Arctic Circle sees ‘highest-ever’ recorded temperatures – BBC

While the COVID nightmare goes on, Climate Change is still continuing without any sign of slowing. This is frightening. We have never seen anything like this in the last hundreds of years.The variation from normal ought to give anyone pause. Could this happen here? What if it did?

Temperatures in the Arctic Circle are likely to have hit an all-time record on Saturday, reaching a scorching 38C (100F) in Verkhoyansk, a Siberian town. The record still needs to be verified, but it appears to have been 18C higher than the average maximum daily temperature in June. Hot summer weather is not uncommon in the Arctic Circle, but recent months have seen abnormally high temperatures. The Arctic is believed to be warming twice as fast as the global average. (BBC)

Arctic Circle sees ‘highest-ever’ recorded temperatures

A real time global warming experiment

We have entered totally uncharted territory lately, as we all know, due to a virus that may or may not have started in a wet market in a Chinese city most of us have never heard of before this event.  We had been warned about viruses becoming more frequent as global warming accelerates.  and also here. (https://www.livescience.com/55632-deadly-diseases-emerge-from-global-warming.html)

Our current President has dismissed science, the scientists  that could have helped prevent it, the budget for them, our global alliances that we rely on for support and almost any mention of a science based approach. We have one of the most ignorant men of the modern era leading us at the most important time of the last twenty years. Those that elected him were fools then and now will likely follow him into the hospital as they listen to his lies and misinformation. Many innocent people will die from this. We are in free fall and are racing to find a way to stop the pandemic. Most likely we will, but at what cost?

I have been busy setting up remote at-home workstations for clients, complete with video conferencing, using the remote access tool TeamViewer. (highly recommended). So I apologize for not having kept up on this blog, which so many tell me they rely on for local environmental news. It’s been amazing to watch as people who have resisted virtual communications as it has grown, suddenly find themselves needing to become proficient with it to survive. People can change when they have to. It’s a lesson worth noting as we face the future.

The only good news out of all of this, is that we are seeing in real time, what the Green New Deal may have accomplished on a orderly basis, which is the radical slowing of our green house gases into the environment. Certainly there will still be coal fired electrical generation happening, but with the vast bulk of petroleum based engines being idled, we will gain some insight into what it means to stop oil use globally.

We can now watch, in real time, as we see how much impact a major shift away from oil will have. I’m looking forward to seeing the data.

I’m still hopeful. As Mindy Lubber, the CEO of Ceres, a sustainability non profit organization said in a recent Forbes article,

One thing that history has shown us is that a crisis can produce real change. The power of collective action will become evident. True leaders will emerge. The impossible will become inevitable. Innovative ideas and policy solutions will take hold, save lives and eventually get the economy back on track.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/mindylubber/2020/03/26/coronavirus-climate-change-and-our-community/#2d4b2fa84f78

Stay strong, get out and get a walk. Protect yourself and stay healthy. We’ll need all of us after this is over to move back into real change for the next crisis that our warming world is creating.

 

11000 scientists warn of untold suffering if climate change is not addressed now. The Guardian

A new dramatic warning has been issued by thousands of scientists around the world warning that we are on the verge of a catastrophe in the near future if we don’t change things now. This gives even wore impetus to the work of Greta Thunberg and others pushing for climate action in this country and everywhere else.There are not many years left before what is happening in California, along with pressures on farmers all over the world in a drought ravage conditions, are going to come home to roost here in the United States in an even larger way. This spring we witnessed unprecedented rain events in the Midwest that kept many of our farmers from even planting crops. We in the Pacific Northwest have been relatively lucky, only having to deal with smoke events by and large, except for the people in the Methow And other places in north central Washington that have burned.Canada has seen unprecedented fires of course as well. Your vote next year in the presidential election will be absolutely critical. We will be faced with a choice of a president who does not even believe the science let alone want to act on it versus whoever the Democrats bring forward to try and bring back some type of sanity to our efforts that are now contained primarily to states efforts.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/nov/05/climate-crisis-11000-scientists-warn-of-untold-suffering?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

One year after Paradise burned, the new normal for California – Washington Post

www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2019/10/26/this-is-new-norm-fire-ravaged-wine-country-rolling-blackouts-become-way-life/

“This is the new normal in fire ravaged wine country. Rolling blackouts become a way of life.” Blackouts affect millions. 13,000 people still displaced from Paradise and surrounding areas. No relief in site. Government agencies overwhelmed by the magnitude of the disaster. The short video in the article highlights a mother of three from Paradise who lost everything and struggles to get by, having to move 13 times since the fire. And this week, more fires. These are America’s climate refugees. To those still denying climate change, It’s time to demand action and see reality because you may be next.

‘The smell will knock you off your feet’: mass mussel die-offs baffle scientists | Environment | The Guardian

The Chehalis River is one of the locations mentioned in this article.

Mussels, the backbone of the river ecosystem because they control silt levels and filter water, are facing a mysterious affliction
— Read on www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/oct/14/the-smell-will-knock-you-off-your-feet-mass-mussel-die-offs-baffle-scientists

“The era of gradualism in environmental activism is over.”New York Times

For many years now we’ve watched as right wing conservative donors like the Koch brothers have funded anti-environmentalist organizations that worked to undermine the message of scientists that were warning us about the impending climate change of the planet. Now a new generation of concerned wealthy people are helping to fund a new wave of climate change activists. They are abandoning the traditional environmental organizations that have been trying to find a moderate slow-go approach to an extreme problem. That is now changing right in front of our eyes, as we have seen in the last two weeks with millions of people from around the planet protesting to do something more radical about climate change. It couldn’t happen a moment to soon. Expect more in the future. Anyone here on the Peninsula want to discuss supporting these kind of activities here?

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/27/climate/climate-change-protests-funding.html?smid=nytcore-ios-share

New UN Climate Report – Oceans rising faster

For those of us who live on costs around the world the news could hardly be worse. The future of virtually every coastal city and more than 2 billion people around the world are going to be significantly impacted this century and perhaps as soon as mid century if the worst case scenario continues to play out as they seem to be every time a new report comes out.The planet is looking for leadership from China and the US and we have no one except a 16-year-old coming to our rescue at this moment. It’s up to us folks. There’s no one else going to lead us out of this mess. As far as Port Townsend and the Olympic Peninsula goes, we better be planning for alternative water sources, and significant changes to downtown planning in the near future. The likelihood of Water Street truly becoming a water street appears to be quite high.

The fate of our fisheries right here, as well as work being done on habitat restoration all around the Sound could be put at risk.

www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/2019/09/25/new-un-climate-report-massive-change-already-here-worlds-oceans-frozen-regions/

Extreme Weather Displaced a Record 7 Million in First Half of 2019 – NY Times

An interesting article by the New York Times documenting how many people have been displaced by climate change related weather in the first half of this year alone. The only question left to ask is, who’s next?

www.nytimes.com/2019/09/12/climate/extreme-weather-displacement.html

EVENT: State attorney general Ferguson, DNR commissioner Franz to speak Aug. 25 at Democrats’ annual Fish Feast

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson, undefeated in 22 lawsuits so far against the Trump administration, will be one of two keynote speakers Sunday, Aug. 25, at the 25th annual Fish Feast in Port Townsend of the Jefferson County Democrats. Its theme this year: “There’s a Lot on the Line.”

Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz, who spearheaded the development of a 10-year statewide plan to fight and prevent wildfires, will be the other keynote speaker.

Tickets for the event at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds are available for $60 at jeffcodemocrats.com and by mail at Jefferson County Democrats, P. O. Box 85, Port Townsend, WA 98368. Tickets will also be available at the door (cash, check or card).

Doors open at 4 p.m. for the bar and socializing in the Erickson Building. Dinner starts at 5:30 p.m., and speakers begin at 6 p.m. The party donates one dollar of each ticket to the Jefferson County Fair Board.

“The Fish Feast is our major fundraiser of the year,” said party Chair Marty Gilmore. “Each ticket purchase supports the vital work we do year-round to elect Democrats! It’s also an opportunity to hear the latest on current issues from our guest speakers – and fun time to see friends.”

Recent successes by Ferguson’s office include the largest-ever trial award in a state consumer protection case, debt relief from predatory lending for hundreds of students, and defense of the constitution by defeating the Trump administration’s attempt to add a discriminatory citizenship question to the 2020 Census.

Franz’s office has led state efforts to make Washington’s lands resilient in the face of climate change, investing in carbon sequestration and clean energy with wind, solar and geothermal infrastructure. Her office has also allocated millions of dollars to struggling rural communities to spark economic opportunities.

Fish Feast attendees will also hear from U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer, state Sen. Kevin Van de Wege, state Reps. Mike Chapman and Steve Tharinger, state party chair Tina Podlodowski, and local Democratic elected officials.

Before the feast is served, guests can mingle with candidates, campaigns, and organizations in Campaign Alley outside the Oscar Erickson Building.

Rep. Kilmer has sponsored tickets for 20 Young Democrats (under 35 years old). Contact Libby Wennstrom (360-301-9728) or Chelsea Pronovost (425-256-0626) to pre-register as a guest.

“We’re also offering 20 discounted tickets at our cost,” said Fish Feast organizer Claire Roney. “$25 each – first come, first serve.” For more information—or to volunteer for the Fish Feast, contact Roney at (360) 531-1177.

The Fish Feat menu will include sockeye salmon from Key City Fish, BBQed by chef Larry Dennison; shellfish from Taylor Shellfish; greens and veggies from local farms; rolls from Pane d’Amore; and cake. Beverages will include wine from the Wine Seller and beer from Port Townsend Brewing Co.

For more information about the Jefferson County Democrats, visit its website at jeffcodemocrats.com or its Facebook page, @jeffcodemocrats.

Citizen Scientists Struggle to Save Sword Ferns – Earth 911

More warning signs that we are heading for environmental trouble.

When scientists pursue research that requires massive amounts of field data, especially collected over a large geographic area — think of Audubon’s annual bird count and monarch butterfly migration monitoring — they often call on citizen scientists. But when a volunteer group of park stewards in Seattle discovered that native sword ferns were mysteriously dying, they turned the narrative around, driving the scientific process, developing experiments, and even finding funding for more rigorous tests. The evergreen western sword fern (Polystichum munitum) is one of the most abundant species in its native habitat. But that habitat is mostly limited to the Pacific coast from Southeastern Alaska to Southern California. Because the plants have little economic value, their biology has not been closely studied. “These plants are charismatic in a lot of ways,” says Tim Billo, a lecturer at the University of Washington. Sword ferns dominate the understory of Pacific Northwest forests, where they help prevent erosion. They comprise a major part of the winter diet for mountain beavers, a small, burrowing rodent endemic to the lowland forests of the Northwest. “An individual fern lives basically forever, just adding to their rhizome every year. The ones in Seward Park could be as old as the oldest trees there — between 300 and 500 years old. Imagine if all of the oldest trees started dying,” says Billo. That’s what happened to sword ferns in Seward Park in 2013. That fall, Catherine Alexander noticed that many of the sword ferns in the Seattle park didn’t look healthy, and alerted the volunteer group Friends of Seward Park. The next spring, many of the ferns failed to grow. Today, the dead-fern zone covers 20 acres. Gemma Alexander reports. (Earth911)

Citizen Scientists Struggle to Save Sword Ferns

‘Regional climate modeling’ provides clearer picture of climate change impacts in PNW | KNKX

This is what Cliff Mass is best at, regional weather modeling. Cliff has at times been highly skeptical of climate change issues that many of the rest of the scientific community had already excepted, but in the last few years he seems to of come entirely on board with the premise. This appears to be very good work that he’s done with this group of atmospheric researchers.

How does it apply to us here on the Olympic Peninsula? If our snow pack is reduced by 75% in the next hundred years, we may have to seriously look at alternative ways of getting water for our towns like Port Townsend. And the notion of having a papermill that uses 1,000,000 gallons or more a day will likely be a thing of the past.

KNKX weather expert Cliff Mass has been working with a group of atmospheric researchers at the University of Washington hoping to get a better idea of the
— Read on www.knkx.org/post/regional-climate-modeling-provides-clearer-picture-climate-change-impacts-pnw

Voting in Olympia

Current voting status from our Legislators. Culled from the great folks at Washingtonvotes.org. The Democrats are capitalizing on their majority and governor. They are passing a lot of bills to help the environment. While I am not wild about taxing carbon, (I’d rather see better support for purchasing electric vehicles and power recharging stations), as carbon taxes really don’t change behavior from what I’ve seen, simply make people pay more. Setting quotas on how many electric vehicles are imported for sale here simply penalizes the car dealers if they don’t sell. That’s just dumb. They are already paying taxes on gross sales, which is also a bad tax system. I’d much rather created incentives for people to buy! That will drive demand. It’s all about demand and alternative choices (i.e. mass transit).

I took a bus for many years from North Seattle to Redmond. I did it because there were frequent busses and it was convenient. I knew I could leave early and return early or late. I don’t see anything being done to create more incentive for people to take mass transit on the Olympic Peninsula. As an example, it would seem we need more busses serving PT to Sequim, where people may work, or go to medical appointments. There are only four busses,the first leaves at 8:30 AM. No working person will take that bus. They have to drive to near the airport to catch the earlier bus. Coming back the last bus leaves Sequim at 6:40, so if you have to stay late, you are stuck. The first bus leaves Sequim for PT at 6:52, so you can certainly catch that bus if you work in PT, but again, your last opportunity out is at 5:50. It appears we could easily do one more bus on each end of the day. One leaves early to Sequim from Haynes and one leaves later from Sequim and returns later from PT. That is what creating demand can accomplish. However you also need to advertise the service.

There are people though that will never take the bus, and for them, we need to drive demand for longer range electric vehicles. Maybe a service that would allow people to ‘rent’ an electric car at the Haynes P&R and drive it to Sequim, etc. and return it when done to Haynes. That seems to be a technology that is available. It certainly has worked in Seattle. ReachNow, ZipCar, Car2Go.

So here’s your local legislator’s votes


House Bill 1110, Reducing the greenhouse gas emissions associated with transportation fuels

Passed the House on March 12 by a vote of 53-43

This bill would direct the state Department of Ecology to impose low-carbon fuel limits on gasoline and other transportation related fuels with a “clean fuels” program. Under the bill, carbon emissions of transportation fuels would have to be reduced to 10 percent below 2017 levels by 2028 and 20 percent below 2017 levels by 2035. The mandatory program would begin Jan. 1, 2021. During floor debate, opponents argued that the bill would harm Washington residents by raising gas prices, which are already among the highest in the nation, and raising other costs, including food prices. A Republican amendment to allow a public vote at the next general election was defeated, and the bill passed along party lines by a 53-43 vote. Bi-partisan opposition to the bill included all Republicans and three Democrats. The bill was referred to the Senate Environment, Energy and Technology Committee for further consideration

Rep. Chapman Yes

Rep. Tharinger Yes

This bill would impose California’s automobile emission rules on vehicle owners in Washington. Under the bill, car makers would be assigned credits based on the kind of fuel efficient cars they bring into the state. Those credits would then be used to set quotas for how many zero-emission vehicles manufacturers must ship into the state and for dealers to offer for sale, regardless of whether consumers want them or not. The stated goal of the bill is to have about 2.5 percent of all cars brought into Washington be the equivalent of zero-emission vehicles. The bill is now before the House Environment and Energy Committee for further consideration.
Sen. Kevin Van De Wege (Sequim) (D) ‘Voted Yes’
If enacted into law, this bill would ban stores from giving single-use plastic carryout bags to their customers. The ban includes paper and recycled plastic bags unless they meet stringent recycled content requirements. Under the bill, retailers would also be required to collect an 8-cent per bag tax for each recycled content large paper or plastic carryout bag provided. These provisions would supersede local bag ordinances, except for ordinances establishing a 10-cent per bag charge in effect as of January 1, 2019. Passage of SB 5323 by the Senate is the furthest statewide bag-ban proposals have advanced in the legislative process, since the idea of regulating and taxing shopping bags were first proposed in 2013. The bill was sent to the House Environment and Energy Committee for further consideration.
Sen. Kevin Van De Wege (Sequim) (D) ‘Voted Yes’
Under this bill, Washington’s electric utilities would have to eliminate all coal-fired energy sources by 2025 and meet 100 percent of its retail electric load using non-emitting and renewable resources by January 1, 2045. ?In support of the bill, Democrats said the state has an entrepreneurial economy that can move toward a clean energy economy. Solar and wind are the future, and this bill provides a common sense framework for bold actions toward a carbon-free electricity, they said. Republican senators offered nearly two dozen amendments to the bill, pointing out that Washington utilities already rely heavily on clean hydroelectric power and that the bill’s provisions would really only result in additional costs and rate increases to be borne by consumers. Most of the amendments failed, and the bill passed along strictly partisan lines, with one Republican and one Democrat member excused. The bill was sent to the House Committee on Environment and Energy, which has scheduled a public hearing for March 5th.
Sen. Kevin Van De Wege (Sequim) (D) ‘Voted Yes’

West’s rivers are hot enough to cook salmon to death. Will this court ruling keep them cool? – Bellingham Herald

With global warming comes the heating of our rivers. That has devastating impacts on salmon, which need a river to remain under 56 degrees or young salmon will die. This might bring a change of heart to the issue of Snake River dam removal or breaching.

A federal judge in Seattle has directed the Environmental Protection Agency, in a ruling with implications for California and the Pacific Northwest, to find a way to keep river waters cool.

Read more here: https://www.bellinghamherald.com/news/state/washington/article220466120.html#storylink=cpy

 

Acceleration of mountain glacier melt could impact Pacific NW water supplies – AGU 100 Earth and Space Science

This study should be a wake up call for our local politicians. We need to be contemplating how we are going to get water for this city when the mountains are unable to sustain us. It’s not too soon to have a plan and begin looking for funding sources as they become available.

The model showed that summer melt from some lower elevation glaciers is already declining, and summer melt from some higher elevation glaciers is expected to begin declining by 2050, according to the study.

https://blogs.agu.org/geospace/2018/08/16/acceleration-of-mountain-glacier-melt-could-impact-pacific-northwest-water-supplies/

Losing Earth: The Decade We Almost Stopped Climate Change – The NY Times

If you read only one article all year, this is it. We have known for decades and our inaction has spelled disaster.  We can no longer stop man made global warming, now the job is to figure out how to survive it.

 

Europe and the effects of climate change.-NY Times

It is always difficult when you were in the eye of the storm to understand the scope of how big the store might actually be. Here is a good overall round up of the effects of climate change on Europe this year.

No matter what happens to try to reverse this we are facing long-term affects that will have a massive change to where we live as well. The summer fire season in both Washington state and Canada as well as the areas of northern California is already well-documented. Will be interesting to see what effects happen to the farmers of Eastern Washington with the temperatures as hot as they have been. and on the Horizon is the hurricane season in the Atlantic.

nyti.ms/2O7HS4I

2017: The Year In Climate – New York Times

The Big Picture

How Coral Researchers Are Coping With the Death of Reefs – The Atlantic

While not specifically Olympic Peninsula News, many of us venture to places during our lives expecting to see coral. Whether you have gone to Hawaii, Belize, Mexico or any other beautiful tropical setting, the ability to snorkel the local reefs has been an experience that often creates environmental protection support. But there are warning signs everywhere. Anyone that has gone to a reef lately has seen the bleached coral and the lack of diversity of species. Even the scientists are getting depressed. Why post this? Because it is going to take all of us to eventually *demand* we take the radical steps needed to save the planet before it’s too late. By saving it, I mean that we are going to, at some point in the lives of people alive today, need to demand and take steps that will be extremely painful and life altering for every single person on this planet. That day is not far off. We have just lost Puerto Rico, drowned much of Houston, have seen three Category 4 storms land in the U.S. in one year, burned up much of the part of California that produces hundreds of millions of dollars of wine products, burned up huge amounts of Canadian western forests, and more. Our President that refuses to believe the trouble we are in seems simply incompetent rather than in the know. In fact, a concerted effort to destroy any scientific knowledge of the issue  is underway by his administration. This rivals the Nazi rewriting of German science in the 30s.  We are experiencing a similar situation to the German people then.  Some of us will flee. But the question all of us should be asking is, “what more can I do than I’m doing now?”

“The drumbeat of devastating news can take its toll on the mental health of people who have devoted their lives to coral.”

https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2017/11/coral-scientists-coping-reefs-mental-health/546440/

Record surge in atmospheric CO2 seen in 2016 – BBC

The question that comes from all of this is “at what point do we make the planet uninhabitable for humans? “ And as many scientists have thought, the unintended consequences of not doing enough for CO2 is that we are finding that methane is suddenly exploding in the atmosphere.  One likely source could be the exposure of tundra as the permafrost melts.

Concentrations of CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere surged to a record high in 2016, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

Last year’s increase was 50% higher than the average of the past 10 years.

Researchers say a combination of human activities and the El Niño weather phenomenon drove CO2 to a level not seen in 800,000 years.

http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-41778089

Elon Musk: ‘The Dumbest experiment In History’

“We are running the most dangerous experiment in history right now. Which is to see how much carbon dioxide the atmosphere can handle before there is an environmental catastrophe.” – Elon Musk

The most important thing you can listen to today.

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