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Post by thelivyjr » Sat Nov 02, 2019 1:40 p

Teen Vogue

"My Home Is Already Being Destroyed by Climate Change"

Kaylah Brathwaite


I have spent my entire life on a dying planet.

We know that climate change not only puts the future of our earth in peril, but that it is frontline youth — those of us who live on islands, in rural areas, and along the coast — who will experience its most severe consequences.

The infamous 2030 deadline to prevent catastrophic climate change may loom on the horizon, but these youth are already witnessing the extraordinary damage that the climate crisis has done to our homes.

Saint Croix, United States Virgin Islands, a small but culturally rich island of 84-square miles and a mixing pot of cultures — my home — is being destroyed by the climate crisis.

Alone, I can never do enough to save it.

Before I even knew about the science of climate change, I was already familiar with climate anxiety and existential dread.

I didn’t know anything about climate change in elementary school, and I’m sure some of my premature existential dread was influenced by Christianity.

But no child has apocalyptic thoughts without reason.

My birthday is around the beginning of hurricane season, so I remember the joy of storms that would pass through and how their presence was a source of nourishment and blessing to our lands.

I remember floating paper sailboats in our roads before hurricanes, without care of the danger hurricanes now carry.

We have seen multiple record-breaking, dangerous hurricanes over the past five years.

The seasoned islanders I know are more afraid than ever of nature’s untamable force.

Their fears echo mine, and that’s why I advocate for them.

Due to climate change, warmer oceans are producing more intense hurricanes.

Warmer air can also hold more moisture, increasing the amount of rainfall produced by those ever-more destructive storms.

Stronger hurricanes impede on the livelihood of locals, taking a toll on their agriculture, marine life, homes, and their health.

More powerful countries are responsible for letting the climate crisis become so extreme, yet they’ve also left vulnerable communities squabbling for habitable land.

Strikes and mass mobilization are instrumental to acquiring climate justice.

But striking is not a viable option for many on the island.

People I’ve spoken to are scared of being fired from their jobs or being arrested due to racial profiling; others may not have the time or think the strikes aren’t worth it.

These are all valid concerns worth addressing.

But right now, I see it as an obligation of mine to use my voice to amplify theirs.

There is little more valuable than listening to the voices and stories of those experiencing a crisis firsthand.

There is a different sense of urgency for those of us whose whose homes are being destroyed right now.

We understand that revolutionary action is required.

We must call upon our representatives to take the climate crisis as seriously as it deserves.

We strike out of fear and to show unity against systems that seek to destroy us.

We know that individuals are weak against powerful injustices, but that mass strikes can challenge and undermine a status quo that prioritizes profit over the well-being of our homes and planet.

Tourists and oil refineries have been the biggest contributors to my home’s economy but have also been the downfall of our environment.

Our dependency on a capitalist system that is actively contributing to our demise isn’t our only choice.

I strike for those working in the fossil fuel industry just as much as I strike for my fellow activists.

We need a just transition that ensures that workers who contribute to the climate crisis don’t lose their sources of income after we’ve made the revolutionary switch to renewable sources of energy.

These are the sort of processes that recognize that marginalized communities are most affected by climate change but are sometimes forced to rely on paychecks from industries that actively undermine their way of life.

Climate justice is liberation.

And I want to be liberated.

This story is part of Covering Climate Now, a global collaboration of more than 250 news outlets to strengthen coverage of the climate story.

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Post by thelivyjr » Sun Nov 03, 2019 1:40 p

THE CAPE CHARLES MIRROR November 2, 2019 at 10:49 pm

Paul Plante says :

So, getting back to “Climate-gate” for a moment, exactly what was that controversy actually about?

Does anyone really have a clue?

More to the point, is there anyone who even cares?

Afterall, we had Jon Krosnick, professor of communication, political science and psychology at Stanford University telling us, quite accurately in my estimation, that, “We don’t see a lot of evidence that the general public in the United States is picking up on the (University of East Anglia) emails, it’s too inside baseball.”

But then, on the other hand, and there always is one, isn’t there, we had a much more somber A. A. Leiserowitz, Director of the Yale University Project on Climate Change, and colleagues in 2010 telling us this, instead:

Climategate had a significant effect on public beliefs in global warming and trust in scientists.

The loss of trust in scientists, however, was primarily among individuals with a strongly individualistic worldview or politically conservative ideology.

Nonetheless, Americans overall continue to trust scientists more than other sources of information about global warming.

end quotes

Now, that is hyperbolic horse**** for several reasons, starting with the fact that the majority of people in America weren’t even aware of Climate-gate as it was happening, and people do not trust “scientists” for the reason that scientists have proven themselves not worthy of trust, and here I cite as just one example an article in the Albany, New York Times Union entitled “Work raises questions on canal, lawsuit – Fourth season of cleanup begins as dispute between GE, National Grid flares” by Brian Nearing on April 30, 2013, as follows:

Fort Edward – Dredging of PCBs from the Hudson River resumed for the season Monday with two large unanswered questions: Will General Electric Co., which has spent about $1 billion so far on the cleanup, convince a judge that a utility company ought to help pay for the work?

And will PCBs ever be dredged from the river’s tainted Champlain Canal channel?

GE wants National Grid to cover some of the bill because a predecessor company, Niagara Mohawk, unleashed a torrent of PCBs downriver after removing a dam in Fort Edward, according to a lawsuit filed in federal court Friday by GE.

On Monday, GE spokesman Mark Behan said GE believes National Grid bears responsibility for a 1973 decision by Niagara Mohawk to tear down an aging, 1880s-era dam downstream of GE plants in Hudson Falls and Fort Edward.

That dam was holding back PCBs that had been released into the river over the years by the plants.

Tons of tainted mud and sediments were swept downstream.

end quotes

Now, as it so happens, I was employed by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation at that time, this being 1975, and it was given to me to go down through all of the documents related to the removal of that dam, as the DEC was at that same time trying to hold GE to account in a hearing that I was collecting evidence for.

The bottom line is that the “scientist,” a college professor somewhere with a Ph.D. acting as a “rented pencil” with a scientific opinion on something available to those who could afford to buy it (science is a bidness, afterall) applied the wrong theory, using “classic impoundment theory” in a situation where the theory clearly was the wrong one to use, which a smart high school student would have determined if he or she had actually first visited the site, which the “scientist” never did, and then studied the history of the Hudson River, which the “scientist” never did, and then looked at the theory itself and what conditions in reality were required for that theory to be applicable.

Then, in the hearing, GE hired another “scientist,” again a professor somewhere with a Ph.D. so he of course was “Dr. Such-and-Such,” which is what makes them so important, and my job was to sit and listen as he was cross-examined by a DEC lawyer, and when he spouted bull****, which is what I as an engineer trust them to do, I would write out a note to the lawyer who would then adjust his questioning.

In this case, the “scientist” visited the site by being flown over it in a small plane.

During his testimony, which was intended to cover the proceedings with smoke in a vain attempt to absolve GE, the dude during cross-examination began giving a cock-a-mamie answer which required a certain fish to be present in the upper Hudson River to prove that the river was actually healthy.

Except that fish had never lived in the upper Hudson River, and was not a fish you would find in that type of environment.

So there, in just that one instance, were 2 “scientists” caught out peddling pure bull****, because people, that is where the money is.

Fast forward from there to April 5, 1995, Issues Ruling, April 5, 1995, STATE OF NEW YORK: DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION – In the Matter of the Application of WILLIAM E. DAILEY, INC. for a Mined Land Reclamation Permit, a Permit to Construct an Air Contamination Source; and a State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permit, pursuant to Environmental Conservation Law (ECL) Articles 23, 19 and 17; and Title 6 of the Official Compilation of Codes Rules and Regulations of the State of New York (6 NYCRR), where I was both a witness for and representative of one of the parties to be affected by the operation, which meant that I got to cross-examine the Ph.D. “scientist” who was the expert witness for the applicant on groundwater hydrology.

Based in part on that cross-examination, which again determined that the “scientist” was spewing bull****, the applicant ended the hearing voluntarily and came to a settlement with the community members that actually provided them with real protection.

And from there we go to June 26, 1998, and “In the Matter – of – the Application of LANE CONSTRUCTION COMPANY for a Mined Land Use Permit, and other required permits for operation of a Hard Rock Mine in the Town of Nassau, Rensselaer County, New York,” DEC Project No. 4-3830-00046/00001-0, where again I was both an expert witness on behalf of town residents and a representative as well, which again meant that I got to cross-examine the applicant’s “experts,” in this case a PH.D. who was a department chairman at a local university, his surly, smart-mouthed engineer assistant, and 2 hydrogeologists.

Despite the efforts of the applicant’s lawyer to end my cross-examination, I kept it up for days on end, using read-backs from the transcript to show how an answer this day from one member of the panel was at odds with a previous answer on another day, and that went on and on and on until finally, the PH.D. was forced to admit, on the record in front of a crowd of people that he did inadequate science because he didn’t get paid enough to do it right and there was no more money forthcoming.

So, tell me, people. is it somehow “unfair” to consider that scientists may in fact be liars?

Or is it an act of self-preservation to consider them as such, when they have earned the label?

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Post by thelivyjr » Mon Nov 04, 2019 1:40 p

THE CAPE CHARLES MIRROR November 3, 2019 at 7:47 pm

Paul Plante says :

Yes, Chas, the little rich girl from Sweden with the massive CO2 cloud following her around on her peregrination says that same mantra over and over, and each time she says it, dear friend Chas, it sounds just as ridiculous as it did the time before.

What is the current, best available “science,” dear friend Chas?

In fact, what is “science,” besides a word that has become empty and devoid of rational meaning, in large part thanks to Greta, and the main-stream media who are hysteria-mongering for profit, while exploiting the ignorance of children like little Greta, to do so.

Science, my dear friend Chas, is defined as the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behaviour of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment, and the aim of science is to build true and accurate knowledge about how the world works.

So, given that, the best climate science available today would have to be “CLIMATE, HISTORY AND THE MODERN WORLD,” Second Edition by Hubert H. Lamb, founder of the Climate Research Unit of East Anglia College in England, where we have as follows:

The ending of the ice age brought great changes in the landscape, not just the melting of the mountains of ice and the gradual disappearance of many lakes but the rise of sea level as the melt water returned to the oceans, and the beginning of the prolonged rise, or rebound, of those land areas that had been weighed down by the masses of ice.

The land around the northernmost end of the Baltic, the head of the Gulf of Bothnia, where the former north European ice-sheet was centred, is still rising about one metre per hundred years.

The total rise of this part of Scandinavia since the ice disappeared is estimated to have been 270–300 m.

And besides all this, there came the advance of the forest over vast tracts that had been tundra or grassy plains.

These were drastic changes for the people and animals then living, whose way of life was adjusted to the ice age world.

end quotes

And dear friend Chas, this is all high school level stuff here which has been known for in some cases over a hundred years, so why is poor Greta running around like a lost child in the woods crying over and over, “what we need is for our politicians and the people in power to start listening to the current, best available science?”

Getting back to “the best science,” dear friend Chas, it continues as follows:

In various regions — around the Mediterranean, about the North Sea, and the Great Australian Bight, to name but a few — and perhaps in most parts of the world, the early populations seem to have lived near the sea, probably because of the opportunities of catching fish in the estuaries and evaporating sea water to get salt to preserve the food they caught on land and in the water.

It seems likely therefore that the centres of gravity of the ice age populations were often in areas now submerged by the sea.

end quotes

SHRIEK, SHRIEK, you know what I am saying, dear friend Chas – the earth is a sometimes violent place with a mind of its own that really does not give a damn about whether humans sink or swim, regardless of how humans like poor little scared girl Greta might feel about it.

The earth giveth and the earth taketh away, and if little Greta don’t like that, or can’t handle it emotionally, that is just too damn bad.

Getting back to the “real-deal” science here, Chas, we have:

It has been suggested that the end of the ice age, and the continued rise of sea level that followed, may have greatly reduced the total numbers of mankind — an event rare in history — and may have given rise to many of the legends of a great flood in ancient times.

end quotes

The earth eats people, Chas – that is a part of its violent nature, and that is something I knew when I was five years old, if not earlier.

And here, dear friend Chas, is where the real science gets interesting and controversial, to wit:

The most distinctive feature of early post-glacial times was, of course, the globally increasing warmth.

In most parts of the world the climate between 5000 BC or earlier and 3000 BC seems to have been generally warmer by 1–3°C than it is today.

end quotes

And yet, dear friend Chas, the CO2 was lower.

So how do the modern “climate scientists” that little Greta is carrying water for deal with that?

They cough in their hand and try like hell to make that go away is what they do, which is why people do not trust scientists, nor should they blindly, Chas, at least here in the United States of America, where we do not take direction from scientists, regardless of how eminent they might think themselves in the CHURCH OF SCIENCE.

Getting back to the real deal science, Chas:

In the northernmost parts of North America, where remnants of the former ice-sheet lingered longest, and also in Greenland, the warmest time was not reached until nearly 2000 BC.

And, of course, it was the melting of the land-based ice-sheets which caused the level of the seas to rise.

The rise began before 15,000 BC, as soon as the ice-sheets began to recede.

Of course, the details are less certain than the overall trend, but there is considerable agreement that the most rapid phases were between about 8000 and 5000 BC, also that the rise of general water level was effectively over by about 2000 BC, when it may have stood a metre or two higher than today.

There were one or two drastic stages, as with the rapid melting of the Scandinavian ice-sheet after about 8200 BC, until there were only small remnants not much greater than today’s ice-caps in Norway by 6000 BC, and the entry of the sea into Hudson Bay around 6000 BC followed by quick reduction of the great North American ice-sheet: by about 3000 BC the last remnants of the latter had gone, apart from the ice still present on Baffin Island and the Canadian Arctic islands.

At times the rate of rise of the ocean was even overtaking the land rise in the Baltic region and in places like Scotland and Hudson Bay, where the former weight of ice had been centred.

But in those regions the emergence of more land from the water has dominated in the last five thousand years.

During the same millennia the geography of the Baltic and the course of its outlets changed several times, and low-lying coasts in other parts of the world far from the former ice-sheets must also have receded fast before the advancing tide.

It may be imagined that even the most rapid post-glacial rise of mean sea level, averaging between one and five metres per century, would have drowned nobody.

But this is a misunderstanding.

The history of disasters near the low-lying coasts of the North Sea in the last thousand years teaches that recession of the coasts does not take place as a gradual process but in sudden advances of the sea at times of great storms which coincide with an exceptional tide heightened by the storm surge.

end quotes

So what is any different today, dear friend Chas?

People like little Greta want the earth to behave like a trained seal playing the Star-Spangled Banner on a tuned set of French taxi horns, and when it doesn't, they freak out and throw tantrums and demand that each of us panic so we can know what it is like for her to feel fear, and I’m not playing that silly child’s game for her, which takes us back to the science, as follows:

Most generations of mankind in most parts of the world have regarded climate as an unreliable, shifting, fluctuating thing, sometimes offering briefly unforeseen opportunities but at other times bringing disaster by famine, flood, drought or disease — not to mention frost, snow and icy winds.

There was no mistaking this when the glaciers in the Alps, in Iceland and in Norway, during the seventeenth century and thereabouts, were advancing over farms and farmland.

Doubtless, the nomadic peoples of the past or present in every continent have been aware of such changes at times when their pastures were drying up.

It must have been equally clear, at least to some, when in various countries in the late Middle Ages traditional crops and croplands had to be given up and taxes ‘permanently’ reduced.

When, on the other hand, the climate becomes warmer or more convenient for human activities, it tends to be taken for granted and the change may for a long time pass unnoticed.

end quotes

And there, my friend Chas, is where little Greta is – the poor little girl was somehow tricked or hoodwinked or misled into believing that since she was special, the earth would be for her whatever she wanted it to be.

Should we as rational adults cheer that, do you think?

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Post by thelivyjr » Tue Nov 05, 2019 1:40 p


"The Anthropocene epoch: have we entered a new phase of planetary history? - Human activity has transformed the Earth – but scientists are divided about whether this is really a turning point in geological history."

By Nicola Davison

Thu 30 May 2019 01.00 EDT Last modified on Mon 10 Jun 2019 07.00 EDT

It was February 2000 and the Nobel laureate Paul Crutzen was sitting in a meeting room in Cuernavaca, Mexico, stewing quietly.

Five years earlier, Crutzen and two colleagues had been awarded the Nobel prize in chemistry for proving that the ozone layer, which shields the planet from ultraviolet light, was thinning at the poles because of rising concentrations of industrial gas.

Now he was attending a meeting of scientists who studied the planet’s oceans, land surfaces and atmosphere.

As the scientists presented their findings, most of which described dramatic planetary changes, Crutzen shifted in his seat.

“You could see he was getting agitated."

"He wasn’t happy,” Will Steffen, a chemist who organised the meeting, told me recently.

What finally tipped Crutzen over the edge was a presentation by a group of scientists that focused on the Holocene, the geological epoch that began around 11,700 years ago and continues to the present day.

After Crutzen heard the word Holocene for the umpteenth time, he lost it.

“He stopped everybody and said: ‘Stop saying the Holocene!'"

"'We’re not in the Holocene any more,’” Steffen recalled.

But then Crutzen stalled.

The outburst had not been premeditated, but now all eyes were on him.

So he blurted out a name for a new epoch.

A combination of anthropos, the Greek for “human”, and “-cene”, the suffix used in names of geological epochs, “Anthropocene” at least sounded academic.

Steffen made a note.

A few months after the meeting, Crutzen and an American biologist, Eugene Stoermer, expanded on the idea in an article on the “Anthropocene”.

We were entering an entirely new phase of planetary history, they argued, in which human beings had become the driving force.

And without a major catastrophe, such as an asteroid impact or nuclear war, humankind would remain a major geological force for many millennia.

The article appeared on page 17 of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme’s newsletter.

At this point it did not seem likely the term would ever travel beyond the abstruse literature produced by institutions preoccupied with things like the nitrogen cycle.

But the concept took flight.

Environmental scientists latched on to what they saw as a useful catch-all term for the changes to the natural world – retreating sea ice, accelerating species extinction, bleached coral reefs – that they were already attributing to human activity.

Academic articles began to appear with “Anthropocene” in the title, followed by entire journals dedicated to the topic.

Soon the idea jumped to the humanities, then newspapers and magazines, and then to the arts, becoming a subject of photography, poetry, opera and a song by Nick Cave.

“The proliferation of this concept can mainly be traced back to the fact that, under the guise of scientific neutrality, it conveys a message of almost unparalleled moral-political urgency,” wrote the German philosopher Peter Sloterdijk.

There was just one place where the Anthropocene seemed not to be catching on: among the geologists who actually define these terms.

Geologists are the guardians of the Earth’s timeline.

By studying the Earth’s crust, they have carved up the planet’s 4.6bn years of history into phases and placed them in chronological order on a timescale called the International Chronostratigraphic Chart.

That timescale is the backbone of geology.

Modifying it is a slow and tortuous process, overseen by an official body, the International Commission on Stratigraphy (ICS).

You can’t just make up a new epoch and give it a convincing name; the care taken over the timescale’s construction is precisely what gives it authority.

To many geologists, accustomed to working with rocks that are hundreds of millions of years old, the notion that a species that has been around for the blink of an eye was now a genuine geological force seemed absurd.

Few would deny we are in a period of climatic turmoil, but many feel that, compared with some of the truly apocalyptic events of the deep past – such as the period, 252m years ago, when temperatures rose 10C and 96% of marine species died – the change so far has not been especially severe.

“Many geologists would say: it’s just a blip,” Philip Gibbard, the secretary-general of the ICS, told me.

But as the idea of the Anthropocene spread, it became harder for geologists to ignore.

At a meeting of the Geological Society of London, in 2006, a stratigrapher named Jan Zalasiewicz argued that it was time to look at the concept seriously.

Stratigraphy is the branch of geology that studies rock layers, or strata, and it is stratigraphers who work on the timescale directly.

To Zalasiewicz’s surprise, his colleagues agreed.

In 2008, Gibbard asked if Zalasiewicz would be prepared to assemble and lead a team of experts to investigate the matter more deeply.

If the group found evidence that the Anthropocene was “stratigraphically real”, they would need to submit a proposal to the ICS.

If the proposal was approved, the result would be literally epoch-changing.

A new chapter of Earth’s history would need to be written.

With a mounting sense of apprehension, Zalasiewicz agreed to take on the task.

He knew the undertaking would not only be difficult but divisive, risking the ire of colleagues who felt that all the chatter around the Anthropocene had more to do with politics and media hype than actual science.

“All the things the Anthropocene implies that are beyond geology, particularly the social-political stuff, is new terrain for many geologists,” Zalasiewicz told me.

“To have this word used by climate commissions and environmental organisations is unfamiliar and may feel dangerous.”

What’s more, he had no funding, which meant he would have to find dozens of experts for the working group who would be willing to help him for free.

Having spent much of his career absorbed in the classification of 400m-year-old fossils called graptolites, Zalasiewicz did not consider himself a natural people manager.

“I found myself landed in this position,” he said.

“My reaction was: goodness me, where do we go from here?”

Working out the age of the planet has always been a fraught business.

The Bible stated that God created everything in six days, but it wasn’t until the 17th century that scholars made a concerted effort to work out precisely when that week might have been.

For some time, the estimate of one scholar, an Irish archbishop named James Ussher, held sway: the world began on 23 October 4004 BC.

Then, in the late 18th century, a different theory emerged, one based on the close observation of the natural world.

By studying the near-imperceptibly slow process of the weathering and forming of rocks, thinkers such as the Scottish landowner James Hutton argued that the Earth must be far, far older than previously thought.

The invention of geology would go on to transform our sense of our place in existence, a revolution in self-perception similar to the discovery that the Earth is not at the centre of the universe.

Human beings were suddenly an astonishingly recent phenomenon, a “parenthesis of infinitesimal brevity”, as James Joyce once wrote.

During the almost inconceivable expanse of pre-human time, successive worlds had risen and collapsed.

Each world had its own peculiar history, which was written in rock and waiting to be discovered.

In the early 19th century, geologists began naming and organising different rock formations in a bid to impose some order on the endless discoveries they were making.

They used clues within the rock layers, such as fossils, minerals, texture and colour, to tell when formations in different locations dated to the same time period.

For instance, if two bands of limestone contained the same type of fossilised mollusc, alongside a certain quartz, it was likely they had been laid down at the same point in time, even if they were discovered miles apart.

Geologists called the spans of time that the rock formations represented “units”.

On the timescale today, units vary in size, from eons, which last for billions of years, to ages, which last for mere thousands.

Units nestle inside each other, like Russian dolls.

Officially, we live in the Meghalayan age (which began 4,200 years ago) of the Holocene epoch.

The Holocene falls in the Quaternary period (2.6m years ago) of the Cenozoic era (66m) in the Phanerozoic eon (541m).

Certain units attract more fanfare than others.

Most people recognise the Jurassic.

As geologists began dividing deep time into units, they came up against the difficult question of boundaries – defining precisely where one phase of history transitions into the next.

In the late 19th century, it was recognised that if the field was to advance, global cooperation and coordination would be necessary.

The International Commission on Nomenclature, the forerunner of the present-day ICS, was established during a congress in Bologna in 1881 with the mandate of creating an international language of geology, one that was to be enshrined in the timescale.

The task of interpreting and classifying 4.6bn years of Earth history continues today.

Geologists have barely begun to describe the Precambrian eon, which spans Earth’s first 4bn years.

Meanwhile, well-studied units are revised as new evidence unsettles old assumptions.

In 2004, the Quaternary period was unceremoniously jettisoned and the preceding period, the Neogene, extended to cover its 1.8m years.

The move came as a surprise to many Quaternary geologists, who mounted an aggressive campaign to redeem their period.

Eventually, in 2009, the ICS brought the Quaternary back and moved its boundary down by 800,000 years to the beginning of an ice age, a point considered more geologically significant.

Having now “lost” millions of years, Neogene scientists were incandescent.

“You might ask: who wasn’t upset by it?” Gibbard told me.

Modifying the geological timescale is a bit like trying to pass a constitutional amendment, with rounds of proposal and scrutiny overseen by the ICS.

“We have to be relatively conservative,” said Gibbard, “because anything we do is going to have a longer-term implication in terms of the science and literature.”

First, a working group drafts a proposal which is submitted to an expert subcommission for review and vote.

From the subcommission, the proposal advances to the voting members of the ICS (composed of the chairs of the subcommissions, plus the chair, vice-chair and general-secretary of the ICS).

Once the ICS has voted in its favour, it passes to the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS), geology’s highest body, to be ratified.

Whether or not a new proposal successfully passes through all these rounds comes down to the quality of evidence that the working group can amass, as well as the individual predilections of the 50-or-so seasoned geologists who constitute the senior committees.

This did not bode well for Zalasiewicz as he began to put together the Anthropocene working group.

In fundamental ways, the idea of the Anthropocene is unlike anything geologists have considered before.

The planet’s timekeepers have built their timescale from the physical records laid down in rocks long ago.

Without due time to form, the “rocks” of the Anthropocene were little more than “two centimetres of unconsolidated organic matter”, as one geologist put it to me.

“If we think about the Anthropocene in purely geological terms – and that’s the trouble, because we’re looking at it with that perspective – it’s an instant,” said Gibbard.

Zalasiewicz grew up in the foothills of the Pennines in a house that contained his parents, sister and a growing collection of rocks.

When he was 12, his sister brought home a nestful of starlings, which his mother, who loved animals, nursed to health.

Soon neighbours started calling round with all manner of injured birds, and for several years Zalasiewicz shared his bedroom with a little owl and a kestrel.

(Kestrels, he came to know, are “rather thick creatures”.)

He started volunteering at the local museum in Ludlow in the summer, where he met people who were expert in the things he cared most about, such as where to find trilobites.

By his mid-teens, he told me, “geology was it”.

Now 64, Zalasiewicz is small and slight, with silver hair that sticks out like a scarecrow’s.

He has worked in Leicester University’s geology department for 20 years, and presents himself as a quintessential geologist, a wearer of leather elbow patches and lover of graptolites.

Yet among geologists, he is a known provocateur.

His reputation stems from one of his papers, published in 2004, in which he argued that stratigraphy should throw out some of the terminology that has been in use since the discipline’s earliest days in favour of more modern terms.

It was, to some, an audacious suggestion.

When I emailed David Fastovsky, the former editor of the journal Geology, who had published the paper 15 years ago, he remembered it well.

“The general feeling at the time,” he wrote, “was that it might be possible, but who would dare to take the first shot?”

Over the years, Zalasiewicz has indulged in thought experiments that are, among geologists, peculiar.

In 1998, he wrote an article for New Scientist in which he imagined what mark humans might leave on the Earth long after we are extinct.

His ideas became a book, published 10 years later, called The Earth After Us.

Geologists tend to have their minds trained on the deep past, and Zalasiewicz’s forward-thinking approach marked him out.

When, in 2006, Zalasiewicz broached the subject of the Anthropocene at the Geological Society meeting, Gibbard recalled thinking: “Well, these two go together very well.”

After he was appointed chair of the Anthropocene working group, Zalasiewicz needed to assemble his team.

“At the time, it was simply a hypothetical and interesting question: can this thing be for real geologically?” Zalasiewicz told me when I visited him in Leicester last year.

“It was arm-waving with very little specific detail."

"The diagrams were back-of-the-beer-mat things.”

Stratigraphic working groups are, not surprisingly, usually composed of stratigraphers.

But Zalasiewicz took a different approach.

Alongside traditional geologists, he brought in Earth systems scientists, who study planet-wide processes such as the carbon cycle, as well as an archeologist and an environmental historian.

Soon the group numbered 35.

It was international in character, if overwhelmingly male and white, and included experts with specialisms in paleoecology, radiocarbon isotopes and the law of the sea.

If the Anthropocene was, in fact, already upon us, the group would need to prove that the Holocene – an unusually stable epoch in which temperature, sea level and carbon dioxide levels have stayed relatively constant for nearly 12 millenia – had come to an end.

They began by looking at the atmosphere.

During the Holocene, the amount of CO2 in the air, measured in parts per million (ppm), was between 260 and 280.

Data from 2005, the most recent year recorded when the working group started out, showed levels had climbed to 379 ppm.

Since then, it has risen to 405 ppm.

The group calculated that the last time there was this much CO2 in the air was during the Pliocene epoch 3m years ago.

(Because the burning of fossil fuels in pursuit of the accumulation of capital in the west has been the predominant source of these emissions, some suggest “Capitalocene” is the more appropriate name.)

Next they looked at what had happened to animals and plants.

Past shifts in geological time have often been accompanied by mass extinctions, as species struggle to adapt to new environments.

In 2011, research by Anthony Barnosky, a member of the group, suggested something similar was underway once again.

Others investigated the ways humans have scrambled the biosphere, removing species from their natural habitat and releasing them into new ones.

As humans have multiplied, we have also made the natural world more homogenous.

The world’s most common vertebrate, the broiler chicken, of which there are 23bn alive at any one time, was created by humans to be eaten by humans.

Then there was also the matter of all our stuff.

Not only have humans modified the Earth’s surface by building mines, roads, towns and cities, we have created increasingly sophisticated materials and tools, from smartphones to ballpoint pens, fragments of which will become buried in sediment, forming part of the rocks of the future.

One estimate puts the weight of everything humans have ever built and manufactured at 30tn tonnes.

The working group argued that the remnants of our stuff, which they called “technofossils”, will survive in the rock record for millions of years, distinguishing our time from what came before.

By 2016, most of the group was persuaded that what they were seeing amounted to more than a simple fluctuation.

“All these changes are either complete novelties or they are just off the scale when it comes to anything Holocene,” Zalasiewicz told me.

That year, 24 working group members co-authored an article, published in the journal Science, announcing that the Anthropocene was “functionally and stratigraphically distinct” from the Holocene.

But the details were far from settled.

The group needed to agree a start-date for the Anthropocene, yet there was nothing as clean as a colossal volcanic eruption or an asteroid strike to mark the point where it began.

“From a geological point of view, that makes life very difficult,” said Gibbard, who is also a member of the working group.

The group was split into opposed camps, largely according to their academic specialisation.

Initially, when he first proposed the notion of the Anthropocene, Paul Crutzen, who is an atmospheric chemist, had suggested the industrial revolution as the start-date because that was when concentrations of CO2 and methane began accumulating significantly in the air.

Lately the Earth system scientists had come to prefer the start of the so-called “great acceleration”, the years following the second world war when the collective actions of humans suddenly began to put much more strain on the natural world than ever before.

Most stratigraphers were now siding with them – they believe that the activity of the 1950s will leave a sharper indentation on the geological record.

This concerned the archaeologists, who felt that privileging a 1950 start-date dismissed the thousands of years of human impact that they study, from our early use of fire to the emergence of agriculture.

“There is a feeling among the archaeologists that because the word ‘anthropo’ is in there, their science should be central,” one geologist complained to me privately.

Agreeing the start-date, Gibbard warned, could be the Anthropocene’s “stumbling block”.

At the tail end of last summer, members of the working group boarded flights to Frankfurt and then took a 45-minute train west, to Mainz.

Over two days, they gathered at the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry for the group’s annual meeting.

Crutzen, now in his mid-80s, spent much of his career at the institute, and he was present both as a spectator and in the form of a bronze bust in the foyer.

I asked him what he made of the progress of his idea.

“It started with a few people and then it exploded,” he said.

Under the glow of a projector in a darkened classroom, two dozen researchers shared their latest findings on topics such as organic isotope geochemistry and peat deposits.

Things proceeded without a wrinkle until the second day, when a debate broke out about the start date, which then turned into a debate about whether it was OK for different intellectual communities to use the term “Anthropocene” to mean different things.

Someone at the back suggested adding the word “epoch” for the strictly geological definition, so “Anthropocene” by itself could be used generally.

“It’s just a personal view, but I think it would be confusing to have the same term having different meanings,” said a stratigrapher.

“I don’t think it would be that confusing,” an environmental scientist countered.

In the front row, Zalasiewicz watched with the air of an adjudicator.

Eventually, he chimed in.

“Certainly, in terms of our remit, we can only work from the geological term."

"We can’t police the word ‘Anthropocene’ beyond that,” he said.

Throughout the meeting, Zalasiewicz seemed at pains to emphasise the Anthropocene’s geological legitimacy.

He was aware that a number of influential geologists had taken against the idea, and he was worried about what might happen if the working group was seen to be straying too far from the discipline’s norms.

One of the loudest critics of the Anthropocene is Stanley Finney, who as the secretary-general of the IUGS, the body that ratifies changes to the timescale, is perhaps the most powerful stratigrapher in the world.

During the meeting in Mainz, I was told that Finney was both a “big phallus of the discipline” and “really vehemently anti-Anthropocene”.

Zalasiewicz told me that Finney was an accomplished geologist, but one of a different temperament.

“He sees me as someone who tries to bring in these crazy ideas by the backdoor,” he said.

“I guess if you’re a geologist who spends your time in the past where you have these enormous vistas of time – the human-free zone, if you like – then to have something as fast, busy, crowded, as science-fiction-like, come into the steady, formalised, bureaucratised array of geological time, I can see it as something you might naturally take against.”

When Finney first came across the term “Anthropocene”, in a paper written by Zalasiewicz in 2008, he thought little of it.

To him, it just seemed like a big fuss over the human junk on the surface of the planet.

Finney, who is 71 and a professor of geological sciences at California State University, Long Beach, has spent much of his career trying to picture what the planet was like 450m years ago, during the Ordovician period, when the continents were bunched together in the southern hemisphere and plants first colonised land.

Over the years, he has worked his way up through stratigraphy’s hierarchy.

By the time Zalasiewicz was appointed chair of the working group, Finney was chair of the ICS.

The two scientists knew each other professionally.

Zalasiewicz’s favourite fossils, graptolites, are found in Ordovician strata.

But for some time the pair had not seen eye to eye.

When Zalasiewicz published his 2004 paper arguing that stratigraphers should cast off their long-established terminology, Finney was affronted by this lack of respect for the discipline’s traditions.

In an attempt to find a middle ground, the pair worked on a “compromise paper”.

As the writing got underway, things turned sour.

Finney began to feel that Zalasiewicz was not treating his suggested revisions seriously.

“He would take my comments and he would make tiny little changes but still keep the whole thing,” Finney told me.

“When I saw the final draft that was ready to be accepted [by a journal], I said: ‘Take my name off, I’m not happy with this.'"

"'Just take my name off.’”

From then on, their relations assumed a cool distance.

Finney only decided to look at the Anthropocene in detail after he began getting comments from people who thought it was now an official part of the geological timescale.

The more he looked, the less he liked the idea.

“You can make the ‘big global changes’ issue out of it if you want, but as geologists we work with rocks, you know?” he told me.

To Finney, a negligible amount of “stratigraphic content” has amassed since the 1950s.

Geologists are used to working with strata several inches deep, and Finney thought it was excessively speculative to presume that humans’ impact will one day be legible in rock.

As the Anthropocene working group gained momentum, he grew concerned that the ICS was being pressured into issuing a statement that at its heart had little to do with advancing stratigraphy, and more to do with politics.

Academics both inside and outside geology have noted the Anthropocene’s political implications.

In After Nature, the law professor Jedediah Purdy writes that using the term “Anthropocene” to describe a wide array of human-caused geological and ecological change is “an effort to meld them into a single situation, gathered under a single name”.

To Purdy, the Anthropocene is an attempt to do what the concept of “the environment” did in the 1960s and 70s.

It is pragmatic, a way to name the problem – and thus begin the process of solving it.

Yet if a term becomes too broad, its meaning can become unhelpfully vague.

“There is an impulse to want to put things in capital letters, in formal definitions, just to make them look like they’re nicely organised so you can put them on a shelf and they’ll behave,” said Bill Ruddiman, professor emeritus at the University of Virginia.

A seasoned geologist, Ruddiman has written papers arguing against the stratigraphic definition of the Anthropocene on the grounds that any single start-date would be meaningless since humans have been gradually shaping the planet for at least 50,000 years.

“What the working group is trying to say is everything pre-1950 is pre-Anthropocene, and that’s just absurd,” he told me.

Ruddiman’s arguments have found wide support, even from a handful of members of the working group.

Gibbard told me he had started out “agnostic” about the Anthropocene but lately he had decided it was too soon to tell whether or not it really was a new epoch.

“As geologists, we’re used to looking backwards,” he said.

“Things that we’re living through at the moment – we don’t know how significant they are."

"[The Anthropocene] appears significant but it would be far easier if we were 200 to 300, possibly 2,000 to 3,000, years in the future and then we could look back and say: yes, that was the right thing to do.”

Yet for the majority of the working group, the stratigraphic evidence for the Anthropocene is compelling.

“We realise the Anthropocene goes against the grain of geology in one sense, and other kinds of science, archaeology and anthropology, in another sense,” Zalasiewicz told me.

“We try and deal honestly with their arguments."

"If they were to put out something that we couldn’t jump over, then we’d hold up our hands and say: OK, that’s a killer blow for the Anthropocene."

"But we haven’t seen one yet.”

The day after the Mainz conference came to a close, a small number of working group members met at the central station and took a train to Frankfurt airport.

As the train left the city it crossed the Rhine, a wide river the colour of tepid tea.

Buildings became sparse, giving way to flat fields crossed by pylons and wires.

For all the years of discussion, research and debate, after the meeting it was obvious that the Anthropocene working group was still a long way off submitting its proposal to the ICS.

Zalasiewicz’s favourite joke, that geologists “work in geological time”, was starting to wear thin.

Proposals to amend the timescale require evidence in the form of cores of sediment that have been extracted from the ground.

Within the core there must be a clear sign of major environmental change marked by a chemical or biological trace in the strata, which acts as the physical evidence of where one unit stops and another begins.

(This marker is often called the “golden spike” after the ceremonial gold spike that was used to join two railway tracks when they met in the middle of the US in 1869, forming the transcontinental railroad.)

The core extraction and analysis process takes years and costs hundreds of thousands of pounds – money that, at that point, and despite grant applications, the group did not have.

They discussed the problem on the train.

“Beg, borrow and steal."

"That is the working group motto,” Zalasiewicz said, a little bitterly.

But in the months that followed the meeting, their fortunes changed.

First, they received €800,000 in funding from an unexpected source, the Haus der Kulturen der Welt, a state-funded cultural institute in Berlin that has been holding exhibitions about the Anthropocene for several years.

The money would finally allow the group to begin the core-extraction work, moving the proposal beyond theoretical discussion and into a more hands-on, evidence-gathering stage.

Then, in late April, the group decided to hold a vote that would settle, once and for all, the matter of the start-date.

Working group members had one month to cast their votes; a supermajority of at least 60% would be needed for the vote to be binding.

The results, announced on 21 May, were unequivocal.

Twenty-nine members of the group, representing 88%, voted for the start of the Anthropocene to be in the mid-20th century.

For Zalasiewicz, it was a step forward.

“What we’ll do now is the technical work."

"We’ve now moved beyond the general, almost existential question of ‘is the Anthropocene geological?’” he said, when I called him.

The important votes at the ICS were still to come, but he felt optimistic.

In Mainz, after the train pulled into the airport, the group made for the departure zone.

Among the chaos of wheelie suitcases and people hurrying about, suddenly a voice cried out: “Fossils!”

Zalasiewicz was off to one side, eyes fixed on the polished limestone floor.

“That’s a fossil, these are fossil shells,” he said, pointing to what looked like dark scratches.

One was the shape of a horseshoe, and another looked like a wishbone.

Zalasiewicz identified them as rudists, a type of mollusc that had thrived during the Cretaceous, the last period of the dinosaurs.

Rudists were a hardy species, the main reef-builders of their time.

One rudist reef ran the length of the North American coast from Mexico to Canada.

Staring at the rudists encased in limestone slabs that had been dug out of the ground and transported many miles across land, it was strange to think of the unlikeliness of their arrival in the airport floor.

The rudists beneath our feet had died out 66m years ago, in the same mass extinction event that wiped out the dinosaurs.

Scientists generally believe that the impact of an asteroid in Yucatan, Mexico, plunged the planet into a new phase of climatic instability in which many species perished.

Geologists can see the moment of the impact in rocks as a thin layer of iridium, a metal that occurs in very low concentrations on Earth and was likely expelled by the asteroid and dispersed across the world in a cloud of pulverised rock that blotted out the sun.

To stratigraphers, the iridium forms the “golden spike” between the Cretaceous and Paleogene periods.

Now that the working group has decided roughly when the Anthropocene began, their main task is picking the golden spike of our time.

They are keeping their options open, assessing candidates from microplastics and heavy metals to fly ash.

Even so, a favourite has emerged.

From the pragmatic stratigraphic perspective, no marker is as distinct, or more globally synchronous, than the radioactive fallout from the use of nuclear weapons that began with the US army’s Trinity test in 1945.

Since the early 1950s, this memento of humankind’s darkest self-destructive impulses has settled on the Earth’s surface like icing sugar on a sponge cake.

Plotted on a graph, the radioactive fallout leaps up like an explosion.

Zalasiewicz has taken to calling it the “bomb spike”.

• This article was amended on 30 May 2019. An earlier version incorrectly referred to the Bible as saying “God created everything in seven days”. According to the book of Genesis, God needed only six days to achieve this feat, and was able to rest on the seventh.

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Post by thelivyjr » Wed Nov 06, 2019 1:40 p


"More than 11,000 scientists from around the world declare a ‘climate emergency’"

Andrew Freedman


A new report by 11,258 scientists in 153 countries from a broad range of disciplines warns that the planet “clearly and unequivocally faces a climate emergency,” and provides six broad policy goals that must be met to address it.

The analysis is a stark departure from recent scientific assessments of global warming, such as those of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, in that it does not couch its conclusions in the language of uncertainties, and it does prescribe policies.

The study, called the “World scientists’ warning of a climate emergency,” marks the first time a large group of scientists has formally come out in favor of labeling climate change an “emergency,” which the study notes is caused by many human trends that are together increasing greenhouse gas emissions.

The report, published Tuesday in the journal Bioscience, was spearheaded by the ecologists Bill Ripple and Christopher Wolf of Oregon State University, along with William Moomaw, a Tufts University climate scientist, and researchers in Australia and South Africa.

The study clearly lays out the huge challenge of reducing emissions of greenhouse gases.

“Despite 40 years of global climate negotiations, with few exceptions, we have generally conducted business as usual and have largely failed to address this predicament,” the study states.

The paper bases its conclusions on a set of easy-to-understand indicators that show the human influence on climate, such as 40 years of greenhouse gas emissions, economic trends, population growth rates, per capita meat production, and global tree cover loss, as well as consequences, such as global temperature trends and ocean heat content.

The results are charts that are, at least compared with the climate graphics presented by the IPCC, surprisingly simple, and that help reveal the troubling direction the world is headed.

The study also departs from other major climate assessments in that it directly addresses the politically sensitive subject of population growth.

The study notes that the global decline in fertility rates has “substantially slowed” during the past 20 years, and calls for “bold and drastic” changes in economic growth and population policies to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Such measures would include policies that strengthen human rights, especially for women and girls, and make family-planning services “available to all people,” the paper says.

On energy, the report calls for the world to “implement massive energy efficiency and conservation practices” and cut out fossil fuels in favor of renewable sources of energy, a trend it notes is not happening fast enough.

It also calls for remaining fossil fuels, such as coal and oil, to remain in the ground, never to be burned to generate energy, a key goal for many climate activists.

Maria Abate, a signatory of the scientists’ warning and a biology professor at Simmons College in Boston, says she hopes the paper will raise awareness.

“Like other organisms we are not adapted to recognize far-reaching environmental threats beyond our immediate surroundings,” she said via email.

“The reported vital signs of our global activity and climate responses give us a tangible, evidence-based report card that I hope will help our culture to develop a broader awareness more quickly to slow this climate crisis.”

Other items on the study’s list of policy priorities include quickly cutting emissions of short-lived climate pollutants, such as soot and methane, which could slow short-term warming.

The study also calls for a shift to eating mostly plant-based foods and instituting agricultural practices that increase the amount of carbon the soil absorbs.

On the economy, the study states that improving long-term sustainability and reducing inequality should be prioritized over growing wealth, as measured using gross domestic product.

The authors also advocate for policies that would curtail biodiversity loss and the destruction of forests, and they recommend prioritizing the preservation of intact forests that store carbon along with other lands that can rapidly bury carbon, thereby reducing global warming.

“This is a document that establishes a clear record of the broad consensus among most scientists active at this point in history that the climate crisis is real, and is a major, even existential, threat to human societies, human well-being, and biodiversity,” said Jesse Bellemare, an associate professor of biology at Smith College who is a signatory of the study’s emergency declaration.

He said via email that the presence of so many biologists and ecologists on the list of signatories may reflect the fact that they are observing so many changes from an amount of climate change much smaller than what is projected for the future.

Ripple, of Oregon State, is no stranger to organizing scientific calls to action, having founded the Alliance of World Scientists and organized scientists’ “Warning to Humanity: A Second Notice” in 2017, which was also published in Bioscience and focused on the urgent need to solve a broad array of environmental problems including climate change and biodiversity loss.

“We’re asking for a transformative change for humanity,” Ripple said in an interview.

Many of the signatories to the warning do not list themselves as climate scientists but, instead, as biologists, ecologists and other science specialists.

Ripple says that is intentional, as the authors sought to assemble the broadest support possible.

“The situation we’re in today with climate change,” he says, “shows that this is an issue that needs to move beyond climate scientists only.”

Moomaw says the paper comes from researchers who are seeing the consequences of a rapidly changing planet, and is in part “a statement of frustration on the part of many in the scientific community.”

“Scientists, and in particular those that are studying what is happening in a changed climate, have become the most alarmed at how rapidly these changes are taking place and the urgency of needing to take far more drastic action,” Moomaw said.

The term “climate emergency” has been championed by climate activists and pro-climate action politicians seeking to add a sense of urgency to the way we respond to what is a long-term problem.

The Climate Mobilization, an advocacy group, is seeking to have governments in the United States and elsewhere declare a climate emergency and enact response measures commensurate with such a declaration.

New York’s City Council has declared a climate emergency, as has San Francisco.

European cities have also taken this step.

Bills labeling global warming as an emergency are pending in both the House and the Senate, endorsed by prominent liberals including Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.).

The youth climate movement, including Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, has been leading the charge to ratchet up the language used in describing global warming.

To date, scientists have been reluctant to use such language.

However, this study may change that.

Phil Duffy, a climate researcher and president of the Woods Hole Research Center, who added his name to the paper Monday, said he finds the term fitting, considering the scale of the problem and lack of action so far.

“The term ‘climate emergency’ … I must say, I find it refreshing, really, because you know, I get so impatient with the scientists who just are always just waffling and mumbling about uncertainty, blah, blah, blah, and this certainly is, you know, is much bolder than that,” he said.

“I think it’s right to do that.”

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Post by thelivyjr » Tue Nov 12, 2019 1:40 p


"Opinion: Solving the climate crisis requires innovation backed by the taxpayers"

By Ambroise Fayolle

Published: Nov 11, 2019 2:08 p.m. ET

LISBON, Portugal (Project Syndicate) — Because it poses an existential threat to humanity, climate change represents the bad kind of disruption.

But it can — and must — be fought with the good kind of disruption: innovation.

Since the Industrial Revolution, disruptive innovation has generated growth, created jobs, and opened new avenues for investment.

And in the case of climate change, it could save humanity, by accelerating global efforts to reduce greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions.

In fact, innovation will be absolutely necessary for a successful transition to a green economy that leaves no one behind.

Without it, we have less chance of achieving genuine sustainability.

The only way to get ahead of a crisis as large as climate change is through groundbreaking technological innovation in clean energy and low-carbon technologies.

And that, in turn, will require efforts to mitigate investment risks for private-sector actors, who cannot be expected to ignore their own bottom lines.

The alternative, of course, is unthinkable.

To understand the extent of the threat posed by climate change in the event that we do nothing, consider where we are today.

Average global temperatures have already risen by almost 1°C above pre-industrial levels, owing to the accumulation of GHGs in the atmosphere; and two-thirds of that increase has occurred since 1975.

If the trend continues, global average temperatures could rise by 4°C by the end of this century.

If that doesn’t sound like much, remember that our climate is fragile.

Small changes in surface temperatures will cause big problems.

When average temperatures were 4°C below pre-industrial levels, much of Europe was buried beneath several kilometers of ice.

Just imagine what a world that is 4°C warmer than today might look like.

Effective ideas

Nonetheless, I am confident that effective, disruptive ideas are out there.

Floating windfarms, for example, can unlock clean wind power for the dozens of countries whose coastal waters are too deep for traditional offshore facilities.

And advances in technologies based on waste-eating bioluminescent bacteria promise to illuminate our streets and factories.

To bring these solutions to scale, we need to put more financing into the right hands.

We also need to encourage industries to be more creative, and to pursue more breakthrough technologies.

For example, the European Investment Bank (EIB), the European Commission, and Breakthrough Energy Ventures established a €100 million ($110 million) fund in 2019 to support disruptive investments in clean energy.

Innovative disruption needs to happen fast.

According to the International Energy Agency, only seven of the 45 energy technologies and sectors assessed in its most recent Tracking Clean Energy Progress report are on target to meet its Sustainable Development Scenario, which is aligned with the global commitments enshrined in the 2015 Paris climate agreement.

Hence, for the policy makers, technologists, executives, and entrepreneurs, the question is: Where do we go from here?

Demanding action

Citizens across the European Union and around the world are demanding action to tackle climate change.

This growing awareness of climate risks is filtering into the public debate.

Moreover, under its new president, Ursula von der Leyen, the European Commission has proposed a European Green Deal to enshrine 2050 carbon-neutrality targets in law, with the goal of positioning Europe as a leader in the circular economy and clean technologies of the future.

Europe could reap significant economic benefits as a first mover on climate action.

But European industries first must show that they want to be part of the effort.

They need to innovate, create new solutions, bring new products to market, and get to work on breakthrough technologies.

Investments are urgently needed to drive down the cost of new technologies, increase efficiencies, support first movers, and create new markets.

Of course, even if the private sector is committed fully to climate action, business leaders cannot ignore the bottom line.

Putting money into new technologies and business models is risky, and the outcomes are never guaranteed.

This is where public investment banks have a key role to play.

As Europe’s climate bank and a global leader in green finance, the EIB intends to expand its support for Europe’s transition to a sustainable, zero-carbon economy.

The long view

When it comes to innovation, institutions like the EIB can adopt a long-term view that isn’t always feasible for private-sector actors.

By reducing risks and enabling multiple technological pathways, we can create new, greener opportunities for all sectors.

Identifying promising green projects and directing capital toward them is a major challenge.

Yet, acting as incubators, development banks like the EIB can mobilize the private sector behind such investments.

By offering innovative financial instruments, experience, and expertise to investment partners around the world, public institutions can empower inventors, entrepreneurs, and large companies to take on the climate challenge.

At the same time, we must not forget those who stand to be harmed the most by climate change, or those who could be left behind in the shift to a low-carbon economy.

To ensure a just transition, we must increase support for vulnerable regions and communities.

Support for innovation must also include backing for education and training, so that the next generation will have the skills needed to contribute to a low-carbon economy.

We should be cultivating the talents and intelligence of our youth, because it is they who will be developing the technologies and creating the jobs needed for the future.

The EIB will be working closely with European firms and other partners around the world to spur disruptive innovations.

The green economy offers many pathways for investors and companies, and the world’s international financial institutions should be paving the way toward even more opportunities.

Ambroise Fayolle is Vice President of the European Investment Bank.

This article was published with permission of Project Syndicate — Disrupting Climate Change Through Innovation.

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Post by thelivyjr » Thu Nov 14, 2019 1:40 p


"These Military Bases Will Face Blistering Heat by 2050, Study Warns"

Military.com | By Gina Harkins

11 Nov 2019

Two military bases in Florida and one in Arizona will see heat indexes over 100 degrees four months out of every year if steps aren't taken to reduce carbon emissions, a new study warns.

The Union of Concerned Scientists, a Massachusetts-based science advocacy nonprofit, is warning that the coming decades could bring an extra month of dangerously hot days at military bases across the continental U.S.

But three bases in particular will be the hottest if rising carbon emissions increase the global average temperature by 8 degrees.

For a quarter of each year, it'll feel like 100 degrees or hotter at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma in Arizona and MacDill Air Force Base and Homestead Air Reserve Base in Florida, according to the report.

"The growing number of dangerously hot days could pose a challenge to the military's efforts to protect service members' health while also ensuring mission readiness," Kristy Dahl, a senior climate scientist and the lead author of the study, said in a statement.

Pentagon data released on heat illnesses earlier this year shows the problem was on the rise between 2014 and 2018.

Last year, there were nearly 2,800 heat stroke or exhaustion cases among active-duty troops.

Dahl said if carbon emissions aren't curbed, it'll continue getting hotter at the bases that have had the most heat-related illnesses in the past, including Fort Benning in Georgia, Camp Lejeune and Fort Bragg in North Carolina, and Fort Campbell in Kentucky.

The study shows Fort Benning could see its days with 100-plus-degree heat indexes quadruple to 73.

It also predicts Camp Lejeune and Forts Bragg and Campbell could experience the same two months out of the year, rather than the week and a half at 100-plus heat indexes now.

Pentagon data on heat-related illnesses shows the highest rates were among male troops under the age of 20, Asian/Pacific Islander service members, Marines, soldiers, those serving in combat arms and recruits.

The Union of Concerned Scientists report says the number of 100-plus degree heat index days at four basic training bases are projected to quadruple to 52 days per year by 2050 if carbon emissions aren't cut.

Those installations include Lackland Air Force Base in Texas, Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island in South Carolina, Fort Benning in Georgia, and Fort Sill in Oklahoma.

The threat is greatest at Lackland, which the study says will see 105 days per year with a heat index over 100.

"New recruits, who are the most susceptible to heat-related illnesses, go through grueling outdoor training," Shana Udvardy, a climate resilience analyst who coauthored the study, said in a statement.

"... Last year, drills had to be rescheduled because of dangerous heat conditions."

"But how do you reschedule around the entire summer in the decades ahead?"

She added that the military might need to update training guidelines to prevent heat-related illnesses in the future.

She also said government leaders must enact policies to protect troops and the rest of the country from worsening conditions.

"We should be working with the rest of the world through the Paris climate agreement to rapidly and dramatically reduce carbon emissions," she said.

"That would significantly limit the increase in dangerously hot days ahead and protect our most vulnerable communities."

Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Bob Burke told reporters last month that Navy leaders spend a lot of time thinking about climate change.

They're concerned about making bases more resilient to worsening storms and getting pulled into conflicts overseas if climate change destabilizes a region, he said.

-- Gina Harkins can be reached at gina.harkins@military.com. Follow her on Twitter @ginaaharkins.

https://www.military.com/daily-news/201 ... warns.html

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Post by thelivyjr » Thu Nov 14, 2019 1:40 p

THE CAPE CHARLES MIRROR November 13, 2019 at 7:09 pm

Paul Plante says :

So to see where Congresswoman Luria and her NDC Climate Change Task Force crowd want to take the nation, we need to again go back to the United Nations informational document entitled “What is the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change?” to wit:

Directs new funds to climate change activities in developing countries.

• Industrialized nations agree under the Convention to support climate change activities in developing countries by providing financial support for action on climate change — above and beyond any financial assistance they already provide to these countries.

end quotes

And that phrase “above and beyond any financial assistance they already provide to these countries” in its turn takes us in two directions, first to REMARKS BY THE MINISTER OF WATER AND CLIMATE HONOURABLE OPPAH. C.Z. MUCHINGURI-KASHIRI (MP) AT COP 23, Bonn, Germany, which point to the future that Congresswoman Luria wants to saddle us with, and at the same time back to an Address to the UN by Secretary of State Kissinger in New York on April 15, 1974, where on behalf of WE, THE AMERICAN PEOPLE in whose name he was appearing there, make no mistake about that, Dr. Kissinger said:

The Challenge of Interdependence

We are gathered here in a continuing venture to realize mankind’s hopes for a more prosperous, humane, just, and cooperative world.

As members of this organization, we are pledged not only to free the world from the scourge of war but to free mankind from the fear of hunger, poverty, and disease.

The quest for justice and dignity — which finds expression in the economic and social articles of the United Nations Charter — has global meaning in an age of instantaneous communication.

Improving the quality of human life has become a universal political demand, a technical possibility, and a moral imperative.

We meet here at a moment when the world economy is under severe stress.

The energy crisis first dramatized its fragility.

But the issues transcend that particular crisis.

Each of the problems we face — of combating inflation and stimulating growth, of feeding the hungry and lifting the impoverished, of the scarcity of physical resources and the surplus of despair — is part of an interrelated global problem.

Let us begin by discarding outdated generalities and sterile slogans we have — all of us — lived with for so long.

The great issues of development can no longer realistically be perceived in terms of confrontation between the “haves” and “have-nots” or as a struggle over the distribution of statist wealth.

Whatever our ideological belief or social structure, we are part of a single international economic system on which all of our national economic objectives depend.

end quotes

Now, let’s focus in on these statements from that address which brings us to the present moment, to wit:

Let us begin by discarding outdated generalities and sterile slogans we have — all of us — lived with for so long.

The great issues of development can no longer realistically be perceived in terms of confrontation between the “haves” and “have-nots” or as a struggle over the distribution of statist wealth.

end quotes

But the Democrats cannot do that, discard their outdated generalities and sterile slogans they have lived with for so long, because slogans are all they have, and as to the great issues of development, the Democrats cannot stop perceiving them in terms of confrontation between the “haves” and “have-nots” and as a struggle over the distribution of statist wealth, because the Democrats market themselves as the CHAMPIONS of the have-nots, so have-nots we will have to the end of time, because it represents a flow of money to the Democrats that can be milked for graft, and that in turn takes us to the dude from corrupt Zimbabwe with its triple digit inflation, as follows:

We would like to see the Paris Agreement upholding the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities in light of national circumstances.

end quotes

The national circumstances of Zimbabawe are that it is a corrupt ****hole that would use this Paris Agreement as a means of getting a suction hose into the pockets of the U.S taxpayers forever into the future, the way the Paris Agreement is written, to wit:

Global peaking and ‘climate neutrality’ (Art. 4)

To achieve this temperature goal, Parties aim to reach global peaking of greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) as soon as possible, recognizing peaking will take longer for developing country Parties, so as to achieve a balance between anthropogenic emissions by sources and removals by sinks of GHGs in the second half of the century.

end quotes

So, as these things go, and remember, the UN itself is deemed a corrupt body, “as soon as possible” where cash flow is involved means “take forever,” which takes us back to the dude from Zimbabwe, as follows:

We believe that climate action in developing countries should be backed by strong financial support from the developed world which is responsible for the bulk of historical greenhouse gas emissions.

end quotes

To which Congresswoman Luria rushes forward vigorously waving a SURRENDER FLAG while her fellow Democrats lower the American flag forever, to replace it with the weak blue flag of the United Nations, instead.


That is what joining the Paris Agreement will buy us, people - eternal servitude to every corrupt ****hole on the face of the earth looking to fund their corruption with American taxpayer dollars.

Democrat Congresswoman Luria is for that, funding corruption in other nations like Zimbabwe; as an American citizen, I am not, and thank you to the Cape Charles Mirror for allowing me the opportunity to make myself incandescently clear on that matter.

http://www.capecharlesmirror.com/news/c ... ent-196488

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Post by thelivyjr » Sun Nov 17, 2019 1:40 p

THE CAPE CHARLES MIRROR November 15, 2019 at 7:57 pm

Paul Plante says :

So, bringing this discussion back into the present moment where Congresswoman Luria intended it to be with this press release above here, where we were informed “Congresswoman Elaine Luria (VA-02) and other members of the New Democrat Coalition Climate Change Task Force this week condemned President Trump’s announcement that the U.S. would begin the withdrawal process from the Paris Climate Accord, leaving America as the only nation to abandon the global effort to combat climate change, we were informed by Congresswoman Luria, as follows in what is an obvious political statement, to wit:

The four task force leaders stressed the importance of the United States’ recommitment to the agreement and our nation’s role as a global leader in combatting climate change:

“The President’s decision to begin formally withdrawing from the Paris Climate Agreement threatens our coastal community and puts our military readiness at risk,” NDC Climate Change Task Force Co-Chair Luria said.

end quotes

But as we can clearly see from the above commentary, that is not at all true, because the so-called “Paris Agreement,” which is nothing more than a blatant and never-ending wealth transfer scheme from those who have to those who want, in no way, shape or manner protects anything in the United States of America other than a steady stream of graft the Democrats can feed off into eternity, which is manna from heaven for them, at our expense.

The Paris Agreement, which is a transparent sham, does nothing to protect our coastal communities from anything, so who does this Congresswoman think she is kidding here with this partisan political gibberish she is spewing here?

If OUR coastal communities are indeed at risk from something, then it would behoove us as a nation and as a people to do something about it, as opposed to joining the Paris Agreement as Congresswoman Luria is demanding and then waiting for Zimbabwe, and Kenya, and The Congo and Chad to come to our rescue.

So why is Congresswoman Luria demanding that we as a nation and as a people do something stupid by wasting valuable time with this parasitic Paris Agreement crowd, as opposed to rolling up our sleeves and bending our backs to save our own people who are in jeopardy first?

And then she says: “The Department of Defense found that climate change is a ‘national security issue’ and ‘the greater Hampton Roads area is very vulnerable to flooding caused by rising sea levels and land subsidence.’”

No kidding, Congresswoman!

As to land subsidence, of course, that has nothing to do with climate change whatsoever, and there is absolutely nothing all the Paris Agreement crowd’s horses and all the Paris Agreement crowd’s men can do about the fact that land all along the East Coast of the United States is sinking due to natural geological forces the Navy has known about probably for a century now, so why should Trump join the Paris Agreement because the East Coast of the United States of America is sinking?

As to the greater Hampton Roads area, which is part of the Tidewater region of Virginia consisting of generally flat and low flooded river plains composed of tidal marsh and large expanses of swamp with the name Tidewater region getting its name from the effects of the changing tides on local rivers, sounds, and the ocean, with gradually disappearing islands and shoreline, being very vulnerable to flooding caused by rising sea levels, why is the United States Navy hoping that somehow, this Paris Agreement crowd will somehow step in and save their bacon for them while pulling their fat out of the fire by making the ocean stop rising?

Is the U.S. Navy now unable to think for itself, and to take actions to save itself as a military force?

Is that why we now have to join this Paris Agreement, to save our Navy from disaster?

If that is the case, how pitifully weak as a nation we have become.

http://www.capecharlesmirror.com/news/c ... ent-197069

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Post by thelivyjr » Mon Nov 18, 2019 1:40 p

That the Paris Agreement is little more than a SCAM can readily be seen as follows from p.10 of a book entitled Ecomodernism: Technology, Politics and The Climate Crisis by Jonathan Symons, copyright 2019, as follows:

Social psychology also tells us that people are generally much more likely to acknowledge the existence of a threat if they believe others have caused it.

Consider the 2015 Paris Agreement's aspirational target of limiting warming 1.5°C.

This goal was always a fantasy whose adoption suggests a collective desire to avoid difficult truths.

Even if all emissions ceased today, warming might eventually exceed 1.5°C (Hansen et al. 2008).

The more ambitious 2°C now also looks practically unfeasible.

Full implementation of the Paris Agreement pledges would bridge only about twenty-two percent of the gap between our current emissions trajectory and a pathway consistent with limiting this century's warming to 2°C (UNFCCC 2015b, p. 44).

At the time of writing, no major developed economy is on track to meet even these feeble pledges (Victor et al. 2017).



The first symptoms of the change already affecting Greenland and Iceland which may have been noticed by the inhabitants of Europe, particularly around the North Sea, were the increased incidence and severity of wind storms and sea floods in the thirteenth century.

Some of the latter caused appalling loss of life, comparable with the worst disasters in Bangladesh and China in recent times.

In at least four sea floods of the Dutch and German coasts in the thirteenth century the death roll was estimated at around 100,000 or more; in the worst case the estimate was 306,000.

As a result of the floods of 1240 and 1362 it was reported that sixty parishes accounting for over half the agricultural income of the (at that time) Danish diocese of Slesvig (Schleswig) had been ‘swallowed by the salt sea’.

In some of these storm floods the Zuyder Zee in the Netherlands was formed, and enlarged, and it was not drained until the present century.

Islands, and other inlets, were formed by losses of land on the German and Danish North Sea coasts.

Other islands were destroyed by the stormy seas.

The island of Heligoland (50 km out in the German Bight), which is believed to have measured over 60 km across in the year 800, had been reduced to 25 km by about 1300, perhaps half of it being lost in a storm in that year.

Today it measures only about 1.5 km on its longest axis (fig. 69).

In England the great ports of Ravenspur or Ravensburgh (east of Hull) and Dunwich (on the Suffolk coast in East Anglia) were lost in successive stages in the sea storms of these centuries.

Deaths of 100,000 or more people in floodings of the continental shore of the North Sea were again reported in storms in 1421, 1446 and 1570.

In the 1570 storm great cities were flooded, and the deaths were estimated at 400,000.

And in 1634 there were again great losses of land from the Danish and German coast and the off-lying islands.

In the southern North Sea on the Netherlands coast the occurrence of devastating storm surges was greatest in the early 1400s and late 1600s; the late 1500s were remarkable for a few storms of outstanding range and severity, most of all the storm of 1–2 November 1570 when the flooding affected the coasts from France to northwest Germany.

There is also a suggestion of more severe floods in, and soon after, late Roman times and again in our own century than at other periods.

This distribution suggests that storm floods on the low-lying coasts of the North Sea have been most troublesome: (a) when the sea level may have been somewhat raised after long periods of warm climate and glacier melting; and (b) when a cooling Arctic has produced a strengthened thermal gradient in latitudes between about 50 and 65°N, leading to increased storm frequency and severity over this zone.

In the thirteenth century, and perhaps again in recent decades, both these conditions were present.

One must conclude from the much more restricted range and loss of life in modern storms that the dykes which have been built along the coasts of the North Sea, and continually improved, in later centuries are among man’s greatest successes in defence against natural disasters.

http://www.capecharlesmirror.com/news/o ... ent-197860

"Greta Thunberg leaves US with simple climate crisis message: vote - Thunberg: ‘My message to the Americans is the same as to everyone – to unite behind the science and to act on the science’ - If world leaders fail us, my generation will never forgive them"

Emily Holden in Washington

Tue 12 Nov 2019 18.00 EST Last modified on Wed 13 Nov 2019 06.23 EST

As Greta Thunberg departs the US to sail across the Atlantic for the second time in a few months, she is leaving behind a simple message for those who care about the climate crisis: you must vote.

The 16-year-old Swedish climate activist who ignited a youth movement with her Friday school strikes has traveled across America since arriving via racing yacht in late August.

She will now brave the bitter cold to get back to Madrid, after a change in venue for international climate negotiations.

Her plan had been to make her way to Chile, where the talks were meant to be held before the country descended into civil unrest.

“My message to the Americans is the same as to everyone – that is to unite behind the science and to act on the science,” Thunberg told the Guardian on Tuesday.

“We must realize this is a crisis, and we must do what we can now to spread awareness about this and to put pressure on the people in power."

"And especially, the US has an election coming up soon, and it’s very important that for everyone who can vote, vote.”

Thunberg is heading back to Europe on a catamaran with Riley Whitelum and Elayna Carausu, a YouTube celebrity couple known as Sailing La Vagabonde who live on the boat with their baby.

They have heating, solar panels and a water turbine.

The journey from Hampton, Virginia, could take around three weeks, depending on weather.

Thunberg asked for help getting to Spain on social media, and said she got only a few responses because of the time of year.

In a statement, Whitelum said he and Carausu “have seen the beauty of this planet first hand and think that it is something we should all strive to protect."

"It is something I have considered even more since having a child.”

The same release said six people would be aboard the boat, including Thunberg’s father, Svante Thunberg, and Nikki Henderson, a British professional sailor.

As she reflected on her visit to the US, Thunberg urged people to spread awareness of the climate crisis.

“Even if the politics needed doesn’t exist today, we still need to use our voices to make sure that the people in power are focused on the right things."

"Because this is a democracy, and in a democracy, people are the ones who run the country."

"I know it doesn’t seem that way, but if enough people were to decide they have had enough, then that could change everything."

"So don’t underestimate that power.”

Thunberg routinely issues stern warnings to international leaders and has become a target for criticism by opponents of climate action.

Critics alternately dismiss her because she is young or ignore that she is a teenager.

Preparing for her journey, she said she was homesick and tired of traveling.

She said she misses her family, her school and her dogs, Moses and Roxy, a golden retriever and a black labrador.

“I really miss having a routine because now I’ve been on the road constantly for several months,” Thunberg said.

“I like routines, so it would be nice to get those routines back.”

While in the US, Thunberg has met fellow protesters, people who have lost their homes to wildfires and advocates for native Americans.

She has learned a lot, she said, but the “basic problem is the same everywhere”.

“Nothing is being done to stop the climate and ecological emergency from happening and to secure the future wellbeing for future generations,” she said.

The US is officially withdrawing from the Paris agreement, the international deal to curb emissions of heat-trapping gases which raise temperatures and exacerbate dangerous extreme weather and are projected to intensify poverty worldwide.

Donald Trump has rejected climate science, backing the expansion of the fossil fuel industry in the US and abroad.

In September, Thunberg’s reaction to seeing Trump at a United Nations meeting in New York went viral.

She said her expression then “probably speaks for itself”, but added that it was a “very, very strange experience” because she wasn’t expecting to see the president, who declined to attend climate meetings.

Thunberg often deflects attention from herself and toward the climate crisis.

She said in many places, people focus on her as an individual instead of focusing on her cause.

But, she said, she would still encourage others who are able to leave school or their jobs to start raising awareness, because the strategy has been effective.

Asked about a mural being painted of her in San Francisco, she said the artists were talented and she was honored and amazed.

“But as I’ve said,” she added, “we should be focusing on the climate and ecological emergency.”

https://www.theguardian.com/environment ... ssage-vote

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