We’re on track to blow our carbon budget. Are we doomed? | By Molly Enking – Grist

If existing sources of fossil fuel emissions (like factories, cars, and power plants) simply continue to operate for the duration of their expected lifetime, the world will emit more than 650 billion tons of carbon dioxide, according to the study published Monday in the journal Nature. That’s 78 billion tons more than the maximum the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says can be emitted to have a reasonable chance of not exceeding 1.5 degrees of warming.

“We really need to try to avoid building anything new that uses fossil fuels whenever possible, going forward,” said Steven Davis, a co-author of the study and an associate professor at U.C. Irvine’s Earth System Science program. In addition, some existing infrastructure will need to be retired early (or retrofitted to capture their carbon emissions), according to the research.”

Source: We’re on track to blow our carbon budget. Are we doomed? | Grist

Get your daily dose of good news from Grist Subscribe To The Beacon

 

Opinion | This Teenager Knows a Secret to Slowing Guatemalan Migration – by Nicholas Kristof – The New York Times

“HUEHUETENANGO, Guatemala — When Lesly Cano Gómez was 15, she wrote out her plan to migrate to America.

“My dream is to go to the United States,” she wrote, followed by three discussion sections: “How Am I Going to Pay for It,” “Who’s Going to Take Me” and “Who’s Going to Meet Me When I Get to the United States.”

There were extensive family talks about the trip, which Cano Gómez would have undertaken with her cousin, Enilda, who is four years younger than her.

“There wasn’t anything here,” Cano Gómez explained. “That’s why I wanted to migrate.”

She knew that along the way she could be murdered or trafficked to a brothel, or else die of thirst in the desert. “But I felt I needed to go,” she added. “The people I went to school with had migrated, a ton of them.”

Yet today, four years later, Cano Gómez is still here in her village of Chichalum in the rugged Huehuetenango district. She now has a reason to stay — and therein lies a message for President Trump.”

x

David Lindsay: Bravo Saint Nicholas. Here are two comments I endorsed.

Sun
Houston
Times Pick

Guatemalans actually really like Guatemala. I’m American, born and “white-bread”, but I do too. There is much to admire about the country and the culture. Migration to the US requires deep concerns about the current state of Guatemala and a sincere desire to seek a better life and more opportunities for their children. Trust me, if things were okay in Guatemala, they wouldn’t be hiring coyotes to come here.

3 Replies214 Recommended

Share
Flag
Barb M commented June 9

Barb M
Times Pick

I am part of a group that has provided scholarships to Salvadoran youth to help them stay in school. Ten years ago we were helping them go beyond 6th grade. Now we are helping some of them complete university. This has given the children of this village hope and very few of them have emigrated to the US. Instead they celebrate each graduation and count the number of professionals in the village.

208 Recommended

Opinion | Ocean Protection Is an Urban Issue – The New York Times

By Ayana Elizabeth Johnson

Dr. Johnson, a Brooklyn native, is a marine biologist.

  • Image
CreditCreditSaul Loeb/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

“In New York City, it’s often easy to think that ocean conservation is an issue for someplace else — tropical islands, coral reefs, the Gulf of Mexico, the Arctic.

But New York City is an archipelago, a reality that can be obscured by the concrete jungle. The five boroughs — four of them on islands — have 578 miles of shoreline. The Hudson River can get salty up to Poughkeepsie. And the East River is not really a river; it’s a tidal straitthat links New York Bay and the Long Island Sound and makes Long Island an island. So the city has much to gain from a better approach to managing the ocean, including storm protection, access to healthy seafood, coastal recreation and a thriving “blue economy” based on the sustainable use of the ocean’s resources.

The point is, ocean conservation is an urban issue, and fortunately, there has been a growing movement in the city to protect its waters.

The Billion Oyster Project, for which I am a board member, is working to restore a billion oysters in New York Harbor by 2035 through reef construction to create habitat and improve water quality. The groups Riverkeeper and Surfrider Foundation NYC monitor the health of local waters and work for their protection. The Science and Resilience Institute at Jamaica Bay provides scientific advice to the city on wetland restoration and making neighborhoods resilient to floods and storms. The state has been installing “living breakwaters” conceived by Scape Landscape Architecture as part of a design competition to protect the shoreline from storm surges and create habitat for marine life. The group Gotham Whale conducts scientific monitoring and offers whale-watching tours. The Wildlife Conservation Society (a former consulting client of mine) is working through its Seascapeprogram to restore populations of threatened aquatic species and protect near-shore and offshore habitats. And Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Office of Resiliency and the One NYC initiative are working to prepare the city for the changing climate.”

From Apples to Popcorn- Climate Change Is Altering the Foods America Grows – By Kim Severson – The New York Times

In every region, farmers and scientists are trying to adapt an array of crops to warmer temperatures, invasive pests, erratic weather and earlier growing seasons.

Credit
MSJONESNYC

By Kim Severson
April 30, 2019, 34

“The impact may not yet be obvious in grocery stores and greenmarkets, but behind the organic apples and bags of rice and cans of cherry pie filling are hundreds of thousands of farmers, plant breeders and others in agriculture who are scrambling to keep up with climate change.

Drop a pin anywhere on a map of the United States and you’ll find disruption in the fields. Warmer temperatures are extending growing seasons in some areas and sending a host of new pests into others. Some fields are parched with drought, others so flooded that they swallow tractors.

Decades-long patterns of frost, heat and rain — never entirely predictable but once reliable enough — have broken down. In regions where the term climate change still meets with skepticism, some simply call the weather extreme or erratic. But most agree that something unusual is happening.

[Tell us how climate change is affecting your area.]

“Farming is no different than gambling,” said Sarah Frey, whose collection of farms throughout the South and the Midwest grows much of the nation’s crop of watermelons and pumpkins. “You’re putting thousands if not millions of dollars into the earth and hoping nothing catastrophic happens, but it’s so much more of a gamble now. You have all of these consequences that farmers weren’t expecting.””

Inside the Race to Build the Burger of the Future – by Michael Grunwald – POLITICO Magazine


Michael Grunwald is a senior staff writer for Politico Magazine.

“Politicians often rally their supporters with partisan red meat, but these days Republicans are using actual red meat. They’re accusing Democrats of a plot to ban beef, trying to rebrand the Green New Deal for climate action as a nanny-state assault on the American diet. At Thursday’s rally in Michigan, President Donald Trump portrayed a green dystopia with “no more cows.” In a recent Washington speech, former Trump aide Sebastian Gorka warned conservatives that leftists are coming for their hamburgers: “This is what Stalin dreamt about, but never achieved!” Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah) actually ate a burger during a press conference on Capitol Hill, an activity he claimed would be illegal under a Green New Deal.

In reality, nobody’s banning beef. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), the driving force behind the Green New Deal, really did suggest that “maybe we shouldn’t be eating a hamburger for breakfast, lunch and dinner,” and her office did release (and then retract) a fact sheet implying a desire to “get rid of farting cows.” A lot of environmental activists really do target red meat, and Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) , a vegan who hopes to replace Trump, really did recently observe that “this planet simply can’t sustain billions of people consuming industrially produced animal agriculture.” But the actual Green New Deal resolution calls only for dramatic reductions of greenhouse-gas emissions from agriculture. It says nothing about seizing steaks, and no Democrats are pushing to confiscate cows regardless of their tailpipe emissions.

Source: Inside the Race to Build the Burger of the Future – POLITICO Magazine

Nights Are Warming Faster Than Days. Here’s Why That’s Dangerous. – The New York Times

DL: Here is a story from this summer I missed.

By KENDRA PIERRE-LOUIS and NADJA POPOVICH JULY 11, 2018

“July kicked off with searingly hot temperatures for most Americans this year.

New daily, monthly and all-time record highs were set across the country last week, with more than 100 million people sweating it out under heat warnings or advisories. But the low nighttime temperatures that usually provide a crucial respite from scorching summer days have been more quietly making history.

On July 2, Burlington, Vt., set a record for its hottest overnight temperature as the thermometer refused to budge below 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Four days later, central Los Angeles hit 95 degrees before 11 a.m., already breaking the previous daily record of 94 degrees, before rising to well over 100 in the afternoon.”

The Race for Alaskan Oil: 6 Key Takeaways – By Steve Eder and Henry Fountain – The New York Times

By Steve Eder and Henry Fountain
Dec. 3, 2018

“FAIRBANKS, Alaska — The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is one of the most pristine landscapes in the United States. But that may soon change as the Trump administration seeks to exploit an untapped trove of oil beneath its coastal plain.

Since Congress approved a measure last December to open the coastal plain to oil exploration, the Department of the Interior has been charging ahead with a plan to sell drilling leases as early as next year. Trucks weighing 90,000 pounds could begin rolling across the tundra even before then to conduct seismic tests that help pinpoint oil reserves.

The hurried approach has alarmed some government specialists and environmentalists, who say that risks to wildlife and damage to the tundra are not being taken seriously enough. And it comes as the Trump administration moves more broadly to exploit fossil fuels in Alaska and beyond, erasing restrictive policies that were designed to protect the environment and address global warming.

The New York Times examined how, in the space of about a year, the refuge’s coastal plain — known as the 1002 Area — went from off-limits to open for business. Here are six takeaways.”

Drilling in the Arctic: Questions for a Polar Bear Expert – By Henry Fountain and Steve Eder – The New York Times

By Henry Fountain and Steve Eder
Dec. 3, 2018

Andrew Derocher is a biologist at the University of Alberta who has researched polar bears for more than three decades. He is also a volunteer adviser to Polar Bears International, a conservation group.

He discussed the status of polar bears in the Arctic amid a warming climate, and the potential impact of oil and gas exploration. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Q. Worldwide in the Arctic, there are roughly 25,000 polar bears in what scientists consider to be 19 subpopulations. Over all, how are they doing?

A. People assume that because we’re concerned about polar bears from a conservation and management perspective, that all polar bears must be doing terribly. That’s not the case. Polar bears are doing just fine in many parts of their distribution, and with 19 different populations around the Arctic, we have 19 different scenarios playing out.

. . . .    The interview ended:

What do scientists know about the impact of oil and gas exploration and production on polar bears?

One of the things that’s pretty cool about bears in general and polar bears in particular is each bear has an individual behavior pattern, or personality, if you want to call it that. Some bears just don’t seem to care — they are just not worried by people, not worried by snow machines or all-terrain vehicles or trucks going by. Yet others are extremely wary, don’t like it and will move away quickly from disturbance.

By and large, I think polar bears are fairly robust to disturbance, but once they have small cubs they tend to be quite timid.

One of the concerns we have is den abandonment. If you harass a bear around a den, there’s a greater likelihood that she will leave it with her cubs. And that is not a good thing. Young cubs are not that well developed and rely on the dens for protection. Moving them around is never a good idea.

We have to accept at least the basic premise that disturbance is not going to be beneficial for the bears. Then the question is, just how bad is it going to be? That’s difficult to say. But anything that adds on to the current impacts of sea ice loss is not going to be good for the population.”

Henry Fountain covers climate change, with a focus on the innovations that will be needed to overcome it. He is the author of “The Great Quake,” a book about the 1964 Alaskan earthquake. @henryfountain 

Opinion | The Beginning of the End of America’s Best Idea – By Timothy Egan – The New York Times

By Timothy Egan
Contributing Opinion Writer, Nov. 23, 2018

Image
A sign designating the Corral Canyon Park recreation area stands amid landscape charred by the Woolsey fire in Malibu, Calif., on Nov. 13.CreditCreditReed Saxon/Associated Press

“AGOURA HILLS, Calif. — When I was a little kid I passed through a ghost forest in Montana, the blackened, standing skeletons of the largest wildfire in recorded American history. That was the Big Burn of 1910, which torched an area nearly the size of Connecticut in a weekend.

What remained of that blowup told a story: of hurricane force winds, of 100-foot trees that crushed firefighters, of a land so scorched by intense heat that it was decades before seedlings sprouted in some places.

But at least life returned. And over the last century, a healthy forest emerged along with a consensus political view that wild land was essential to our national character.

Today, walking over the ashen floor of another spectral land, I’m struck by how naked everything looks in the world’s largest urban national park. Almost 90 percent of the federal land in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area was burned in this month’s Woolsey Fire. The smell alone is mournful.

The story it tells is grim, a portent of nature altered and convulsive. It’s not just that this audacious experiment — a huge parkland on the doorstep of a metro area of 13 million people — is now on life support. It’s that, as we are the first species to radically disrupt the world that gave us life, much of that world may soon be unsafe for human habitation.

California used to have distinct fire seasons. Now the storms of flame and smoke are year-round, and all of the nation’s most populous state is a fire zone. One in eight Americans lives in a land that could turn catastrophic on any given day.

Last year it was the wine country north of San Francisco and the mountains above Santa Barbara. This year it’s the area around Yosemite National Park, the peopled canyons of the northern part of the state, and this last best open space on the shoulders above Los Angeles.

In the north, the town of Paradise was essentially wiped off the map, with more than 13,000 homes gone, more than 80 people killed, hundreds still missing, thousands homeless — the deadliest fire in state history. It’s a human tragedy.

In the south, it’s almost 100,000 acres put to flame in the mountains that meet the sea, with deer left charred in their tracks, an iconic Western-set movie ranch burned into black and white, the sweet-scented chaparral and sage highlands all of a moonscape. It’s a tragedy of nature.”

Inconvenient News Worldwide

On World Affairs: Politics, the Environment, the Drug Wars, and the Arts

Mereconomics

Providing more on Environmental and Resource Economics

InconvenientNews.Net

Politics, Economics, the Environment, the Drug Wars, and the Arts

The WordPress.com Blog

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.