Overcast and warm this too-early Monday on California’s north coast as the weekend now becomes just another episode of history.
Weather-wise, however, we’re in for some neat times this week — forecast to be in the low 70s today, upper 70s tomorrow and in the mid-80s by Wednesday, and clear as a bell.
A bit south of us, an unusual, rare heat wave is forecast for the Bay Area this coming week, described as “scorching hot” for temperatures and time of the year: “We’re looking at temperatures dramatically above normal,” said Diana Henderson, meteorologist with the National Weather Service. “And it’s only May.”
Meanwhile, weather in the US mid-section is as near-opposite from ours as one can get — yesterday “sloppy, wet snow” in Colorado and Wyoming with high winds and even tornadoes in Wyoming and Kansas.
(Illustration found here).
Although considered typical for mid-May, the storms blowing across the region left a footprint, especially with deep snow — mountainous areas in south-central Wyoming received two feet of snow over the weekend, and the metro areas of Cheyenne and Laramie averaged 6 to 10 inches, and as the system moves eastward, more tornadoes and high winds are slated for the South and Mid-Atlantic states.
Despite the rush, 2014 has come along as a record-low turnout for tornadoes.
Weird weather or what?
The environment on this our only home is quickly turning to shit. And the reality is at this point there’s not much that can be done — there’s some window dressing, like on Friday, just hours after making a splash with a National Climate Assessment (“distant threat to present-day danger”), the Obama White House announced further environmental standards — upgrades of public electrical power, such as walk-in coolers, freezers, refrigerated display cases and the electric motors that power escalators and elevators.
The big problem remains: Asshole loud mouths.
Like possible 2016 GOP presidential contender, Marco Rubio of Florida, who opened his yap yesterday and showed an ignorant dumb-ass and a danger to the general public — via HuffPost:
“I do not believe that human activity is causing these dramatic changes to our climate the way these scientists are portraying it,” Rubio said, according to excerpts released by ABC “This Week,” “and I do not believe that the laws that they propose we pass will do anything about it, except it will destroy our economy.”
And Florida just might disappear under sea-level rise — shooting everybody in the face. Rubio is an idiot, a dangerous idiot, but just the latest to blubber out such cringe-worthy bullshit.
Humans need to face the music.
Robert Samuelson, in yesterday’s Washington Post, touched the real, sharp nerve of the current climate change dialogue — although we as humans are up shit creek without a paddle, no one is really saying that in public.
I am not optimistic.
Our climate-change debates confuse more than they clarify.
They follow a ritualistic script that is now playing out again.
First came a downbeat report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), an international group of scientists set up by the United Nations.
It found that global temperatures have warmed for decades, that man-made emissions are the main cause (atmospheric concentrations are said to be the highest in 800,000 years) and that the effects include rising sea levels, melting ice formations and more heat waves.
Next arrived the U.S. National Climate Assessment, a study by 300 U.S. experts that’s more alarming than the IPCC report.
It begins: “Climate change, once considered an issue for a distant future, has moved firmly into the present.” Americans already suffer from global warming. Floods are more frequent; wildfires are harder to control; rainstorms are more violent.
The reality is otherwise. The central truth for public policy is: We have no solution.
From 2010 to 2040, the U.S. Energy Information Administration projects global emissions will increase almost 50?percent.
About 80 percent of global energy comes from fossil fuels (coal, oil, natural gas), which are also the major sources of carbon dioxide emissions.
At present, we have no practical replacement for this energy.
No sane government will sacrifice its economy today — by dramatically curtailing fossil-fuel use — for the uncertain benefits of less global warming sometime in the foggy future.
(The focus of the U.S. global warming report on the present seems aimed at bridging this gap.)
Worse, almost all the projected increases in global emissions come from poorer countries, half from China alone.
By contrast, U.S. emissions (and those of most rich nations) are projected to stay stable over the three decades.
Economic growth is slowing; energy efficiency is increasing; and, in Japan and some European countries, populations are declining.
Because poor countries understandably won’t abandon their efforts to relieve poverty, any further U.S. emissions cuts would probably be offset by gains in China and elsewhere.
This dims their political and environmental appeal.
The only real hope of disarming these well-known conflicts is new technology.
As yet, no magical fix has emerged.
Though increasing, solar and wind power still represent a tiny share of global energy.
“Carbon capture and storage” — pumping carbon dioxide emissions from power plants underground — has been discussed for years.
So far, it’s not commercially viable.
And so far — we be fucked.
In a piece via The Atlantic, MIT physics professor Max Tegmark discussed the theme of Artificial Intelligence and the danger to the world, in this he could have been talking about climate change:
“I am finding it increasingly plausible that existential risk is the biggest moral issue in the world, even if it hasn’t gone mainstream yet,” Bostrom told Ross Andersen recently in an amazing profile in Aeon.
Bostrom, along with Hawking, is an advisor to the recently-established Centre for the Study of Existential Risk at Cambridge University, and to Tegmark’s new analogous group in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the Future of Life Institute, which has a launch event later this month.
Existential risks, as Tegmark describes them, are things that are “not just a little bit bad, like a parking ticket, but really bad. Things that could really mess up or wipe out human civilization.”
No shit Sherlock.
(Illustration out front found here).