On its hundredth birthday in 1959, Edward Teller warned the oil industry about global warming -The Guardian

This is an interesting find, but doesn’t really surprise me. Teller was one of the people responsible for the atom bomb and was a staunch supporter of nuclear power. His predictions were right on the money, claiming that around 2000 we could see the melting of the poles. My guess is that he told the audience that they should support a move to nuclear power and electric cars to fuel this future.

I attended a lecture by Teller at the University of Washington, probably around 1978 or 79. I was very much anti-nuclear, which I still am. I asked Teller a couple of questions after the talk, including how we were going to deal with nuclear waste and the issue of protecting the facilities from attack. He outlined that it would take the U.S. military to surround and protect the facilities and the transport of fuel. I questioned whether this was essentially asking for a military state and he said he had no problem with that. He assumed that issue of nuclear waste would be solved technically. I was skeptical of the enormous costs with cost overruns and possibility of meltdown of the core in the event of an accident, something that could (and later prove true in Fukushima), make downwind cities like New York, Chicago, Olympia and others into wastelands. I still am skeptical, and the emergence of advanced solar and wind shows we likely can solve it without nuclear power.

Somebody cut the cake – new documents reveal that American oil writ large was warned of global warming at its 100th birthday party.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2018/jan/01/on-its-hundredth-birthday-in-1959-edward-teller-warned-the-oil-industry-about-global-warming

 

Upcoming legislative climate action

Worth noting.

Olympic Climate Action is organizing support for a major new statewide campaign: Climate Countdown. With time fast running out to curtail the climate crisis there can be no excuses from the Washington State Legislature to undertake bold climate action now. It will ask two things of the legislature: ban new fossil fuel infrastructure (by passing Climate Test Legislation) and commit to rapid transition to 100% renewable energy (as has been done in Maryland recently). There is broad excitement for the possibility of significant action on climate in our state, however it is a short legislative session.

The legislature has just sixty days to get this done, the clock is ticking. To launch this campaign, there will be a major mobilization in Olympia on the opening day of the legislature–Monday, January 8. The OCA is filling carpools from the Olympic Peninsula, reserve your spot here. Please carve out this date if you can! For further information email Olympic Climate Action or visit the event facebook page.
Time: 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Location: WA State Capitol Building, Olympia, WA 98504

2017: The Year In Climate – New York Times

The Big Picture

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

Governor’s Results Washington Initiative – Environment and Puget Sound Recovery

Governor Inslee has as program called “Results Washington” One of it’s goals is to restore Puget Sound. Here’s a very good video on the reporting on September 27, 2017 to the Governor on progress and areas where we need to improve. Worth the watch if you are involved in work to help restore the Sound.

Sustainable Energy/Clean Environment — Welcome and agenda review, Governor’s opening remarks, Alignment of Puget Sound Recovery & Results Washington (protection/recovery of shellfish beds/habitat, pollution prevention from storm water runoff), Strategies and challenges for collective, cross-sector efforts to recover the Puget Sound ecosystem, closing comments.

Watch it here:   https://www.tvw.org/watch/?eventID=2017091075

http://www.results.wa.gov/sites/default/files/G3%20Agenda%202017-09-27%20%28Governor%27s%20Results%20Review%29.pdf

Global warming made real

Over the last month, we have had a full taste of global warming. We are breathing it. It’s no longer just some abstract event impacting people in some far away third world country like Bangladesh or  even heat waves and droughts in Australia, on the other side of the planet.

Scientists (perhaps now fired by the current administration in Washington D.C) have been warning for decades that the effects of global warming will be much larger, more frequent storms. With the oceans being heated up, the normal storms will get even greater strength. And that is exactly what is happening with Irma and Harvey. There are still thousands of people, maybe tens of thousands, that have never recovered from Sandy or Katrina, or any of the other storms we now have forgotten in the last ten years.

In the western U.S. a heavy drought with intense heat has laid in from California to British Columbia. Hundreds of fires are raging across the west, destroying Southern Oregon forests, the north side of the Columbia Gorge, the Cascades and into central British Columbia. Many of these fires are being described as the largest ever witnessed in these areas. Thousands have been displaced while the smoke from these fires are being breathed by millions for weeks on end, including us here on the Olympic Peninsula. The outcome of that will be greater lung cancers in years to come.

Snow packs in this heat continue to melt and rise. I drove north from San Francisco to Seattle last week, driving through Arizona desert like temperatures of 112 degrees F.  in Redding California. It was over 100 at the summit of Shasta’s I5 pass.

If this kind of heat continues, it will make farming in California very difficult. Along with the physical stress of trying to expect humans to farm in  112 heat, is the question of whether there will be snow pack for drinking and agriculture in 20 years. California produces a huge amount of our vegetables. Adapting farming for this kind of scenario is going to cost all of us a lot more at the grocery store.

The Americans who have willfully ignored the warnings of scientists now are part of the refugee pool in Houston and much of Southern Texas’ coast. We can look at that outcome and say, well, you asked for it by continuing to elect politicians that want to tell you that all is well.  But this country is not red or blue. It’s purple everywhere, with people supporting each side in elections, or no side at all.  Unfortunately, the neighbors of these ignorant climate change deniers  voted for people who wanted us to pay attention, had their candidates lose and also find themselves in the same, literal and physical boat.

This emerging crisis needs leadership. We unfortunately now find ourselves turning to local and state politics as the Presidency and Congress seem, for reasons harder and harder to comprehend, to willfully want to ignore the alarm bells of climate change. What is it going to take? A hurricane to level Washington D.C.?

Locally we need to continue to talk about where Port Townsend is going to get it’s water if drought continues for decades and snow packs continue to recede.  I don’t hear much about that issue at all.

Time to get serious and act as if every decision by our local and state governments is going to have to take global warming into consideration. Now.

Sudden Oak Disease Arrives in Washington State – KUOW

Very disturbing news given that the disease can attack rhododendrons, Douglas firs, and western larches. 

A Disease That’s Felled Forests in California and Oregon Shows up in Washington http://www.opb.org/news/article/a-disease-thats-felled-forests-in-california-and-oregon-shows-up-in-washington/

It’s a sunny spring morning at the Bloedel Reserve, a public garden on Puget Sound’s Bainbridge Island. Roads lead to paths lined with blossoming bushes and trees. Darren Strenge, the reserve’s plant health manager, is showing me the rhododendron glen. That’s where a gardener first spotted a problem back in 2015: a plant that wasn’t healthy…. Strenge took a sample and sent it into a lab. The answer came back: the plant had the pathogen that causes sudden oak death. The disease has decimated forests in California and infected forests in southwestern Oregon. And now it’s made a return to Western Washington, where rhododendrons, Douglas firs, and western larches are most susceptible. It has the potential for such disastrous effects that agencies, scientists, and citizens are working together to try to keep it under control. Eilís O’Neill reports. (KUOW/EarthFix)

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