Tuesday, January 17, 2017

On political and policy responses to climate change, Trump and his cabinet can't be bothered by facts ... by gimleteye

Global Sea Ice Area 1978-2017
by @kevpluck 

Data source NSIDC: https://sites.google.com/site/arctischepinguin/home/sea-ice-extent-area/data Visualisation generated using processing.org -- https://github.com/kjpluck/GlobalSeaIceAreaSpiral
Why, terrifying? Pay attention to the visualization of sea ice loss in 2016 compared to steady decline in recent years. The anomaly demonstrates what scientists have been shouting from rooftops: climate change impacts are likely to be logarithmic and not linear. 

Since the C02 we emit into the atmosphere is increasing, and, since feedback loops are accelerating releases and warming around the world, off-the-scale data changes are just the leading edge of climate change impacts. We know what happens next: the world gets much hotter, faster.

The point is that humanity has been spending down the interest on climate systems that sustain life. 

Climate scientist Michael Oppenheimer, Princeton University recently said, "We are entering a climate space now that is entirely different than anything that has existed in the history of humanity, and way out of the range that has existed for the history of civilization." Sadly, Oppenheimer is not the Princeton scientist that Donald J. Trump invited, recently, to Trump Tower.

Instead, Trump met with another Princeton professor, William Happer, a physicist -- not climate scientist-- who questions whether we should be concerned about human-caused climate change. Sad! That's a popular word in the next president's twitter lexicon. "Sad" doesn't capture terror.

In his last address to the nation, President Obama said it well, about global warming, if not intentionally as truth demands. "We need to solve climate issues "now" so future generations can enjoy what we hold in stewardship for them." (or words to that effect.)

What he meant: we are now wealthy enough to solve climate change, but if nations wait until the rapid impacts overwhelm us, we will not be wealthy. We will be too busy fighting for survival to marshal the financial resources and political will to unify against a common threat to mankind.

Trump, himself, and the Cabinet members he has selected are firmly in the do-nothing camp on climate change impacts. They appear to have already decided: there is nothing the federal government can do. Theirs is a cowardly, sham argument that casts around for any shred of proof that what we are seeing is anything but catastrophic. 

Trump policy on climate change is grounded in the shambolic myth that elected leaders should point America back in the direction of the 1950's and recover our primacy in the world economy before any consideration is given to collateral benefits like environmental protection. This idea that "jobs come first" has been a core Republican value for years, most clearly by Jeb Bush in Florida.

It is a fantasy of people who are rich, who can fly off by private jet to hunting safaris in Africa or to fishing rodeos in the Bahamas, and scoff at the analyses of the military and U.S. intelligence concluding that rapid global warming is a threat multiplier to national security.

Elections have consequences but so does the righteous anger of citizens. 


always the Optimist said...

not a climate denier I fail to see how humanity cannot survive shifting weather patterns. Ok the polar bears are screwed but for example if I want to maintain my 26 degree latitude South Florida weather I may need to move 300 miles north for my grandchildren to enjoy balmy weather?

not withstanding the hyperbole what is plan "B"?

Geniusofdespair said...

I am thinking about Arizona. Somewhere near Flagstaff - Lower altitude. I think the climate would be livable. I have unloaded my home, ready to go, if I don't die first from the despondency over the election.

Gimleteye said...

The issue with the shifting weather patterns is a stable climate for industrial scale food production that is serving billions of people.

Anonymous said...

"Pay attention to the visualization of sea ice loss in 2016 compared to steady decline in recent years. The anomaly demonstrates what scientists have been shouting from rooftops: climate change impacts are likely to be logarithmic and not linear."

As a scientist and a believer, I would caution about reading too much into the 2016 data just yet. As you know, 2016 had a strong El Nino, which typically has higher temperatures and greater loss of sea ice. I therefore cannot agree with the excerpt/assertion stated above that this is the smoking gun evidence of logarithmic impacts that that have been predicted and are likely in the future. Sorry EOM.