Letter to Chuck Todd of Meet the Press, emailed 9/7/17
Dear Mr. Todd,
I am a regular viewer of Meet the Press. This Sunday (9/3/2017) I watched the discussion on Hurricane Harvey and the unprecedented devastation it wrought on the Houston area. To my great dismay I never heard the phrases Climate Change or Global Warming mentioned even once. Not by you, not by any of your guests. How can it be that in 2017 the topic of Climate Change is still invisible on Meet the Press?
The concepts are common sense based and don’t require a degree in science to understand.
1. Surface and air temperature are both increasing as a direct result of climate change/global warming. When the water temperature is warmer, there is more evaporation. For every degree Celsius increase in water temperature, there is about a 7% increase in water vapor released into the atmosphere.
2. The jet streams that circle the earth normally pull storms along, i.e. they ‘guide’ storms, have been disrupted due to climate change. The jet streams were pushed farther north than they normally would have been. Because they were not there to pull Harvey away from the coast, Harvey went ashore and stalled out. Part of Harvey was over the ocean and part was over land, so it kept renewing itself. It just circled around, day after day after day, depositing huge amounts of water.
3. Sea level rise is happening because of the increasing temperature of the water, and warm water expands. This makes storm surges stronger and higher than previously experienced.
Like Harvey, Sandy also was stopped from moving East or North because of blocking due to the disruption of jet streams by climate change.
Climate change is an accelerating process. Every year we head further and further into disastrous territory, yet the news shows that are supposed to direct our attention to our most pressing concerns fail to even bring the topic up. Mr. Todd, how can you as a father of young children continue to do this and look in the mirror every day, knowing that their world will be a horror show of climate disasters one after the other? Please consider to at least mention the topic in your discussions.
7/29/17: Extreme anti-environment riders to a critical spending bill
GOP leadership in the House is rapidly tacking on extreme anti-environment riders to a critical spending bill.
Rep. Gosar (R-AZ) is pushing a disastrous rider that codifies climate denial. Rep. McKinley (R-WV) is actually fighting to INCREASE oil and gas handouts. And this bill guts drinking water protections for 117 million people while stripping them of their ability to have a say in the matter.
As Congress prepares to return home for the August recess we have to do more — and fast. This spending bill is likely to PASS the House, so blocking it in the Senate is our only shot at averting a catastrophe. But resources are running low. A major donor has agreed to triple match every donation before the end of the month.
Polluter allies have the presidency — and majorities in the House and Senate — but there still is a narrow path to victory here. GOP leadership is in disarray, with the conservative and moderate wings of their party fighting with each other. If we put the right amount of pressure in the right places, we can still derail this awful bill.
But we need you, Daniel. With our most basic environmental protections at risk right now, we need to resist Trump at EVERY level. That means mobilizing our supporters to call and write Congress. That means holding rallies in DC. It means organizing in states around the country. And it means blocking Trump in the courts.
But doing it all takes serious resources. We’re looking for 10,000 LCV members to pitch in before the end of the month to keep our work going, and here’s where things stand.
The good news: Take heart fine soldiers - as is happening in spite of the unbelievable determination (and vast, yawning ignorance) of the current administration to take society backwards into 20th Century and prior dirty/toxic fuel technology, the renewable energy sector continues to expand and thrive. Please see the following articles and videos for a breath of fresh air (literally)!
Some encouraging words about renewable energy and the decline of coal
"There's really not much he (Trump) can do against very, very strong market forces. Natural gas is incredibly inexpensive and the cost of renewables has been dropping incredibly rapidly. Which basically means that when a utility is thinking about what power to build, if you're building a new power plant, you're not going to be looking to coal. It just doesn't make sense, the pure economics. One thing to know is that most coal power plants are actually quite old. And when you're looking to retire a plant, are you going to retrofit it and replace it or are you going to put in something more economic? Generally, you put in the more economic thing and more economic choice. So it's pretty hard to imagine a case where the trends that we're already seeing away from coal are going to stop."
Interview with Kenneth Gillingham, Assistant Professor of Economics at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. His research focuses on energy, economics and policy.
My thoughts: Regardless of these truths, the Trump administration can still pull some dirty anti-renewable stunts to keep renewables down. They are obviously ruthless and devoid of knowledge or ethics with regard to climate change or what's best for the country in terms of clean energy. They are fixated on making money for themselves and their cronies off dirty 19th century technology and holding back any clean energy progress. We've got to stay diligent and at the ready to protest, write Congress and the Senate, letters to the editor, or any other means to keep the renewables momentum going that started during the Obama administration.
Good News: California is ahead of schedule for meeting the RPS requirements: the Energy Commission estimates that nearly 25 percent of electricity retail sales in 2014 were served by renewable energy generated from sources such as wind, solar, geothermal, biomass, and small hydroelectric.
But the local leaders say they cannot tackle this problem alone. They are pleading with state and federal governments for guidance and help, including billions to pay for flood walls, pumps and road improvements that would buy them time.
Yet Congress has largely ignored these pleas, and has even tried to block plans by the military to head off future problems at the numerous bases imperiled by a rising sea. A Republican congressman from Colorado, Ken Buck, recently called one military proposal part of a “radical climate change agenda.”
Miami, Florida is already feeling the impacts of climate change - how will a city deal with the rising seas? (http://on.msnbc.com/298mv1E)
Daylight needs to be shed on the insidious tactics of the Koch Brothers. They are ‘co-opting’ such media as PBS (Nova-PBS's premier science program that normally would be focusing on the threat of Global Warming/Climate Change) and NPR (Marketplace) to twist their mission and misrepresent reality and fact based journalism to favor the fossil fuel industry.
Specious arguments from opponents to taking action to fight Climate Change / Disruption
It often seems to me that when people make the argument that "yes there is a causal relationship between mankind pumping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and Climate Change, but we shouldn't 'rush' into anything extreme because there is a cost to fighting Climate Change", sound like people standing inside of their own (and our) burning house and saying, "Yes the house is on fire, but let's not do anything rash. These fire trucks are VERY expensive. Let's use the garden hose".
The Great Barrior Reef is half-dead or dying. There is no longer a forest fire season-- it's hotter, more ferocious and all year long. Species are going extinct at a rate unprecedented in recorded history. I think, as Bill Maher points out, that "Alarmism is called for. Extremism in the defense of the planet is no vice".
An alliance of Orange County organizations to address the problem of climate change and how it affects individuals, organizations and our community here in Orange County, California.
Mission: To raise awareness, educate, increase collaboration, empower and motivate ourselves and others in Orange County to take actionable steps to reduce climate change and become better stewards of our environment.
Vision: The GuSRC unleashes youth leadership for community resilience to a changing climate and cultivates a campus culture of sustainability. This pursuit informs our students’ academics, career choices, and ways of life. As the University of California steps up as a global force for climate resilience, GSRC enables UC Irvine students to shape this legacy.
Mission: The GSRC is a hub for students, providing resources, education, and programming to forward environmental balance, economic vitality, and social equity. Students, as well as campus and community partners, are invited to share a platform from which to address the root causes of ecological disruption, deepen understandings of the interdependence of all life, and engage the challenges and solutions of sustainability in a campus, community, and global context.
The Orange County Renewable Energy Group is a collection of like minded people who have interest in all renewable fields. Either currently in the industry or looking to find a place where their work has a positive impact on the environment.
Recently there has been a noticeable uptick in videos and articles emphatically stating that we’ve already reached a global emergency threshold, and that the climate models of a few years ago should be thrown out and superseded with current models that more accurately predict a much accelerated (“abrupt”) rate of climate change. These reports are flatly stating that we need to get off carbon immediately. Not by 20 or 30 years, but now. They contend that there is no need to continue building carbon based fuel infrastructure, such as pipelines, new coal plants or deep sea oil drilling rigs, and that we need to directly move to renewable sources for energy needs and sustainable sources for petroleum based products such as plastic. Their point: “It’s just a given—we have to do it— we have no choice if we want to survive on this planet.”
“It is the summer sea ice loss passing the point of no return, leading to unstoppable catastrophic Arctic methane feedbacks sooner or later… puts us in a state of planetary emergency today.”
John Nissen, AMEG Chairman
AMEG calls for rapid refreezing of the Arctic to halt runaway melting
“We need to cool the arctic. We have methods to do this. This will buy us some time by keeping the methane from coming up.”
Building the Political Will to Address Abrupt Climate Change
The reality is, the country has nowhere near the critical mass of public awareness needed to take broad concrete action to effect such broad, sweeping changes. We are creeping toward that political will, but per the authors of the stark reports noted above we need to be in full gallop away from fossil fuels and towards renewable energy.
The effect of methane hydrate (27 times as powerful as carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas) release in the arctic would be equally catastrophic to an asteroid hitting the Earth, because its impact on Global Warming would be immediate and large. One of the methods to mitigate the risk of methane release might be to drill beneath the methane deposits and capture the methane by tapping it off—in other words by using ‘fracking’ techniques (of all things). We need to prioritize addressing this methane release risk—currently the International Panel on Climate Change (“IPCC”) (as one example) is scarcely mentioning it in its reports.
Chemistry note: one methane molecule, at 27 times the strength of carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas, can be reduced to one carbon dioxide molecule if it is “oxidized”.
The Enemy – Cowardice and Inertia
World leaders, politicians, statesmen are too cowardly now to take concrete action now because to do so will cause large disruption of our present way of life. There is a conspiracy of complacency in which if we do a few things to adjust our carbon dioxide emission, all will be well. But it won’t, because we already have too much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. We not only have to stop emitting it, we have to find ways to take it out of the atmosphere. We should be working towards getting carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere at the level of the ‘Manhattan Project’ from the point of view of our own survival—it should be the biggest research program in the world. It’s what the present generation should be concentrating all its attention on.
The Pope’s Power Base
Encyclical – the Pope is very closely following developments of Climate Change
Of the fourteen record years globally, since record keeping began, no less than twelve have occurred since the year 2000.
The Oil and Gas Industry versus Alternative Energy
I've often wondered if, or when, the big oil and gas companies would start hedging their bets on their outdated and "fossilized" approach to energy production, and get on board, at least in part, with the burgeoning renewable energy industry. After all, one of the most strident credos in the business world has always been "diversify". The article "Exxon shareholders to vote on climate change, fracking (http://news.yahoo.com/exxon-shareholders-vote-climate-change-fracking-150919579--finance.html)" shows that the corporate atmosphere in the largest of these companies is still very cold towards any progressive thinking in this area, but the fact that at least these conversations are being held in their board rooms at all would indicate a (very slight) shift in the fossil fuel industry paradigm.
Headlines about Texas mega-droughts followed by Texas mega-floods aside, I'm hoping the current glut of oil and gas on the market combined with the exponentially increasing profits being made in the renewable wind and solar industries will steer these huge players in the corporate world down an alternate path. The main driver will always be profits, not environmentalism, for these companies. --But the writing is on the wall. With that in mind, having climate experts on the board of directors could help them convince their shareholders that a course correction needs to be made. As more and more headlines about climate disruptions splash across the media, these arguments are going to be increasingly difficult for the fossil fuel industry to reject.
The Presidential candidates' views on Climate Change
Kerry Kennedy, President of the RFK Center for Justice and Human Rights: "There is something each of us can all do to impact Climate Change, but it's really important to remember that it's better change your leader than your light bulb - we just have to hold our political leaders accountable."
Scientists: Earth Endangered by New Strain of Fact-Resistant Humans
MINNEAPOLIS – Scientists have discovered a powerful new strain of fact-resistant humans who are threatening the ability of Earth to sustain life, a sobering new study reports.
The research, conducted by the University of Minnesota, identifies a virulent strain of humans who are virtually immune to any form of verifiable knowledge, leaving scientists at a loss as to how to combat them. “These humans appear to have all the faculties necessary to receive and process information,” Davis Logsdon, one of the scientists who contributed to the study, said. “And yet, somehow, they have developed defenses that, for all intents and purposes, have rendered those faculties totally inactive.” More worryingly, Logsdon said, “As facts have multiplied, their defenses against those facts have only grown more powerful.”
While scientists have no clear understanding of the mechanisms that prevent the fact-resistant humans from absorbing data, they theorize that the strain may have developed the ability to intercept and discard information en route from the auditory nerve to the brain. “The normal functions of human consciousness have been completely nullified,” Logsdon said.
While reaffirming the gloomy assessments of the study, Logsdon held out hope that the threat of fact-resistant humans could be mitigated in the future. “Our research is very preliminary, but it’s possible that they will become more receptive to facts once they are in an environment without food, water, or oxygen,”, he said.
Almost 200 countries have agreed to negotiate a United Nations pact by the end of 2015 to combat global climate change, which most scientists expect will bring about more flooding, droughts, heat waves and higher seas. The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has cited a probability of at least 95 percent that accelerated warming of the planet has been triggered by human activities, led by atmospheric emissions of greenhouse gases from the burning of fossil fuels.