Extreme Weather Alert for the Next…100 Years?

Last week at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Chicago, Jennifer Francis, a research professor at Rutgers University said Arctic ice is disappearing because of too much greenhouse gas, weakening the jet stream and creating more extreme weather.

Acrtic sea ice 333 melts 1984-2012av temp since 1881 & hottest yearsMore hurricanes, floods, severe ice storms, droughts that threaten the food supply; windier, hotter, colder, wetter, dryer. Extremes. The atmosphere around our planet that keeps us alive is razor thin and the ecological balance is very fragile. We are screwing with these and the trouble is apparently only beginning. Statistics point to alarming increases in ocean and air temperatures in the past three decades especially, and spikes in all extreme weather events. Just ask any insurance company how quickly the earth is becoming uninsurable.

IT’S ABOUT PEOPLE, NOT POLAR BEARS

David Titley, a former admiral with the U.S. Navy and director for the Center for Solutions to Weather and Climate Risk was at the meeting and was quoted as saying “It’s about people, not polar bears.” He questioned whether we will be able to adapt in time to the accelerating pace of extreme climate change and extreme weather events. There are already hundreds of millions of ‘climate refugees’ on earth.

OUR FOOD SUPPLY

A lab director at the U.S. National Laboratory for Agriculture and the Environment noted that most of our food crops and cattle are produced in mid-lattitudes that our now experiencing recurring droughts, or at the other extreme, floods. In 2003 Europe suffered a drought that claimed 70,000 lives. Maize production decreased by 30%. The fruit harvest was reduced by 25%. Grains and hay to feed animals dropped 30%. Wine production was the lowest in 10 years. For the money people out there, the total loss was 4 billion Euros. As the photos below show, Europe is far from being an isolated case.

Drought France, Brazil, Swiss, SpainDrought USA 2012 chartDrought China 2011 chart & photo

On top of droughts; fires, hurricanes, tsunamis and floods are increasing, because of imbalances like the the jet stream, as mentioned. And because thicker, polluted air now holds more moisture longer, then like a water balloon springing a leak, dumps a lot more precipitation over a smaller area, all of a sudden.

The photos in this blog are courtesy of the Climate Reality Project and also have attributions printed on them. They were mostly taken in the past 3 or 4 years, showing the catastrophic consequences of increasing extreme weather events. Is this just cyclical bad weather that will calm down soon?  No. Nothing in the data suggests that. Quite the opposite. This is the beginning of a continuously growing worldwide disaster.

Fires Vegas & Colorado 222Fires russia, brazil, australia copyCalifornia 333 copyPortugal & Spain copyPakistanIndia floodsChina & RussiaGermany 333Czech, Slovak, HungaryAustria & GreeceNA Cities 2012-13Philippines & ArgentinaHRRICANES 222Ice_Storm_by_NOAA_jpg_475x310_q85EXTREME SNOWWe’re all responsible for this: Governments who are stuck on oil and coal, and pretending natural gas will save us; the media that can’t distinguish between bogus science and real science, industry when it prefers the green photo op to real long term energy planning, you and I when we imagine we are powerless and continue to buy gas guzzling cars, oil furnaces and continue voting for governments that claim they are ‘managing the economy.’ In reality they permit the uncompensated destruction of  the only real resource on which any economy can be based, our planet.

You can do something about it. It’s never too late to start. Click here for solutions you can implement personally. It’s not someone else’s problem. It’s ours. It’s the defining issue of our era. Let’s not let anyone distract us with other priorities. Climate change is at the top of the list. Just look at the weather forecast. Outlook: Extreme.

Advertisements

Consumer decisions are very important

PriusBelow is  a link to two Globe and Mail reporters talking on video at the auto show about hybrid vehicles vs. conventional gas engines. They agree that hybrid cars are still priced $5000 or $6000 higher (although this gap is closing), but that they save fuel.

The more traditional reporter claims it will take up to 10 years to recover the differential in fuel savings and he’d rather bank the cash and avoid the hybrid. Short term thinking. Our society is still ruled by it.

The slightly more progressive gent says four years to recover the savings, so buy a hybrid or electric if you plan to keep the car 4-5 years because its economically smarter; plus he’s not really a tree hugger, ‘but there’s that too.”

You see even for progressive journalists it’s out of fashion in just four of the world’s countries for the media to talk about a problem that 100% of the world’s credible, science-journal-published scientists agree is the biggest crisis in the planet’s history, and the defining issue of our era. The reason it’s out of fashion is because in these four countries (USA, UK, Canada, Australia) the profession of carbon-lobbyist pays well. Out of work journalists can work as freelancers, sowing just enough doubt to cause their colleagues in the media to continue to use the assinine phrase: “the climate debate.” In fact, there is no debate; hasn’t been for years. Only out-of-step, sloppy, aging journalists still use this phrase.

National governments, who have never been known to lead, but rather to follow; take their cues from bad journalists because national governments are led by politicians who only read briefings, and the media is able to simplify the language of scientists for them, like a briefing. So national governments drag their feet, making our progression to the new energy age slow and, ironically, damaging the future-readiness of our economies.

This discussion between the Globe reporters epitomizes the issues facing the mainstream consumer in this world, relative to the worsening climate change problem and imminent increases in non-renewable energy costs. Make the right decision and vote with our wallets. Buy a Prius or a Leaf or Volt now; or a Tesla if you can afford more. If buying in 2016 or 2017 wait for the new affordable Tesla sedan. Within about 3 years, there won’t even be a ‘debate’ about which car to buy. Just like the ‘debate’ about solar energy is now over.

Here’s the link: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-drive/car-life/drive-video/video-faceoff-are-hybrids-worth-the-price/article16895892/#dashboard/follows/

The Sun and the Moon

jfk 3300px-Barack_Obama_speaks_at_Nellis_AFB_2009-05-27_2Google and its CEO Larry Page are promoting an exciting concept about growing businesses and advancing societies called “moonshot thinking.” It is named in part for the inspirational moment when John F. Kennedy said that America would shoot for the moon, even though it had no idea how it would get there. Page says this is the only way to change the world. In business it means don’t create a strategy to improve by 10%, build one to improve by 1000%, or to expand by 10 times.

According to renewablenergy.com the solar industry is doing something along these lines. The site reports that solar jobs are being added in the USA ten times faster than average national employment growth. These are local jobs. These are jobs in a business that has a trajectory clearly indicating a promising future.

Many of our top decision-makers are business leaders or the politicians who listen to them. It’s time for those decision-makers to recognize that the future is here already. If you truly care about building tomorrow’s economy, it’s time to recognize what that really means. Click here to read more about this.