Category Archives: Global Warming

2014 was officially the hottest year on record

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Nasa and Noaa scientists report 2014 was 0.07F (0.04C) higher than previous records and the 38th consecutive year of above-average temperatures by Suzanne Goldenberg in Washington Friday 16 January 2015 18.22 GMT

The numbers are in. The year 2014 – after shattering temperature records that had stood for hundreds of years across virtually all of Europe, and roasting parts of South America, China and Russia – was the hottest on record, with global temperatures 1.24F (0.69C) higher than the 20th-century average, US government scientists said on Friday.

A day after international researchers warned that human activities had pushed the planet to the brink, new evidence of climate change arrived. The world was the hottest it has been since systematic records began in 1880, especially on the oceans, which the agency confirmed were the driver of 2014’s temperature rise.

The global average temperatures over land and sea surface for the year were 1.24F (0.69C) above the 20th-century average, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa) reported. Nasa, which calculates temperatures slightly differently, put 2014’s average temperature at 14.67C – 0.68C above the average – for the period 1951-80.

The scientists said 2014 was 0.07F (0.04C) higher than the previous records set in 2005 and 2010, and the 38th consecutive year of above-average temperatures.

That means nobody born since 1976 has experienced a colder-than-average year.

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Why is diesel now bad news?

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By Roger Harrabin 8 December 2014

The Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo wants to ban diesel cars and the pollution they bring from the streets of the French capital. But not long ago, diesel engines were thought to be environmentally friendly. What could have gone wrong?

Opinion on diesel cars has swung widely over the years.

Diesel is a more efficient fuel than petrol, but in the past diesel engines were often noisy and dirty.

Then, with growing concerns over climate change, car manufacturers were urged to produce cleaner, quieter diesel cars to capitalise on their extra fuel efficiency.

The cars were fitted with a trap to catch the particles of smoke associated with the fuel. Several governments rewarded the manufacturing improvements by incentivising the purchase and use of diesel cars.

But the policy has backfired.

Going into reverse

First, there have been problems with the particle traps – some drivers have removed them because they sometimes don’t work properly unless the car is driven hot.

Second, the diesels are still producing nitrogen dioxide (NO2), which irritates the lungs of people with breathing problems. Diesels make several times more NO2 than petrol cars.

Now, in order to meet European air pollution laws, politicians are being forced into an embarrassing U-turn, telling drivers that they’ve decided they don’t much like diesels after all.

MPs in the UK have mooted a scrappage scheme for diesel cars, while the mayor of Paris has called for a ban.

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I’ve Gone Vegan to Help Try to Save the Planet

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By Chris Hedges November 10, 2014

“We have only a few years left to make radical changes to rescue ourselves from an ecological meltdown. A person who is vegan will save 1,100 gallons of water, 20 pounds CO2 equivalent, 30 square feet of forested land, 45 pounds of grain, and one sentient animal’s life every day.”

My attitude toward becoming a vegan was similar to Augustine’s attitude toward becoming celibate—“God grant me abstinence, but not yet.” But with animal agriculture as the leading cause of species extinction, water pollution, ocean dead zones and habitat destruction(2), and with the death spiral of the ecosystem ever more pronounced, becoming vegan is the most important and direct change we can immediately make to save the planet and its species. It is one that my wife—who was the engine behind our family’s shift—and I have made.

Animal agriculture is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than all worldwide transportation combined—cars, trucks, trains, ships and planes.(3) Livestock and their waste and flatulence account for at least 32,000 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year, or 51 percent of all worldwide greenhouse gas emissions.(4) Livestock causes 65 percent of all emissions of nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas 296 times more destructive than carbon dioxide.(5) Crops grown for livestock feed consume 56 percent of the water used in the United States.(6) Eighty percent of the world’s soy crop is fed to animals, and most of this soy is grown on cleared lands that were once rain forests. All this is taking place as an estimated 6 million children across the planet die each year from starvation and as hunger and malnutrition affect an additional 1 billion people.(7) In the United States 70 percent of the grain we grow goes to feed livestock raised for consumption.(8)

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The natural resources used to produce even minimal amounts of animal products are staggering—1,000 gallons of water to produce 1 gallon of milk.(9) Add to this the massive clear cutting and other destruction of forests, especially in the Amazon—where forest destruction has risen to 91 percent(10)—and we find ourselves lethally despoiling the lungs of the earth largely for the benefit of the animal agriculture industry. Our forests, especially our rain forests, absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and exchange it for oxygen: Killing the forests is a death sentence for the planet. Land devoted exclusively to raising livestock now represents 45 percent of the earth’s land mass.(11)

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85 year old US philosopher and “world’s top public intellectual” Noam Chomsky has doubts about our future..

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The Dimming Prospects for Human Survival by Noam Chomsky March 3, 2014

Part 1: An Ignorant Public Is the Real Kind of Security Our Govt. Is After

A leading principle of international relations theory is that the state’s highest priority is to ensure security. As Cold War strategist George F. Kennan formulated the standard view, government is created “to assure order and justice internally and to provide for the common defense.”

The proposition seems plausible, almost self-evident, until we look more closely and ask: Security for whom? For the general population? For state power itself? For dominant domestic constituencies?

Depending on what we mean, the credibility of the proposition ranges from negligible to very high.

Security for state power is at the high extreme, as illustrated by the efforts that states exert to protect themselves from the scrutiny of their own populations.

In an interview on German TV, Edward J. Snowden said that his “breaking point” was “seeing Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, directly lie under oath to Congress” by denying the existence of a domestic spying program conducted by the National Security Agency.

Snowden elaborated that “The public had a right to know about these programs. The public had a right to know that which the government is doing in its name, and that which the government is doing against the public.”

The same could be justly said by Daniel Ellsberg, Chelsea Manning and other courageous figures who acted on the same democratic principle.

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The government stance is quite different: The public doesn’t have the right to know because security thus is undermined – severely so, as officials assert.

There are several good reasons to be skeptical about such a response. The first is that it’s almost completely predictable: When a government’s act is exposed, the government reflexively pleads security. The predictable response therefore carries little information.

Continue reading 85 year old US philosopher and “world’s top public intellectual” Noam Chomsky has doubts about our future..

Australian PM Tony Abbott says ‘coal is good for humanity’

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Australian PM Tony Abbott says ‘coal is good for humanity’ while opening mine – ‘Coal is vital for the future energy needs of the world, so let’s have no demonisation of coal’ by Gabrielle Chan The Guardian, Monday 13 October 2014 05.39

Tony Abbott has declared “coal is good for humanity” while opening a coalmine in Queensland.

The prime minister, who describes himself as a conservationist, said coal was vital to the world and that fossil fuel should not be demonised.

“Coal is vital for the future energy needs of the world,” he said. “So let’s have no demonisation of coal. Coal is good for humanity.”

Abbott said the opening of the $4.2bn Caval Ridge coalmine in Moranbah, operated by BHP Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA), was “a great day for the world”.

“The trajectory should be up and up and up in the years and decades to come,” Abbott said.

“The future for coal is bright and it is the responsibility for government to try to ensure that we are there making it easier for everyone wanting to have a go.

“It is a great day for the world because this mine will keep so many people employed … it will make so many lives better.

“This mine epitomises the have-a-go spirit,” he said.

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In May, Abbott told a minerals industry parliamentary dinner he could think of “few things more damaging to our future” than leaving coal in the ground.

A month later, after a meeting with Barack Obama in June this year, Abbott said he took climate change very seriously.

“I regard myself as a conservationist,” he said. “Frankly, we should rest lightly on the planet and I’m determined to ensure that we do our duty by the future here.”

In Moranbah, the prime minister said he was proud to have abolished the carbon tax and the mining tax.

Last week, China imposed a 6% tariff on non-coking coal and announced attempts to address pollution in its cities by increasing spending on renewable energy. Last year, China spent $56bn on wind, solar and other renewable energy projects while Australia’s renewable industry slumped by 70%, due to uncertainty over the government’s intentions for the Renewable Energy Target.

On Sunday, the prime minister said he would prefer China’s coal tariff announcement “didn’t happen” and still hoped for a resolution to the Australia-China free trade agreement in November, before or at the G20 summit.

“We would prefer that this [the coal tariff] didn’t happen,” Abbott said.

“The fact that it seems to be happening makes it more important than ever that we get a good outcome to the free trade negotiations that have been going on between Australia and China now for many, many years.”

On Monday the treasurer, Joe Hockey, criticised the Australian National University for its decision to divest from fossil fuel companies.

“I would suggest they’re removed from the reality of what is helping to drive the Australian economy and create more employment,” Hockey said

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