Archive | Climate Change

Ground game

Aspen Ideas Festival: Tom Steyer

At this point, it really is about getting out the vote. If you have any time at all to spare, please head over to Clinton’s site and volunteer. You can even make calls from your own living room:

Tom Steyer — the San Francisco billionaire, political donor and environmental advocate — said Tuesday he would put $20 million of his own money behind a campaign to mobilize 2 million voters in eight swing states to boost support for Democrat Hillary Clinton.

The overall effort, which includes partnerships with labor groups, is expected to cost $55 million, Steyer told Lawrence O’Donnell on MSNBC.

He said they’ll be focusing on “economic justice, environmental justice, racial justice and good schools” and targeting 200 college campuses.

The contribution will go to the For Our Future super PAC, which aims to blunt Republican Donald Trump’s advance in battleground states. Steyer added $15 million to his previous pledge of $5 million.

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Gov. Brown signs sweeping climate laws with big changes for California’s future

Topanga Canyon

LOS ANGELES — Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders embarked on a new era in California’s effort to combat climate change Thursday when the governor signed a law committing the state to some of the most drastic greenhouse gas emission reductions in the world. “What we’re doing here is far-sighted, as well as far-reaching,” Brown said… Continue Reading →

Wells Fargo Bank Fires 5300 Employees After CFBP Investigation Into ‘Ghost Accounts’

WELLS FARGO EARNS

To add a little context: Most bank tellers make so little money, they qualify for food stamps.

Wells Fargo Bank has agreed to pay the largest fine in history and has fired 5,300 employees for creating “ghost accounts” for customers without their authorization. According to the CFBP release, bank employees opened credit card accounts and other accounts for customers. In some cases, they transferred money from the customer’s existing account into the new… Continue Reading →

What are Republicans doing about all these broken heat records?

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So we just had the hottest month in the past 1,000 years, and the scientists say just five more years of carbon dioxide emissions at current levels will destroy any chance of restraining temperatures to a 1.5C increase and avoid runaway climate change.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says we’ve had 14 months of record-breaking temperatures. That means global warming is closer to the point where scientists predict devastating, irreversible consequences.

A few weeks ago, we had a “rare” late-August tornado outbreak in Indiana. Yes, notice the increase in the use of the word “rare” in weather stories – also “unusual,” “unprecedented,” and “record-breaking.”

Chris Field, a climate scientist at the Carnegie Institution and Stanford University, said in a recent interview, “The scary thing is that we are moving into an era where it will be a surprise when each new month or year isn’t one of the hottest on record.”

Everything gets more unusual by the minute.

You will be surprised, I am sure, to know that the Republicans still aren’t doing squat. I suppose they all have spaceships to take their families to a better place, amirite?

Fortunately, President Obama just signed the Paris climate change agreement — with China. This is a big fucking deal, and I’m hopeful the next President Clinton will take it even further.

Yet another benefit from global warming

Happy oyster day! In honor of this day we are running Beau Soleil oysters on the half shell with orange-sriracha granite #nationaloysterday #beausoleiloysters #oysters #georgiaseagrill #instafood #instayum

Fortunately for me, I don’t like oysters. But this is not a good sign:

But new research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that the warming waters may hold an additional danger: Changed temperatures are leading to increases in a bacteria called Vibrio, which can cause fatal illness in people who eat shellfish or swim in ocean waters.

Vibrio is probably little known to most Americans, though it has caused major outbreaks in European coastal cities. But the bacteria is what lies behind the old advice to only eat oysters in months with an r in the name—that is, not in summer. Vibrio burgeons in warmer water. It collects in shellfish such as oysters when they filter water while feeding and then makes people ill when they eat the shellfish raw. It can also cause grave infections if it gets into a wound or a nick in the skin.

Which is a good place to add this from Paul Krugman:

It’s interesting to ask why climate denial has become not just acceptable but essentially required within the G.O.P. Yes, the fossil-fuel sector is a big donor to the party. But the vehemence of the hostility to climate science seems disproportionate even so; bear in mind that, for example, at this point there are fewer than 60,000 coal miners, that is, less than 0.05 percent of the work force. What’s happening, I suspect, is that climate denial has become a sort of badge of right-wing identity, above and beyond the still-operative motive of rewarding donors.

In any case, this election is likely to be decisive for the climate, one way or another. President Obama has made some serious moves to address global warming, and there’s every reason to believe that Hillary Clinton would continue this push — using executive action if she faced a hostile Congress. Given the technological breakthroughs of the last few years, this push might just be enough to avert disaster. Donald Trump, on the other hand, would do everything in his power to trash the planet, with the enthusiastic support of his party. So which will it be? Stay tuned.

Farmer’s Almanac: Expect a snowy freezing winter in 2017

Sunday Colours - The January Snow

As if the 2016 summer heat wave wasn’t unbearable enough, there may be a potential snowmageddon hitting the East Coast come winter 2017. According to the 2017 Farmer’s Almanac, the highly acclaimed and historic weather prediction resource, the U.S. — specifically the Northern Plains, Great Lakes, Midwest, Ohio Valley, Middle Atlantic, Northeast and New England —… Continue Reading →

My hero

I just love Katherine Hayhoe, climate scientist, and here she is, cheerfully answering an attack from a politician:

Oh the water

I work with a guy whose Baton Rouge house is surrounded by water. This storm system is just horrible:

Heavy rains drenched parts of southeast Louisiana and southern Mississippi Friday, causing dangerous floods that killed at least two people, cut off an entire town, shut down highways and prompted numerous rescues.
Heavy rains drenched parts of southeast Louisiana and southern Mississippi on Friday, causing dangerous floods that killed at least three people, cut off an entire town, shut down highways and prompted numerous rescues.

In Louisiana, all seven major roads into Greensburg, near Baton Rouge, were under water and the small town largely cut off, according to Michael Martin, director of operations for the St. Helena Parish Sheriff’s Office.

Only large National Guard vehicles have been able to get into and out of town, Martin said. At least two dozen high-water rescues were carried out Friday, with stranded residents pulled from cars, rooftops and, in one case, a tree.

Rescue workers in some areas waded through waist-deep flood waters to get stranded residents and their pets to safety.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency, with rain expected for several more days.

It must have been the nanny state that decapitated this 10-year-old

Verruckt at Schlitterbahn Kansas City Waterpark

Caleb Schwab, 10, died on a Kansas City waterslide Sunday. He was there with his family (his dad is a Kansas GOP state legislator) for “Elected Officials Day.”

He was decapitated when his raft flew off the ride.

In Sam Brownback’s Kansas, where they like to brag about deregulation. They have very few requirements, as it turns out. They do have annual self-inspections, which we all know are incredibly useful.

The designer of the world’s highest waterslide specifically said they built it in Kansas because there were no regulations on height. It took a while before it passed safety tests.

It used to be that you had to be 14 years old to ride the Verruckt, because there had to be at least 400 lbs. in the raft to pass safety tests. We don’t know why that changed.

Did I mention Caleb was 10?

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It’s not just Kansas, although Gov. Brownback certainly is proud of his deregulated paradise. Turns out there’s very little regulation on amusement parks anywhere — including Disney. So little, that when someone is injured or killed on a ride, the state of Florida doesn’t even get to inspect it. They get to “investigate” the incident, but they don’t get to inspect the ride. Useful!

That’s because the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions pays a lot of lobbyists, and so far, they’ve been very good at making sure your kids and grandchildren remain at risk — because to do otherwise would put profits at risk, and we can’t have that, can we?

And this is what I want to say when disappointed progressives tell me they’re going to vote for Gary Johnson “because he’s really progressive.” No, he’s not. This is the kind of world Gary Johnson is fine with, the kind of world where a 10-year-old kid is decapitated. It’s the “cost of freedom.”

And we wouldn’t want some manly man calling us a “nanny state,” would we?

Fukushima coverup

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I still remember how the commenters at C&L called me “crazy,” “paranoid” and “unscientific” for saying the meltdown was a lot worse than they were telling us:

TOKYO (AP) – The utility that ran the Fukushima nuclear plant acknowledged Tuesday its delayed disclosure of the meltdowns at three reactors was tantamount to a cover-up and apologized for it.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. President Naomi Hirose’s apology followed the revelation last week that an investigation had found Hirose’s predecessor instructed officials during the 2011 disaster to avoid using the word “meltdown.”

“I would say it was a cover-up,” Hirose told a news conference. “It’s extremely regrettable.”

TEPCO instead described the reactors’ condition as less serious “core damage” for two months after the earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011, wrecked the plant, even though utility officials knew and computer simulations suggested meltdowns had occurred.

An investigative report released last Thursday by three company-appointed lawyers said TEPCO’s then-President Masataka Shimizu instructed officials not to use the specific description under alleged pressure from the Prime Minister’s Office, though the investigators found no proof of such pressure.
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