Opinion | Can Exxon Mobil Protect Mozambique From Climate Change? – By Leigh Elston – The New York Times

Quote

By Leigh Elston
Ms. Elston writes about the energy industry in sub-Saharan Africa.

March 26, 2019

A A A family stranded after Cyclone Ida in the Buzi District of Mozambique last Thursday.CreditCreditSiphiwe Sibeko/Reuters
“MAPUTO, Mozambique — On Tuesday evening, five days after Cyclone Idai hit central Mozambique and the rains started, thousands of survivors were still stranded, waiting to be rescued from trees or the roofs of houses.

On that same evening, far from the floods, I was in an air-conditioned office here in the capital with a group of bankers and oil industry executives, hearing about how rich and happy Mozambicans would soon be. Standard Bank was presenting a new report on the billions of dollars it predicted the Mozambique government will earn from the giant natural gas projects the American oil companies Exxon Mobil and Anadarko plan to start building in the northernmost province of Cabo Delgado this year.

We observed a minute of silence for the victims of the flood. What was not observed was the possibility that climate change, driven by the oil and gas industry, had any responsibility for the natural disaster.

If the Standard Bank report is right, Mozambique will earn $80 billion to $100 billion over the next 30 years from Exxon’s project alone. Anadarko’s project is estimated to deliver $67 billion. Those are huge sums in a country whose gross domestic product is estimated to be around $14 billion.

ADVERTISEMENT

With that kind of money, the government could hire around 850 doctors and 17,600 teachers, build 3,200 low-cost homes and provide 4,000 hospital beds, the bank estimates.

It could rebuild Beira, Mozambique’s fourth-largest city, 90 percent of which is estimated to have been damaged or destroyed by Cyclone Idai, and the town of Buzi, home to 200,000 inhabitants, which is totally submerged.

It could also fund a proper climate risk management and resilience program, which would be able to provide better warning of disasters, giving people time to evacuate, and improve rescue and relief efforts. It could finance the building of houses, schools, hospitals and roads better able to withstand storms and flooding.

This should be a priority. Mozambique ranks third in Africa as the most exposed to weather-related hazards, including cyclones, droughts and floods — the number and intensity of which are likely to increase.”

via Opinion | Can Exxon Mobil Protect Mozambique From Climate Change? – The New York Times

Thank you Leigh Elston for this tragic and disturbing story. It breaks my heart, because, I sense deeply, that it is beyond my powers to help the poor and middle class of Mozambique, or to stop the government from stealing the wealth of the country, while contributing to the ruin of the planet’s environments.

The World Is Losing Fish to Eat as Oceans Warm- Study Finds – By Kendra Pierre-Louis – The New York Times

Quote

David Lindsay

Almost every day, I go fishing in the NYT.com for stories that seem important or useful. It is still early, but this might be the catch of the day.

By Kendra Pierre-Louis
“Fish populations are declining as oceans warm, putting a key source of food and income at risk for millions of people around the world, according to new research published Thursday.” (in the Journal Science) One scientist is calling this work a break through piece of research.

By Kendra Pierre-Louis
Feb. 28, 2019′   150 c

“Fish populations are declining as oceans warm, putting a key source of food and income at risk for millions of people around the world, according to new research published Thursday.

The study found that the amount of seafood that humans could sustainably harvest from a wide range of species shrank by 4.1 percent from 1930 to 2010, a casualty of human-caused climate change.

“That 4 percent decline sounds small, but it’s 1.4 million metric tons of fish from 1930 to 2010,” said Chris Free, the lead author of the study, which appears in the journal Science.

Scientists have warned that global warming will put pressure on the world’s food supplies in coming decades. But the new findings — which separate the effects of warming waters from other factors, like overfishing — suggest that climate change is already having a serious impact on seafood.

Fish make up 17 percent of the global population’s intake of animal protein, and as much as 70 percent for people living in some coastal and island countries, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

“Fish provide a vital source of protein for over half of the global population, and some 56 million people worldwide are supported in some way by marine fisheries,” Dr. Free said.

As the oceans have warmed, some regions have been particularly hard-hit. In the northeast Atlantic Ocean and the Sea of Japan, fish populations declined by as much as 35 percent over the period of the study.

“The ecosystems in East Asia have seen some of the largest decline in fisheries productivity,” Dr. Free said. “And that region is home to some of the largest growing human populations and populations that are highly dependent on seafood.” “

via The World Is Losing Fish to Eat as Oceans Warm, Study Finds – The New York Times

Opinion | Time to Panic – By David Wallace-Wells – The New York Times

Quote

By David Wallace-Wells
Mr. Wallace-Wells is the author of the forthcoming “The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming.”

Feb. 16, 2019,  1034 c
The age of climate panic is here. Last summer, a heat wave baked the entire Northern Hemisphere, killing dozens from Quebec to Japan. Some of the most destructive wildfires in California history turned more than a million acres to ash, along the way melting the tires and the sneakers of those trying to escape the flames. Pacific hurricanes forced three million people in China to flee and wiped away almost all of Hawaii’s East Island.

We are living today in a world that has warmed by just one degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) since the late 1800s, when records began on a global scale. We are adding planet-warming carbon dioxide to the atmosphere at a rate faster than at any point in human history since the beginning of industrialization.

In October, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released what has become known as its “Doomsday” report — “a deafening, piercing smoke alarm going off in the kitchen,” as one United Nations official described it — detailing climate effects at 1.5 and two degrees Celsius of warming (2.7 and 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit). At the opening of a major United Nations conference two months later, David Attenborough, the mellifluous voice of the BBC’s “Planet Earth” and now an environmental conscience for the English-speaking world, put it even more bleakly: “If we don’t take action,” he said, “the collapse of our civilizations and the extinction of much of the natural world is on the horizon.”

Scientists have felt this way for a while. But they have not often talked like it. For decades, there were few things with a worse reputation than “alarmism” among those studying climate change.

via Opinion | Time to Panic – The New York Times

David Lindsay: Bravo David Wallace-Wells. You have put into words what has been formulating in my mind for months, maybe years. I urge one and all to read the entire piece, and to get active in politics and sustainable living practices.

Regarding the IPCC doomsday report, David Wallace Wells wrote:

“The thing that was new was the message: It is O.K., finally, to freak out. Even reasonable. This, to me, is progress. Panic might seem counterproductive, but we’re at a point where alarmism and catastrophic thinking are valuable, for several reasons.

The first is that climate change is a crisis precisely because it is a looming catastrophe that demands an aggressive global response, now. In other words, it is right to be alarmed. The emissions path we are on today is likely to take us to 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming by 2040, two degrees Celsius within decades after that and perhaps four degrees Celsius by 2100.”

David Lindsay:  Most species, including humans, will not survive such temperature increases.

Kathleen Schomaker and I now have a folk music concert and sing-a-long to perform on Climate Change and the Sixth Extinction, which also includes a few short readings and humor. We are actively trying to cheerfully sound the alarm, and hope to perform before new audiences. We can be reached at footmad.dl@gmail.com or davidlindsayjr@sbcglobal.net.

There are some great comments about the article above, Time to Panic, such as:

Cromer

What about overpopulation? If global warming is caused at least primarily by human activity, as I believe it is, then the spiraling population of the planet would seem to be the principal cause of global warming. Yet overpopulation , which was widely recognized as a major problem during the 1960s and 1970s, has become a taboo subject even while the earth’s population has enormously expanded. The right and the left both have their own distinct reasons for ignoring or denying the population crisis, and many powerful economic forces have an incentive to discourage anything that might prevent short-term economic expansion. In the long-term, however, everyone is likely to suffer from the catastrophic effects of population growth.

Chuck Burton commented February 16

Chuck Burton
Mazatlan, Mexico

I have been coming to this beach regularly since 1975. Though I am scientifically literate, I do not have enough knowledge and/or education to parse these scientific arguments. And it is so unnecessary anyway. The birds are basically gone, at best visiting here in very small numbers which seem to dwindle each year. Gone. Let me say that again. The birds are gone.

betty durso commented February 16

betty durso
philly area

McConnell thinks he’s so smart to call for a vote on the Green New Deal. I wish it would backfire like Brexit did in the U.K. If we know whar’s good for us we won’t support anyone who votes no. Trump can mock it all he likes, but we know whose side he’s on–those who want to get fossil fuel out of the ground fast before the world switches to clean energy. Revolutionary change can happen if we throw out this bought and paid for poor excuse for a congress. It’s time they worked for us and our children’s future. If and when this comes to a vote , remember who opted for the polluters.

Before Global Warming, Humans Caused Global Cooling- Study Finds – By Niraj Chokshi – The New York Times

Quote

By Niraj Chokshi
Feb. 5, 2019,  195 c

Columbus lands in Bahamas.
“When they arrived in the Americas centuries ago, European colonists brought pestilence and death. Their arrival was so devastating, in fact, that it may have contributed to a period of global cooling, according to a new study.

The research, to be published in the March issue of the journal Quaternary Science Reviews, represents an ambitious attempt to show that, through a series of events, human activity was affecting the climate long before the industrial revolution and global warming.

The authors found that disease and war wiped out 90 percent of the indigenous population in the Americas, or about 55 million people. The earth, they argue, then reclaimed the land that these populations left behind. The new vegetation pulled heat-trapping carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and into the land, contributing to what scientists refer to as the “Little Ice Age.”

“It was a drastic change in the earth’s system,” said Alexander Koch, the study’s lead author and a Ph.D. candidate at the University College London Department of Geography.”

via Before Global Warming, Humans Caused Global Cooling, Study Finds – The New York Times

Climate Change Could Leave Thousands of Lakes Ice-Free – By NADJA POPOVICH – The New York Times

Quote

By NADJA POPOVICH FEB. 5, 2019

Global warming is melting glaciers in Greenland and Antarctica, but for millions of people, ice is vanishing closer to home as lakes lose their winter cover.

In a study published last week in the journal Nature Climate Change, scientists for the first time quantified the effects of rising temperatures on ice cover across 1.4 million lakes in the Northern Hemisphere. They found that, from Wisconsin to Japan, thousands of lakes that used to freeze reliably every winter already see some years without ice, and that “an extensive loss of lake ice will occur within the next generation.”

The vanishing ice will affect cold-water ecosystems and be felt by millions of people who live near northern lakes, the study said.

via Climate Change Could Leave Thousands of Lakes Ice-Free – The New York Times

Global Warming Is Helping to Wipe Out Coffee in the Wild – By Somini Sengupta – The New York Times

Quote

By Somini Sengupta
Jan. 16, 2019,  31 c

Aaron Davis, a British botanist, has spent 30 years trekking across forests and farms to chronicle the fate of one plant: coffee.

He has recorded how a warming planet is making it harder to grow coffee in traditional coffee-producing regions, including Ethiopia, the birthplace of the world’s most popular bean, arabica. He has mapped where farmers can grow coffee next: basically upcountry, where it’s cooler. He has gone searching for rare varieties in the wild.

Now, in what is perhaps his most disheartening research, Dr. Davis has found that wild coffee, the dozens of varieties that once occurred under forest canopies on at least three continents, is at risk of vanishing forever. Among the world’s 124 coffee species, he and a team of scientists have concluded, 60 percent are at risk of extinction in the wild. Climate change and deforestation are to blame.

It matters because those wild varieties could be crucial for coffee’s survival in the era of global warming. In those plants could lie the genes that scientists need to develop new varieties that can grow on a hotter, drier planet.

via Global Warming Is Helping to Wipe Out Coffee in the Wild – The New York Times

Ouch. This hurts. Here are the top three NYT comments I endorsed:

Wienke
Brooklyn

Thanks to Mr. Davis and those who are testing and preserving this remnant of Earth’s heritage.

Thompson Owen commented January 17

Thompson Owen
Oakland, CA

Having visited various coffee variety collections around the world, some formerly supported by the ICO (international coffee org), I can attest to the note about a lack of funding and old specimen plants. I was just at Coffee Research in Kenya a couple months ago and the collection appears on the verge of death. Preserving coffee genetic diversity might hinge on plants in these collections and it’s doubtful those plants will last much longer. When the ICO was strong these gardens were remarkable, well funded and kept fresh with new plant material. It’s so important to underscore the economic importance of coffee to smallholder farmers, how it provides cash income to so many millions globally. It’s already a weak plant with inconsistent fruiting from year to year. If it’s further diminished by climate shift, the effect on small farmers and the rural economies in so many nations is huge. For me, that’s a chief reason to sound an alarm. For the environment, Arabica coffee is almost like an indicator species, and one easy to get the public to pay attention to! Even in the short 20 yrs I’ve been a coffee buyer there are areas that produced good volumes of good coffee that are no longer able to farm due to global warming. Insects (coffee berry borer) and fungus (rust/roya lead fungus) spread in these areas as temperatures rise and devastate the coffee plants. In Colombia, there are parts of Huila that were flush with coffee 20 years ago and can’t grow it now.

Paulie commented January 17

Paulie
Earth

I believe the climate has already passed the tipping point. With human populations continuing to explode I doubt there is any way to avoid the extinction of many species, including humans.

 

Brace for the Polar Vortex; It May Be Visiting More Often – By Kendra Pierre-Louis – The New York Times

Quote

David Lindsay: It was minus 5 Farenheight here in Connecticut Sunday night. It was 40 degrees on Friday. We are experiencing the polar vortex.

By Kendra Pierre-Louis
Jan. 18, 2019

“Find your long johns, break out the thick socks and raid the supermarket. After a month of relatively mild winter weather, the Midwest and the East Coast are bracing for what is becoming a seasonal rite of passage: the polar vortex.

The phrase has become synonymous with frigid temperatures that make snowstorms more likely. A blast of arctic air heralded the vortex’s arrival on Monday.

If it seems as if these polar freezes are happening more often, you’re right. “They are definitely becoming more common,” said Jennifer Francis, a senior scientist at the Woods Hole Research Center. “There have been a couple of studies that have documented that.”

The cold snap may feel especially shocking after an unusually warm few weeks. Colder temperatures have been arriving later in winter over the past few years, according to Judah Cohen, a climatologist at Atmospheric and Environmental Research, a weather risk assessment firm. But because of changes to the polar vortex, when wintry weather does arrive, it’s often more intense — witness the four back-to-back nor’easters last year.”

via Brace for the Polar Vortex; It May Be Visiting More Often – The New York Times

Glaciers Are Retreating. Millions Rely on Their Water. – The New York Times

Quote

Millions Rely on Their Water.
Henry Fountain, a New York Times reporter, and Ben C. Solomon, a Times multimedia reporter, traveled to Kazakhstan to see the effects of climate change on mountain glaciers. Maps by Jeremy White.

.

glaciers-kazakhstan-slide-84r8-jumbo
JAN. 16, 2019
“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.”

via Glaciers Are Retreating. Millions Rely on Their Water. – The New York Times

Ocean Warming Is Accelerating Faster Than Thought- New Research Finds – By Kendra Pierre-Louis – The New York Times

Quote

By Kendra Pierre-Louis
Jan. 10, 2019,  634 comments

“Scientists say the world’s oceans are warming far more quickly than previously thought, a finding with dire implications for climate change because almost all the excess heat absorbed by the planet ends up stored in their waters.

A new analysis, published Thursday in the journal Science, found that the oceans are heating up 40 percent faster on average than a United Nations panel estimated five years ago. The researchers also concluded that ocean temperatures have broken records for several straight years.

“2018 is going to be the warmest year on record for the Earth’s oceans,” said Zeke Hausfather, an energy systems analyst at the independent climate research group Berkeley Earth and an author of the study. “As 2017 was the warmest year, and 2016 was the warmest year.”

As the planet has warmed, the oceans have provided a critical buffer. They have slowed the effects of climate change by absorbing 93 percent of the heat trapped by the greenhouse gases humans pump into the atmosphere.”

via Ocean Warming Is Accelerating Faster Than Thought, New Research Finds – The New York Times