CH4 and CO2 are greenhouse gases

Reassessing warning issued 25 years ago, the “second notice” to humanity warns of “widespread misery and catastrophic biodiversity loss” unless business-as-usual is upended

From an Article by Andrea Germanos, Common Dreams, November 13, 2017

“Humanity is not taking the urgent steps needed to safeguard our imperiled biosphere,” over 15,000 scientists warned in a letter published November 13th.

Over 15,000 scientists hailing from more than 180 countries just issued a dire warning to humanity:

“Time is running out” to stop business as usual, as threats from rising greenhouse gases to biodiversity loss are pushing the biosphere to the brink.

The new warning was published in the international journal BioScience, and marks an update to the “World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity” issued by nearly 1,700 leading scientists 25 years ago.

The 1992 plea, which said Earth was on track to be “irretrievably mutilated” baring “fundamental change,” however, was largely unheeded.

“Some people might be tempted to dismiss this evidence and think we are just being alarmist,” said William Ripple, distinguished professor in the College of Forestry at Oregon State University, and lead author of the new warning. “Scientists are in the business of analyzing data and looking at the long-term consequences. Those who signed this second warning aren’t just raising a false alarm. They are acknowledging the obvious signs that we are heading down an unsustainable path.”

The new statement—a “Second Notice” to humanity—does acknowledge that there have been some positive steps forward, such as the drop in ozone depleters and advancements in reducing hunger since the 1992 warning. But, by and large, humanity has done a horrible job of making progress. In fact, key environmental threats that demanded urgent attention a quarter of a century ago are even worse now.

Among the “especially troubling” trends, they write, are rising greenhouse gas emissions, deforestation, agricultural production, and the sixth mass extinction event underway.

Taking a numerical look at how some of the threats have grown since 1992, the scientists note that there’s been a 26.1 percent loss in fresh water available per capita; a 75.3 percent increase in the number of “dead zones”; a 62.1 percent increase in CO2 emissions per year; and 35.5 percent rise in the human population.

“By failing to adequately limit population growth, reassess the role of an economy rooted in growth, reduce greenhouse gases, incentivize renewable energy, protect habitat, restore ecosystems, curb pollution, halt defaunation, and constrain invasive alien species, humanity is not taking the urgent steps needed to safeguard our imperiled biosphere,” they write.

Among the steps that could be taken to prevent catastrophe are promoting plant-based diets; reducing wealth inequality, stopping conversions of forests and grasslands; government interventions to rein in biodiversity loss via poaching and illicit trade; and “massively adopting renewable energy sources” while phasing out fossil fuel subsidies.

Taking such actions, they conclude, are necessary to avert “widespread misery and catastrophic biodiversity loss.” “Soon it will be too late to shift course away from our failing trajectory, and time is running out. ”

The goal of the paper, said Ripple, is to “ignite a wide-spread public debate about the global environment and climate.”


“An Inconvenient Sequel” – This Movie is Worth Seeing

by Duane Nichols on November 18, 2017

Tokyo International Film Festival, 11/3/17

An Inconvenient Sequel – the science, history, and politics of climate change

From an Article by John Abraham, The Guardian, November 15, 2017

Al Gore’s new movie ‘An Inconvenient Sequel’ is, in some ways, similar to his groundbreaking Inconvenient Truth project, but different in other ways. Those key differences are why I recommend you watch it.

This movie successfully accomplishes a number of interweaving tasks. First, it gives some of the science of climate change. Gore gets his science right. I remember his first movie, which I thought was more steeped in science and data than this one, so based on my recollection this new picture is somewhat abbreviated. That’s a good thing because the science is settled on climate change. That is, the science is settled that humans are causing current climatic changes and the science is settled that we are observing these changes throughout the natural world.

The opening of the new film shows a sample of the misguided attacks on Al Gore, exclusively from conservatives in the United States. It was so clear to me, when watching and listening, that these attacks are the same ones that we climate scientists constantly have to endure. Most scientists have not been attacked as consistently or for such a long duration as Mr. Gore, but the types of attacks he has had to handle are close cousins to what my colleagues and I experience on a regular basis.

Many conservatives, and some progressives too, claim that Al Gore made climate change political. But I now realize he didn’t. Al Gore was simply the first major political figure that took a stand on climate change. He would have loved to have been joined by anyone of any political persuasion. I firmly believe that the denialism we see from conservatives in the USA is partly because they cannot bring themselves to admit he was right.

In many people’s subconscious, it is better to deny the science and damn the world than admit a liberal former vice president was correct. And that failure is on them. Better people would rise above gut emotions and follow facts faithfully to where they lead. Instead, most US conservatives have tied their legacy to a climate denial movement that is causing and will cause irreparable harm to the planet, its biology, and human societies.

A party that calls itself “conservative” has acted out of accord with its stated values. And this fact should anger true conservatives. How could they allow an entire party to be tarred with this damning legacy? It isn’t Mr. Gore’s fault that conservatives have made climate denial a litmus test for their party. It isn’t Gore’s fault that conservative politicians have been bought by fossil fuel industries who have attacked climate science and climate scientists. It isn’t Al Gore’s fault that the Republican Party has stood in the way of the development of clean renewable fuels in the US. That is on them. It isn’t Mr. Gore’s fault that the very few conservatives who have taken a principled stand have been cast out from their party. The politicization of science is their scar.

With respect to the science, this new movie focuses on actual implications of climate change. Whether Mr. Gore is discussing Greenland’s crumbling ice sheet with scientists Eric Rignot or Konrad Steffen, or conversing with Miami city planners on ways to handle rising waters, the movie brings the implications of a changing climate home. Mr. Gore reminds us of projections for the future. For instance, South Florida may see 7 feet of sea level rise by 2100. City planners are considering ways to raise parts of the city to deal with this. Oh by the way, yes the best evidence shows we really may get 7 feet by 2100.

Later, Gore meets with people who have suffered through terrible and super-charged storms, such as recent typhoons in the Pacific. He lays clear the science that climate change is warming our oceans, providing extra fuel to make storms like Irma, Harvey, Sandy, and Maria more powerful. In these spots, his science is dead on.

This may make you wonder why I recommend people watch this movie. Isn’t it just more doom and gloom? Well, this is the exciting part. While the politics of climate change, at least in the USA (with a President and Congress in full denial mode, not only rolling back progress but sabotaging the science), what reason is there to be hopeful?

First, other countries are taking the lead from the US. I see this in my own work. Not only in basic science but in deployment of renewable energy. This is one area of great potential. Even though, as shown in the movie, fossil fuel companies and some conservative politicians are trying to sabotage clean energy markets, they cannot deny the economics. It just makes sense to use clean and renewable energy.

Do you remember that iconic scene from his first movie, where he followed greenhouse gas data upward using a lift? The gas levels were literally off the screen? Well, that gloomy image is replaced in the new movie by an equally iconic but optimistic animation of how countries are installing clean energy.

A large part of the story does deal with Al Gore’s personal journey. In many ways, this is mirrored in the journeys of climate scientists and people who care about the Earth’s environment. We have all experienced the ups and downs of this crisis; in fact, we’ve experienced them together whether we knew it or not. Interestingly, I have come around to a cautious optimism that is identical to Al Gore’s.

The election in the US was a climate disaster and it is turning out to be worse than we could have feared. The US President and Congress are doing everything they can to ensure more rapid and devastating climate change. They are doing everything they can to ensure more California wildfires, more Marias, more Harveys, and more Irmas. They are doing everything they can to bring us more California droughts and wildfires and Texas floods. They are doing everything they can to cut funding from climate science so we won’t know how bad it is. They are doing everything they can to make the USA a pariah nation. In fact, on the day I write this, the US has become the only country to reject the Paris Climate Accord. That is a stunning fact. What kind of country does this?

What they are doing is so un-American; so un-conservative.

But what these forces cannot do is turn back the tide of the economics. People are investing in clean energy because it makes economic sense. And this is the inflection point that makes the clean energy revolution unstoppable. That’s why I am optimistic. That’s why Al Gore is optimistic. That’s the threaded message in his movie. And it’s why you should be optimistic too.

See also: Is Trump the only villain of COP23? (Bianca Jagger, Huffington Post, November 17, 2017)

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“Lancaster Against Pipelines” Rally on Saturday

November 17, 2017

Lancaster Against Pipelines; Update on the Lakewood 3 Dear Friends and Co-Workers – This past Saturday, 50 local residents spent the morning defending Lancaster County against Williams’s invasion of our community, delaying land-destruction at five different sites. IN THE AFTERNOON, A LARGE-SCALE ACTION IN MARTIC TOWNSHIP SHUT DOWN A TREE-CLEARING OPERATION FOR HALF THE DAY, [...]

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WV-DEP Side-Steps 401 Certification for Major Natural Gas Pipelines

November 16, 2017

Secretary Caperton’s Letter to WVDEP Staff Regarding the Mountain Valley Pipeline (11/13/2017) CHARLESTON, W.Va. – West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) Cabinet Secretary Austin Caperton sent the following letter to all staff this morning explaining the agency’s decision on the Mountain Valley Pipeline. “Good morning: “There’s been a lot of news coverage recently of [...]

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WV-DEP Waives 401 Certification for MVP Pipeline (Stream Crossing Damages)

November 15, 2017

West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection adjusts Mountain Valley Pipeline permits From an Article by Charles Young, Clarksburg Telegram, November 1, 2017 CHARLESTON — The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection has lifted the suspension of the state stormwater permit for EQT’s Mountain Valley Pipeline project, according to Cabinet Secretary Austin Caperton. The stormwater permit [...]

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Public Comments Requested for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (General Water Pollution Permit)

November 15, 2017

========================= Tuesday, November 14, 2017 @ 9:10 AM ========================= FROM: State of West Virginia, Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Water and Waste Management ######### — PUBLIC NOTICE — ########## WEST VIRGINIA DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION’S, PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICE, 601 57TH STREET SE, CHARLESTON, WEST VIRGINIA 25304-2345 TELEPHONE: (304) 926-0440. APPLICATION FOR COVERAGE UNDER THE [...]

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Pittsburgh Summit: The People vs. Oil & Gas Industry (11-17 to 11-20)

November 14, 2017

The People vs. Oil and Gas Summit in Pittsburgh The People vs. Oil and Natural Gas Summit will be held from Friday, November 17 to Monday, November 20 at the Omni William Penn Hotel in Pittsburgh. This Summit is an opportunity for communities who are fighting back against fossil fuels to gather to share stories, [...]

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Who will Evaluate the China Deal for WV, When?

November 13, 2017

The big West Virginia deal in China, value to be determined Essay by S. Tom Bond, Retired Chemist & Resident Farmer, Lewis County, WV While in China, President Trump signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) agreements talking about investing $250 billion in the U. S. One MOU is for China Energy Investment Corp. to invest $83.7 [...]

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The Active Study of Geology in Pennsylvania Includes Shales

November 12, 2017

Field conference helps write the book on Pennsylvania geology From an Article by Matt Carroll, Penn State News, State College, October 31, 2017 UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — If Duff Gold set out to write the history of Pennsylvania geology, he’d have a pretty good idea where to start. Gold, emeritus professor of geosciences at Penn [...]

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Proposed NGL Storage Facility in Permitting Process at Ohio Department of Natural Resources

November 11, 2017

Monroe County Gas Storage Facility Seeks Expedited ODNR Permit From an Article by Janell Hunter, Wheeling Intelligencer, November 7, 2017 A natural gas liquids storage company based in Colorado has hired Scott Pleskonko of Moundsville to be its local development facilitator as it seeks permits from the Ohio Division of Natural Resources to build a [...]

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