Brought to you by Climate Denial Crock of the Week
A group of scientists suggest that concentrating on reducing pollutants like soot, ozone, and methane would mitigate climate change, would show more immediate benefits, and might be more politically feasible than concentrating on carbon dioxide (CO2).
To slow climate change, cut down on soot, ozone (NPR)
Simultaneously Mitigating Near-Term Climate Change and Improving Human Health and Food Security (Science magazine, subscription required)
Those are the good ways.
WaterWired has some bad ways of dealing with climate change.
The journal Climatic Change has recently published a series of valuable articles about the effects of climate change on California.
Water, Flooding, etc.:
Not specifically about California, but interesting:
Note: Some of these articles are labeled “Open access,” which means the full text will be free indefinitely. Other articles may be free only until Dec. 31.
Scientists are predicting serious consequences from climate change. There’s a good chance that it will lead to water shortages and an increase in violence and civil war, for example. And yet large numbers of Americans aren’t too worried about climate change, especially if they belong to the Republican or Tea parties.
Two recent news items may change their minds. Climate change could do real damage to the American Way of Life.
Baseball could become a more violent sport as pitchers are more likely to retaliate against batters in warmer weather.
Chocolate production could be crippled in the West African nations that produce most of it.
There you have it. If those two items don’t concern every red-blooded American, I don’t know what will.
From the Sacramento Bee:
Spring passed California by, and summer remains in hiding.
Nine tornadoes have torn up the Sacramento Valley from Oroville to Fairfield. A giant Sierra snowpack, still frozen fast, has put innumerable summer adventures on hold.
The Golden State’s weather has gone haywire.
And it’s not over yet: Sacramento can expect as much as another 1.4 inches of rain this weekend and temperatures 20 degrees below normal, with more mountain snow.
“It’s what I call global weirding,” said Bill Patzert, a climatologist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena. “This has been a very strange year all over the planet.”
Here in the U.S., we’re used to climate change conspiracy theories. They range from:
- It’s not happening
- If it is happening, it’s completely natural
- If it’s happening and it’s caused by humans, it’s too late to do anything about it
- If it’s happening and it’s caused by humans, technology will solve everything, and we won’t have to change our lifestyles
“Thinkers” in other countries have other ideas. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says Europe is stealing his country’s rain.
Of course, this is the same government that has made other irrational statements too numerous to mention.
Clean Water Act guidance
The EPA has issued proposed guidance under the Clean Water Act, including a definition of “Waters of the United States.”
Some say the EPA shouldn’t issue guidance without going through the whole rulemaking process. However, recent Supreme Court decisions have muddied the waters, so to speak.
The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has published two new reports on climate change and Western water. Many news reports wrote about one report or the other, but there are actually two:
- SECURE Water Act Section 9503(c) — Reclamation Climate Change and Water 2011
- West-Wide Climate Risk Assessments: Bias-Corrected and Spatially Downscaled Surface Water Projections
A sampling of the news coverage:
- U.S. study says rising temperatures put Western water supplies at risk, Sacramento Bee
- Western water woes expected to worsen, Contra Costa Times
- Study predicts more instability in Colorado River flows, Las Vegas Review Journal
- Report: Climate change to sap Utah water supply, Salt Lake Tribune
- Climate change may not dramatically affect California’s precipitation or runoff, Los Angeles Times (did Bettina Boxall read the same report?)
The editorial writers at the Las Vegas Review Journal certainly didn’t read the report (or even their own reporter’s news article) when they wrote River’s problems can’t be blamed on global warming. I guess the Bureau of Reclamation is filled with hippie treehuggers.
Don’t want people to worry about greenhouse gases? Just stop publishing the data!
On the other hand, if you are concerned about climate change, and you’re involved in resource management, say, or local government, check out the Climate Adaptation Knowledge Exchange (CAKE). It’s filled with advice, case studies, directories of contacts, etc.
UCLA will catalog a noted conservationist’s collection, Los Angeles Times, May 1.
When Ellen Stern Harris died of cancer five years ago at age 76, the pugnacious conservationist left a vast and chaotic collection of letters, research files, photos and publications.
Last Wednesday, a UCLA van pulled up to a chilly storage warehouse in West Los Angeles to pick up 28 cartons of materials, carefully organized by an archivist hired through Craigslist. Over the coming months, UCLA plans to digitize the contents to make them available online to scholars and others interested in California’s political and environmental history.
Considered to be the mother of the California Coastal Zone Conservation Act of 1972, Harris was an environmental activist long before the avocation became fashionable. When The Times named her Woman of the Year in 1969, columnist Art Seidenbaum called her “a modern kind of earth mother who fights for land, sea and air…a state official, a community organizer and a most uncommon scold.”
Consortium for the Advancement of Hydrologic Science Inc. has cyberseminars.
5. Climate B.S. and misrepresentations presented by Fox “News.”
4. Misleading or false testimony to Congress and policymakers about climate change.
3. The false claim that a single weather event, such as a huge snowstorm in Washington, D.C., proves there is no global warming.
2. The claim that the “Climategate” emails meant that global warming was a hoax, or was criminal, as Senator Inhofe tried to argue. In fact, it was none of these things (though the British police are still investigating the illegal hacking of a British university’s computer system and the theft of the emails).
1. “There has been no warming since 1998″ [or 2000, or...], “the earth is cooling,” “global warming is natural,” and “humans are too insignificant to affect the climate.” Such statements are all nonsense and important for the general public to understand properly.
The EPA announced late Thursday that it will regulate greenhouse gases from fossil fuel power plant and refineries.
Here are some excerpts from the announcement:
EPA to Set Modest Pace for Greenhouse Gas Standards / Agency stresses flexibility and public input in developing cost-effective and protective GHG standards for largest emitters
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued its plan for establishing greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution standards under the Clean Air Act in 2011. The agency looked at a number of sectors and is moving forward on GHG standards for fossil fuel power plants and petroleum refineries—two of the largest industrial sources, representing nearly 40 percent of the GHG pollution in the United States. The schedule issued in today’s agreements provides a clear path forward for these sectors and is part of EPA’s common-sense approach to addressing GHGs from the largest industrial pollution sources.
The Clean Air Act requires EPA to set industry-specific standards for new sources that emit significant quantities of harmful pollutants. These standards, called New Source Performance Standards (NSPS), set the level of pollution new facilities may emit and address air pollution from existing facilities. The Act allows flexible and innovative approaches that take into account cost, health and environmental impacts, and energy requirements. EPA must also periodically update these standards to reflect improvements in control technologies.
The AP story by Merrill Hartson, at least as it showed up on Yahoo News, was headlined, “EPA moving unilaterally to limit greenhouse gases.” The lede said:
WASHINGTON – Stymied in Congress, the Obama administration is moving unilaterally to clamp down on power plant and oil refinery greenhouse emissions, announcing plans for developing new standards over the next year.
Let’s take a look at the facts here, OK? Congress passed the Clean Air Act in 1970, giving the EPA the authority to regulate air pollutants. (It’s been amended since then, most notably in 1990.)
As the scientific evidence mounted that greenhouse gases caused climate change, the Bush Administration dragged its feet on regulating industries that produce GHGs. Several states, led by Massachusetts, sued the EPA. In response, Bush’s EPA claimed that 1) it didn’t have the authority to regulate GHGs, and 2) even if it did, it would conflict with other policies and agencies. In April 2007, the Supreme Court ruled (summary, full decision) that the EPA most certainly did have the authority to regulate GHGs under the Clean Air Act and if they are dangerous to human health, the EPA must regulate them.
So EPA went back to work and in December 2007 found that GHGs are dangerous to human health; they could hardly do otherwise. They sent the e-mail over to the White House, where OMB staff just didn’t open it! With similar shenanigans, the Bush administration ran out the clock until Jan. 20, 2009.
Now that we have an administration committed to acting legally and with scientific evidence, the EPA has moved slowly but surely toward regulating GHGs. They have studied the science and determined that there is a danger and now they are making appropriate regulations. This is how it’s supposed to work under our system. There is nothing unilateral about it, the AP’s hysterics notwithstanding.