Tag Archives: climate change

SOTU 2013 – Obama brings it

SOTU 2013

Obama brings it

© Bryan Zepp Jamieson

February 12, 2013

I nearly skipped watching the State of the Union speech tonight. They are usually perfunctory affairs, filled with partisan bragging and dutiful applause, wherein a bored-looking president recites that the state of the union is good and we really need to solve some problems, and the members of his party applaud while those in the opposing party sit on their hands and look stern. Like far too many elements of the marketing-driven politics of America, it has become something of a kabuki dance, as formal and as scripted as an 8th century Japanese play. Meetings of the old Soviet politburo must have been like this.

Additionally, I’m still disgusted over the assassination memo. Not much in the way of decent human values there. Is Obama nothing more than a mirror reflection of Vladimir Putin or Wen Jiabao? A thug, posturing as a statesman?

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Odds and Gods

Odds and Gods

Momma Nature is gonna spank little baby

© Bryan Zepp Jamieson

December 8, 2012

The Climate Change conference is taking place right now in Qatar, a ludicrous choice since Qatar has the highest per capita emissions of CO2 in the world.

Adding to the general air of clownishness that surrounds this meeting is the fact that Senator Inhofe and Lord Monckton showed up—two of the biggest fools the denier community has. Inhofe wanted the world to know it wasn’t hot and dry in Oklahoma, and Monckton tried to claim he was the representative from Burma and actually managed to address the meeting before the ruse was discovered and he was kicked out of the country.

In the meantime, some of the details of the IPCC’s next comprehensive report leaked out. It’s a pretty terrifying report. Climate Change will reach catastrophic levels by 2050, 37 years away. That’s pretty bad. But the IPCC does not address the billions of tons of methane that will be released as the permafrost in Siberia and Canada melt. This is not a projected problem—it’s been going on for twenty years now, and is one of the main reasons why the rate of climate change keeps exceeding scientific predictions.

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The Silver Lining

The Silver Lining

Did Frankenstorm take America off a Path to Catastrophe?

© Bryan Zepp Jamieson

October 31st, 2012

First, I am truly sorry for the death and destruction that the Frankenstorm visited upon people in the Northeast. For the vast majority, the storm means a few days without power, and perhaps talks with insurance adjusters over payments for storm damage. For those who lost loved ones or their homes, my deepest regrets.

Coming as it did, a week before a presidential election, it’s impossible not to look at the political calculus of the storm. If the election were as truly close as some of the polls suggested, then the fallout from the storm seems to be strongly favoring Obama.

It isn’t just that it happened while he was President, and the country always gives support to the President in times of national challenge. Merely pointing that political fact out is significantly less cynical than the Republicans, who, days after 9/11, started trying to parlay that massive catastrophe into a tax cut for the rich. Give billionaires tax cuts or the terrorists win. It was pretty disgraceful.

In this instance, there were several other factors that exacerbated the boost that Obama got at the expense of Romney.

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Something in the Air

Something in the Air

Climate Change affects the election

© Bryan Zepp Jamieson

October 28th 2012

Once again, a rogue weather pattern has everyone transfixed this weekend. This time it’s “Frankenstorm”, the aptly named confluence of a hurricane, a nor’easter, an arctic blast, and a winter storm from the Pacific. They’re supposed to more-or-less merge over New England, and up to a million square miles of northeastern America and southeastern Canada are going to see some of the wildest weather seen since at least 1991 (“The Perfect Storm”) or 1938 (“The Labor Day Hurricane”) or, well, whenever. I’m hoping, for the sake of the hundred or so million people in the region, it turns out to be a bit of a fizzle. In part because I don’t want people to suffer, and partly because the region is a Democratic stronghold. Well, OK, Quebec and Ontario not so much, but they’re far enough to the northeast that it will probably turn into an unusually large snowstorm, something they can deal with.

It comes right after four debates over the past month in which the topic of climate change was never mentioned. That’s something that affects people far more than abortion, gay marriage, defense spending, taxes or even Obama’s college transcripts. For starters, it will cost them far more, and is more likely to kill or dispossess them than any of the items listed.

Back last March, a heat wave struck the same region now ducking the wrath of Frankenstorm and sent temperatures soaring 10, 15, even 20 degrees—not above normal, but above all-time records for the dates. Just imagine if a pattern like that set up in July! It not only can happen—it will.

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Watching the WAIS line

Antarctica unimpressed with GOP declarations that global warming is a myth

February 4th 2012

 Back in the summer of 2002, February and the first week of March, the Larsen B ice shelf on the east coast of the Antarctic peninsula suddenly and shockingly disintegrated. For people who had complacently assumed that Antarctic was too cold for global warming to have an effect, it was a wake up call.

The ice shelf didn’t just calve off the way the sheets of ice pushed into the ocean by the glaciers that formed them always do. If that were the case, it would have made for a big iceberg, about the size of Rhode Island, but nothing too extraordinary. Calving is the inevitable fate of ice pushed into the ocean by the glaciers. And the Larsen B, like the Larsen A before it, was expected to break off. Larsen A broke off in 1995, but since it was only 4,000 years old and was showing signs of calving, it came as no surprise to anyone. But Larsen B, older than the Holocene, was believed to be more stable, and would take much longer to calve off. However, it was the disintegration that was shocking.

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Weather or Not

With global warming, the weather is just the same, only more so

May 31st 2011

   I was pleased when I found a plug-in for my blog that gave the average levels of CO2 in the atmosphere.  I regard climate change to be the greatest threat humanity faces over the next century, and the levels attained, according to the display, were terrifying.  393.18 parts per million.
There was just one problem: it was wrong.  It was out of date, and badly so.
The  US government’s Earth Systems Research Laboratory at Mauna Loa in Hawaii, came out with a report this week that CO2 peaked last week at 394.97ppm. That set a new record for greatest concentrations of CO2.
To give the numbers some perspective, the ice core samples show that for most of the last millennium, CO2 levels stayed within a couple of points of 282ppm.  That was high by Holocene standards.  Over the previous 450,000 years, it usually ranged between 290ppm and 190ppm, in a cycle running between 100,000 and 125,000 years.  Big, dramatic falls were known to occur over the period of 10,000 years, usually triggering an ice age.  Over the past 450,000 years, the highest level recorded prior to the past hundred years was 314ppm, some 4,700 years ago. That may have played a significant role in humanity migrating out beyond the tropics.   Continue reading