‘Shovel-Ready’ Climate

June 9, 2015

Escher's_ReptilesSunshine is fading away this Tuesday afternoon on California’s north coast — a thick fog bank has been slowly darkening the air, carried by a chilled breeze and our ‘heat wave’ slips away.
The interior is supposed to catch some thunderstorms, half-inch hail with heavy rain in some parts, eastward over near Weaverville, the system looking like a horseshoe on the NWS map — out here on the coast, though, sunshine with the above-mentioned fog, looks the same all the way down to the Bay Area.

An era of some really weird-ass weather…

(Illustration: M.C.Escher’s ‘Reptiles,‘ found here).

Despite California’s drought, and some eastern states with low rainfall totals, May was the wettest month for the US since records started in 1895, most in the massive downpours in the Texas/Oklahoma area, ending in some cases, a water-thirst: ‘For the nation as a whole, May was a colossal drought-buster. The fraction of the contiguous U.S. categorized as being in drought by the weekly U.S. Drought Monitor plummeted from 37.4 percent in late April to 24.6 percent on June 2, hitting its lowest percentage since February 2011.’
Not out here on the Left Coast, though, we’re hanging tough and dry.

And in context of California’s handling of this drought — seems nearly half of the state’s relief money for those hardest hit– a total of $687 million — is still sitting in government bank accounts, still unspent a year later
Via HuffPost this afternoon:

The package included some $239 million intended for local water systems such as pipelines and water-treatment plants.
Those projects will not be awarded until fall, which is considered on schedule even though lawmakers called the projects “shovel-ready.”
“A term like ‘shovel-ready’ implies that this is going to start happening” immediately or the next day, “when in reality, it’s going to be many months,” said Steve Boilard, a former nonpartisan policy analyst who leads the Center for California Studies at Sacramento State University.
“The issue is not that this is taking longer than it should. It’s taking longer than the voters have been led to expect.”

“Where there have been immediate needs, the state has committed immediate dollars,” said H.D. Palmer, spokesman for the Finance Department.
“We want to spend it quickly, but we want to spend it properly.”

And we continue onward…

To the elephant-in-the-room regarding the weird-ass weather, and shit like droughts and such — climate change. Supposedly, our current drought version, the worse for 1,200 years, is different due mainly to being temperature-driven, vs the old drought-standard of precipitation-driven — nature’s cycle tweaked by a warming planet.
People are just not yet aware of the yawning horror-hole a-coming. A good recap of California’s role in working the climate change issue was found Sunday at the Sacramento Bee, outlining what the state legislature is trying to do — noted point overall:

“For many Americans, they see climate change as distant — distant in time, that (effects) won’t be seen for a generation or more, and distant in space, that this is about polar bears,” said Anthony Leiserowitz, director of the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication at Yale University.
“Climate change, unfortunately, just as an issue, I call it the policy problem from hell. … We’re running out of time to head off the truly catastrophic consequences.”
The Senate bills now awaiting action in the Assembly seek to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in California to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030 and 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.
They would also require the state to generate 50 percent of electricity from renewable sources and halve the amount of petroleum used in vehicles.
Brown promoted these goals in his State of the State address in January and has signed a series of non-binding, largely symbolic agreements with other states and sub-national governments to coalesce support for emission reduction policies ahead of worldwide climate talks in Paris in December.
The Paris meeting, Brown said in an interview, “will either advance the agenda of dealing with climate change or it will absolutely be a flop. … We don’t know which.”

Sadly-frightening, that remark. As that big Paris meeting in December the governor was talking about is the latest in the UN’s climate operation dating back decades, but has not produced much (detailed history of the thingy at the Guardian) and maybe time has become more of an essence than can be produced — witness the gathering of self-centered assholes in Germany this past weekend, the so-called G-7 (Putin ain’t eight no more), all the countries that matter, and their lackluster, shit-as-usual, kick-the-can-down-the-nowhere-road attitude toward humanity’s biggest, looming-quick calamity.
Noteworthy from Climate News Network:

The report by Climate Action Tracker (CAT) says that all the G7 countries and the member states of the European Union have so far agreed is to keep their emissions at around their present levels for the next 15 years, instead of cutting them fast.
The combined climate plans for the G7 and the EU mark “a small step towards the right track to hold warming to 2-degree-C, but they still leave a substantial emissions gap”, according to analysts from CAT, which reports on countries’ emissions commitments and performance.
The gap yawns so wide that the present level of commitment shown by the two blocs would go less than one-third of the way to staying within the 2-degree-C limit, they find.
And they say there is “an extreme risk” that this low level of ambition could continue until 2030 to keep emissions so high that it would be impossible to stay within the 2°C warming limit, agreed by the world’s governments.

Say, what?

Similar tack on the G-7 bullshit via Climate Central:

The cold, hard math of emissions cuts also indicates that for all the continued bluster about the 2°C goal, the current emissions reductions pledges — including those from G7 countries — are inadequate to reach it.
What’s more, decarbonizing by the end of the century doesn’t necessarily keep global warming below that level.
In other words, there’s a lot of ground to make up and while the desire to reduce warming — and all the impacts that come with it — is there, the mechanisms and political will currently are not.
Even getting that language into the document was a stretch.
Canada and Japan both pushed back against it, which shouldn’t be too much of a surprise as both countries’ climate plans have been rated as inadequate.
Canada also has vast oil resources in its tar sands, which represent a major boon to its economy (and global carbon emissions).

And as a common aside — shit like this makes the situation even harder to handle.
Via Aljazeera: ‘A Texas company whose ruptured pipeline created the largest coastal oil spill in California in 25 years had assured the government that a break in the line while possible was “extremely unlikely” and state-of-the-art monitoring could quickly detect possible leaks and alert operators, documents show.’
How about good, old-fashion corrosion?

Or this state-of-the asshole bullshit — via the Guardian:

The Shell document says: “Both our (oceans and mountains) scenarios and the IEA New Policies scenario (and our base case energy demand and outlook) do not limit emissions to be consistent with the back-calculated 450 parts per million (Co2 in the atmosphere) 2 degrees C.”
It adds: “We also do not see governments taking steps now that are consistent with 2 degrees C scenario.”

And so it goes…

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