Hurricane Harvey 2017
Twenty storms causing a billion dollars or more in damage have taken place since 2010, not including Hurricane Harvey, compared with nine billion-dollar floods in the full decade of the 1980s, according to inflation-adjusted estimates from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Seven have hit just since 2016…
Wall Street Journal
The oceans are growing warmer at an accelerating rate. Half the entire increase in temperature since pre-industrial times has occurred in the past 20 years. Water absorbs much more heat than air. The oceans have absorbed more than 90% of the excess heat and nearly 30% of the carbon dioxide generated by human consumption of fossil fuels.
Warm water fuels the storms. Hurricanes and tropical storms suck up the moisture that evaporates from the warm water surface and dumps it as rainfall on the land.
Harvey, Katrina— If toxic politics don’t destroy America, global warming will. The Trump Administration has revoked the Paris accords to control climate change and is dismantling the E.P.A., which studies climate change and issues regulations that are designed to combat and slow it down.
Seen at Earth Day / Science march
Finally! A “monumental triumph,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Nearly 200 countries agreed to combat climate change after two weeks of tense negotiations and more than of 20 years of debate and dispute and failure to stabilize, let alone slow, global warming.
Climate change “requires the widest possible cooperation by all countries,” because it “represents an urgent and potentially irreversible threat to human societies and the planet,” reads the agreement. The cap it sets on global warming is below 2˚ C., which is still not enough, according to many scientists.
“This agreement won’t save the planet, not even close,” climate activist and advocate Bill McKibben wrote in an email to The Huffington Post. It doesn’t include, for example, a specific timeline for phasing out fossil fuels.
But it is a giant step forward nonetheless. It is “the best chance to save the one planet we’ve got,” President Obama said in his remarks to the nation on Saturday.
Shanghai smog, 1993
“Big Oil’s long history with climate change,” posted September 19 on this blog, asserted that “Exxon Mobil has known for almost 40 years that fossil fuels pose a lethal threat to Earth and all its inhabitants.”
“Exxon’s Climate Concealment” was published today in the NY Times. The article deals with the same scandalous campaign of deceit, disinformation and denial by Exxon and other industry leaders that climate change is real and caused by burning fossil fuels. The Times clearly used the same source as VBI did, Inside Climate News, a nonprofit news organization with a Pulitzer-Prize-winning web-site, because the two articles are substantially the same.
Despite the satisfaction of “scooping” the Times by three weeks, I’m glad they eventually deemed the story worthy of publication. Their readership is (obviously) orders of magnitude greater than VBI’s, and the story is important. (No) thanks to Exxon we have wasted too much precious time trying to clean up their mess and switching to alternate forms of non-polluting energy. But petrodollars talk — very loudly — and there still remains a steep uphill climb to counteract Big Oil’s propaganda.
Birds killed by oil from the Exxon Valdez spillBig Oil
Was anyone really surprised last Wednesday when InsideClimateNews (ICN) revealed documents confirming that Exxon Mobil has known for almost 40 years that fossil fuels pose a lethal threat to Earth and all its inhabitants? ICN, a Pulitzer-Prize-winning web-site, published the first installment of an exposé of Exxon’s role in suppressing research on climate change and disseminating disinformation. (Exxon [then Esso] and Mobil merged in 1999.)
In 1977, James Black, a top technical expert at Exxon, informed a group of top-level oilmen at Exxon headquarters that
[T]here is general scientific agreement that the most likely manner in which mankind is influencing the global climate is through carbon dioxide release from the burning of fossil fuels.
The following year Black persisted. Speaking to a wider audience, he warned that the percentage of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere continued to increase and would raise temperatures everywhere, but especially at the poles. Continue reading
Students enjoy the green roof over Lincoln Center’s elegant Lincoln Ristorante
The Chamber Society of Lincoln Center opened its season tonight. The concert, all Mozart, was as delightful as we have come to expect. But what totally knocked my sox off was a little story in the back of the Playbill.
I was thrilled to read that the buildings on the main campus of Lincoln Center are powered by renewable energy. Avery Fisher (philharmonic), Alice Tully (chamber music), the Film Center, the Lincoln restaurant, the Atrium, all of Juilliard, the heating and cooling plants for the Metropolitan Opera and the other theaters— all these use energy derived from the wind.
Solar panels, which should lower fuel bills further, are due to be installed on the roof of the Rose Building. It is estimated that as a result of these initiatives, Lincoln Center’s CO2 emissions will be more than 100 million pounds less over three years than they would have been with fossil fuel-based electricity.
If this large performing arts complex in the middle of Manhattan can go green, it stands to reason that all new buildings can incorporate similar measures.