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Posts tagged with "climate change"

[There is a] willingness to sacrifice large numbers of people in the way we respond to climate change – we are already showing a brutality in the face of climate change that I find really chilling. I don’t think we have the language to even describe [geoengineering], because we are with full knowledge deciding to allow cultures to die, to allow peoples to disappear. We have the ability to stop and we’re choosing not to. So I think the profound immorality and violence of that decision is not reflected in the language that we have. You see that we have these climate conventions where the African delegates are using words like “genocide,” and the European and North American delegates get very upset and defensive about this. The truth is that the UN definition of genocide is that it is the deliberate act to disappear and displace people. What the delegates representing the North are saying is that we are not doing this because we want you to disappear; we are doing this because we don’t care essentially. We don’t care if you disappear if we continue business-as-usual. That’s a side effect of collateral damage. Well, to the people that are actually facing the disappearance it doesn’t make a difference whether there is malice to it because it still could be prevented. And we’re choosing not to prevent it. I feel one of the crises that we’re facing is a crisis of language. We are not speaking about this with the language of urgency or mortality that the issue deserves.

- Naomi Klein

Jul 7

Why overlook agriculture in considering climate change?

Heat wave bakes western US states

The western US states are baking under a sizzling extended heat wave, with temperatures threatening to break the all-time high recorded on Earth.

Phoenix, Arizona, could see the mercury hit 48C (118F) on Friday, officials said. Temperatures higher than 37C were expected as far north as Utah.

The heat wave is expected to last through the weekend.

Cities in the region are opening cooling centres and officials fear the heat could delay air travel.

Most large aircraft can operate in temperatures up to 52C, but temperatures as low as 47C could affect liftoff conditions.

A US Airways spokesman said the airline would be monitoring temperatures in Phoenix “very closely”.

India floods death toll soars to 6,500

Another climate change event

The unexpectedly early and powerful rains over Northwest India have killed over 130 people and left 70,000 pilgrims stranded, damaged temple towns, and washed away roads and 21 bridges in Uttarakhand. And we still don’t know the extent of deaths, injuries and damage because of the impaired connectivity.

In climate literature, rainfall more than 150 mm in a day is termed a very heavy rain event. Dehradun “on Monday morning registered a record rainfall of 340 mm. This amount of rain in June is seen almost after five decades,” said the regional director of the India Meteorological Department (IMD) ( The Hindu , June 18, 2013). The unfolding disaster raises two questions: is this extreme rainfall due to global warming? And what issues does it flag?

A study by scientists at the National Atmospheric Research Laboratory, Tirupati, showed a six per cent increase in the frequency of very heavy rain events in India over 1901-2004. The more recent period 1951-2004 shows a 14.5 per cent rise per decade. They lay this at global warming’s door: the study talked of a “coherent relationship” between the increasing trend of extreme rainfall events in the last five decades and the increasing trend of Indian Ocean sea surface temperature ( M. Rajeevan et al , “Analysis of Variability and Trends of Extreme Rainfall Events Over India Using 104 Years of Gridded Daily Rainfall Data,” Geophysical Research Letters, 35, September 2008). Another school of thought emphasises regional rather than global factors. For instance, Subimal Ghosh et al found an increase in the geographical spread of rainfall extremes in India, but emphasised urbanisation, deforestation and other changes in land use more as causal factors (“Lack of Uniform Trends but Increasing Spatial Variability in Observed Indian Rainfall Extremes,” Nature Climate Change , 18 December 2011)

Police in Calgary, home to Canada’s oil industry, ordered 75,000 residents to leave their homes and closed most of the downtown business district after heavy rains flooded parts of the city and corporate headquarters lost power.

Suncor Energy Inc. (SU), Canada’s largest energy company by market value, was among businesses closing offices as workers were told to stay home and schools, bridges and roads were shut. The Bow and Elbow rivers, which meet near the middle of Calgary, surged from their banks into neighborhoods and were expected to remain high for several days after 4 inches (10 centimeters) of rain fell over two days. As many as 3 more inches are expected in the next 48 hours.

Dirt is almost all that people can talk about these days in communities along U.S. 50 and 287. Photos of fierce dust storms rolling across the state’s Eastern Plains are showing up on Facebook and local TV news, harking to the Dust Bowl years that devastated southeastern Colorado in the 1930s. Farmers and ranchers are tolling their losses. People are praying for rain.

It’s the inevitable result of three seasons of extreme drought in the area — D4 this year, the worst on the U.S. Drought Monitor scale, and no relief in sight, said state climatologist Nolan Doesken.

"The first year, it was very dry, but there was still reasonable vegetative cover," he said. "That started deteriorating last year, with more and more bare ground."

For miles on either side of U.S. 287 between Kit Carson and Lamar, the earth is brown and bare during a season that should be bursting with green native grasses and wheat. Even weeds aren’t growing. Failed crops mean vast swaths of land with no roots to anchor parched topsoil.

Pollution levels soared for a third day in a row in Singapore, as smoky haze from fires in Indonesia shrouded the city state.

The Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) hit 401 at 12:00 on Friday (04:00 GMT) - the highest in Singapore’s history.

The index also reached 400 in one part of Indonesia, which is readying helicopters and cloud-seeding equipment in an effort to tackle the fires.

The death toll from flooding and landslides following heavy monsoon rains in the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand has passed 500.

The state’s Chief Minister, Vijay Bahuguna, said 556 bodies had been seen floating or buried in “slush”, and that the army was working to recover them. The charity Action Aid says 5,000 people are missing in the area.

We had periods of blowing soils in the 1970s that required tractor work. But this is ridiculous. I’ve never seen anything like it.

- Massive dust storms hit southeast Colorado, evoking “Dirty Thirties”

Thorium test begins

A New Way to Do Nuclear

Jun 8

Pollution In The North Blamed For Africa's Severe 1980s Drought