Global Warming Cited as Wildfires Increase in Fragile Boreal Forest, by Gillis and Fountain – The New York Times

“Scientists have been warning for decades that climate change is a threat to the immense tracts of forest that ring the Northern Hemisphere, with rising temperatures, drying trees and earlier melting of snow contributing to a growing number of wildfires.The near-destruction of a Canadian city last week by a fire that sent almost 90,000 people fleeing for their lives is grim proof that the threat to these vast stands of spruce and other resinous trees, collectively known as the boreal forest, is real. And scientists say a large-scale loss of the forest could have profound consequences for efforts to limit the damage from climate change.In retrospect, it is clear that Fort McMurray, in northern Alberta, was particularly vulnerable as one of the largest human outposts in the boreal forest. But the destruction of patches of this forest by fire, as well as invasions by insects surviving warmer winters, has occurred throughout the hemisphere.In Russia, about 70 million acres burned in 2012, new statistics suggest, much of that in isolated areas of Siberia. Alaska, home to most of the boreal forest in the United States, had its second-largest fire season on record in 2015, with 768 fires burning more than five million acres.”

Source: Global Warming Cited as Wildfires Increase in Fragile Boreal Forest – The New York Times

Bravo Tom Friedman! Three Stars! He starts: “Dakar, SENEGAL — You can learn everything you need to know about the main challenges facing Africa today by talking to just two people in Senegal: the rapper and the weatherman. They’ve never met, but I could imagine them doing an amazing duet one day — words and weather predictions — on the future of Africa.”

In Senegal, a rap artist and a weatherman both worry for their nation’s future.
nytimes.com|By Thomas L. Friedman

 

David Lindsay  David Lindsay   Great comments at the NYT, such as: Bruce Rozenblit,   a trusted commenter Kansas City

“Western and central Africa has the highest brith rates in the world. Their birth rates are three and four times greater that those in the US. These nations are under severe environmental and economic stress. Disease takes millions. Political chaos, corruption, war and terror groups run rampant. Talk about a pot boiling over!

Climate change is rapidly spiraling out of control. By some unlucky chance of fate, the world’s people that are the poorest are suffering much more from it than the rich nations that are producing most of the carbon pollution.

Even if CO2 output fell to zero, temperatures will continue to rise, probably for the next 100 years, although slower. Population growth will remain the main driver of their suffering.

Relief cannot occur without slowing the birthrates. That means open and accessible reproductive health services for women. It also means elevating the status of women and empowering them in these impoverished lands. We may not be able to change their repressive cultures, but we can fund and build health centers. That would make a positive difference as their lands either burn up or wash away, and they will.”

Reply 23 Recommended

Out of Africa, Part II A farming village too parched to sustain crops is also losing its men, who leave in search of work to support their families. nytimes.com|By Thomas L. Friedman

Tom Friedman at his best: “Ndiamaguene, SENEGAL — I am visiting Ndiamaguene village in the far northwest of Senegal. If I were giving you directions I’d tell you that it’s the last stop after the last stop — it’s the village after the highway ends, after the paved road ends, after the gravel road ends and after the desert track ends. Turn left at the last baobab tree.

It’s worth the trek, though, if you’re looking for the headwaters of the immigration flood now flowing from Africa to Europe via Libya. It starts here.

A farming village too parched to sustain crops is also losing its men, who leave in search of work to support their families.
nytimes.com|By Thomas L. Friedman
x

Thank you Tom Friedman for your excellent work here. The problems revealed boggle the mind, but let me dare raise some ideas. There is an international disaster brewing caused by a population explosion, exacerbated by climate change, and the population explosion definitely makes the climate change problem worse.

The wealthy countries can either sit out the population growth crisis, or intervene. Over history, the population explosions in places like China, when combined with drought, often led to civil war and massive starvation and cannibalism. Europe had wars and plagues. We could chose these traditional solutions today, but for the first time, the suffering would be broadcast on television, and we would have to watch it or turn it off. Also, we have the knowledge and means to find a more humane solution.

An intervention by the United Nations or its proxy would have to focus on an exchange. The haves would supply food, water and housing in exchange for either family planning or sterilization. Mathias Weitz commented after your piece: “The African population doubled from 1982 to 2009, and quadrupled from 1955 to 2009. The main cause of the desertification in the Sahel is overgrazing by an ever growing population.”  I wish to remind readers that world population just went from 2 to 7 billion in less than a hundred years.

Family planning might include IUD’s for every woman, but like the mosquito nets in Kenya, the baubles might be diverted to other purposes, like necklace decorations. Enforced family planning or sterilization are not pleasant ideas, but following the massive suffering and killing in the evening news, while our own climate keeps changing for the worse, will have its own drawbacks. Seven billion humans and growing, is a force in nature causing the sixth extinction. We are literally destroying thousands of other species by our fecundity, and risking our own future.

 

Sierra Nevada Snow Won’t End California’s Thirst – The New York Times

YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, Calif. — Thanks in part to El Niño, snowpack in the Sierra Nevada is greater than it has been in years. With the winter snowfall season winding down, California officials said that the pack peaked two weeks ago at 87 percent of the long-term average.That’s far better than last year, when it was just 5 percent of normal and Gov. Jerry Brown announced restrictions on water use after four years of severe drought. But the drought is still far from over, especially in Southern California, where El Niño did not bring many major storms.Despite the better news this year, there are plenty of worrying signs about the Sierra snowpack, which provides about 30 percent of the water Californians use after it melts and flows into rivers and reservoirs, according to the state Department of Water Resources.

Source: Sierra Nevada Snow Won’t End California’s Thirst – The New York Times

The policy of putting out small fires in the forest is causing the tree population to explode, which takes larger amounts of water away from reservoirs needed by humans.

The Danger of a Runaway Antarctica – The New York Times

“Here are some disturbing things we have learned since December, when the nations of the world reached a landmark agreement in Paris to lower greenhouse gas emissions.In January, scientists reported that 2015 was by far the hottest year on record, and another record could be set this year.In February, a Princeton-based research organization said the tidal flooding that has already made life miserable for people in coastal cities like Miami and Charleston is getting steadily worse.In mid-March, a group of experts, including James Hansen, the retired scientist who first brought the perils of climate change to Congress’s attention in 1988, warned that shifts in climate could be sudden and abrupt, giving humanity little time to prepare for flooding, severe droughts and other upheavals.Now comes another scary prediction: If carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels continue unabated, the vast West Antarctic ice sheet could begin to disintegrate, causing the sea to rise by five to six feet by the end of the century, destroying coastal cities and low-lying island nations and creating environmental devastation within the lifetimes of children born today.”

Source: The Danger of a Runaway Antarctica – The New York Times

Scientists Warn of Perilous Climate Shift Within Decades, Not Centuries – The New York Times

“The nations of the world agreed years ago to try to limit global warming to a level they hoped would prove somewhat tolerable. But a group of leading climate scientists warned on Tuesday that permitting a warming of that magnitude would actually be highly dangerous.The likely consequences would include killer storms stronger than any in modern times, the disintegration of large parts of the polar ice sheets, and a rise of the sea sufficient to begin drowning the world’s coastal cities before the end of this century, the scientists declared.“We’re in danger of handing young people a situation that’s out of their control,” said James E. Hansen, the retired NASA climate scientist who led the new research. The findings were released Tuesday morning by a European science journal, Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics.A draft version of the paper had been released last year, and it provoked a roiling debate among climate scientists. The main conclusions have not changed, however, and a replay of that debate seems likely in the coming weeks.”

Source: Scientists Warn of Perilous Climate Shift Within Decades, Not Centuries – The New York Times

Marine Life Thrives in Unlikely Place: Offshore Oil Rigs – The New York Times

“EUREKA OIL PLATFORM OFF CALIFORNIA COAST — Eight miles off the coast of Long Beach, Calif., the oil rig Eureka, which has stood here for 40 years, is a study in contrasts. From a distance, it looks like just another offshore platform, an artifact of the modern industrial landscape.From Our AdvertisersBut beneath the waves, the Eureka and other rigs like it in the area are home to a vast and thriving community of sea life that some scientists say is one of the richest marine ecosystems on the planet.“They are more productive than coral reefs, more productive than estuaries,” said Milton Love, a professor of marine biology at the University of California Santa Barbara. “It just turns out by chance that platforms have a lot of animals that are growing really quickly.”Great ReadsOur best deeply reported and engaging works. Donald Trump Doesn’t Understand Common Core (and Neither Do His Rivals) MAR 8 Marco Rubio’s Campaign Echoes ’07 Tax Revolt: A Big Plan With Little Payoff MAR 7 Money Given to Kenya, Since Stolen, Puts Nike in Spotlight MAR 5 Donald Trump Considered Path to Presidency Starting at Governor’s Mansion in New York MAR 5 Tensions Simmer as a Small Town Seeks Answers in a Boy’s Killing MAR 5See More »Dr. Love, who has published research on marine life at offshore drilling sites, said the location of these rigs — in marine-protected areas in a cold current that swoops down from British Columbia — have made them perfect habitats for fish and other sea life.”

Source: Marine Life Thrives in Unlikely Place: Offshore Oil Rigs – The New York Times

Keep reading the article. Some conservationists are are changing their opposition to allowing oil companies to decommission and not tear down, in exchange for sharing the savings with the state EPA.

The Secrets in Greenland’s Ice Sheet. Scientists study will we have time to respond to climate change or whether it’s already too late. nytimes.com|By Jon Gertner

From Kathleen Schomaker’s Gray Is Green FB page.

By studying the largest glaciers on earth, scientists hope to determine whether we’ll have time to respond to climate change or whether it’s already too late.
nytimes.com|By Jon Gertner

Tales of a Warmer Planet By running civilization on fossil fuel, we are creating and destroying climates. nytimes.com|By Curt Stager

Curt Stager, “The bad news is that the natural mopping up of our mess will be extremely slow. Research by the University of Chicago oceanographer and climate scientist David Archer and others shows that the cleanup will take tens of thousands of years even if we switch quickly to renewable energy sources. When the Earth’s slow cyclic tilting and wobbling along its eccentric orbital path once again leads to a major cooling period some 50,000 years from now, enough of our heat-trapping carbon emissions will still remain in the atmosphere to warm the planet just enough to weaken that chill. In other words, our impacts on global climate are so profound that we will have canceled the next ice age.”

By running civilization on fossil fuel, we are creating and destroying climates.
nytimes.com|By Curt Stager

Greenland Is Melting Away This river is one of a network of thousands at the front line of climate change. nytimes.com|By JOSH HANER

I’m speechless.

This river is one of a network of thousands at the front line of climate change.
nytimes.com|By JOSH HANER
 *   *   *
David Lindsay
David Lindsay I’m speechless. 
Here is commentor at the NYT who isn’t.
” Suzanne Jupiter, FL October 27, 2015

“Global Warming is the most important issue of our times. Our very survival as a species depends on us taking immediate action now. We have let the fossil fuel industry and their paid deniers take over the conversation for much too long. The fossil fuel industry has been using the tobacco industry’s “deny, deny, deny” playbook to stop any action to save our planet.

If you care about your children…your grandchildren or our very survival…then please don’t sit on the sidelines any longer…let your voice be heard and demand decisive action by our leaders and governments to slow down man made Global Warming.”

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