“GAOSHAN, China — The first earthquake struck this small farming village in Sichuan Province before dawn on Feb. 24. There were two more the next day.
Sichuan is naturally prone to earthquakes, including a major one in 2008 that killed nearly 70,000 people, but to the rattled villagers of Gaoshan, the cause of these tremors was human-made.
“The drilling,” Yu Zhenghua said as she tearfully surveyed her damaged home, still officially uninhabitable five days later.
The drilling Ms. Yu referred to was hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. The technology, which has revolutionized the production of natural gas and oil in the United States, has created a boom in China, too, and with it many of the controversies that have dogged the practice elsewhere.
In the hours after the quakes, thousands of residents converged outside the main government building in Rong County to protest widespread fracking in the rolling hills and valleys here now yellowing with the flowering of rapeseed.A shale gas drilling station in Rong County. In the last decade, the China National Petroleum Corporation alone has invested $4 billion in fracking shale gas in the Sichuan Basin.CreditGilles Sabrie for The New York TimesImage
The protesters jostled with security guards along a sliding metal gate and dispersed only after officials announced they had suspended fracking operations of a regional subsidiary of China National Petroleum Corporation, the country’s largest oil and gas producer.”
“On a summer day in the mountains high above Almaty, Kazakhstan’s largest city, the Tuyuksu glacier is melting like mad. Rivulets of water stream down the glacier’s thin leading edge.
As she has for nearly two decades, Maria Shahgedanova, a glaciologist at the University of Reading in England, has come here to check on the Tuyuksu. As one of the longest-studied glaciers anywhere, the Tuyuksu helps gauge the impact of climate change on the world’s ice.”
Scientists have repeatedly warned of its looming dangers, most recently on Friday, when a major scientific report issued by 13 United States government agencies warned that the damage from climate change could knock as much as 10 percent off the size of the American economy by century’s end if significant steps aren’t taken to rein in warming.
An October report from the United Nations’ scientific panel on global warming found that avoiding the worst devastation would require a radical transformation of the world economy in just a few years.
Central to that transformation: Getting out of coal, and fast.
And yet, three years after the Paris agreement, when world leaders promised action, coal shows no sign of disappearing. While coal use looks certain to eventually wane worldwide, according to the latest assessment by the International Energy Agency, it is not on track to happen anywhere fast enough to avert the worst effects of climate change. Last year, in fact, global production and consumption increased after two years of decline.”
“Every year, thousands of Indian farmers commit suicide. Now one researcher thinks it may have something to do with climate change.
Tamma Carleton, a researcher at the University of California at Berkeley, compared almost five decades worth of suicide and climate data and concluded that temperature variations in India may have “a strong influence” on suicide rates during the growing season.
In her study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, Carleton estimates that more than 59,000 farmer suicides over the past 30 years can be linked to global warming.
Carleton’s findings are particularly worrisome and come just two months after the Trump administration pulled out of the Paris climate accord, which was adopted by 196 countries, including the United States under the Obama administration in December 2015. As part of the agreement, world leaders committed to holding the average global temperature rise to “well below” two degrees Celsius, or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit. After President Trump pulled out of the accord, many countries, including India and China, said they would continue to honor their commitments under the accord.”
“. . . . High temperatures in the growing season reduce crop yields, putting economic pressure on India’s farmers, she writes. “These crop losses may also permeate throughout the economy, causing both farming and nonfarming populations to face distress as food prices rise and agricultural labor demand falls.”
Rainfall in the growing season, too, is important, Carleton suggests. More rain means higher yields, she writes, noting: “Suicide rates fall as growing season rainfall increases.”
According to the World Health Organization, India accounts for the highest number of suicidesin the world. A staggering 133,623 people took their own lives in 2015, according to data from the National Crime Records Bureau. More than 12,000 of those were farmers and agricultural laborers, almost one-tenth of the total.
According to Indian authorities, bankruptcy and indebtedness or farming-related issues are cited as the major causes of suicide among farmers in India.”
I am sorry to report that there is some very bad news for Vietnam and Southeast Asia in this science report from the NYT.
Photo, a man in India suffers heat exhaustion, NYT
I predicted in 2014, that in the next five years, the US would get serious and wake up about climate change. Unfortunately, this scientific news will help the prediction. It also explains yesterday. Connecticut had high humidity and high temperature, which explains why playing tennis in the late afternoon and then morris dancing made me feel severly exhausted.
“After enduring another scorching summer — the fourth-hottest on record for the contiguous United States — it may be hard to imagine conditions getting much worse. But as a new report from the United Nations’ panel on climate change warns, we are locked in to additional warming and other changes like sea level rise. And we are running out of time to avert potentially catastrophic outcomes.
One critically important and underreported fact is that as temperatures rise, absolute humidity, the total amount of moisture in the air, will also increase. That may create combinations of heat and humidity so extreme that the evaporation of human sweat won’t sufficiently cool our bodies, leaving even healthy adults at risk of death from overheating.
Our research suggests that in about 50 years, these deadly conditions — almost unknown on the planet today — could occur once per decade in parts of the world. Millions of people could be exposed to these extreme conditions if greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise following historical trends.”
Filipinos fled their homes in Marikina, part of the Metropolitan Manila region, during a flash flood in August. CreditCreditFrancis R Malasig/EPA, via Shutterstock from NYT
“Torrential rainfall lashed Japan in July. A cloudburst in August submerged entire villages in south India. In September, Hurricane Florence burst dams and lagoons, with coal ash and pig waste spilling into the waterways of North Carolina. On the other side of the planet, a typhoon walloped the Philippines and ravaged the country’s staple crop, rice.
Climate scientists can’t say where or when the next big storm will hit, but all the evidence points to this: Global warming is bringing the planet into an era of wilder, more dangerous rains with ruinous and long-lasting consequences.
“Where it rains, it’s raining heavier,” said Raghu Murtugudde, a professor of Earth systems science at the University of Maryland who edited a recent book on extreme weather in the tropics. “It’s the classic loaded-dice analogy.”
The dice, he said, are “throwing up some numbers more often” in the form of extreme weather. How? The greenhouse gases humans have already injected into the atmosphere have heated up the planet and now pack so much moisture into the air that they heighten the risk of more extreme precipitation.”
David Lindsay: Bravo Somini Sengupta. Based on her article above, please join environmentalists like myself in funding a Blue wave to clean the Augean Stables, which in now represented by the Republican controlled U S Congress and Presidency. The easiest way to support science based progressives is to donate to the DSCC.org, the DCCC.org, or political funding groups like Emily’s List.
“SHIMLA, India — The people of Shimla haven’t agreed on much lately. A drought in the Himalayan resort has had residents blaming farmers, the tourism industry and one another for depleting the strained water supplies.
And everyone’s been angry at the key men.
Shimla’s decrepit network of water pipes, built under British colonial rule more than 70 years ago, depends on the civil servants known as key men to open and close the valves that supply each neighborhood. The current shortage, which in May left some homes without water for 20 days, has led to such fury toward the key men — accused, in just about every neighborhood, of depriving it of its fair share — that a court ordered police protection for them.
“I was getting angry phone calls calling me everything — stupid, worthless — at one or two in the morning,” said Inder Singh, 44, who has been a key man for 24 years. “I would be mobbed by dozens as I was trying to leave my home for work,” he said, inserting his key — a meter-long metal contraption — into the ground to open a valve.
Tourism is the mainstay of the economy in this mountain city, which the British colonial authorities made their summer capital so they could escape the brutal heat of New Delhi. But the drought — accompanied by unusually high temperatures, above 90 degrees Fahrenheit — has been so severe that in May, some residents took to Twitter to ask tourists to stay away and leave the water for local residents. Many in Shimla call it the worst shortage they can remember.”
Beautiful photography, heartbreaking story:
“This is S. Periyanayaki in the rice field in southern India where her husband died.
The worst drought in more than a century killed his rice crop, and he blamed himself.
A farmer found Periyanayaki’s husband, K. Suresh, lying in the barren field. He had drunk pesticide.
Hundreds of thousands of Indian farmers have killed themselves in the past 30 years, and some climate researchers believe hotter weather has driven crop failure and made the problem worse.”
NAGAPATTINAM, India (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Vinod Kumar remembers a time, not so long ago, when the fields in his village in the southern state of Tamil Nadu were green all year round.
His family lived comfortably from its farmland of just over 2 acres (0.8 hectares), growing vegetables, coconuts and millet irrigated by the Cauvery river and the rain.
Kumar grew up believing the farm would be his life.
But today, the 30-year-old drives a car for a living in the city of Chennai, 250 km (155 miles) away. His family joined him two years ago, abandoning what had been for generations their home and their land.
On a recent journey back to the area where he grew up, he said he was far from the only migrant.
“At this time of year, these fields should be green with paddy shoots – but no one seems to be farming,” said Kumar, as he drove past arid fields overgrown with scrub and thorns one sweltering July afternoon.
“We haven’t had enough water for many years. It has become impossible to make a living from farming, and a lot of people have moved to cities to do other jobs.”