+ All it took was a downed powerline, or perhaps a spark from the shed at the compound of a Christian cult, to ignite a wildfire on the Rocky Mountain Front on the afternoon of December 30th, – a fire that race across 6000 acres, burning 1,084 homes and 30 commercial buildings in less than a day. Propelled by hurricane-force winds, the only thing that slowed the fire’s spread was the much-belated arrival of the first major snowfall of the season on the high plains of Colorado. The Marshall fire, one of the most destructive in the state’s history, erupted only a couple of weeks after 80-mph winds powered a 250-mile-long dust storm that swept across the eastern half the state and into Kansas, an event that the National Weather Service labeled a “never-before-seen storm.” Never isn’t what it once was.
+ Iraq’s agricultural production has fallen by 40% in 4 years. Much of the decline is due to drought and heat. Over the next few decades, the UN projects temperatures in Iraq will rise by another 2 degrees. Livestock numbers have crashed.
+ More than 40% of Americans live in counties hit by climate disasters in 2021.
+ A global study conducted by 98 researchers measuring over five million forest trees found that the largest 1% of trees equaled over 50% of total carbon containing biomass.
Manchin: “The climate thing is one that we probably can come to an agreement much easier than anything else.” Don’t worry Thing, help’s on the way…!
+ $100 billion: the estimated cost of climate-caused disasters in 2021.
+ After declining for six years, coal generation increased by about 22% in the U.S. in 2021, largely in response to higher natural gas prices. Meanwhile, the Governor of Wyoming issued an emergency executive order to forestall the impending shutdown of one of the state’s largest coal plants.
+ The rightwing shop ALEC is pushing legislation modeled after BDS bans that would permit states to “request written verification from a financial company that it does not boycott energy companies.”
+ Like the deadly Camp Fire, this July’s Dixie Fire, which burned more than 963,000 acres in the Northern California, destroyed 1,329 buildings and damaged 95 others, ignited after a tree came into contact with PG&E’s power lines near the Cresta Dam about 100 miles north of Sacramento.
+ Climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe (who happens to be an evangelical Christian) told the NYT this week: “The biggest problem is not the people who aren’t on board; the biggest problem is the people who don’t know what to do. And if we don’t know what to do, we do nothing. Just start by doing something, anything, and then talk about it!” I admire Hayhoe, but surely the biggest problem is that a very small group of people and non-human entities given the rights of people by the Supreme Court are making unimaginable streams of money from enterprises they know are turning the atmosphere into a global gas chamber…
+ Nearly all juvenile winter-run salmon perished during the hot, dry summer on the Sacramento River last year. Just 2.6% of the endangered fish survived.
+ Tidal flooding on Monday in Westport, Washington, at the mouth of Gray’s Harbor…
+ A endangered Mexican wolf was tracked for days trying to find a mate, only to be repeatedly blocked by the border wall. According to my old friend Michael Robinson: “For five days he walked from one place to another. It was at least 23 miles of real distance, but as he came and went, he undoubtedly traveled much more than that.”
+ After insect biomass in Germany fell 80% over the last 27 years, researchers found that insects in conservation areas were exposed to an average of 16.7 pesticides, ranging from 7 to 27 per site.
+ 2021 was the Earth’s fifth-hottest year on record. The last seven years have been the planet’s seven hottest…
+ 2021 was also the first year Earth has recorded four weather mega-disasters costing over $20 billion each (adjusted for inflation).
+ In the 1980s, the US was hit by one billion-dollar climate “event” every four months. Now, there’s one every 3 weeks.
+ U.S. carbon pollution rose 6.2% in 2021, according a new report by the Rhodium Group. Transportation emissions saw the largest increase, rising over 10%…
+ Melting permafrost threatens to destroy nearly half of the existing infrastructure in the Arctic by 2050.
+ The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) is now predicting that U.S. oil production will average 12.4 million barrels per day during 2023, soaring past the record high for domestic crude oil production set in 2019 under Trump.
+ $29.70: Average price per barrel for oil in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
+ On Tuesday, temperatures hit 106.7 degrees Fahrenheit in Buenos Aires, the second-highest mark ever. Other parts of Argentina saw temperatures as high as 113 degrees Fahrenheit. The heat was so intense in Argentina that air temperatures rose to 129 degrees F, making it for a few hours the hottest place in the world–until it was obliterated by a reading of 123 degrees F in Onslow, Western Australia, the highest temperature ever recorded in the Southern Hemisphere.
+ 7 Hiroshima nuclear explosions: the equivalent amount of heat the Earth’s oceans absorb every second.
+ The Great Barrier Reef seems likely to be hit by another mass bleaching by the end of January, the fourth such coral killing event in the last seven years.
+ It was downright scorching in Texas in December, where the average temperature was an astounding 12.1°F above the 20th century normal and nearly 6°F warmer than any other December in the last 126 years…
+ Biden to the survivors of the Marshall fire, which destroyed 1100 homes on the high plains of Colorado outside Boulder: “The way you’re going to get through this, because we’ve been through a few things ourselves, is just hang on to on another. You will get through this & you’ll be stronger for it.” Is there any evidence at all that people emerge “stronger” after suffering the loss of their homes, jobs, cars, pets and family members?
+ The Biden administration was in court this week defending Trump-era coal mining plans in the ravaged Powder River Basin of Wyoming.
+ Between 1982 and 2016, the American ski season shrunk by an average of 34 daysa year, and levels of snow cover saw an average drop of 41%.
+ Oregon just doubled its “rebate” for the purchase of Electric Vehicles by low-income families to $7,500, which brings the cost down from an average of $50,000 a car to $42,500 and they still run on power plants fueled by dead salmon, natural gas, or biomass from clearcut forests….
+ New data from the Interior Department shows that the Biden administration approved 3,557 permits for oil and gas drilling on public lands in its first year, outpacing the Trump administration’s first-year total of 2,658 by 34%. Nearly 2,000 of the drilling permits were approved on public lands administered by the BLM’s New Mexico office, followed by 843 in Wyoming, 285 in Montana and North Dakota, and 191 in Utah. In California, the Biden administration approved 187 permits — more than double the 71 drilling permits Trump approved in the Golden State during his first year.
Nearly 2,000 of the drilling permits were approved on public lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management’s New Mexico office, followed by 843 in Wyoming, 285 in Montana and North Dakota, and 191 in Utah. In California, the Biden administration approved 187 permits — more than twice the 71 drilling permits Trump approved in that state in his first year.
+ One of the under-reported consequences of climate change is increased volcanism, earthquakes and tsunamis, caused by massive amounts of ice melt, the pressures on magma chambers and tectonic plates shift and ease, destabilizing them.
+ The 100th Meridian has long demarcated where the Great Plains and the arid West begins. No longer. The aridity zone is moving steadily eastward.
+ The number of days that Sydney and Melbourne, Australia have hit 50C has doubled since the 1980s.
+ In 2019, fossil fuel combustion accounted for 74 percent of total US. greenhouse gas emissions and for 92% of total U.S. anthropogenic CO2 emissions…
+ Exxon-Mobil garnered a ton of favorable press attention for its “net-zero emissions” goal. But few bothered to read the fine print, where we discover that the plan only covers Scope 1 (what Exxon burns) and Scope 2 (energy Exxon buys) emissions and thus leaves out more than 80% of their total emissions.
+ Researchers examined two million births, 40% of them to mothers living within 15 miles of a wildfire. They found a 28% increase in the risk of birth defects in babies from mothers living close to wildfires during the first trimester.
+ After the government called for miners to work at maximum capacity to help boost economic growth, Chinese coal production surged dramatically in 2021, hitting an all-time high of 384 million tons last month, far surpassing its previous record of 370.84 million tons set in November.
+ “There has been a fiftyfold increase in the production of chemicals since 1950 and this is projected to triple again by 2050.”
+ Driven largely by freight and coal, the US’s carbon dioxide emissions soared backto pre-pandemic levels after years of incremental declines.
+ Climate change is likely to consume more than 1% of the UK’s economy every year by 2045.
+ International Energy Agency predicts that worldwide energy use by air-conditioners would triple by 2050, “requiring new electricity capacity the equivalent to the combined electricity capacity of the United States, the E.U. and Japan today.”
+ Just wait until you see the size of the “no bid” contracts for geoengineering doled out to the same companies that sabotaged the climate protocols…
+ This week it was reported that the temperate northern hemisphere is warming at 1.5C and the Arctic at 3C, a very ominous sign for the future of the planet.
+ A recent study from the University of Hawai’i links climate change to the growth in bat populations that produce new coronaviruses.
+ Just months after Biden’s Cop26 pledge to end deforestation, his own Forest Service plans to quadruple logging on the Pisgah-Nantahala National Forest, one the US’s most popular public forests, including allowing clearcuts along the Appalachian Trail.
+ After being convicted for criminal negligence in a 2010 explosion that killed 8 people in San Bruno, PG&E’s five years of probation has come to an end. That was some “hard time” PG&E did. How many parole violations did it commit while it was on probation? Well, in the Paradise fire alone, PG&E pled guilty to guilty to 84 felony counts of involuntary manslaughter.
+ California wildfire survivors, including those from Paradise, now own roughly 1/4 of PG&E…
+ Big oil is spreading comorbidities wherever it goes…
+ According to a study in Nature Energy people living near fracking sites and other “unconventional” oil drilling operations have an increased risk of dying prematurely.
+ The burning of fossil fuels kills about 1000 people every hour of every day. A recent study published in Environmental Research estimates about 8.7 million people die prematurely each year due to fossil fuel burning, and there are 8760 hours in a (non-leap) year.
+ A new Global Witness report found that Shell’s vaunted carbon capture plant has the same carbon footprint per year as 1.2 million gas-powered cars.
+ Of 21 cities that have previously hosted the Winter Olympics, only nine would be reliably cold enough by the end of the 21st century to safely host the games, even if the goals of the Paris Agreement were met.
+ Last month, Exxon Mobil announced it plans to increase spending on new oil projects by as much as 56 percent over the next six years. Don’t worry. The oil giant also said it’s “committing to reduce carbon emissions”!
+ In a huge legal victory for the environmental movement, the DC Circuit Court ruled on Thursday that Biden’s decision to offer 80 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico for oil and gas leasing violated federal environmental laws. The court heldthat Interior failed to accurately disclose and consider the greenhouse gas emissions that would result from the largest lease sale in history and grossly underestimated the climate impacts and risks to Gulf communities.
+ In the last year alone, China added 16.9 gigawatts of offshore wind capacity, cementing its position as the world’s biggest market for wind farms at sea. The second-biggest market, the U.K., generates about 10 gigawatts of wind total.
+ Investigators looking into the origins of the Marshall Fire, which burned 1000 homes in Colorado northwest of Denver last month, are focusing on an area where an underground coal seam has been burning since the 1870s.
+ Gas stoves leak large amounts of methane when they are being lit and continue to leak gas after they are turned off. According to a new study in the Journal of Environmental Science and Technology, during the course of a typical year, three-quarters of gas stove emissions occur when the devices are shut off. The methane emissions from these stoves have the climate impact of half a million cars driven for a year.
+ This ominous graph clearly shows that we’d have better results from cancelling these climate conferences. Then we could at least enjoy reductions in carbon emissions from not having the national delegations, NGOs, press, lobbyists, and protesters jetting there and back for these futile circuses.
+ Ketanji Brown Jackson–reportedly at the top of Biden’s list to fill Breyer’s spot on the bench (she was his clerk)–is even more of a judicial centrist than Breyer and infamously ruled against greens who challenged Trump’s plan to exempt his habitat-wrecking border wall from environmental review.
+ A new study of government data finds that insurance payments to farmers have risen more than 400 percent for drought-related losses and nearly 300 percent for losses from rains and flooding, from 1995 to 2020.
+ With a record-dry January across much of the Sierra Nevada, California snowpack has now fallen below average for the date, which is pretty stunning given the fact that it was more than 160% of average for the date in late December. These averages will continue to fall over next 2 weeks as most of the state remains dry…
+According to the Wall Street Journal “more than 80% of proposed commercial carbon-capture efforts around the world have failed, primarily because the technology didn’t work as expected or the projects proved too expensive to operate…” Of course, it’s never been about “capturing the carbon,” but about capturing the subsidies that come from your claims of capturing the carbon…and, of course, giving you a rationale for continuing to emit carbon based on the (false) claim that you’re moving toward “Net Zero” by capturing it!
+ Mark van Baal: “Setting targets for operational emissions is like a tobacco producer who promises to smoke less himself while continuing selling more cigarettes.”
+ On Mount Everest, and many of the other peaks in the high Himalayas, ice that took 2000 years to form is melting in less than 25 years.
+ 200: the average number of cargo and tanker ships blue whales off the southern coast of Sri Lanka encounter every day.
+ Mike Davis: “Right now, my mind is occupied with fairly extremist ideas about what needs to be done. Once you accept what the real stakes are of climate change—I’m not advocating violence, but I’m advocating confrontational politics writ large.”
+ Uncle Joe Manchin just endorsed Lisa Murkowski’s campaign for reelection to the US senate, which pretty much forecloses any more wilderness or oil & gas leasing restrictions in Alaska…
+ Manchin said this week he’s “not a Washington Democrat, ” whatever that means. He’s a Black Lung Democrat.
+ 89 tons: the amount of prehistoric organic matter required to make one gallon of gasoline. The average coniferous tree weighs about two tons.
+ January was one of the driest months on record for California…
+ As the high plains of Colorado continue to warm, the desiccated soils are soaking up more and more moisture, draining rivers and drying out farmlands. “The topsoil is so dried out, when we do get moisture, it doesn’t go very far. The wind sucks up the rest,” John Stult, a 73-year-old wheat farmer told the Colorado Sun. “It’s climate change, no question about it. If we get 3-4 degrees warmer like they say we might, it’ll look more like Albuquerque around here, and they don’t do a lot of farming around Albuquerque.”
+ The deepening drought in Oregon…
* Roughly 88% of the state is in some level of drought
* The drought is worse now (88%) than this time last year (75%)
* Most of central Oregon, which accounts for about 16% of the state, is experiencing “exceptional” drought conditions…
+ On Valentine’s Day, the Earth’s daily CO2 levels hit 421.59 ppm, the highest ever recorded at Mauna Loa and an increase of 5.37 ppm from the record 416.22 of a year ago.
+ According to a new study published in Nature, the average carbon footprint of the top 1% of emitters is more than 75-times higher than that in the bottom 50%. The top 10% are generating almost half of all emitted CO2.
+ Two of the top self-professed Green Funds, Black Rock and Vanguard, have each currently have more than $100 billion invested in coal.
+ How big banks keep investing in oil and gas, while pledging that they are “Net Zero“: A big bank might lend to oil & gas with a term of 1-2 years. Lending to Oil & Gas would therefore have low climate risk (& good returns) for the bank, even if big climate risk for the O&G company (and the planet).
+ Twenty-five years ago, I interviewed an activist with the Gwich’in Nation on the North Slope about the prospect of oil drilling in ANWR. He said “All protections are temporary. In the end, the oil companies going to try to take every last drop. Everywhere.”
+ Oil production this month will rise to 8.54 million barrels a day, according to the Energy Information Administration — just 730,000 barrels below the record in November 2019….
+ Despite, it’s repeated claims of transforming into a “low-carbon” enterprise, a study published in PLUS One this week, found that ExxonMobil “generated no clean energy” from 2010 to 2019 and BP, Chevron and Shell haven’t done much better.
+ The average carbon footprint in the top 1% of emitters is more than 75-times higher than that in the bottom 50%. The top 10% are contributing almost half of all emitted CO2.
+ Adam Federman: “BP is the largest private shareholder in Rosneft, Russia’s state-owned energy giant whose CEO, Igor Sechin, is one of Putin’s closest advisers. Sechin and his son Ivan are among the ‘Russian elites’ targeted in the first round of US sanctions. Rosneft, with BP’s support, is pursuing one of the most consequential new oil and gas development projects in the world.”
+ The base of the Greenland ice sheet is melting 100 times faster than previously thought…
+ Each kilogram of carbon emitted as CO₂ will ultimately result in the melting of more than two metric tons of Antarctic ice, according to a study published this week in Science.
+ Antarctic sea ice extent has now fallen below 2 million km² for the first time since satellite observations began.
+ There’s a new push from some hedge funds to use their shorting of carbon stocksas an offset. It’s a move that has no real basis in accounting..
+ Carbon offsets are the NFTs of the climate crisis.
+ Bill Magness, the former chief of Texas’s power grid, testified this week that Gov. Greg Abbott “instructed” officials to charge the maximum amount for power during the winter storm. Texans still owe $3.4 billion.
+ According to a new report from the International Energy Agency, global methane emissions from energy sector are about 70% greater than amount national governments have officially reported. Coal leaked 43.6 million tonnes of methane in 2021, more than oil or gas. The report also found that coking coal for steel-making alone emits more than all gas pipelines and LNG operations.
+ Meanwhile, China is exceeding its targets for new solar and wind power under the Paris Accords.
+ According to a new study the UN Environment Program, the risk worldwide of highly devastating fires could increase by up to 57 percent by the end of the century, largely driven by climate change. “The heating of the planet is turning landscapes into tinderboxes,” the report concludes.
+ The latest evidence that electric vehicles are not a climate fix. In Norway, where 65% of all vehicles sold in 2021 were electric, oil demand has fallen less than 10%since 2013.
+ The latest IPCC report estimates that the planet lost 420 million hectares of forests from 1990 to 2020 (an area about size of India and Egypt combined). Despite carbon offsets, the net loss of rate forest loss remains about the same as it was in 1990.
+ Another key takeaway from the latest dire warning from the IPCC…
+ The report estimates that in Lagos the risk of exposure to extreme heat could grow 100-fold.
+ More: “Increasingly, the magnitude of extreme [climate] events is exceeding values projected for mean conditions for 2100, regardless of emissions scenario.”
+ The report concludes with this dire message: “The scientific evidence is unequivocal: climate change is a threat to human well-being and the health of the planet. Any further delay in concerted global action will miss a brief and rapidly closing window to secure a livable future.”
+ Not worry. The approaching Nuclear Winter may yet save us…
+ Meanwhile, flowering plants are expanding their range in Antarctica: “The researchers found that Colobanthus grew five times faster between 2009 and 2018 compared to growth rates between 1960 and 2009. Deschampsia, meanwhile, really took off, growing 10 times more in the past decade than before.”
+ The Arctic has never been warmer in February. In February 2022, the Arctic was +4.09°C warmer than the average February of 1951-1980…
+ In fiscal year 2021, 98 percent of drilling permit applications were approved. So far this year, 96 percent of permit applications have been approved. During fiscal year 2020, the last year of the Trump administration, the approval rate was 94 percent. In terms of raw numbers, more drilling permits were approved during Biden’s first year in office than in any of Trump’s first three years. And it’s done Biden no good politically, because the GOP is still accusing him of “locking up” federal lands and Manchin is extorting him to expanding leasing and drilling even further. So why do it? Because Biden believes in it. (The enviros will forgive him anything, naturally.)
+ None of this appeases Joe Manchin, naturally, who is now threatening to kill the nomination of Interior Department nominee Laura Daniel-Davis in order to extort more assurances the Biden administration plans to even further expand federal oil/gas leasing.
+ Manchin: “I’ve got a Mountain Valley Pipeline coming out the Marcellus Shale. 99.5 percent done. 20 miles left… If I can get the federal government to help us accelerate…I am looking for some way to use the Defense Production Act to help us meet the needs of the world.”
+ It’s one thing to have to deal with Manchin’s incessant whining and obstructionism. It’s another entirely to have handed him the keys to energy supply as chair of Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
+ ConocoPhillips CEO Ryan Lance: “There’s going to be plenty of cash…As an industry, we can’t lose sight of the returns.”
+ Boris Johnson’s new oil drilling + nukes plan: “Net zero but with more hydrocarbons!” You can’t make this shit up…
+ IEA this week: Energy-related CO2 emissions grew to 36.3 Gt in 2021, a record high. The report confirms what most of us have suspected: When the price of gas goes up, it gets replaced by coal not renewables, even if they’re cheaper.
+ Melting permafrost is poised to release massive quantities of greenhouse gases, microbes, and chemicals, including banned pesticides like DDT.
+Through the alchemy of lobbyists, biomass (the burning of trees for fuel) has once again been magically transformed into a “carbon neutral” energy source.
+ What’s the most toxic substance the average person is likely to inhale? Woodsmoke.
+ The SW Megadrought is set to deepen this year, as almost all of California and Nevada are experiencing their driest starts to a new year in at least 40+ years. The same is true for large sections of bordering states.
+ Lake Powell has fallen to below 3,525 feet, putting it at its lowest level since the reservoir filled after the federal government dammed the Colorado River at Glen Canyon more than a half century ago.
+ According to an investigation by High Country News, 54 million acres of BLM “rangelands” are being trashed by livestock grazing, according to the BLM’s own data. In six states — California, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon and Wyoming — more than 40% of assessed lands are failing land-health standards. (The Forest Service controls more than 100 million acres authorized for livestock grazing, but they don’t even perform “land-health standards.” Under one of the most lavish welfare programs run by the federal government, ranchers pay 1 cent per day per sheep and 3 cents per day for cow to graze on federal public lands.
+ Last week Brisbane, Australia received 80% of its average annual rainfall in just three days. More water pummeled the city than usually falls in London over an entire year. Meanwhile, Sydney has seen its wettest start to a year on record.
+ Globally, children will have their lives shortened by an average of twenty months from breathing polluted air, according to two new reports from the State of Global Air initiative.
+ $900 million has poured into “green Exchange Traded-Funds” like iShares Clean, but that fund gets an “F” from outfits like As You Sow for 22% exposure in fossil-fired utilities.
+ The temperatures in the Arctic this week could spike to more than 50 degreesabove “normal”….
+ TVA, the largest federal utility, is openly defying Biden’s clean energy goals and plans to invest $3.5 billion in new gas plants. Its CEO, Jeffrey Lyash, rakes in $10 million a year–$9.6 million more than Anthony Fauci, who has been vilified for profiteering from his federal position by Republican members of Congress.
+ There’s something darkly humorous about Joe Manchin advising fossil fuel executives to throw their weight around in Congress more aggressively, as if they’ve been playing touch football for the last 50 years: “Demand more. If you do that, you all can turn this around. You’ll get some people in Congress that basically are there for the right reasons. There’s a difference between public service and self-service, and there’s not one of you that don’t have the instincts to pick that up immediately. Just use it when you pick it up, and throw ’em the hell out of the room.”
+ Ring me when they seize Manchin’s yacht…
+ Both Ends of the Earth are Burning: Last week the Arctic was 50 degrees warmer than average and Antarctica 70 degrees warmer than average–50 degrees warmer than average in March in Portland, Oregon would be 106F, while 70 degrees warmer than average in Sydney, Australia in March would be 147F.
+ The Antarctic heat wave was quickly followed by the collapse of the entire Conger Ice Shelf, an area about the size of Los Angeles.
+ In order to keep the 1.5C warming threshold alive, carbon emissions need to be cut in half by the end of this decade. Instead, CO2 emissions are set to rise by 14%.
+ Last week Biden’s Energy Department announced two long-term orders giving a pair of Cheniere Energy projects in Louisiana and Texas “additional flexibility to export the equivalent of 0.72 billion cubic feet per day” of liquefied natural gas (LNG) “to any country with which the U.S. does not have a free trade agreement, including all of Europe.”
+ 8,800 cubic meters: the amount of Arctic land ice loss averaged per secondbetween 2020 and 2021
+ Over the past year, volunteers have documented nearly 400 natural gas leaks in all eight of Washington, D.C.’s wards.
+ Thirty-three years ago this week the Exxon Valdez clipped Bligh Reef in Prince William Sound. The resulting oil spill killed an estimated 250,000 seabirds, 2,800 sea otters, 300 harbor seals, 250 bald eagles, as many as 22 killer whales, and billions of salmon and herring eggs. The wreck of the Exxon Valdez should never be forgotten. But as Cockburn and I wrote on the 10th Anniversary, more oil is routinely spilled at Prudhoe Bay and along the Alaska Pipeline every five years, day after day, year after year, than entered Prince William that fateful day. The problem wasn’t transporting oil by ship or a drunken captain or the lack of a double-hull, but the nature of the industry itself, from the North Slope of Alaska to the Niger River Delta: oil will leak, spill and kill.
+ Oxfam is predicting that average or below-average rains March-May will force nearly 20 million people into severe food insecurity in Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia, while nearly eight million more are expected to go hungry in South Sudan, which is now facing a fifth consecutive year of severe flooding: “Trauma is real and people are suffering in silence.”
+ Michael Grunwald: “Imagine we decarbonized every aspect of human civilization…except our global food system. From a climate perspective, we’d be way less screwed! But as crazy as it might sound, we’d still be pretty screwed.”
+ We’ve known for a long time that big trees and old forests store more carbon and are more resistant to catastrophic fire than younger forests and plantations. But this new study found another benefit: old forests boost water supplies by preserving winter snowpacks.
+ Four years of drought, the worst in decades, along with deforestation caused by people burning or cutting down trees to make charcoal or to open up land for farming, have transformed vast portions of the once lush island of Madagascar into a dust bowl: “If there’s no rain,” says Felix Fitiavantsoa, a 22-year-old slash-and-burn farmer. “I don’t know what we’ll do. We’ll pray to God.”
+ Market failure? Gasoline price swings (measured on a 3 month moving average basis) have not dramatically impacted total vehicle miles traveled in the US from Jan 2009-Jun 2019…
+ The cost of fueling an average car for 100 miles of travel in the US:
+ In the Arctic, spring vegetation is sprouting up to two weeks earlier than normal, meaning caribou calves are born too late to eat it, decimating populations of the endangered species. But they’ll still blame caribou population declines on wolves…
+ Even Canada is now facing a range of water security issues, largely as a consequence of climate change. According to a new study by Global Water Futures: “Since 2000 Canada has had the most expensive and severe floods and droughts in its history, lake water quality has declined, groundwater has become increasingly contaminated”
+ Yuri Gagarin: “Looking at the earth from afar you realize it is too small for conflict and just big enough for co-operation.”
+ Nearly 80 percent of the carbon credits issued by Australia’s Clean Energy Regulator are flawed, according to Andrew Macintosh, the former chair of Australia’s market oversight integrity committee. It’s left buyers of the credits holding “sham assets” that have failed to reduce the nation’s carbon burden.
+ All carbon “offsets” are a scam, the environmental equivalent of Papal indulgences to continue committing mortal sins. There’s no fixing the system.
+ The Biden White House is now touting nuclear fusion–the Fools Gold, or I suppose, Fool’s Lithium (where the tritium comes from) of the Climate Crisis…
+ In 2021, 50.8% of U.S. petroleum imports came from Canada, according to recent data from the Department of Energy, more than any other single country. Other countries supplying the U.S. with petroleum in 2021 were Mexico (8.5%), Russia (8.3%), and Saudi Arabia with 5.0%. No other country supplied more than 5% of U.S. petroleum imports. In 2021, U.S. petroleum imports were 38% lower than the high of 13.7 million barrels per day in 2005. Historically, the U.S. relied more heavily on OPEC countries (in blue colors below) for petroleum, but in 2021 only 11% came from OPEC.
+ Even in the midst of a mega-drought, California law allows for the construction of surf parks, an ice hockey arena and a lagoon-centric Disney residential development in the state’s water-strapped desert…
+ Now Tennessee is burning in March. Nothing to do with climate change, of course. Much more likely that it’s the Supreme Deity’s punishment for allowing a trans person to use the wrong bathroom…
+ According to the International Energy Agency, renewable energy produced more of the world’s electricity than coal in 2021, as wind and solar combined to make up more than 10 per cent of global generation for the first time.
+ Paris is constructing a fully-automated 47-mile subway line encircling the city for around $10 billion. Meanwhile New York is spending $6.9 billion on a 1.5-mile subway extension that is already partially built. You can’t blame the unions. France’s are more militant than the one’s in NYC.
+ Man how I wish Ed Abbey, Katie Lee and Dave Brower were alive to witness the disappearance of Lake Foul…
+ After experiencing temperatures 90 degrees above normal two weeks ago, Antarctica is in for another heat blast. In the 10-day forecast, areas near the South Pole may reach more than 30C (54F) above average. The heat is also expected to impact West Antarctica and the splintering Thwaites glacier.
+ “They are lying.” You can’t get much blunter than that from the Secretary General of the UN….
+ Current policies (red) barely stabilize emissions. Country commitments through 2030 (navy) do only marginally. Meanwhile, the world needs to cut emissions to near zero by 2050.
+ According to a joint study by NASA and NOAA, the Earth’s “energy imbalance” doubled during the 14-year period from 2005 to 2019, meaning the Earth system is gaining energy, causing the planet to heat up. “It’s likely a mix of anthropogenic forcing and internal variability,” said aid Norman Loeb, lead author for the study and principal investigator for CERES at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. “And over this period they’re both causing warming, which leads to a fairly large change in Earth’s energy imbalance. The magnitude of the increase is unprecedented.”
+ Extreme rainfall events in the aftermath of Western wildfires will more than double by the end of the 21st century, causing an increased risk of killer floods and landslides.
+ Wind and solar generated 10% of global electricity for the first time in 2021, but needs to be 50% at least by 2030 to make any headway against climate change.
+ It turns out that the European Union’s much vaunted plan to reach net zero carbon emissions doesn’t account for how growing more crops for biomass energy will increase its land footprint, which increasing global deforestation and decreasing biodiversity.
+ A single Tesla battery weighing 1,000 pounds requires extracting and processing some 500,000 pounds of materials. At this rate, over the next thirty years we will need to mine more mineral ores than humans have extracted over the last 70,000 years.
+ Biden is reversing so fast on climate (increased production from public lands, huge releases from the strategic petroleum reserve and issuance of 30-year contracts to increase LNG export capacity), he’s backed over the director of the EPA and his climate czar (if “czar” is still a permissible word). His latest betrayal is an executive order to allow more ethanol-based fuels to be produced, a blow to air quality and sustainable agriculture: “Today I’m announcing the Environmental Protection Agency is planning to issue an emergency waiver to allow E15 gasoline that uses more ethanol from home-grown crops to be sold across the U.S. this summer in order to increase fuel supply.”
+ In 2021, 40-60% of claimed emissions reductions for Shell, BP, Total, ConocoPhillips came from divestiture of polluting assets, a new report by Earthworks estimates. In other words, the emissions are vanishing from the corporate books but there’s no real reduction of carbon pollution in the atmosphere.
+ Occidental Petroleum is promoting itself as a leader in the new “carbon removal” industry scam. The question is whether they’ll remove anywhere near what they produce, because they plan to their accelerate oil drilling and refining operations.
+ Ocean warming fueled 10% increase in ‘extreme’ rainfall from Atlantic hurricanes in 2020.
+ Despite signing on to the UN’s net zero banking alliance on greenhouse gas emissions, Canada’s major banks have more than doubled their financing of tar sands oil projects to $16.8 billion in 2021.
+ From 1955 to 2020, April snowpack in Western mountain ranges declined at 86 percent of the sites measured, according to a new study by the EPA. Decreases have been especially prominent in Washington, Oregon, northern California, and the northern Rockies. In the Northwest (Idaho, Oregon, Washington) all but four stations saw decreases in snowpack over the period of record.
+ To study the animals’ reactions in a Ugandan wildlife reserve to a huge oil projectbacked by France’s Total, researchers are monitoring their hormones and their stress levels by collecting blood and fecal samples.
+ The latest IPCC climate report estimates that more than 700 million people in Africa will eventually be displaced by drought. The entire continent of Africa is responsible for less than 4% of total global carbon emissions.
+ The average American uses 284 gigajoules of energy per person each year. A new report by StanfordEarth published in ESA Ecosphere finds with just 75 GJ/person, 1.2 billion people living without electricity worldwide could be lifted out of energy poverty.
+ A brief in a lawsuit filed by the Winnemen Wintu tribe challenging the State of California’s water rights system argues persuasively that “state-sponsored violence and discriminatory laws have caused California Indian tribes and other minorities to be excluded from the state’s water rights system.”
+ The entire basis of Western Water Law flows from the simple premise of “first in time, first in right.” Except, of course, for all of those who really were first, who have almost no rights.
+ A report by NOAA estimates that sea levels will rise by 10 to 12 inches along the US coastline in the next 30 years, which would means that damaging flooding will occur 10 times more often than today. Currently, 15 million Americans live in flood prone areas.
+ They’re going to need a taller graph…
+ A study by the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit’s Net Zero Tracker found net-zero pledges by the 25 top global companies totaled, at best, an average 40% cut in emissions, far from the 100% they promised.
+ Where California is burning during the last week of…April.
+ Alok Sharma, President for COP26: “Mia Mottley, PM of Barbados, said 2 degrees is “a death sentence” for her country. And it’s not just her country. I mean, there are millions and millions of people across the world, for whom 2 degrees will be a death sentence.”
+ A new study in Nature estimates that with only two degrees of warming, the consequences of climate change will release thousands of new viruses spread among animal species by 2070, vastly increasing the risk of emerging infectious diseases spilling over from animals to humans.
+ Grass-fed beef is not, I repeat NOT, a solution to the climate crisis.
+ In April, temperatures in New Delhi (population: 25 million) hit 100 degrees (37.7 Celsius) 23 out of 25 days. The average temperature for that month has been 4.8 degrees higher than normal. More than 500 million people are sweltering under a killer heatwave that shows little sign of relenting…
+ According to BerkeleyEarth, India is on pace for around 3.5C warming by the end of the century.
+ Industrial fossil fuel CO2 emissions have risen at about same rate in 2010s as in 1990s.
+ The intake pipes in Lake Mead, which supply water to Las Vegas, are now above the surface of the lake.
+ Will Los Alamos burn again?
+ Marshall Sahlins: “Interdisciplinary study is the process by which the unknowns of one’s own subject matter are multiplied by the uncertainties of some other science.”
+ Who says human achievement is passé? We just passed 420PPM, folks! Take a bow humanity!!!
+ India sweltered under its hottest March in 12o years of records. It was also one of its driest. This was followed by the third-hottest April, after 2010 and 2016. Now it’s even hotter…
+ On April 30th, the mercury in Jacobabad, Pakistan hit 49C (120.2F), one of the hottest temperatures ever recorded on Earth in April.
+ Before climate change, these kinds of extreme heat events struck India once every 50 years. Now the interval is once every four years.
+ The heat wave has jeopardized India’s power grid. The country is facing weeks of blackouts and the government has warned of a “worrisome” decline in domestic coal inventories. This week it ordered power plants running on imported coal to go “full capacity” immediately and allow the coal prices to be passed on to consumers.
+ By a 49-47 vote, the Senate passed a measure preventing Biden from using climate change as the basis to declare a national emergency. Senators Mark Kelly and Joe Manchin joined all Republicans in voting Yes.
+ In one five-year period, Lake Powell, a reservoir that was doomed the moment the floodgates closed on Glen Canyon Dam, went from 100 percent capacity to only 34% full.
+ According to the National Interagency Fire Center, more than a million acres have already burned across the US since the start of this year, more than double the total for the same period last year.
+ Woodland bird species in eastern Canada are rapidly declining as a consequence of forest “degradation” from logging, according to a new study out of Oregon State University. “We’ve assumed once a natural forest is cut down, as long as you plant more trees all the rest of the plants and animals will fill back in,” says Peter Marra, the director for Georgetown University’s Institute for Environment and Sustainability. The new research shows that’s not the case.”
+ More and more renewable energy is coming online, but it doesn’t to be having any impact on coal burning capacity: Only 180 GigaWatts of existing coal capacity in the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development), or a little more than a third, is scheduled to close by 2030 and less than 10% of non-OECD coal capacity is scheduled to close by 2050.
+ According to new projections by the Stockholm Environmental Institute (SEI), between 2019 and 2030, the largest increases in annual oil production will occur in the US, followed by Brazil and Iran, while the largest increases in annual gas production are projected in the US, followed by Canada and Saudi Arabia.
+ The amount of tropical forest destroyed in 2021 was larger than the island of Cuba and its removal emitted more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than India does in an entire year by burning fossil fuels.
+ An insect survey that counted “splats” on car license plates estimates that the number of flying insects in Great Britain has plunged by almost 60% since 2004.
+ It’s now a near certainty that the Earth will surpass 1.5C of warming between 2022 and 2026 and that one of those years will be the hottest on record. In 2015, the chances of world temperatures temporarily exceeding 1.5C over the next five years were close to zero.
+ For a 50% chance of 1.5° C avoidance U.S. coal production must fall by 50% within five years and end by 2030, according to a new study from the University of Manchester. Meanwhile, oil and gas production must fall by 74% by 2030 and end entirely by 2035. For a 67% chance of 1.5° C avoidance, U.S. oil and gas production must end by 2031.
+ Planned drilling projects across US land and waters will release 140 billion metric tons of planet-heating gases if fully implemented, according to an analysis published by Energy Policy Journal.
+ Energy Policy’s study identifies the 425 biggest fossil fuel extraction projects in the world, ‘carbon bombs, whose combined potential emissions will exceed the global 1.5 °C budget by a factor of two.
+ Most of the top-performing companies on the S&P are oil or energy firms…
+ In September 2020 Zoom’s market cap surpassed Exxon’s. Now Exxon’s market cap is 13 times the size of Zoom’s.
+ Thousands of birds are literally falling out of the sky every day as a result of India’s heat wave.
+ The ecological loss of these birds deaths is incalculable. But it might be possible to put a pricetage on the die-offs. An article in Ecological Economics estimates that being around 14 or more bird species was the equivalent to the participants earning an extra $190 a month, based on a monthly income of $1,837.
+ A new paper in Nature says that episodes of “extreme heat” (based on 1950-1980 definition) are now 90 times more common than it was 50 years ago.
+ Vehicle use declined sharply during the pandemic. Even so, according to the EPA, the national average concentration of Particulate Matter 2.5 was 8 percent higher in 2020 than it was in 2019.
+ An oil tanker with 1.1 million barrels of crude on board, has been moored off the Yemeni port of Hodeida since 2015, without being serviced. The tanker is at risk of breaking up at any moment. The UN says the cost of the clean-up will be at least $20 billion. But as we know from the Exxon Valdez, you can spend billions “cleaning it up” and never even begin to repair the damage…
+ For context, the CO2 level surpassed the historical highs of 300 PPM in 1950 and hit the maximum “safe” level of 350 in 1989. This month it hit 421 ppm.
+ Under current CO₂ emission trajectories, the chance of limiting warming to 1.5°C is less than 1%.
+ According to NOAA’s annual greenhouse gas index, warming increased 49% between 1990 and 2021.
+ On the road (to ruin) again…in the first quarter of 2022, drivers in the US racked up 753 billion miles, a new record. Meanwhile, CO2 emission rose by 4 percent.
+ On Thursday the UK government announced plans to double tax relief for new oil and gas extraction.
On Friday G7 environment ministers announced: “We stress that fossil fuel subsidies are inconsistent with the goals of the Paris Agreement.”
+ Historically, the United States has alone produced 20 percent global carbon emissions, almost twice as much as China, the second-largest emitter. Contrast that with all of sub-Saharan Africa, with a population of nearly a billion people, which is responsible for less than 1 percent.
+ Extreme long-lasting early heat waves in India and Pakistan have become about 30 times more likely due to human-caused climate change.
+ Ten months ago, California Governor Gavin Newsom called for voluntary 15% water use cuts. Since then water use in CA cities and towns has increased nearly 19%…
+ The Big Ag growers of the Sacramento Valley, protected for decades by their water rights, are now suffering for the first time during the prolonged drought that has seized the West. Ranchers are selling off cows, rice fields are going fallow, almond plantations are being plowed under and, yet the environment is still being degraded…
+ GenX is the most lead-poisoned generation in America. The average GenXer’s childhood lead exposure has cut “nearly 6 points” off their IQ…
+ Over the last 100 years, deaths from exposure to emissions from vehicles, smoke stacks and wildfires have increased by more than 50 percent.
+ Despite mounting evidence of adverse health and environmental effects, California regulators continue to say it’s “safe” to grow crops with oil wastewater…
+ 44: the average number of hours of sleep lost each year to climate change.
+ According to an analysis by Climate Action Tracker not a single country is on pace to meet the Paris goal of 1.5C warming. Not one.
+ Climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe warning that humanity can’t simple “adapt itself” out of the climate crisis: “People do not understand the magnitude of what is going on. This will be greater than anything we have ever seen in the past. This will be unprecedented. Every living thing will be affected…The reality is that we will not have anything left that we value, if we do not address the climate crisis.”
+ Fatih Birol, head of the IEA, told Der Spiegel that the current energy crisis sparked by the Ukraine war will rival the energy crisis of the 70s: “Now we have an oil crisis, a gas crisis and an electricity crisis at the same time. This energy crisis is much bigger than the oil crises of the 1970s and 80s. And it will probably last longer.”
+ After the driest start to a year on record, the Sierra snowpack of January is now almost gone…
+ Salaries of Gang Green Big Wigs, FY 2021 …
Carter Roberts, World Wildlife Fund: $1.09 million
David Yarnold, Audubon: $855K
Fred Krupp, EDF: $824K
Gina McCarthy, NRDC: $800K (FY 2020)
Jamie Rappaport Clark, Defenders of Wildlife: $569K
Andrew Sharpless, Oceana: $492K
Abigail Dylan, EarthJustice: $459K
Collin O’Meara, National Wildlife Federation: $392K
Ken Kimmel, Union of Concerned Scientists: $358K
Mike Brune, Sierra Club: $300K
Gene Karpinski, League of Conservation Voters: $224K
+ Since March, Russia has risen from ninth to sixth place in the ranking of the largest oil suppliers to the United States, almost doubling supplies in monthly terms – up to 4.218 million barrels, according to the Energy Information Administration of the US Department of Energy (EIA).
+ Global warming has fueled a decisive increase in Atlantic Ocean hurricane activity in the last 40 years, doubling he chances for extreme seasons like 2020.
+ A study published in the Journal of Advances in Climate Change Research shows the probability of a marine heatwave in the South China Sea during the 2010s is four times (28.4%) of that in the 1980s (7%). The increasing trend can be largely attributed to the long-term increase in mean ocean temperature.
+ Before the start of the Ukraine war, more than 800 million people around the world suffered extreme hunger. This number may double this summer as wheat from Ukraine and Russia fails to reach global markets. On top of that, in the US both the winter and summer wheat crops are in big trouble.
+ Half of France’s 56 reactors (a record) are currently offline. 12 are shut because of inspections for corrosion problems.
+ Small modular nuclear reactors will produce much more radioactive waste per unit of energy than the traditional kind.
+ Vanguard, the world’s second-largest asset manager, is refusing to end its investments in new fossil fuel ventures, citing its obligation to maximize returns for clients…
+ According to research out of the DOE’s Oak Ridge Lab, fuel economy for a light-duty vehicle going 80 miles per hour (mph) is about 27% lower than when traveling at 60 mph. Between 40 and 50 mph is the optimum cruising speed for the best fuel economy in cars and light trucks. The best fuel economy is typically obtained when the vehicle is traveling at the lowest speed in the vehicle’s highest gear.
+ Peak Internal Combustion Engine? After 130 years growth, the global supply of cars with only an internal combustion engine will like peak in 2022.
+ Even “green” hydrogen could make climate change worse in the short term. Why? It tends to leak and once it gets into the atmosphere, its more potent than CO2. Over 20 years, it has 33 times the global warming potential of an equal amount of carbon dioxide.
+ In order to keep the water levels in Lake Powell high enough to continue producing hydropower, the Bureau of Reclamation is draining Flaming Gorge reservoir. But the transfer may actually waste nearly as much water as Lake Powell will gain.
+ Why are gas prices so high? This might explain at least part of the problem…
ExxonMobil – $5,480,000,000 (a 100% increase compared to 2021 Q1)
BP – $6,200,000,000 (highest quarterly profit in a decade)
Chevron – $6,260,000,000 (a 400% increase compared to 2021 Q1)
+ On the other hand, gas prices really aren’t so high in the US, relatively speaking. There are 104 countries with higher gas prices than the US (ave: $4.79 per gallon), including Hong Kong ($11.20), Norway ($10.61), Denmark ($10.01), Greece ($9.19), Germany ($8.79), Israel ($8.24), UK ($8.16), Spain ($8.12), France ($8.06), Ireland ($7.91), New Zealand ($7.87), Italy ($7.77), Ukraine ($6.50), Canada ($6.49), South Korea ($5.82), Brazil ($5.77), and China ($5.49). Meanwhile, the price of gas in Venezuela, Libya and Iran is below $1 per gallon.
+ Europe has now become by far the largest destination for U.S. Liquid National Gas (LNG) exports… 74% of all U.S. LNG shipments went to Europe in the first four months of this 2022, up from 34% in 2021.
+ In May, the Mauna Loa Observatory measured a CO2 concentration of 421 parts per million, a record for the planet and a level 50% higher than the pre-industrial age.
+ 6 trillion tons: the amount of ice Greenland has lost since 1970.
+ Facing power surges and shortages from unrelenting extreme heat, India has reversed an earlier policy to cut coal imports and instead asked states to step up imports for the next three years–a disastrous move for the climate and one which help ensure that the heat waves which Modi used to justify it will continue unabated.
+ Hywind Tampen, the world’s largest offshore floating wind farm off the western coast of Norway, is being built to power production from nearby … oil and gas fields.
+ In the US, however, new research from Energy Policy suggests that wind turbines have increased local incomes by around 5% and house values by 2.6% in parts of the US.
+ 619: the number of people who died when last summer’s “heat dome” descended over British Columbia, according to a new review by a BC Coroner’s Office.
+ What’s the key indicator species for the Anthropocene Epoch? The leading candidate is the broiler chicken, which now has a standing population of 22.7 billion, the largest of any bird species in the Earth’s history.
+ A fire that burned 170 acres in Joshua Tree National Park at the end of April likely wouldn’t have spread more than a quarter-acre before 1965.
+ A new report from the University of Washington warns that even if all carbon emissions were halted immediately, there would remain a two-in-five (42%) chance the Earth is already destined for 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming.
+ The Great Salt Lake has now lost two-thirds of its surface area and continues to shrink, creating a scenario that’s been compared to a “nuclear bomb.” The lake bed contains high levels of arsenic (much of it deposited by the Kennecott Copper smelter) and as more of it becomes exposed, windstorms carry that the toxin into the lungs of nearby residents, who make up three-quarters of Utah’s population.
+ “There are more than a trillion litres of toxic oilsands waste stored in tailings ponds near Alberta’s Athabasca River — and they’re leaking.”
“People ask me to predict the future, when all I want to do is prevent it.”
– Ray Bradbury
Fed by four days of solid rain, much of it falling on high country snowpack, the Yellowstone River, one of the last of its free-flowing kind, rose up out of its banks, untamed as a grizzly, assertively changed its course and overwhelmed almost every impediment that had once stood in its way.
Hillsides collapsed. Culverts crumpled. Bridges were shorn from their abutments, twisted and heaved into the river. It ate the northern loop road, swallowing a huge chunk between the Gardiner Arch and Mammoth Hot Springs–a road I’ve driven maybe 75 times. Large sections are gone now, chunks of asphalt tumbling toward Livingston. Bankside houses slid into the raging waters. Water mains ruptured. Sewer pipes broke. Treatment plants inundated. The 100-year floodplain was swamped from Gardiner to Billings, whisking away Chevys, sheds and black angus at 82,000 cubic feet per second.
They called it a 1000-year flood. It will probably happen four more times in the next 50 years. At Billings, the river was rushing at 20,000 cubic feet per second faster than it had ever flowed before. The river, unbridled by dams, asserted itself, demonstrated in real, terrifying time the consequences of climate change–deep system changes that are already at work and defy mitigation. The pugilistic, wolf-trapping, bear-baiting Governor of Montana was vacationing in Tuscany. No one really wanted him to come back.
If ever a river had a consciousness, an agency of its own, it would be the Yellowstone, shredding the roads, bridges and cars that have become the bane of the park’s existence, the driving forces behind so many of its ecological ailments. Yellowstone is big, but not big enough for the burden it bears. Nearly 5 million people drive through Yellowstone each year–a hissing, carbon-spewing, bison harassing traffic jam from May to October.
All that changed in a few hours. The five entrances were closed for days. Flights were grounded. Tourists stranded. Trips cancelled. The northern section of the park may be shuttered for a year. Mission accomplished. The park, and its indigenous inhabitants, need a break. A prolonged one. Everyone else needs to take notice. Message delivered.
+ The number of disasters related to climate increased by about 400% in recent decades, from 711 between 1970 and 1979 to more than 3,500 between 2000 and 2009. There were more than 3,100 climate-related disasters from 2010 to 2019.
+ On February 28, an unprecedented ‘rain bomb’ hit Lismore in New South Wales, dropping as much as 27.5 inches of rain in 24 hours, more than London typically receives in a year.
+ Meanwhile, in July 2021 Liguria received 7.1 inches in one hour and over 35.4 inches in a 24-hour period.
+ On June 16, Mawsynram, India–one of the world’s wettest regions, recorded an astounding 39.51 inches (1003.6 mm) in less than 24 hours.
+ Even with all this extreme rain, the UN estimates that by 2050, between 4.8 and 5.7 billion people will live in areas that are water-scarce for at least one month each year, up from 3.6 billion today.
+ In 2020, the EU pledged to plant 3 billion trees by 2030. A tracker launched in 2021 to monitor progress shows that as of last week the EU has planted less than 1% of the three billion goal, leaving 2,997,053,985 trees left to plant in the next seven and a half years.
+ In the last year, The global pipeline of offshore wind projects has nearly doubledfrom 429GW of potential new capacity to 846GW.
+ Despite pledging to reduce carbon emission, the global steel industry may have to write down as much as $518 billion in Stranded Assets over the next decade because it is still building coal blast furnaces.
+ The transportation of food from the field to the kitchen is responsible for more than 6% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, nearly triple earlier estimates, according to a new study in Nature Food.
+ A new economic analysis of Canada’s TransMountain Pipeline by the Parliamentary Budget Office shows that the pipeline has a Present Net Value of negative $600 million or about $1.6 billion less than the PBO’s previous estimate only two years ago.
+ A new study from the NYU’s Grossman School of Medicine and the Ichann School of Medicine at Mt Sinai Hospital shows that exposure to above average levels of outdoor air pollution increased the risk of premature death by 20 percent.
+ In response to the sanctions on Russian gas, Biden pledged in March to deliver 15 billion cubic meters more gas to Europe this year. But this only increases a dependency that can be relatively easily reduced by simply using a little less. According to the IEA, adjusting the thermostat by just 1 degree in European buildings would curb gas use by 10 billion cubic meters per year.
+ In California, solar now out generates all other renewable energy sources combined.
+ There’s nothing quite like giving a company convicted of more than 80 homicides millions in state subsidies to keep operating an ailing nuclear plant built on a major fault line…but that’s apparently what California Gov. Gavin Newsome is planning for the Diablo Canyon plant.
+ A BART subway track warped when it hit 140 degrees, leading to a train derailment last week in the San Francisco Bay area.
+ Extreme drought and bark beetles are now threatening Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest southern California’s Inyo Mountains, home to Methuselah, a 4,853-year-old bristlecone pine.
+ Putting the final nails in Earth’s coffin in the name of space tourism!
+ According to a report by the Australian Security Leaders Climate Group that 2C of warming may cause south-east Asia’s crop product to decline by one-third per capita by the year 2040.
+ The mantra in Indiana used to be that corn would be “knee-high by the Fourth of July.” Then Monsanto’s Roundup Ready-supercrops accelerated the grow rate to mid-June. But even Frankencorn has no defense against climate chaos. In North Dakota this year only two-thirds of the state’s crop has even emerged from the ground. North of the border in Manitoba, farmers left 880,000 acres unplanted, representing 9% of the province’s insured farmland.
+ Flint still doesn’t have clean water and, with the recent dismissal of indictmentsagainst top Michigan officials, it looks increasingly likely that no one will pay any kind of price for poisoning it.
+ Japan has been sweltering for the last week. A total of 263 June record highs were set in six days. Tokyo had highs of over 35℃ (95F) for five days in a row, making it the first time on record for June.
+ Researchers in West Texas looking at seismic data in the region from 2017 to 2020 found that 68% of earthquakes above magnitude 1.5 were highly associated with one or more oil and gas production activities.
+ Lake Oroville, California’s second largest reservoir, is rapidly depleting. The first photo shows Lake Oroville in June 2019. The second was taken last week.
+ It will cost more than $1 billion to rebuild the blown-out roads and bridges in Yellowstone National Park from last month’s floods. Save the money. Don’t rebuild. Let Yellowstone heal for the next 200 years or so.
+ Oil demand is falling, but prices at the pump aren’t. (Another case of market failure and price gouging.)
+ It ain’t just the Supreme Court which is writing a death sentence for the planet…Despite his vaporous vows on climate matters, Biden is moving to open more off-shore areas to oil leasing.
+ The Supreme Court bailed out the Biden administration in the EPA v. West Virginia case. The court can now be blamed for doing what the Biden EPA was already going to do: Nothing. If you can’t regulate CO2 emissions from coal plants, you can’t regulate them from anything. And it didn’t take long to see Biden’s back up plan: little bits of nothing dressed up to sound like something. Game over. Next?
+ For you originalists out there doing your “major issues” equations: When the Constitution was adopted in 1789, atmospheric CO2 levels stood at about 280 PPM. We are now at 420 and rising…
+ It was the warmest June ever in the remote town of Svalbard. The Nordic region around the northern Barents Sea has warming that is 2 to 2,5 times higher than average in the Arctic and 5 to 7 times higher than global average.
+ Portugal and Spain are in the midst of the worst drought in 1,200 years. According to new research, winters that experience “extremely large” highs in the Azores have increased dramatically from one winter in 10 before 1850 up to one in four since 1980. These extremes drive the wet weather northwards, making heavy rain in the northern UK and Scandinavia more likely.
+ In 2021, 60% of Sicilian municipalities (138 out of a total of 235 municipalities) were affected by fires.
+ Mount Sonnblick in Austria (3100m) hosts the mountain observatory with the longest and most reliable climatic data in Europe. Prior to this year, seasonal snow at the Observatory had never melted earlier than 13 August (1963 and 2003). That streak ended on July 5th, when all measurable snow had melted…
+ In 2021, China’s CO2 emissions rose above 11.9 billion tonnes, accounting for 33% of the global total. While Africa and South America accounts for 3-4% of global emissions.
+ Between January and June, 2022, Europe imported 35% more coal compared to same time last year, as both Germany and Austria began restarting idle coal plants. The coal came largely from US, Australia and Colombia.
+ After a mega-drought of 22 years and counting, the Great Salt Lake has now dwindled to only a third of the size it was 30 years ago and is dropping fast.
+ On taking the grandkids to see Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty: “But why did they call it a ‘jetty,’ Gramps?”
+ 20 years ago, I wrote a book titled, Been Brown So Long, It Looked Like Green to Me. The publisher hated the title (He wasn’t a Richard Fariña fan, either), but it continues to ring true (unfortunately). To wit: The EU just voted to classify some gas and nuclear energy projects as “green,” a bit of legislative deception that will almost certainly be re-enacted elsewhere.
+ The latest victims of climate change are ancient bristlecone pines. These 1,ooo+ year-old tree have now been nearly wiped out in the Panamint Range of Death Valley National Park.
+ The Brazilian Amazon rainforest has been deforested by a record amount in the first half of 2022, according to the country’s Space Research Institute. At least, 3,750 square kilometres of the world’s largest rainforest were lost in Brazil between January 1 and June 24.
+ Searching for gold in the Yukon, miners instead discovered a perfectly preserved baby mammoth in the melting permafrost. “I thought it was a baby buffalo in the beginning,” Travis Mundy, an excavator operator, told the Washington Post. “And then I got out, and I was inspecting it, and it had a trunk, so I had no words.”
+ BYD, the Chinese auto manufacturing that Warren Buffett infused with cash, has overtaken Elon Musk’s Tesla as the world’s biggest electric vehicle producer by sales. BYD is also #2 in the production of EV batteries.
+ Hummer has released its first EV. It weighs 9,000 pounds is powered by a battery that is so large and inefficient that it produces more CO2 emissions than a gas-powered Chevy Malibu.
+ In spite of new research, dire warnings, global summits, international agreements, rising oceans, melting glaciers, hurricanes, droughts, fires, famine and floods, global CO2 emissions keep rising. They are now 60% higher than they were in 1992, at the time of the Earth Summit in Rio.
+ Last week, the Biden Administration gave the green light for the Uinta Basin Railway to barge through 12 miles of roadless wilderness area in a Utah national forest in the interest of oil development….
+ The rivers of south Texas are quickly rapidly drying up. According to numbers charted by the US Geological Survey, the flow rate of the Frio River at Concan, Texas, has been at or near zero for several weeks. The Pedernales River is also at zero near Fredericksburg, Texas. The Llano River’s flow is running below 1 cfs. The Guadalupe River near Hunt, Texas, is flowing at an all-time low of 6.84 cubic feet per second and continues to drop. In New Braunfels, there is still flow in the Guadalupe River, but it is much lower than average. The flow rate there is 58.5 cfs, well below the historical median of 346 cfs.
+ According to research out of the Los Alamos National Laboratory, the Arctic is heating up more than four times faster than the rate of global warming. The trend has risen steeply twice in the last 50 years, a finding missed by all but four of 39 climate models.
+ Summer temperatures in Reno, Nevada are 10.9 degrees higher on average than they were in 1970.
+ The U.S. share of global solar component shipments has collapsed to less than 1% in 2021 from 13% in 2004. Meanwhile, China’s share of the production of solar components has increased over the past two decades from near zero to nearly 85% this year.
+ A new United Nations report estimates that extraction, climate change, pollution, and deforestation are pushing nearly one million species towards extinction.
+ $1.8 trillion: amount of global economic losses attributable to US greenhouse gas emissions.
+ Herschel Walker on air pollution: “No matter how much money we put into cleaning our air up, it’s going to float over to China. Bad air. Now China bad air floats back over here to our good air. Then all the sudden you got to clean their bad air up because all our good air floated over there.”
+ The future of the Antarctic midge, the only insect species native to Antarctica, is in peril as a consequence of climate change.
+ The Sudd wetland (Africa’s largest) in south Sudan could be converted to desert by the revival of a half-completed Nile canal project, which would divert water out of the wetland and send it to Egypt.
+ At least 120,000 of Oregon’s nearly two million property tax lots are located in in high or extreme fire risk zones of the “wildland-urban interface.”
As I sat down to write this on Thursday afternoon, more than 100 million Americans were sweltering under extreme heat warnings and that didn’t include the Pacific Northwest, where the vents of the blast furnace are slated to open on Monday sparking temperatures in the 100s for most of next week. (It’s a modest 87 at the moment here in Oregon City.)
Meanwhile, this week the tarmac on the runways at London’s Heathrow Airport melted, after the temperature soared to 104F. (It had never been 100F there before at any time.) Fires burned across England, France, Portugal and Spain. The surface soil temperature in Spain spiked to 138F. People died on the streets, in their cars, on their bikes, in prisons and nursing homes. Europe’s response to this crisis is to restart shuttered coal plants.
It’s raining where’s it’s never rained before. Ice frozen 10,000 years ago is melting into milky streams. Rivers that have run for 1,500 years are now seasonal creeks. 1,000-year floods are happening every 30 years. Forests are burning beyond their capacity to regenerate, while deserts are expanding in all directions. Alpine glaciers in the Alps and the Karakoram are collapsing. The cost of all is this enormous, hundreds of billions a year in the US alone. But one community’s catastrophe is another’s financial opportunity. Many of the same corporations driving the climate crisis and are making out on the other end “restoring” the damage–often underwritten by government subsidies on both ends.
Here there are new fires, big mean ones, in Texas, Idaho, Montana, Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, Arizona, Nevada and California. Yosemite is burning. Fires are closing in one the Mariposa grove of Giant Sequoias and across the Owens Valley to the east in the Inyo Range some of the world’s oldest trees, 4500-year-old Bristlecone Pines, are threatened by the mega-drought, bark-beetles and displacement by the limber pine.
The Great Salt Lake will soon be a great salt flat, a vast basin of toxic salt that will be lifted by western winds and blown into Provo and Logan and Salt Lake City. Farther south, Lake Powell is now Glen Canyon again, it’s impounded waters lower than at any time since the floodgates of that monstrous dam closed in 1963. I wish my old pals Dave Brower, Ed Abbey and Katie Lee had lived to see this day. They wouldn’t be surprised that humanity was responsible, through ignorance, complacency and greed. Hell, basically the same human characteristics that flooded the canyon in the first place having been warned that this would be the inevitable result.
The Colorado River is all used up and there won’t be more where that came from. The western states want water; West Virginia wants coal. It’s not a fair fight. West Virginia will win every time. Even the powerbrokers of the West understand this dynamic. Fossil fuel comes first. So the irrigators and the real estate tycoons and the ranchers and the city managers and the casino operators and the golf course resort owners are now contemplating how to divert water from the Mississippi to the desert Southwest. It’ll have to happen soon. Time is running short.
So a certain desperation is setting in, even among the people who are profiting off of our perpetual state of crisis. But it hasn’t sharpened our politics and it won’t. This was the week Joe Manchin performed a late-term abortion on the fetal remains of Biden’s already grossly inadequate climate plan. The same week that Biden jetted off to Riyadh to fist bump the Saudi dictator and frantically begged him to jack up production of Saudi crude oil. But the Crown Prince stiffed the American president in public, a decision which may have been the only favor the Saudis have ever done for the environment.
Biden, the humiliated weakling, returned to the states, vowing shrilly to declare a “climate emergency.” This is more mystification from the machine and only the most credulous among us could take it as anything more than a grain of toxic salt. In his first year in office, Biden had already approved more new oil drilling permits than Trump and that was before he provoked, armed and financed another oil war in Ukraine. None of this is surprising. It’s who Biden is. It’s who every American president has been or likely will be.
Once our nation ran on slave labor. But since the end of the Civil War, the country has run on fossil fuels. Every institution of the government has been constructed to exploit and safeguard that power source. It’s not merely that the government won’t confront the climate crisis, but that it is incapable of confronting the climate crisis. To confront it would require the government to go to war against itself. For all practical purposes, the government of the US is the fossil fuel industry.
The sky is frying and, as the wind shifts, little bits of it begin falling down as ash here in the foothills of the Cascades, hundreds of miles away from the fires in the Salmon River country and the Bitterroot Range. We have entered the Inferno with no sure-footed Virgil around to guide our way back out.
+ The heralded Manchin climate bill (aka, Inflation Reduction Act) is a big bust…for the climate. It includes $3 billion in subsidies to increase logging on federal forests; it requires more onshore federal oil and gas leasing before any right of way are issued across federal lands for wind or solar; mandates the sale of offshore oil leases that would otherwise have expired in 2022; gives tax breaks to fossil companies; and includes an agreement from Schumer and Pelosi to pursue “environmental regulatory rollbacks” in the next couple of weeks. This bill will increase, not reduce, emissions. Brett Harl at the Center for Biological Diversity dubbed it a “climate suicide pact.” Really, what did you expect?
+ Death toll from the recent European extreme heat events, include 1,700 in Spain and Portugal and nearly 1,000 in Britain.
+ On Tuesday, the temperature hit 103F here in Oregon City, 5 degrees hotter than the high that day in Joshua Tree down in the Mojave Desert.
+ The North Pacific is experiencing a severe marine heatwave, which will have calamitous impacts on marine ecosystems. Water temperatures have been as high as 13.6°C (24.5°F) above normal.
+ $50 billion: combined profit for Exxon, Chevron, Shell, TotalEnergies and BP in the second quarter of 2022, a new record.
+ The earnings of major independent oil and gas refiners are expected to see average earnings per share of $5.97. By comparison, the most profitable company in the US, Apple, posted $1.52 earnings per share in the last quarter.
+ With money to burn, Conoco, seeking to open more drilling sites in the Arctic, spent nearly $6 million on lobbying expenses in the first two quarters of 2022.
+ A meta-analysis published in conjunction with the latest IPCC Report looked at more than 1,600 academic articles on adaptation and determined that most of those efforts have not been attempts at systemic change, nor have they resulted in any significant risk reduction.
+ A study from the World Economic Forum on private markets and sustainability found that of $1.1 trillion invested in the energy sector by private equity since 2010, more than 80% went directly into fossil fuels.
+ After he was seen walking down a gravel road starting forest fires, an Oregon man named Trennon Smith was tracked down by local residents and tied to a tree until the cops came. He’s now been charged with arson and reckless burning. Smith may be guilty of starting the fires, but when has an oil or coal company executive been tried for creating the conditions that allow the fires to burn? They’re the unindicted co-conspirators of nearly every fire now burning.
+ According to the Department of Energy, the average household in the US spent $9,826 on transportation in 2020, nearly 16% of all annual household expenditures. Transportation expenditures include vehicle purchases, gasoline and motor oil, other vehicle expenses (maintenance, insurance, etc.), and public transportation costs. For households with incomes between $50,000 and $59,999, transportation accounted for 18% of total expenditures – the highest share of any income group. While those in the highest income group spent more on transportation overall, it made up only 13.3% of their household expenditures, the lowest share of any income group.
+ A new study in the Journal of Public Economics provides some of the first evidence of a link between coal-fired power plants and cognitive decline: “We find that every one million megawatt hours of coal-fired power production decreases mathematics scores in schools within ten kilometers by 0.02 σ.”
+ In 2017 Barbados had the third-highest debt per capita of any country in the world. It was spending 55% of its gross domestic product each year just to pay back debts. It was left with less than 5% of its GDP to spend on environmental programs and health care, despite the threat to the island nation from rising sea levels.
+ The drought in the Northeast is so severe that it’s now affecting water supplies. The reservoir for Attleboro, Massachusetts has gone dry and restrictions on outdoor watering are being put in place in towns across the state.
+ David Wallace-Wells: “Over a decade in which the cost of solar power fell about 90%, fracking lost about $300 billion.”
+ St. Louis, under water for much of the week, got more rain in 5 hours (9 inches) than it had ever gotten in an entire day. The normal amount of rain in St. Louis for July and August combined is 7.31 inches.
+ The Mariposa County sheriff said this week that “local militias” have been “patrolling” the scene near the fast-spreading Oak Fire on the doorstep of Yosemite.
+ According to a new study, premature births and miscarriages are more common in summer months, suggesting that pregnancies may be adversely affected by extreme heat and climate change.
+ In June, the planet was about 1.8C warmer than pre-industrial (1850-1899) temperatures. Most of that warming has taken place over the four decades. Land temperatures for June have climbed by more than 1.5C since 1980.
+ Meanwhile, the Arctic is warming at 3 times the rate of the rest of the planet.
+ BP proclaimed second quarter profits of $8.6 billion. The most in 14 years. This criminal enterprise should have been put out of business after Deepwater Horizon–its executives put in pillories in Congo Square in New Orleans, its major shareholders made to pay 100s of billions in restitution. Instead here they are they’re profiteering off a war…
+ Last week, Seattle recorded 6 straight days of 90°F+ for the first time ever. Portland just recorded 7 straight days of 95°F+ for the first time ever. One of the hottest weeks in the recorded history of the Pacific Northwest. If you missed out, don’t worry there’s always next year…or even next month.
+ If global warming hits 2C, it could “double” the flooding costs in China compared to 1.5C.
+ Despite being declared dead less than two years ago, soaring natural gas prices following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine are driving the global demand for coal to an all-time high.
+ As hundreds of millions of people face going hungry this year, in part because of the war in Ukraine, around 10% of the world’s grains and 18% of the world’s vegetable oils are turned into biofuels, a feel-good fuel that only exacerbates climate change. Europe and the UK alone pour 17,000 gallons of cooking oil into cars, trucks and busses every day.
+ The snow pack in the West has declined by 23% since 1950.
+As a consequence of shrinking snowpack, the water levels of western reservoirs are also shrinking, nowhere faster than in California, where nearly every reservoir is below 50% capacity: Shasta: 37%, Oroville: 42%, Trinity 28%, New Melones: 30%, San Luis: 33%, Don Pedro: 61%, McClure: 33%, and Pine Flat: 27%.
+ Meanwhile, according to data from NOAA rainfall in California has hit an all-time low…
+ When it comes to water use, modern dishwashing machines have become far more inefficient, using a tenth of the amount of water (4 gallons or so per cycle) as hand-cleaning in the sink.
+ In an average year, San Antonio, Texas experiences 5 days at or above 100 degrees through August 4th. This year it has already seen 55.
+ The Arctic continues to warm much faster than the rest of the planet and several times as fast as previous climate models predicted. Over the past forty years, the Arctic has been heating up four times faster than the global average, while some parts of the region, notably the Barents Sea north of Norway and Russia, are warming up to seven times faster, according to new data from the Finnish Meteorological Institute in Helsinki.
+ The Loire River is running dry in the extreme heat and prolonged drought France has endured this summer…Oh, yeah, the river is also the source of the cooling water for 12 of France’s nuclear power plants.
— Mickaël Correia (@MickaCorreia) August 10, 2022
+ The average price of California water on the “spot market” has risen by 58% in the last year, as reservoirs and aquifers drop and the drought persists. California water is now selling for as much as $2,000 an acre-foot, a record high.
+ Amazon’s carbon footprint grew by 19% in 2021, despite the company’s repeated pledges to reduce carbon emissions.
+ As sea levels rise, New York City may be swamped by 15 “high flood days” next year.
+ Starting this week, commercial buildings in Spain will be required to keep summer air conditioning above 80 degrees and winter heating below 66 degrees Fahrenheit.
+ In part as a result of the Ukraine war, tankers hauling diesel, gasoline, coal and other fuels are more active than at any time in at least 25 years.
+ There are about 75,000 Giant Sequoia trees in the world. More than 13,000 have been killed by fires since 2015.
+ A Category 4 Marine heatwave has settled over the North Pacific, sending water temperatures as high as 15.7°F above normal. This is expected to inflict severe damage on marine ecosystems, including the possible mass die-offs of marine animals.
+ Back to the normal that’s killing us: Vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in the 12-month period ending in March 2022 matched the 12-month period ending in December 2019, before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Total U.S. VMT reached a peak of 3.28 trillion miles in the 12-month period ending in February 2020 but declined steeply the following year. Due to pandemic-related disruptions, the12-month period ending in February 2021 was the lowest point for total 12-month VMT since November 2002.
+ France’s fourth extreme heat wave of the year has exacerbated the country’s worst drought on record.
+ In Tokyo, temperatures hit 95F for the 14th time this summer, shattering records set in 1995.
+ Meanwhile, Seoul’s subways and streets were flooded this week by the heaviest rains in 80 years. At least seven people were killed and six people missing.
+ Temperatures in Iraq soared to 122F, melting the country’s electric grid, leaving millions sweltering in temperatures that approach the limits of human survivability.
+ Meanwhile, in Phoenix, heat-related 9-11 emergency calls have increased by 34% in the last two years alone.
+ India is banning domestic companies from exporting carbon credits until the nation meets its own climate goals.
+ Ten finance firms–Blackrock, Capital Group, Dimensional Fund Advisors, Fidelity Investments, the Government of India, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Life Insurance Corporation, Norges Bank, State Street and Vanguard–will control half of all future carbon emissions.
+ As I reported a couple of weeks ago, the word on the Hill was that in order to secure passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, Schumer assured Manchin that after Biden took his victory lap, he would quietly introduce another bill to “ease the regulatory burden” on energy companies. Now Schumer has made this sleazy deal public, benignly calling it a “permitting reform” package. The IRA bill was bad enough to begin with. Now they’ll gut the regulations that would have modestly constrained how bad the bad things will get…
+ As part of the IRA, Biden has now given the greenlight to the largest oil and gas sale in US history–Lease Sale 257, which spans 80.8 million acres across the Gulf of Mexico. What’s left to be said?
+ According to a study from the Yale School of Public Health, children living close to fracking sites in Pennsylvania are two to three times more likely to be diagnosed with leukemia. Contamination of drinking water is suspected as the primary means of exposure.
+ July’s overnight low temperatures were the highest ever recorded in the U.S.
+ 44: the number of days since the last measurable rain in Portland and none in sight.
+ According to the Associated Press, the average U.S. price of regular-grade gasoline dropped 45 cents over the past three weeks to $4.10 per gallon. Not here in the PNW. Within a five-mile radius yesterday in the sprawl of Greater Stumptown, I saw gas prices for regular of $5.59, $5.37, $5.16, $4.99 and $4.69….
+ In the grip of the worst mega drought in 1200 years, California has seen the driest first 7 months of the calendar year in recorded history.
+ How many people who have pled guilty to manslaughter (never mind 84 such killings) would be given a $1.4 billion loan to run a nuclear plant on an earthquake fault, as California Governor Gavin Newsom is poised to do at Diablo Canyon?
+ Even as six nuclear plants in a war zone have come under shelling, the pro-nuclear power claque is out in force, urging the resuscitation of a dying industry. Here’s the normally judicious David Wallace-Wells…
+ In point of fact, the Ukrainian govt. alone is paying survivor benefits to 35,000 families in the Chernobyl radiation zone. The global death figure has been estimated to be as high as 500,000 deaths.
+ Fearing a winter without enough natural gas to heat their homes, Germans are now frantically searching Google for ways to buy … firewood.
+ If there’s any good news on the horizon, it’s that in Europe at least solar photovoltaic power is now 8 times cheaper than fossil fuel.
+ The Bureau of Reclamation issue dire warnings about the for the Colorado Riverin 2023, projecting record-low elevation levels at Lake Mead, Lake Powell and Flaming Gorge reservoirs, and a Tier 2a water shortage in the Lower Basin.
+ Under the new restrictions on the distribution of Colorado River water, Phoenix and the Arizona tribes will be hit the hardest. But if Western Water Law–first in time, first in right–actually meant what it says, the tribes would be getting all of it…
+ According to a projection from the First Street Foundation, more than 100 million Americans will be living under extreme heat conditions (meaning enduring weeks at temperatures of more than 100F with at least one day a year of 125F) within the next 30 years.
+ In a study of 24 moist tropical plots in northern Australia, ecologist David Bauman and his co-workers at Oxford’s Environmental Change Institute found that tree mortality has doubled in the past 35 years (and life expectancy was cut in half), apparently owing to the increasing dryness of the air.
+ China is in the midst of the worst heatwave ever recorded in global history. Over 260 locations have seen their hottest days ever during this 70+ day heatwave.
+ China’s Poyang Lake, fed by some of the nation’s largest, is going dry. In past years, the lake averages about 3,500 square kilometers (1,400 square miles) in high season, but has shriveled to only 737 square kilometers (285 square miles) during the current drought. The lake officially entered this year’s dry season on August 6, earlier than at any time since records began being taken in 1951. It is now a mere 25% of its normal size and shrinking steadily.
+ In some regions of Somalia, it hasn’t rained in more than two years.
+ Drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge was always going to a risky economic proposition, which is why major oil companies declined to submit bids when Trump pushed through a lease sale in 2021. Now, the only two remaining private companies (Knik Arm Service and Regenerate Alaska) with plans to drill in the Arctic Refuge have cancelled their leases. That leaves Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority, a state agency, as the last lease holder in the refuge. The agency holds seven leases covering about 370,000 acres in the Refuge’s 1.6 million-acre coastal plain.
+ As the Rio Grande is drying up so quickly that Laredo, Texas (population: 255,000) and nearby communities could run out of water by next spring.
+ The Dallas-Fort Worth area has been hit the 5th 1-in-1,000-year rain event in less than 4 weeks in the US. Up to 14 inches of rain has fallen in just the last 12 hours, resulting in catastrophic flooding.
+ Five 1,000-year flood events in four weeks…
Death Valley (1.46″)
St. Louis (8.64″)
Kentucky (12″, 38 dead)
+ Nearly one-third of the rise in global temperatures can be attributed to methane. Atmospheric methane had its highest growth rate yet recorded by modern instruments in 2020. That record was broken again in 2021.
+ The French utility EDF announced this week that 4 of its nuclear reactors won’t come back online anytime soon, and will restart generating only from November 2022 to January 2023. The utility also warned that French nuclear generation in year 2022 might well be as low as 280 TWh (Terawatt-hours).
+ According to a new report from Global Forest Watch, forest fires are now causing 7.4 million acres of tree cover loss per year, an area larger than Belgium, and 50 percent more than in 2001. In 2021, fires were responsible for more than one-third of all tree cover loss for the year, one of the worst years in history. The majority fire-caused tree cover loss in the past 20 years (nearly 70%) occurred in boreal regions and the rate of loss there is increasing by 3% per year.
+ In May, Lancet published a major study that found those living within 30 miles a single wildfire were about 5 percent more likely to develop lung cancer and 10 percent more likely to develop brain tumors within the next 20 years.
+ On August 19th, many cities in western Washington experienced one of their warmest nights ever…
Bellingham – low this morning 67°
Daily Record: 61° from 2014
Month of August Record: 65° from 8/12/2014
All-Time record: 66° from 6/28/2021
Olympia – low this morning 65°
Daily Record: 61° from 1965
Month of August Record: 65° 8/18/2022
Hoquiam – low this morning 68°
Daily Record: 60° from 1962
Month of August Record: 64° 8/12/1992
Quillayute – low this morning 61°
Daily Record: 58° from 2019
+ According to research published in Nature Climate Change, at least 218 out of the known 375 human infectious diseases (58%) seem to be exacerbated by one of 10 types of extreme weather connected to climate change.
I see you standing on the other sideI don’t know how the river got so wide I loved you baby, way back when And all the bridges are burning that we might have crossed But I feel so close to everything that we lost We’ll never, we’ll never have to lose it again
– Leonard Cohen, Tower of Song
The scale of the destruction defies the imagination. There are images and maps. But still you can’t quite wrap your mind around it. With reason. We’ve never seen anything like this. Never experienced it. Heard stories about it. There’s nothing to compare it to, not even the Biblical floods. We’ve gone beyond our own myths and legends.
A third of an entire country–a big country, a country the size of Turkey and Venezuela–lies underwater, inundated by fierce floods from all directions.
Thousands of miles of roads have been wiped out. Hundreds of bridges washed away. Rail lines and airports submerged. Nothing getting in, nothing getting out. The entire nation brought to a standstill. A nation with nuclear weapons and an unstable government, bordered by a hostile regime which has demonstrated every inclination to take devious advantage of Pakistan’s devastated condition.
Fields flooded, crops lost, livestock drowned.
Dams crumbled, power stations shorted out, transmission lines toppled, water treatment plants swamped.
Refineries, factories, hospitals and schools engulfed.
At least 220,000 houses were destroyed (imagine all of the houses in Spokane demolished), maybe a million more suffering some kind of damage, many beyond repair. At least 33 million people–more than the population of Texas and Oklahoma combined–at least temporarily displaced by the storms that have ravaged Pakistan since late June.
At least 1,200 have died, 400 of them children. More are missing. More than 330,000 people (about the size of Cincinnati) are living in camps with no idea when they can return home, how they will get there or what they will return to.
One of the fastest warming bodies of water on the planet, the India Ocean is becoming a simmering cauldron, cooking up heat waves and super-monsoons. This year the heat–heat almost beyond the point of human survivability–came first, in two back-to-back waves in May and June. Then came the rains. Rains like few other regions on earth have ever experienced. Rains that swelled the ancient Indus River over its banks and beyond its floodplains, creating a giant lake 100 kilometers wide almost overnight, which remains visible from space. A lake which can’t be drained, because there’s no place to pump the water to.
The rains that drenched Sindh were 784% above the average for August. The rains that flooded Balochistan were 500% above normal. As much as 40 inches more than normal. Numbers so high they don’t really have a meaning.
One searches for a precedent and finds nothing even remotely close. This is now the precedent. This is the new benchmark. We’re told we must adapt. Adapt to what? Cataclysm? How?
But the floods of August weren’t just driven by extreme rains, they were also charged with runoff of from collapsing glaciers in the Karakoram, Himalaya, Hindu Kush and Pamir Mountains, producing torrents of water crashing down from 20,000-foot peaks. Pakistan has more than 7,000 alpine glaciers, more than any place outside of the polar regions. And this glaciers have been melting 10-times faster than their historic average over the last two centuries.
Pakistan, a country responsible for less than 1% of global carbon emissions, now faces the 8th highest climate risk in the world. But it’s coming for all of us, eventually, regardless of the level of culpability. There’s no place to hide.
Ecological time is moving very fast now, so fast that we risk losing our bearings as a species, losing our connections to the landscape of the past, the very terrain that defined our existence, our ways of living, our sense of who and where we are. What were once fields are now lakes, what were once glaciers now cascades.
And yet the floods of Pakistan are a mere prelude, an overture for the future that awaits us. There’s no going back now, no bridge fuel to the past, no carbon capture time machine, or nuclear techno-fix wormhole out of our predicament. At this terminal point, such fantasies are only a measure of our failure to confront how we got to where we are.
+ The reason the West keeps burning with bigger and more intense fires, year after year, isn’t because pinko commie tree-huggers have been locking up the forests, but this…
+ 64% of the European continent is either facing drought or in imminent danger of it, according to a recent report by EU scientists. The report predicts at least another three more months of “warmer and drier” days.
+ Researchers at Harvard and the University of Washington forecast that by 2100 heat exposure would increase by three to ten times in America, among other mid-latitude regions. Few cities are prepared for the health consequences of these temperature surges.
+ The catastrophic flooding in Pakistan last month was at least in part driven by extreme temperatures in April and May, which hovered above 104F for prolonged periods in many places.On one day in May, Jacobabad topped 124F, making Pakistan the hottest place on Earth.
+ At no stage of its production cycle–from the mining of uranium to the operation of the reactors to the long-term storage of radioactive waste–is nuclear energy green. Now the uranium companies are setting their sights on the Black Hills, again.
+ Large swaths of the Amazon are being converted from forest to savannah and much of it may never recover.
+ In Zimbabwe, the drought is so severe park rangers have begun moving more than 2,500 wild animals from a southern reserve to one in the country’s northern reserves. Climate change has now supplanted poaching as the nation’s biggest threat to wildlife.
+ In a single day this week, the Double Creek Fire in the Wallowa Mountains of eastern Oregon exploded from 3,500 acres to more than 38,000 acres.
+ In the Permian Basin of West Texas Oil and gas operations will generate 588 million gallons of toxic wastewater per day for the next 38 years, according to findings of a state-commissioned study group—three times as much wasted much as the oil it produces.
+ The town of Las Vegas, New Mexico (Pop.: 13,100) will run out of fresh water sometime in the next 20 days. Las Vegas is a 76% Hispanic community.
+ $185: the social cost per ton of Carbon emissions.
+ The Thwaites “Doomsday” Glacier in Antarctica is melting much faster than previously believed, largely driven warm and dense deep water heating up the present-day ice-shelf cavity and melting the ice shelves from below. Its collapse could raise sea levels by 10 feet.
+ A big study in IOP Science on how the fossil fuel industry tried to downplay the threat of climate change for 30 years reached the shocking conclusion that: “electric utility industry organizations have promoted messaging designed to avoid taking action on reducing pollution over multiple decades. Notably, many of the utilities most engaged in communicating climate doubt and denial in the past currently have the slowest plans to decarbonize their electricity mix.”
+ Since 2007, federal law has required the blending of biofuels, mostly corn-based ethanol into gasoline. Now, fifteen years later, the country’s ethanol plants are generating more than twice the carbon emissions, per gallon of fuel production capacity, than the nation’s oil refineries.
+ Voting for the lesser-of-two evils on climate change is like switching to the Celsius scale believing it will yield lower temperatures than Fahrenheit.
+ Toxic air (the AQI was an LA-esque 156 here in Oregon City when I took this photo of Our Little Mountain around 6:30 am on Thursday) makes for gorgeous sunrises…
+ These surreal skies have been generated by the dense smoke from more than a dozen large fires in western Washington.
+ As a result the air quality in Seattle and Portland has been the worst in the world for the last few days…
+ The view of Seattle looking south from the top of the Space Needle at 9:10 am on Thursday.
+ These temperatures in western Washington last Sunday are as scary as the 116F recorded in August 2021…
New Daily Max Temperature Records
Sea-Tac Airport 88° (old record 72°, 2018)
Olympia 85° (72°, 2002, 1974)
Bellingham 80° (71°, 2018, 2015)
+ Climatologist Eliot Jacobson put those readings in perspective…
If you're wondering just how out-of-range yesterday's high temperature of 88F in Seattle was, I found some archived data from 2021 and added yesterday's high temperature to the plot: pic.twitter.com/6b6bStmUsW
— Prof. Eliot Jacobson (@EliotJacobson) October 17, 2022
+ Even with the high temperature 21° cooler on (88° Sunday versus 67° Monday ), it was still a very warm day in Seattle for October 17th. The high of 67° was the 5th warmest October 17th in 78 years.
+ In mid-June the weather pattern shifted from wet/cool to dry/warm in the Pacific Northwest. Over the last 120 days SeaTac recorded a total of 0.54″ of rain, the driest 120 day stretch ever in Seattle. The only other year with a 120 day stretch under 1″ was in 2018 (0.96″).
+ Back East, when it rains, it tends to rain harder and longer. Researchers have documented 4.5 to 5.7 percent increase in average daily rainfall on days when it rained.
+ A new study published in Annual Review of Environment and Resources estimates that under a low warming scenario melting permafrost would release 55 billion metric tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere by the end of the century, mostly in the form of carbon dioxide and methane.
+ Even so, fewer than half of those questioned in a new global poll now believe climate change poses a “very serious threat“…
+ It’s official. The UN’s latest environment report concludes that there’s “no credible path to 1.5C warming.”
+ The benchmark price of European natural gas has fallen to a level that is more than 70 percent below its record high in August. A key main reason for the retreat in prices is that Europe appears to have filled its stockpiles of natural gas for the winter months.
+ More than 80 percent of the continental U.S. is experiencing abnormally dry conditions or full-on drought, which is the largest proportion since the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration began tracking drought conditions 20 years ago. The forecast for the winter looks even bleaker.
+Of the 193 countries that agreed in 2021 to increase their climate measure, only 26 of have implemented more aggressive plans.
+ Since 2015, one out of every three barrels of new oil discovered have been in Guyana, where ExxonMobil just announced a major new find.
+ Over the next two years, new coal-fired power projects in China with total capacity of 80 gigawatts are expected to start annually–a level that will surpass the peak during the 11th Five-Year Plan from 2006 to 2010.
+ Still, in the first half of 2022 sales of Electric Vehicles in China, despite its slowing economy, eclipsed those in the rest of the world combined.
+ Meanwhile, India is set to expand its solar power generation capacity by more than 25gw this year–ten times more than any other country.
+ A Lancet study found that “vulnerable populations” –that is, the elderly and children under 1 year of age – confronted 3.7 billion more life-threatening heatwave days in 2021 than annually in 1986-2005.
+ According to a new report by UNICEF by 2050 nearly all of the planet’s 2-plus billion children will be exposed to extreme heat episodes each year.
+ Extreme climate events in Kashmir–floods and early cold snaps–set new records for livestock losses, with nearly 50 percent of the livestock belonging to nomads being killed.
+ According to the UN’s new Emissions Gap Report on climate change, the emissions gap in 2030 is 15 GtCO2e annually for a 2C warming pathway and 23 GtCO2e for a 1.5C warming pathway. Those are big gaps.
+ Global oil demand is expected to rise to 110 million barrels a day by 2045, largely driven by non-OECD nations.
+ 26: the number of years it would take for a low-earner to generate as much carbon emissions as the richest do in a single year.
+ According to a study Autonomy, from 1998 to 2018, people earning £170,000 or more in 2018 in the UK were responsible for greenhouse gas emissions far greater than the 30% of people earning £21,500 or less in the same year.
+ This aligns with a new paper published in Science which concludes that “human-caused increases in heat waves have depressed economic output most in the poor tropical regions least culpable for warming. Cumulative 1992–2013 losses from anthropogenic extreme heat likely fall between $5 trillion and $29.3 trillion globally.”
+ A new model developed by researchers at Stanford and Cal-Berkeley to reverse the trajectory of climate change,” according to a new model developed by scientists from Stanford and the University of California, Berkeley suggests that a rapid phase-out of animal agriculture represents “our best and most immediate chance to reverse the trajectory of climate change.”
+ In only 10 years, drought, wildfire and bark beetle s devastated almost one-third of the forests in the southern Sierra and 85% of its mature forests either lost density or became non-forest vegetation.
+ The new Land Gap Report exposes the flawed accounting of many carbon offset schemes, which rely on planting of tree seedlings: “the amount of carbon stored in dense primary and old-growth forests is greater than the amount of carbon stored in monoculture tree plantations, which hold fractions of the amount of carbon in mature trees.”
+ Meanwhile, a new study finds that logging produces more than 10% of Canada’s total CO2 emissions, nearly on a level with tar sands mining.
+ As climate campaigners headed to the Egyptian police state many of them downloaded the official mobile app for COP27. The app requires access to a range of personal information, including passport numbers and email. It also appears to contain spyware that security experts say poses a “credible” threat to protesters.
+ The fault, dear Brutus, is not in the stars, but in the Stars and Stripes…
The historic responsibility for climate change pic.twitter.com/hCnquVqyuI
— Science Is Strategic (@scienceisstrat1) November 8, 2022
+ The Pentagon is the single largest emitter of carbon dioxide on the planet. Globally, militaries account 5.5% of total carbon emissions, according to a new study by Scientists for Global Responsibility, and that’s without counting the direct emissions from wartime.
+ Words missing from Rishi Sunak’s COP27 speech (Sponsored by Coca-Cola)…
+ Sunak’s vapid, but his counterpart in Labour may be even worse. This week Keir Starmer renewed his calls for longer prison sentences for activists protesting inaction on catastrophic climate change.
+ Carbon dioxide (CO₂) averaged 416 ppm in October 2022. In 2012, October averaged 391 ppm.
+ But if you just buy one of the EV cars they’re trying to sell you and use paper straws…
+ Sorry. Electric cars are not going to save the planet. The entire road transportation system contributes less than 12% of greenhouse gas emissions. Plus Tesla’s aren’t “green.” You still have to drive one 13,500 mi to break even w/ a Corolla–78,000 miles if the charge power comes from coal.
+ Moreover, EV prices are going in the wrong direction: The 2023 Kia EV6 will start at $49,795, including a $1,295 destination charge, which is over $7,000 more than the 2022 model.
+ In Africa, the amount of land that will be subjected to oil and gas development is expected to quadruple in the next few years, according to a report by the Rainforest Foundation, threatening to destroy up to a third of the remaining tropical forest in the Congo Basin.
+ According to the Financial Times, Apple’s profits in China have doubled in the last two years, hitting $31.2 billion, making it the largest technology enterprise in China, exceeding the combined income of Tencent and Alibaba, China’s two largest tech companies.
+ A new United Nations report says carbon dioxide emissions from buildings and construction have reached an all-time high, pushing the sector off course to decarbonize by 2050: the report found that the building and construction sector accounted for 34 percent of all energy demand and made up 37 percent of energy and process-related CO2 emissions last year.
+ On November 5th, the ice-skating rink at Rockefeller Center in Manhattan opened. The temperature in NYC that day hit 80F.
+ 700: the number of Egyptians who have been arrested in government attempts to prevent protests from breaking out during COP27 summit.
+ Limiting global coal emissions is the key challenge for reaching climate targets. If nothing is done, emissions from existing coal plants alone would push the world over the 1.5C limit.
+ More than 40 scientific studies have established that methane pollution from the U.S. oil and gas sector, leaking from wellheads to stovetops, power plants and LNG export terminals, is at least double the EPA’s official estimate.
+ The latest evidence that carbon capture is a corporate con: After six years of operation, the world’s biggest carbon pollution reduction project at Chevron’s Gorgon gas plant is working at just one-third capacity.
+ A new EU report warns “without adaptation measures, and under a scenario of 3°C global warming by 2100, 90,000 Europeans could die from extreme heat annually.” Of course, Covid has taught us that 90,000 deaths a year is an acceptable risks for those elites who are see themselves as being the least likely to die.
+ At the base of Antarctica’s ice sheet, an area the size of Germany and France combined is flushing meltwater into a hyper-pressurized, 290-mile-long river running to the sea.
+ A family of four in North America uses more energy than an extended family of 200 people across large regions of Africa.
+ Though it received almost no attention during the midterms, the Desert Southwest is facing a water crisis that will impact upwards of 40 million. The Colorado River is running dry. It’s reservoir levels dropping steadily to the point where the water level of Lake Powell may well sink below the 3,490 feet by next November, at which point Glen Canyon Dam could no longer generate hydropower, and, if it sinks a few feet more, have no safe way to release water downstream to the Grand Canyon, Arizona, Nevada, California and Mexico. There’s no quick fix, as detailed in this report from the Denver Post.
+ After a fierce 20 year struggle, FERC, the federal power regulators, ordered PacifiCorp to surrender its license for the lower Klamath River dams, clearing the way for the largest dam removal project in US history. The vote was unanimous.
+ After relinquishing its salmon-killing dams, PacifiCorp seems ready to turn to Bill Gates’ new generation of nukes…
+ Your “vaccine microchips” were safer than this shit, Bill…
+ According to a piece in Heated, “only last year did Tesla begin making profits without the help of carbon credits.”
+ A new study in Nature re-confirms that environmental degradation and climate change are increasing the possibility of disease spill over, largely from bats, and the likelihood of future pandemics.
+ According to a study in Nature, heat conditions across North America in the summer of 2021 exceeded previous heatwaves by margins many climatologists would have considered impossible.
+ Another recent study in Nature found that 90% of coal and nearly 60% of oil and natural gas must be kept in the ground to allow even a halfway chance of meeting that 1.5-degree target—that amount of fuel is worth around thirty trillion dollars.
+ Of course global coal use isn’t close to declining at this point. In fact, coal-burners are on target to generate a record amount of planet-warming pollution by the end of the year.
+ Still if Africa were to use all its known reserves of natural gas — the cleanest transitional fossil fuel — its share of global emissions would rise from a mere 3 percent to 3.5 percent.
+ NASA issued a report this week predicting that sea level rise could swamp US coastlines by 2050. Not to worry they’ll start working on a fix in 2048.
+ In a rational country–that is, one not run according to the dictates of the Survival of the Fittest Bank Accounts–20% of districts in the most populous state in the country running out of water would be a national crisis instead of another whaddya-want-us-to do-about-it moment.
+ The Washington Post reports that the once-unthinkable (except for those who’ve been paying attention) doomsday scenario for the Colorado is becoming more and more probable: the water level of Lake Powell may drop below the intake tubes, cutting hydropower for millions and stopping the downstream flow of the river to Lake Mead and Mexico. But, hey, we have still have other rivers, right?
+ Since 1948 since Montana agencies have applied rotenone 253 times at more than 200 different lakes, rivers and stream, poisoning an estimated 533 miles of surface water throughout the state, despite the toxin’s known link to Parkinson’s disease and other ailments.
+ Congratulations! Dems are delivering more CO2 at a lower cost!
+ Apparently, scientists have no clue about the consequences of aerosol maskingon climate change. But it doesn’t look good: “scientists can’t yet say that if we burn fewer fossil fuels and reduce aerosols by X amount, we can expect Y amount of warming. There are just too many unknowns.”
+ Earth First!ers used to go to prison for demolishing ski lifts. Now it’s a public works project.
+ Out of the 27 EU nations, only France missed its renewable energy objective for 2020, when renewable energy represented 19.1% of its consumption, well below the 23% target.
+ Greenland’s glaciers are melting 100 times faster than previously estimated.
+ 80% of emperor penguin colonies will be ‘quasi-extinct’ by 2100.
+ In a single month, Shell’s new petro-chemical plant outside Pittsburgh has emitted more toxins than its permit allowed for an entire year….
+ A new study using lasers and 3D scanning showed that old growth trees in UK lock about twice as much planet-warming carbon as previously though and are a critical bulwark to slow climate change.
+ Iron released by melting permafrost is turning the rivers of the far north in Alaska and Canada orange.
+Meanwhile, spruce trees are spreading across the Arctic, where they haven’t grown in 20,000 years.
+ Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed a bill this week that will greenlight fracking in state parks and on other state-owned land, re-define natural gas as a “green energy,” and prohibit local pesticide.
+ Finland’s net carbon emissions haven’t decreased in 30 years.
+ According to FEMA, more than 40 percent of the extreme flood damage claims made from 2017 to 2019 were for properties outside official flood hazard zones, or in areas the agency had yet to map.
+ $3.4 billion: the amount of money fossil fuel industry trade associations have spent on lobbying and advertising to block climate action over the last 10 years.