While Congress is busy chasing the next great conspiracy in Benghazi or voting to repeal Obamacare for the 37 millionth time – the arctic icecap is quickly disappearing.
In early April, Carlos Duarte warned that the Arctic summer sea ice was melting at a rate faster than predicted by conventional climate models, and could be ice free as early as 2015 – rather than toward the end of the century, as the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) projected in 2007. He said:
“The Arctic situation is snowballing: dangerous changes in the Arctic derived from accumulated anthropogenic green house gases lead to more activities conducive to further greenhouse gas emissions. This situation has the momentum of a runaway train.”
American media is busy reporting on issues important to us, such as Umbrella-gate or the British Royal family.
The disparity was greatest on ABC World News, which dedicated 43 segments to the royal family and only one to climate change. NBC Nightly News wasn’t much better, devoting 38 segments to the royals and only 4 to climate change. CBS Evening News covered climate change the most — in 7 segments — but still less than its 11 segments on the royal family.
This ongoing imbalance was illustrated just last week when scientists announced that the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is set to surpass 400 parts per million, likely for the first time in human history. ABC World News and NBC Nightly News ignored the story, even as NBC found time to cover Prince Harry’s visit to the United States.
Maybe the fact that the atmospheric CO2 levels have reached levels higher than have ever existed during the entire existence of humans is just too much of a downer…for their ratings.
The last time CO2 was regularly above 400ppm was three to five million years ago – before modern humans existed.
Scientists say the climate back then was also considerably warmer than it is today.
We should give them credit for remaining “fair and balanced” when presenting climate change stories, even though the deniers populate a small fringe of the scientific community. Maybe weather reports should have a disclaimer: “This weather report is based on a group of scientific theories called meteorology. Coming up next, Helios reports on tomorrow’s sunrise and sunset.”
A new survey of over 12,000 peer-reviewed climate science papers by our citizen science team at Skeptical Science has found a 97% consensus among papers taking a position on the cause of global warming in the peer-reviewed literature that humans are responsible.
The warnings are becoming more urgent…
Massive movements of people are likely to occur over the rest of the century because global temperatures are likely to rise to by up to 5C because carbon dioxide levels have risen unabated for 50 years, said Stern, who is head of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change.
“When temperatures rise to that level, we will have disrupted weather patterns and spreading deserts,” he said. “Hundreds of millions of people will be forced to leave their homelands because their crops and animals will have died. The trouble will come when they try to migrate into new lands, however. That will bring them into armed conflict with people already living there. Nor will it be an occasional occurrence. It could become a permanent feature of life on Earth.”
and the lack of response is already having dire consequences…
Records were set for the duration of extreme heat at both individual locations, and for Australia as a whole. Birdsville experienced 31 successive days above 40°C and Alice Springs had 17.
When it comes to averages over time, January 2013 was the hottest month recorded in the entire observational record for Australia, stretching back to 1910 (the first year for which we can confidently estimate national temperatures). Records were set for the duration of extreme heat at both individual locations, and for Australia as a whole. Birdsville experienced 31 successive days above 40°C (104ºF) and Alice Springs had 17.
Rising sea levels are a huge threat for island nations, such as Grenada. Now, it turns out that the ocean is already claiming Caribbean land as it sinks into the water. The people along the eastern stretch of Grenada have watched for decades as the sea ate away at their shoreline; now, many families are thinking of relocating.
Global sea level rise has long been predicted by scientists. In fact, with the use of core samples, tide gauge readings and satellite measurements, researchers have been able to find that the Global Mean Sea Level (GMSL) has risen by four to eight inches over the past century. Yet what is more worrisome is the fact that over the past 20 years, the annual rise has been .13 inches–about twice the average speed of the preceding 80 years, according to National Geographic.
Three years of extreme drought, amplified by climate change, and decades of excessive withdrawal of groundwater from the high plains aquifer are turning the rich farm lands of southern high plains into a dust bowl with faint hopes of recovery. Water stored since the end of the last glacial period cannot be replaced.
While it does seem very discouraging, we really have no choice but to continue the push to raise awareness and promote change. If the media will not do their job of disseminating information important to the citizens, we shall, be it Twitter, Facebook, blogging or just talking with your neighbor over the fence. Even a small group of people taking their message to the street can have an effect.
Two major tech leaders have resigned from Mark Zuckerberg’s new political group, FWD.us, in protest of the organization’s controversial decision to bankroll ads supporting Keystone XL and drilling in the Arctic National Refuge.
Even though the Pentagon is preparing for climate change (PDF), congress is stymied by partisan politics with little hope of change anytime soon. Progress has been made at the local level with many municipalities requiring solar panels on new homes or implementing zero waste policies. We must continue to take the victories where we can as we continue to push from the bottom up.
This summer as the weather heats up, so will activists around the world. Below you will find information and links to upcoming events or actions. Don’t see anything near you? Join or start a local chapter of 350.org. Slowly, as Mother Nature shows her wrath, awareness will rise, be prepared with opportunities for people to effect positive change.
Bike the Math
When: Wednesday, May 29th
Where: Dublin/Pleasanton BART, 8am
What: Light to medium 6 mile ride to Chevron Headquarters in San Ramon along Iron Horse Trail, arriving at approximately 9am
Flag Making Party for Bike the Math
Any creatives interested, we’re going to have a flag-making party on Saturday May 25th at Mosswood Park in Oakland from 10am-noon, right before the keystone action council. We’ll meet near the stage, close to Broadway.
Obama is coming back into town on June 6th for a fundraiser in Palo Alto. Join us and tell President Obama to say NO to the Keystone Pipeline!
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All summer long. Check for an event near you: