Climate Change: Part 39.
2020-August until now:
Alarming prediction for the year 2025
False rumors about source of fires in U.S.
Record breaking fires in Western states.
Massive chunk of Greenland's ice cap breaks off.
Climate change ignored as topic of Presidential Debates.
Green Wave 2020 to support pro-environment-politicians.
two historical fire records.
U.S. scheduled to withdraw from the Paris agreement.
UN warns massive cut to carbon footprint required.
An overview of climate change in 2020.
Melting permafrost is aggravates the greehouse effect.
2020-OCT-02: "Green Wave 2020" initiated to support Democrat pro-environment-politicians:
The Sierra Club, League of Conservation Voters, Environmental Defense Fund Action, the Natural Resources Defense Council Action Fund and the National Wildlife Federation Action Fund have created "Green Wave 2020" to support Joe Biden's presidential campaign and over 30 House races and four Senate races to elect "climate champions" to Congress.
Sierra Club President Ramon Cruz said:
"The stakes for the environment, for our climate, and for communities suffering the worst consequences of toxic pollution across the nation have never been more stark than in 2020."
"This unprecedented mobilization of our collective membership, including millions of members nationwide, will also help build lasting infrastructure in key states and districts that environmental champions running for office can rely upon for future election cycles."
Earlier in 2020, the League of Conservation Voters, the Center for American Progress Action Fund and the Sierra Club launched a campaign called Climate Power 2020 to promote climate issues. 1
2020-SEP/OCT: Fires in California:
Sadly, Charles Morton, 39, a 14 year veteran and a squad boss for the Big Bear Interagency Hotshot Crew, who were battling the El Dorado Fire in the San Bernardino National Forest east of Los Angeles, died in the fire.
On 2020-OCT-04, the total land area burned in California by wildfires exceeded four million acres. This was twice the previous record!
On 2020-OCT-05, for the first time in the state, a single fire has surpassed 1 million acres (405 hectare) in size! It is called the "August Complex" and is burning in Glenn, Lake, Mendocino, Tehama, and Trinity Counties in the Costal Range of Northern California. It originally started as a result of 38 separate lightning strikes on 2020-AUG-16-17, each of which started a separate fire. They all coalesced into one massive wildfire. It is still burning, almost two months later. It is being monitored by the Terra satellite which uses nine cameras to take pictures of the Earth from different angles.
Governor Gavin Newsom noted that this one massive fire is larger in area than all of the recorded fires in the state between 1932 and 1999! He said:
"If that's not proof point, statement, to climate change, then I don't know what is." 2,3
2020-OCT-10: Pope Francis issued an urgent call on climate change:
"Science tells us, every day with more precision, that it is necessary to act with urgency. I am not exaggerating, science tell us this. If we want to have the hope of avoiding radical changes in the climate and catastrophes. ... We have just a few years (scientists calculate roughly fewer than 30) to drastically reduce the emissions of gas and the greenhouse effect in the atmosphere. ...:
In fact, the earth must be taken care of, cultivated and protected; we cannot continue to squeeze it like an orange. And we can say this, taking care of the Earth is a human right," 4
2020-OCT-15: The presidential candidates debate -- on separate stages and TV channels:
Jonathan Lemire, Will Weissert and Darlene Superville of the Associated Press wrote that:
"Since President Trump would not agree to hold a debate together with on the same stage with Presidential candidate Biden, the two appeared on separate stages and separate TV channels. ... Trump on NBC from Miami, [and] Biden on ABC from Philadelphia."
Fortunately, many viewers were able to watch one TV program live at home, while recording the other program for later viewing.
Trump said that he would accept the results of an honest election, but "only after casting an extraordinary amount of doubt on the likeliness of fairness." He disputed statements in the media about his personal debts.
Biden was critical of the Trump Administration's handling of the pandemic and criticized the closing a pandemic response office that had been established earlier by the Obama administration promised to roll back tax cuts for the weathiest Americans that would add $92 billion to federal revenue. He said that he is "... still not a fan" of expanding the size of the U.S. Supreme Court. He "... blasted Trump's foreign policy, declaring that 'America first' has made 'America alone' and "This president embraces all the thugs in the world."
The third and final debate was held on a stage in Nashville, with both candidates present together.
Topics to be discussed were: "Fighting COVID-19," "American Families," "Race in America," "Climate Change," "National Security," and "Leadership." 5 Finally, climate change was included!
2020-OCT-28: The Laptev Sea in Siberia has not frozen yet in October for the first time on record:
Normally during Autumn, sea ice starts to form in massive amounts on the Laptev Sea at the north-west coast of Siberia. However, during late October in 2020, ice has not started to form yet. This is one more effect caused by climate change.
Julienne Stroeve, senior research scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Colorado, emailed:
"Looking at the sea surface temperatures we can see that ocean temperatures are still several degrees above freezing and also that means the near surface air temperatures are also elevated."
Some scientists are predicting that within a few decades, an ice-free summer will ocurr in the Arctic for the first time in thousands of years. 6
2020-NOV-04: U.S. withdraws from the Paris Agreement:
The U.S. became the first and only country in the world to ever withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate change. President Donald Trump set up the withdrawl for 2020-NOV-04, one day after the Presidential election. Candidate for the presidency, Joe Biden, has promised to reinstate the U.S. as quickly as possible, if he is elected as President.
Mia Robson, writing for CTV News, said:
"Gerald Butts, vice-chairman at the political-risk consultancy Eurasia Group and former principal secretary to [Canadian] Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, said Biden's climate policies are the most aggressive [that] any American presidential candidate has ever proposed.
That includes eliminating fossil fuels from the U.S. power grid by 2050, and using the power of the federal procurement system to spur growth in electric vehicles. ..."
Trump has ... done everything he can to 'bring back king coal', rolling back environmental regulations that made coal less palatable.
But cheaper natural gas and renewable sources of energy are crowding coal out of the market. ... Since Trump took office, coal production has fallen almost 20 per cent, and coal's share of the U.S. power grid fell from about one-third to less than one-quarter." 7
Many U.S. investors, state governors, and colleges declared their intention to support the Paris Agreement, even without federal leadership.
The U.S. currently is the second-largest carbon emitter after China.
2020-DEC-09: UN warns that a massive worldwide reduction in our carbon footprint is required in our near future:
Every year, the United Nations publishes an "emissions gap" report, that indicates how the countries of the world are not reducing their carbon footprint fast enough to slow the rate at which the Earth is warming.
Brady Dennis et al. wrote an article in the Washington Post based on the UN's 2020 report, saying that:
"The world’s wealthy will need to reduce their carbon footprints by a factor of 30 to help put the planet on a path to curb the ever-worsening impacts of climate change, according to new findings published Wednesday by the United Nations Environment Program.
Currently, the emissions attributable to the richest 1 percent of the global population account for more than double those of the poorest 50 percent. Shifting that balance, researchers found, will require swift and substantial lifestyle changes, including decreases in air travel, a rapid embrace of renewable energy and electric vehicles, and better public planning to encourage walking, bicycle riding, and public transit."
Nations would have to "roughly triple" their current pledges of emmisions-cutting in order to limit the warming to "... well below 2 degrees Celius above the preindustrial average by the end of the century. To limit the warming to 1.5 degrees woulld require nations to increase their targets at least five times.
Inger Andersen, executive director of the U.N. Environment Program, said:
"We’d better make these shifts, because while COVID has been bad, there is hope at the end of the tunnel with a vaccine. But there is no vaccine for the planet."
During the year 2019, the emissions of various greenhouse gasses worldwide totaled the equivalent of 59 billion tons of carbon dioxide. That is about 8.4 tons per human being!
If the nations of the world achieve their current plans then the temperature rise by that year 2100 will be about 3 degrees Celsius or 5.4 degrees Fahrenheit.
2020-DEC-10: Solar power park installed in Argentina:
Just under a million solar panels have been installed at the Cauchari solar park in the province of Jujuy in the northwest of Argentina. Together they generate 300 megawaty
s of polution-free electrical power (when the sun is up). Between 2018-September and 2019-October. 2,664 truckloads of solar cells and other material were delivered to the park. When it started producing electrical power on 2020-SEP-26, it became the largest operating solar park in the South America. It is typical of pollution-free electrical generation in the future, replacing oil and gas-powered generating stations which contribute a lot of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere and cause significant percentage of global warming. The solar park is expected to reduce greenhouse gasses emitted in Argentina by 325,000 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent. 8
2020-DEC-11: European Union leaders adopt new greenhouse gas emmision level:
The leaders of the 27 member states in Europe committed to reducing the block's net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% from 1990 levels by the end of the present decade. The programs and investments are predicted to reach 1.82 trillion euros.
British PM Boris Johnson announced last week he wants the U.K. to cut greenhouse gas emissions by even a greater percentage: by at least 68% from 1990 levels by 2030. 9
2020-DEC: Melting permafrost is aggravating the greenhouse effect:
Almost 25% of the land area of the Earth is covered with permafrost -- land coated with ice that has never thawed over long intervals in the past. Embedded in the permafrost are soil, plants, and even bacteria/ With global warming, areas of the permafrost are now melting. This is releasing massive quantities of ancient organic carbon into the atmosphere, increasing the greenhouse effect, which increases the soil temperature, creating a positive feedback loop that will cause a runaway effect, increasing the rate of global warming. Melting permafrost also causes erosion, landslides and craters in the Arctic. Bacteria and viruses from ancient and modern diseases are also being released. 10 New York Times science columnist, Carl Zimmer, said:
"These particular viruses infect amoeba. So if you're an amoeba, yeah you should be really scared," Zimmer told Business Insider in a 2015 interview. "There are no human pathogens that have burst out of the Siberian permafrost [yet]. That's not to say that viruses won't emerge, but there are so many viruses circulating in living animals, I think we should put these frozen viruses very low on our list of concerns." 11
2021-FEB-02: An alarming prediction of ocean-level rise in our future:
Aslak Grinsted and Jens Hesselbjerg Christensen at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark wrote an article titled "The transient sensitivity of sea level rise." They noted that the predictions by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) imply that global mean sea level is unlikely to rise more than about 1.1 metre within this century and will continue to increase slowly beyond 2100.
However, they wrote in their article that:
"Even within the most intensive future anthropogenic greenhouse gas emission scenarios, higher levels are assessed [by the IPCC] to be unlikely. However, some studies conclude that considerably greater sea level rise could be realized, and a number of experts assign a substantially higher likelihood of such a future. ..."
"... this suggests that the projected global sea level rise by the end of this century in various IPCC reports is at best conservative and consequently underestimates the upper bound of what is referred to as the likely sea level rise by the end of this century." 12
2021-FEB-19: A little over three months after leaving the Paris Climate Agreement, the U.S. returned:
President Biden signed an executive order during his first day in office as President that recommitted the U.S. to the pact. He committed the U.S. to achieve carbon-free energy by the year 2035 and getting the nation to net-zero emissions by the year 2050.
Biden selected John Kerry as Special Presidential Envoy for Climate. He will represent the U.S. in international climate talks. He hired Gina McCarthy as White House National Climate Adviser. She will lead the Biden administration's domestic climate agenda.
U.N. chief Antonio Guterres referred to the country' return to the Agreement “day of hope” for the world. 13
2021-MAR-09: Pentagon creates a climate working group:
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin wrote in a March 9 memo to senior Pentagon leadership and combatant command leaders. He said:
"Climate change presents a growing threat to U.S. national security interests and defense objectives. The changing climate is altering the global security and operating environments, impacting our missions, plans and installations.”
Pentagon spokesperson John Kirb said that
the group, which will be chaired by Joe Bryan, the current special assistant to the secretary for climate, will:
“... co-coordinate department responses to the executive order and subsequent climate and energy related directives.” 14
2021-MAR-22: Major Federal plan to reduce U.S. carbon emissions, boost the economy, etc. planned:
According to Jim Tankersley at The New York Times, "President Biden’s economic advisers are pulling together a sweeping $3 trillion package to boost the economy, reduce carbon emissions and narrow economic inequality, beginning with a giant infrastructure plan that may be financed in part through tax increases on corporations and the rich. Tankersley wrote:
"... the enormous scope of the proposal highlights the aggressive approach the Biden administration wants to take as it tries to harness the power of the federal government to make the economy more equitable, address climate change, and improve American manufacturing and high-technology industries in an escalating battle with China.
2021-MAR-22: CANADA: The Main Federal political parties discussed climate change:
A news article on CBC Canada, during the previous week's Conservative Party Convention, revealed that Conservative delegates voted against including a statement in their policy book stating that they believe "climate change is real." The vote was close: 54% to 46%.
Party delegates from each of the four Atlantic provinces (New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, & Prince Edward Island) and Quebec favored inclusion of the statements,
The CBC article must have struck an nerve among Canadians, because it received 11,911 comments from readers by the morning of MAR-24! I have never seen that number of comments before to any news article.
On the other hand, the other main Federal party --- the Liberal Party of Canada --- had announced earlier, on 2020-DEC-11, a strengthened climate plan to protect the environent, create jobs, and support communities.
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
- Rachel Frazin, "Green groups launch 'Green Wave 2020' initiative to boost competitive Democratic campaigns," The Hill, 2020-OCT-02, at: https://thehill.com/
- "Northern California Wildfires: Where To Find Updates On Air Quality, Evacuations, And Official Information," Capradio.org. 2020--OCT-05, at: https://www.capradio.org/
- "NASA Observations Aid Efforts to Track California’s Wildfire Smoke From Space," NASA, 2020-SEP-25, at: https://www.nasa.gov/
- "Pope in TED talk: Earth cannot be squeezed ‘like an orange’, " Associated Press, 2020-OCT-10, at: https://apnews.com/
- Brady Dennis, " 'It’s a sea change': How climate went from the back burner to a central issue in this year’s debates, Washington Post, 2020-OCT-22, at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/
- Becky Ferreira, "Arctic Sea Ice Isn't Freezing In October for the First Time on Record," Vice.com, 2020-OCT-20, at: https://www.vice.com/
- Mia Robson, "A Biden presidency could mean good news for Canadian environment policy: observers," CTV News, 2020-OCT-29, at: https://www.ctvnews.ca/
- Daniel Gutman, "Solar Power from Argentina’s Puna Highlands Reaches Entire Country," Inter Press Service, 2020-DEC-10, at: Solar Power from Argentina's Puna Highlands
- Samuel Petrequin, "EU leaders agree to reduce emissions after all-night talks," Microsoft News, 2020-DEC-11, ABC news, at: EU leaders agree to reduce emissions after all-night talks - ABC News
- "Thawing permafrost microbiomes fuel climate change," University of Queensland, 2018-JUL-16, at: Thawing permafrost microbiomes fuel climate change
- Lydia Pflanzer & Erin Browwin, "A frozen chunk of land that scientists thought would never thaw is melting -- and the effects could be catastrophic," Business Insider, 2020-JUL-12, at: Effects of melting permafrost: ancient viruses and carbon release
- Aslak Grinsted and Jens Hesselbjerg Christensen, "The transient sensitivity of sea level rise, European Geosciences Union, 2021-FEB-02, at: The transient sensitivity of sea level rise
- Simon Elstad, "U.S. Rejoins the Paris Climate Agreement: What You Need to Knowm" Greener Ideal, 2021-MAR-04, at: U.S. Rejoins the Paris Climate Agreement
- Ellen Mitchell, "Pentagon announces climate working group," The Hill, 2021-MAR-10, at: Pentagon announces climate working group
Copyright © 2020 by Ontario
Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2021-MAR-24
Author: B.A. Robinson