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Margaret Renkl | This Winter, Snow Can Help Us Learn to Stop – The New York Times

Ms. Renkl is a contributing Opinion writer who covers flora, fauna, politics and culture in the American South.

“NASHVILLE — It was 78 degrees here on New Year’s Day, a record high for Nashville, and I broke into a sweat just packing for a weekend on the Cumberland Plateau. “Did you remember to bring your coat?” my husband asked when I got into the car.

It was not an unreasonable question, despite the heat. I hadn’t packed my coat when we left for the Cumberland Plateau last month. It was warm that day, too. In fact, it had been so warm for so long that the cherry laurels were already in bud. Who thinks to pack a coat when cherry laurels are in bud?

But the next day the temperature dropped to 45, and there I was, stranded in the woods with no coat nor even so much as a sweater. Apparently, this is how winter works now. Daffodils out of the ground, Lenten roses in full bloom two months out of time, and then wham.”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT  Jan. 10,  NYT Comment:

Hi Margaret,

Thank you for another lovely post about snow and the changes in the weather. I am sharing with friends and neighbors a new 2021 video from climate scientists at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (WHOI).

This is important information, not usually so well described. Here is the link to: “Earth Emergency: Feedback Loops” available at PBS for the next 3 weeks or so. https://www.pbs.org/show/earth-emergency/ Go to the PBS site, and the right video says it is for 52 minutes and 24s or seconds.

Here is a link to access separately the 5 original shorts from a year ago, that make up the full length video, through my blog post at InconvenientNews.Net. https://inconvenientnews.wordpress.com/2022/01/01/climate-emergency-feedback-loops/ The responsible group at WHOI is the Woodwell Climate Research Center, can be found at: https://www.woodwellclimate.org/?event=national-premiere-of-earth-emergency-on-pbs I hope to write a column on this, but while my head is high, my platform is small.

David Lindsay

5 Recommended

David Brooks | America Is Falling Apart at the Seams – The New York Times – And my response

Opinion Columnist

“In June a statistic floated across my desk that startled me. In 2020, the number of miles Americans drove fell 13 percent because of the pandemic, but the number of traffic deaths rose 7 percent.

I couldn’t figure it out. Why would Americans be driving so much more recklessly during the pandemic? But then in the first half of 2021, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motor vehicle deaths were up 18.4 percent even over 2020. Contributing factors, according to the agency, included driving under the influence, speeding and failure to wear a seatbelt.

Why are so many Americans driving irresponsibly?

While gloomy numbers like these were rattling around in my brain, a Substack article from Matthew Yglesias hit my inbox this week. It was titled, “All Kinds of Bad Behavior Is on the Rise.” Not only is reckless driving on the rise, Yglesias pointed out, but the number of altercations on airplanes has exploded, the murder rate is surging in cities, drug overdoses are increasing, Americans are drinking more, nurses say patients are getting more abusive, and so on and so on.”

“. . . But something darker and deeper seems to be happening as well — a long-term loss of solidarity, a long-term rise in estrangement and hostility. This is what it feels like to live in a society that is dissolving from the bottom up as much as from the top down.

What the hell is going on? The short answer: I don’t know. I also don’t know what’s causing the high rates of depression, suicide and loneliness that dogged Americans even before the pandemic and that are the sad flip side of all the hostility and recklessness I’ve just described.

We can round up the usual suspects: social media, rotten politics. When President Donald Trump signaled it was OK to hate marginalized groups, a lot of people were bound to see that as permission.” . . .

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT Comment:
Thank you David Brooks for another thoughtful and challenging column. You do have a blind spot, or malfunction, like the EVSE I use to charge up my two electric cars, or one electric car, and a Prius Prime, which is only electric for 25 miles in the summer. To fix the EVSE, when some widget seizes up, the manufacturer said, turn off the breaker, and hit the unit with a rubber mallet really hard. And it worked. I wonder if a rubber mallet would unstick you. I’d like to add to your thoughtful short list of the usual suspects, climate change and the sixth extinction, and the world overpopulation which are the cause of both. My adult daughter says she might not have any children because of these environmental crises. My adult son son says nothing I do for mitigation matters, since we have probably already passed the tipping point, and human life on the planet is probably doomed. I write about this stuff, with weird dark thoughts intruding on my brain, when awake and asleep. One sick thought, is that the pandemic has failed, because it hasn’t killed enough people. I admit this is a dark and ugly thought, but so is driving thousands of non human species into extinction, which is real, and going on this century, and accelerating. Are we committing an unforgiveable sin against other forms of life?
David blogs at InconvenientNews.Net
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In addition,  one irony of this sin of human overpopulation and consumption, and of our poisoning the water, the air, the land, and the atmosphere, is that according to the late scientist Edward O Wilson, if we kill off over 50% of the world’s other species, which is where we are headed, the human species will probably not survive. During the 5th and last great extinction in the geological record, when the dinosaurs died off, so did probably about 95% of the world’s other species at that time.

Manchin’s Choice on Build Back Better: Mine Workers or Mine Owners – The New York Times

“WASHINGTON — For years, burly men in camouflage hunting jackets have been a constant presence in the Capitol Hill office of Senator Joe Manchin III, their United Mine Workers logos giving away their mission: to lobby not only for the interests of coal, but also on more personal matters such as pensions, health care and funding to address black lung disease.

So when the miners’ union and the West Virginia A.F.L.-C.I.O. came out last month with statements pleading for passage of President Biden’s Build Back Better Act — just hours after Mr. Manchin, Democrat of West Virginia, said he was a “no” — the Capitol took notice.”

YSE Study Finds Electric Vehicles Provide Lower Carbon Emissions Through Additional Channels | Yale School of the Environment

“With new major spending packages investing billions of dollars in electric vehicles in the U.S., some analysts have raised concerns over how green the electric vehicle industry actually is, focusing particularly on indirect emissions caused within the supply chains of the vehicle components and the fuels used to power electricity that charges the vehicles.

But a recent study from the Yale School of the Environment published in Nature Communications found that the total indirect emissions from electric vehicles pale in comparison to the indirect emissions from fossil fuel-powered vehicles. This is in addition to the direct emissions from combusting fossil fuels — either at the tailpipe for conventional vehicles or at the power plant smokestack for electricity generation — showing electric vehicles have a clear advantage emissions-wise over conventional vehicles.

“The surprising element was how much lower the emissions of electric vehicles were,” says postdoctoral associate Stephanie Weber. “The supply chain for combustion vehicles is just so dirty that electric vehicles can’t surpass them, even when you factor in indirect emissions.” ”

Source: YSE Study Finds Electric Vehicles Provide Lower Carbon Emissions Through Additional Channels | Yale School of the Environment

Climate Emergency: Feedback Loops (a video) by  Woods Hole Research Center

INTRODUCTION

13:09

The Earth is warming the Earth. In this series of five short films, learn why natural warming loops have scientists alarmed—and why we have less time than we think. SUBTITLED IN 23 LANGUAGES. 

Greta Thunberg“I highly recommend you to watch these five very educational short films on feedback loops.”—GRETA THUNBERG 

  • Forests Video Still

    FORESTS

    14:10
  • Permafrost Video Still

    PERMAFROST

    10:55
  • Atmosphere Video Still

    ATMOSPHERE

    8:45
  • Albedo Video Still

    ALBEDO

    10:35

EVENTSEDUCATIONAL MATERIALSCREDITSCONTACT

Source: Climate Emergency: Feedback Loops

Peter Coy | I Got to the Bottom of All Those Flight Cancellations – The New York Times

Opinion Writer

“The rash of flight cancellations over the winter break — is it a major blunder by the airlines or the forgivable consequence of the outbreak of Omicron? I looked into this over the past couple of days and my conclusion is that it’s a little of each.

First, the case against the airlines. They’re running with a precariously low ratio of employees to passengers, leaving themselves vulnerable to surprises like Omicron, the more contagious new variant of the virus that causes Covid-19, which drastically thinned the ranks of flight crews.

This fall, some airline executives even bragged to Wall Street analysts about how they were able to do more with less — providing more flights per employee. “We estimate that we can fly a schedule 10 percent larger than 2019 with the same number of employees we needed in 2019,” Gerald Laderman, the chief financial officer of United Airlines Holdings, told analysts on the company’s third-quarter earnings call on Oct. 20.”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT Comment:
Thank you Peter Coy, this was interesting. The comments are not pleased that you point out the airlines viewpoint, but it seems clear, few saw the success of omicron coming. I do often hate the way I feel mistreated when I fly, so I enjoyed the anger your piece stirred up. FYI, we watched a show on PBS called, Climate Emergency: Feedback Loops, narrated by Richard Gere, a series of five short films featuring 12 world-renowned climate scientists, that was made in January 2021. It explains very well the feedback loops that are approaching tipping points, and there are more than I knew about, and this is my beat. I recommend this 58 minute film to everyone. It looks bad for humans. We should probably think seriously about flying around a lot less on carbon based fuels.
David blogs at InconvenientNews.net

James B. Elsner | Did Climate Change Cause the Deadly Tornadoes? – The New York Times

Dr. Elsner is a professor at Florida State University in Tallahassee, where his research focuses on tornadoes, hurricanes and climate change.

“I’m a tornado climatologist, and it is not unusual for people to ask me after a spate of storms like the ones that ripped through the center of the country on Friday whether climate change has anything to do with it. The answer is: It’s complicated.

We have started to detect changes in collective tornado activity, including more powerful storms, and are beginning to understand how these changes might be related to global warming. But much more work needs to be done to gain a fuller understanding of how the changing climate is influencing these deadly storms.

Let’s start with what we know. A tornado is a rapidly rotating column of air inside a thunderstorm. A thunderstorm that lasts more than 20 minutes and is energized by continuously rising air is called a supercell. The rising air is fueled by warm, moist conditions and changes in wind speed or direction associated with the approach of a frontal system where warm and cool air collide. The warm, moist air and that wind shear can generate a series of supercells, some of which produce tornadoes.”

The Antarctic Is Signaling Big Climate Trouble. – The New York Times

David Lindsay: Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you all. May the gods and 350.org save us.

THE IMMENSE AND FORBIDDING Southern Ocean is famous for howling gales and devilish swells that have tested mariners for centuries. But its true strength lies beneath the waves.

The ocean’s dominant feature, extending up to two miles deep and as much as 1,200 miles wide, is the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, by far the largest current in the world. It is the world’s climate engine, and it has kept the world from warming even more by drawing deep water from the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans, much of which has been submerged for hundreds of years, and pulling it to the surface. There, it exchanges heat and carbon dioxide with the atmosphere before being dispatched again on its eternal round trip.

Without this action, which scientists call upwelling, the world would be even hotter than it has become as a result of human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases.

“From no perspective is there any place more important than the Southern Ocean,” said Joellen L. Russell, an oceanographer at the University of Arizona. “There’s nothing like it on Planet Earth.”

For centuries this ocean was largely unknown, its conditions so extreme that only a relative handful of sailors plied its iceberg-infested waters. What fragmentary scientific knowledge was available came from measurements taken by explorers, naval ships, the occasional research expeditions or whaling vessels.

But more recently, a new generation of floating, autonomous probes that can collect temperature, density and other data for years — diving deep underwater, and even exploring beneath the Antarctic sea ice, before rising to the surface to phone home — has enabled scientists to learn much more.

They have discovered that global warming is affecting the Antarctic current in complex ways, and these shifts could complicate the ability to fight climate change in the future.”

Kathleen Kingsbury | Why Times Opinion Is Sounding the Climate Change Alarm – The New York Times

Opinion Editor

“So many of the conversations about global warming focus on the direst consequences, projected far into the future: images of fires and floods on an increasingly uninhabitable planet if the governments of the world — and especially those of the United States, China and the other leading greenhouse gas emitters — fail to curb their use of fossil fuels. But the truth is that we are already living in a world that is being transformed by climate change. Every single country on Earth is feeling its effects — today.

That is the idea behind “Postcards From a World on Fire,” a major project from Times Opinion that published this morning. Last summer, as the COP26 meeting in Glasgow approached, we began work on what I envisioned as an expansive climate project that would draw on nearly every journalistic tool at our disposal. I wanted an assessment of where things stood from every country in the world and to make a bold argument for urgency. That call to action felt even more necessary as we watched the Glasgow summit come and go with high hopes and, ultimately, tepid actions.

A team of our journalists — led by Meeta Agrawal, Times Opinion’s special projects editor — has documented one way that climate change is having an impact in each of the 193 United Nations member states. It’s been a breathtaking effort to watch come together. Some of these stories may seem small, like an ancient drawing flaking off a cave wall in Indonesia; others are undeniably harrowing, like the stories of hungry people fleeing their homes in Guatemala; others may even seem hopeful, like the move toward building wooden skyscrapers in Norway.”

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