Today in climate news

Wouldn’t it be great if we finally had a Democrat in the White House, and could do something RIGHT NOW (All the time in the world! 2020 is plenty soon enough!) about this global warming crisis? Ha ha, just kidding!

MEXICO CITY — A drought that a government official called the most severe Mexico had ever faced has left two million people without access to water and, coupled with a cold snap, has devastated cropland in nearly half of the country.

Reports that the Tarahumara were killing themselves in despair over starvation, later proven false, spurred residents of Mexico City to collect food and clothing donations.

The government in the past week has authorized $2.63 billion in aid, including potable water, food and temporary jobs for the most affected areas, rural communities in 19 of Mexico’s 31 states. But officials warned that no serious relief was expected for at least another five months, when the rainy season typically begins in earnest.

Meanwhile, it turns out that the Little Ice Age of the 1300s wasn’t caused by plain old “climate variations,” but by a series of volcanic eruptions.

Also, your insurance is going up whether you believe in climate change or not:

NPR reported Monday that home insurance premiums are going up across the board in response to the record number of tornadoes, floods, fires, blizzards and other heavy weather that hit the country in 2011.

The piece features insurance executives at major firms such as Allstate and State Farm saying they are raising rates as much as 10%.

The president of the Insurance Information Institute, a New York-based industry association, says the weather caused about $35 billion of insured damages last year in the U.S. in events that caused a total of $70 billion in economic losses.

In the meantime, it’s expected to go up to 65 this week in Philadelphia. In February. And the plants are starting to bud…

5 thoughts on “Today in climate news

  1. Apparently nobody wants to hear it. i follow the environmental activity (earthquakes are up all over the world too) as much or more than the “regular news”. i swear – you NEVER hear this stuff on Fox or even the regular channels. i don’t know if they (the powers that be) just don’t want us to panic (too late now) or if it’s all in the design to just let the chips fall where they may for the masses (societal collapse) while they try to engineer some kind of “arc” for the very wealthy “haves” and the powerful. Whatever the case NOTHING IS CHANGING for the better with respect to our (human) effect on the biosphere. The course we’re on is one of monumental collapse due to either depletion of resources (including potable water) and or societal collapse (due to depletion of resources like food – and all traced back to the negative effects of human overpopulation and our pollution). There is no alternative at this point.

  2. Well, hell yeah, let’s elect Newt ’cause he’ll have a moon colony ready by “the end of my 2nd term”. Let’s see now, yep, 2020 is soon enough!

  3. The powers that be don’t want us to consider climate change because it might dawn on us that buying power from mega utilities and fossil fuel companies impoverishes us.

    Whereas, if we carefully examined our home regions, we might discover that smaller, local firms – maybe even cooperative enterprises, perish the thought – might make use of local regional advantages in such areas as water, wind, and sun to bring us cleaner energy from those sources.

    Federal governments around the globe are simply extensions of corporate power. Hence, no international conference on climate change will ever accomplish anything.

    The main thing the average person can do? Plant something – especially a tree – to help take some of the CO2 out of the air.


    Al Gore on the Story of Rising Seas: From Antarctica to Bangladesh

    ” . . .The ice on land is melting at a faster rate and large ice sheets are moving toward the ocean more rapidly. As a result, sea levels are rising worldwide. Most of the world’s ice is contained in Antarctica – more than 90 percent. The West Antarctic Ice Sheet, which lies south of the Peninsula, contains enough water to raise sea levels worldwide by more than 20 feet. Part of the ice sheet, the Pine Island Glacier ice shelf, is among the many in Antarctica that are shrinking at an accelerating rate. This has direct consequences for low-lying coastal and island communities all over the world – and for their inland neighbors.

    In analyzing the relationship between melting ice and sea level rise, it is important to distinguish between two kinds of ice: the ice on land and the ice floating on top of the sea. When floating ice melts, sea level is not affected, because its weight has already pushed the sea level upward. But the melting of glaciers and ice sheets resting on land does increase sea level rise. So far, the melting of small mountain glaciers and portions of ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland has been the main contributor to sea level rise from the loss of ice. (As the oceans warm up, their volume naturally expands, and this too has been a contributor to a small portion of the sea level rise that has occurred in the age of global warming).

    Scientists aren’t yet sure precisely how much sea levels will rise over the next century. What we do know is that sea level rise is occurring already, with real consequences for human beings who live near the coasts. In the world’s largest port cities, 40 million people are now already at risk of severe coastal flooding. That number could well triple within the next half-century or so.

    Even wealthier countries are not immune to the impacts. In the United States, for example, particularly vulnerable areas are: Miami Beach, the Chesapeake region, coastal Louisiana, and coastal Texas. In some of these areas, the land is sinking even as the oceans rise. This will have implications that extend right up to the steps of our nation’s Capitol. A recent study found that sea level rise of only a tenth of a meter would lead to $2 billion in property damage and affect almost 68,000 people in Washington, D.C. In addition, the enhanced threat of storm surges was illustrated last year when tropical storm Irene led to warnings that the New York City subway system and tunnels into the city could be flooded.

    But the most vulnerable regions lie in developing countries, where populations are still rising fast and there is little money to shore up infrastructure. The cities most threatened by sea level rise are places like Calcutta and Mumbai in India; Guangzhou, China; and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. And of course, there are more than a few low-lying island nations – like the Maldives – that are already in imminent danger.

    Then there is Bangladesh. A one-meter sea level rise – which could happen as soon as 2050 according to some Antarctic specialists – could result in between 22 and 35 million people in Bangladesh relocating from the areas in which they now live and work. Two-thirds of this nation is less than five meters above sea level. For the nation’s 142 million people packed into a small space, climate change poses a nearly unimaginable challenge. The threat of sea level rise is not simply flooding, but saltwater intrusion that hurts the production of rice, the country’s staple crop. Increased damage to rice farmers could soon put 20 million farmers out of work and force them into crowded cities.

    Here in Antarctica, it’s easy to feel isolated from the rest of the world. But as I look at this exquisite continent buried deep under the ice, it’s troubling to think about what will happen as this ice melts ever more rapidly.”

    – Al Gore, originally posted at the Climate Reality Project.

  5. and lastly

    “Tanker trucks loaded with water have become the lifeline for a Texas lakefront village that came precariously close to becoming the state’s first community to run out of drinking water during a historic drought.

    Spicewood got its first delivery of water on Monday under dark clouds and rain. The 8,000-gallon water delivery arrived after it became clear the village’s wells could no longer produce enough water to meet the needs of the Lake Travis community’s 1,100 residents and elementary school, said Clara Tuma, spokeswoman of the Lower Colorado River Authority.

    The town uses wells, not the nearby lake, for its drinking water. Ryan Rowney, manager of water operations for the authority, said it plans to truck water into the Central Texas town for several more weeks while exploring alternatives, including drilling a new well or piping water from Lake Travis.”

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