Monday, March 2, 2015

Warmest Winter Records Shattered in West, But Reporters Won't Say Climate Change

Unseasonably Warm
Winter was great for biking in Salt Lake City
Watching network television news, you'd think the entire Earth had entered an Ice Age just because it's been cold in Manhattan. While February was unusually cold in the Northeast and Midwest, what's not being mentioned on TV is that records have been falling on the high end of the temperature scale for the entire winter across a broad swath of the West and Pacific Northwest:
  • Weather.com reports that more than 20 cities out west, including San Francisco, Sacramento and Las Vegas had their warmest winters on record, adding, "In case you're wondering, few if any cities in the East will have their coldest winters on record despite a series of high-profile blizzards and record cold waves – mainly because December was relatively mild."
  • KOMOnews.com reports Seattle had its warmest winter on record, "obliterating" the old record by 1.4 degrees. In neighboring Oregon, Portland broke its winter warmth record and Salem topped 50 degrees every day in February, the first time that's ever happened.
  • And The Salt Lake Tribune reports Salt Lake City had both its warmest and least snowy winter on record, the latter being the bigger concern as the West heads towards fire season. "Things are much more dry and, frankly, more ready to burn … than in [recent] memory," Jason Curry, spokesman for the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands, told the Tribune.
What do all of these articles have in common? Not one mentions climate change. It's just the latest example of media deliberately not connecting obvious climate dots for their audience.

Sometimes you have to wonder: If our media were actively trying to stifle public knowledge of climate change impacts and suppress support for climate action, how would that be different from what we have now?

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Jon Stewart: Climate Science Won't Endorse GOP Ideology, So They Hate It

On last night's Daily Show, Jon Stewart put the Republican war on science into context (watch the clip below):
This is their genius: They purport to want to fix things, but conservatives aren't looking to make education more rigorous and informative, or science more empirical or verifiable, or voting more representative, or the government more efficient or effective. They just want all those things to reinforce their partisan, ideological, conservative viewpoint.

Because in their minds, the opposite of bad isn't good. The opposite of bad is conservative. The opposite of wrong isn't right ... well, OK, but you get my point. It's right wing.

They judge solely on the level of conservative content. In everything. It's their only litmus test. [...]

Let's stop pretending that concessions to the right will, at any point, sate the beast.
Republicans don't critique climate science because of its methods - they hate it because its conclusions reveal the limits of their free-market ideology. If the invisible hand can't solve carbon pollution and government regulations are needed, what's next? Once you admit government can be a force for good, don't you need to admit you also need some taxes to pay for those good things?

But instead, reporters constantly look to satiate, pretending Republicans are "skeptics" - merely looking for the best science! - when even denier-in-chief Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) admits the fight is really about his hatred of the solutions.

Because "objective" journalism means you can never directly tell your audience that the emperor has no clothes - that would imply you're drawing conclusions when "objectivity" prizes the View From Nowhere. Instead, you must artificially create a he said, she said perspective, such as, "The emperor denied charges by environmentalists that he has no clothes. We'll have to leave it there."

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Why Aren't Chefs Up in Arms About Global Warming?

Climate change is a bigger threat to oysters and clams than first thought, according to a new study. We already knew global warming is hurting shrimp, beefchocolate, coffee, beer - the list goes on.

Why don't you hear more celebrity chefs speaking out about global warming? More concerned about ratings for their Food Network project than protecting the next generation of foodies?

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Local Officials Ignoring Climate Change Worsening Winter Storms

Are local officials taking climate-fueled extreme weather into account in future storm planning? It doesn't sound like it according to this report by Mike Lawrence in my local New Bedford Standard-Times:
Delays in plowing narrow residential streets across the city drew a storm of complaints from residents following the blizzard. Staffing enough permanent crews to handle a blizzard of that magnitude, though, wouldn’t be realistic, Labelle said.

We’ve characterized this last time as a 100-year snowstorm — it would be irresponsible for any community to gear up for that level of storm event,” he said. “Even with contractor services, you’re never going to get city streets open the next day the way people want to see it.
We can argue about whether it's worth it to spend the extra money to clear streets faster. But with worsening winter storms rewriting our record books, the 2015 blizzard is exactly what we should be getting ready to face.

It's a similar story in neighboring communities, where austerity takes precedence over preparing for climate-fueled flooding.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

In DC, Corrupt Values of Polluter Lobbyists Taken For Granted

E&E TV today interviews Peter Glaser, a lawyer for Troutman Sanders, who argues states should simply ignore federal limits on climate-disrupting carbon pollution. I understand that not every interview can be a deep dive into the morality of changing the climate, but do polluter lobbyists always have to get such a free pass for profiting from the damage they're doing to our children's future?

The host never even mentions who Glaser represents, but his website tells us he works for "electric utility, mining and other energy industry companies and associations." More specifically, OpenSecrets.org shows Southern Company, a huge coal-fired power company and currently ranked as America's 3rd-biggest polluter, has been Troutman Sanders' number one lobbying client for the last two years and has given them millions in business over the last 15 years.

I understand the show is focused on inside-the-Beltway maneuvers & mechanics, and "aren't you history's greatest monster?" could be a little out of place. But shouldn't Glaser have to say something about whether cashing in by selling a slogan of "just say no to cutting carbon pollution" might be just a tad morally irresponsible?

@coleenjose for @everydayclimatechange | Children played in a suffocating fog of mosquito repellent in the outskirts of Tacloban City, Philippines. Volunteers sprayed the repellent along rows of bunkhouses in a shelter site, a break from the monotony inside the camp where hundreds of people displaced by Typhoon Haiyan lived in temporary shelters. Thousands of Filipinos are still displaced because of Haiyan and typhoons in 2014. The Global Climate Risk Index of 2015 ranked the Philippines as the country most affected by weather-related disasters including intensifying storms, floods and heatwaves. #everydayclimatechange #everydayeverywhere #philippines #typhoonhaiyan #globalwarming #displacement #cop21 #reportage #coleenjose #aftermath

A photo posted by Everyday Climate Change (@everydayclimatechange) on

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Blizzard of 2015: No More Buying Time

With warmer ocean temperatures fueling the storm, the Blizzard of 2015 bears the fingerprints of climate change.

Centrist politicians and pundits like to say, hey, I'm no climate science denier, and we should cut carbon pollution, but can't we just build this one more pipeline?

Nope. The wolves of climate change are at our doorstep. Good luck bargaining with them.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The State of the Union at 3am is Sweaty

Nest ThermostatI'm not saying you should keep your house at 45 degrees, but how do most Americans sleep at night with their house so warm at 68 degrees? I thought we all looked forward to cool summer nights - why do we keep our homes set at a warm summer night in the wintertime?

My wife and I bought a very warm comforter (only a few dollars more than a light comforter) and were saving big on our gas bill by letting our home cool off to around 60 at night. We raised it back to 68 after having our baby, but quickly tired of the sweat-drenched nights. Once she hit 8 months old, we bumped it back down to 65, about as high as we can tolerate.

But it's hard to blame people with programmable thermostats being so complicated to use (the model in my bedroom has 18 button)s. Next-generation thermostats like Nest lower the technological bar, but they're really expensive. Maybe we should subsidize those instead of shoveling taxpayer money at new climate-disrupting, water-polluting fracked gas pipelines that won't solve our energy problems?