Kudlow and Company,” “But no question about one thing—it’s getting warmer, and [there are] a lot of good reasons for us to use less energy, to use it more efficiently and to develop sources here in this country that could allow us to be more independent of foreign sources.”

We also should not let President Barack Obama off the hook. Recall the presidential debates, where he continually boasted of his fossil-fuel credentials. “Oil production is up, natural gas production is up,” he said at Hofstra, during the second debate. “I’m all for pipelines. I’m all for oil production.” In none of the three presidential debates was climate change mentioned, even once, not by the major-party presidential candidates and not by the moderators.

Masters partially attributes the lack of discussion to the power of the fossil-fuel lobby: “You’re talking about the oil and gas industry … about the entire basis of the industrialized economy. With these sorts of storms, people are going to wise up at some point and say: ‘Hey, what’s going on? Maybe we shouldn’t mess with the very forces that enable us to live on the planet Earth.’ … We’ve got to get self-preservation in our minds pretty soon, or this is just the start of things, Here we are in the year 2012; what’s going to be happening in 2030 if we’re already seeing storms like this?”

Read entire Op-Ed at Nation of Change

Climate Change Science

From Nation of Change and IPS News
by Stephen Leahy
5 May 2012

Standing Up for the Planet and the Future

There’s been a general perception that climate change is a future problem but with all the extreme weather disasters and weather records the public is being to realise that climate change is here, says Jamie Henn, communications director for 350.org, a U.S.-based environmental group.

“Recent opinion surveys show the more than 60 percent of the U.S. public are connecting extreme weather to climate change,” Henn told IPS.

The U.S. public is not wrong, say scientists.

“All weather events are affected by climate change because the environment in which they occur is warmer and moister than it used to be,” Kevin Trenberth, senior scientist at the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research, told IPS previously.

Last year the U.S. endured 14 separate billion-dollar-plus weather disasters including flooding, hurricanes and tornados.

This year, most of the U.S. and Canada experienced summer in winter with record-shattering heat waves in March. More than 15,000 temperature records were broken in the U.S. which had its first billion-dollar weather disaster of the year. In most places, the spring month of April was colder than March.

“What kind of future are we leaving for our children if we keep putting more carbon into the atmosphere?” asks Nix.

As a former scientist who used to work for the oil industry in Canada’s tar sands, he has a pretty good idea of what’s coming unless fossil fuels are phased out. Catastrophic consequences including everything from droughts, floods, forest fires, food shortages, to increases in tropical diseases and political chaos.

“Politicians are not leading. Corporations are only interested in quick profits. They are the real radicals in our society,” says Nix. This is a reference to a high-level Canadian official who accused environmentalists of having a “radical ideological agenda” in an open letter.

“There is no one left to protect the future for our children but the public,” says Nix.

Every day, six long trains each carrying up to 10,000 tonnes of coal from the U.S. and British Columbia (BC) travel the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) rail line to the Westshore Coal Terminal at Delta, BC just north of the U.S. border. It is the busiest coal export port in North America.

The climate-heating carbon in the coal exported every year is equivalent to the annual emissions for the entire province of BC of 4.5 million people and many energy-intense industries like aluminium smelting and mining, says Nix.

“We have to stop burning coal. Leading scientists like James Hansen have made that clear,” he said.

Nix and other members of British Columbians for Climate Action have asked to meet with government officials to work out a plan to phase out coal exports. Their requests have been ignored. Now they have asked U.S. billionaire Warren Buffet to take action. His company Berkshire Hathaway Inc owns BNSF, one of the largest freight networks in North America.

Buffet has previously cancelled plans to build new coal-fired plants in the U.S. In a letter to Buffet, British Columbians for Climate Action write, “…when it comes to climate change it appears that other people are doing all the suffering while you profit from the very causes of the problem.”

On Saturday, 23-year-old Brandon Cormier wants to inform her local residents in the small Canadian town of Orangeville, Ontario about one of the sources of the climate change problem, Canada’s huge tar sands operation that boils oil out sands under its northern forests.

Cormier is organizing a demo-fest event as part of International Stop the Tar Sands Day*, which is also May 5.

“I am hoping to make local people more aware of climate change, and that the tar sands are a big contributor,” says Cormier, who has never done anything like this.

International Stop the Tar Sands Day has been held annually since 2010 with events in 50 cities around the world last year. It involves playful demonstration-festivals involving music, dancing, costumes, handing out flowers and postcards as part of an awareness-raising effort.

The tar sands operations in the province of Alberta supply the US with more than 2.4 million barrels of heavy oil a day. Considered “dirty oil” because requires large amounts of natural gas and clean water to extract it from the ground, it is under growing international pressure as a major source of carbon emissions and over destruction of thousands of kilometers of forests and wetlands.

“Not many people I know want to help me with this. They think that it is silly being so far away (from Alberta)….But I won’t let that discourage me. It’s everyone’s planet.”

Read entire report at Nation of Change.

Environmental Warrior

From Nation of Change and Yes! Magazine
by Madeline Ostrander

The Biggest Fight of Our Time

As one of the best-known writers on the world’s most dire environmental problem, climate change, Bill McKibben has long walked the razor’s edge between hope and fear. In 2010, he published Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet, a sobering account of what climate change has already unleashed—the ways in which the places we live, the water, weather, seasons, ecosystems, and oceans are changing irrevocably. McKibben also founded 350.org, one of history’s largest and most ambitious political movements, uniting people around the world to fight climate change.

In this interview, YES! got personal with McKibben: Where does he find hope? What role does faith play for McKibben, a longtime Methodist Sunday school teacher? How does small-town Vermont, where the writer now lives, shape his ideas and activism? And what’s the best advice for anyone feeling overwhelmed by the enormity of what McKibben calls “the biggest fight of our time”—the fight to save the planet?

Madeline Ostrander interviewed Bill McKibben for YES! Magazine, a national, nonprofit media organization that fuses powerful ideas with practical actions for a just and sustainable world. Madeline is senior editor at YES!

Go to Nation of Change or Yes! Magazine to watch video.

Tag Cloud