Patrick

Patrick

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Scientific Facts and the Paris Climate Agreement

Today’s guest post is by Joe Jordan. Joe worked in the atmospheric and space sciences for decades at NASA’s Ames Research Center (Bay Area), before teaching at Cabrillo College and in the meteorology/climate, mathematics, and environmental sciences departments at San Jose State University.  In addition, he has done science media work (especially radio), and leads occasional public outings featuring astronomy/stargazing and “physics in nature”.


The recent Paris climate agreement was significant in that most of the world (almost 200 countries) agreed to something!  But, alas, it was insignificant in that what they agreed on is almost nothing compared to what we need now.

Scientific fact is that even if the whole world completely stops emitting carbon right now (i.e., a 100% cut), the average global atmospheric temperature will not be going down anytime soon (we’re talking centuries to millennia).  Voluntary promises to limit national emissions and global temperature rise amount to a kind of wishing exercise, absent the kind of economic incentives that would be provided by a steeply increasing price on carbon.   See the advocacy work of Citizens’ Climate Lobby for extensive presentation and discussion of this highly valuable concept (CCL’s version is known as “fee and dividend”, which harnesses market forces in a revenue-neutral way with no increase in the size of government).

It’s great to be devoting some new funding to deployment of renewable energy (solar, wind, etc.) in the developing world, but we really need to “up the ante” on this, planet-wide, by an order of magnitude (i.e., factor of ten).  We need a quick yet deep “makeover” of energy infrastructure everywhere, but the Paris agreement doesn’t provide real clues on how that’s to happen.  Again, governments must squarely face the necessity to make carbon-burning more and more expensive, in order to keep fossil fuels in the ground so renewables at last have a real chance to flourish.

Furthermore, we need to not only halt all or most carbon emissions as soon as is superhumanly possible, but actually start extracting carbon from the atmosphere, in a big way.  Nobody has yet shown how to do this in a way that’s anywhere near feasible economically or ecologically — but it’s an extremely important as well as potentially exciting (and even lucrative) project that people need to get on their radar screens. The more we can do now (and soon) to develop a much more advanced, sophisticated energy landscape (befitting a life form that fancies itself as “intelligent”), the less suffering will be experienced by the future generations to whom so much of this blog series is devoted.

Still Afraid of Hydrogen? Check This Out.

Watch this short video to dispel the myth that hydrogen is dangerous!

My good friend David Vasquez just released this timely film on the safety of hydrogen.

Now that climate change is clearly on the table for discussion about alternative energy, learn the truth about hydrogen.  When produced by solar or wind, it is the cleanest fuel source available.  It has zero carbon emissions and unlike batteries (for electric cars), there are no toxic chemicals and no worry about disposal at the end of the life.

Watch this short 4-minute video so when you think hydrogen, you think clean, sustainable energy, and you stop thinking Hindenburg (explosion was NOT caused by hydrogen) and the hydrogen bomb (energy is a chemical reaction, not nuclear!).

The sooner we move to a hydrogen economy, the better chance we have to slow carbon dioxide’s negative effects.

February OBLITERATED Climate Change Records

I realize that everyone – that includes YOU – is busy.  And I know you’re REALLY BUSY – making money, maintaining your home, helping your kids and parents.  I get it.  What I don’t get is that my very intelligent, socially correct, politically active friends and family AREN’T LISTENING to the most important message about our future civilization.

Yep, and that future civilization consists of our children, grandchildren, and everyone else! Sowhy aren’t our politicians, corporations, and friends scrambling to fix our climate change problem?

I honestly don’t get it!

What can be more important than diverting the massive devastation that we are facing in our lifetimes?  We aren’t making the dramatic changes to reduce our carbon emissions TODAY so that we will be able to enjoy making money, maintaining our homes, and helping our kids and parents. Here are some facts that should scare the bejeezus out of you:

February didn’t just break climate change records – it obliterated them.

  • Regions of the Arctic were more than 16℃ warmer than normal; whatever constitutes normal now.
  • February was the third consecutive month to break global temperature records.
  • North of the equator was 2℃ warmer than pre-industrial temperatures (we passed the line…)
  • In 2015: largest CO2 increase in hundreds of thousands of years
  • CO2 level reached 404.02 ppm (up 1% from 2015) in Mauna Loa, HI

WAKE UP!  Denial will only ensure that the fossil fuel industry (oil companies, fracking industry, car manufacturers, politicians) will stay on this terminal course until they extract the last drop of oil and squeeze the last dollar out of the earth.  Their plan to phase out oil and natural gas (methane) and to offer clean energy will be decades too late.  I’ve seen their brilliant marketing campaigns to fool us into thinking that they have a sustainable plan, butit’s all smoke and mirrors.

I always like to offer solutions when I deliver depressing news like this.  In the next few weeks, I will share with you a game changer.  I’m still researching its viability and statistics before I publicly support this breakthrough in energy production.  Can’t wait to tell you…  I am so excited about its possibilities that I am up at night laying out plans and wrapping my head around how to implement it worldwide as soon as possible.  More real soon!

[Source]

Do Your Part for Earth Day: Don’t Drive Tomorrow!

What’s the fuss about?  Logan Conover, the founder of WHEN, NOT IF…, sums it up with his description about the Positive Feedback Loop.  If this doesn’t scare the bejeezus out of you, I don’t think you’re listening.  Leave it to a 17-year-old student to lay out the facts.  Remember, DON’T DRIVE YOUR CAR TOMORROW – SATURDAY, APRIL 23RD! Go to www.WhenNotIf.org to report your stats so Logan can calculate how much CO2 we prevented from entering the atmosphere!

Positive Feedback Loop:
Rising CO2 levels will cause worldwide devastation similar to that of the end of the last Ice Age. To sustain human life on Earth, the ideal level of CO2 is 350 ppm. Scientists hypothesize that at 400 ppm the Earth will begin to spiral into becoming an uninhabitable planet for humans. Here is how:

Due to increased CO2 in the atmosphere, ice (white, which reflects sunlight) will melt, creating a larger ocean surface area (dark blue, which absorbs sunlight). The ocean absorbs more heat than ice does, making the ocean warmer and melting glaciers faster. This would “ultimately warm [the] global climate” because the ice on Earth stabilizes the world’s temperature, and without it the Earth’s surface would become warmer (1). This would continue in an exponentially accelerating loop until the Earth stabilized at an unknown average surface temperature too hot for humans to survive.

In March 2016 the CO2 levels reached 404.83 ppm; in October 2015 when I started research it was at 398.29 ppm. These numbers show that the amount of CO2 being produced is not decreasing, which is scary because scientists have predicted that reaching 400 ppm would be the beginning of the end of the world. Here are a few ways that climate change will affect earth.

Countdown to Sat, Apr 23rd: Your Car Type Matters!

You’re probably wondering why I’ve dedicated a whole week to Logan Conover’s WHEN, NOT IF… campaign.  He’s a passionate young 17-year-old student who hopes to get the world on board to reduce our CO2 emissions.  With over a billion internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles on the road today, something has to give… So if you drive a gas guzzler, consider good alternatives.

Electric motors are far superior to internal combustion engines on several levels:

  1. Electric motors don’t have any emissions; ICE are the cause of 20% of our CO2 problems
  2. Electric motors don’t have moving parts: fewer repairs and maintenance!
  3. Electric motors can be powered by batteries or hydrogen
    1. Batteries have to be charged by power plants that use fossil fuels… (terrible)
    2. Batteries have toxic chemicals that cause problems at the end of life (terrible)
    3. Solar hydrogen is produced through electrolysis using sustainable sun power (great)
    4. Black hydrogen is produced using steam methane reformation (Oil companies) (terrible)

It’s time to rethink what kind of vehicles we drive and make smart choices.  You can also take mass transit, ride your bike, walk, or carpool.

Remember, it’s just 2 days until WHEN, NOT IF’s… big day!  Don’t drive your car on Saturday, April 23rd!  Then, go to Logan’s website at www.WhenNotIf.org to log in your stats.  He’ll show how a grassroots effort started by a teen, can make a difference.  Join him in helping to ward off Climate Change!

3 Days to Sat, April 23rd: Ban on Driving Day!

Day 3So you’re a climate change believer but feel overwhelmed by the enormity of the problem.  And what’s worse? You feel like driving your little Honda Civic, or NOT driving it, won’t impact climate change, right? WRONG! With one billion internal combustion engine (ICE) cars on the road worldwide, our transportation systems are responsible for about 20% of the CO2 problems we face.  Yup! That means that if everyone stopped driving vehicles for ONE SINGLE DAY, we would be preventing 29 billion lbs. of CO2 from entering the atmosphere.  Just one gallon of gas produces 20 lbs. of CO2.  So yes, YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE!

So here are 3 easy things you can do:

  1. Share this blog post with your family, friends, and co-workers.
  2. Clear your driving calendar for Saturday, April 23rd.
  3. Log on to WhenNotIf.org and click on the “Enter Your Data” page; enter your stats and you’re done!

Logan will post how many POUNDS of CO2 we collectively prevent from entering the atmosphere each month.  So join Logan and When, Not If!

Countdown to Saturday April 23rd

Don’t drive your gas-guzzling cars this Saturday, April 23rd!

Last weekend, Logan Conover debuted his WHEN, NOT IF… project at the Santa Cruz Earth Day festival.  He met with hundreds of people to encourage them to join him in not driving their cars on Saturday, April 23rd.  While some might think that Santa Cruz is filled with tree huggers and liberals, Logan was surprised to meet people who didn’t understand that driving cars causes a substantial impact on CO2 in our atmosphere.  Then, there were others who have actually sold their cars and bike everywhere.  The Santa Cruz Sentinel featured Logan’s project on the front page of the Sunday paper.

Logan recruited Nathan Decena, of Willow Glen High School, and Angelique Su, of Merit Academy to join him at the Earth Day event.  Nathan brought a life-size Darth Vadar to attract the attention of the hundreds of children – and it worked!  Kids came to the WHEN, NOT IF booth to see Darth Vadar, and their parents followed along and engaged in conversation with Logan. Visitors added their names and email addresses to Logan’s mailing list so he could remind them of future non-driving days and get their friends to join the movement.

Make plans to clear your day of all driving responsibilities on Saturday, April 23rd. Take a break from the hustle bustle of everyday life.  Dust off your bikes and put air in the tires.  Take the family on a bike trip or walk to your favorite beaches.  Too far to walk?  Take public transportation!

Then, go to www.WhenNotIf.org to enter your stats for Logan.  He’ll tally this up and calculate how much CO2 we prevented from entering the atmosphere!  Help Logan; help civilization as we know it. Thanks for doing your part!

When Kids Speak, People Listen

When, Not IfClaim to be a Climate-Change Believer? Prove it!  Don’t drive your car on Saturday, April 23rd!

Back in October 2015 when Logan Conover (my 17-years-old client) learned that there was 398 ppm of CO2 in the atmosphere, he was shocked.  Then, when we checked CO2 levels last week and found that we reached 404 ppm in just 4 months, when we thought it would be at least 4 years, he was speechless. After all, we all know that the earth can’t handle more than 350ppm without causing havoc and heading us all into a downward spiral.  But Logan actually did something about it.  He started an organization called WHEN, NOT IF… to give everyone a relatively simple way to reduce their contribution to the 7.5 billion lbs. of CO2 that we spew into the atmosphere every day. Logan is advocating to get everyone toNOT DRIVE THEIR GAS-GUZZLING CARS on Saturday, April 23rd.

You can do this!  Do your shopping and errands on Friday or Sunday.  If you need to go somewhere, ride your bike, take a bus or train, or walk! You can even carpool with someone else! Sure, this may be a little inconvenient, but in the long term, it certainly is more convenient than, say, not having shelter because of a natural disaster that was caused by Climate Change (tidal waves, tornadoes, hurricanes, droughts, and more). So be proactive and make your plans to not drive on Saturday.

The next most important thing for you to do is to LOG IN THE MILES YOU DIDN’T DRIVE ON SATURDAY! Yup!  Clever Logan created his own website for WHEN, NOT IF… and he even did the math calculations to determine how much CO2 we won’t be spewing into the atmosphere on Saturday. It’s easy to do.  Just go to his website at www.WhenNotIf.org and click on the “Enter Your Data” page.  Just enter how many miles you normally drive per day (approximate is fine) and how many miles per gallon your car gets. That’s it!  He’s created the formula to add up your total and add it to his running tally.  Can you believe that one gallon of gasoline equals 20 lbs. of CO2? Yikes!

So put this on your calendar!  And please share this blog with your friends, family and co-workers! Get everyone to not drive on Saturday, April 23rd, and remind them to report their participation on Logan’s website: www.WhenNotIf.org! Logan will tally up the April 23rdnumbers to determine how much CO2 we prevented from contributing to further damaging climate change!

Logan plans to expand this drive every month!  With one billion cars on the road today (worldwide), the impact will be significant and it will hurt the oil industry using the only language they understand: MONEY!

Ice Shelf the Size of Manhattan is About to Break Off!

Iceberg the Size of ManhattanEvery day I hear more evidence about our planet warming up and that it is caused by us – humans.  NASA scientists are concerned about a growing crack in the Nansen Ice Shelf that may break off and create a massive iceberg the size of Manhattan. Over the past 2 years, this small crack has spread across the entire width of the shelf, which is about 20 miles wide and 30 miles long.  The rate of ice shelf loss has been speeding up according to ScienceAlert.  Over the past 20 years, Antarctica’s Larsen ice shelves have lost about 75 percent of its land mass.

Others may argue that the Nansen Ice Shelf is just 0.1% of Antarctica’s ice shelf coverage, NASA researchers want to continue studying why ice shelves collapse and how to prevent it. I’m worried that massive ice shelves are breaking away in Antarctica and Greenland/Arctic regions. We need to drastically – and quickly – reduce our CO2 levels in order to stop inevitable catastrophic disasters in the near future.

[Read More]

Why Aren’t We Talking about the Melting Glaciers?

Melting GlaciersEveryone (who is paying attention) knows that Greenland, Canada, Alaska, and Antarctica are losing a lot of ice.
According to NASA and Princeton University’s Harig and Simons, they are losing 387 billion tons of ice/glaciers per year.
I need to say this again: 387 billion tons of ice per year!  And that’s not the worst part.  Antarctic glaciers are destabilizing from below via warm water channels. The warm water erodes the ice shelf base which in turn accelerates the rise of the sea level.
This scares me more than just about anything.  Why aren’t we discussing solutions?  Instead we are mired in a ridiculous political circus that focuses on abortion, immigration, gay rights, and other less important issues.

Can Kids Sue the Government for Failing to Act on Climate Change?

Kids Suing the GovernmentI love this!  Finally, 21 kids may have the opportunity to force the government to stop the devastation that Climate Change has and will continue to wreak on earth.

It’s about time!

Dr. James Hansen, an adjunct professor at Columbia University and former director of NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies is the guardian of “future generations” and his granddaughter is the plaintiff in the case. It’s about time that kids step up to the plate.

Julia Olson, lawyer with Wild Earth Advocates and Our Children’s Trust, says that the government has continued actions to “permit, authorize and subsidize fossil fuel extraction, development, consumption and exportation.”

The government is not just sitting by and doing nothing, they are actually doing everything to cause this problem.

[Source]

Most of Congress Disagrees With Their Constituents on Climate Change

Eagle TearsDid you know that our congressional representatives are NOT representing us on Climate Change?

I’m confused. I thought our congressional representatives were supposed to “represent” our beliefs when they vote on initiatives that impact us.  If 76% of Americans believe that climate change is caused by man, then why is it that only 41% of the House and 30% of the Senate vote accordingly? That means that over 202 million Americans are represented by climate deniers in Congress.

Say what? Well, maybe the fact that these same climate deniers have received over $73 million dollars from Big Oil might have something to do with it. Hmm.

I like what U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) said, “Members of Congress should be accountable to their constituents, not to a fossil fuel industry that uses the threat of unlimited campaign spending to command their silence.”

[Source]  Want to put faces to names? Check this out.

Why Isn’t Climate Change Being Discussed in the Debates?

Global WarmingI just read a disturbing quote from the Boston Globe:

“Thursday, while the nation debated the relative size of Republican genitalia, something truly awful happened. Across the northern hemisphere, the temperature, if only for a few hours, apparently crossed a line: it was more than two degrees Celsius above “normal” for the first time in recorded history and likely for the first time in the course of human civilization.”

Let me repeat that. This is the first time the North American average temperature rose above 2 degrees Celsius. That’s 35.6 degrees (Fahrenheit) higher than normal.

While the politicians focus on distracting issues (with arguably less consequences), our planet is warming up and beginning to cause catastrophic disasters.  We need to deal with reducing CO2 NOW.

In my opinion, there is nothing more important than stopping the corruption behind politicians, big oil, and manufacturers that deceive the general population into thinking that we have time to solve global warming. It’s time for everyone to get their heads out of the sand and take action to lower their CO2 footprint today.

What are you doing that is more important than this?

Australia Cuts 110 Climate Scientist Jobs. Seriously?

AustralioopsI feel sickened by this news. Australia’s federally-funded research agency, similar to our NASA in the United States, has cut 110 of 140 positions that handle atmosphere and oceans, and another 120 positions will be cut from the land and water program.

I’m in shock! Australia is GROUND ZERO for climate change!

With these climate scientists now working in fields that are unrelated to their training and expertise (climate change and CO2 reduction), who will create the climate models and offer solutions? What kind of message are they sending to their young scientists, and more importantly, what are they going to do when they face climate-caused devastation?

Looks like corporate greed is the culprit, yet again. Yup! Economist Clive Spash says, “Climate science becomes secondary to business; business comes first. The interests of the corporate sector, of the mining and resource extraction industry, are primary in Australia.”

How could this happen to a country that already has extensive deserts, variable annual rainfall, and big problems with water supply? When are the Australians and everyone around the world going to wake up and work together to drastically reduce CO2 in the atmosphere? (Hint: HYDROGEN can be the answer – see this video Kids4Hydrogen made)

I am surprised that a few corporate giants have the power to mislead the masses and that most people still have their heads in the sand.  Actively addressing climate change is something we need to have done YESTERDAY.  It’s time we wake up!

Why We Need to Stop Fracking

Ban FrackingOil and natural gas companies are secretly drilling oil and gas wells using a technique called hydraulic fracturing or fracking. Each well requires approximately one million gallons of water that ismixed with chemicals that are toxic and carcinogenic.  There are thousands of these wells in the United States and the oil companies keep drilling more and more.

Fracking threatens our water supply, increases health risks, threatens air quality and exacerbates climate change.  Don’t believe their blatant lies about how their well casings prevent these toxic chemicals from leaking into our water supply. They must think we’re idiots to believe that their well casing will never crack or leak. 

It infuriates me to think that a few people with the financial resources that the oil companies have can deliberately mislead the entire world population to believe that oil and natural gas are not culprits behind climate change, air and water pollution, cancer, and war. Wake up! It’s time that we as a civilization stand up to the few who control our economy, politics, and more.

What can you do to stop this train wreck?

Get Educated:

Watch Gasland and Gasland 2 to see what is really going on with fracking and how the oil companies are trying to keep us in the dark.  Smells a bit like “Erin Brockovich” or “Silkwood” to me… Seriously, spend a few hours and get educated about what’s really happening right here under our noses.

Read Clean Water Action’s website to get real information about fracking:http://www.cleanwateraction.org/fracking-california

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