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Accelerating Global Climate Change II

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Sore Throat

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Accelerating Global Climate Change II PostThu Feb 03, 2005 8:55 pm  Reply with quote

Global warming: scientists reveal timetable

By Michael McCarthy, Environment Correspondent
03 February 2005

A detailed timetable of the destruction and distress that global warming is likely to cause the world was unveiled yesterday.

It pulls together for the first time the projected impacts on ecosystems and wildlife, food production, water resources and economies across the earth, for given rises in global temperature expected during the next hundred years.

The resultant picture gives the most wide-ranging impression yet of the bewildering array of destructive effects that climate change is expected to exert on different regions, from the mountains of Europe and the rainforests of the Amazon to the coral reefs of the tropics.

Produced through a synthesis of a wide range of recent academic studies, it was presented as a paper yesterday to the international conference on climate change being held at the UK Met Office headquarters in Exeter by the author Bill Hare, of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Germany's leading global warming research institute.

The conference has been called personally by Tony Blair as part of Britain's attempts to move the climate change issue up the agenda during the current UK presidency of the G8 group of rich nations, and the European Union. It has already heard disturbing warnings from the latest climate research, including the revelation on Tuesday from the British Antarctic Survey that the massive West Antarctic ice sheet might be disintegrating - an event which, if it happened completely, would raise sea levels around the world by 16ft (4.9 metres).

Dr Hare's timetable shows the impacts of climate change multiplying rapidly as average global temperature goes up, towards 1C above levels before the industrial revolution, then to 2C, and then 3C.

As present world temperatures are already 0.7C above the pre-industrial level, the process is well under way. In the near future - the next 25 years - as the temperature climbs to the 1C mark, some specialised ecosystems will start to feel stress, such as the tropical highland forests of Queensland, which contain a large number of Australia's endemic plant species, and the succulent karoo plant region of South Africa. In some developing countries, food production will start to decline, water shortage problems will worsen and there will be net losses in GDP.

It is when the temperature moves up to 2C above the pre-industrial level, expected in the middle of this century - within the lifetime of many people alive today - that serious effects start to come thick and fast, studies suggest.

Substantial losses of Arctic sea ice will threaten species such as polar bears and walruses, while in tropical regions "bleaching" of coral reefs will become more frequent - when the animals that live in the coral are forced out by high temperatures and the reef may die. Mediterranean regions will be hit by more forest fires and insect pests, while in regions of the US such as the Rockies, rivers may become too warm for trout and salmon.

In South Africa, the Fynbos, the world's most remarkable floral kingdom which has more than 8,000 endemic wild flowers, will start to lose its species, as will alpine areas from Europe to Australia; the broad-leaved forests of China will start to die. The numbers at risk from hunger will increase and another billion and a half people will face water shortages, and GDP losses in some developing countries will become significant.

But when the temperature moves up to the 3C level, expected in the early part of the second half of the century, these effects will become critical. There is likely to be irreversible damage to the Amazon rainforest, leading to its collapse, and the complete destruction of coral reefs is likely to be widespread.

The alpine flora of Europe, Australia and New Zealand will probably disappear completely, with increasing numbers of extinctions of other plant species. There will be severe losses of China's broadleaved forests, and in South Africa the flora of the Succulent Karoo will be destroyed, and the flora of the Fynbos will be hugely damaged.

There will be a rapid increase in populations exposed to hunger, with up to 5.5 billion people living in regions with large losses in crop production, while another 3 billion people will have increased risk of water shortages.

Above the 3C raised level, which may be after 2070, the effects will be catastrophic: the Arctic sea ice will disappear, and species such as polar bears and walruses may disappear with it, while the main prey species of Arctic carnivores, such as wolves, Arctic foxes and the collared lemming, will have gone from 80 per cent of their range, critically endangering predators.

In human terms there is likely to be catastrophe too, with water stress becoming even worse, and whole regions becoming unsuitable for producing food, while there will be substantial impacts on global GDP.
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Sore Throat

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Climate Warming Spells Species Wipeout -- Experts PostFri Feb 04, 2005 1:42 am  Reply with quote

Climate Warming Spells Species Wipeout -- Experts

By Jeremy Lovell

EXETER, England (Reuters) - Whole species of animals from frogs to leopards, living in vulnerable areas and with nowhere else to go, face extinction due to global warming, scientists said on Wednesday.

And the faster the temperature rises the worse it gets.

Steve Schneider from Stanford University, California, said there was clear proof that species were reacting to the 0.7 degrees centigrade warming of the atmosphere that had already taken place over the past century.

"This is a harbinger -- nature is already responding," he told reporters at a meeting on climate change. "There is a direct threat to the viability of many species on the planet."

The complication with rapid change was not only the need to speed up the rate of adaptation, mostly through moving territory, but that at the margins, like at the poles or high up in mountains, there was nowhere to go and human settlements may lie in the way.

"The only way rapid climate change can affect species is through extinctions," Schneider said.

Bill Hare from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research said that as the climate changed, fragile ecosystems would collapse, taking with them their inhabitants.

Rachel Warren from the Tyndall Center for Climate Change told the meeting that even a one degree temperature rise put butterflies and birds like the Australian Golden Bowerbird under pressure.

At two degrees the pressure spread to fish, frogs, geese, snow leopards, seals and polar bears among other species.

Much beyond that, the species wipeout became wholesale.

Scientists say climate warming is caused by so-called greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and most accept that much of this is from human activities like car exhausts or electricity generation and urgently needs to be curbed.

Almost alone in the developed world, the United States disputes the human element to climate change.

The UN International Panel on Climate Change predicted in 2001 that the world could warm up by between 1.5 and nearly six degrees by the end of the century -- with clear proof that people were to blame for most of the rise.

On Tuesday, IPCC chief Rajendra Pachauri said new evidence suggested that the upper limit range might have to be raised.

Scientists have predicted that above two degrees the warming will push the planet into the unknown as ice caps melt, sea levels rise and weather patterns change at accelerating rates.

But Schneider said even at the lower level there could be serious adverse impacts.

"There is a five to 10 percent chance we will have dangerous outcomes just from what is already in the pipeline," he said.
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Sore Throat

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Global warming enhances destruction of ozone layer PostFri Feb 04, 2005 2:03 am  Reply with quote

Evidence suggests that global warming enhances destruction of ozone layer


OTTAWA (CP) - Two major environmental problems once thought to be unrelated - climate change and ozone depletion - appear to be closely linked in ways that will delay recovery of the ozone layer, scientists say.

Growing evidence suggests that global warming favours destruction of ozone in the stratosphere, jeopardizing the achievements of the 1987 Montreal Protocol to protect the ozone layer. One signal of the ozone-climate link is the sharp ozone depletion over the Arctic this winter, says Environment Canada scientist Tom McElroy in an interview Thursday.

Ozone over the Arctic was about 10 per cent thinner this January than last, and if current cold temperatures in the stratosphere persist Canada could see record ozone depletion this spring, he said.

"If it stays cold . . . I think we'll see depletions in some layers that are as big as we've ever seen," said McElroy.

The ozone layer is a blanket of gas in the stratosphere, high above the Earth, that screens out most of the sun's harmful ultraviolet radiation.

Thinning ozone leads to higher levels of radiation that can damage DNA in living systems. The big risk for humans is skin cancer.

Concern about the issue made headlines after the discovery of the Antarctic ozone hole in the 1980s. Nations responded with the Montreal protocol to curb the production of manmade chemicals that damage the ozone layer.

But the ozone layer has not recovered in the way many had hoped, and it is feared this is due to global warming in the lower atmosphere, which paradoxically leads to colder temperatures in the stratosphere.

Ozone depletion occurs rapidly in extreme cold, and the temperatures in the stratosphere now are minus 85 Celsius, said McElroy.

Since there is no sunlight reaching the Arctic stratosphere, the only source of warmth is solar radiation bounced upward from the surface of the Earth, he explained.

"It's something we speculated on as early as 1997, that the increase in greenhouse gases would lead to cooling in upper atmosphere in the polar darkness. We believe what's happening here is consistent with that concern."

The Montreal protocol was intended to stop the use of ozone-depleting chemicals such as CFCs, and has been successful in doing so.

"I think there was a feeling that the ozone issue was closed and we didn't need to worry about it any more," said McElroy. That optimism is now being reconsidered.

"Obviously we're concerned that the effect (of climate change) on ozone in the upper regions could be quite important in terms of delaying the recovery. My own prediction right now is that we're going to see the recovery of the ozone layer in the polar regions delayed by a decade or two."

This year's ozone story won't be clear until the sun rises in the Arctic, he added.

"When the sun hits the chemical soup that's left there at the end of the winter, that's when the most destructive reactions involving chlorine take place very rapidly."
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. PostSun Feb 06, 2005 2:02 am  Reply with quote  

4 February, 2005

Ignoring the Smoke

Watching President Bush's speech Wednesday night, I thought of Irwin Allen, Hollywood's master of disaster, the man who gave us "The Towering Inferno," "The Poseidon Adventure" and a host of other films in which calamity follows catastrophe until everybody dies, except the extremely good-looking. And I thought of the beaches of Rio de Janeiro.

In the disaster-flick genre, there are always two crucial moments when characters must commit acts of breathtaking stupidity, or else there would be no imminent danger and thus no movie. One, of course, is when somebody we're meant to care about decides to run toward the erupting volcano, rather than away from it. The other comes earlier in the movie, when some Benighted Authority Figure (B.A.F.) looks out the window at the columns of smoke and brimstone belching from nearby Mount Sinister and snaps, "Problem? I don't see any problem, and I'll tell you one thing: There's not gonna be any evacuation, not on my watch. Now everybody back to work."

Bush is playing the B.A.F. in a movie titled "Heat Wave," and Irwin Allen -- long ago gone to that Lost World in the sky -- would be proud.

Humankind is changing, or at least helping change, Earth's climate by pumping carbon dioxide and other "greenhouse" gases into the atmosphere, mostly by burning fossil fuels. The United States is doing more of this than any other nation. The consequences aren't coming; they're already here: Some scientists believe thousands have already died because of man-made atmospheric warming.

And how many words of his State of the Union speech did Bush devote to global climate change? How many to the steps he's taking to reverse it? How many to dealing with the all-but-irreversible warming that's already taken place? The answer, by my count, would be zero, zero and zero.

Not on my watch. Everybody back to work.

"The rest of the world is going forward on global warming," said David Doniger, a former Environmental Protection Agency official who now serves as climate center policy director for the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental group with offices in Washington. "Even some of the states are going forward on their own -- Schwarzenegger in California, Pataki in New York. The black hole on global warming is here inside the Beltway."..... (continued)

By the way, a lot more states than California and New York are "going forward" on the problem-solving steps necessary to deal with anthropogenic climate destabilization-related issues emerging in their regions.
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. PostSun Feb 06, 2005 2:08 am  Reply with quote  

3 February 2005

CO2 gases may be buried at sea
Plan to seal off carbon dioxide in offshore oil wells,12374,1404711,00.html

The government is considering giving tax concessions to oil companies to pump carbon dioxide from coal-fired power stations into nearly exhausted oil and gas wells in the North Sea to help solve global warming.

The government chief scientist, Sir David King, revealed yesterday that he had had talks with the oil companies to launch the scheme, which could cut UK emissions by 25%.

The cost of pumping the liquid carbon dioxide into the wells would pay for itself because it would force more oil out of the ground, extending the life of the oilfields, which would otherwise be abandoned.

However, the oil companies say it would only pay for itself if they were given tax breaks on the oil. The Treasury is considering the proposals.

Sir David, speaking to the Guardian at a climate change conference in Exeter, revealed the British plan to capture carbon dioxide and pump it underground as one of the potential ways of solving a global problem. He also raised concerns that the Chinese were building a large number of coal-fired power stations which would make the problem worse.

He said he had asked the Chinese authorities to design the new stations so that if the British carbon sequestration scheme worked, the technology to capture carbon dioxide could be fitted to the Chinese stations.

Sir David said: "The North Sea scheme is an experiment to see if oil wells that are running out could be utilised to store carbon dioxide deep underground.

"All the machinery is out there in position to do this, and we could squeeze out the remaining oil to pay for it. Carbon sequestration has great potential for reducing emissions, but we have to make sure it works first."

The theory is that if oil and gas can remain undisturbed under the sea for millions of years, so would the carbon dioxide once the wells were resealed.

Sir David said one of the problems was how to seal the wells effectively so that the carbon dioxide did not leach out..... (continued)
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Bush's global-warming death sentence PostWed Feb 09, 2005 2:50 am  Reply with quote

Some where in Argentina Senor F is eating crow....

not that it help's our situation at all.

The paid skeptics will continue to dine on their 30 pieces of silver, with little regard for the ultimate consequences....

one that even they won't escape.

Bush's global-warming death sentence


ON FEB. 16, the international Kyoto Protocol to curb global warming will take effect with no support from the Bush administration. This should be an embarrassment to all Americans.

Environmental lawyer and activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has described George W. Bush as the worst environmental president in U.S. history. During Bush's first term, his administration initiated more than 200 rollbacks of environmental laws.

These moves serve to benefit big corporations, which are no longer inconvenienced by having to comply with strict pollution standards. This kind of environmental irresponsibility is contributing to global warming that, if allowed to continue unchecked, could pose a serious threat to human life around the world.

Despite the assertions of diehard naysayers, hard data now confirms that climate change is dramatic, real and driven by fossil fuels. Weather patterns are increasingly unstable, deep oceans warming, glaciers melting, drought and famine proliferating, sea levels rising and the timing of the seasons themselves is altered.

Increased levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide have resulted in a one-degree Fahrenheit rise in temperature over the last century. That may not seem like much, but the process is speeding up in a big way, and could soon careen out of control if measures are not taken to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases.

The U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says that the average global temperature will rise three to 10 degrees Fahrenheit in this century. Other studies suggest an even greater warming effect much sooner. The consequences could be cataclysmic.

Already, climate change is affecting the lives and livelihoods of some of the world's most vulnerable people, threatening millennia-old cultures and literally stealing the ground beneath people's feet.

The Inuit people near the Arctic Circle are seeing deformed fish, depleted caribou herds, dying forests, starving seals and emaciated polar bears. Recently, the Inuit began battling northward-migrating mosquitoes and other infectious- disease-carrying insects, which they had never encountered.

As sea ice melts, rising water is washing away coastal villages. Half a world away, islands in the South Pacific are being submerged by rising sea levels caused by global warming. President Leo Falcam of the island nation of Tuvalu, near New Zealand, described climate change as "a form of slow death."

Even farther inland, the consequences are bleak, as global warming will have a considerable effect on food production. The U.N. climate panel predicts that a half-degree temperature increase would cause a drop of 20 to 40 percent in rice yields in Southeast Asia, and would cut India's wheat yield by up to 20 percent.

LOOKING FORWARD, it gets even worse and hits closer to home. The U.N. Environmental Program projects that later this century, global warming will reduce several of the world's key crops, like corn grown in the midwestern U.S., by some 30 percent.

Adding to this threat is the fact that world food consumption has, for the first time in history, outpaced food production for four consecutive years, according to the Earth Policy Institute. In other words, folks, already there is not enough food to go around.

Flooding and erosion presents a serious hardship in affected areas, but the airborne diseases and malnutrition caused by global warming are matters of life and death. Summing up the situation, the British medical journal The Lancet called indifference to climate change "a form of bio-political terrorism."

The U.S. - with about 5 percent of the world's population - remains the world's chief polluter, generating 25 percent of all carbon dioxide emissions.

Humanity must not be made to suffer the consequences of corporate cronyism. The Bush administration, and our state officials, too, must make this issue a priority and take immediate measures to control pollution and fight global warming. We owe that much to our future generations - and to the world.
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Global warming: a threat to world security? PostWed Feb 09, 2005 2:59 am  Reply with quote

Global warming: a threat to world security?

With Kyoto starting next week, a bevy of experts and scientists warn of future conflict over disappearing resources.

By Tom Regan |

Last week in England, a group of top scientists, experts and government officials gathered at the behest of Prime Minister Tony Blair to discuss global warming, and the news they heard there was not optimistic. The meeting came at a time when a number of voices from both the left and the right are saying that the leading governments of the world, the US in particular, can no longer afford to ignore or dismiss the issue.

The Independent reported Sunday that one of the effects that could be seen from global warming is wars fought over vanishing resources, particularly water.

How would this come about? Over 25 percent more people than at present are expected to live in countries where water is scarce in the future, and global warming will make it worse.

How likely is it? Former UN chief Boutros Boutros-Ghali has long said that the next Middle East war will be fought for water, not oil.

The conjunction of the official start to the Kyoto Protocol to battle global warming next week, and a number of other important events (including published studies,) have pushed global warming to the forefront in recent weeks:

In early January, Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, the chairman of the official Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), told an international conference of 114 nations gathered in Mauritius that the world has "already reached [a] level of dangerous concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere" and called for immediate and "very deep" cuts in the pollution if humanity is to "survive".

The statement was interesting because Dr. Pachauri was put in place in 2001 at the behest of the Bush administration. Oil giant Exxon had asked the Bush administration to replace his predecessor because he was too "aggressive" on the issue.

The blog Daily Kos reported two weeks ago that Pachauri's recent comments were very much a "blow" to the US position, especially since they saw him as a supporter of their "go slow" approach to battling global warming.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported in mid-January that UN humanitarian chief Jan Egland said, "Tsunamis, earthquakes, hurricanes, volcanoes and other natural disasters pose a greater global threat than war and terrorism."

In late January, Oxford University released a report, published in the British journal Nature, on the world's largest "climate change" experiment. According to the report, "Greenhouse gases could cause global temperatures to rise by more than double the maximum warming so far considered likely by the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)." project co-ordinator, Dr. David Frame, said: "the possibility of such high responses to carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has profound implications. If the real world response were anywhere near the upper end of our range, even today's levels of greenhouse gases could already be dangerously high."

In late January, the World Wildlife Federation, said "polar bears could be extinct within 20 years because of global warming," and that the lives of indigenous peoples in arctic areas could become "unsustainable."

In early February, The New Zealand Herald reported on research by British scientists that found "Gigantic changes to the world's oceans, leading to the complete disappearance of marine life from cod to coral reefs, are now threatened by the main greenhouse gas causing global warming." Sir David King, the British government's Chief Scientific Adviser, called the report very serious.

Also last week, another group of scientists from the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) reported that "a massive Antarctic ice sheet previously assumed to be stable may be starting to disintegrate ..." Such an event could "raise sea levels around the world by more than 16 feet."

CNN reported Monday on the speed in which glaciers around the world are dissolving due to rising global temperatures.

The World Business Council for Sustainable Development reported that many experts who gathered last week for the conference called by Mr. Blair said that business leaders hold the key to pushing the US government towards a more robust position on global warming.

"The business community is what is going to push this administration or the next one into international action, because it will make sense for them to do so," he [Professor Stephen Schneider of Stanford University ] said. The business community would act, he added, because of the commercial opportunities offered by adopting energy efficiency measures and investing in new, lower carbon technologies, and through fear of the commercial threats climate change poses. The insurance industry in particular has been taking the threats increasingly seriously, Prof. Schneider said.

The Sun Sentinel of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, says the calls for a more aggressive policy about global warming aren't just coming from the left, but the right as well. It points to the policy paper from a group of "conservative security experts" (which includes well-known Republicans such as The Center for Security Policy's Frank Gaffney, former national security adviser Robert McFarlane, and former CIA director James Woolsey) who say that better environmental policies would not only promote a cleaner environment and a healthier economy, but also have an impact on terrorism.

Their plan outlines a "perfect storm" of strategic, economic and environmental problems resulting from heavy US reliance on oil. In an open letter to the American people, the group cites terrorism and volatility in the oil-rich Middle East, the instability of oil prices, increased competition with China for supplies, job losses from a failing manufacturing sector and such environmental concerns as air pollution and global warming.

The group wants President Bush to use his "bully pulpit" to "help Americans appreciate that driving efficient vehicles is a way to support the war."
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Earth Gets a Warm Feeling All Over PostThu Feb 10, 2005 2:17 am  Reply with quote

Earth Gets a Warm Feeling All Over

NASA -- Last year was the fourth warmest year on average for our planet since the late 1800s, according to NASA scientists.

To determine if the Earth is warming or cooling, scientists look at average temperatures. To get an "average" temperature, scientists take the warmest and the coolest temperatures in a day, and calculate the temperature that is exactly in the middle of those high and low values. This provides an average temperature for a day. These average temperatures are then calculated for spots all over the Earth, over an entire year.

Scientists use temperatures taken on land and on surfaces of the oceans. Weather stations provide land measurements, and satellites provide sea surface temperature measurements over the ocean. These data are computed by NASA.

The end result recreates and calculates global temperatures, and helps scientists study climate change. Makiko Sato of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), New York, converted all the data into readable global temperature maps that provided the means to see the warming.

James Hansen of NASA GISS analyzed the data and said that the 2004 average temperature at Earth's surface around the world was 0.48 degrees Celsius or 0.86 Fahrenheit above the average temperature from1951 to 1980.

Globally, 1998 has proven to be the warmest year on record, with 2002 and 2003 coming in second and third, respectively. "There has been a strong warming trend over the past 30 years, a trend that has been shown to be due primarily to increasing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere," Hansen said.

Global temperatures vary from year to year and place to place, but weather stations and satellite data provide accurate records. By recording them over time, scientists develop a record of the climate, and have been able to see how it's been changing.

Some of the changes in climate are due to short-term factors like large volcanic eruptions that launched tiny particles of sulfuric acid into the upper atmosphere (stratosphere) in 1963, 1982, and 1991. These natural events can change climate for periods of time ranging from months to a few years.

Other natural events, like El Ninos, when warm water spreads over much of the tropical Pacific Ocean, also have large short-term influences on climate. The large spike in global temperature in 1998 was associated with one of the strongest El Ninos of recent centuries, and a weak El Nino contributed to the unusually high 2002-2003 global temperatures.

Even though big climate events like El Nino affect global temperatures, the increasing role of human-made pollutants plays a big part. Scientists, like Hansen, have been working to try and predict how human impacts on our climate will affect the annual world temperature trends in the future.

Hansen also said that now, Earth's surface absorbs more of the Sun's energy than gets reflected back to space. That extra energy, together with the weak El Nino, is expected to make 2005 warmer than the years of 2003 and 2004 and perhaps even warmer than 1998, which had stood out as far hotter than any year in the preceding century.

Another interesting note is that global warming is now large enough that it is beginning to affect seasons, and make them warmer than before on a more consistent basis.

Compared to the average temperatures from the 1951 to 1980 period, the largest unusually warm areas over all of 2004 were in Alaska, near the Caspian Sea, and over the Antarctic Peninsula. But compared to the previous five years, the United States as a whole was quite cool, particularly during the summer.

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GLOBAL WARMING BILL MEANS THOUSANDS OF NEW JOBS PostFri Feb 11, 2005 3:26 am  Reply with quote


Study Shows Trigger for New Energy Economy Increases Employment

WASHINGTON, DC (February 10, 2005) -- Major global warming legislation would add more than 800,000 new jobs in America by 2025, according to a new study released today. The bi-partisan bill, the Climate Stewardship Act, sponsored by John McCain (R-AZ) and Joe Lieberman (D-CT) in the Senate, and Wayne Gilchrest (R-MD) and John Olver (D-MA) in the House, would trigger new development and investment in clean energy technologies, bringing much-needed employment to states and diverse job sectors across the country.

The Climate Stewardship Act, otherwise known as McCain-Lieberman, would set a nationwide standard for global warming pollution while creating a market-based system encouraging maximum technological innovation and profitable opportunities for companies to cut emissions. The study, Jobs and the Climate Stewardship Act: How Curbing Global Warming Can Increase Employment, evaluated the employment effects of the bill, released today at the Senate Radio-TV Gallery.

Among the findings of the study:

National increases of 510,000 new jobs by 2015; 602,000 new jobs by 2020; and 801,000 new jobs by 2025.

Largest job gains would occur in construction, wholesale and retail trade, and medical services and other service industries due to increased energy-efficiency and lower energy costs.

Energy and fuel industry losses are small relative to the economy and to job gains in other industries, and would likely be absorbed through annual turnover, and could be reversed through additional technology incentives.

Largest percentage job increases by 2015 would occur in Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New York, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

The NRDC-commissioned study was conducted by economists from Redefining Progress, a national research group, Jan Mutl, an Economics Professor from Johann Wolfgang Goethe Universitat of Frankfurt, German, and contributing authors from Tellus Institute, a non-profit research firm based in Boston, MA. The study used the same economic models employed by the Department of Energy and other federal agencies to analyze policy impacts on the economy and jobs.

To assess the employment impacts of McCain-Lieberman, the study used results from a Tellus Institute report that examined the effect of the bill and associated policies on energy demand, prices and costs, investment levels, permit prices, and other factors with the Department of Energy's National Energy Modeling System (NEMS) augmented by other modeling tools. The authors then estimated the impact of these changes on labor demand by industry sector through the use of an input-output model developed by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Finally, they distributed the employment changes to states based on the relative importance of each industry sector in each state.

The major economic sectors that would be positively affected include non-energy manufacturing industries, which would see energy savings through the adoption of clean energy technologies, service industries, as consumers are projected to spend energy savings on goods and services, and agriculture, which would rise slightly under the current version of the bill. The energy and fuel industries would experience some job loss, mostly covered through normal turnover.

The analysis predicts some job losses in the coal industry, but those effects could be mitigated through policies to promote deployment of advanced coal technologies, as well as through transition assistance to displaced workers. McCain-Lieberman includes incentives for the deployment of advanced coal technologies to reduce emissions while helping to preserve jobs in that sector, and direct transition assistance for displaced workers and adversely affected communities.

Senators McCain and Lieberman today expressed their desire to add further technological incentives to the bill in energy industries, such as a higher investment to deploy advanced coal technologies which would reduce CO2 emissions while preserving employment.
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It's much too late to sweat global warming PostSun Feb 13, 2005 6:33 pm  Reply with quote

It's much too late to sweat global warming

Time to prepare for inevitable effects of our ill-fated future

Mark Hertsgaard
Sunday, February 13, 2005

At the core of the global warming dilemma is a fact neither side of the debate likes to talk about: It is already too late to prevent global warming and the climate change it sets off.

Environmentalists won't say this for fear of sounding alarmist or defeatist. Politicians won't say it because then they'd have to do something about it. The world's top climate scientists have been sending this message, however, with increasing urgency for many years.

Since 1988, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, comprised of more than 2,000 scientific and technical experts from around the world, has conducted the most extensive peer-reviewed scientific inquiry in history.

In its 2001 report, the panel said that human-caused global warming had already begun, and much sooner than expected. What's more, the problem is bound to get worse, perhaps a lot worse, before it gets better.

Last month, the climate change panel's chairman, Rajendra Pachauri, upped the ante. Although Pachauri was installed after the Bush administration forced out his predecessor, Robert Watson, for pushing too hard for action, the accumulation of evidence led Pachauri to embrace apocalyptic language: "We are risking the ability of the human race to survive," he said.

Until now, most public discussion about global warming has focused on how to prevent it -- for example, by implementing the Kyoto Protocol, which comes into force internationally (but without U.S. participation) on Wednesday. But prevention is no longer a sufficient option. No matter how many "green" cars and solar panels Kyoto eventually calls into existence, the hard fact is that a certain amount of global warming is inevitable.

The world community therefore must make a strategic shift. It must expand its response to global warming to emphasize both long-term and short-term protection. Rising sea levels and more weather-related disasters will be a fact of life on this planet for decades to come, and we have to get ready for them.

Among the steps needed to defend ourselves is quick action to fortify emergency response capabilities worldwide, to shield or relocate vulnerable coastal communities and to prepare for increased migration flows by environmental refugees.

We must also play offense. We must retroactively shrink the amount of warming facing us by redoubling efforts to remove existing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere and sequester them where they are no longer dangerous. One way is to plant trees, which absorb carbon dioxide via photosynthesis.

Researchers are exploring many other methods as well, some of them supported by the Bush administration. And Norway is burying carbon dioxide in abandoned oil wells beneath the North Sea.

The problem with the Kyoto Protocol is not that the 5 percent greenhouse gas emission reductions it mandates don't go far enough, though they don't. (The climate change panel urges 50 to 70 percent reductions.)

The problem is that Kyoto governs only future emissions. No matter how well the protocol works, it will have no effect on past emissions, which are what have made global warming unavoidable.

Contrary to the impression given by some news reports, global warming is not like a light switch that can be turned off if we simply stop burning so much oil, coal and gas.

There is a lag effect of about 50 to 100 years. That's how long carbon dioxide, the primary greenhouse gas, remains in the atmosphere after it is emitted from auto tailpipes, home furnaces and industrial smokestacks.

So even if humanity stopped burning fossil fuels tomorrow, the planet would continue warming for decades.

So far, the greenhouse gases released during two-plus centuries of industrialization have increased global temperatures by about 1 degree Fahrenheit and raised sea levels by 4 to 7 inches.

They have also given rise to the larger phenomenon of climate change. The climate change panel scientists predict that because of global warming, the future will bring more and deadlier weather of all kinds -- more hurricanes, tornadoes, downpours, heat waves, droughts and blizzards -- and all that comes in their aftermath: flooding, landslides, power outages, crop failures, property damage, disease, hunger, poverty and loss of life.

In California, torrential rains induced a mudslide on Jan. 11 that killed 10 people, buried children alive and crushed dozens of houses. In 2003, a record summer heat wave killed 35,000 people, most of them elderly, in Western Europe. And this is just the beginning.

Scientists are careful to say that no single weather event can be definitively linked to global warming, but the trend is unmistakable to the insurance companies that end up paying the bill.

"Man-made climate change will bring us increasingly extreme natural events and, consequently, increasingly large catastrophe losses," an official of Munich Re, the world's large reinsurance company, said recently. Swiss Re expects losses to reach $150 billion a year within this decade.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair regards climate change as "the single biggest long-term problem" of any kind facing his country. His government's top scientist, Sir David King, goes further, calling climate change "the biggest danger humanity has faced in 5,000 years of civilization."

Although the Bush White House continues to downplay the urgency of global warming, some parts of the Bush administration have recognized the gravity of the situation. A report released last year by the Pentagon's Office of Net Assessments said that by 2020, climate change could unleash a series of interlocking catastrophes including mega-droughts, mass starvation and even nuclear war as countries like China and India battle over river valleys and other sources of scarce food and water.

All of this underlines the urgency of revising the world's response to climate change. To be sure, it remains essential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by strengthening the Kyoto Protocol and augmenting it with other measures. Otherwise, the amount of warming that civilization eventually will have to endure will prove too great to survive.

In the meantime, it is imperative to prepare against the climate change already on its way.

The need for such a two-track strategy of prevention and protection is gaining acceptance from most of the world's governments. In Britain, the Department of the Environment promises to publish its strategy for adapting to global warming by the end of 2005.

At the most recent international meeting on global warming, held in Buenos Aires in December, a majority of the delegates supported the establishment of a fund to aid countries already suffering from the early effects of global warming.

A leading candidate for such aid is Tuvalu. A Pacific atoll whose highest point is 12 feet above sea level, Tuvalu was largely submerged last year by 10- foot seasonal high tides. But the United States opposed the adaptation assistance, arguing that there is no "certainty what constitutes a dangerous level of warming... ."

Preparing to live through the global climate change bearing down on our civilization will be an enormous undertaking. It will require immense financial resources, technical expertise and organizational skill. But perhaps what's needed most of all, especially in the United States, is fresh thinking and political leadership -- an acceptance that climate change is inescapable and requires immediate counter-measures.

The unspeakable death and destruction wrought by the Indian Ocean tsunami showed what can happen when people are unprepared for disaster, but there is no reason global warming should take us by surprise.

Our civilization's early warning system -- the scientists of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change -- have been telling us for years that great danger is approaching. The question is, will we act quickly and decisively enough to protect ourselves against the coming storm? Or will we simply stand and face our fate naked, proud and unafraid?

Mark Hertsgaard is the author most recently of "The Eagle's Shadow: Why America Fascinates and Infuriates the World; and "Earth Odyssey: Around the World In Search of Our Environmental Future."
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In pictures: How the world is changing PostWed Feb 16, 2005 8:36 pm  Reply with quote

In pictures: How the world is changing


While the effect of human activity on the global climate is hotly debated, physical signs of environmental change are all around us.
Some scientists say an increase in the rate of melting of the world's glaciers is evidence of global warming.

Argentina's Upsala Glacier was once the biggest in South America, but it is now disappearing at a rate of 200 metres per year.

Other scientists say its reduction is due to complicated shifts in glacial dynamics and local geology.

Glacial change

American photographer Gary Braasch has been documenting images of environmental change since 1999.
The image on the left is from an 1859 etching of the Rhone glacier in Valais, Switzerland, and shows ice filling the valley.

In 2001, the glacier had shrunk by some 2.5km, and its 'snout' had shifted about 450 metres higher up.

Rising tides

Some scientists predict that a warmer climate will trigger more violent storms, which will cause increased rates of coastal erosion.
This is a section of shoreline at Cape Hatteras in North Carolina in the USA, pictured in 1999 and 2004.

Rising sea levels are also expected to speed up coastal erosion.

No snow

As the climate warms up, mountainous regions may experience lower levels of snowfall.
This image shows Mount Hood in Oregon at the same time in late summer in 1985 and 2002

More pests

Tree-eating wood beetles are likely to benefit from a warmer climate and reproduce in ever-increasing numbers.

These images show damage to White Spruce trees in Alaska caused by the pests.

See more of Gary Braasch's images here:
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10 MYTHS about Global Warming PostWed Feb 16, 2005 8:46 pm  Reply with quote

10 MYTHS about Global Warming

Don't believe these commonly heard statements:

* It isn't really happening (documented science overwhelmingly shows temperatures rising rapidly)

* It's natural (temperature increases, especially since the 1970's, are far above natural variations)

* Any effects well be very gradual (not only are severe storms getting stronger, but climate history shows sharp climate changes can occur abruptly, in only a few years)

* It does not affect the U.S. (the U.S. is experiencing rising sea levels, more severe storms and droughts, die-off of forests, altered animal migrations, and loss of glaciers such as those in Glacier National Park)

* It will be good for us (some areas may become more pleasantly warm, but the cost of negative effects will far outweigh any benefits; disease and heat deaths are increasing)

* Agriculture will benefit (CO2 may make some crops grow faster, but also will accelerate weeds, pests and droughts; crops may not grow well where they once did as climate zones shift.)

* It's being handled by our government (The current U.S. Administration advocates studying, not dealing with, global warming; its energy policy completely based on burning more coal & oil. Most state and local governments are unprepared for major changes)

* It's not a big deal compared to national security (Global warming is actually the most serious threat to the widest range of human concerns. Our national and world security is directly threatened by negative climate effects on weather, water supply, disease, agriculture, marine resources, and health)

* Technology will solve the problem for us (Massive "fixes" like burying greenhouse gases are very unlikely, but many smaller changes can make a difference AND are available now)

* There's nothing to be done anyway (Everyone can make a difference today -- SEE BELOW...)

15 Very Important Things to Do about Global Warming...from the individual to the national

1. Learn about it -- start with this website and see the References
2. Sell the SUV and choose cleaner, more efficient vehicles
3. Use efficient appliances, replace light bulbs, insulate
4. Buy renewable energy, like wind and solar
5. Organize the neighborhood and town for energy efficiency
6. Use your vote and influence as a citizen to elect responsive leaders
7. Encourage efficient transportation in & between communities
8. Plant trees, expand open spaces
9. Reduce sprawl and the paving of the landscape
10. Build for efficiency and solar power
11. Support sustainable farming and forestry
12. Reduce global deforestation
13. Develop an efficient energy policy, moving away from fossil fuels
14. Export new energy technology that uses renewable energy sources
15. ....and Start doing these things today
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Kyoto Protocol comes into force PostWed Feb 16, 2005 10:23 pm  Reply with quote

Kyoto Protocol comes into force

The Kyoto accord, which aims to curb the air pollution blamed for global warming, has come into force seven years after it was agreed.
The accord requires countries to cut emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

Some 141 countries, accounting for 55% of greenhouse gas emissions, have ratified the treaty, which pledges to cut these emissions by 5.2% by 2012.

But the world's top polluter - the US - has not signed up to the treaty.

The US says the changes would be too costly to introduce and that the agreement is flawed.

Large developing countries including India, China and Brazil are not required to meet specific targets for now.

'Out of control'

The ancient Japanese capital of Kyoto, where the pact was negotiated, is hosting the main ceremony marking the treaty's coming into force.

Russia ratified the treaty in November 2004 - the crucial moment making the treaty legally binding.

Russia's entry was vital, because the treaty to had to be ratified by nations accounting for at least 55% of greenhouse gas emissions to become valid.

This target was only met after Russia joined.

But the head of the UN Environment Programme, Klaus Toepfer, said Kyoto was only a first step and much hard work needed to be done to fight global warming and its possible effects on the world's climate.

"Climate change is the spectre at the feast, capable of undermining our attempts to deliver a healthier, fairer and more resilient world," he said.

Recent projections on planet warming made terrifying reading, he said, painting a vision of a planet that is "spinning out of control."

He said it would be Africa which bore the burden of the world's failure to act.

Individual targets

The protocol, which became legally binding at midnight New York time (0500 GMT) on 16 February, demands a 5.2% cut in greenhouse gas emissions from the industrialised world as a whole, by 2012.

Each country has been set its own individual targets according to its pollution levels.

Growing developing countries China and India are outside the framework, a fact pointed out by US President George W Bush when he abandoned Kyoto as one of his first acts when taking office in 2001.

Japan's Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi issued a statement welcoming the treaty but also calling on non-signatories to rethink.

"From now, we have to build a system in which more nations will work together under the common framework to stop global warming," he said.

Environmentalists plan to hold protests around the world to mark the treaty coming into force - with many targeting the US.

Speakers at the official ceremony include Nobel Peace prize winner Wangari Maathai.

Ms Maathai, an ecologist and Kenya's deputy environment minister, said the Kyoto Protocol would require not just efforts from governments and businesses, but also a change in the way people lived.

Tough goals

But even for countries that have signed up to Kyoto, meeting the goals could be difficult.

Canada, one of the treaty's first signatories, has no clear plan for reaching its target emission cuts. Far from cutting back, its emissions have increased by 20% since 1990.

And Japan is also unsure it will be able to meet its legal requirement to slash emissions by 6% from 1990 levels by 2012.

"Japan will make all efforts to respect the rules of the Protocol," said Takashi Omura, of the Japanese environment ministry. "It will neither be easy nor insurmountable."
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Experts: Global Warming Is Real PostSat Feb 19, 2005 2:49 am  Reply with quote

Experts: Global Warming Is Real

A parcel of studies looking at the oceans and melting Arctic ice leave no room for doubt that it is getting warmer, people are to blame, and the weather is going to suffer, climate experts said on Thursday.

New computer models that look at ocean temperatures instead of the atmosphere show the clearest signal yet that global warming is well underway, said Tim Barnett of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

Speaking at an annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Barnett said climate models based on air temperatures are weak because most of the evidence for global warming is not even there.

"The real place to look is in the ocean," Barnett told a news conference.

His team used millions of temperature readings made by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to calculate steady ocean warming.

"The debate over whether or not there is a global warming signal is now over, at least for rational people," he said.

The report was published one day after the United Nations Kyoto Protocol took effect, a 141-nation environmental pact the United States government has spurned for several reasons, including stated doubts about whether global warming is occurring and is caused by people.

Barnett urged U.S. officials to reconsider.

"Could a climate system simply do this on its own? The answer is clearly no," Barnett said.

His team used U.S. government models of solar warming and volcanic warming, just to see if they could account for the measurements they made. "Not a chance," he said. And the effects will be felt far and wide. "Anywhere that the major water source is fed by snow ... or glacial melt," he said. "The debate is what are we going to do about it."

Other researchers found clear effects on climate and animals.

Ruth Curry of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution found that melting ice was changing the water cycle, which in turn affects ocean currents and, ultimately, climate.

"As the Earth warms, its water cycle is changing, being pushed out of kilter," she said. "Ice is in decline everywhere on the planet."

A circulation system called the Ocean Conveyer Belt is in danger of shutting down, she said. The last time that happened, northern Europe suffered extremely cold winters.

She said the changes were already causing droughts in the western United States.

Greenland's ice cap, which contains enough ice to raise sea levels globally by 23 feet, is starting to melt and could collapse suddenly, Curry said. Already freshwater is percolating down, lubricating the base and making it more unstable.

Sharon Smith of the University of Miami found melting Arctic ice was taking with it algae that formed an important base of the food supply for a range of animals.

And the disappearing ice shelves meant big animals such as walruses, polar bears and seals were losing their homes.

"In 1997 there was a mass die-off of a bird called the short-tailed shearwater in the Bering Sea," Smith told the news conference. The birds, which migrate from Australia, starved to death when warmer waters caused a plankton called a coccolithophore to bloom in huge numbers, turning the water an opaque turquoise color.

"The short-tailed shearwater couldn't see its prey," Smith said.
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Global Warming Could Worsen U.S. Pollution: Report PostSun Feb 20, 2005 7:10 pm  Reply with quote

Global Warming Could Worsen U.S. Pollution: Report

Feb 19, 2005 — WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Global warming could stifle cleansing summer winds across parts of the northern United States over the next 50 years and worsen air pollution, U.S. researchers said on Saturday.

Further warming of the atmosphere, as is happening now, would block cold fronts bringing cooler, cleaner air from Canada and allow stagnant air and ozone pollution to build up over cities in the Northeast and Midwest, they predicted.

"The air just cooks," said Loretta Mickley of Harvard University's Division of Engineering and Applied Sciences. "The pollution accumulates, accumulates, accumulates, until a cold front comes in and the winds sweep it away."

Mickley and colleagues used a computer model, an approach commonly used by climate scientists to predict weather and climate changes.

She told a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science that the model predicted a 20-percent decline in summer cold fronts out of Canada.

"If this model is correct, global warming would cause an increase in difficult days for those affected by ozone pollution, such as people suffering with respiratory illnesses like asthma and those doing physical labor or exercising outdoors," she said.

World temperatures have risen by an average of 1 degree Fahrenheit (0.6 degree Celsius) over the past century.

Earlier this week 141 nations signed the U.N. Kyoto Protocol aimed at cutting the so-called greenhouse gas emissions that fuel global warming.

It imposes caps on carbon dioxide emissions, mainly from burning fossil fuels in power plants, factories and cars, in 35 developed nations.

The United States, which produces the most pollution of any country, has refused to sign it.

The model used by Mickley and her colleagues incorporates things such as the sun's luminosity, topography of the planet, the distribution of the oceans, the pull of gravity and the tilt of the Earth's axis, as well as predicted warming.

They fed in gradually increased levels of greenhouse gases at rates projected by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. What they found surprised them.

"The answer lies in one of the basic forces that drive the Earth's weather — the temperature difference between the hot equator and the cold poles," Mickley said.

In the middle latitudes, low-pressure systems and accompanying cold fronts help redistribute heat by carrying warm air to the poles and replacing it with cool air. Warming slows that process down, Mickley's team found.
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