Friday, December 30, 2016

Climate Deniers In Control Of U.S. Government


2016 will officially be the hottest year on the books in more than 120 years of record keeping by U.S. agencies. It will be the third straight record-setting year — and of the 17 hottest years, 16 have been this century — a clear sign of the human-caused rise in global temperatures caused by the buildup of heat-trapping greenhouse gases over the past century.

From January to December, 2016 was marked by record-breaking high temperatures worldwide. Countries like Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Botswana, India, Niger and Iraq experienced their hottest temperatures ever recorded. And heat waves, many of them deadly, charred parts of Britain, France, South Africa, the U.S. and regions like Southeast Asia.
The poles were not spared from the heat. In November, for instance, sea ice extent in the Arctic and Antarctic reached record lows. Scientists called it an “almost unprecedented” event at the time.

In the U.S., high temperatures were a feature throughout the year. Every month in 2016 had significantly more record high temperatures than record lows, according to a Climate Central report this week.
“The blistering pace of record-high temperatures across the country is the clearest sign of 2016’s extreme heat. Record-daily highs outpaced record-daily lows by 5.7-to-1 in 2016,” the nonprofit news organization wrote, citing preliminary data from the National Centers for Environmental Information. “That’s the largest ratio in 95 years of record keeping. Put another way, 85 percent of extreme temperature records set in 2016 were of the hot variety.”
The world is already more than halfway down the road to surpassing the Paris climate pact goal to limit warming to less than 2°C (3.6°F) by 2100

For the year-to-date, 2016 is 1.69°F (0.94°C) above the 20th century average, according to NOAA, and 1.84°F (1.02°C) above the 1951-1980 average according to NASA. Averaging NASA and NOAA’s data, 2016’s temperature through November is 1.23°C (2.21°F) above the average from 1881-1910. (One reason NOAA’s global temperature for November may have been lower than NASA’s is that it doesn’t incorporate Arctic temperatures.)

One major area of warmth during both November and the year as a whole was the Arctic. During November, the Arctic saw an almost unprecedented sea ice retreat, capping off a year that has shocked even seasoned Arctic researchers.

The winter sea ice peak was the lowest on record (beating out 2015) and the summer minimum was the second lowest. Air temperatures in the region have continually been above average by double digits. Another hotspot for November was North America; the contiguous U.S. is poised to have its second-hottest year on record.

These milestones have climate scientists and policymakers concerned as President-elect Trump fills his cabinet with policy makers who reject the established science of climate change. Only one major political party in the world denies climate change, and it's now in total control of the most important political body in the world, the US federal government.

President-elect Trump’s nominees to key cabinet posts, such as the departments of Energy and State. Rick Perry, the Energy nominee, has dismissed the reality of climate change, and Rex Tillerson, nominee for secretary of state, is CEO of ExxonMobil, which spent decades ignoring its own scientists’ research tying fossil fuels to climate change.

Our planet's systems have a tremendous capacity to absorb punishment before they begin to show signs of degradation. Earth's ecology self-heals like a cut on a finger. It assimilates pollution by chemical, physical and biological means -- it changes pollutants into non-hazardous materials and proceeds upon its merry way as if there had been no pollution at all. Up to a point.

The American Meteorological Society's latest report on weather extremes tells us: "Without exception, all the heat-related events studied in this year's report were found to have been made more intense or likely due to human-induced climate change, and this was discernible even for those events strongly influenced by the 2015 El Niño."

Human-caused "anthropogenic" influence was documented in 23 of 28 major global geographic regions. The events included increasing average temperature, warming of winter extremes, decreasing humidity due to warming, increasing dryness, increasing heavy precipitation, increased sunshine, more extreme drought, more extreme tropical cyclones, increased wildfire burn area and intensity, decreased arctic sea ice, more high tide flooding and decreased snowpack.

The extremes we are experiencing now (temperature, rainfall, drought, etc.) will not increase at the same rate as the average temperature. The physics of thermodynamics say extremes will increase nonlinearly. Earth has lost its ability to buffer the warming. As we replace coal with non-fossil fuel alternatives, masking of warming by global cooling pollutants will also disappear, compounding the nonlinear rate of increasing extremes.
We live on a very complicated and dangerous planet worthy of great respect and our stewardship. The past year's advances in climate science data collection and modeling should urge us to put that respect into practice as responsible stewardards of our planet, taking definitive action against global warming.

Emissions reductions can no longer prevent dangerous climate change. Even with the best case scenario of 80 percent reductions by 2050 (as outlined in the Paris commitment), we will see additional warming of double to triple what we have already seen -- well above the 2 degree C limit. We have simply delayed too long.

To prevent Earth's temperature from exceeding the dangerous limit we have to remove the excess long-lived CO2 already in our sky. The new technologies of directly removing already emitted CO2 have the capacity to prevent dangerous climate change in time frames that matter. In addition to emissions reductions, it's clear that direct treatment of climate pollution must be part of our future as we head into 2017.

We published the following two articles a year and half ago. Very sadly, neither the US nor the world have taken any significant action.
HuffPo: Graphics Show How Terrible Climate Change Was In 2016

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