Early 2017: Climate change
Part 16: Donald
President. EPA Foe Installed as
Head of EPA!
Hundreds Die During
Flood in Columbia. Carbon Dioxide
in Atmosphere Reaches New High.
This image illustrates one of the byproducts of global warming.
Glaciers and the ice cover in Antarctica are melting, thus causing
the sea level to rise and drowning land at shorelines world-wide.
If and when this process goes to completion, Florida will be mainly
under water. Only part of the panhandle region wll have dry land.
2017-JAN-20: Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th president of the United States:
Chief Justice John Roberts of the U.S. Supreme Court issued the oath of office to Donald Trump on the West Front of the United States Capitol Building in Washington DC. Trump was sworn in on two Bibles: his own childhood Bible and one that had once been owned by Abraham Lincoln. A total of 67 Democratic members of the House of Representatives stated that they would not attend the inauguration because of:
"... what they described as his alarming and divisive policies, foreign interference in his election and his criticism of civil rights icon [Rep.] John Lewis [D-GA], a congressman from Georgia." 2
Perhaps minutes after Trump became president, -- the exact timing is unknown -- two major changes were made to the White House web site at www.whitehouse.gov:
- All references to the LGBT community vanished from the site. An internal search for "LGBT" returned an error message:
"Sorry, no results found for 'LGBT'. Try entering fewer or broader query terms. "
- The section of the web site that dealt with climate change disappeared. An internal search for "climate change" returned an error message:
"Sorry, no results found for 'Climate change'. Try entering fewer or broader query terms."
Fortunately, the earlier contents of the web site are still available because they had been copied to https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/
President Trump picks a new head for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Trump selected Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt (R) for the post.
On JAN-18, just before the President's inauguration, Pruitt stated during his confirmation hearing that he accepts that climate change is real. However he does not necessarily agree that it is caused by human actions.
Pruitt is an unusual pick as head of the EPA because he had sued the agency 14 times in the past in his capacity as the Oklahoma Attorney General. During his confirmation hearing, Senator Ed Markey, (D-MA) asked him to explain his beliefs about climate change. Pruitt said:
"I do not believe that climate change is a hoax."
However, when asked by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) whether he believed that climate change was caused by human factors, he was non-committal. He said:
"Science tells us the climate is changing and human activity in some matter impacts that change. The ability to measure and pursue the degree and the extent of that impact and what to do about it are subject to continuing debate and dialogue." 3
2017-APR-01: Hundreds of residents in Mocoa, Columbia die from floods and landslide:
Columbian President, Juan Manuel Santos, announced that at least 193 people had been killed following intense rains during the early morning hours in southern Columbia. (Columbia is located in the north-west corner of South America). The Red Cross reported that 400 people were injured and 220 are believed missing. The death toll is expected to rise as bodies are pulled out of the mud.
The city of Mocoa has about 350,000 residents. Three rivers flooded, carrying mud and water through the city, demolishing many structures. It happened after midnight, when most people were at home sleeping.
President Santos blamed climate change for the disaster. He noted that the rainy season was just beginning, and that the accumulated rainfall in Mocoa, Columbia during that one night was almost half the amount that the city normally receives during the entire month of March. 4
A brief video shot by a drone shows the destruction in Mocoa, Columbia:
Alba Tobella, writing for Mercury News, reported that:
"President Juan Manuel Santos and other officials pledged emergency relief and said that Mocoa would be rebuilt, including a new water system to replace the one damaged in the flood and new homes for those in the 17 neighborhoods hit hardest by the surging water. He said he had spoken by phone with U.S. President Donald Trump, who promised assistance, as have other nations including China and Venezuela.
Santos also declared an 'economic, social and ecological emergency,' a designation intended to speed reconstruction efforts.
'We are not going to stop until everyone affected by this natural disaster receives help,' Marquez said."
By APR-04, at least 273 bodies have been found; more bodies continue to be discovered. 6
2017-APR-18: Carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere reaches 410 ppm:
The Mauna Loa Observatory on the "Big Island" in Hawaii continually monitors the level of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) gas in the atmosphere. This is the main atmospheric greenhouse gas in the atmosphere that traps the sun's heat and raises the surface temperature of the Earth. The CO2 concentraton reached 400 ppm (parts per million) in 2013. On APR-18, it reached 410 ppm, and appears to be still rising.
Dr. Pieter Tans, lead scientist of NOAA's Global Greenhouse Gas Reference Network, said:
"Atmospheric CO2 is now higher than it has been for several million years, as measured in ice cores and ocean sediments."
"The current rate of increase is about 200 times faster than when CO2 increased by about 80 ppm from natural causes when the Earth climbed out of the last Ice Age."
That happened between 17,000 and 11,000 years ago."
Dr. Tans was not surprised. Emissions from burning oil, coal, natural gas and cement manufacturing produce 10 billion metric tons of carbon (or 37 billion metric tons of CO2) per year.
2017-JUN: Phoenix Arizona: Many airplane flights cancelled; it is too hot to fly:
Paul D. Williams is a professor in the Department of Meteorology at the University of Reading in the UK. He studies climate change and its effects on aviation. He said:
"We tend to ignore the atmosphere and just think that the plane is flying through empty space, but of course, it’s not. Airplanes do not fly through a vacuum. The atmosphere is being modified by climate change."
Ross Feinstein, an American Airlines spokesperson, referring to smaller airplanes. said:
"When you get in excess of 118 [º F]or higher, you’re not able to take off or land."
In Phoenix, AZ, American Airlines was forced to cancel more than 40 flights during the first half of 2017-JUN, because some smaller jets could not safely take off at temperatures about 120º F (49º C). The problem is that air thins out when it heats up. The wings produce less lift. This reduces the forces lifting the planes off of the runway.
Among larger planes, the Boeing 737 has a maximum takeoff and landing temperature of 126º F; the Airbus A320 can handle 127º F.
Other airports than Poenix are at different elevations. Airplanes' maximum takeoff and landing temeratures are vary among different cities.
Some airports are extending their runways to compensate for the higher temperatures. This is not always possible for airports close to urban centers.
The following information source was used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlink is not necessarily still active today.
- Image by Geralt. Downloaded from www.pixabay.com.
- Inauguration of Donald Trump, Wikipedia, as on 2017-JAN-21, at: https://en.wikipedia.org/
- Erin Kelly, "EPA nominee Pruitt contradicts Trump claim that climate change is a hoax," USA Today, 2017-JAN-18, at: https://www.usatoday.com/
- Christine Armario, "At least 193 dead, hundreds injured in Colombia as rivers overflow," The Toronto Star, 2017-APR-01, at: https://www.thestar.com/
- "Drone footage captures landslide destruction in Colombia – video report," Reuters. 2017-APR-02, downloaded from: https://www.theguardian.com/
- Alba Tobella, "Photos: Columbia’s Mocoa mourns mud flood victims," The Mercury News, 2017-APR-04, at: http://www.mercurynews.com/
- "CO2 levels on Earth cross 410 ppm for the first time in history! - Is climate change winning?," Zee Media Bureau, 2017-MAY-02, at: http://zeenews.india.com/
- Zach Wichter, "Too Hot to Fly? Climate Change May Take a Toll on Air Travel," New York Times, 2017-JUN-20, at: https://www.nytimes.com/
Copyright © 2017 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally posted: 2017-APR-02
Latest update: 2017-JUN-21
Author: B.A. Robinson