Loud Weather

November 19, 2012

Quiet right now on California’s northern coast, but just a few minutes ago wind was ripping the air and rain was pelting my back glass-sliding door, creating a huge discomfort way too early with a dreaded sense of ‘STORM.’
Yet suddenly the chaos was gone, seemingly as if in a flash, near-quickly like a snap of the fingers.

Weather has always been weird, and hard to actually predict, despite all the technological gadgets, satellites and radars, and the environment which spawns weather is only going to get worse, and then, worse even still.

(Illustration found here).

Even right now I can hear the wind outside start to again pick up a bit, gusting against the glass and rain is sure to follow.
As a early-age resident of Florida, tornadoes and hurricanes has always been a part of the scenery, but nevertheless, I forged a great fright for any kind of bad weather — my paternal grandmother, usually a most-sweet and wonderful woman, could get completely unglued during a howling-weather episode, crying and praying and whatnot, and I guess me as a little boy was greatly influenced.
In looking at the way-near future of the weather, I’m scared pure shit-less.

And so are US military types (those that can keep their pants zipped).
Earlier this month, the National Research Council reported climate change, to paraphrase Joe Biden, is one f*cking big deal.
From the New York Times:

Hurricane Sandy provided a foretaste of what can be expected more often in the near future, the report’s lead author, John D. Steinbruner, said in an interview.
“This is the sort of thing we were talking about,” said Mr. Steinbruner, a longtime authority on national security.
“You can debate the specific contribution of global warming to that storm.
But we’re saying climate extremes are going to be more frequent, and this was an example of what they could mean.
We’re also saying it could get a whole lot worse than that.”
Mr. Steinbruner, the director of the Center for International and Security Studies at the University of Maryland, said that humans are pouring carbon dioxide and other climate-altering gases into the atmosphere at a rate never before seen.
“We know there will have to be major climatic adjustments — there’s no uncertainty about that — but we just don’t know the details,” he said.
“We do know they will be big.”

How big?
Bigger than a 820-mile span pushing millions and millions upon millions of gallons of water into New Jersey and New York State?

Last week, Jeremy Grantham, co-founder and Chief Investment Strategist of GMO (with some $100 billion in assets), wrote a nasty piece in Nature magazine jumping the shit of assholes being quiet on climate change — yes, President Obama, your ass, too.
Some high points:

I have yet to meet a climate scientist who does not believe that global warming is a worse problem than they thought a few years ago.
The seriousness of this change is not appreciated by politicians and the public.
The scientific world carefully measures the speed with which we approach the cliff and will, no doubt, carefully measure our rate of fall.
But it is not doing enough to stop it.
I am a specialist in investment bubbles, not climate science.
But the effects of climate change can only exacerbate the ecological trouble I see reflected in the financial markets — soaring commodity prices and impending shortages.

Recognition of the facts is delayed by the frankly brilliant propaganda and obfuscation delivered by energy interests that virtually own the US Congress.
(It is not unlike the part played by the financial industry when investment bubbles start to form … but that, at least, is only money.)
We need oil producers to leave 80 percent of proven reserves untapped to achieve a stable climate.
As a former oil analyst, I can easily calculate oil companies’ enthusiasm to leave 80 percent of their value in the ground — absolutely nil.
The damaging effects of climate change are accelerating.
James Hansen of NASA has screamed warnings for 30 years.
Although at first he was dismissed as a madman, almost all his early predictions, disturbingly, have proved conservative in relation to what has actually happened.

It is crucial that scientists take more career risks and sound a more realistic, more desperate, note on the global-warming problem.
Younger scientists are obsessed by thoughts of tenure, so it is probably up to older, senior and retired scientists to do the heavy lifting.
Be arrested if necessary.
This is not only the crisis of your lives — it is also the crisis of our species’ existence.
I implore you to be brave.

Yes, bravery is required, but I’m still scared shit-less.

And this morning, Jim Yong Kim, president of the World Bank, penned an op/ed in the UK’s Guardian on the stall in climate change reversal.
Money quote:

Despite the global community’s best intentions to keep global warming below a 2C increase from the pre-industrial climate, higher levels of warming are increasingly likely.
Scientists agree that countries’ current emission pledges and commitments under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change would most likely result in 3.5-4C warming.
And the longer those pledges remain unmet, the more likely it is that we will be living in a world that is four degrees warmer by the end of this century.

And the way-main problem: Fuel and more fuel — in a new report on global energy trends by the International Energy Agency reveals the possibility of the number of vehicles worldwide could double in the next 20 years or so, starting right yesterday, as China went from having four cars per 1,000 people in 2000 to 40 per 1,000 in 2010.
Via UPI:

China has about 60 million vehicles now, but in 23 years the prediction is it will have 400 million — 310 motor vehicles per 1,000 people — still less than half the 660 vehicles per 1,000 population currently on U.S. roads, but there are a lot more Chinese (1.3 billion) than Americans and Europeans.
In 2025, the report forecasts China will have more cars and trucks than the United States or the European Union.
The number of motor vehicles in India is predicted to leap from 14 million passenger cars in 2011 to about 160 million by 2035.
Needless to say world demand for oil will skyrocket — and so could global pollution and climate change — unless a substantial number of those new vehicles are powered by electricity and alternative fuels.

And what’s to say — today week, Nov. 26, will be the start of the 18th session of the UN conferences on climate change to be held in Doha, Qatar.
Already, before any gavel is struck: The debate on whether the world needs stronger greenhouse gas cuts to keep the planet from warming by 2C should be deferred until next year — according to Ambassador Luiz Alberto Figueiredo, Brazil’s lead negotiator at the upcoming talks in Doha.

Talk louder, and carry a f*cking big stick.

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