I’d rather have a border wall than the Green New Deal

Let me be clear: I think the border wall is a terrible idea. It is a huge waste of money and has become symbolic of values which completely contravene American ideals. It even contravenes “conservative ideals”. Do you think Ronald Reagan would have liked a border wall? I strongly doubt it.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has called fighting climate change her generation’s “WWII”. I agree. In part. If we don’t prevent catastrophic climate change, our way of life could cease to exist. Which would be bad. Note however that a potentially mortal condition says nothing about the effort needed to cure the problem. If you get rabies and don’t treat it, you will die. 100%. The cure, however, is a few shots and then problem solved.

Preventing catastrophic climate change is obviously gonna take a bit more than a rabies shot, but a WWII style mobilization? This is what Green New Deal (GND) supporters want you to swallow whole, but is their solution the best, or even a credible, way to solve the problem?

If we want to save the planet, first we should get the objective straight. The strict version of the GND espoused by the Sunrise Group states: “We’re fighting for a just transition to 100% renewable energy within 12 years — the time frame set by the world’s leading climate scientists”. 12 years (ie 2030) is indeed the time frame set out by scientists in a UN report. But not for 100% renewable energy. It’s the time frame to cut emissions by 45% from 2010 levels. It does not say our energy sources need to be renewable. If someone developed a cheap way to reduce 95% of coal and tailpipe emissions, then 2030 deadline solved. But if you’re a hardcore GNDers: not renewable, verboten! It is likely that renewable sources like wind and solar are among our best options to solve climate change. But it is also likely that some forms of pollution reduction or a 5% dirty fuel could help. If you truly fighting a war, you do not remove these options for fixations on some airy ideal.

But it gets worse (the GND that is). Even if we don’t limit our choice of technologies, getting emissions down by 45% in 12 years is going to be a formidable task on a tight schedule. It would make sense to concentrate our efforts on the goal and not waste energy on other things. Like jobs. Should we, as a society, try to make sure people have means of support? Yes absolutely. But that has nothing to do with climate change. If the best way to solve climate change involves creating jobs, great. If it involves job destruction, then…let’s worry about jobs in 2031. Or in separate legislation. Because if we don’t solve the climate problem and fry the planet, jobs really aren’t gonna matter. Ditto for “to promote justice and equity by stopping current, preventing future, and repairing historic oppression of……….”. An admirable goal which we should be thinking about as a society. But separately, in a way which doesn’t distract from the climate goal. When we fought WWII we devoted all our efforts to solving the problem, defeating Germany and Japan. We did not say hmm Stalin’s gonna be a problem down the line, so we might as well go after him too. And Franco. Had we done so, it would have been catastrophic. The full-fledged GND runs the same risk.

It gets even worse. War sometimes requires questionable weapons and in times of great peril, foregoing them is a very difficult decision — think the bomb. The GNDers go one step further, however, and want to marginalize very effective, very non-WMD type pollution control mechanisms, i.e. prices and markets. The latest from AOC softens the stance and allows for a small, non-central role to carbon taxes. But as detailed here, it should be front and center.

What little progress we have made on controlling emissions to date has been driven ALMOST EXCLUSIVELY by markets and prices. This has been lucky: the cost of wind, solar and gas has gone down, while the cost of coal has stayed stagnant. Had this been reversed, we would be polluting more. However there’s a very easy way to make markets work: add the cost of pollution back into the price. This can be in the form of tradable emissions permits (cap and trade) or carbon taxes. Both work and the nice thing is that you can set them to levels consistent with the 45% goal and just let the (much maligned) human self-interest work. Uneconomic polluting energy sources become unprofitable so self-interested corporations shut them down. Conversely, technologies which can cut emissions become very profitable, so greedy corporations rush to invest in them.

Don’t believe prices work? Think back to 2008. Gas prices skyrocketed. Consumers responded by foregoing SUVs and moving closer to work. US consumption of petroleum products dropped by 5.8%, the largest annual decline since 1980 (any guesses what happened then?). And because prices work, carbon taxes work. And cap and trade works.

The real elephant in the room — which would ground the GND even were it at all realistic — is that the US is becoming less of the emissions elephant in the room. That would be China, India and the developing world. It will be difficult to get them to get their emissions down. But not impossible. Rising middle classes are clamoring for less pollution and governments are at least paying lip service to cuts.. An efficient market solution in the US could serve as a beacon. A hugely expensive set of bloated blathering policies at cross-purposes to the actual solution will just create confusion.

Silver bullet efficient clean technologies would make the task of climate control much eaiser. It has been suggested that the real spending should not be on jobs etc, but on researching the type of cheap clean technologies which would lessen the burden on the third-world. While some of the large dollops of government spending might end up like Solyndra, given the seriousness of the problem that’s probably an acceptable cost (as mentioned before, setting the cost of pollution high enough through market mechanisms will also have this positive effect on research).

Which leads us to the Real Green Deal:

  1. Enact robust carbon taxes and/or a cap and trade system without loopholes
  2. Get rid of dirty energy subsidies (these do the exact opposite of what carbon taxes do) and other regulations/barriers which entrench traditional energy sources
  3. Use some of the carbon tax/cap and trade revenue on clean technology research (yes revenue not huge bloated costs we need a class war to fund)
  4. Share technology and create incentives for the developing world to join a system of carbon taxes/tradable emissions permits

Simple. Efficient. No class war needed.

Not the stuff to inspire gaggles of hyperventilating volunteers to support your next campaign. But it’s a plan that actually might work. 3) will be the hardest and not under our control. But without 1) and 2) to set an example, 3) will be much less likely.

That Silly Wall

In the hopefully unlikely case that the border wall does get built, I expect a wiser future generation (or the next administration) to tear it down and the history books will record how silly it was. Silly, but correctable. If, however, we let the GND misdirect our climate efforts and fry the planet, we may not have the luxury of history books anymore.

It’s Not the Weather

Photo courtesy of Weather Underground, https://dsx.weather.com/util/image/w/eriesnow12_0.jpg?v=at&w=485&h=273&api=7db9fe61-7414-47b5-9871-e17d87b8b6a0

Right now, almost the entire United States is engulfed in what the meteorologists keep calling an “arctic blast.” I keep hearing people, including our president, making snide comments about “global warming,” and how it can’t be real because if it were, it wouldn’t be so cold.

If you are one of these people, and you are trying to be funny, then consider this my sarcastic chuckle in your general direction…ha, ha. Nice one.

If you actually believe that cold weather means climate change can’t be real, I invite you to keep reading. I don’t expect the next few minutes will change your attitude, but it may at least give you something to think about.

First of all, environmentalists and scientists don’t use the term “global warming.” We call it climate change, because it is a much more accurate term. Weather describes the atmospheric conditions on a particular day. For example, today, in McKinney, Texas, (where I live,) it is cloudy and 45 degrees. That is the weather. Weather is what the meteorologist on TV every night predicts for you, so that you know if you need a coat or umbrella when you leave the house tomorrow. You sometimes hear or see climate reports when they mention the normal high temperature for a particular day. This is often the only reference you will see to climate during a weather forecast.

Climate, by contrast, is an accumulation of data that describes typical weather conditions over an extended period of time. Climate encompasses temperature, but it also describes the frequency and type of precipitation events, or how humid or arid a particular area is. McKinney, for example, is in a humid subtropical climate region, which means we typically have hot, humid summers, and relatively mild winters. Climate is a general description of general weather patterns over decades. Climate does change naturally over long periods of time. Weather, by contrast, can change in a matter of hours.

When we are looking at the phenomenon of climate change, we are looking at a trend where, yes, temperatures are rising globally. This means that average temperatures measured across the globe show a general trend toward getting warmer over time. When you hear that 2017 is the warmest year on record, for example, it doesn’t mean that the temperature was necessarily hotter everywhere in the world over the course of the year. It means that global averages show a trend toward warming.

Temperature changes can have a drastic effect on weather. As a result of climate change, we can expect to see some areas of the world get significantly more or less rainfall, depending on where they are located geographically. This could have dramatic effects on all of us, as these pattern changes can effect our food supply on a global scale. Climate change may not just make us sweat more and melt some ice on the poles. It could also decrease the amount of food available to feed our rapidly growing population.

Some people have no problem accepting that climate change exists. They instead question whether or not climate change is a result of human activity. If you take the time to look at the data, which few people do, you would see that global average temperatures have risen at a faster rate since the Industrial Revolution than they did in previous times. True, not all data that we have regarding climate patterns over thousands of years comes from scientific observation in real time. A great deal of what we know about the changes that the Earth’s climate has undergone throughout the millennia comes from ice cores in the arctic and geologic records. The science behind these methods is fascinating and sound though, if you will take the time to look into it.

Personally, I believe in the anthropogenic origins of climate change. I do believe that our reliance on fossil fuels is what is causing the oceans to become warmer, and hurricanes to become stronger, and even winter storms to dump more snow on us. I also believe that this will continue to worsen if we don’t do something about it now. The data supports these conclusions.

If you don’t believe as I, and most of the scientific community, do, then I hope you will consider one question…

Let’s say that we cut greenhouse gas emissions. Let’s just say, for the sake of argument, that we stop burning fossil fuels, and releasing tons of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, ozone, and other harmful gasses and particulates into the air in the process. What are you afraid of? Do you think clean air will hurt you? (It won’t, I promise!)

I understand that the world currently runs on fossil fuels, but it’s time to make the change to more sustainable fuels that pollute less than coal and petroleum. The technology is out there. It doesn’t have to hurt our wallets or kill industry. It doesn’t have to collapse our economy and force us into a recession. Alternate fuels can be the next economic boom. All we have to do is get moving.

Maybe, in a few years, solar or wind power will keep you warm during the next arctic blast, if it isn’t already.

Communities decide: renewables or fracking?

Over £1 billion could be paid out by frackers to appease local communities in the UK. Yet Rebecca Cooke finds that wind and solar offers local people a better return …

A community benefits package — recently agreed by the United Kingdom Onshore Operators Group, the shale gas industry trade body — could see over £1 billion paid out to communities if shale gas development takes off.

In June, the industry promised to pay individual communities £100,000 upfront as a one-off payment in compensation for gas drilling in their area, regardless of whether gas is found or not.

And if gas is found, host communities could receive 1 percent of the overall profits of the sale of the gas. Put the two together and the total could reach £1.1 billion.

It’s a figure designed to appease host communities such as Balcombe in Sussex, which have thus far been incredibly vocal about their anger, with protests and petitions to try and put a stop to shale exploration.

But does it truly compensate for the exploratory drilling that will sprawl across the south of England? Entire towns and villages will potentially be inconvenienced with fracking rigs and wells — without any security of a promise of long-term benefits.

By contrast Good Energy, the solar farm developer and energy supplier, offers as standard £1,000 a year for every MW of capacity. For a 25MW solar farm, that means £25,000 annually for 30 years as a community benefit.

With long-term financial reward, Councils can effectively plan to improve libraries, parks and public amenities — as opposed to struggling to apportion a one-off lump sum across a range of community projects.

“Renewables’ long-term benefits and the prospect of a clean, reliable energy infrastructure outweigh the compensation being offered by shale gas companies.”

The planned 30-year annual benefit of £40,000 for the community in Wroughton — where the UK’s largest solar farm is to be built — totals £1.2 million, ten times the one-off fracking payment. This provides long-term financial stability for the community and makes planning easier for Councils.

Wind farms offer a similar standard annual benefit, again for the 30-year term. In addition, wind farm developers RES offer an energy bill discount to the 300 homes closest to the wind farm. They get up to £108 off of their energy bill each year.

The community benefits from shale gas will be highest during the first decade, when production it at its peak. After that, the percentage of profits going to communities is likely to decrease significantly. With a solar or wind farm they would be facing a further 20 years of benefits.

It is these long-term benefits and the prospect of a clean, reliable energy infrastructure that outweigh the compensation being offered by shale gas companies: another reason it’s likely to take a bit more than 1 per cent to quiet the outrage of communities like Balcombe.

This article originally appeared on in the December 2013 issue of The Ecologist.

Why your pension fund may be causing climate change

$7.2 trillion could be lost from portfolios by 2100 if no further action is taken on climate change. Image: REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay

Sébastien Godinot, Economist, WWF European Policy Office

If you got an unexpected windfall, what would you do? Would you donate to charity, buy a flashy car, or splash out on a piece of art?

What we spend money on has consequences. But while we are usually aware of what our own capital is used for, how about the money we put into pension funds, or to insurance companies?

There are few requirements for pension funds and insurance companies — known as ‘asset owners’ — to reveal what they are investing in. And there is no obligation for them to ensure their investments are in sustainable sectors either.

What this means is that your pension money could be invested in, say, a coal plant — a highly polluting energy source and a slowing industry — and you would never know it.

At WWF, we believe that asset owners have a crucial contribution to make towards the Paris Agreement’s climate targets — keeping global temperature rise to well under 2°C and aiming for 1.5°C.

After all, while climate change is primarily a terrible threat to our existence, it is also a major financial risk; $7.2 trillion could be lost in value from financial portfolios globally by 2100 if no further action is undertaken on climate change.

At WWF, we want asset owners to invest in renewable energy and the green economy rather than in sectors which cause climate change, like fossil fuels. Wind and solar energy offer a huge investment opportunity; they are rapidly growing industries with dropping prices and steady returns.

Some progress has already begun. Earlier this year, WWF published research based on data from 29 of Europe’s major asset owners, mainly pension funds. We found that nearly all of them had cut public equity funding to coal mining. However many of them were still investing in coal power and not focusing enough on the potential of renewable energy.

Those findings were only a fraction of the whole picture. We actually approached over 80 asset owners, many of whom agreed to test whether their investments are compatible with a scenario that keeps temperature rise below 2°C, as per the Paris Agreement. However, they were not obliged to disclose the results — and it’s this lack of mandatory disclosure that makes it challenging to hold asset owners accountable for their investments.

Bringing asset owners in line with the Paris Agreement starts with more transparency. The EU and Member States should require investors to assess and publish their climate alignment, as recommended by the G20 Financial Stability Board’s Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD). Of course, asset owners can — and should — also lead the way, by assessing their climate alignment on a voluntary basis and disclosing the findings.

Aligning investments with the Paris Agreement, studies show, is the best way for asset owners to safeguard the money and interests of their members and beneficiaries — over time, this is the surest way to better returns. Asset owners should acknowledge this officially and act upon it. For example, by developing tools to help them to set climate science based targets, and by using their power as shareholders to push companies in their portfolio to adopt strategies in line with the Paris Agreement.

Doing all of this will help fight climate change and protect us from future climate-related costs, but it will also guarantee a better and safer return on investment.

In the long-term, that’s far better than a sudden windfall.

Have you read?

  • What is the Paris Agreement on climate change?
  • The US withdrawing from the Paris Agreement might not be as bad as you think, thanks to renewable energy
  • Could carbon pricing be the answer to climate change?

Originally published at www.weforum.org.

The Clothing That Will Reduce Your Personal Carbon Emissions

In a world where C02 levels are hazardous, Stomata leverages our personal impact through wearables. It is the only organization using anionic resin materials to lower carbon emissions in a more personal way. This empowers individuals that invest in this long lasting clothing because they can get a sense of their own impact on the world’s greenhouse gases.

In 2027, due to the increasing number of deaths from carbon dioxide, an extremist environmental group has a majority in both the house and senate. Cities like San Francisco are finding ways to lower their carbon emissions by 200%. To accomplish this, companies that are developing alternatives to trees receive incentives like tax reductions. As the founder of Stomata, I was inspired by my research in 2017 of environmental, social, and technological trends that have taken place in the past ten years.

Environmental trends, like the rise of C02 in our air have affected our way of life in 2027. Carbon dioxide levels increased over the past 20 years due to human induced impacts. The number one contributor to greenhouse gas emissions came from electricity and heat production taking up about 25% of the overall emissions in 2010. This was a byproduct of coal powered energy and heating, whereas nuclear energy released less greenhouse gases. The second most damaging sector in 2010 accounting for 24% of the overall emissions was the agricultural industry and deforestation. Over the years, the climate continued to deteriorate, and in 2026 world wide disease spread from poor air quality.

As the world got warmer, vegetarianism and veganism was on the rise. This life style change was often caused by a combination of environmental concerns with meat industries, concern for animal cruelty, and the benefits of non-meat diets on a person’s overall health. In 2025, almost 30% of the United States population had become vegetarian and 15% had switched to vegan diets. This often coincided with people wanting to reduce their waste produced overall.

The Zero Waste Movement was brought up by a few, trailblazing women that wanted to take control of what they put in their body, what they surround themselves with, and how they affect the environment. The focus of this movement was creating the least amount of waste as possible by using only reusable or compostable items. This includes bamboo toothbrushes, shampoo bars, and lots of mason jars. Due to social media platforms like Youtube, this movement has made waves since it first started. Similar to Stomata, it’s getting people to think about the environment on a personal level. This movement deeply inspired me back in 2018, and I made small changes that reduced my waste by around 60% by 2019.

Another trend that helped lead to the creation of Stomata was the science of carbon sequestration and the use of an anionic resin to take in C02 by Klaus Lackner of Arizona State University and the Center for Negative Carbon Emissions. They mainly used the anionic resin for large machines that were in more open areas rather than cities. In 2025, I was able to collaborate with Lackner. I used my interdisciplinary design skills and my personal commitment to bettering the environment along side Klaus Lacker, to create a more personal product with this material that can benefit those living in cities all over the world.

Stomata merges the need for less greenhouse gas emissions with current technology to create carbon emission reducing clothing. This clothing empowers those who wear it to take charge of their environmental impact. When the clothing is worn, it absorbs C02. After a few wears, the carbon can be taken out by a reasonably wind turbine-sized machine that submerges the clothing under a liquid that is able to capture and hold the carbon. The owner of the clothing can then take the liquid to their neighborhood Carbon Sequestration Collection Site or a Carbon Up-Cycling Site and have it transformed into building materials.

My inspiration for Stomata came from my walk to school. I lived in San Francisco’s SOMA (South of Market) District, and it was and still is an area filled with problems. One of it’s issues was having some of the worst air in the city. It was close to the freeway, and there wasn’t a lot of plant life. This led me to research the impact of city plants and even alternatives to trees. I thought it would be cool if people could become walking trees, cleaning the city as they go through their everyday tasks.

Finnish Reflection. International Impact

By Antonio Gallizio

There must be a marriage between future technologies and current marketability. Having recently had the opportunity to spend a significant amount of time both with the team and with our portfolio companies, I am more confident than ever in our ability, not only to drive change today, but to be better positioned than most to capitalize on the future technological innovations that are going to come in the next few decades.

As technology continues to evolve, opportunities that were once inconceivable become practical reality. At Loudspring, our companies successfully operate in an economy that is in transition from being a net consumption economy to one that is circular. The end of lifecycle for one service is just the beginning for another. We can see a tangible example of this with ResQ Club, who’s very business begins where a restaurant would normally turn towards the rubbish bin.

However, this is not the only type of transition that is happening.

Companies like Eagle Filters — into which Loudspring has recently exercised its option to increase ownership — are also a cornerstone of the transitional economy. Eagle Filters allows us to use our current infrastructure to generate more net power using less fossil fuels. Technologies like these which are often overlooked by both venture investors and the media are critical if the world is to limit greenhouse gas emissions to what would result in a two-degree warming scenario.

Innovation coupled with action is what will see the world reach its environmental goals. Loudspring operates in a marketplace where the main rival is complacency, the nature of our technologies is that they disrupt the current marketplace. Therefore, our acceptance of a new status quo — even if that is the adoption of our tech — would be hypocritical to the very ideals that have allowed us to be successful in the past. We must therefore be constantly on the lookout for what is to come.

Having the chance to get up and speak at The Sexy Truth Impact during my stay in Helsinki, I experienced first-hand the commitment of our shareholders to do more than simply watch their stock grow, but to be actively involved in what is going on. I met a number of really great people at this event who I am very proud to be working for through Loudspring.

I am also excited to re-affirm the commitment from Loudspring to adopt an international approach to its portfolio. Bringing our technologies to Africa (Nocart) or China (Enersize); the greatest net impact occurs when we are open to going to those places where the technology is needed the most.

The following short video was put together after a particularly interesting and exciting weekend spent in the Finnish Archipelago with the rest of the team for a strategy session. It really is a beautiful part of the world and I look forward to getting back there sometime very soon.

How to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle

Doesn’t it hurt a bit knowing that humans are at least partially responsible for the climate changes our planet is experiencing today, but we’re still not able to live up to our own expectations of making this country a better place for everyone. Though the bullet has already left the gun, we can still try to prevent more from happening by modifying our behaviors. One way we can make a difference is by adopting an eco-friendly lifestyle.

Adopting an eco friendly lifestyle isn’t always easy, however you can be proud of the efforts you’ve made to be just a little more productive. Green living means making daily lifestyle choices that lean toward sustainability and limiting your carbon footprint on the planet. Below is the list of simple eco-friendly adjustments we can make in our daily lives, which in turn can support the environment and your green lifestyle.

  • Energy conservation

Energy conservation is one of the most important things we all can do to reduce our carbon footprint. Leaving your electricals on standby needlessly uses up energy. Hit the off switch and you could see huge improvements, noticeably in your energy bills!

  • Ditch the plastic bags

Plastic seems to have found its way into every single aspect of our lives. However, giving it up isn’t as difficult as we might think. We all can carry one while shopping and buy fruit and vegetables loose. Say no to plastic in general.

  • Don’t Waste food

A lot of the waste takes place in supermarkets and restaurants, but you can help out and save money by only buying what you need (think two carrots instead of a bag), saving or freezing leftovers, and repurposing scraps.

  • Carpool

Carpooling saves gas which means fewer cars on the road, therefore less carbon emissions. Plus, it’ll keep you punctual and save the passengers from all the road rage that comes with fighting rush-hour traffic.

  • Unplug

If you really want to reduce your carbon footprint, you need to unplug your electronics. Electronic devices like televisions and battery chargers are known as vampire electronics because they suck energy even when not in use. Unplugging these electronics eliminates this waste. You can also cut the excess by plugging your electronics into a power strip and turning the strip off.

Decreasing your carbon footprint doesn’t have to be costly or time-consuming. Use these small ways to help the environment and you might save some money as well.

Beyond a Bi-Partisan framework of Complex Issues.

This is a first draft thread that admittedly needs to be reworked into a more normal/formal presentation. Some of the ideas are introduced but not expounded. Consider it an outline of a response to what I take to be a very ineffective but ubiquitous point of view from which we engage, understand and explain the many problems we are facing, and the solutions to those problems.
This started as a (hopefully) sharp response to yet another GOP pushback on a serious issue. They seem to think the battleground is now this #GreenNewDeal. In other circumstances such limited and small thinking is humorous. Like watching two children fight over something as if the entire world depended upon them having it their way. The funny thing being, the object of their fight, a cookie, a toy, is not only not the actual thing being fought over… but also, from an adult perspective, the battle is so small but so immense to the combatants in the moment. That is what provides the humor value. “A tempest in a teapot”. “Sound and fury signifying nothing”.

The “children” in this story are the political parties, who battle it out with an unshakable certainty they are right, and a pure resolve to beat the “other side” into agreeing with them about that “righteous truth”.

Meanwhile, real things with real consequences are happening, and demand a completely different level of attention. Time to grow up. That is the point of this bit. Attacking the Green New Deal as if it is the enemy is childish. And completely misses the point. IMO.

— — — — — — — — — A response to “The Facts” — — — — — — —

Quit focusing on the details of the #GreenNewDeal as if that is the field of battle. You (GOP Republicans) are trying to present a posture of “change” while wanting to change nothing that affects your world view and/or your (very limited) constituency.
There are real problems to solve.

All your facts and figures presented in this video are meaningless. It is like you’re calculating how many bottles of water are needed to throw on the forest fire before you’ll do anything. Meanwhile, the forest burns, & your calculations are already out of date.

I wish. I wish upon a star (that shows how hopeless we actually are) that you, GOP, GOP Senate, All so-called Political Leaders (this is not a partisan issue) would stop. Stop the shouting & the fighting to realize there is a real problem that requires real deep thinking & commensurate response.

Your toy gun solutions, designed to appear like something is happening, I mean you finally did admit the Climate is changing- hooray!, seem more purposed to distract than to understand, must less address, and lesser still to solve the problem.

source: http://news.stanford.edu/news/2014/october/images/14363-polariz_news.jpg

Here is how we will know that the ground of conversation has actually changed: When our (so-called) leaders, Like these SenGOP folk, but also Democrats, start talking in terms of We, & not Them. Even better, when the ideas & discussion are not stated in the contextual terms of “Republican or Democrat”. The scope of the problems that struggle with us transcend these inadequate frames of reference.

One of the GREAT deceptions we live within, It is the air we breathe, and the framework through which all of our most important issues are organized is the notion of “Bi-Partisan”. And worse…Dem vs Repub. As if these 2 POV encompassed the range of ways to frame & understand an issue. Daily, issues are presented as resolved if there is bi-partisan agreement, and fraught if only one party is advancing an idea.

This simplicity is a serious flaw in our ability to think. Much less “think differently”. Or as commonly said, “out of the box”.

No. The so-called BiPartisan solutions are simply the “box” that we must get out of if we are to in fact, and indeed to come to grips, in reality, with the magnitude of the issues that are before us. Climate change is a foundational one. And…. there are …So… Many…. Others.

So the #GreenNewDeal may be a pie in the sky contribution to the debate. Rather than engaging it as the target, how about engaging it as an idea…Not complete, certainly not perfect, but an attempt to wonder about the issue(s) in a different light.

Perhaps we will see something new. If we find ourselves, remarkably, willing to look at old, intractable things anew.

Lincoln’s great insight is always relevant at this point.

As our times are new, we must think anew. We must disenthrall ourselves from the dogmas of the quiet past. And so we may save ourselves.

It comes to this: think anew, together, or war.
We seem rather to be girding up for war.

Which reminds of another profoundly sad moment from Lincoln: “… and so the war came.”

We are at our own unique moment in time, standing at the edge of our own puzzling and difficult precipice, in this moment in time, facing choices no less consequential, though very different in content. The structure is all too familiar. 
Time to break free of the horrible bounds of the worn out bromides re history and actually learn something.

Because, increasingly, it is not a choice we get to make any more. The “history” of the last 30yrs, is now reifying & simplifying the options we have available, collapsing the range of choices into increasingly shrill and binary terms.

Now What? What’s next?

The ancient question of Hamlet, always relevant, comes to speak to us again: ‘To be or not to be….that is the question.”

It may be the question we have to grapple with is just this basic. That we have to answer, in a deep way we are unaccustomed to deal with, this very axiomatic question.

What is Next?

Depends on the answer we come up with.

— — — — —

the original thread https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1105903668455301120.html

Our warming winters — canary in the climate coal mine?

The warming of our planet is a very real issue, yet there are still many out there who are unwilling to accept the harsh reality of climate change. Professor Jonathan Martin from the University of Wisconsin-Madison provides yet another undeniable example of climatic shift, this time drawing upon the behaviour of cold air in the Northern Hemisphere from 69 years of data.

Deducing and understanding general climatic trends in the Earth’s atmosphere is extremely difficult. Our planet’s natural climate is governed by a multitude of factors all of which vary over time and space, often occurring in cycles. Adding in human interference from an ever-expanding population producing vast quantities of pollution only further complicates these natural processes. Finding a way to measure (and accurately diagnose) climate change is an essential challenge facing climatologists worldwide today.

66-year average DJF latitude (dashed line) of the -5˚C isotherm at 850 hPa from the NCEP Reanalysis data. Green shading indicates +/- 1˚ from that average while the solid blue (red) line represents the minimum (maximum) latitude of the -5˚C isotherm at each longitude over the time series. Yellow shading indicates regions in which the northward trend in latitude over the 66-year time series is significant above the 95%.

Careful monitoring of specific observed quantities has long been a primary means of assessing subtle changes in the climate system. Often, such scrutiny also leads to increased understanding of how (and why) the climate is changing. After analysing 69 winters’ worth of meteorological data, Professor Jonathan Martin has found irrefutable evidence for warming in the Northern Hemisphere, and suggested it is linked to both increased greenhouse gas concentrations and changes in the wintertime storm tracks.

The ‘lower tropospheric cold pool’ Though we all know that air gets colder as we move away from the equator, air temperature is also influenced by specific geographical area as well as elevation. Meteorologists use balloon-borne radiosondes (instruments carried by a balloon or other means to various levels of the atmosphere to transmit weather data by radio) to routinely take measurements further above the ground in the troposphere (0–10km), using standard air pressure levels rather than altitudes. To minimise the effects of surface level microclimates in his analysis, Prof Martin considered air temperatures at the 850 hPa (hectopascal) level — normally around 1.5 km above sea-level — for every day in the winter season, defined as from 1st December — 28th February each year. He simply calculated the area covered by air colder than a series of threshold temperatures (-5˚, -10˚, -15˚, -20˚, and -25˚C ), focusing most intensely on the outer boundary of -5˚C air. He referred to the areal extent of the -5˚C air as the “lower tropospheric cold pool”.

Professor Jonathan Martin has found irrefutable evidence
for warming in the Northern Hemisphere.

In context, the cold pool can be imagined as a ‘cap’ of air that sits above the Arctic (and Antarctic) region of the globe — a little like the icing on a Christmas pudding! Three different reanalysis datasets were used to measure the daily and seasonal extent of this cold pool: The National Centers for Environmental Prediction–National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCEP–NCAR) reanalysis, ERA-40, and the NCEP Climate Forecast System Reanalysis (CFSR). Atmospheric reanalyses are outputs from sets of models which consistently process huge amounts of raw climate data (both direct observations and remotely sensed measurements from satellites) to produce the best possible overall estimate. Though each of these data sets covered different periods of time, when the data overlapped the results were remarkably similar. By examining the available data back to the winter of 1948/49, Prof Martin came to a robust and reliable conclusion. As we might expect, his results are not great news.

Daily average area for DJF (1st December-28th February) in 2011–2012 (solid black line) and 2013–2014 (dashed black line). Thick blue line represents the 66-year daily average over DJF from the NCEP Reanalysis data. Grey shading indicates the +/-1 standard deviation of the daily average area.

The area of the ‘cold pool’ has significantly decreased over the last 69 years, by 4.74% to be precise. This seemingly small number is a huge area in reality (more than 3.3 million square kilometres, or 1.24 million square miles). To put these numbers in a clearer perspective, the cold pool is steadily shrinking by an area slightly larger than England every three years! Furthermore, the rate of decrease of the seasonal cold pool extent mirrors the rate of decrease of late winter Arctic sea ice, a well-regarded signal of global warming.

Storms on the horizon When examining the shape of the cold pool in more detail, Prof Martin found that there were large bulges of cold air over land masses. The cold pool shape changed the most over northwest Europe and western North America, suggesting that these regions experience the most variable winters.

The observed systematic shrinking of the lower tropospheric cold pool offers complimentary evidence that our planet is very much getting warmer and that there has not been a “global warming hiatus.

(a) Map of correlation between the daily average December 850 hPa temperature at each grid point (from 1948–2013) in the NCEP Reanalysis data to the daily time series of normalised Northern Hemisphere cold pool area for each December day in that interval. Magnitude of correlations significant at the 95% level are contoured and shaded every 0.05 beginning at -0.25. (b) For January days from 1949–2014. © For February days from 1949–2014.

He also discovered that there were only three areas in the Northern Hemisphere where the -5˚C boundary had systematically migrated closer to the North Pole over the 69 winters. Two of these warming ‘hotspots’ are localised around the ends of the two major winter storm tracks (narrow corridors where storms travel) in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. In fact, the contraction of the cold pool at these two locations accounts for around 50% of its total size decrease. A substantial body of research has concluded that these storm tracks are moving poleward due to global warming, and Prof Martin believes that this tendency has resulted in greater volumes of warm air being sent to high latitude during winter — contributing to the shrinkage of the cold pool.

Helpful anomalies Another way that Prof Martin shed a light on the changing size of the 850 hPa cold pool, was by analysing its most extreme behaviours. He compared the number of days it had been unusually large (at least two standard deviations greater in extent than the calendar day average), or unusually small (at least two standard deviations smaller than average). He found that across 69 years of data, 79.7% of all unusually small days occurred since 1990, and over 55.6% since 2000. In fact, the last time the Northern Hemisphere winter had an extreme cold day was 13th February 1994. Since then, the tally of extreme warm to extreme cold days has been a remarkable 191–0! This is strong evidence of a persistent global warming.

Prof Martin also observed how and where the -5˚C boundary shifted during these extreme events. The main finding was that during unusually cold winter days, cold air was always present across central and southern China. This hinted at a relationship between extreme Northern Hemisphere cold events and the intermittent cold surges of the East Asian Winter Monsoon (EAWM) which is currently being investigated. No such characteristic connection appears to be associated with extreme warm days.

So, what does Prof Martin’s research tell us? First and foremost, the observed systematic shrinking of the lower tropospheric cold pool offers complimentary evidence that our planet is very much getting warmer and that there has not been a “global warming hiatus” as has been suggested by skeptics. Secondly, the primary warming areas in the Northern Hemisphere appear to be intimately linked to the northward migration of the storm tracks, which is, itself, attributed to global warming. The feedback between the hemispheric warming and broad circulation changes arising from increased greenhouse gas concentrations is complex and sometimes counterintuitive. This only highlights the need for more research like that of Prof Martin to provide answers and solutions to this pressing global challenge.

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