Maureen Dowd | Apocalypse Right Now – The New York Times

“WASHINGTON — Holy smokes.

It feels like we are living through the first vertiginous 15 minutes of a disaster movie, maybe one called “The Day After Tomorrow Was Yesterday.”

Heat waves are getting hotter. Forests are ablaze. Floods are obliterating. An iceberg nearly half the size of Puerto Rico broke off from Antarctica.

Florida’s fleurs du malalgal blooms known as red tide, have become more toxic because of pollution and climate change. They are responsible for killing 600 tons of marine life, leaving beaches strewn with reeking dead fish.

It’s Mad Max apocalyptic. Crazy storms that used to hit every century now seem quotidian, overwhelming systems that cannot withstand such a battering.

The heat wave that stunned the Pacific Northwest, killing nearly 200 people, was followed by a bolt of lightning igniting the dry earth in Oregon. The Bootleg Fire has now devoured 400,000 acres, with flames so intense, they are creating their own weather pattern capable of sparking new fires. The smoke has traveled from the West to the East Coast, tainting the air.

As Angela Merkel and President Biden touted a climate and energy partnership on her recent visit here, nature mocked them. While the two leaders had dinner, rains submerged huge swaths of Germany, including medieval towns.”

German Candidates Fail to Find Footing in Flood Response – The New York Times

BERLIN — Floods have had a way of reshaping German politics.

“Helmut Schmidt made a name for himself responding to deadly floods in Hamburg in 1962, and went on to become chancellor in the 1970s. Images of Gerhard Schröder wading through muddy water along the Elbe River in 2002 are credited with helping him win another term.

The floods that ravaged Germany last week — more severe than any in centuries — are already doing their work in this election year. But the striking thing they have revealed, political analysts say, is that none of the major candidates has been able to demonstrate the level of leadership in a crisis the public has grown accustomed to under Chancellor Angela Merkel.”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT Comment:
It is my hope that this flooding disaster prompts the German leadership and people to rethink their complete exit from nuclear energy as a short term bridge to a completely sustainable and circular economy. Bill Gates and associates have a new nuclear technology, that can not melt down or explode, and runs on old nuclear waste. There are about 20 new nuclear power designs, all much safer than the technology of 50 years ago. There is a growing number of scientist who think that we can’t make a transition fast enough without some new technology, and these new nuclear power plant designs are worth exploring and probably worth developing. We at least have to test them out.
David Lindsay Jr is the author of “the Tay Son Rebellion” about 18th century Vietnam, and blogs at InconvenientNews.Net.

Floods in China Leave Many Searching for Loved Ones Amid Outages – The New York Times

MIHE, China — Chen Shuying was sitting at home with her husband and their 3-year-old grandson on Tuesday when water began to surge through the door. Within minutes, it was well above her waist. “The water came so fast,” she said.

They made it to the roof, where they waited for hours for the water to recede. Two days later, she still cannot return home, she said. They were lucky. Three neighbors — a grocery shopkeeper and two of the grocer’s customers — were swept away by the floodwaters and have not been seen since.

The formidable destructive power of the floods that engulfed Henan Province in central China became clearer on Thursday, even as new areas were inundated. Still more rain is in the forecast, following days of torrential downpours, including the strongest on record in the area on Tuesday.”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT Comment:
The silver lining of this tragic flooding in central China, is that the Chinese government deserves to be reprimanded for its insistence that it is their turn now to pollute for 300 years, like the western countries did in the last 300 years. They continue to build new coal plants in China and around the world, and insisist that they can increase their carbon emissions for at least another 15 or 30 years. While their position makes good sense morally, it ignores the science of the climate crisis. And it isn’t good for the people of China. The people of earth have to stop all climate change causing pollution emissions, or we all will suffer the awful consequences. The problems we are seeing today are just the prequel, the beginning of what could turn out to be an existential threat of floods, droughts, famines, epidemics, dislocation and war over diminishing resources.
David Lindsay Jr is the author of the Tay Son Rebellion about 18th century Vietnam, and blogs at InconvenientNews.Net.

Europe Rolls Out Ambitious Climate Change Plan, but Obstacles Loom – The New York Times

“BRUSSELS — Europe on Wednesday laid out an ambitious blueprint for a sharply decarbonized future over the next nine years, marking the start of what promises to be a difficult and bruising two-year negotiation among industry, 27 countries and the European Parliament.

The political importance of the effort, pushed by the European Commission, the E.U.’s bureaucracy, is without doubt. It puts Brussels in the forefront of the world’s efforts to decarbonize and reach the goal of a carbon-neutral economy by 2050. To force the issue, Brussels has committed to reducing its emissions of greenhouse gases 55 percent by 2030 compared with 1990 levels.

Although the European Union produces only about 8 percent of current global carbon emissions, its cumulative emissions since the start of the industrial age are among the world’s highest. It also sees itself as an important regulatory power for the world and hopes to set an example, invent new technologies that it can sell and provide new global standards that can lead to a carbon-neutral economy.”

David Lindsay: I hope this succeeds. The comments are interesting, and here is my favorite so far:

Austin Ouellette

Denver, CO 52m ago

Let’s talk about the myth of “cheap” fossil fuels. Human beings need to eat food. Food is grown on an industrial scale on farms. Farms suffer massive losses from climate change, as floods become more destructive, and rainfalls become more sporadic and unpredictable. To protect themselves from the liability of those losses, farms buy crop insurance. Crop insurance, and the crops themselves, are HEAVILY subsidized by governments all around the world. We are talking billions and billions of dollars JUST in the USA alone. Go read the Farm Bill. It is a massive nearly $1/2 Trillion government spending program. Almost 10% of the total cost is crop insurance. That’s $38.52 Billion. And that’s just the United States. That’s just one of the costs that taxpayers are liable for, which does not show up on the receipt at the gas station. Let’s talk healthcare. It’s well documented fact that air pollution is getting worse, and as a result, there has been a massive increase in chronic respiratory disease across all age groups, but especially children. These cases are especially prominent in communities which allow natural gas flaring with no setbacks. Treatment for chronic respiratory disease increases healthcare costs. Again, you don’t see “sick kids” on the receipt at the pump. Those are just two examples. There are thousands of others. Fossil fuels are NOT cheap. Megawatt for megawatt, take away all the subsidies and truly account for all costs, fossil fuels are WAY more expensive.

2 Replies17 Recommended

Why Jane Goodall Still Has Hope for Us Humans – The New York Times

“Wherever the story of our natural world ultimately lands, Jane Goodall will have earned a proud place in its telling. Goodall, 87, first found fame in the early 1960s for her paradigm-busting work as a primatologist. Studying the chimpanzees of Gombe Stream National Park in Tanzania, she was the first to observe those entrancing animals eating meat and using tools, thus expanding our understanding of primate capabilities. While that work is likely to remain what the public primarily associates her with, Goodall’s career as an activist is arguably her more important legacy. She has spent 44 years leading conservation efforts through her Jane Goodall Institute and seeding the future with like-minded souls via the Roots & Shoots educational programs for young people, which can be found in more than 60 countries and have nurtured millions of students. “You just plod on and do what you can to make the world a better place,” said Goodall, speaking via Zoom from her childhood home in Bournemouth, England, and whose “The Book of Hope: A Survival Guide for Trying Times” will be published in October. “That’s all I can do. I can’t do more, I don’t think, than I’m doing.” “

Tasked to Fight Climate Change, a Secretive U.N. Agency Does the Opposite – The New York Times

Matt Apuzzo and 

LONDON — During a contentious meeting over proposed climate regulations last fall, a Saudi diplomat to the obscure but powerful International Maritime Organization switched on his microphone to make an angry complaint: One of his colleagues was revealing the proceedings on Twitter as they happened.

It was a breach of the secrecy at the heart of the I.M.O., a clubby United Nations agency on the banks of the Thames that regulates international shipping and is charged with reducing emissions in an industry that burns an oil so thick it might otherwise be turned into asphalt. Shipping produces as much carbon dioxide as all of America’s coal plants combined.

Internal documents, recordings and dozens of interviews reveal what has gone on for years behind closed doors: The organization has repeatedly delayed and watered down climate regulations, even as emissions from commercial shipping continue to rise, a trend that threatens to undermine the goals of the 2016 Paris climate accord.

One reason for the lack of progress is that the I.M.O. is a regulatory body that is run in concert with the industry it regulates. Shipbuilders, oil companies, miners, chemical manufacturers and others with huge financial stakes in commercial shipping are among the delegates appointed by many member nations. They sometimes even speak on behalf of governments, knowing that public records are sparse, and that even when the organization allows journalists into its meetings, it typically prohibits them from quoting people by name.”    . . .

David Lindsay Jr.

David Lindsay Jr.Hamden, CT | NYT Comment:

Thank you Matt Apuzzo and Sarah Hurtes for bringing this mess, this Augean Stables, to our attention. This nonesense should be stopped ASAP. Someone should tell this group at the IMO that all its meeting have to be open to the press, or it should be dismantled. There are some great ideas in the comments, like getting rid of, making illegal, Open Ship Registers. The United States should have its own rules, regulations, and enforcement, perhaps permanently, or at least, until the UN organization shows that it is up to the job, which it clearly isn’t.

PS. One commenter suggested, the US should require all ships coming to the US should meet strict environmental standards, or they can’t stop here and unload or pick up goods. Another said, we should join with the EU, and create rules that anyone trading with either group must abide.

Planetary dashboard shows “Great Acceleration” in human activity since 1950 – IGBP

press release |

A decade on, IGBP in collaboration with the Stockholm Resilience Centre has reassessed and updated the Great Acceleration indicators, first published in the IGBP synthesis, Global Change and the Earth System in 2004.

(The International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP) )

“Human activity, predominantly the global economic system, is now the prime driver of change in the Earth System (the sum of our planet’s interacting physical, chemical, biological and human processes), according to a set of 24 global indicators, or “planetary dashboard”, published in the journal Anthropocene Review (16 January 2015).”

Source: Planetary dashboard shows “Great Acceleration” in human activity since 1950 – IGBP

Nations Must Drop Fossil Fuels, Fast, World Energy Body Warns – The New York Times

“Nations around the world would need to immediately stop approving new coal-fired power plants and new oil and gas fields and quickly phase out gasoline-powered vehicles if they want to avert the most catastrophic effects of climate change, the world’s leading energy agency said Tuesday.

In a sweeping new report, the International Energy Agency issued a detailed road map of what it would take for the world’s nations to slash carbon dioxide emissions to net zero by 2050. That would very likely keep the average global temperature from increasing 1.5 Celsius above preindustrial levels — the threshold beyond which scientists say the Earth faces irreversible damage.

While academics and environmentalists have made similar recommendations before, this is the first time the International Energy Agency has outlined ways to accomplish such drastic cuts in emissions.  . . . “

Thank you Brad Plumer. Here are two of my favorite comments, and my reply to the second one.

Ccsh10Indiana 3h ago

I am a scientist with a solid background in engineering, which includes research at American and German laboratories. I am presently an emeritus professor of physics volunteering in climate work. This article does an excellent job in laying out the issue and the urgency. This is not a time to point to each other’s failures. We all have them abundantly. This is a time to see the magnitude of the problem we face, hope that we have more time than we deserve, and get to work. The issues are remarkably simple. We must stop fossil fuel use and turn to renewables and nuclear power. A combination of these is the path to the future. As scientists we are not joking. If we continue with fossil fuels the result will be catastrophic in terms of mass migration and destruction of our civilization. We must see our all of our neighbors as assets in this greatest challenge we have ever faced. South Chicago is as valuable as Evanston! Wall street must begin to be honest about the value of fossil fuels. We must also realize that the problem of high level nuclear waste has been solved in terms of vitrification. And we have smaller reactors on the horizon. Come, join the scientists on this path. Let us talk together about our goals and possibilities. Choose life, not death. 5 Replies 85 Recommended

DL:

Vitrification is a process used to stabilize and encapsulate high-level radioactive waste. In the vitrification process, radioactive waste is mixed with a substance that will crystallize when heated (e.g., sugar, sand) and then calcined. … Vitrification allows the immobilization of the waste for thousands of years.Jan 13, 2012″
Disposal of radioactive waste – vitrificationhps.org › publicinformation › ate

AAKJerseyNew Jersey 3h ago

Another major report on global warming that ignores the impact of world overpopulation in producing global warming. It is clear that the world will not achieve zero carbon emissions by 2050, regardless of what is done in the United States. Through at least the end of the 21st century, the world will continue to heat up. The report admits that the world population is expected to increase to 10B by 2050, but gives no indication that this can be changed. On the contrary, the only way to control global warming is to control world population. We must stop the increase, and then start decreasing. The natural population increase has already halted in the US and other developed countries, but that must be extended to regions in Africa and South Asia. US foreign policy should promote family planning for free worldwide. Also, free high school for girls will reduce the pressures for child marriage and large families. This is the only way to combat global warming in the long run.3 Replies58 RecommendedShareFlag

My Reply to the comment above.

David Lindsay Jr.

David Lindsay Jr.Hamden, CT | Repy to comment at NYT:

@AKJersey

Well said. Your words ring true, but bother me. If all you say is true, maybe we and our Nato Allies shouldn’t withdraw completely from Afghanistan, so as to preserve the pro modernization and pro female education war lords and current officials.

Editorial | Why Spy Agencies Say the Future Is Bleak – The New York Times

Credit…Illustration by The New York Times; Photograph, via Getty Images

“Every four years, at the start of a new administration, American intelligence agencies put out “Global Trends,” a weighty assessment of where the world seems headed over the next two decades. In 2008, for example, the report warned about the potential emergence of a pandemic originating in East Asia and spreading rapidly around the world.

The latest report, Global Trends 2040, released last week by the National Intelligence Council, finds that the pandemic has proved to be “the most significant, singular global disruption since World War II,” with medical, political and security implications that will reverberate for years. That’s not schadenfreude. It’s the prologue to a far darker picture of what lies ahead.

The world envisioned in the 144-page report, ominously subtitled “A More Contested World,” is rent by a changing climate, aging populations, disease, financial crises and technologies that divide more than they unite, all straining societies and generating “shocks that could be catastrophic.” The gap between the challenges and the institutions meant to deal with them continues to grow, so that “politics within states are likely to grow more volatile and contentious, and no region, ideology, or governance system seems immune or to have the answers.” At the international level, it will be a world increasingly “shaped by China’s challenge to the United States and Western-led international system,” with a greater risk of conflict.

Here’s how agencies charged with watching the world see things:

  • “Large segments of the global population are becoming wary of institutions and governments that they see as unwilling or unable to address their needs. People are gravitating to familiar and like-minded groups for community and security, including ethnic, religious, and cultural identities as well as groupings around interests and causes, such as environmentalism.”

  • “At the same time that populations are increasingly empowered and demanding more, governments are coming under greater pressure from new challenges and more limited resources. This widening gap portends more political volatility, erosion of democracy, and expanding roles for alternative providers of governance.”

  • “Accelerating shifts in military power, demographics, economic growth, environmental conditions, and technology, as well as hardening divisions over governance models, are likely to further ratchet up competition between China and a Western coalition led by the United States.”

  • “At the state level, the relationships between societies and their governments in every region are likely to face persistent strains and tensions because of a growing mismatch between what publics need and expect and what governments can and will deliver.”

Experts in Washington who have read these reports said they do not recall a gloomier one. In past years, the future situations offered have tilted toward good ones; this year, the headings for how 2040 may look tell a different story: “Competitive Coexistence,” “Separate Silos,” “Tragedy and Mobilization” or “A World Adrift,” in which “the international system is directionless, chaotic, and volatile as international rules and institutions are largely ignored by major powers like China, regional players and non-state actors.    . . . ”

Opinion | Every Country Has Its Own Climate Risks. What’s Yours? – The New York Times

“President Biden has wasted no time in moving to repudiate his predecessor’s regressive climate policies. That’s good news. This map shows which areas could be at high risk unless greenhouse-gas emissions are cut drastically.

We’ve colored the map to identify the top risks across the globe, using a model by Four Twenty Seven, a company that analyzes climate risks. Accumulated emissions in the atmosphere are causing accelerating risks for a number of climate hazards.”

Incidentally, the first hyperlink introduced me to an organization called 427 in California. I went to their site to learn: “The name Four Twenty Seven is a reference to California’s previous 2020 emissions target, 427 million tonnes of carbon.” I found through google that CA did meet its emissions targets for 2020.