‘Pungent’ Future

May 20, 2015

tumblr_loh9fkBUx81qfralpo1_500Overcast most-likely up there in the dark this way-too-early Wednesday on California’s north coast, about a 20 percent chance of rain supposedly today, tampering off to even less for remainder of the week.

Along this same Pacific coastline yesterday afternoon, but about 10 hours and 600 miles south, ‘a pungent smell‘ stung the air — a ruptured oil pipeline, dumping 21,000 gallons of the shit onto a popular public beach near Santa Barbara.
Photos at Quartz seems to show a pretty-bad spill — tar-like shit on the beach, birds coated in black shit, etc. — but maybe contained to just a small area, though, reportedly covering four miles of shore.

I lived nearly a decade in Pismo Beach, roughly 75-80 miles north of the spill, and like the watershed 1969 disaster, another feather in the hat of dumb.

Ironically, and maybe a bit paradoxically, President Obama is set to deliver a major climate-change speech today at US Coast Guard Academy graduation ceremonies in New London, Conn., aimed this time at ‘national security,’ just as the Coast Guard gets involved with yet fossil-fuel fuck-up, and near-directly on the heels of Obama approving Arctic drilling by Shell oil — good setting, bad timing, and too-little, way-too-late.

And California is again a hot-bed tool in the heating of the land — according to yet another study, electricity statewide can be in jeopardy by 2050 if we don’t figure out this climate change shit.
From the Guardian on Monday:

In the study, Arizona State University authors Matthew Bartos and Mikhail Chester found that almost half (46 percent) of 978 electric power stations in the western US should expect to face a decrease in electricity generating capacity by “mid-century”, a timeframe coined as 2040 to 2060, due to climate change.
A 10-year drought scenario would reduce the energy-producing capacity of vulnerable electric power stations by as much as 8.8 percent, the authors found.
Worse, the study warns that current plans looking at electricity generating facilities in the western US have not taken into account the effects of climate change on productiveness, meaning they may have grossly overestimated the region’s preparedness in the face of a changing climate and its capacity to meet electricity needs more generally.
In a Frankenstein-like twist — of a monster coming back to haunt its creator — Bartos and Chester found that changing weather conditions due to climate change, a phenomenon largely attributed to greenhouse gas emissions caused by burning fossil fuels like gas, oil and coal, will particularly adversely affect electricity generators that burn fossil fuels for power.

Again the terrible irony of fossil fuels — like cigarette smoking, killing you, yet still puffs away. Sorry to say, but the entire fossil-fuel concept needs to be scraped immediately if not sooner.
Or we’re working toward a sci-fi conclusion — another freakin’ study of hot days coming to California
From the LA Times last week:

By 2050, parts of Los Angeles County are forecast to experience triple or quadruple the number of days of extreme heat if nothing is done to control greenhouse gas emissions, placing further demand on the region’s drinking water and electricity, according to two new reports by UCLA scientists.
That could mean that by mid-century, downtown Los Angeles could see an average of 22 days of extreme heat — days in which the high temperature exceeds 95 degrees — up from an annual average of six days recorded between 1981 and 2000.
The San Gabriel Valley could see the number of extreme heat days rise from 32 a year to 74. Long Beach? From four days a year to 16.

The situation is even worse by the year 2100.
By then, downtown Los Angeles could face a total of 54 days of extreme heat a year, and the San Gabriel Valley, 117 days.
By then, Palm Springs could see nearly half a year — 179 days — of soaring temperatures.
“Except for the highest elevations and a narrow swath very near the coast, land locations will likely see 60 to 90 additional extremely hot days per year, effectively adding an entirely new season of extreme heat,” the UCLA study said.

And we’re California Dreamin’ no more…
Yet we as Americans move toward the heat, from another freakin’ analysis: ‘The combination of global warming and a shifting US population will by mid-century deliver a “double whammy” that greatly increases the number of Americans exposed to extremely hot days, a new study says.’
Crazy with a capital K.

An interesting read in the sprouting world of ‘studies,’ research and what-not, is a  review of “Climate Shock: The Economic Consequences of a Hotter Planet,” by Gernot Wagner and Martin L. Weitzman, from the New York Review of Books, and although it’s a weighty look at climate change with mostly already-known solutions, this little point was a bit disturbing, reflecting the frightening, unpredictable aspect of global warming:

The consequences of these temperature changes have been analyzed and widely reported.
They involve disruptions to agriculture, water systems, storms, ecosystems, ocean chemistry, and a wide variety of other effects.
But even these wide-ranging impacts may understate the potential dangers.
Wagner and Weitzman emphasize that the standard analyses of climate change ignore our deep uncertainties about the extent and impacts of changes.
They argue that recent developments in earth sciences and other studies suggest that the potential impacts of extreme events — what are known as “tail events” or sometimes more vividly as “black swans” — may dwarf the standard impacts described in the IPCC reports.
Tail events are phenomena that are so surprising, so outside everyday observations, that we are unprepared to deal with them.
They are called tail events because they come from the far tail, or most unlikely part, of a probability distribution.

Oddly creepy-like, huh?

(Illustration above: John Tenniel‘s ‘Hookah-Smoking Caterpillar,’ from ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,’ found here).

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