You are browsing the archive for climate.

Over Easy: IPCC on Climate — Tragedy of the Commons

4:07 am in Uncategorized by Crane-Station

The White House released the National Climate Assessment Report today eliminating legitimate doubt that climate change is underway with increasingly dire and catastrophic consequences to the global biosphere and to human life yet to come. The report is the product of more than four years of work by hundreds of scientists and it is substantially more comprehensive and alarming than its predecessor report issued in 2009. Unlike the United Nation’s report released three weeks ago, this report focuses on what is happening in eight geographical regions of the United States.

After reviewing the White House report and the United Nation’s report, I do not see how any reasonable person who knows how to read can continue to doubt that human activity has caused and will continue to cause global warming and climate change.

The Republican Party likely will persist in denying climate change because the oil companies and the rich people who own them intend to continue to enrich themselves at our expense. For example, FOX News is claiming that President Obama and the Democrats made up this report to distract our attention from what happened at Benghazi.

Global warming and climate change is the new reality and no amount of denial will make it go away. Instead of pointless arguments regarding whether it exists, we must accept that it does and do everything in our power to avoid contributing to the problem.

To accomplish this, we will need a collective change of heart. As the report explains, climate change is really a case of the ‘tragedy of the commons.’

Mitigation is a public good; climate change is a case of the ‘tragedy of the commons’ (high confidence). Effective climate change mitigation will not be achieved if each agent (individual, institution or country) acts independently in its own selfish interest, suggesting the need for collective action. Some adaptation actions, on the other hand, have characteristics of a private good as benefits of actions may accrue more directly to the individuals, regions, our countries that undertake them, at least in the short term. Nevertheless, financing such adaptive activities remains an issue, particularly for poor individuals and countries. [3.1]

Collective action means that we change our hearts about mass consumption and greed. Following the no harm rule, we are capable of working to decrease air pollution, acid rain and ocean acidification, leaving future people with an environment that is not uninhabitable. With a change of heart, we can work to eradicate poverty, rather than strip-mining a couple of large western states of coal that we send to China by way of the Evergreen State. Before we do that, maybe we would consider having an intelligent conversation about how we can all decrease some of these emissions- China is working on that, why can’t we? We can reduce our waste is this country as well. There is no longer any excuse for it.

This is an opportunity for once, to work together in the world instead of trying to take it over, or lie, cheat and rip people off and then blame them (whoever they are) for all of our problems.

US Drought Update

10:27 am in Uncategorized by Crane-Station

The current US Drought Monitor map was published today, and is pictured and linked to the right.

All but four Chicago-area counties in the US state of Illinois are disaster counties. Illinois has 102 counties. In short, Illinois, and I mean the whole of this giant Midwest state, is a government-listed, aid eligible disaster area. Illinois is, in pertinent part a leading US producer of corn, soybeans and swine, with 76,000 farms covering 28 million acres amounting to nearly eighty percent of Illinois total land acreage. The Illinois Department of Agriculture summarizes:

How does agriculture benefit Illinois’ economy?

Marketing of Illinois’ agricultural commodities generates more than $9 billion annually. Corn accounts for nearly 40 percent of that total. Marketing of soybeans contributes about one-third, with the combined marketings of livestock, dairy and poultry generating about 23 percent.

Billions more dollars flow into the state’s economy from ag-related industries, such as farm machinery manufacturing, agricultural real estate, and production and sale of value-added food products. Rural Illinois benefits principally from agricultural production, while agricultural processing and manufacturing strengthen urban economies.

How are Illinois’ agricultural commodities used?

With more than 950 food manufacturing companies, Illinois is well-equipped to turn the state’s crops and livestock into food and industrial products. Food processing is the state’s number-one manufacturing activity, adding almost $13.4 billion annually to the value of Illinois’ raw agricultural commodities.

I include this information about Illinois as one way of understanding the immensity and severity of our current drought situation. This post is just an update, really, because the stories rolling in on a daily basis are each stand-alone amazing stories. There is no way to overstate this issue, and the weather predictions are consistently grim. There are only so many words I can drag from my vocabulary to describe this. I could talk about the strange stuff for a minute: there are no birds out during the days anymore. We have no clear idea how the birds are making it or where they go. Birds are very, I think, intuitive about the environment as a whole. This is bizarre but true. Before the drought hit, I spent a night on the couch downstairs and no, we weren’t arguing because we are, quite frankly, too damn old to argue with each other. Whatever. Anyway, I was on the couch and the birds all woke me with very loud chirping, in the middle of the night. They continued all through the night. Never seen anything like it, so, I called my mother. She said, and she was right, “The birds know. They know something is wrong.”

Read the rest of this entry →