Tuesday, June 20, 2017
State of Climate Change
The Verge writes It’s so hot in Phoenix, planes are physically unable to fly. I have friends that live in Phoenix and they've told me previously that the airport shuts down at 120° As Natasha Geiling points out Extreme heat is one of the clearest and more defining characteristics of global warming. > But as Arizona-based meteorologist Eric Holthaus noted on Twitter, Arizona has seen a marked jump in the average number of days above 100 degrees Fahrenheit in recent years — in Tucson for instance, the number of extremely hot days has increased 55 percent in the last 30 years. > Extreme heat is one of the clearest and more defining characteristics of global warming, according to more than 20 different scientific studies that looked at the connection between climate change and extreme heat events. A new study conducted by researchers at the University of Hawaii found that nearly a third of the world’s population is currently exposed to dangerous heatwaves for 20 or more days per year because of global warming. And, the researchers warn, that number could climb even higher — to almost half of the world’s population by 2100 — if carbon emissions are not dramatically reduced. Meanwhile, Rick Perry says carbon dioxide is not a primary driver of climate change. A quick reading of that headline makes it sound worse than it is, but the GOP messaging on this topic is frightening muddled and dangerous. > In an interview with CNBC on Monday, US Energy Secretary Rick Perry said that carbon dioxide emissions from human activities aren't the primary driver of climate change. Instead, the former Texas governor responded that "most likely the primary control knob is the ocean waters and this environment that we live in." > It’s unclear how Perry envisions this “control knob” and how it works; a generous analysis of his answer would be that he misunderstood the question. Ocean waters absorb carbon dioxide and are changing, much like climate, because of it. And the oceans have short-term cycles that influence equally short-term temperature trends. But those cycles can't drive the ever-upward trend in temperature. > Oddly, Perry continued by affirming that climate change is happening and that we have to do something about it. The secretary told CNBC, “The fact is, this shouldn't be a debate about 'Is the climate changing? Is man having an effect on it?' Yeah, we are. The question should be just how much, and what are the policy changes that we need to make to effect that?" And shockingly, it seems Exxon, Shell, and BP support a Republican plan to do something about climate change. Again, a quick reading of this headline would make you think that Republicans want a carbon tax, but it's of course not true. > A group of major businesses, including Johnson & Johnson, General Motors, and fossil fuel giants ExxonMobil, BP, and Shell, announced Tuesday they have joined a Republican-led council that proposes to put a $40 tax on carbon emissions. > The companies, along with a list of high profile business people and two environmental groups, are part of the Climate Leadership Council, whose platform was written by former cabinet members James Baker and George Shultz. So it's a group that includes former Republican leaders who now have no effect on the party. > Representatives from the council met with the White House in February, but there have been no signs from the administration that a carbon tax is on the table. To the contrary, President Trump has moved significantly away from climate action. His EPA administrator, Scott Pruitt, has rolled back a number of rules intended to limit greenhouse gas emissions, and the president himself announced that the United States would leave the historic Paris climate agreement, a 2015 pact to limit warming to less than 2°C (3.6°F).