Each of us can make a difference if we step up and try our best / Becoming Planet Citizens
GreenPolicy360 Archive Highlights 2018
GreenPolicy360 Siterunner: William Westermeyer writes of a science agency that was established thru the work of Congressman George E Brown, Congressman from East LA and a leader of California's initiatives in environmental science. Gingrich disbanded the US Office of Technology Assessment in the 1995, after its warning on climate change. Today, the science office to advise the president, Office of Science and Technology Policy also brought into existence by George Brown, is moribund with its science executive positions going unfilled. The president is on record saying he doesn't need the science... The nation, and world, heads into 2019 as science and guidance of visionary leaders are set aside.
On the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 8 Mission ...
December 24, 2018
Tough Climate Talks Wrap Up in Poland
Via the World Resources Institute / "After two bruising weeks, the world made just enough progress to set the Paris Agreement in motion... to submit climate commitments by 2020... to step up their ambitions... to articulate how their next climate national climate plans (INDCs) will respond to dire warnings of the latest IPCC Report... countries now have 'common guidelines' for how to report their progress... countries also agreed to regularly take stock of collective progress on curbing emissions, adapting to impacts, increasing and aligning investments, and addressing loss and damage."
International Climate (INDC) Progress
Record 415 investors managing over US $32 trillion called on world governments to:
• Achieve the Paris international Climate Agreement’s goals
• Accelerate private sector investment into the low carbon transition
• Commit to improve climate-related financial reporting
December 12, 2018
December 10, 2018
Countries at the global climate summit in Poland were asked to "welcome" the report put out by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which says governments around the world must take "rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society" to avoid disastrous levels of global warming.
The US and the three other nations voted against "welcoming" the measure.
December 5, 2018
Global carbon emissions reached record high in 2018
Washington Post today as nations hold climate talks in Poland... Latest evidence of the chasm between international goals for combating climate change and what countries are actually doing.
December 3, 2018
UN chief: Climate change is "most important issue we face"
KATOWICE, Poland — U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres issued a dramatic appeal to world leaders Monday to take the threat of global warming seriously and to act boldly to avert a catastrophic rise in temperatures before the end of the century.
Guterres, who spoke at the opening of the U.N. climate conference, called climate change "the most important issue we face."
"Even as we witness devastating climate impacts causing havoc across the world, we are still not doing enough, nor moving fast enough, to prevent irreversible and catastrophic climate disruption," Guterres told delegates from almost 200 countries who gathered in the city of Katowice… "In short, we need a complete transformation of our global energy economy, as well as how we manage land and forest resources."
Guterres also urged negotiators not to forget that the challenges they face pale in comparison to the difficulties climate change is already causing millions around the world whose homes and livelihoods are threatened by rising sea levels, drought and more powerful storms…
"This is the challenge on which this generation's leaders will be judged."
Arnold Schwarzenegger, the action film star and former governor of California, said the United States is "still in" the Paris accord to curb global warming despite U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to walk away from it. He told delegates on Monday that "America is more than just Washington or one leader."
Calling Trump "meshugge" — Yiddish for "crazy" — for deciding to withdraw from the Paris accord, Schwarzenegger insisted that the climate deal has widespread support at local and state levels in the U.S.
World Health Organization / Special report on health and climate change
"The most direct link between climate change and ill health is air pollution."
"Burning fossil fuels for power, transport and industry is the main source of the carbon emissions that are driving climate change and a major contributor to health-damaging air pollution, which every year kills over seven million people due to exposure inside and outside their homes," according to the report.
The report provides recommendations for governments on how to tackle the issue of climate change.
Those recommendations include identifying and promoting actions to reduce both carbon emissions and air pollution; mobilizing mayors and other subnational leaders to promote climate goals; engaging the health community in addressing climate change; and systematically tracking progress in health from such climate change mitigation...
Air Quality / Air Pollution
Particulate air pollution is the single greatest threat to human health globally.
Do You Know What You’re Breathing?
Act to measure the air pollution around you. Act to make a difference in the air you and your family breathe.
As climate change reports become increasingly dire, and as wildfires tear across the American West, and as trust in the federal government’s air quality oversight fades, thousands of people around the country are taking air measurements into their own hands.
Installed on a porch, a console table or hooked to a backpack, these small, sleek and increasingly inexpensive devices measure hyper-local air quality. They are marketed to the discerning and alarmed consumer. Some have begun to self-identify as “breathers.”
The Atmotube and PlumeLab’s Flow are small and meant to be carried around, testing the air as a person walks or bikes, helping people plan routes that avoid bad air. The Awair looks like an old-timey radio and sits on a counter to test indoor air. Aeroqual’s particulate monitor, one of the most advanced, looks like an enormous old-fashioned cellphone.
But the monitor most intriguing local government environmental protection agencies and civilians alike is PurpleAir. It hooks up outside, connects to Wi-Fi, feeds into a global network and creates something like a guerrilla air quality monitoring network....
"Humanity faces two imminent existential threats: environmental catastrophe and nuclear war. These were virtually ignored in the (US 2018 midterm election) campaign rhetoric and general coverage. There was plenty of criticism of the Trump administration, but scarcely a word about by far the most ominous positions the administration has taken: increasing the already dire threat of nuclear war, and racing to destroy the physical environment that organized human society needs in order to survive. These are the most critical and urgent questions that have arisen in all of human history. The fact that they scarcely arose in the campaign is truly stunning — and carries some important, if unpleasant, lessons about our moral and intellectual culture." -- Truthout, Noam Chomsky, November 2018
California on fire, US President & Secretary of Interior blame environmentalists
Stanford Earth System Science Professor: Atmospheric conditions for California wildfires are expected to worsen in the future because of the effects of climate change in California. "What we're seeing over the last few years in terms of the wildfire season in California [is] very consistent with the historical trends in terms of increasing temperatures, increasing dryness, and increasing wildfire risk". Other experts agree that global warming has a role in California's drought and extreme weather conditions...
Profound Environmental Oversight Change in U.S. House of Representatives
Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson (D–TX) is the presumed new chair of the House science committee, succeeding the retiring Representative Lamar Smith (R). In a statement released, Johnson said she would have three priorities “If I am fortunate enough to be elected chair.” One is ensuring “that the United States remains the global leader in innovation, which will require attention to a wide range of activities,” including supporting “a robust federally funded R&D enterprise,” and “defending the scientific enterprise from political and ideological attacks.” A second is addressing the “challenge of climate change, starting with acknowledging it is real.” The third is restoring “the credibility of the science committee as a place where science is respected and recognized as a crucial input to good policymaking.” It is not yet clear whether the new Democratic leadership of the House will allow the science panel chair to retain the power to unilaterally issue investigative subpoenas, which outgoing chair Smith used to demand information from climate scientists and others. If so, observers expect the panel to use that power to aggressively investigate a range of actions taken by President Donald Trump’s administration on climate, energy, and environmental policy.
(Via Science Magazine)
Eukaryotes ! the Earth BioGenome Project aims to sequence 1.5 million genomes
Science goes worldwide to the source to study biodiversity, evolutionary lineages, sequencing most known animal, plant, protozoan and fungal species collectively known as eukaryotes over the next decade...
“We are living in the middle of a mass extinction today, but none of us feel that urgency, or that it really is so.”
- -- Dr. Gerta Keller, Princeton University
LIVING PLANET REPORT
The Living Planet Report, World Wildlife Fund’s flagship publication released every two years, is a comprehensive study of trends in global biodiversity and health of the planet. Living Planet Report 2018 is the twelfth edition of the report and provides the scientific evidence to what nature has been telling us repeatedly: unsustainable human activity is pushing the planet’s natural systems that support life on Earth to the edge.
October 25, 2018
October 19, 2018
Turning the Toxic Tide Published collectively by the USA TODAY Network-Florida.
Special International Report Released, October 2018
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change / IPCC
Special Intergovernmental Report / Global Warming of 1.5 ºC
- (Summary-PDF) https://report.ipcc.ch/sr15/pdf/sr15_spm_final.pdf
LA Times / Trump administration gives itself an A plus grade on environment
- Few would agree with the self assessment
A recent essay in the Journal of the American Medical Assn. by Harvard University researchers concluded that Trump’s environmental agenda “is likely to cost the lives of over 80,000 U.S. residents per decade and lead to respiratory problems for many more than 1 million people.”
Yet the heads of Trump’s Task Force on Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks to Children characterized the administration this week as being singularly focused on keeping Americans, and particularly kids, safe from dangerous industrial practices.
The task force’s activities are “a continuation of the Trump administration’s commitment to preventing future generations from being affected by lead exposure,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, citing “great progress” in safeguarding public safety.
Andrew Wheeler, a former coal-industry lobbyist who now serves as the acting head of the Environmental Protection Agency, said reducing exposure to toxic lead “is a top priority for EPA.”
Not really. Not if you define “reducing exposure to toxic lead” as reducing exposure to toxic lead.
“Like meat bees on baloney, the pollution lobby has swarmed the Trump administration from its inception,” said Ken Cook, president of Environmental Working Group, an advocacy organization.
“No number of press releases and statements by Mr. Wheeler or others claiming environmental and public health protection is a ‘top priority’ for this administration can change that indisputable fact.”
The Trump administration depicting itself as a champion of the environment is as ludicrous as its recent attempts to portray itself as a defender of protections for people with preexisting medical conditions.
It’s neither. The opposite, in fact.
“This rhetoric from the Trump administration is just painting over its refusal to keep our kids safe, not just from lead poisoning, but from toxic air and water pollution,” said Melinda Pierce, legislative director of the Sierra Club.
“Propaganda won't disguise the reality that Trump is responsible for the most serious attacks on clean air and water by any administration ever.”
At the United Nations, the US president begins a speech to the gathered delegates -- and they laugh at his claims... They see a reality quite different than the president's claims and opinions of himself. The global community watches as a man who pulled the US out of a succession of international treaties and agreements announces his opposition to "globalism". International cooperation is going by the wayside. With war, threats, sanctions, tariffs, the US president is producing turmoil and costs that will last long after his administration is relegated to history.
- By Kieran Mulvaney / Washington Post Magazine
Experts have highlighted a clear legal challenge: international environment law is fragmented in many conventions and international declarations...
The Global Pact for the Environment will be the first international legally binding document, gathering and harmonizing all environmental laws in one single document. Its objective is to be an essential tool for governments to help them implementing environmental rules and principles in their own country.
Want environmental data? The largest collection of environmental data on Earth is available from the National Centers for Environmental Information. NCEI is now expanding through a partnership with Google.
Dataset Search has been created and launched as a dedicated search engine for environmental and social science datasets. The search engine enables easier, broader access to many NOAA datasets, such as weather, geophysical and ocean records, also wide-ranging economic data, earth science, global research from space, and climate impact mitigation solutions.
A/C Challenges Today & Tomorrow
WHAT is the single most effective way to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions? Go vegetarian? Replant the Amazon? The answer is: make air-conditioners radically better. On one calculation, replacing refrigerants that damage the atmosphere would reduce total greenhouse gases by the equivalent of 90bn tonnes of CO2 by 2050. Making the units more energy-efficient could double that. By contrast, if half the world’s population were to give up meat, it would save 66bn tonnes of CO2. Replanting two-thirds of degraded tropical forests would save 61bn tonnes. A one-third increase in global bicycle journeys would save just 2.3bn tonnes.
Air-conditioning is one of the world’s great overlooked industries. Automobiles and air-conditioners were invented at roughly the same time, and both have had a huge impact on where people live and work. Unlike cars, though, air-conditioners have drawn little criticism for their social impact, emissions or energy efficiency. Most hot countries do not have rules to govern their energy use.
Yet air-conditioning has done more than most things to benefit humankind....
Cutting the impact of cooling requires three things (beyond turning up the thermostat to make rooms less Arctic). First, air-conditioners must become much more efficient...
Next, manufacturers should stop using damaging refrigerants. One category of these, hydrofluorocarbons, is over 1,000 times worse than carbon dioxide when it comes to trapping heat in the atmosphere. An (updated) international deal to phase out these pollutants, called the Kigali amendment, will come into force in 2019. Foot-draggers should ratify and implement it; America is one country that has not done so.
Last, more could be done to design offices, malls and even cities so they do not need as many air-conditioners in the first place. More buildings should be built with overhanging roofs or balconies for shade, or with natural ventilation...
Global Climate Action Summit
- Green Politics in Action: California Builds Bridges to Extend International Cooperation
Visit the Nautilus, Live, Diving in the Pacific Ocean #PlanetCitizens
California Going Green
July 3, 2018 / Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) late last week requested approval from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) for four energy storage projects totaling about 2,270 MWh.
The announcement includes what is set to be the largest lithium-ion battery installation of its kind: a 300 MW, 1,200 MWh storage project owned by a subsidiary of Vistra Energy, Dynegy Marketing and Trade. The project would be three times the size of the current world record: Tesla's 100 MW, 129 MWh battery in Australia.
PG&E's procurement request is also a "landmark event" because the utility would own the 182.5 MW, 730 MWh project it is building with Tesla.
"I imagine this is the largest utility-owned, non-hydro, storage project in the world by far... Essentially, I see this as one of our largest utilities recognizing that the technology risk of battery storage is minimal and they have full faith that it can deliver the promised benefits at a competitive cost."
James Hansen’s groundbreaking testimony on global climate change
June 23rd, 2018 is thirty years to a day after Dr. Hansen's testimony in 1988
A retrospective look... "A Prophet of Doom Was Right About the Climate"
On June 23, 1988, in the sweltering heat, Hansen told a U.S. Senate committee he was 99 percent certain that the year’s record temperatures were not the result of natural variation. It was the first time a lead scientist drew a connection between human activities, the growing concentration of atmospheric pollutants, and a warming climate.
Read More @GreenPolicy360
"We know that the challenges facing us are interconnected... If we are to eliminate poverty and hunger ... the more than one billion people without electricity today need to gain access to it."
"But that energy should also be clean, by a reduction in the systematic use of fossil fuels," he added. "Our desire to ensure energy for all must not lead to the undesired effect of a spiral of extreme climate changes due to a catastrophic rise in global temperatures, harsher environments and increased levels of poverty."
"Surviving Victory": Moving Away from the Cost of "Perpetual War"
Shifting from Fossil Fuel Causes of Conflict to Renewable Energy Alternatives
New NASA Chief Says He Will Protect Climate Research
- After his previous rejection of climate science, Jim Bridenstine tells employees he will keep politics out of the agency’s work
(A)t a town hall meeting for NASA employees yesterday (May 17), where he was asked to clarify his previous comments denying human-caused climate change. Bridenstine acknowledged that humans play a significant role in global warming, using stronger language than he has in the past.
“I don’t deny the consensus that the climate is changing, in fact I fully believe and know that the climate is changing. I also know that we humans are contributing to it in a major way... Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, we’re putting it into the atmosphere in volumes we haven’t seen, and that greenhouse gas is warming the planet. That is absolutely happening, and we are responsible for it.”
Bridenstine, who is the first politician to run the agency, said he would keep politics out of NASA.
“We need to make sure that NASA is continuing to do the science, and we need to make sure that the science is void and free from political kind of rhetoric and to do that, what we do and have been doing,” he said.
Bridenstine said he would protect NASA’s climate research, which has repeatedly been targeted for cuts by the Trump administration and House Republicans.
Bridenstine said he would accept the recommendations of the decadal survey of earth science conducted by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. Those recommendations include a series of missions that would provide insight into all of the ways that humans are transforming the planet.
“NASA is the one agency on the face of the planet that has the most credibility to do the science necessary so we can understand it better than ever before,” Bridenstine said.
The decadal survey is designed to set the course for earth science research at NASA, NOAA and the U.S. Geological Survey...
- The Earth is not warming. The White Cliffs of Dover are tumbling into the sea and causing sea levels to rise. Global warming is helping grow the Antarctic ice sheet.
- Those are some of the skeptical assertions echoed by Republicans on the House Science, Space and Technology Committee yesterday (May 16).
- The lawmakers at times embraced research that questions mainstream climate science during a hearing on how technology can be used to address global warming.
- A leading climate scientist testifying before the panel spent much of the two hours correcting misstatements...
- Our Life-Supporting Earth Atmosphere
NOAA Science On a Sphere
Can the world kick its fossil-fuel addiction fast enough?
Planet Citizens in Action
- Planet Citizen|Bioneer, environmental activist, Leonardo DiCaprio joins w/ Planet.com to launch global coral watch & environmental protection.
- To gather a more comprehensive understanding of the condition of global reef ecosystems, we need a way to assess and monitor them on a large geographic scale.
- The Reefscape project aims to improve our understanding of the condition of coral reefs worldwide, while simultaneously developing spectral libraries needed to advance the development of a new satellite mission.
- New satellites, such as those from Planet (formerly Planet Labs), are, as of 2017, able to capture near-daily imagery of coral reefs worldwide. Planet’s high-resolution imagery of reef locations provides new imaging, science and understanding of the composition and extent of shallow, horizontally oriented reefs.
Reefs and Coral, sentinel species
Watching Blue Planet 2, an Amazing Journey
- "The World's First Professor of Planetary Health" / #PlanetaryHealth
GreenPolicy360 and our Associate StrategicDemands.com explore Earth's existential threat environment
- Escalating Risk of Use of Nuclear Weapons
- Warning to Today's Generation
- Planet Citizens, Look to the Future
Global Climate Action & United Nations, as the U.S. Retreats from International Cooperation
United States only country to refuse climate change agreement
- March 24, 2018 / Scientific American, Reprinted from Climatewire and E&E News
Threats of War from the US President
US Departure from International Cooperation:
"Sovereignty", the New Administration's Buzzword
The International Climate Agreement goes forward without the US
Nations around the world reject the US decision
Climate News / Climate Focus, Climate Politics
Battle in the US Congress between the Climate Denial faction and Science Advocates
- GreenPolicy360 and Strategic Demands Advance New Definitions of National Security
“We are living in the middle of a mass extinction today, but none of us feel that urgency, or that it really is so.”
-- Dr. Gerta Keller, Princeton University
The 8 Million+ Species We Don’t Know
By Edward O. Wilson
March 3, 2018 / New York Times
The most striking fact about the living environment may be how little we know about it. Even the number of living species can be only roughly calculated. A widely accepted estimate by scientists puts the number at about 10 million. In contrast, those formally described, classified and given two-part Latinized names (Homo sapiens for humans, for example) number slightly more than two million. With only about 20 percent of its species known and 80 percent undiscovered, it is fair to call Earth a little-known planet.
- To effectively manage protected habitats, we must also learn more about all the species of our planet and their interactions within ecosystems.
The best-explored groups of organisms are the vertebrates (mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fishes), along with plants, especially trees and shrubs. Being conspicuous, they are what we familiarly call “wildlife.” A great majority of other species, however, are by far also the most abundant. I like to call them “the little things that run the world.” They teem everywhere, in great number and variety in and on all plants, throughout the soil at our feet and in the air around us. They are the protists, fungi, insects, crustaceans, spiders, pauropods, centipedes, mites, nematodes and legions of others whose scientific names are seldom heard by the bulk of humanity. In the sea and along its shores swarm organisms of the other living world — marine diatoms, crustaceans, ascidians, sea hares, priapulids, coral, loriciferans and on through the still mostly unfilled encyclopedia of life.
Do not call these organisms “bugs” or “critters.” They too are wildlife. Let us learn their correct names and care about their safety. Their existence makes possible our own. We are wholly dependent on them.
"Tiny Blue Green"
- More than Meets the Eye
"A single kind of blue-green algae in the ocean produces the oxygen in one of every five breaths we take"
- ~ from "The World Is Blue: How Our Fate and the Ocean’s Are One" by Sylvia Earle
Seventy percent of the Earth's surface is ocean and here, in myriad life forms, "tiny blue-green" organisms are essential to preserving life on the planet
The Unseen and the Seen