Paris: police suppress climate protests
Several thousand gathered for the planned march on the eve of the United Nations Climate Conference (COP 21) that opened in Paris Nov. 30. But the march was banned under the State of Emergency declared following the Nov. 13 terror attacks. Defying the ban on public gatherings, some 10,000 Parisians and international activists joined hands to form a human chain along Boulevard Voltaire. When they later attempted to march on Place de la République, police deployed concussion grenades, tear-gas, pepper spray and baton charges. Some 150 who made it to Place de la République were detained for hours as police surrounded and sealed off the square. At least 174 were arrested. (Revolution News)
Hundreds of thousands joined an estimated 2,300 marches and actions in 175 countries, demanding that the negotiators in Paris agree to keep fossil fuels in the ground and shift to 100% clean energy. Protests were held in many other cities around the world to place pressure on the UN climate process. (Grist)
Naomi Klein to COP protesters: Don't riot!
Well this is delicious! Leftist icon Naomi Klein, star of the show for the would-be protesters in Paris, praises the "show of defiance against that ban on protests" on Democracy Now. But those naughty anarchists at Submedia.tv call our her organization 350.org, which "distances itself from 'violent' protesters and states that they are not part of the climate movement." Submedia also reposts a video clip that poked fun at Klein for "chilling out" the climate protesters at Copenhagen in 2009, and promoting a "Chill Doctrine" (snicker). Her words were amusingly tautological: "If this turns into a riot, it's gonna be a riot. We know this story. I'm not saying it's not an interesting story, but it is what it is."
Activists under house arrest in Paris
Radio France Internationale reported Dec. 1 that 26 of the more than 300 people placed under house arrest since the Paris attacks have been "far-left activists, suspected of planning to disrupt the climate conference rather than terror plots." France24, Le Monde and EurActiv elaborate that these include activists from the Nantes area who have been organizing protests against a new airport planned for Notre-Dame des Landes who had planned to hold a cross-country bicycle rally during the climate talks to opposte the project.
Expropriate the rich to save the planet
Here we go again. A sobering report from The Guardian, Dec. 2:
How depressing that even the supposedly "leftist" Guardian has to pose the question in reactionary Malthusian terms. Is this ecological collapse being driven by "global demand for food" or capitalism's demand for export cash crops? Come on.
Fortunately, there is growing awareness of how wealth inequities are driving the collapse. Inhabitat reports:
Report: world to run out of breathable air
The news just gets better and better. From TakePart via Yahoo, Dec. 3:
However, a raise of 6 degrees Celsius may not actually be that realistic. From a National Geographic factpage on "Sea Temperature Rise"...
Still, sobering news...
Earth's climate in 'uncharted territory'
From Climate Central, Dec. 9:
Massive fires related to El Niño ae already reported from the Andean region.
North Pole approaches melting point...
The Washington Post reported Dec. 30, "Freak storm pushes North Pole 50 degrees above normal to melting point," raising fears for the stability of Arctic sea ice. It is linked to this year's El Niño (which BBC Mundo is saying could be most powerful yet recorded, and has dubbed "El Niño Godzilla").
But note the inherent dishonesty (or denial) of calling this a "freak" storm, when it is exactly the kind of thing climate scientists have been warning of for years. The account mentions nothing about climate change, which is simply irresponsible. As we have noted before... We are constantly being admonished that no single weather event can be attributable to climate change. But when taken together, whether these mounting examples of "global weirding" are attributable to climate change becomes a dramatically wrong question. Together, these phenomena are climate change. Asking if they are "attributable" to climate change is a classic example of missing the forest for the trees.
And, alas, this time the WaPo didn't even ask.
Coming soon: ice-free Arctic
A sobering report on Truthout notes that atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are at a rate not seen "since the Pliocene epoch, which was the period 2.6 to 5.3 million years ago that saw atmospheric carbon dioxide levels between 350 and 405 parts per million and average global temperatures that ranged between 2 and 3 degrees Celsius warmer than the climate of the 1880s." While in January, a Norwegian Coast Guard icebreaker ship took an interesting trip into the Arctic. The ship found no ice to break, despite the fact that it was the dead of winter and barely 800 miles from the North Pole. Coinicidence, eh?
Sea levels set to 'rise far more rapidly than expected'
From The Guardian, March 30:
Antarctic ice shelf as 'sword of Damocles'
From the New York Times, March 30:
As a harbinger of things to come, the account notes the 2002 incident in which an ice shelf the size of Rhode Island, the Larsen B, broke apart in two weeks...
Antarctica is melting: study
From The Independent, April 19:
Record annual increase of carbon dioxide: NOAA
The annual growth rate of atmospheric carbon dioxide measured at NOAA's Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii jumped by 3.05 parts per million in 2015, the largest year-to-year increase in 56 years of monitoring. In another first, 2015 was the fourth consecutive year that CO2 grew more than 2 ppm, said Pieter Tans, lead scientist of NOAA's Global Greenhouse Gas Reference Network. "Carbon dioxide levels are increasing faster than they have in hundreds of thousands of years," Tans said. "It's explosive compared to natural processes." (NOAA, March 9)
Global warming is changing Earth's wobble
Global warming is changing the way the Earth wobbles on its polar axis, a new NASA study finds. Melting ice sheets, especially in Greenland, are changing the distribution of weight on Earth—causing both the North Pole and the wobble, which is called "polar motion," to change course, according to a study published in the journal Science Advances.
Scientists and navigators have measured the true pole and polar wobble since 1899, and for almost the entire 20th century they have both migrated slightly toward Canada. But that has changed this century, with a movement toward England, according to study lead author Surendra Adhikari at NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab. "The recent shift from the 20th-century direction is very dramatic," Adhikari said.
The change is supposedly "harmless," but inidicative of how human activity is changing planetary systems. Since 2003, Greenland has lost an average of more than 272 trillion kilograms of ice per year. (The Guardian, April 8)
Algae threatens Greenland ice sheet
Researchers from a British team are fanning out across the Greenland ice sheet this month to explore a crucial, but overlooked, influence on its future: red, green and brown-coloured algal blooms. These darken the snow and ice, causing it to absorb more sunlight and melt faster. The Black and Bloom project aims to measure how algae are changing how much sunlight Greenland’s ice sheet bounces back into space.
Scientists are "very worried" that the melting of the Greenland ice sheet could accelerate and raise sea levels more than expected. They say warmer conditions are encouraging algae to grow and darken the surface. Dark ice absorbs more solar radiation than clean white ice so warms up and melts more rapidly.
Currently the Greenland ice sheet is adding up to 1 milimeter a year to the rise in the global average level of the oceans. It is the largest mass of ice in the northern hemisphere covering an area about seven times the size of the United Kingdom and reaching up to 3 kilometers (2 miles) in thickness. This means that the average sea level would rise around the world by about seven metres, more than 20 feet, if it all melted. (BBC News, July 24, 2017; Nature, July 15, 2016)
Nobody's gonna take my car, I'm gonna race it till I drown....
From AP, Nov. 3:
Ice-free Arctic: closer than you think
Temperatures around the North Pole surged close to melting point over Christmas weekend as a freak blast of warm air blanketed an Arctic region usually deep frozen in mid-winter darkness. Partially due to El Niño, 2016 was the hottest year on record. (Reuters, Dec. 22) But so was 2015. Fifteen of the 16 warmest years on record since monitoring began in 1880 have occurred since 2001. (AccuWeather, Jan. 26, 2016)