Tag Archives: climate change

“Let us not take this planet for granted” – Academy Award winner Leo DiCaprio, the environment, and you

 

“Climate change is real, and it’s happening right now,” DiCaprio said . “It is the most urgent threat facing our entire species, and we need to work collectively together and stop procrastinating. We need to support leaders around the world who do not speak for the big polluters or the big corporations, but who speak for all of humanity, for the indigenous people of the world…and for those people out there whose voices have been drowned out by the politics of greed.”
 

Photo source
Leonardo DiCaprio in The Revenant.                                                                             Photo Source

 
In Washington State, four legislators who consistently voted to dismantle legislation protecting the environment, wildlife, and use of public lands hope that they will get re-elected.  It is up to you whether or not they are allowed to block efforts to halt climate change for another term.
Washington Conservation Voters
“Despite the strong environmental ethos in much of the Washington delegation, overall 2015 will go down as the most anti-environmental Congress in our history.”
…“Once again, too many members of Congress were complicit in extreme attacks on both bedrock environmental laws and more recent progress to protect our air, water, public lands and wildlife,” said Shannon Murphy, President of Washington Conservation Voters. “Despite last year being the hottest year on record, Congressional leaders put polluters’ agenda ahead of the health of Washingtonians, environmental protections and climate action. This is particularly disappointing from members of the Washington delegation, where we have long had a bipartisan tradition of environmental protection.”
Will we have a healthy planet for future generations? (Photo source)
Will we have a healthy planet for future generations? (Photo source)

Washington State Delegation Scores On Environmental Issues:
Senate:
Cantwell 96
Murray 96
House:
1 DelBene, 94
2 Larsen, R., 94
3 Herrera Beutler, 6
4 Newhouse, 3
5 McMorris Rodgers, 0
6 Kilmer, 94
7 McDermott, 100
8 Reichert, 6
9 Smith, Adam, 89
10 Heck, D., 97
Newhouse, McMorris, and Reichert all voted to support H.R. 2406, the Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act (SHARE Act), while Herrera refrained from voting on this measure.
From Born Free: One of the most devastating provisions contains several alarming rollbacks of long-standing federal environmental and public land laws including the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Wilderness Act, and the National Forest Management Act. In the process, it reduces or eliminates important protections for America’s public lands that have been in place for decades. For example, the bill would including trapping under the definition of hunting, conflating two entirely different activities and thereby opening hundreds of millions of public lands to cruel trapping. In addition, the bill would force land managers to prioritize hunting and trapping above other outdoor activities, effectively excluding a large proportion of the American public from enjoying national spaces that belong to all of us. This and other changes in H.R. 2406 are in direct conflict with the stated purpose of the Wilderness Act, which is to establish areas “where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.”
Lek Chailert, founder of Elephant Nature Park
Lek Chailert, founder of Elephant Nature Park

The African Elephant Conservation and Legal Ivory Possession Act, rolled into H.R. 2406, would halt efforts by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to crack down on the illegal ivory trade, particularly by undoing the restrictions on U.S. ivory imports and exports. African elephants are facing the greatest poaching crisis since the 1980s: more than 100,000 were killed from 2010 to 2012 – an average of one every 15 minutes. The appalling scale of poaching is intertwined with violent militias, organized crime, and government corruption in Africa. A crucial element of halting this ongoing slaughter is addressing the demand for ivory within our own borders. The regulations proposed by the FWS prohibit most imports and exports, and limit other commercial actions to ivory that was lawfully imported prior to 1990 (the date that elephants’ endangered status was elevated by the Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Species). Prohibiting FWS from implementing these vital regulations would be an enormous step backward in the U.S.’s response to the wildlife trafficking crisis.
These baby elephants were orphaned by ivory poachers. David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust)
These baby elephants were orphaned by ivory poachers. David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.

“Other provisions in this huge bill would prevent the public from having a say in National Wildlife Refuge decisions, and waive important environmental reviews for this system as well.
Such blind dedication to implementing recreational killing is detrimental to both conservation efforts and the public interest.”
 

Climate impacts in the Northwest – Trump wants the EPA to remove all climate data from the website (copied here)

“If the website goes dark, years of work we have done on climate change will disappear,” one official told Reuters soon after the order to shut down the website was sent.” The Independent.
Nothing may come of Trump’s demand that the EPA remove all references to climate change, but this information may become harder to find. The information on the main EPA climate page is extensive and worth checking out. Only the information about the Northwest is copied here.

Climate Impacts in the Northwest


Overview

The Northwest is best known for its vast Pacific coastline and rainy weather. The region is home to the Cascade Mountain Range that runs north-south through Washington and Oregon, resulting in large climatic differences on the western and eastern sides of the range. West of the mountains, year-round temperatures are mild, winters are wet, and summers are dry. East of the mountains, it is typically sunnier and drier throughout the year, winters are colder, and summers can be significantly hotter.[1]
Over the last century, the average annual temperature in the Northwest has risen by about 1.3°F.[2] Temperatures are projected to increase by approximately 3°F to 10°F by the end of the century, with the largest increases expected in the summer.[2] Precipitation in the region has seen a decline in both the amount of total snowfall and the proportion of precipitation falling as snow. Declines in snowpack and streamflows have been observed in the Cascades in recent decades. In Washington state, record low snowpack values were measured in April 2015 and in seventy-four percent of long-term monitoring stations.[3] Changes in average annual precipitation in the Northwest are likely to vary over the century. Summer precipitation is projected to decline by as much as 30%, with less frequent but heavier downpours.[2]

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Impacts on Water Resources

A reliable supply of water is crucial for energy production, agriculture, and ecosystems. Much of the Northwest’s water is stored naturally in winter snowpack in the mountains. The snowpack melts and replenishes streams and rivers in the late spring and summer, when there is very little rainfall. Climate change threatens this natural storage by changing the timing of snowmelt and the amount of water available in streams and rivers (streamflow) throughout the year.[2] Warmer springs contribute to earlier melting of the snowpack, higher streamflows in late winter and early spring, and lower flows in summer. Spring snowmelt is projected to occur three to four weeks earlier by mid-century and summer streamflows are likely to decline.[2] In the Cascade Mountains, measurements of snowpack taken on April 1 (when snowpack is usually at its peak) have decreased by about 20% since the 1950s.[2]
Climate change can also lead to changes in the type of precipitation. Warmer winters cause more precipitation to fall as rain instead of snow, particularly at lower elevations. This reduces soil moisture, snow accumulation, and the amount of water available from snowmelt.[2][4] Further, increased flood risks around rivers that receive waters from both winter rains and peak runoff in late spring are expected.[2]
Changing streamflows are likely to strain water management and worsen existing competition for water. Competing demands for water currently include hydropower, agricultural irrigation, municipal and industrial uses, and protection of ecosystems and threatened or endangered species. Increasing temperatures and populations could deepen demand and further stress urban water supplies that are already at risk of diminishing because of climate change.[2]
Forty percent of the nation’s hydropower is generated in the Northwest.[2] Lower streamflows will likely reduce hydroelectric supply and could lead to large economic losses in the region. Reduced streamflows combined with rising temperatures and a growing population are raising concerns about the ability to meet increased air conditioning and other electricity demands.[2]
For more information on climate change impacts, please visit the Water Resources Impacts or the Energy Impacts pages.
Projected changes to runoff and summer streamflows in the Northwest by the 2040s. Runoff is expected to decrease by 40 - 50 % in mountainous areas and 5 - 30 % in most other areas. Streamflows are also negatively impacted in roughly the same areas.Natural surface water availability during late summer is projected to decline across most of the Northwest. This map shows expected changes in local runoff (shading) and streamflow (colored circles) for the 2040s (compared to the period 1915 to 2006), assuming that heat-trapping greenhouse gases will be reduced in the future. Source: USGCRP 2014[6]
Click the image to view a larger version.

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Impacts on Coastal Resources

Climate change is damaging the Northwest coastline. Projections indicate an increase of 1 to 4 feet of global sea level rise by the end of the century, which may have implications for the 140,000 acres of the region that lie within 3.3 feet of high tide.[2] Sea level rise and storm surge pose a risk to people, infrastructure, and ecosystems, especially in low lying areas, which include Puget Sound. Warming waters and ocean acidification threaten economically important marine species and coastal ecosystems.[2]Map of Seattle showing areas projected to fall below sea level during high tide by end of the century. The high (50 inches) and medium (13 inches) estimates are within current projections. The highest level (88 inches) includes the effect of storm surge.Many areas of Seattle are projected to fall below sea level during high tide by the end of the century. Shaded blue areas depict three levels of sea level rise, assuming no adaptation. The high (50 inches) and medium (13 inches) estimates are within the range of current projections, while the highest level (88 inches) includes the effect of storm surge. Source: USGCRP 2014[6]
Flooding, seawater inundation, and erosion are expected to threaten coastal infrastructure, including properties, highways, railways, wastewater treatment plants, stormwater outfalls, and ferry terminals. Coastal wetlands, tidal flats, and beaches are likely to erode or be lost as a result of seawater inundation, which heightens the vulnerability of coastal infrastructure to coastal storms.
Some coastal habitats may disappear if organisms are unable to migrate inland because of topography or human infrastructure. This is expected to affect shorebirds and small forage fish, among other species. Warmer waters in regional estuaries, including Puget Sound, may contribute to an increase in harmful algal blooms, which could result in beach closures and declines in recreational shellfish harvests. Ocean acidification is also expected to negatively impact important economic species, including oysters and Pacific salmon.
For more information on climate change impacts on coastal resources, please visit the Coastal Resources page.

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Impacts on Ecosystems and Agriculture

Higher temperatures, changing streamflows, and increases in pests and disease threaten forests, agriculture, and fish populations in the Northwest.[2]
Forests make up nearly half of the Northwest landscape. These areas provide important habitat for fish and wildlife and support local economies, recreation, and traditional tribal activities.[2] Forests have become warmer and drier due to rising temperatures, changes in precipitation, and reduced soil moisture. These stresses make trees more susceptible to insect outbreaks and disease and make forests highly flammable. An increase in the number and size of wildfires has been observed in the region in recent decades.[2] These impacts are expected to worsen in the future, resulting in larger areas burned each year and expanded spread of pests, including the mountain pine beetle. Some types of forests and other ecosystems at high elevations are also expected to disappear from the region by the end of the century from inability to survive changing climatic conditions.[2] These changes are likely to have significant effects on local timber revenues and bioenergy markets.
Areas burned from 1984-2008 or affected by insects or disease from 1997-2008. Expected increase in area burned resulting from 2.2°F average temperature increase ranges from 100-200% up to a 500-600% increase through eastern OR, middle of ID and western MTUnder hotter, drier conditions, insects and fire can have large cumulative impacts on forests. This is expected to be the dominant driver of forest change in the near future. The top map shows areas burned between 1984 and 2008 or affected by insects or disease between 1997 and 2008. The bottom map indicates the expected increase in area burned resulting from a 2.2°F warming in average temperature. Source: USGCRP 2014[6]
Click the image to view a larger version.Commercial fish and shellfish harvested in the Northwest were valued at $480 million in 2011.[2] Warming waters have already contributed to earlier migration of sockeye salmon in some streams and earlier growth of algal blooms in some lakes. Warmer waters are likely to increase spring and summer disease and mortality in Chinook and sockeye salmon in some river basins. Species that spend all or part of their lives in rivers, including salmon, steelhead, and trout, will suffer from decreased summer flows and increased flooding and winter flows. Projections suggest that suitable habitat for the four trout species in the region will decline by an average of 47% near the end of this century, compared to past decades.[2]
Ocean acidification is also expected to negatively impact shellfish, including oysters, and others species, including Pacific salmon, resulting in economic and cultural implications. Warmer coastal waters may alter migratory patterns and areas of suitable habitat for marine species, resulting in changes in abundances.
Agriculture is an important economic and cultural component in rural areas of the Northwest. In the short-term, a longer growing season and higher levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide may be beneficial to crops.[2] In the longer-term, reduced water availability for irrigation, higher temperatures, and changes in pests, diseases, and weeds may harm crop yields.

Threatened Salmon Populations

Photograph of salmon jumping and swimming upstream.Salmon swimming upstream. Credit: US Fish and Wildlife ServiceHuman activities already threaten Northwest salmon populations. These activities include dam building, logging, pollution, and overfishing. Climate change impacts further stress these salmon populations. Salmon are particularly sensitive due to their seasonally timed migration upstream to breed. Higher winter streamflows and earlier peak steamflows due to climate change will damage spawning nests, wash away incubating eggs, and force young salmon from rivers prematurely. Lower summer streamflows and warmer stream and ocean temperatures are less favorable for salmon and other cold-water fish species. These climate change impacts facilitate the spread of salmon diseases and parasites. Many salmon species are already considered threatened or endangered under the Federal Endangered Species Act. Studies show that by 2100, one third of current habitat for Northwest salmon and other coldwater fish will be too warm for these species to tolerate.[5]

For more information on climate change impacts on forests, please visit the Forests Impacts page.
For more information on climate change impacts on agriculture and food supply, please visit the Agriculture and Food Supply Impacts page.

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References

[1] U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (2011). Climate Change in the Pacific Northwest .

[2] USGCRP (2014) Mote, P., A. K. Snover, S. Capalbo, S. D. Eigenbrode, P. Glick, J. Littell, R. Raymondi, and S. Reeder, 2014: Ch. 21: Northwest. Climate Change Impacts in the United States: The Third National Climate Assessment, J. M. Melillo, Terese (T.C.) Richmond, and G. W. Yohe, Eds., U.S. Global Change Research Program, 487-513.

[3] U.S. Department of Agriculture. Natural Resources Conservation Service, Washington. Accessed June 1, 2015.

[4] US EPA (2016). Climate Change Indicators in the United States: Trends in April Snowpack in the Western United States, 1955-2016.

[5] USGCRP (2009). Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States. Karl, T.R., J. M. Melillo, and T. C. Peterson (eds.). United States Global Change Research Program. Cambridge University Press, New York, NY, USA.

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Trump removed this climate change page from the White House website (copied here)

Trump has been in office for about an hour and has already taken down Obama’s climate change page, so I’ve copied it here for future reference. It can also be found archived here.
“Someday, our children, and our children’s children, will look at us in the eye and they’ll ask us, did we do all that we could when we had the chance to deal with this problem and leave them a cleaner, safe, more stable world?” – President Barack Obama, June 25, 2013

2016 was the hottest year on record.
2016 was the hottest year on record.

The Obama Administration:
ENERGY, CLIMATE CHANGE,
AND OUR ENVIRONMENT

The President has taken unprecedented action to build the foundation for a clean energy economy, tackle the issue of climate change, and protect our environment.
The Obama administration is taking action to combat climate change. In June 2013, President Obama outlined the Climate Action Plan — the steps his Administration would take to cut carbon pollution, help prepare the United States for the impacts of climate change, and continue to lead international efforts to address global climate change. For the sake of our children and future generations, we must act now. And we are.
Get the overview of the President’s Climate Action Plan
Cutting Carbon Pollution in America
“I refuse to condemn your generation and future generations to a planet that’s beyond fixing.” – President Barack Obama, June 25, 2013
The United States is leading global efforts to address the threat of climate change. Since 2005, the United States has reduced its total carbon pollution more than any other nation on Earth. Wind power has tripled, and energy from the sun has increased tenfold. President Obama has taken a series of common-sense steps to curb carbon pollution and other greenhouse gases through initiatives that drive energy efficiency, promote clean energy, and put in place the first-ever carbon pollution standards for power plants.
The Path Toward a Clean Energy Economy
Reducing Carbon Pollution from Power Plants
Power plants are the largest concentrated source of emissions in the United States, together accounting for roughly one-third of all domestic greenhouse gas emissions. We have already set limits for arsenic, mercury, and lead, but there is currently no federal rule to prevent power plants from releasing as much carbon pollution as they want. Many states, local governments, and companies have led the way forward toward cleaner electricity sources.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has taken a common-sense approach to developing carbon pollution standards for both new and existing power plants. In September 2013, EPA announced proposed standards for new power plants and initiated outreach to a wide variety of stakeholders to help inform the development of emission guidelines for existing plants. In June 2014, EPA released the Clean Power Plan — the first-ever carbon pollution standards for existing power plants that will protect the health of our children and put our nation on the path toward a 30 percent reduction in carbon pollution from the power sector by 2030. In addition, the Plan will lead to climate and health benefits worth an estimated $55 billion to $93 billion per year in 2030 and will cut pollution that leads to soot and smog by over 25 percent in 2030.
Accelerating Clean Energy Leadership
The Obama administration has made real progress in developing a wide range of initiatives that reduce greenhouse gas emissions through clean energy policies. Since President Obama took office, the U.S. has increased solar electricity generation by more than ten-fold, and tripled electricity production from wind power. Building on the advancements of the first term, we continue to take new and comprehensive action to encourage cleaner forms of American-made energy. Through public-private partnerships, streamlining the federal permitting process, and furthering American leadership in clean energy, we are on track to meet our clean-energy goals: to install 100 megawatts of renewable capacity across federally subsidized housing by 2020, permit 10 gigawatts of renewable projects on public lands by 2020, deploy 3 gigawatts of renewable energy on military installations by 2025, and double wind and solar electricity generation in the United States — once again — by 2025.
RENEWABLES ON PUBLIC LANDS
When President Obama took office in 2009, there were zero renewables projects on public lands, and there was no process in place to move forward the hundreds of pending applications from American businesses that wanted to harness renewable energy to help power the U.S. Since President Obama took office, the Department of the Interior (DOI) has approved over 50 wind, solar, and geothermal utility-scale projects on public or tribal lands. Together, these projects can support more than 20,000 U.S. jobs and generate enough electricity to power 4.8 million homes.
EXPANDING AND MODERNIZING THE ELECTRIC GRID
Our nation’s electric transmission grid is the backbone of our economy, a key factor in future economic growth, and a critical component of our energy security. Expanding and modernizing our grid provides improved access to remote sources of solar and wind energy, reduces power outages, saves consumers money, and speeds the creation of thousands of construction and operations jobs. President Obama has put forth initiatives to help develop principles for establishing energy corridors; encourage the use of designated energy corridors in western states; expedite the review of transmission projects in non-western states; and improve the overall transmission siting, permitting, and review processes. You can read more on the Presidential Memorandum on Transforming our Nation’s Electric Grid.
STAYING ON THE CUTTING EDGE
While we are taking action to encourage the adoption of cleaner forms of energy, we also recognize that future technologies will be crucial in our transition to a clean energy economy. That is why President Obama created the Advanced Research Project Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) in 2009. This Agency helps to advance high-impact energy projects that have the potential to transform the way we generate, store, and use energy. Every year, the President’s budget continues to invest in the crucial programs that will keep the United States at the forefront of clean energy research, development, and deployment.
Building a 21st Century Clean Energy Infrastructure
The Obama administration has proposed the toughest fuel economy standards for passenger vehicles in U.S. history, requiring an average performance equivalent of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. The Administration has also finalized the first-ever fuel economy standards for commercial trucks, vans, and buses for model years 2014-2018. These standards are projected to save over 500 million barrels of oil and save vehicle owners and operators an estimated $50 billion in fuel costs. Continuing on this progress, in 2014, the President directed his Administration to develop and issue the next phase of fuel efficiency standards for heavy-duty vehicles. These standards help consumers save money at the pump, lower carbon emissions, and decrease our dependence on foreign oil. Thanks in part to tighter fuel economy standards, U.S. oil demand has declined. More broadly, the Administration will continue to support research and leverage partnerships between the private and public sectors to deploy cleaner fuels.
Cutting Energy Waste in Homes, Businesses, and Factories
Energy efficiency is one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to save families money, make our businesses more competitive, create American jobs, and reduce greenhouse gas pollution. The Obama administration has developed several initiatives to further drive energy efficiency, including developing energy conservation standards for appliances and equipment, partnering with rural electric cooperatives to make energy efficiency accessible to rural America, completing home efficiency upgrades to save families hundreds of dollars on their utility bills, and partnering with the private sector to advance energy efficiency over billions of square feet of building space through the President’s Better Buildings Challenge.
Reducing Other Greenhouse Gases
Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) — a known “super-pollutant” — are factory-made gases used primarily in air conditioning and refrigeration and are among the fastest-growing greenhouse gases in the world. Unless fast action is taken, the emissions of HFCs in the United States are expected to nearly triple by 2030. To reduce emissions of HFCs, the United States is leading through both domestic actions and international diplomacy. Domestically, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed two new rules in 2014 under the Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) program that would smooth the transition from HFCs to climate-friendly alternatives by expanding the list of acceptable alternatives and limiting use of some of the most harmful HFCs were lower-risk alternatives are available. In addition, the President has directed his Administration to purchase cleaner alternatives to HFCs whenever feasible and transition over time to equipment that uses safer and more sustainable alternatives. Internationally, the Administration has been working with foreign governments and other stakeholders — including industry, environmental groups, and foundation partners — to push for an amendment to the Montreal Protocol that would phase down the production and consumption of HFCs globally.
Methane — another potent greenhouse gas — accounted for nearly 10 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in 2012 and is projected to increase to a level equivalent to over 620 million tons of carbon pollution in 2030, if action is not taken. That is why in March 2014, the Administration released a Strategy to Reduce Methane Emissions that builds on progress to date and takes steps to further cut methane emissions from landfills, coal mining, agriculture, and oil and gas systems. The Administration is making progress in these sectors, and in January 2015 announced a new goal to cut methane emissions from the oil and gas sector by 40-45 percent from 2012 levels by 2025. Achieving the Administration’s goal would save up to 180 billion cubic feet of natural gas in 2025 — enough to heat more than 2 million homes for a year. The steps announced today are also a sound economic and public health strategy because reducing methane emissions means capturing valuable fuel that is otherwise wasted and reducing other harmful pollutants — a win for public health and the economy.
Leading by Example
FEDERAL GOVERNMENT
In 2009, President Obama set aggressive energy and sustainability goals for the federal government — the largest energy consumer in the U.S. economy — by directing agencies to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions from sources such as building energy use and fuel consumption by 28 percent by 2020 and increase deployment of renewable energy. Agencies are on track to meet these goals and have already cut greenhouse emissions by more than 17 percent as of 2013, with 9 percent of federal government electricity now from renewable sources. The Administration has also expanded energy performance contracts from $2 billion to $4 billion to provide energy efficiency upgrades for federal buildings, at no net cost to the taxpayer. By meeting the President’s goals, federal agencies can avoid up to $11 billion in energy costs and eliminate the equivalent of 235 million barrels of oil over the next decade.
THE U.S. MILITARY
As part of the President’s commitment to a strong national defense, the Department of Defense (DOD) is harnessing energy efficiency and new energy technologies to give our troops better energy options on the battlefield, at sea, in the air, and at home. DOD is investing in better aircraft engines, hybrid electric drives for ships, and higher building efficiency at facilities worldwide. DOD — the single-largest consumer of energy in the United States — is committed to deploying 3 gigawatts of renewable energy on military installations, including solar, wind, biomass, and geothermal, by 2025. To guide future investments and policy, the Operational Energy Strategy Implementation Plan, released in March 2012, serves as a roadmap to transform the way the Department uses energy in military operations.
Preparing for the Impacts of Climate Change
“This plan will also protect critical sectors of our economy and prepare the United States for the impacts of climate change that we cannot avoid. States and cities across the country are already taking it upon themselves to get ready.” – President Barack Obama, June 25, 2013
Climate change is not a distant threat — we are already feeling its impacts across the country. The weather is getting more extreme, as droughts, wildfires, and floods are becoming more frequent and intense. Climate impacts have affected every region across the nation and inflicted large costs on the U.S. economy. That is why states, cities, tribes, and communities across America are taking steps to prepare for the impacts of climate change.
Building a More Climate-Resilient America
Assess the Impacts of Climate Change
The Obama administration continues to advance the science of climate measurement and adaptation and the development of tools for climate-relevant decision-making — by focusing on increasing the availability, accessibility, and utility of relevant scientific tools and information. In May 2014, the Administration released the Third U.S. National Climate Assessment (NCA), the most authoritative and comprehensive source of scientific information ever generated about climate-change impacts in America. The NCA finds that climate change is already having a wide range of important impacts across all U.S. regions and key sectors of the national economy. The clear and tailored information presented in the NCA is a critical resource for informing climate preparedness and response decisions across the nation. The NCA can be accessed here.
Support and Learn from Local Leaders
The President is committed to supporting communities taking steps to protect themselves from extreme weather and other climate impacts. As part of his Climate Action Plan, President Obama signed an Executive Order establishing a Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience to advise the Administration on how the federal government can respond to the needs of communities nationwide that are dealing with the impacts of climate change. In November 2014, the Task Force, which includes 26 state, local, and tribal leaders from across the country who have first-hand experience building climate preparedness and resilience in their communities, delivered their recommendations to the White House. Learn more about the Task Force.
Make Climate-Resilient Investments
The Task Force emphasized the importance of ensuring that all public investments are made with future conditions in mind, so they last as long as they should. Federal agencies are already responding to this feedback by incorporating considerations of climate risk into their funding programs. Examples include the Environmental Protection Agency’s grants for brownfields cleanup, the Department of Transportation’s latest Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) funding opportunity, and NOAA’s Coastal Zone Management program.
Additionally, the Administration has worked to incentivize and remove barriers to community resilience. This includes launching competitions to spur innovation where it is needed most — like the $1 billion National Disaster Resilience Competition to help communities working to rebuild smarter and stronger from recent natural disasters. USDA has invested in the reliability and resilience of the nation’s rural electric grid, and the Department of the Interior is supporting tribal preparedness with a $10 million Federal-Tribal Climate Resilience Partnership and Technical Assistance Program.
Rebuild and Learn from Hurricane Sandy
In August 2013, the President’s Hurricane Sandy Task Force delivered a rebuilding strategy that is serving as a model for communities across the nation recovering from disasters. The Administration is committed to ensuring that communities recovering from disaster are rebuilt to be more resilient to future climate challenges such as rising sea levels, extreme heat, and more frequent and intense storms. In the Sandy-affected region, the $50 billion relief package is being used in innovative ways to support rebuilding for the future. Examples include the HUD-sponsored Rebuild by Design competition and the Federal Transit Administration’s new funding for resilience projects designed and built to address current and future vulnerabilities to a public transportation system, including those imposed by climate change.
Promote Resilience in the Health Sector
The Department of Health and Human Services has launched an effort to develop a set of resources and tools that will promote hospital resilience in the face of climate change. As part of this initiative, the Administration released a best practices guide for health care providers, design professionals, policymakers, and others to promote resilience and continuity of care before, during, and after extreme weather events. Through a public-private partnership with the health care industry, the Administration will also provide new tools and guidance on affordable measures to ensure that our medical system is resilient to climate impacts. It will also collaborate with partner agencies to share best practices among federal health facilities. The Administration continues to advance the availability of health-related tools as part of the Climate Data Initiative to assist local leaders and public health professionals in addressing climate impacts on the populations they serve.
Provide Data and Tools to Support Climate Resilience
The Administration is committed to giving communities across America the information and tools they need to plan for current and future climate impacts, such as flooding and sea-level rise. In March 2014, the Administration launched the Climate Data Initiative, an ambitious effort to make vast federal data resources on climate change risks and impacts openly available and leverage commitments from the private and philanthropic sectors to develop data-driven planning and resilience tools for local communities. In November 2014, the Administration launched the Climate Resilience Toolkit, a website that provides centralized, authoritative, easy-to-use information, tools, and best practices to help communities prepare for and boost their resilience to the impacts of climate change.
Building on the existing network of federal climate-science research and action centers, the Department of Agriculture created seven new Regional Climate Hubs to deliver tailored, science-based knowledge to farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners to help them adapt to climate change and weather variability. The Department of Transportation has developed science-based tools such as their Climate Data Processing Tool for understanding climate change effects on transportation projects. Building on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration sea-level projections, the Army Corps of Engineers has created a Sea-Level Calculator to better plan for sea-level rise on coastal infrastructure investments.
Reduce Risk of Droughts and Wildfires
In November 2013, the Administration launched the National Drought Resilience Partnership (NDRP), an alliance of federal agencies working to help communities better prepare for droughts and reduce the impact of drought events on families and businesses. The NDRP goal is to make it easier to access federal drought resources by linking information — such as monitoring, forecasts, outlooks, and early warnings — with longer-term resilience strategies in critical sectors such as agriculture, municipal water systems, and energy. NDRP leverages the work of existing federal investments such as the National Integrated Drought Information System.
In April 2014, the Administration released the final phase of the National Wildfire Cohesive Strategy, a collaborative strategy for federal, state and local action to better prevent, prepare for, and recover from wildfire. The strategy supports states, communities, businesses, farmers, ranchers, and other stakeholders who are working to prepare for a drier future.
Leading International Efforts to Combat Global Climate Change
“What we need is an agreement that’s ambitious — because that’s what the scale of the challenge demands. We need an inclusive agreement — because every country has to play its part. And we need an agreement that’s flexible — because different nations have different needs.” – President Barack Obama, June 25, 2013
Just as no country is immune from the impacts of climate change, no country can meet this challenge alone. America continues to lead the international community in driving action to reduce carbon pollution and prepare for climate impacts — and is helping to forge a truly global solution to this global challenge.
Leading Public-Sector Financing Toward Cleaner Energy
The President put forth an initiative to end public financing for new coal-fired power plants overseas, except in rare circumstances. Following the lead of the U.S., other nations — including the U.K., the Netherlands, and the Nordic countries — have joined the initiative.
Bilateral Cooperation with Major Economies
We are making progress with key partners on issues areas such as renewable energy deployment, hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) emissions, vehicle emissions standards, energy efficiency, and clean energy initiatives. In November, President Obama and President Xi jointly announced each country’s ambitious but achievable post-2020 climate change targets. The historic step to announce our targets early and together demonstrated that the world’s two largest economies, energy consumers, and carbon emitters are reaching across traditional divides and working together to demonstrate leadership on an issue that affects the entire world, as well as energizing the U.N. climate negotiations and encouraging other countries to also put forward ambitious post-2020 climate targets.
Expanding Clean Energy Use and Cutting Energy Waste
To facilitate the transition to a global clean energy economy, the Energy Department is leading the Clean Energy Ministerial, a high-level global forum that promotes policies and programs aimed at improving access to energy efficiency and clean energy supply. We are leading efforts in multilateral fora, such as the G-20, APEC, and Summit of the Americas, to phase out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies, increase the use of renewables, and improve the efficiency of heavy-duty vehicles.
Cutting Short-Lived Climate Pollutants
Building on the breakthrough June 2013 agreement on hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) by President Obama and China’s President Xi, G-20 leaders have expressed support for using the expertise and institutions of the Montreal Protocol to phase down HFCs. We have continued successful bilateral and multilateral engagement on this issue with China, India, and Saudi Arabia, among others. The U.S. also continues to spearhead the Climate and Clean Air Coalition, which has expanded to over 100 partners, including 46 countries. The Coalition is implementing 10 initiatives to reduce emissions of methane, HFCs, and black carbon.
Supporting Forests
In November 2013, the U.S., Norway, and the U.K. launched a public-private partnership to support forests in developing countries, with the goal of reducing emissions from deforestation and promoting sustainable agriculture. The initiative has identified its first four priority countries and begun initial work supported by a current capitalization of over $325 million.
Promoting Free Trade in Environmental Goods
In July 2014, the U.S. and 13 other WTO members, representing 86% of global trade in environmental goods, launched negotiations on the Environmental Goods Agreement (EGA) to achieve global free trade in clean technologies.
Multilateral Engagement
The United States continues to play an active role in shaping the design of a new global climate agreement due in 2015, including through our chairmanship of the major economies forum on energy and climate.
Mobilizing Climate Finance and Promoting Global Climate Resilience
In November 2014, President Obama announced the United States’ intention to contribute $3 billion to the Green Climate Fund (GCF) to reduce carbon pollution and strengthen resilience in developing countries. The U.S. contribution builds on a bipartisan history of U.S. leadership to support climate action and will leverage public and private finance to avoid some of the most catastrophic risks of climate change. The strong U.S. pledge helped increase the number and ambition of other countries’ contributions and our leadership helped propel initial capitalization of the fund to over $10 billion, a threshold seen by stakeholders as demonstrating serious donor commitment.
 

“Let us not take this planet for granted”;  Leonardo DiCaprio, the environment, and you

 

Academy Award Leonardo DiCaprio wants each of us to wake up and face the challenges of climate change while there is still time.
“Climate change is real, and it’s happening right now,” DiCaprio said. “It is the most urgent threat facing our entire species, and we need to work collectively together and stop procrastinating. We need to support leaders around the world who do not speak for the big polluters or the big corporations, but who speak for all of humanity, for the indigenous people of the world…and for those people out there whose voices have been drowned out by the politics of greed.”
Washington State is symptomatic of what can go very wrong even in a state that treasures the natural environment when obstructionist legislators are granted access to our country’s highest lawmaking body – and we are just one state of fifty…a fraction of governments worldwide.

J54 and mother, J 28. Photo by Dave Ellifrit.
Endangered orcas. J54 and mother, J 28. Photo by Dave Ellifrit, the Center for Whale Research.

Washington Conservation Voters reports:

“Despite the strong environmental ethos in much of the Washington delegation, overall 2015 will go down as the most anti-environmental Congress in our history.”
…“Once again, too many members of Congress were complicit in extreme attacks on both bedrock environmental laws and more recent progress to protect our air, water, public lands and wildlife,” said Shannon Murphy, President of Washington Conservation Voters.
“Despite last year being the hottest year on record, Congressional leaders put polluters’ agenda ahead of the health of Washingtonians, environmental protections and climate action. This is particularly disappointing from members of the Washington delegation, where we have long had a bipartisan tradition of environmental protection.”
Washington State Delegation Scores On Environmental Issues:
Senate:
Cantwell 96
Murray 96
House:
1 DelBene, 94
2 Larsen, R., 94
3 *Herrer-Beutler, 6
4 *Newhouse, 3
5 *McMorris-Rodgers, 0
6 Kilmer, 94
7 McDermott, 100
8 *Reichert, 6
9 Smith, Adam, 89
10 Heck, D., 97
*Up for re-election in 2016

 
Washington State representatives Newhouse, McMorris, and Reichert all voted to support the odious Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act (H.R. 2406). Herrera cast no vote. All four are up for re-election.
grace_and_leo dicaprio for pi articleLeonardo DiCaprio in The Revenant.                                                                 Photo Source
Washington Conservation Voters continues:

One of the most devastating provisions [of the ‘Sportsman heritage’ resolution] contains several alarming rollbacks of long-standing federal environmental and public land laws including the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Wilderness Act, and the National Forest Management Act.
In the process, it reduces or eliminates important protections for America’s public lands that have been in place for decades.

The African Elephant Conservation and Legal Ivory Possession Act, rolled into H.R. 2406, would halt efforts by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to crack down on the illegal ivory trade, particularly by undoing the restrictions on U.S. ivory imports and exports. African elephants are facing the greatest poaching crisis since the 1980s: more than 100,000 were killed from 2010 to 2012 – an average of one every 15 minutes.

 
10675548_887000701318082_2605421430607181172_n

The appalling scale of poaching is intertwined with violent militias, organized crime, and government corruption in Africa. A crucial element of halting this ongoing slaughter is addressing the demand for ivory within our own borders.

Donald Trump Jr. sawed off the tail of an elephant he killed for a trophy.
Donald Trump Jr. sawed off the tail of an elephant he killed for a trophy. (Source)

The regulations proposed by the FWS prohibit most imports and exports, and limit other commercial actions to ivory that was lawfully imported prior to 1990 (the date that elephants’ endangered status was elevated by the Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Species). Prohibiting FWS from implementing these vital regulations would be an enormous step backward in the U.S.’s response to the wildlife trafficking crisis.

These baby elephants were orphaned by ivory poachers. David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust)
These baby elephants are orphans because of ivory poachers. David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.

“Other provisions in this huge bill would prevent the public from having a say in National Wildlife Refuge decisions, and waive important environmental reviews for this system as well.
Such blind dedication to implementing recreational killing is detrimental to both conservation efforts and the public interest.” Washington Conservation Voters

 

Will we have a healthy planet for future generations? (Photo source)
Will we have a healthy planet for future generations?                                                   (Photo source)

It is up to you whether or not efforts to halt climate change in the next legislative term will be blocked and existing environmental protection will be undone.
You can volunteer, vote, make contributions, raise money, educate – what ever you do, you will make a difference. The choice is yours.
From ReadingRainbow.com
From ReadingRainbow.com

 

At Last, a Solution For Rising Ocean Levels! (Sunday Funnies)

“Sponges grow in the ocean. That just kills me. I wonder how much deeper the ocean would be if that didn’t happen.”  (Steven Wright).
Now why didn’t someone at the National Marine Fisheries Service figure this out?  We have taken too many sponges from the sea over the centuries with perilous consequences…

Quick!  Put them back!
Quick! Put them back!

sponge
They are beautiful!  (NOAA)
They are beautiful when alive! (Courtesy of NOAA)

Sponge biodiversity and morphotypes at the lip of our wall site in 60 ft of water. Included are the yellow tube sponge, Aplysina fistularis, the purple vase sponge, Niphates digitalis, the red encrusting sponge, Spiratrella coccinea, and the gray rope sponge, Callyspongia sp. Image courtesy of Cayman Island Twilight Zone 2007 Exploration, NOAA-OE.

sea sponge

Look at how much water they hold!

“The Earth will end only when God declares it to be over.” Representative John Shimkus, Ill. (Sunday Funnies)

So this is how education prepares children to be leaders of this great country (I couldn’t make this stuff up) – and faced with global problems requiring global solutions, are taught that God is going to wipe us off the planet anyway.
The America Blog has verified that this test is not a joke…
creationist-science-test oat
“Snopes has confirmed that a purported 4th Grade creationist school science test, making its way around the Web, is in fact real, and comes from a South Carolina Christian school.”
549151_624620300884425_1028854091_n oatWith that kind of education, it is no wonder that many people, finally having to accept that climate change is real, are taking the tack that we are doomed anyway, and will all die when God decides it is time…so why bother to change?
Opposing Views writes:
“In their study, titled “End-Times Theology, the Shadow of the Future, and Public Resistance to Addressing Global Climate Change,” David C. Barker of the University of Pittsburgh and David H. Bearce of the University of Colorado argue that citizens who believe in the end of days “often resist policies trading short-term costs for hypothetical long-term benefits.””

“[I]t stands to reason that most nonbelievers would support preserving the Earth for future generations, but that end-times believers would rationally perceive such efforts to be ultimately futile, and hence ill-advised,” Barker and Bearce wrote.
That sentiment is not just confined to average citizens. The chairman of the Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy, Rep. John Shimkus, said in 2010 that he opposed action on climate change because “the Earth will end only when God declares it to be over.”
According to the researchers, the results of the study indicate that the U.S. would probably not be taking any action on climate change when so many of its citizens, particularly Republicans, believed in the impending end of days, Raw Story reported.

There is much I am learning here in Hawaii in a workshop on ocean awareness that often reminds me that this small island in a big ocean is a parable to our small planet in a vast universe and we have to learn to live in balance in the world ecosystem- but it is Sunday Funnies so I’ll just leave you with this:

Climate Change, You, and a Little Math – 350.org Has a Solution That is Easy to Understand

The double punch that New York and New Jersey have endured first with Hurricane Sandy, and now with a nor’easter snow storm that is chilling people in their unheated homes underscores our dependence upon energy. Light switches and thermostats fail to respond, cars are useless without gas, we can’t keep milk fresh.  We are completely dependent upon energy but using it contributes to global warming and eventually triggers more of the storms that knock us out. It sounds like a double bind – we need energy, but if we use too much it will destroy us.
But this is where the number 350 enters the equation and some simple math shows the way to a solution; 350 parts per million is the upper limit of carbon dioxide that scientists say the atmosphere can contain without increasing global warming.  The present number is 392, and a little bit of arithmetic shows that we need to bring down the carbon dioxide level by 42 parts per million.
As a comparison, if you had a heart attack or became diabetic and  had to lose 42 pounds to regain your health, you would cut back on what you consumed and increase your fitness.  You would have a number to work with and could set a goal – and having a number to work towards turns frightening problems into challenges that can be met.

According to 350.org, the logical solution is to prevent powerful corporations from being able to make money by controlling the development of alternative energy sources – those companies have a huge financial stake in continuing to pump out fossilized carbon in the form of fuels.  Oil companies are not concerned about the long term viability of life on the planet, they are concerned about lining their pockets, and 350.org has scheduled a nationwide series of interactive events to share alternatives and empower change.

On November 7th, we’re hitting the road to jumpstart the next phase of the climate movement.
It’s simple math: we can burn 565 more gigatons of carbon dioxide and stay below 2°C of warming — anything more than that risks catastrophe for life on earth. The only problem? Fossil fuel corporations now have 2,795 gigatons in their reserves, five times the safe amount. And they’re planning to burn it all — unless we rise up to stop them.
This November, Bill McKibben and 350.org are hitting the road to build the movement that will change the terrifying math of the climate crisis. Join us

This won’t be your typical lecture.
Each event will be a unique and interactive experience, unlike any talk you’ve been to before. It will pick up where Bill McKibben’s landmark Rolling Stone article left off — and everyone who comes will be asked to join a growing movement that is strong enough to stand up to the fossil fuel industry. Together we’ll mount an unprecedented campaign to cut off the industry’s financial and political support by divesting our schools, churches and government from fossil fuels.
This won’t be easy: we’re up against the most profitable, powerful, and dangerous industry in history. But we have our own currency: creativity, courage and if needed, our bodies.

As he travels the country in a sustainable bus, Bill will be joined by a rotating cast of committed artists, actors, and musicians — each dedicated to spreading the message of the challenge before us. Every event will be a full evening of music, interactive video, and thought-provoking ideas. By the time you leave, you’ll be fired up and equipped with the tools, strategies, and resources you need to take on the fossil fuel industry.

Changing Presidents in a Crisis is Like Changing Horses Midstream, and We Will All Get Wet if We Make That Mistake (Video)

Crossing a stream on horseback is not always easy, and to transfer oneself from one horse to another during the process is inviting a ducking, if nothing worse. In the same way, if we think it necessary to make changes, we must choose the right moment to make them.
In 1864, at the height of the American Civil War, there were demands for a change in the presidency. The then president, Abraham Lincoln, replied to his critics:
‘I have not permitted myself, gentlemen, to conclude that I am the best man in the country; but I am reminded in this connection of a story of an old Dutch farmer, who remarked to a companion once that it was not best to swap horses when crossing a stream’.(Proverb Hunter)


The Washington Post:

Obama has been aggressive about bolstering the federal government’s capability to respond to disasters, while his Republican challenger believes that states should be the primary responders in such situations and has suggested that disaster response could be privatized.

Sometimes *stuff* happens:

Other times we make really, really bad choices, causing pain to others and to ourselves:

Global warming is real, and we are running out of time to do anything about it. PLEASE MAKE THE SMART CHOICE.

Vote for the Environment,Your Future Depends Upon It – A Lesson From Hurricane Sandy

Please take a few minutes to view these videos, they will help clarify the importance of factoring in environmental issues in this election. A list of recommended candidates is below.


Candidates willing to face climate reality (League of Conservation Voters (LCV)):

Presidential Endorsement

Action Fund Senate Endorsements

Action Fund House Endorsements

Action Fund Gubernatorial Endorsements

Paid for by the League of Conservation Voters Action Fund, www.lcvactionfund.org, and not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.

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