2017 – Climate Change Is Already Here

Disaster, Pestilence, War, and Famine are riding as horsemen of a particular apocalypse. In 2016, the amount of carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere reached 403 parts per million, higher than it has been since at least the last ice age. By the end of 2017, the United States was on track to have the most billion-dollar weather- and climate-related disasters since the government started counting in 1980. We did that.

Transnational corporations and the most powerful militaries on Earth are already building to prepare for higher sea levels and more extreme weather. The FIRE complex—finance, insurance, and real estate—knows exactly what 2017 cost them (natural and human-made disasters: $306 billion and 11,000 lives) and can calculate more of the same in 2018. They know that the radical alteration of Earth’s climate isn’t just something that’s going to happen in 100 years if we’re not careful, or in 50 years if we don’t change our economy and moonshot the crap out of science and technology. It’s here. Now. It happened. Look behind you.

Source: 2017 Is the Year We Should Have Realized That Climate Change Is Already Here

Terracotta in the fight against climate

Terracotta is durable, breathes, offers a natural system to transfer water and heat, lasts for hundreds of years, and can be sculpted, transforming buildings into artwork, according to the University at Buffalo (UB). ACAW participants came together to work on terracotta facade prototypes with an emphasis on bioclimatic design. Workshop co-organizer and UB chair of architecture Omar Khan said in a statement, “Buildings account for two-thirds of final energy use and more than half of the world’s greenhouse gases. Yet the materials and assembly methods used for building facades have remained essentially the same since the 1950s. The skin of architecture must adapt to and mitigate such changes in our environment. Bioclimatic design invites us to change the paradigm from disposability to longevity.”

Source: Architects experiment with terracotta in the fight against climate

Climate Change Is Happening Faster Than Expected, and It’s More Extreme


New research suggests human-caused emissions will lead to bigger impacts on heat and extreme weather, and sooner than the IPCC warned just three years ago.

In the past year, the scientific consensus shifted toward a grimmer and less uncertain picture of the risks posed by climate change.

When the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued its 5th Climate Assessment in 2014, it formally declared that observed warming was “extremely likely” to be mostly caused by human activity.

This year, a major scientific update from the United States Global Change Research Program put it more bluntly: “There is no convincing alternative explanation.”

Source: Climate Change Is Happening Faster Than Expected, and It’s More Extreme

Climate change raising risk for Superfund sites


TARPON SPRINGS, Fla. — Anthony Stansbury propped his rusty bike against a live oak tree and cast his fishing line into the rushing waters of Florida’s Anclote River.

Stansbury is among nearly 2 million people in the U.S. who live within a mile of 327 Superfund sites in areas prone to flooding or vulnerable to sea-level rise caused by climate change, according to an Associated Press analysis of flood zone maps, census data and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency records.

This year’s historic hurricane season exposed a little-known public health threat: Highly polluted sites that can be inundated by floodwaters, potentially spreading toxic contamination.

In Houston, more than a dozen Superfund sites were flooded by Hurricane Harvey, with breaches reported at two. In the Southeast and Puerto Rico, Superfund sites were battered by driving rains and winds from Irma and Maria.

The vulnerable sites highlighted by AP’s review are scattered across the nation, but Florida, New Jersey and California have the most, and the most people living near them. They are in largely low-income, heavily minority neighborhoods, the data show.

Source: Climate change raising risk for millions near 327 Superfund sites

Climate Change Is Driving People From Home. So Why Don’t They Count as Refugees?


The treaty that defines the status of refugees was written with the Second World War in mind. Now, research shows that weather shocks are forcing millions to move.

More than 65 million people are displaced from their homes, the largest number since the Second World War, and nearly 25 million of them are refugees and asylum seekers living outside their own country.

But that number doesn’t include people displaced by climate change.

Under international law, only those who have fled their countries because of war or persecution are entitled to refugee status. People forced to leave home because of climate change, or who leave because climate change has made it harder for them to make a living, don’t qualify.

The law doesn’t offer them much protection at all unless they can show they are fleeing a war zone or face a fear of persecution if they are returned home.

 

Source: Climate Change Is Driving People From Home. So Why Don’t They Count as Refugees?

Double snowfall around NA’s tallest peaks? Warming  Oceans

Research finds dramatic increases in snowfall since the beginning of the Industrial Age and explains global climate connections linking northern mountains with tropical oceans.

 

“We were shocked when we first saw how much snowfall has increased,” said Erich Osterberg, an assistant professor of earth sciences at Dartmouth College and principal investigator for the research. “We had to check and double-check our results to make sure of the findings. Dramatic increases in temperature and air pollution in modern times have been well established in science, but now we’re also seeing dramatic increases in regional precipitation with climate change.”

Source: Warming seas double snowfall around North America’s tallest peaks

Censoring ‘Climate Change’ in Nafta

The U.S. is fighting against any mention of “climate change” in a potential new environmental chapter of the North American Free Trade Agreement, according to two people familiar with talks.

In a list of Nafta negotiating objectives, the U.S. called for the countries to bring environmental provisions, along with labor, from side agreements into the core of the deal. Still, it’s privately pushing against the inclusion of the phrase “climate change” in that chapter, and against any mention of multilateral cooperation on the environment, the two people said, speaking on condition of anonymity as negotiations continue.

Source: U.S. Fights Mention of ‘Climate Change’ in New Nafta

(ed. note: emphasis added)

Columbia engineers develop floating solar fuels rig for seawater electrolysis

Chemical engineering professor Daniel Esposito has developed a novel photovoltaic-powered electrolysis device that can operate as a stand-alone platform that floats on open water. His floating PV-electrolyzer can be thought of as a ‘solar fuels rig’ that bears some resemblance to deep-sea oil rigs — but it would produce hydrogen fuel from sunlight and water instead of extracting petroleum from beneath the sea floor.

Source: Columbia engineers develop floating solar fuels rig for seawater electrolysis

A military warning on climate change


Climate change will bring more failed states and terrorist organizations, radar failures, and military bases underwater, according to the US military.

The bill’s acknowledgement and anticipation of climate change as an urgent threat contrasts sharply the Trump administration’s past denial. The administration has scrubbed mentions of climate change from agency websites, blocked federal scientists from presenting research on the topic, and top Trump officials—like energy secretary Rick Perry and environment chief Scott Pruitt—have stated their denial of the mainstream scientific consensus that human activity is warming the planet.

Source: The defense bill Trump just signed includes a dire military warning on climate change

Erasing Human History


UTQIAĠVIK, ALASKA—On a crumbling heap of thousand-year-old garbage overlooking a leaden sea, Anne Jensen shakes her head disapprovingly. A gust of Arctic air whips her hair around her face as she scrutinizes the beige house perched sixty feet above us, atop an Iñupiat archaeological site that’s fast eroding into the ocean.

Source: Climate Change Is Erasing Human History