Arctic permafrost no longer permanent

It’s easy to think planting a tree, bringing your reusable bags to the grocery store, or forgoing a plastic straw is meaningless.

arcticWhen a new study shows “the Arctic has entered an ‘unprecedented state’ that threatens the entire planet” and it’s “a massive conglomeration of nearly 50 years of research,” it’s difficult to feel optimistic.

Nearly 50 years. The first Earth Day will be a half century ago come next year. I expected that things would be better, way better, on the planet, certainly not appreciably worse. “Because the Arctic atmosphere is warming faster than the rest of the world, weather patterns across Europe, North America and Asia are becoming more persistent, leading to extreme weather conditions.”

It’s easy to think planting a tree, bringing your reusable bags to the grocery store, or forgoing a plastic straw is meaningless. Yet my family does it anyway. Maybe (probably) it’s a certain arrogance but we are trying for the destruction of the planet to be less “on us.” So we have our hybrid car. We compost. We reuse.

But even as the Midwest US braced for a major, long-lasting blizzard called a “bomb cyclone” AGAIN this month, the regime was signing executive orders designed to further roll back energy and environmental regulations and promote the fossil fuel industry, apparently to meet his goal of making global warming worse.

Andrew Wheeler, the the head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, has said that human-caused climate change is not his top priority.

This despite a new study by EPA scientists “published in the journal Nature Climate Change. The paper urges action on climate change, declaring the urgency of the issue and pushing for strategies to address the potential effects.”

Earlier this year, EPA scientists priced out the cost of climate change. “By the end of the century, the manifold consequences… will cost the U.S. hundreds of billions of dollars per year.

“Those costs will come in multiple forms, including water shortages [Wheeler’s purported top priority], crippled infrastructure and polluted air that shortens lives, according to the study… No part of the country will be untouched, the EPA researchers warned.”

Happy Earth Day. This is probably NOT the only mention of the topic this week.

Earth Day: the EPA is all but dead

…an increasing sense that their overseers are deeply partisan and ignorant of the issues

The fight to save the EPA – “With environmental regulations under attack and EPA budgets being slashed, can the destruction of the agency be prevented?” As a practical matter, no.

Last year, Fortune did a story about the US before EPA. The Environmental Protection Agency was created under Republican President Richard Nixon in December 1970, months after the first Earth Day.

Under this regime, however, data has been buried, altered, silenced. “Across agency websites [not just EPA’s], documents have disappeared, web pages have vanished and language has shifted in ways that appear to reflect the policies of the new administration.” I am told that staff have been directed to change the titles of some reports so nobody could find them or ask for the correct document, an underhanded ploy to render them un-FOIA-able.

The agency is poised to scrap fuel economy targets that are key to curbing global warming. “The EPA is [stupidly] expected to announce… that it will scrap mileage targets the Obama administration drafted in tandem with California that aim to boost average fuel economy for passenger cars and SUVs… undermining one of the world’s most aggressive programs to confront climate change.”

Most sinister, and somewhat complicated to explain, EPA administrator Scott Pruitt is using ‘weaponized transparency’ to destroy public health and block the use of science.

“How could ‘more transparency’ actually mean less information and worse decisions? Many of the studies that the EPA and other agencies [conduct] that address the health and safety of Americans depend on [and] require access to health records. Those health records can be used only if the information is kept carefully anonymous and if some parts of the information are shielded from public scrutiny. Many of these studies include agreements that portions of the data will not be released to the public. Otherwise, these studies risk revealing private information about the health and activities of individuals.

“Under the new proposed guidelines, many of these studies would be either forced to violate privacy rules, or their data could not be used. By filtering this information out, Pruitt hopes to make EPA decisions without being confronted with information that would counter his desire to allow companies to release unlimited toxins.”

So why are Scott Pruitt and other Cabinet-level heads creating a work environment in which employees at agencies say they have seen their core missions changed or even demolished overnight? Some “described living in constant fear that… budget proposals would end in them being laid off en masse. And given the constantly mercurial state of … policies changing at the drop of a hat, leadership hired and fired on a whim, political appointees undermining existing management, and an increasing sense that their overseers are deeply partisan and ignorant of the issues—their workplace environment has reportedly grown worse than toxic.”

It’s because Scott Pruitt says he’s doing God’s work by ignoring climate change and repealing Clean Power Act. Or just maybe it’s that Pruitt has been living in an energy lobbyist’s condo since he moved to D.C. The current challenges to his tenure brings me little comfort, considering the damage already done.

In any case, the United States pulling out of the Paris Accord while the Arctic is melting down and the Antarctic food chain is breaking seems counter-intuitive. Stop blaming ‘both sides’ for America’s climate failures.

We’re going to have to rely on other countries, the states, business, non-governmental organizations, and ourselves to carry on the fight because the current EPA appears to be fighting for environmental perfidy.

Note: similar topic, more optimism in a couple days.

Not a snowball’s chance in hell climate change will be addressed in the USA in a timely fashion

This past winter was the warmest on record,

james inhofeLast month, the Federal Emergency Management Agency announced that it will require states seeking billions of dollars in U.S. preparedness funds to sign off on plans to mitigate effects of climate change.

“The policy doesn’t affect federal money for relief after a hurricane, flood or other disaster. Specifically, beginning in March 2016, states seeking preparedness money will have to assess how climate change threatens their communities. Governors will have to sign off on hazard mitigation plans.”

One of the governors who this will affect is Rick Scott of Florida, who not only denies there is man-made climate change Continue reading “Not a snowball’s chance in hell climate change will be addressed in the USA in a timely fashion”

Earth Day 2014

The odd sidebar about Malaysian airplane disappearance is that we learned how trashed the oceans really are.

earthdayI imagine you heard about the UN panel announcing that climate change is real and getting worse:

Looking at the risks, authorities expressed “very high confidence” that rising sea levels would endanger the U.S. East Coast, and noted that much of the mountain snowpack in the American West is waning. With snow melting earlier in the year, less water is on hand during the arid summers. In Alaska, sea ice collapse is permitting enormous waves to chip away at the coast, the Times reported.

Worldwide, scientists pointed to melting ice caps, intensifying weather conditions, coastal waters that are becoming more acidic, and sea life migration as some of the effects of present climate change.

Continue reading “Earth Day 2014”

EARTH DAY Question

Not only are we going to be saving money during the heating and cooling seasons, but we are getting a federal tax refund that is over $1000 larger than it would have been had we not spent the few thousand dollars to insulate.

Far from my naivete on the first Earth Day 41 years ago, I realize that we have to make some substantial changes if we are going to keep old Mother Earth healthy. Sure there are the BIG issues of industrial pollution and the like to address. But I also find it necessary to look in the mirror to see what I’M doing.
By far, the most significant thing that we’ve done is Continue reading “EARTH DAY Question”