Yale University Research: Majorities in Every U.S. County Support Teaching Children About Climate Change

The massive corporate propaganda effort in the U.S. has lead to the country being off the international spectrum in illogical climate denialism. Still, it’s encouraging to see this sort of evidence as the threat of climate change hangs over humanity.

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The fact that climate change is happening and human-caused is not a matter of scientific debate: many studies have examined climate scientists’ conclusions about global warming and have found scientific agreement similar to the level of consensus that smoking causes cancer (i.e., above 95%).

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Many teachers, however, need training and support to implement climate change science standards in their classrooms. Recent research published in Science found that many teachers are themselves not certain about climate change. For example, only 30% of middle school and 45% of high school science teachers understand the extent of the scientific consensus. Furthermore, of the educators who do teach climate change, many suggest the cause is ambiguous or uncertain to their students, while 30% actually incorrectly teach that global warming is naturally caused. Correcting the misperception about the scientific consensus that global warming is happening and human-caused is a key educational challenge for both teachers and students.

Shell Also Knew About Climate Change Decades Ago

Fossil fuels corporations such as Shell and Exxon studied climate change because there was a realization among them that they were causing it. The new documents also reveal that Shell predicted that it might be sued for this cover up, which is another indication that shows their responsibility for causing the emerging climate crisis seen today.

In response to a Dutch journalist publishing a trove of internal Shell documents revealing what Shell knew about climate change and its risks to both the world’s people and the company’s profit, Greenpeace USA Acting Climate Director Naomi Ages said,

“In 2015, we learned that Exxon knew decades ago about the severity of climate change and hid that knowledge from the public and shareholders. Now, we know that Shell knew too and even anticipated public backlash. Just like Exxon, Shell peddled scientific uncertainty and dragged its feet, maximizing its profits while the climate crisis grew. What makes Shell different from Exxon, is that Shell predicted that it would get sued over this – and, just like climate change, it was right about that too.

“These new reports increase the likelihood of more legal actions against Shell and bolster pending climate lawsuits. It’s time for Shell to reckon with the global costs of catastrophic climate change for which it is responsible.”

World Added Much More Solar Power Capacity Than Fossil Fuel Capacity in 2017

It’s somewhat encouraging evidence as the existential threat of climate change has been continually becoming worse in recent years. Some people still fail to view climate change as a serious threat, which is one of the unfortunate aspects about this crazy world.

The world installed a record 98 gigawatts of new solar capacity, far more than the net additions of any other technology — renewable, fossil fuel or nuclear.

Solar power also attracted far more investment, at $160.8 billion, up 18 per cent, than any other technology. It made up 57 per cent of last year’s total for all renewables (excluding large hydro) of $279.8 billion, and it towered above new investment in coal and gas generation capacity, estimated at $103 billion.

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“The extraordinary surge in solar investment shows how the global energy map is changing and, more importantly, what the economic benefits are of such a shift,” said UN Environment head Erik Solheim. “Investments in renewables bring more people into the economy, they deliver more jobs, better quality jobs and better paid jobs. Clean energy also means less pollution, which means healthier, happier development.”

Overall, China was by far the world’s largest investing country in renewables, at a record $126.6 billion, up 31 per cent on 2016.

There were also sharp increases in investment in Australia (up 147 per cent to $8.5 billion), Mexico (up 810 per cent to $6 billion), and in Sweden (up 127 per cent to $3.7 billion).

A record 157 gigawatts of renewable power were commissioned last year, up from 143 gigawatts in 2016 and far out-stripping the net 70 gigawatts of fossil-fuel generating capacity added (after adjusting for the closure of some existing plants) over the same period.

“The world added more solar capacity than coal, gas, and nuclear plants combined,” said Nils Stieglitz, President of Frankfurt School of Finance & Management. “This shows where we are heading, although the fact that renewables altogether are still far from providing the majority of electricity means that we still have a long way to go.”

Some big markets, however, saw declines in investment in renewables. In the United States, investment dropped 6 per cent, coming in at $40.5 billion. In Europe there was a fall of 36 per cent, to $40.9 billion, with big drops in the United Kingdom (down 65 per cent to $7.6 billion) and Germany (down 35 per cent to $10.4 billion). Investment in Japan slipped 28 per cent to $13.4 billion.

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Global investments in renewable energy of $2.7 trillion from 2007 to 2017 (11 years inclusive) have increased the proportion of world electricity generated by wind, solar, biomass and waste-to-energy, geothermal, marine and small hydro from 5.2 per cent to 12.1 per cent.

The current level of electricity generated by renewables corresponds to about 1.8 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide emissions avoided — roughly equivalent to those produced by the entire U.S. transport system.

Latest Data Confirm the Increased Frequency of Extreme Weather Events Over the Past 3 Decades

A direct consequence of climate change.

New data show that extreme weather events have become more frequent over the past 36 years, with a significant uptick in floods and other hydrological events compared even with five years ago, according to a new publication, “Extreme weather events in Europe: Preparing for climate change adaptation: an update on EASAC’s 2013 study” by the European Academies’ Science Advisory Council (EASAC), a body made up of 27 national science academies in the European Union, Norway, and Switzerland.

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Globally, according to the new data, the number of floods and other hydrological events have quadrupled since 1980 and have doubled since 2004, highlighting the urgency of adaptation to climate change. Climatological events, such as extreme temperatures, droughts, and forest fires, have more than doubled since 1980. Meteorological events, such as storms, have doubled since 1980.

These extreme weather events carry substantial economic costs. In the updated data, thunderstorm losses in North America have doubled — from under US$10 billion in 1980 to almost $20 billion in 2015.

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The update also reviews evidence on key drivers of extreme events. A major point of debate remains whether the Gulf Stream, or Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), will just decline or could ‘switch off’ entirely with substantial implications for Northwest Europe’s climate. Recent monitoring does suggest a significant weakening but debate continues over whether the gulf stream may “switch off” as a result of the increased flows of fresh water from northern latitude rainfall and melting of the Greenland icecap. EASAC notes the importance of continuing to use emerging oceanographic monitoring data to provide a more reliable forecast of impacts of global warming on the AMOC. The update also notes the recent evidence which suggests an association between the rapid rate of Arctic warming and extreme cold events further south (including in Europe and the Eastern USA) due to a weakened and meandering jet stream.

Possibility of Stopping Hurricanes Using Air Bubbles

As 2017 showed, hurricanes can do immense damage. The effects of climate change will also make hurricanes worse, as warmer air means more water vapor, and more water vapor translates to more superstorms. It’s uncertain how much using air bubble technology would actually help, but there might be beneficial truth to using it.

Tropical hurricanes are generated when masses of cold and warm air collide. Another essential factor is that the sea surface temperature must be greater than 26.5°C.

“Climate change is causing sea surface temperatures to increase,” says Grim Eidnes, who is a Senior Research Scientist at SINTEF Ocean. “The critical temperature threshold at which evaporation is sufficient to promote the development of hurricanes is 26.5°C. In the case of hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria that occurred in the Gulf of Mexico in the period August to September 2017, sea surface temperatures were measured at 32°C”, he says.

So to the big question. Is it possible to cool the sea surface to below 26.5°C by exploiting colder water from deeper in the water column?

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Researchers at SINTEF now intend to save lives by using a tried and tested method called a “bubble curtain”.

The method consists of supplying bubbles of compressed air from a perforated pipe lowered in the water, which then rise, taking with them colder water from deeper in the ocean. At the surface, the cold water mixes with, and cools, the warm surface water.

SINTEF believes that the Yucatan Strait will be an ideal test arena for this technology.

“Our initial investigations show that the pipes must be located at between 100 and 150 metres depth in order to extract water that is cold enough” says Eidnes. “By bringing this water to the surface using the bubble curtains, the surface temperature will fall to below 26.5°C, thus cutting off the hurricane’s energy supply”, he says, before adding that “This method will allow us quite simply to prevent hurricanes from achieving life-threatening intensities”.

Study Finds Warm Arctic Linked to Colder Northeastern U.S. Winters

This is pretty definitive evidence that warmer Arctic temperatures have a correlation with more extreme weather.

Scientists from Rutgers University-New Brunswick and Atmospheric and Environmental Research (AER) have linked the frequency of extreme winter weather in the United States to Arctic temperatures.

Their research was published today in Nature Communications.

“Basically, this confirms the story I’ve been telling for a couple of years now,” said study co-author Jennifer Francis, research professor of marine and coastal sciences in Rutgers’ School of Environmental and Biological Sciences. “Warm temperatures in the Arctic cause the jet stream to take these wild swings, and when it swings farther south, that causes cold air to reach farther south. These swings tend to hang around for awhile, so the weather we have in the eastern United States, whether it’s cold or warm, tends to stay with us longer.”

The research is timely given the extreme winter of 2017-2018, including record warm Arctic and low sea ice, record-breaking polar vortex disruption, record-breaking cold and disruptive snowfalls in the United States and Europe, severe “bomb cyclones” and costly nor’easters, said Judah Cohen, director of seasonal forecasting at AER and lead author of the study.

In their study, Cohen, Francis and AER’s Karl Pfeiffer found that severe winter weather is two to four times more likely in the eastern United States when the Arctic is abnormally warm than when the Arctic is abnormally cold. Their findings also show that winters are colder in the northern latitudes of Europe and Asia when the Arctic is warm.

Paradoxically, the study shows that severe winter weather in the western United States is more likely when the Arctic is colder than normal.

The researchers found that when Arctic warming occurred near the surface, the connection to severe winter weather was weak. When the warming extended into the stratosphere, however, disruptions of the stratospheric polar vortex were likely. These disruptions usually cause severe winter weather in mid- to late winter and affect large metropolitan centers of the northeastern United States.

“Five of the past six winters have brought persistent cold to the eastern U.S. and warm, dry conditions to the West, while the Arctic has been off-the-charts warm,” Francis said. “Our study suggests that this is no coincidence. Exactly how much the Arctic contributed to the severity or persistence of the pattern is still hard to pin down, but it’s becoming very difficult to believe they are unrelated.”

Potentially Suing the Oil Industry for “First Degree Murder”

The case for this is that the oil industry was a major contributor to climate change, and primarily human-caused climate change is already causing major problems. One of those problems already being caused is the severity of extreme weather increasing — the NOAA reports a record $306 billion in damages over 2017 from natural disasters. This is an amount equal to about $2900 per family in the U.S., and the costs (including human lives) will be far worse in the future unless climate change is seriously addressed.

There is also a large corporate propaganda effort that promotes irrational climate change denial. This is striking when it’s considered that even Exxon Mobil admits on its website that climate change is real and is from the same greenhouse gas emissions that has been Exxon’s business. Even the Pentagon admits that climate change is real, referring to it openly as a national security threat, which it is, and it may be the most significant long-term national security threat.

And on the article, Schwarzenegger may have been a terrible governor of California in many ways, but credit should be given where it’s justifiably due. The potential environmental catastrophe needs much more awareness than it currently has.

Arnold Schwarzenegger isn’t one to shy away from a challenge, and this time he’s given himself a particularly intimidating task.

During a live recording of Politico’s Off Message podcast, the former California governor and global environmental activist said he is gearing up to sue the oil industry for “knowingly killing people all over the world.”

Like many other environmental advocates, Schwarzenegger sees a direct parallel between what happened with the tobacco industry and what is now happening with the oil industry.

“This is no different from the smoking issue. The tobacco industry knew for years and years and years and decades, that smoking would kill people, would harm people and create cancer, and were hiding that fact from the people and denied it,”  Schwarzenegger said.

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Schwarzenegger added that “if you walk into a room and you know you’re going to kill someone, it’s first degree murder. I think it’s the same thing with oil companies.”

Proving in the court of law that these oil companies willfully and malignantly killed innocent people will be quite difficult, and Schwarzenegger understands that he’s up against a very rich and powerful adversary.