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Messages - Sigmetnow

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Consequences / Re: Lake Effects
« on: January 28, 2014, 09:28:42 PM »
Shrinking Lake Michigan deprives islands of waterfront and tourism.

Consequences / Re: CA Drought Emergency Declared
« on: January 23, 2014, 02:52:58 PM »
From CNN, another casualty of the California drought: domestic horses.  The views of parched landscape are heartbreaking as well.

Consequences / Re: CA Drought Emergency Declared
« on: January 19, 2014, 05:26:57 PM »
JimD, JackTaylor, thank you for the info and links.

Seems like we are fixated on small bits of visible, external bleeding, when the most damage is happening internally.

Consequences / Re: CA Drought Emergency Declared
« on: January 19, 2014, 02:17:49 PM »
Question:  when municipalities (or whoever) require, say, a "20% reduction" in water use, how is that calculated?  Do they take 20% off an average volume as everyone's new target? Or is it individualized to each user's prior water use -- which would hurt the already-frugal user more than someone who is usually wasteful.


Consequences / Re: Lake Effects
« on: January 16, 2014, 12:42:13 AM »
@NWSSacramento: See the latest update on the major reservoirs of California.
Map with reservoir data.

Consequences / Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« on: January 15, 2014, 06:07:55 PM »
Bogotá study: small farmers selling at local markets are much more adaptable to CC than farmers selling through an intermediary.

Small farmers who supply the city of Bogotá with food are facing many challenges that are jeopardizing their livelihoods and by extension, the food security of Colombia’s capital. We expect future changes in climatic conditions to exacerbate the plight of the small farmers and this is expected to compromise Bogota’s food security even further. This paper specifically seeks to assess the impact of climate change (CC) on the livelihoods of smallholders who supply Bogota with most of its food. In our multidisciplinary methodology, we translated the exposure to CC into direct impact on crops and assessed sensitivity and adaptive capacity using the sustainable rural livelihoods framework. The results show that rainfall (by average of 100 mm) and temperature (by average of 2.1 °C) will increase over the study area, while the future climate suitability of the most important crops such as mango (Mangifera indica), papaya (Carica papaya), corn (Zea mays) and plantain (Musa balbisiana) shows a decrease of 19 % to 47 % climate suitability by the year 2050. The assessment of sensitivity and adaptive capacity demonstrates that farmers participating in a farmers’ market, initiated by several local and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs), are less vulnerable to CC than farmers who sell through intermediaries. Those farmers selling directly to consumers in the farmers’ market have a higher adaptive capacity (3 on a scale of 3) in social and financial capital than those selling to intermediaries with less adaptive capacity (1 on a scale of 3). In light of the reduction in overall climatic suitability of some of the major crops and the change of geographic location of suitability for others, there are likely to be serious threats for Bogotá’s food security, the ecological landscape around the city, and farmers’ livelihoods. We further conclude that unless proper adaptation measures are implemented, the geographical shift in climate suitability may also force farmers to shift their crops to higher elevations including remaining forests and páramos (the Colombian alpine tundra ecosystems), which may be threatened in the near future.

Consequences / Re: Lake Effects
« on: January 14, 2014, 02:48:12 PM »
Not exactly a lake, but water-supply related:  Plant in California turns sewage into potable water.  Then (mostly for psychological reasons) pumps it underground.

Today, the [Orange County water] district's Groundwater Replenishment System processes 70 million gallons of treated wastewater into pure, potable water every day, which is enough to meet the needs of about 600,000 people. The water is used to replenish the district's aquifer, thus limiting the need to rely on more expensive and unreliable imported water from Northern California and the Colorado River.

Consequences / Re: Lake Effects
« on: January 03, 2014, 10:04:10 PM »

Consequences / Re: Lake Effects
« on: January 03, 2014, 08:25:32 PM »
Sacramento, California water supply becoming critically low.

Much of the tension in the Sacramento region involves managing the water that remains in Folsom Lake. Storage in the reservoir dropped below 200,000 acre-feet last week – 20 percent of its capacity – a historic low for December. Because about 500,000 people in Folsom, Fair Oaks, Roseville and other communities depend on that stored water, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation on Jan. 1 plans to reduce water releases from the dam into the American River.

Policy and solutions / Re: Why some still "DENY" and others "FAIL TO ACT"
« on: December 29, 2013, 09:39:16 PM »
We need a catchy, all-encompassing slogan for climate change action.  Something everyone can repeat, even if they don't really know what it means.  Something as simple as: "Carbon Kills!"

Consequences / Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« on: December 29, 2013, 09:26:42 PM »
More on the California drought:

In the run-up to the holidays, few noticed a rather horrifying number California water managers released last week: 5%.

That’s the percentage of requested water the California State Water Project (SWP), the largest manmade distribution system in the US, expects to deliver in 2014. The SWP supplies water to two-thirds of the state’s 38 million residents and 750,000 acres of farmland.

Consequences / Re: Dahr Jamail, The Climate Change Scorecard
« on: December 29, 2013, 09:01:16 PM »
I appreciate the corrections/clarifications to the information in the article. 

In a sad sense, the details seem less and less important.  We're on a bus, speeding toward the edge of a cliff.  It's dusty, so we can't see precisely how far ahead the ledge is.  But we know it's out there, and still we haven't applied the brakes, or let off the gas -- we continue to speed up, globally emitting more carbon every year.  There have been plenty of warning signs: mass species extinctions, glacier retreat, arctic sea ice loss.  But we've been so busy texting, we haven't paid attention.  That bump we just felt (Hurricane Sandy, Australia heat, Eurasian flooding) could be the front wheels of the bus going over the edge of the cliff.  At this point, we may simply be debating the dimensions of the canyon.

Policy and solutions / Re: Cars, cars and more cars. And trucks, and....
« on: December 27, 2013, 07:17:10 PM »
Because EVs are still evolving, it would be good to encourage rental of new cars.  This would make more people likely to switch to newer/better cars as they are developed, and provide a good supply of used EVs for that market.

Policy and solutions / Re: Is the Earth F**cked??
« on: December 27, 2013, 04:31:29 AM »
Wili @16,

The US President, Secretary of State Kerry, and many members of Congress know what to do -- the problem is that they can't do anything with the current Congress.  But the tide is turning.  By the 2014 or 2016 elections, the Tea Party will either have seen the climate light, or they will be trounced at the polls.  (See: recent Virginia elections.).  People are starting to demand action, and that groundswell will grow.

In World War II, we switched manufacturing plants over to bombs and airplanes, and employed new (women!) workers almost overnight -- unthinkable, before we actually did it.  We blacked out the East Coast at night, and rationed food and gasoline.  We can make radical changes and sacrifice.  We just need to find the national will. 

Policy and solutions / Re: Is the Earth F**cked??
« on: December 26, 2013, 04:12:39 PM »
And if we’re switching things up economically, consider this: 
activists have secured a vote in Switzerland on an audacious proposal: providing a basic monthly income of about $2,800 U.S. dollars to each adult in the country.

What is a universal basic income, and why are we hearing more about it now?

The proposals that are floating around the world vary a lot. But the basic idea is, no matter what you do, if you’re a resident — or in some cases, a citizen — you get a certain amount of money each month. And it’s completely unconditional: If you’re rich you get it, if you’re poor you get. If you’re a good person you get it, if you’re a bad person you get it. And it does not depend on you doing anything other than making whatever effort is involved to collect the money. It’s been a topic of discussion for several decades. Why is it happening right now? I think it’s obvious that it’s a reaction to the high level of economic inequality that we’ve seen. Most European countries haven’t had big increases in inequality at the same scale that we [in the U.S.] have, [but] some of them have had much more than they’re used to.

Policy and solutions / Re: Is the Earth F**cked??
« on: December 25, 2013, 08:29:13 PM »
And this, from "A Climate Truth-Tellers Honor Roll of 2013" by Wen Stephenson (emphasis his):

With his colleague Alice Bows, a climate mitigation expert at the Tyndall Centre, Anderson points out that we have lost so much time to political stalling and weak climate policies—all while global consumption (and emissions) ballooned—that we are now facing cuts so drastic that they challenge the fundamental logic of prioritising GDP growth above all else….

what Anderson and Bows are really saying is that there is still time to avoid catastrophic warming, but not within the rules of capitalism as they are currently constructed. Which may be the best argument we have ever had for changing those rules.

Anderson and Bows, Klein notes, have “laid down something of a gauntlet” for fellow scientists, essentially arguing, as Klein puts it, that “in order to appear reasonable within neoliberal economic circles, scientists have been dramatically soft-peddling the implications of their research.” She quotes Anderson, who wrote this past August:

Perhaps at the time of the 1992 Earth Summit, or even at the turn of the millennium, 2°C levels of mitigation could have been achieved through significant evolutionary changes within the political and economic hegemony. But climate change is a cumulative issue! Now, in 2013, we in high-emitting (post-)industrial nations face a very different prospect. Our ongoing and collective carbon profligacy has squandered any opportunity for the ‘evolutionary change’ afforded by our earlier (and larger) 2°C carbon budget. Today, after two decades of bluff and lies, the remaining 2°C budget demands revolutionary change to the political and economic hegemony” [his emphasis].

Policy and solutions / Re: Is the Earth F**cked??
« on: December 25, 2013, 08:18:25 PM »
Der Spiegel has a good article about thinking outside the box, economically speaking.

First, it describes the Vikings as leaving Greenland because their livestock couldn't survive, when they couldn't conceive of eating fish....  Similarly, we have to conceive of eating insects for protein and give up eating beef and pork, if not all animal flesh, to keep what grains we are able to grow for feeding us.

And here's a new twist on capitalism:

'Economy for the Common Good'

This means we need a method of searching for new strategies that can't be coopted by the sleek, but unfortunately destructive, principle of capitalism. Imagine, for example, what might happen if a large number of businesses make the improvement of the common good -- instead of an increase in their profits -- the goal of their commercial efforts.

There are in fact already more than 1,400 companies, if small ones, in German-speaking countries that have made a commitment to the concept of the "economy for the common good," an idea developed a few years ago by Christian Felber, the Austrian co-founder of Attac. Around one third of these companies have annual balance statements to show it.

In the medium term, the "economy for the common good" movement aims to make such accounting legally binding. The principle is that the more common-good "points" a business achieves, the more legal benefits it should enjoy. For example, companies with a positive common-good balance could benefit from lower taxes, obtain loans from national banks at lower interest rates and be given priority in public purchasing and the awarding of contracts. This reversal of the existing incentive system would serve to make products and services that are produced and traded fairly, and are environmentally sustainable, cheaper than ethically problematic products and nondurable, disposable items.

The appeal of this approach lies in the fact that -- as with the many energy and consumption cooperatives, ethical banks, swapping platforms and venues for giving things away that have sprung up in recent years -- there is no longer a reason to generate additional surplus, once enough has already been produced. This counters capitalism's logic of valuation far more effectively than any sort of symbolic act, because such experiments in alternative economic practices intervene directly in the economic metabolism. Rather than continuing to generate more and more arguments, they generate new facts."

Policy and solutions / Re: Cars, cars and more cars. And trucks, and....
« on: December 25, 2013, 07:55:35 PM »
There should be big legal & tax incentives for car-sharing.  And for turning in an old gas-powered car, or down-sizing -- I am reminded of the "cash for clunkers" program that happened a while back.

Policy and solutions / Re: Cars, cars and more cars. And trucks, and....
« on: December 25, 2013, 04:11:42 PM »
ExxonMobile recently tweeted this:

"GHG emissions related to energy use are projected to plateau by 2030"
"The US is likely to use slightly less energy in total & about 20% less energy per person by 2040"

They have a "quiz" on their website ( ) with questions like:
"The energy concentrated in one gallon of gasoline is also enough to keep your smartphone running for how many days?"


Policy and solutions / Re: Cars, cars and more cars. And trucks, and....
« on: December 25, 2013, 02:07:38 PM »
It's time for radical ideas, so here's one:

The government decrees the new car fleet must be 90% pure-electric by 2020.  Companies can trade points, so GM can pay all-electric Tesla  (which can then ramp up its sales) during the time GM lags behind the curve.  Eliminate dealer contracts that keep out small car makers like Tesla, but keep safety standards.  (NHTSA just reaffirmed the Tesla Model S to be the safest car ever!)

Gas stations must provide charging outlets.  By the end of 2014, there must be at least two 110V plugs for each gas pump (in parking area away from the pumps).  High-use stations must provide quick-chargers.  Charging cost will be regulated much like gas prices are today.  Charging networks will not require their own card to access a charger.  Businesses must provide (shareable) charging outlets for their employees.

Most people drive less than 40 miles/day, which today's electric vehicles (EV's) can easily handle.  More EV sales will mean more higher-mileage cars come on the market, for less cost.

Will long trips by car take longer to accomplish with EV's?  You bet.  Travelers can spend the charge time eating and playing with their smart phones -- we've gotten really good at that.  Maybe we'll even start to exercise while we charge the car.  Maybe we'll decide we'd rather communicate by Skype, instead of making the trip -- also a winner.  Or (gasp) take the bus, or the train.  It's time to embrace the laziness, or change your life!
Air travel will add an increasing carbon fee.  (The EU suggested start price was only $2/person*trip, for heaven's sake.)

Existing gasoline vehicles will pay a carbon fee with annual registration, which will increase each year.  Commercial vehicles (including vans) will have (tax?) incentives applied to help increase EV usage and further development of large electric vehicles.  Businesses have to figure out how they can work around the limitations of EV's, too.

What have I missed?  Tractor-trailers and farm machinery will take a bit longer to change over.  But hey, we could make this happen!

Policy and solutions / Re: Cars, cars and more cars. And trucks, and....
« on: December 25, 2013, 03:49:15 AM »
Not sure of the source of this data, but it says 1 of 25 new car sales in the US in 2013 was an electric or hybrid vehicle:

Policy and solutions / Re: Coal
« on: December 25, 2013, 03:22:10 AM »
Global user ends all use of coal!    ;)

Santa Claus declares:
"Beginning this Christmas, bad boys and girls will receive lame Christmas gifts like toothbrushes and underwear instead of coal. And not the fun kind with cute cartoon characters."

Consequences / Dahr Jamail, The Climate Change Scorecard
« on: December 25, 2013, 02:50:03 AM »
Dahr Jamail, The Climate Change Scorecard

"November 2013: The International Energy Agency predicts a 3.5C increase by 2035."

"Fifty-five million years ago, a five degree Celsius rise in average global temperatures seems to have occurred in just 13 years ."

 "While the human body is potentially capable of handling a six to nine degree Celsius rise in the planetary temperature, the crops and habitat we use for food production are not."

“The long-term sea level that corresponds to current CO2 concentration is about 23 meters above today’s levels, and the temperatures will be 6 degrees C or more higher. These estimates are based on real long-term climate records, not on models.”

"There is nothing that can be agreed in 2015 that would be consistent with the 2 degrees...  The only way that a 2015 agreement can achieve a 2-degree goal is to shut down the whole global economy."

Not exactly the Christmas Eve message I was hoping for, but we have what we have.

Consequences / Re: Weird Weather and anecdotal stories about climate change
« on: December 24, 2013, 02:37:00 AM »
Tweet from Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
12/23/13, 5:49 PM
Currently 15 degrees in Anchorage, Alaska, 31 at McMurdo Station, Antarctica, and 1 degree in Madison, Wisconsin.

Consequences / Re: Weird Weather and anecdotal stories about climate change
« on: December 23, 2013, 06:44:57 PM »
No snow in Siberia!  Much-above-average warmth across Russia (and the arctic) over the past 30 days.

Policy and solutions / Re: Coal
« on: September 22, 2013, 06:12:21 PM »
Bloomberg New Energy Finance suggests coal’s days are numbered -- although that number could be quite large....  A good summary of anti-coal factors, from August.

Policy and solutions / Re: Coal
« on: September 20, 2013, 05:27:50 PM »
I like what I'm seeing -- coal becoming less and less favorable.

The EPA took a step today towards getting the US weaned off coal.

A recent government auction for a coal lease in Wyoming garnered only one bid -- the lowest top bid in 15 years -- and so low it was rejected.

Even the TVA (historically and heavily dependent on Appalachian Mountain coal) is proposing scrapping its oldest and dirtiest coal plants and finishing its planned nuclear plants -- all while avoiding a scheduled rate increase and cutting industrial rates by 30%.

In Australia, a $7 billion coal mine was cancelled due to low global demand.

While China is banning new coal power plants in three major industrial regions:

China will also try to reduce pollution through public shaming of its dirtiest cities.

OK, I'll try this using http.

PNG file selected, but it's not showing under Preview.

And I've added the jpg version -- still not showing under Preview.

But -- is showing up when posted!  Hunh.

I just now tried to upload a PNG image with my "NASA_ICE Q&A tweet" post, and the attachment was just ignored (in Preview).  I saved the image as JPG and tried again, same results.  (Using https:)

For those of you on Twitter, NASA scientists will be having a question-and-answer session on “All Things Frozen” at 2pm Eastern (US) Daylight Time on Wednesday, September 4, 2013.  Use an #askclimate hashtag.

(For those of you not on Twitter, it’s easy to join -- you just need to give your name, your e-mail address, and pick a username.  Twitter will suggest some accounts you might like to follow to get you started.  You’ll need to follow @NASA_ICE for the the Q&A.)

You can ask questions during the session by replying to any “tweet” (message of up to 140 characters) from @NASA_ICE. Include the hashtag ID “#askclimate” (without the quote marks) in your tweet to be sure they see it during the session.

Arctic sea ice / Re: Operation IceBridge - Arctic Spring 2013
« on: September 01, 2013, 01:23:21 AM »
For those of you on Twitter, NASA scientists will be having a question-and-answer session on “All Things Frozen” at 2pm Eastern (US) Daylight Time on Wednesday, September 4, 2013.  Use an #askclimate hashtag.

(For those of you not on Twitter, it’s easy to join -- you just need to give your name, your e-mail address, and pick a username.  Twitter will suggest some accounts you might like to follow to get you started.  You’ll need to follow @NASA_ICE for the the Q&A.)

You can ask questions during the session by replying to any “tweet” (message of up to 140 characters) from @NASA_ICE. Include the hashtag ID “#askclimate” (without the quote marks) in your tweet to be sure they see it during the session.

Policy and solutions / Re: Why some still "DENY" and others "FAIL TO ACT"
« on: September 01, 2013, 12:47:56 AM »
Denial in Russia

The Moscow Times writes about President Vladimir Putin’s visit to the flood-ravaged Khabarovsk region.  Rains there in July and August surpassed the annual average and created the worst flood in more than a century. 

Although the article is titled “Ecologists Link Far East Floods to Global Warming,” a popular opinion appears to be: “needs more study”.  The government is said to “favor business over environment.” 

So, do they believe the floods are tied to global warming?  Perhaps the most alarmist statement of the article came from Svetlana Ageyeva, head of the meteorological center in the Khabarovsk region, who said,  "I would not laugh at those who say such things."

Consequences / Re: Places becoming less livable
« on: August 31, 2013, 11:55:51 PM »
Huffington Post lists 14 U.S. cities that could be devastated over the next century due to rising tides.  (Yes, Miami is #1 in this list.)

Policy and solutions / Re: Cars, cars and more cars. And trucks, and....
« on: August 30, 2013, 05:26:53 PM »
Companies are starting to see they have situations where electric trucks work well: "daily routes are often exactly the same, meaning range needs are fixed and predictable, and the vehicles always return to the same spot for the night, making re-charging easier."

A project in Texas is bringing electric trucks there for a two-year test.

Greenland and Arctic Circle / Re: Petermann Fjord / North Greenland
« on: August 30, 2013, 05:17:49 PM »
And here is NASA's article on the canyon (with the video, and a link to IceBridge).

willi, I had the same thought; here’s the quote.  (Helpful side note: You can click on a member’s name and bring up all their posts....)

It might be helpful for you to think a bit more logically about the statement "I don't believe in AGW".  Among scientists, what you call "AGW" is simply the net result of the following chain of concepts:
  • Humans burn fossil fuels.
  • Burning fossil fuels produces CO2 [currently ~9.5 Pg C per year].
  • About half of that CO2 remains in the atmosphere [the "airborne fraction"].
  • Adding CO2 to the atmosphere raises its concentration in the atmosphere [currently ~400 ppmv].
  • CO2 in the atmosphere absorbs longwave infrared radiation.
  • The earth's energy budget is determined by the balance between absorbed shortwave solar radiation minus emitted longwave infrared radiation.
  • In the absence of positive or negative feedbacks, increasing the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere reduces outgoing longwave radiation and raises the temperature by 1C per doubling.
  • This pre-feedback climate sensitivity will be reduced by negative feedbacks and increased by positive feedbacks.  It can only be reduced to ~0 if the net effect of all feedbacks is sufficiently negative to stabilize climate in the face of forcings.
  • The record of past climate changes (e.g., glacial/interglacial cycles) shows that net feedbacks within the earth system are not sufficiently negative to prevent large swings in climate.

Every one of these is well established, from chemistry or physics in the case of steps 2 through 8, or from the geosciences in steps 1 and 9.  Add them all up and you have "AGW".

So ... which specific part of the process do you "disbelieve"?

  • Do you not believe that humans are burning fossil fuels?
  • Do you not believe that burning fossil fuels produces CO2?
  • Do you not believe that adding CO2 to the atmosphere increases its concentration in the atmosphere?
  • ...
  • Do you not believe in the existence of glacial/interglacial climate variability?

Saying "I don't believe in AGW" may be comforting, but it marks you as scientifically illiterate.

Thank you, Ned W!

“The era of climate change denial is over”

This article in the Guardian suggests that politicians who flatly reject climate science are being replaced by climate policy skeptics.

“Many have begun to adopt a so-called "lukewarmer" position, which means they now accept the basics of climate science but don't think it's worth investing heavily today to prevent or limit a problem that will increasingly hit home in the decades ahead.”

The article links to an amusing video, “The Climate Name Change,” which calls for future hurricanes to be named after prominent climate change skeptics.

And there’s even a petition:

It’s more about calling out the skeptics than changing names of storms.  But it’s another sign the tide may be shifting a bit.

Cross-posting this here:
More than 165,000 people have applied to join the (one way!) manned Martian colony effort envisioned by the non-profit Mars One Foundation.

“The organizers say the $6 billion cost for the first landing would be covered through reality-TV deals and merchandising, but they skirted pointed questions about the plan's financial feasibility.”

Should we continue our efforts to live off-planet, as we lose the ability to live on it?

Consequences / Re: Toward a complete list of climate feedbacks
« on: August 28, 2013, 05:27:32 PM »
Although I love the idea of space travel, I’m waiting for the big, bright ships with artificial gravity.  :)
But more than 165,000 people have applied to join the manned Martian colony effort envisioned by the non-profit Mars One Foundation.

“The organizers say the $6 billion cost for the first landing would be covered through reality-TV deals and merchandising, but they skirted pointed questions about the plan's financial feasibility.”

This topic could include government money, taxes, and divestment, as well as personal spending.  But I’d like to share this fast-paced, 5-minute video.  It outlines what we know about climate change, what it’s costing us, and some places where we might invest.   A surprisingly cogent introduction to the topic -- from Yahoo Finance!

Policy and solutions / Re: Coal
« on: August 28, 2013, 05:02:14 PM »
What to do when the energy from new coal plant you contracted with is more expensive than other current options?

Peabody Energy Corp had an idea to build a power plant near a big coal mine it owned in southern Illinois.  It sold 95% of the project to eight utility consortiums in multiple states.  Then came the 2008 Depression, construction delays, and the rise of fracking. As a result, many towns today are contracted to pay for power that is more expensive than electricity available on the open market.

July 3:
Aug 28:

Policy and solutions / Re: But the Sun doesn't shine at night...
« on: August 28, 2013, 04:45:00 PM »
This topic has been quiet for a while, but I still think it's a good one.  :)

Here’s a recent article on “the largest battery in the world” -- the Bath County Hydro Pumped Storage Facility.  It uses two reservoirs on the Virginia-West Virginia border in the (eastern US) Appalachian mountains.  Good little video, too.

Consequences / Re: Weather and agriculture
« on: August 28, 2013, 04:20:45 PM »
Armed robbers have resorted to targeting trucks hauling tons of onions after unrelenting monsoon rains damaged this year’s crop and a drought affected production last year, sending prices for the popular food skyrocketing in India.  India has a 19 percent share of global onion production, second only to China.
“It is not usual to target food or vegetables,” said Ram Kishore, a police officer from the northern district of Shahpura where the truck carrying 40 tons of onions was seized last Wednesday. “Thieves do hijack loaded trucks, but it is usually for something more valuable.”

Consequences / Re: Toward a complete list of climate feedbacks
« on: August 28, 2013, 02:44:51 AM »
Another possible Human response:  migration off-planet (for a select few).  To Low Earth orbit, the Moon, or Mars.

Policy and solutions / Re: Coal
« on: August 28, 2013, 02:12:41 AM »
Yes, Coal is still Big, and not going away any time soon.  But even small steps in the right direction are great news, I should say. 

In a June settlement regarding selenium pollution in Tennessee (US), National Coal LLC announced that it would stop all surface mining business.
National Coal is the second firm to exit the mountaintop removal mining business. National Coal’s decision was preceded, last November, by Patriot coal which settled with the Sierra Club and its allies over Clean Water Act mining pollution violations in West Virginia.

And public campaigns are having a not insignificant effect:
As Nation environment correspondent Mark Hertsgaard points out, during Obama’s first term a vibrant organizing effort successfully blocked construction of more than one hundred new coal-fired power plants, “thereby imposing a de facto moratorium on new coal in the United States.” Their actions, he argues, “limited future U.S. greenhouse gas emissions almost as much as the cap-and-trade bill would have done.”

Consequences / Re: Weather and agriculture
« on: August 27, 2013, 06:16:20 PM »
So, best case, we have 100 years to learn how to prepare a tasty recipe for... dirt? 
Or insects:

Consequences / Re: Lake Effects
« on: August 27, 2013, 06:04:27 PM »
Update on the Rim Fire, and its effects on water and electricity which supply San Francisco (California, US):

Two of the three powerhouses that provide electricity for San Francisco were damaged by the fire and have been taken offline.

Officials have been worried that ash and debris from the fire would fall into the reservoir, creating problems for the water supply. As a precaution, some of the water normally stored at Hetch Hetchy has been pumped to other reservoirs.

Consequences / Re: Weather and agriculture
« on: August 27, 2013, 05:59:45 PM »
New report on the United States' High Plains Aquifer, also called the Ogallala Aquifer, which stretches through eight states and supplies 30% of the US irrigated groundwater:

Using current trends in water usage as a guide, the researchers estimate that 3 percent of the aquifer's water was used up by 1960; 30 percent of the aquifer's water was drained by 2010; and a whopping 69 percent of the reservoir will likely be tapped by 2060. It would take an average of 500 to 1,300 years to completely refill the High Plains Aquifer, Steward added.

But, if reducing water use becomes an immediate priority, it may be possible to make use of the aquifer's resources and increase net agricultural production through the year 2110, the researchers said.

"The main idea is that if we're able to save water today, it will result in a substantial increase in the number of years that we will have irrigated agriculture in Kansas," Steward said.

Consequences / Re: Lake Effects
« on: August 27, 2013, 05:53:06 PM »
Heavy rains overwhelm many cities’ combined Sewage+Stormwater systems, causing millions of gallons of raw and partially-treated sewage to be discharged into rivers and lakes.  This article focuses on the US Great Lakes area.

Arctic Background / Re: Arctic Drilling
« on: August 27, 2013, 12:14:44 AM »
The FAA has approved ConocoPhillips' plans to fly unmanned drones in Alaska to aid its oil drilling efforts.

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