Last Call For A Livable World

- IN THIS ISSUE -

Reports & Recommendations from:

International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

World Wildlife Fund (WWF)

U.S. Fourth National Climate Assessment

Grain Belt Express Public Hearing By

The Missouri Public Service Commission

9 AM on December 18 - 19, 2018

We are pushing our planet to the brink. Human activity—how we power, feed, and finance our civilization—is taking an unprecedented toll on wildlife, wild places, earth's atmospheric, oceanic, and meteorological life support systems, exhausting the natural resources humanity needs to survive.

Human activity has annihilated wildlife on the scale of a mass extinction, putting humans on a fast track toward an irreversibly hot, chaotic planet stripped clean of the natural resources that enrich it. Which will transform life as humanity knows it, said Carter Roberts, the chief executive of the WWF in the United States. Civilization must reverse course to protect the food, water and shelter needed for survival.

Food and water security are major concerns - including here in the Midwest - where the largest rivers and most fertile soil in North America are dedicated to crops for animal feed and livestock production. Much of which is produced for export overseas, primarily to China. We rely on western states for our fresh produce, where they are running out of water.

Water security is also threatened across South Florida, as discussed in Climate Change Has Raised The Sea Level And Pushed Salt Water To Contaminate The Everglades.

"I think probably within the next thirty years we'll have lost our fresh water in South Florida," says Harold Wanless, Geologist, University of Miami, surveying the collapsing fresh water Everglades wetlands ecosystem with Carlos Castro, Orlando Director of Sustainability, in the National Geographic / Bloomberg film, Paris To Pittsburgh, linked to below.

Feds Set Urgent Deadline On Colorado River Drought Plan

Low water levels on Lake Mead and Lake Powell are prompting water leaders throughout the Western U.S. to undertake negotiations over the Colorado River's future.

December 13, 2018 LAS VEGAS —

With drought continuing and reservoirs shrinking, several Southwestern U.S. states that depend on the Colorado River had been expected to ink a crucial share-the-pain contingency plan by the end of 2018. Officials now say they're not going to make it, at least not in time for upcoming meetings in Las Vegas involving representatives from Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming and the U.S. government.

The head of the federal agency controlling the Colorado River said Thursday the U.S. government will impose unprecedented restrictions on water supplies to the seven Southwestern U.S. states that depend on the river unless everyone agrees by Jan. 31 on a plan to deal with an expected shortage in 2020.

Water users from Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming should have had a pact to sign at an annual water users' conference this week in Las Vegas, Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman said. They didn't.

However, a flurry of approvals in several states in recent weeks signaled urgency and set a stage for an overall agreement to use less water from a river beset by drought and locked into promises to deliver more water than it takes in.

Burman identified California and Arizona as the holdouts. "Close isn't 'done,' " she told a standing-room crowd at the Colorado River Water Users Association conference at a Las Vegas Strip resort. "Only 'done' will protect this basin."

The river that carries winter snow melt from the Rocky Mountains to the Gulf of Mexico is plumbed with dams to generate hydropower and meter water releases. It provides drinking water to 40 million people and cities including Los Angeles, San Diego, Denver, Phoenix and Las Vegas.

It irrigates crops in wide areas once deemed as reclaimed desert in the U.S. and Mexico.

The keys to contingency plans are voluntary agreements to use less water than users are allocated from the river's two largest reservoirs, Lake Powell behind the Glen Canyon Dam on the Arizona-Utah state line and Lake Mead behind Hoover Dam just east of Las Vegas. Lake Powell is currently at 43 percent capacity; Lake Mead is at 38 percent. ...

https://www.deseretnews.com/article/900046457/southwestern-states-have-until-jan-31-to-seal-drought-deal-for-colorado-river-water.html

https://www.coloradoindependent.com/2018/12/14/colorado-river-drought-contigency-plan/

https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/arizona-environment/2018/12/13/federal-water-official-sets-deadline-colorado-river-drought-deal/2301898002/ - Dozens more photos of the drought on the Colorado River.

COP 24

United Nations Climate Change Conference

Katowice Poland 2018

https://www.democracynow.org/2018/14/12/headlines

Sunday, December 16, 2018 - Almost 200 nations, including the world’s top greenhouse gas producers, China and the United States, have adopted a set of rules meant to breathe life into the 2015 Paris climate accord by setting out how countries should report their emissions and efforts to reduce them.

But negotiators delayed other key decisions until next year – a move that frustrated environmentalists and countries that wanted more ambitious goals in light of scientists’ warnings that the world must shift sharply away from fossil fuels in the coming decade.

“The majority of the rulebook for the Paris agreement has been created, which is something to be thankful for,” said Mohamed Adow, a climate policy expert at Christian Aid. “But the fact that some countries had to be dragged kicking and screaming to the finish line shows that some nations have not woken up” to the dire consequences of global warming as outlined in a report by the U.N Panel on Climate Change.

The United States, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait succeeded in preventing the inclusion of the most recent assessment by the UN climate science panel, in the final decision adopted by countries at 24th round of UN sponsored climate talks.

Officials at the talks, which ended late Saturday in the Polish city of Katowice, agreed upon universal rules on how nations can cut emissions. Poor countries secured assurances on financial support to help them reduce emissions, adapt to changes such as rising sea levels and pay for damage that has already happened.

The talks took place against a backdrop of growing concern among scientists that global warming is proceeding faster than governments are responding to it. Last month, a study found that global warming will worsen disasters such as the deadly California wildfires and the powerful hurricanes that have hit the United States this year.

The recent report by the IPCC concluded that while it’s possible to cap global warming at 1.5 degrees C (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) by the end of the century compared to pre-industrial times, doing so would require a dramatic overhaul of the global economy, including a shift away from fossil fuels.

Alarmed by efforts to include that idea in the final text of the meeting, the oil-exporting nations of the U.S., Russia, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait blocked an endorsement of the IPCC report midway through this month’s talks. That prompted uproar from vulnerable countries like small island nations and environmental groups.

The final text omitted a previous reference to specific reductions in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and merely welcomed the “timely completion” of the IPCC report, but not its conclusions.

Four nations including US succeed in preventing the inclusion of assessment by climate panel https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/international/world-news/four-nations-including-us-succeed-in-preventing-the-inclusion-of-assessment-by-climate-panel/articleshow/67128336.cms

Talk adopt rules to put Paris Climate Deal into action

https://www.concordmonitor.com/Talks-adopt--rulebook--to-put-Paris-climate-deal-into-action-22212397

Trump Administration at COP 24 doubles down on backward thinking

https://cleantechnica.com/2018/12/17/trump-administration-statement-at-cop24-doubles-down-on-backwards-thinking/

Science Group Deeply Alarmed by Efforts to Downplay IPCC Special Report at COP24

https://www.ucsusa.org/press/2018/science-group-deeply-alarmed-efforts-downplay-ipcc-special-report-cop24#.XBfSiWhKjIV

Weather and Climate Disasters Cost the U.S. a Record $306 Billion in 2017

A disastrous hurricane season in 2017 combined with wildfires and other extreme weather events inflicted a record-setting toll on the U.S., costing a total of $306 billion in damage. These events caused 362 direct deaths, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Hurricane Harvey approaching the Texas coast

on August 25, 2017

"Climate change is playing a role in the increasing frequency of extreme weather that lead to billion-dollar disasters," writes Adam Smith of NOAA in a blog post. "Most notably the increase in drought, lengthening wildfire seasons and the extremely heavy rainfall and inland flooding events are vulnerable to the impacts of climate change."

These costs do not include health care, including mental health care that may be needed for storm survivors for years after an event. The death toll from Hurricane Maria is still being tabulated, as are the costs, so these figures are likely to be updated in the future. "They really are a low point to the true costs that are harder to calculate," Smith said during a press conference from the American Meteorological Society annual meeting in Austin, Texas.https://mashable.com/2018/01/08/2017-record-year-billion-dollar-disasters-third-warmest/#15.9tZrxvmqW

https://www.democracynow.org/2018/12/13/you_are_stealing_our_future_greta

https://www.democracynow.org/2018/12/13/as_un_calls_for_urgent_action

International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Report:

Massive Global Effort Needed to Limit Impacts of Climate Change

https://report.ipcc.ch/sr15/pdf/sr15_spm_final.pdf

On October 8 2018, the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on 1.5°C was published in the Republic of Korea by the IPCC – a global body of climate scientists. This major new study from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) finds that it is still possible to keep global temperature from rising more than 1.5°C above pre-industrial values and limit the devastating impacts of climate change.

New releases with the report broadcast the findings that sweeping global measures will be necessary to limit the devastating impacts of climate change. Greenhouse gas emissions from human activity, which come mainly from burning fossil fuels, must be slashed by 2030, and virtually eliminated by 2050 in order to keep from "overshooting" the 1.5°C target. As the daily climate change headlines make abundantly clear, even this strongly worded message has been heavily watered down for political reasons.

Specific language throughout the report, however, confirms that the world is already in the midst of a severe climate crisis, that can and should be addressed with comprehensive climate actions ASAP if we are going to leave our children a livable world:

"A.2. Warming from anthropogenic emissions from the pre-industrial period to the present will persist for centuries to millennia and will continue to cause further long-term changes in the climate system, such as sea level rise, with associated impacts (high confidence), but these emissions alone are unlikely to cause global warming of 1.5°C (medium confidence). (Figure SPM.1) {1.2, 3.3, Figure 1.5}" https://www.ipcc.ch/sr15/chapter/summary-for-policy-makers/

. . .

"Avoiding overshoot and reliance on the future large-scale deployment of carbon dioxide removal (CDR) can only be achieved if global CO2 emissions start to decline well before 2030," said the study, which was released after members made final revisions at an IPCC meeting in Incheon, South Korea.

Staying within the 1.5°C threshold also will require large cutbacks in greenhouse gas emissions of methane, black carbon, and nitrous oxide. Otherwise, carbon dioxide will need to be drawn out of the atmosphere on an increasingly massive scale. Not hitting this goal would result in up to six feet of sea level rise, critical crop loss and the near eradication of the world's coral reefs, among the serious impacts already underway.

“Limiting warming to 1.5ºC is possible within the laws of chemistry and physics, but doing so would require unprecedented changes,” said Jim Skea, co-chair of the IPCC's Working Group III, which focuses on reducing (mitigating) climate change. The immense challenges are further delineated by Deputy Director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, Kevin Anderson in Climate change: Triumph and tragedy in Paris, along with actual guidelines on how to proceed.

Diagram of yearly and cumulative CO2 emissions

The amount of carbon dioxide emitted each year (left, in billions of metric tons) adds up to the total net emissions (right, in accumulated billions of metric tons). The total on the right determines how high global temperatures will rise. If net emissions drop to zero by 2040 (blue lines), then the cumulative net emissions will be less than if the net-zero level is reached by 2050 (gray lines).

(IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C)

All of the scenarios used in the Special Report on 1.5°C show that current pledges are not on track to limit global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.

How do we limit global warming to 1.5°C? And will we make it?

Warming will not be limited to 1.5°C or 2°C unless emissions decline rapidly across all of society’s main sectors, including buildings, industry, transport, energy, and agriculture, forestry and other land use. Actions that can reduce emissions include, for example, phasing out coal in the energy sector, increasing the amount of energy produced from renewable sources, electrifying transport, and reducing the ‘carbon footprint’ of the food we consume.

There is no definitive, single, way to limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. This Special Report is broadly looking at 2 different scenarios: One scenario keeps global temperature at, or just below, 1.5°C. Another sees global temperature temporarily exceed 1.5°C ( this is referred to as an overshoot) before coming back down. Countries’ pledges to reduce their emissions are currently not in line with limiting global warming to 1.5°C. The two types of pathway have different implications for greenhouse gas emissions, as well as for climate change impacts and for achieving sustainable development.

If current national pledges for 2030 are achieved but no more, researchers find very few (if any) ways to reduce emissions after 2030 sufficiently quickly to limit warming to 1.5°C.

A world that is consistent with holding warming to 1.5°C would see greenhouse gas emissions rapidly decline in the coming decade, with strong international cooperation and a scaling up of countries’ combined ambition and beyond.

What is Carbon Dioxide Removal?

Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) refers to the process of removing CO2 from the atmosphere. There are two main types of CDR:

Reforestation & Soil Carbon Sequestration

Reforestation and soil carbon sequestration are the opposite of GHG emissions, using natural processes that remove carbon from the atmosphere, increasing its uptake by trees, soil, crops, and other plants.

Chemical processes to capture CO2 directly from the ambient air and storing it underground nave not been demonstrated to work in principle, and they have not been tested at anything remotely approaching the 40 billions of tons of CO2 emissions currently being released every year into the earth's atmosphere. They would be prohibitively energy intensive and expensive, an environmental catastrophe in and of themselves, siphoning off critically needed funding for environmentally sound CDR.

A Stretch Goal Like No Other

Since the late 1800s, the global average temperature has risen about 1°C, bringing the planet about two-thirds of the way to the 1.5°C threshold.

Increased use of fossil fuels has pushed atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide above 405 parts per million, or more than 30% above pre-industrial values. Carbon dioxide is the most prevalent of the human-produced greenhouse gases that warm the climate.

Emissions of carbon dioxide from energy use were virtually flat from 2014 through 2016, even as the global economy grew.

However, emissions increased by 1.4 per cent in 2017, according to the International Energy Agency. The agency attributed the rise to increased demand for energy and reduced steps toward energy efficiency.

The Paris Agreement of 2015 called for the world's nations to keep global warming well below 2°C, with efforts to stay within 1.5°C. Every nation on Earth joined the Paris Agreement, although the United States announced its intention in 2017 to withdraw from the accord.

National pledges submitted to date through the agreement are not nearly enough to avoid more than 1.5°C of warming, noted the IPCC.

https://www.ipcc.ch/sr15/chapter/summary-for-policy-makers/

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/oct/08/global-warming-must-not-exceed-15c-warns-landmark-un-report

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/oct/05/from-london-to-shanghai-worlds-sinking-cities-face-devastating-floods

IPCC: Unprecedented Efforts Needed To Stop Global Warming

https://weather.com/en-IN/india/science/news/2018-10-09-ipcc-report-2018-global-warming-climate-change

Margaret Sullivan, Washington Post: “The planet is on a fast path to destruction. The media must cover this like it’s the only story that matters.”

World Wildlife Fund - Living Planet Report

Wild Animal Populations Have Fallen 60 Percent in 44 Years

WATCH: WWF: Living Planet Report 2018 - https://www.wwf.org.uk/updates/living-planet-report-2018

An astonishing 60% decline in the populations of mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, and amphibians has taken place around the world in the last 44 years, according to the World Wildlife Fund's Living Planet Report 2018. The report documents the state of the planet—biodiversity, ecosystems, demand on natural resources—and what it means for humans and wildlife.

The report is based on a survey of more than 4,000 species spread over 16,700 populations scattered across the globe.The WWF, which has produced its 'Living Planet' report every second year for the past 20 years, has called for an ambitious "global deal" for nature and people, similar to the international Paris Agreement to tackle climate change.provides a comprehensive view of the health of the Earth. The top threats to species identified in the report link directly to human overconsumption, including habitat loss and degradation and the excessive use of wildlife such as overfishing and overhunting.

The report depicts the catastrophic impact human activity has had on the world’s wildlife, forests, oceans, rivers, and climate. We’re facing a rapidly closing window for action and the urgent need for everyone—everyone—to collectively rethink and redefine how we value, protect, and restore nature.

“This report sounds a warning shot across our bow,” said Carter Roberts, president and CEO of WWF-US. “Natural systems essential to our survival—forests, oceans, and rivers— are all in decline. Wildlife around the world is disappearing. It reminds us we need to change course. It’s time to balance our consumption with the needs of nature, and to protect the only planet that is our home.”

The Living Planet Report points to overexploitation of the environment — such as mining and deforestation — unsustainable agriculture and climate change as some of the engines driving the death of species worldwide.

The consumption and discarding of materials have entered a vicious feedback loop of destruction. For instance, in three decades nearly all seabirds will carry shards of plastic in their digestive tracts, the report found.

Toxic plastic also ends up in fish, which could hasten consequences for people who rely on fishing for industry or those who consume it. More than 4 billion people eat fish for at least some daily protein, the report said.

“There is a connection between loss of the natural environment and human health,” Roberts said. “Where does our food come from? Where does our water come?

In Latin America and Africa where ecosystems are struggling governments are deaing with food scarcity and drought.

Crop failures brought on by climate change have been linked to an exodus in Central America toward the United States.

Slashing of biodiversity can have other dire consequences for humans.

More than a third of crops globally are partially pollinated by animals, the report found. And tens of thousands of medicinal and aromatic plants are harnessed for human use. Meanwhile, researchers have increasingly looked to natural sources for medical cures, the report said.

As the world population explodes and nature untouched by man shrinks from about a quarter to a tenth of the world by 2050, the report found, animals are driven into unsuitable and occupied environments.

RECOMMENDATIONS

"We need a new global deal for nature," said WWF International director general Marco Lambertini, noting two key ingredients in the 195-nation Paris climate treaty.

"One was the realisation that climate change was dangerous for the economy and society, not just polar bears," he said. The Paris Agreement, negotiated under the UN convention on climate change, set a clear target: global warming must be held to "well below" 2C, and 1.5C if possible.

"Second, a healthy, sustainable future for all is only possible on a planet where nature thrives and forests, oceans and rivers are teeming with biodiversity and life," said Mr Lambertini. The parallel UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), by contrast, has lots of targets running out to 2020 which are not only too weak, but - with one possible exception - will probably not be met, Mr Lambertini said. "The CBD is failing," he said. But an upcoming meeting of the 195-nation body could be the beginning of a "revolution" that will see the Convention re-engineered in 2020 into "a new deal for nature".

“We urgently need to transition to a net carbon-neutral society and halt and reverse nature loss — through green finance and shifting to clean energy and environmentally friendly food production. In addition, we must preserve and restore enough land and ocean in a natural state to sustain all life,” WWF Director General Marco Lambertini wrote in the report.

“We have before us a rapidly closing window for action and an unparalleled opportunity as we head into the year 2020,” he wrote. Another dataset confirmed the depth of an unfolding mass extinction event, only the sixth in the last half-billion years.

Measured by weight, or biomass, wild animals today only account for 4% of mammals on Earth, with humans (36%) and livestock (60%) making up the rest.Only a quarter of the world's land area is free from the impacts of human activity and by 2050 that will have fallen to just a tenth, the Living Planet Report 2018 says.

Tropical areas have seen the worst declines, with an 89% fall in populations monitored in Latin America and the Caribbean since 1970. The world has already lost around half its shallow water corals.

Species that live in fresh water habitats, such as frogs and river fish, have seen global population falls of 83%, according to the living planet index by the Zoological Society of London, which tracks the abundance of wildlife.

From hedgehogs and puffins to elephants, rhinos and polar bears, wildlife is in decline, due to the loss of habitats, poaching, pollution of land and seas and rising global temperatures, the Living Planet report warns.

"Exploding" levels of human consumption are driving the impacts on nature, with over-exploitation of natural resources such as over-fishing, cutting down forests to grow crops such as soy and palm oil and the use of pesticides in agriculture.

Climate change and plastic pollution are also significant and growing threats.

Mark Wright, the Director of Science with the WWF says that it is impossible to understate how catastrophic the massive drop in wildlife population is for the planet. All human economic activity ultimately depends on nature, with globally natural resources estimated to provide services worth $125 trillion a year.

Speaking on RTÉ's News at One, Mark Wright said that we are "heading towards the edge of a cliff". However, he believes there is a "window of opportunity to turn things around, if we take substantive action now".

In searching for answers, conservationists are looking to climate change for inspiration.

With the world set to review progress on sustainable development and conserving biodiversity under UN agreements by 2020, there is a window of opportunity for action in the next two years, the conservation group argues. A new global deal should be secured, backed by strong commitments from governments and businesses.

Mr Wright said the WWF was calling for an agreement, similar to the Paris Climate Accord, to be established for the natural world. He said: "We are heading towards the end of a cliff. Since 1970 we have lost, on average, population sizes of 60% of all major groups of vertebrate. Mechanisms already in place to help humans have a lighter footfall, including the ability to buy sustainable food, timber products, other sustainable goods, and find ways to reduce the amount of meat in our diet.

WATCH:

Wild Amimal Populations Plummet - https://www.rte.ie/news/2018/1030/1007451-wwf_living_planet/

WWF: Living Planet Report 2018 https://www.wwf.org.uk/updates/living-planet-report-2018

Saving the Channel Island Fox - https://www.npr.org/2018/12/04/672404195/video-to-save-a-fox-scientists-took-to-land-air-and-sea

Endangered Species - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-aphhaS6de4

EXTINCTION RISKS WILDLY UNDERESTIMATED

The Malabar grey hornbill is one of hundreds of tropical bird species in danger. Photo: Robin Chittenden/Alamy Stock Photo

By David J. Craig

https://magazine.columbia.edu/article/extinction-risks-wildly-underestimated

A new study by Columbia conservation biologist Don Melnick, graduate student Vijay Ramesh, and several other biologists suggests that the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the global authority on endangered species, vastly underestimates the number that are at risk of extinction.

Melnick and his team came to this conclusion after conducting an assessment of tropical bird habitats in the Western Ghats mountain chain of southwest India. Using data from eBird, a public website that gathers user-generated information about millions of bird sightings each year, together with high-resolution geographic data collected by satellite, the researchers created detailed habitat maps for eighteen native species. In doing so, they found that the IUCN, which bases its population estimates on the size of animals’ habitats, had vastly overestimated seventeen of the species’ ranges.

25 Species Our Next Generation Might Not See - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lAgpxszo094

https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/the-planet-is-on-a-fast-path-to-destruction-the-media-must-cover-this-like-its-the-only-story-that-matters/2018/10/08/f806a7f0-caea-11e8-a3e6-44daa3d35ede_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.eeaf525607e9

From

U.S. FOURTH NATIONAL CLIMATE ASSESSMENT

CHAPTER 1: OVERVIEW

Introduction

Earth’s climate is now changing faster than at any point in the history of modern civilization, primarily as a result of human activities. The impacts of global climate change are already being felt in the United States and are projected to intensify in the future—but the severity of future impacts will depend largely on actions taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to adapt to the changes that will occur.

Americans increasingly recognize the risks climate change poses to their everyday lives and livelihoods and are beginning to respond (Figure 1.1). Water managers in the Colorado River Basin have mobilized users to conserve water in response to ongoing drought intensified by higher temperatures, and an extension program in Nebraska is helping ranchers reduce drought and heat risks to their operations.

The state of Hawai‘i is developing management options to promote coral reef recovery from widespread bleaching events caused by warmer waters that threaten tourism, fisheries, and coastal protection from wind and waves. To address higher risks of flooding from heavy rainfall, local governments in southern Louisiana are pooling hazard reduction funds, and cities and states in the Northeast are investing in more resilient water, energy, and transportation infrastructure.

In Alaska, a tribal health organization is developing adaptation strategies to address physical and mental health challenges driven by climate change and other environmental changes.

As Midwestern farmers adopt new management strategies to reduce erosion and nutrient losses caused by heavier rains, forest managers in the Northwest are developing adaptation strategies in response to wildfire increases that affect human health, water resources, timber production, fish and wildlife, and recreation.

After extensive hurricane damage fueled in part by a warmer atmosphere and warmer, higher seas, communities in Texas are considering ways to rebuild more resilient infrastructure. In the U.S. Caribbean, governments are developing new frameworks for storm recovery based on lessons learned from the 2017 hurricane season.

Climate-related risks will continue to grow without additional action. Decisions made today determine risk exposure for current and future generations and will either broaden or limit options to reduce the negative consequences of climate change. While Americans are responding in ways that can bolster resilience and improve livelihoods, neither global efforts to mitigate the causes of climate change nor regional efforts to adapt to the impacts currently approach the scales needed to avoid substantial damages to the U.S. economy, environment, and human health and well-being over the coming decades... https://nca2018.globalchange.gov/chapter/1/

NPR: New U.S. Fourth National Climate Assessment Forecasts Dire Effects On Economy, Health

https://www.npr.org/2018/11/26/670812889/what-you-need-to-know-about-the-new-u-s-climate-assessment

Residences leveled by the Camp Fire line a cul-de-sac in Paradise, Calif., earlier this month. A massive federal report says climate change is contributing to larger wildfires as well as other deadly extreme weather.

Noah Berger/AP https://www.npr.org/2018/11/23/668555773/climate-change-is-already-hurting-u-s-communities-federal-report-says

The Trump administration released this major climate assessment on Black Friday, November 23, 2018, the day after Thanksgiving. The culmination of years of research by the country's top climate scientists, is well over 1,000 pages and touches on a daunting range of topics.

President Trump said Monday that he has read parts of it. "It's fine," he told reporters at the White House, although he said he doesn't believe the report's assessment that climate change will cause devastating economic impacts for the U.S.

Climate Change Is Already Hurting U.S. Communities, Federal Report Says

The report is required by Congress every four years and is issued by 13 federal agencies and the U.S. Global Change Research Program. This one marks the most detailed and blunt assessment yet of the dangers of unchecked global warming.

"Climate change is happening here and now," co-author Katherine Hayhoe of Texas Tech University told Weekend Edition Saturday. "It is affecting all of us no matter where we live. And the more climate changes, the more serious and even more dangerous the impacts will become."

Climate change will be expensive

Some parts of the U.S. economy could suffer hundreds of billions of dollars in annual losses by the end of the century unless global greenhouse gas emissions are substantially reduced, the report finds. Already, there's the impact of increasingly frequent and intense extreme weather events. The report notes that large wildfires are more frequent and that the areas burned by lightning-ignited fires are "expected to increase by at least 30 percent by 2060." The costs for fighting fires and forest management are on the rise (see chart).

But there are other, less obvious risks.

Although California and other Western states have made headlines for deadly fires, the report says the southeastern U.S. is also projected to suffer more wildfires.

Increasing rain and humidity could cause agricultural productivity to fall in the Midwest, and warming oceans will hurt fisheries. Along the coasts, more severe flooding threatens billions of dollars' worth of property and infrastructure, which in turn "could affect the economic stability of local governments, businesses, and the broader economy."

Climate change threatens Americans' health

Again, the rise of extreme events like wildfires, floods and storm surges poses the most immediate danger to public health and well-being. The report finds that with continued warming, heat-related deaths will increase.

The warming climate and more frequent and intense rain might also expand the range of ticks and mosquitoes, exposing more people to diseases like West Nile, dengue fever, chikungunya and Lyme.

Climate change could also worsen harmful ozone levels and air pollution. That could send more people to the hospital for aggravated asthma and respiratory or cardiovascular problems and could even increase premature deaths. As with so many climate impacts, the report notes that those most at risk include children, the elderly and low-income communities.

U.S. infrastructure was not built for these changes

Many highways in Houston were flooded during Hurricane Harvey in 2017. The report finds that U.S. infrastructure is unprepared for climate change.

David J. Phillip/AP

Much of America's infrastructure is already aging and deteriorating, and it is taking a pounding from extreme weather. In some places, more intense rain and saltwater intrusion have led to dam failures, bridge and road closures and power outages. Heavier downpours can also overwhelm sewer systems, causing untreated water to flow into rivers.

In the West, prolonged drought has forced utilities to cut back on electricity production from hydropower. Extreme heat (and higher demand) can also raise the risk of power outages. The report notes that power outages can affect drinking water treatment, among many other services people take for granted.

Intense rain, flooding and heat can also hurt the nation's vast network of transportation, shutting down major highways and coastal airports and halting freight movement.

Some communities are already adapting

The good news in this dire report is that scores of local and state governments are taking action to lower their own carbon emissions and cope with climate impacts. Some of those impacts will get worse still, no matter what, as they are "locked in due to historical emissions." But the report makes clear that changes today can make a big difference.

"It's absolutely not too late to take action," says Brenda Ekwurzel, a co-author and senior climate scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists.

The report states that more than half the projected damages of coastal property "are estimated to be avoidable through well-timed adaptation measures." But Ekwurzel cautions that we can't merely adapt our way out of this mess.

"The cost of adaptation could be quite high, and it may never be enough," she says. "But costs will really start skyrocketing if we don't start reining in emissions."

Grain Belt Express - Wind Energy Transmission Lines

Public Hearing - Missouri Public Service Commission

9 AM - December 18-19, 2018

This shows what Clean Line transmission projects would look like after construction.

https://energynews.us/2018/11/15/midwest/sale-of-grain-belt-express-transmission-project-boosts-hopes-for-its-completion/

JEFFERSON CITY---The Missouri Public Service Commission will hold formal evidentiary hearings in December in a certificate of convenience and necessity case (CCN) filed by Grain Belt Express Clean Line LLC (Grain Belt Express).

This case is on remand from the Missouri Supreme Court. These hearings are intended to address any material changes in the evidence previously submitted to the Commission and admitted into the record in this case.

Grain Belt Express seeks a CCN to construct, own, operate and maintain a wind-powered, high voltage, direct current transmission line and associated facilities within Buchanan, Clinton, Caldwell, Carroll, Chariton, Randolph, Monroe and Ralls counties in Missouri.

Formal evidentiary hearings will be held December 18-19, 2018, in Room 310 of the Governor Office Building, 200 Madison Street, Jefferson City, Missouri. These hearings are scheduled to begin at 9:00 a.m. each day and will be streamed live on the Commission’s website (psc.mo.gov).

These hearings will be held in a building that meets accessibility standards required by the Americans with Disabilities Act. Any person requiring additional accommodations to participate in these hearings should call the Missouri Public Service Commission’s Hotline at 800-392-4211 (voice) or Relay Missouri at 711 before the hearings. Case No. EA-2016-0358

​​​​​​​The Public Service Commission denied the project permission in 2017, saying the plan needed approval from the counties it cut through before continuing. In a unanimous decision, the Missouri Supreme Court sent the case involving the Grain Belt Express back to the Public Service Commission.

"The commission erroneously concluded it lawfully could not grant a line certificate to Grain Belt before the company obtained consent from the affected counties," the court said in its ruling. "The case is remanded to the commission to determine whether Grain Belt’s proposed utility project is necessary or convenient for the public service."

Cities across the Missouri strongly support this project, with the demand for clean, low-cost wind energy far outstripping the supply. Rural electric cooperatives are also accessing as much wind power for their renewable energy portfolios as is available. Currently the supply is limited to the western siide of Missouri with transmission lines coming in from Kansas.

Missouri is a major contributor to annual global greenhouse gas emissions, burning coal to generate 80 percent of its electricity. At the same time it is fortunate to live next door to the Great Plains states with their abundant supply of wind power, already the lowest cost electricity in the U.S. The Stanford Solutions Group estimates that on the order of 60 percent of Missouri's power generation should be coming from wind. The opportunity to make decisive strides in that direction is at hand.

http://thesolutionsproject.org/infographic/#mo

Sale of Grain Belt Transmission Project Boosts Hope For Its Success

https://energynews.us/2018/11/15/midwest/sale-of-grain-belt-express-transmission-project-boosts-hopes-for-its-completion/

Missouri Public Service Commission To Hold Hearings On Grain Belt Express

https://www.kttn.com/missouri-public-service-commission-to-hold-hearings-on-grain-belt-express/

State Supreme Court Sends Grain Belt Express Back To Commission

https://www.komu.com/news/state-supreme-court-sends-grain-belt-express-case-back-to-commission

Missouri Regulators, "Unable To Act In Public Interest", Deal Grain Belt Express Another Setback

https://energynews.us/2017/08/16/midwest/missouri-regulators-unable-to-act-in-public-interest-deal-grain-belt-express-another-setback/

WATCH:

New National Geographic / Bloomberg Climate Change Film

PARIS TO PITTSBURGH

https://www.paristopittsburgh.com/

READ MORE:

We have 12 years to limit climate change catastrophe, warns UN ...

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/oct/08/global-warming-must-not-exceed-15c-warns-landmark-un-report

Oct 8, 2018 - The authors of the landmark report by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released on Monday say urgent and ...

The Dire Warnings of the United Nations' Climate Change Report

https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/the-dire-warnings-of-the-united-nations-latest-climate-change-report

Weather and climate-related disasters cost the United States a record $306 billion in 2017, the third-warmest year on record, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Weather disasters cost U.S. record $306 billion in 2017: NOAA https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-climatechange/weather-disasters-cost-u-s-record-306-billion-in-2017-noaa-idUSKBN1EX1XC

Seventy percent of Americans see climate change as an “imminent” threat driven mainly by human activity, and want Washington to work with other nations to combat it. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-climate-change-usa-poll/more-americans-view-climate-change-as-imminent-threat-reuters-ipsos-poll-idUSKBN1OC1FX

2018 to date has surpassed 2017 as the deadliest, most destructive, costliest year for climate change.

Oceans - from the IPCC Report - B.4.1. There is high confidence that the probability of a sea ice-free Arctic Ocean during summer is substantially lower at global warming of 1.5°C when compared to 2°C. With 1.5°C of global warming, one sea ice-free Arctic summer is projected per century. This likelihood is increased to at least one per decade with 2°C global warming.

https://www.ipcc.ch/sr15/chapter/summary-for-policy-makers/

Climate change impacts worse than expected, IPCC 1.5 report warns

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/.../ipcc-report-climate-change-impacts-forests-emis...

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says the world is headed for painful problems sooner than expected, as emissions keep ...

UN Says Climate Genocide Coming. But It's Worse Than That.

nymag.com/intelligencer/.../un-says-climate-genocide-coming-but-its-worse-than-that.ht...

The real meaning of the new IPCC report isn't “climate change is much worse than you think. We knew that. It's “you now have permission to ...

The world has just over a decade to get climate change under control ...

https://www.washingtonpost.com/.../world-has-only-years-get-climate-change-under-con...

U.N. report: Temperatures to rise 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2030-2052 .... In the end, “one thing is for sure” in light of the IPCC report, said Niklas ...

Midwestern Farmers Will Bear the Brunt of Climate Change https://www.wbur.org/hereandnow/2018/11/28/climate-change-midwest-farmers

'Hyperalarming' study shows massive insect loss - The Washington Post

https://www.washingtonpost.com/science/2018/10/15/hyperalarming-study-shows-massive-insect-loss/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.887a069d48a8

Oct 15, 2018 - Wild insects provide $57 billion worth of six-legged labor in the United States each year, according to a 2006 estimate. The loss of insects and arthropods could further rend the rain forest's food web, Lister warned, causing plant species to go extinct without pollinators.

Insects, biodiversity, and mass extinction: an alarming new study ... - Vox

https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2018/10/17/17985282/insects-puerto-rico-biodiversity-mass-extinction-pnas

Oct 17, 2018 - It's the insects. ... A 2017 study in Germany noted a 75 percent decline in flying insectsover three decades. “The widespread insect biomass decline is alarming,” the authors wrote, “ever more so as all traps were placed in protected areas that are meant to preserve ecosystem functions and biodiversity.”

As Insect Populations Decline, Scientists Are Trying to Understand ...

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/as-insect-populations-decline-scientists-are-trying-to-understand-why/

​Nov 1, 2018 - “I would say the insect decline in biomass and diversity is real because we see things repeated across different sites across different groups,” ...

Where have all our insects gone? | Environment | The Guardian

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/jun/17/where-have-insects-gone-climate-change-population-decline

Jun 17, 2018 - There is a crisis in the countryside – and a massive decline in insect ... Main image: The European oil beetle, one of many insect species under ...

Warning of 'ecological Armageddon' after dramatic plunge in insect ...

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/oct/18/warning-of-ecological-armageddon-after-dramatic-plunge-in-insect-numbers

Oct 18, 2017 - But the newly revealed scale of the losses to all insects has ... or plant species in the reserves, but this could not explain the loss of the insects.

What's Causing the Sharp Decline in Insects, and Why It Matters - Yale ...

https://e360.yale.edu/features/insect_numbers_declining_why_it_matters

Jul 6, 2016 - Researchers say various factors, from monoculture farming to habitat loss, are to blame for the plight of insects, which are essential to ...

The Insect Apocalypse Is Here - The New York Times

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/27/magazine/insect-apocalypse.html

Nov 27, 2018 - Entomologists also knew that climate change and the overall degradation of globalhabitat are bad news for biodiversity in general, and that insects are dealing with the particular challenges posed by herbicides and pesticides, along with the effects of losing meadows, forests and even weedy patches to the relentless ...

Next Issue - Last Call For A Livable World - Part II - National Academy of Sciences (NAS) - Arctic Ice Melting - Insect Biodiversity Loss - Ocean Currents Slowing - The West Is Running Out Of Water - Noam Chomsky - Democracy Now Coverage of United Nations COP 24 in Katowice Poland 2018 - Costa Rica -

Coming in 2019 - World Climate Leaders – Nations, States, Cities - Citizens Climate Lobby: Bipartican Carbon Fee Bill Introduced in the House - Chile - Columbia, MO - Germany - Japan - Hawaii - Los Angeles - London

The city of Del Mar, Calif., located about 20 miles north of downtown San Diego, has voted against a formal policy of "managed retreat" from rising seas.

Art Wager/Getty Images

https://www.npr.org/2018/12/04/672285546/retreat-is-not-an-option-as-a-california-beach-town-plans-for-rising-seas

Featured Posts
Recent Posts
Search By Tags
Follow Us
  • Facebook Black Square
  • Twitter Black Square
  • Google+ Black Square

© 2017 Show Me Solar - created with Wix.com