Tag Archives: global warming

The Pennsylvania Paradox

By Barb Jarmoska, Responsible Drilling Alliance (Williamsport PA), 12/21/15

Earlier this month, 195 nations and the European Union, representing billions of earth citizens, reached an unprecedented consensus at the Conference of Parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21). A plan to slow global warming was agreed upon with the hope of averting disastrous climate effects. Global dependence on fossil fuels is beginning to wind down and a commitment to an increasing reliance on clean, renewable energy has begun. Janos Pasztor, the U.N. assistant secretary-general on climate change, proclaimed that the message of the Paris Agreement is to “send a strong signal… that this is the direction we are going, to a low-carbon, low-emissions world, so investing in new technology is the way to go.”

“The agreement requires the world to wean itself off of fossil fuels by the middle of the century,” said Alden Meyer, the director of strategy and policy of the Union of Concerned Scientists. “We have to get to net zero of greenhouse gases by 2060 or so. That can be through a combination of reducing emissions and increasing uptake of carbon dioxide by forests and agriculture by natural syncs. There is no way to meet this goal without phasing out fossil fuels over that time.”

Although the commitments made in Paris are insufficient to protect the most vulnerable people or to reverse the trend of rapidly declining biodiversity, the COP21 deal is a compromise, a crucial and forward-looking step in the right direction.

Huffington Post proclaimed, “…the Paris Agreement does send a strong signal to the business community and financial markets that we are moving to a low-carbon, renewable energy future.”

Here in PA, that “strong signal” has been blocked by false promises and padded campaign coffers. The message of COP21 is not reaching the ears of Pennsylvania’s elected and appointed officials who, as a whole, remain heedless of the warnings, ignorant of the predictions, and deaf to the global consensus on climate change. The gas industry’s stranglehold continues to dominate… welcome to the Pennsylvania paradox.

November saw the release of the Pennsylvania Pipeline Infrastructure Task Force Draft Report. The governor’s 48-member Task Force, said to be comprised of “stakeholders” is hardly a balanced group, as the stakes most members hold have nothing to do with methane’s impact on climate change. The report’s 184 recommendations make no mention of the methane that leaks from pipelines nor does it hold in regard the forest fragmentation, invasive species, damage to wetlands, and other environmental impacts of PA’s proposed 30,000-mile web of new pipelines….

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Global Warming: Reality vs Republican Theology – An Analysis (27 January 2015)

by Lawrence Davidson, To the Point Analyses

Part I – Reality

On 17 January 2015 the New York Times reported on a scientific study that showed 2014 to be “the hottest on earth since record-keeping began in 1880.” The report went on to explain that “records were set across large areas of every inhabited continent.” Particularly hard hit in 2014 was the western portion of the United States: Alaska, Arizona, California and Nevada all experienced “extreme warmth.” Temperatures in parts of California “sometimes [ran] 10 to 15 degrees above normal for the season.”

The vast majority of climatologists believe that this warming will go on for a very long time and that it presents “profound long-term risks to civilization and nature.” Also, most scientists agree, global warming is caused by human activity such as the burning of fossil fuels. According to Michael E. Mann, a climatologist at Penn State University, “it is exceptionally unlikely that we would be witnessing a record year of warmth, during a record-warm decade, during a several decades-long period of warmth that appears to be unrivaled for more than a thousand years, were it not for the rising levels of planet-warming gases produced by the burning of fossil fuels.” This consensus has led the scientific community to the conclusion that “climate change is perhaps the major challenge of our generation.”

Part II – Republican Theology

Well, that is the judgement of scientists who investigate matters of fact in the most objective way they know. Unfortunately, only a small number of them become convincing public spokespeople for their positions, and fewer still leave their day jobs to become politicians. Meanwhile, when it comes to global warming, the investigative talents of the latest crop of Republican congressional leaders is anything but objective. Of course, that does not stop many of them from loudly voicing their opinions – opinions now coupled to the wielding of power. Consider the following short list….

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It’s Official: 2014 Ranks as World’s Hottest Year on Record

by Andrea Germanos, Common Dreams, 1/16/15

2014 marked 38th consecutive year of above-average global temperatures.

2014 was the Earth’s warmest year since records began in 1880, according to reports from federal scientists published Friday.

The finding reached by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and NASA offers more confirmation of the planet’s warming trend as a result of greenhouse gas emissions.

NOAA stated that 2014’s combined global land and ocean surface temperature was 1.24°F above the 20th century average, surpassing the previous warmest year record set by 2005 and 2010.

Looking at the areas separately, the ocean was record warm, while the global land temperature was the fourth warmest.

Further, the 20 warmest years all occurred in the past 20 years, and there have been 38 consecutive years of above-average global temperatures….

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Are Humans Going Extinct?

By Dahr Jamail, Truthout, 12/1/14

Some scientists, Guy McPherson included, fear that climate disruption is so serious, with so many self-reinforcing feedback loops already in play, that humans are in the process of causing our own extinction.

August, September and October were each the hottest months ever recorded, respectively. Including this year, which is on track to become the hottest year ever recorded, 13 of the hottest years on record have all occurred in the last 16 years.

Coal will likely overtake oil as the dominant energy source by 2017, and without a major shift away from coal, average global temperatures could rise by 6 degrees Celsius by 2050, leading to devastating climate change.

This is dramatically worse than even the most dire predictions from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which predicts at least a 5-degree Celsius increase by 2100 as its worst-case scenario, if business continues as usual with no major mitigation efforts.

Yet things continue growing worse faster than even the IPCC can keep up with….

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