Billionaire Environmentalist Tom Steyer Puts Party Before Planet


Saving the planet is an important issue, but not important enough to get alarmists to campaign against Democrats. Here’s Reuters on how Dems who are opposed to the president’s plan to use the EPA to impose new restrictions on power-plant emissions needn’t worry about taking fire from their side:

And strategists inside and outside the White House were preparing to fight hard against the onslaught of criticism from industry, Republicans, and even fellow Democrats.

“I can understand how they are positioning themselves in their races. I still think that you end up on the wrong side of history,” said Chris Lehane, a strategist for billionaire climate activist Tom Steyer, referring to defecting Democrats.

But like White House officials, Steyer, who is spending millions of dollars to advance candidates who support green causes, will not attack those Democrats who oppose the new rules.

“We’re certainly not going to be helpful to them and their campaigns, but we’re also not going to target them,” Lehane said.

The whole thing here.

What’s the Carbon Footprint of Your Solar Panel?


Via ScienceDaily, solar panels made in Europe are “greener” than solar panels made in China:

Solar panels made in China have a higher overall carbon footprint and are likely to use substantially more energy during manufacturing than those made in Europe, said a new study from Northwestern University and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory. The report compared energy and greenhouse gas emissions that go into the manufacturing process of solar panels in Europe and China.​

“We estimated that a solar panel’s carbon footprint is about twice as high when made in China and used in Europe, compared to those locally made and used in Europe,” said Fengqi You, assistant professor of chemical and biological engineering at Northwestern and corresponding author on the paper.

“While it might be an economically attractive option to move solar panel manufacturing from Europe to China, it is actually less sustainable from the life cycle energy and environmental perspective — especially under the motivation of using solar panels for a more sustainable future,” he said.

The team performed a type of systematic evaluation called life cycle analysis to come up with these hard data. Life cycle analysis tallies up all the energy used to make a product — energy to mine raw materials, fuel to transport the materials and products, electricity to power the processing factory, and so forth. This provides a more accurate picture of the overall energy consumed and produced and the environmental impact of making and using a solar panel.

Assuming that a solar panel is made of silicon — by far the most common solar panel material — and is installed in sunny southern Europe, a solar panel made in China would take about 20 to 30 percent longer to produce enough energy to cancel out the energy used to make it. The carbon footprint is about twice as high.

The whole thing here.


Biden Raising Money with Anti-Keystone Tom Steyer in California



Vice President Joe Biden teams up Wednesday afternoon with one of the biggest Democratic donors: billionaire Tom Steyer.

The vice president will headline a Democratic National Committee fundraiser at Steyer’s home in San Francisco.

The former hedge fund manager has become a leading underwriter of Democratic causes and candidates. Steyer, who was a major supporter of President Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign, last year spent millions backing the Democratic candidates in the Virginia gubernatorial election and the special Senate contest in Massachusetts.

So far this cycle he’s contributed big bucks to Senate Majority PAC, the leading outside group backing Democratic Senate candidates. And Steyer, who’s a major opponent of the Keystone XL pipeline and who hopes to make climate change a major issue in the midterm elections, could spend more than $100 million this year on NextGen Climate Action, his super PAC. The group plans to target Republicans in seven Senate and gubernatorial races this year.

As Steyer’s involvement in politics grows, so does criticism of him by Republicans. It mirrors the increasing attacks by Democrats on the freewheeling spending of the billionaire industrialist Koch Brothers, who have dished out nearly $40 million so far this cycle backing GOP candidates and causes and attacking Democrats.

The rest here.

Vice President Biden Talks Climate Change at the Air Force Academy


Via the WSJ

Third, we’re reinforcing international norms that constitute the global rules of the road — international norms regarding nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction, international norms regarding the freedom of navigation on both the seas and in the air, and international norms relating to sovereignty and territorial integrity, and establishing international norms that are still taking shape but are badly needed in the 21st century with respect to cybersecurity, climate change and global trading.

That’s why we imposed unprecedented sanctions on Iran, to create the possibility to peacefully address the threat posed by their nuclear program. But whatever means, they will not acquire nuclear weapons.

It’s why we stand up against bullying and aggression in international waters and airspace in the Pacific, why we condemn Russia’s violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity and the illegal annexation of Crimea, and why we will continue to support a democratic Ukraine, and why we’re determined to complete international trade agreements to raise the standard of economic conduct in the Atlantic and Pacific, and why we believe it’s essential that we make progress on a global framework for climate change.

A “global framework” to fight climate change? Where did I hear that before? Oh, yeah. From the President’s address at West Point earlier in the day:

I intend to make sure America is out front in putting together a global framework to preserve our planet.

Well, at least they’re green enough to recycle their rhetoric.

President Obama Talks Climate Change at West Point


I would love to see a poll of West Point’s graduates on where they think “climate change” fits on America’s list of global challenges:

That spirit of cooperation needs to energize the global effort to combat climate change, a creeping national security crisis that will help shape your time in uniform, as we are called on to respond to refugee flows and natural disasters, and conflicts over water and food, which is why, next year, I intend to make sure America is out front in putting together a global framework to preserve our planet.

You see, American influence is always stronger when we lead by example. We cannot exempt ourselves from the rules that apply to everyone else. We can’t call on others to make commitments to combat climate change if a whole lot of our political leaders deny that it is taking place. We can’t try to resolve problems in the South China Sea when we have refused to make sure that the Law of the Sea Convention is ratified by the United States Senate, despite the fact that our top military leaders say the treaty advances our national security. That’s not leadership. That’s retreat. That’s not strength; that’s weakness. It would be utterly foreign to leaders like Roosevelt and Truman, Eisenhower and Kennedy.

I believe in American exceptionalism with every fiber of my being. But what makes us exceptional is not our ability to flout international norms and the rule of law; it is our willingness to affirm them through our actions.

You can read the president’s entire address here.


We’re Calling It Global Warming Again, But Only Because It’s ‘Scarier’


Slate: (emphasis mine)

Study: “Global Warming” Is Scarier Than “Climate Change”

In the deep depths of Slate’s comments sections on extreme weather and climate-related blog posts, there lives a fierce debate: Is it “global warming” or “climate change”? Many people use the terms interchangeably, but a new study suggests that one is more effective in conveying the urgency of the problem.

In general, it’s more scientifically accurate to talk about the problem as “climate change.” That term (which dates back to 1956) was in use scientifically almost 20 years before “global warming” (1975). Global warming—the long-term rise in Earth’s average temperature, brought about by the increasing concentration of heat-trapping gases emitted by human activity—is a subset of climate change, which refers to a broader plethora of effects, like ocean acidificationrising sea levels, and crazier weather.

Lumping all these phenomena into “global warming” risks vaulting global temperature to the status of ultimate arbiter on whether scientists’ assessments are accurate. Turns out, climate skeptics have caught on to this, with a (debunked) conspiracy floating around that for some reason, “they” recently changed the name from “global warming” to “climate change” to account for the slower rate of planetary-scale warming in recent years. Therefore, skeptics argue, we shouldn’t have to shift the world’s economy to phase out our primary energy sources.

Scientists typically prefer to talk about “climate change.” That’s because humans don’t “feel’ temperature on a global scale. For people to want to take action, they’ll have to notice and understand local changes, so the reasoning goes. For decades now, scientists and climate communicators have spent untold effort in demonstrating the link between rising greenhouse gas concentrations and the countless less well-known aspects of “climate change” that are much more personal than numbers on a global temperature chart. But “climate change” is a complex and nebulous term, with less vivid imagery than “global warming.”

Drat. They’re on to us!

Maybe I’ll switch to “Global Climate Disruption,” as per the president’s science adviser John Holdren? This serves the dual purpose of not being as scary sounding as “global warming,” plus it adds “disruption” to “climate change” which insinuates a temporary inconvenience. 

Or, if the alarmists prefer, I’ll switch to the technical description used by the IPCC: “It is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century.” (IPCC Summary for Policymakers, Fifth Assessment Report. Page 17)

“Extremely-likely-human-dominated-but-not-entirely global warming” does sound better, doesn’t it? 




Electric mandates squeeze Chrysler


Automakers’ frustration with government mandates that force them to sell electric vehicles is boiling over.

“I hope you don’t buy (the Fiat 500e electric car) because every time I sell one it costs me $14,000,” said Fiat-Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne at a Brookings conference last week.

Fiat created the 500e to satisfy bureaucrat — not customer — demands in California and seven other states that automakers make 3.3 million “zero-emission” cars available for sale. The $32,650 Fiat 500e stickers at almost double the base price of a $17,000, gas-powered compact 500. Marchionne went on to joke that Chrysler will need a second auto bailout if he keeps selling such cars.

But the cost to companies like Fiat-Chrysler is no joke.

At a Fiat-Chrysler investor conference on May 6, FCA Powertrain Chief Bob Lee explained to investors that the “overarching driver for powertrain technology change over the next five-plus years” is not customer demand but CO2 regulation.

Get used to the term “compliance vehicle.” Most electric cars are manufactured solely to meet government rules. Lee went on to explain that electric vehicles are not enough, however, because customers won’t buy them.

“Electrification has been overblown by the media,” he said. “With the exception of a relatively small group of early adopters, the market continues to be driven by regulatory requirements.”

That means companies will have to continue to purchase emissions credits. Ultimately, however, sticker prices will rise and engine sizes will shrink as “more costly technologies will be required to meet the regulatory CO2 requirements.” The cost of going green continues to rise — with no discernible benefit.

China’s New Plan to Cut Emissions? ‘Scrap’ People’s Cars


China didn’t say how they’d accomplish this, however. If this car-plan is anything like the forced evictions in the run-up to the 2008 Olympics, it’ll get ugly for China’s poor. Via the BBC:

China plans to remove six million vehicles that do not meet exhaust emission standards by the end of the year as a way of improving air quality.

More than 300,000 vehicles will be decommissioned in the capital Beijing.

Recent findings from the state’s environmental agency showed that 31% of the air pollution in Beijing comes from vehicle exhaust fumes.

Next year, the government plans to scrap up to five million vehicles from other regions.

The action plan, aimed at strengthening control on vehicle emissions, “will be a major agenda item for the country’s energy savings, emissions reductions, and low-carbon development during the next two years”.

That is according to a statement on the government’s web portal.

Fighting pollution has emerged as a priority for China’s leaders as they try to reverse damage done by decades of manufacturing-driven growth, which has sacrificed the nation’s air, water and soil qualities.

The state council did not offer details on how the latest plan will be implemented.

But in Beijing, the municipal government has previously offered subsidies to car owners to voluntarily turn in their ageing vehicles to be scrapped.

In addition to removing vehicles which contribute to air pollution, experts are calling for quality upgrades in fuels, which can also help mitigate air pollution and smog.

The rest here.

Miami’s New Science Museum Will Be Flooded by Global Warming


Here’s a question that never gets answered: If global warming is a threat to cities, why do politicians who believe that global warming is a threat to their cities allow huge real-estate projects in areas they say global warming will destroy?

For example, Salon recently wrote this about Miami and Florida Senator Marco Rubio:

The unstoppable collapsing of West Antarctic glaciers could greatly impact New York, New Orleans, Miami and more.

[. . .]

The flood rise would hurt 27 cities in Florida (though Sen. Rubio recently declared he doesn’t believe in human-created climate change). According to Climate Central, one-third of all of Florida’s housing currently sits below the 10 foot high tide line. This includes 85 percent of Broward and Miami-Dade counties. Miami would be the largest city affected by rising sea levels.

For those who worry that preventative measures for climate change will hurt the economy, here’s another way of putting what 10 feet of flooding would do to the United States. Climate Central reports:

“For example, more than 32,000 miles of road and $950 billion of property currently sit on affected land in Florida. Threatened property in New York and New Jersey totals more than $300 billion.”

And here’s Debbie Wasserman Schultz, whose district will be “ground zero” for the alleged destruction from global warming, going after Rubio’s comment as well:

The link above is to a Post editorial that questions Rubio’s judgment to be president because of his skepticism.

If it’s a question of judgment then, what does it say about the judgment of Miami allowing the the Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science to construct a new building that will be underwater if the alarmist predictions of Salon, the WaPost, Wasserman Schultz, et al., are accurate?

Here’s the satellite view of the location of the new Frost Museum of Science:

And here’s the flood-map from Climate Central with 10 feet of sea-level rise. The museum in a flood zone and right on the bay, which is at greater risk from hurricanes and storm surge:

And here’s the view looking southeast from atop the seawall adjacent to the museum complex. That canal leads directly to the Atlantic ocean:

This leads me back to my original question as this is exactly the sort of project that shouldn’t be built if alarmists predictions are accurate. But if Miami, Wasserman Schultz, and the architects and engineers of this “science” museum aren’t worried about flooding from global warming or more powerful hurricanes, why should I? 


Total Recall: GM Bailout Amnesia


Detroit — ”Deeply disturbing,” said NHTSA chief David Friedman of GM’s failure to act on an air-bag supplier’s warning of May 11, 2009, that air bags would not deploy if the ignition switches on Chevy Cobalts failed. NHTSA fined GM $35 million in part because it claimed that GM should have reported that information immediately to federal regulators.

But what was happening at GM in May 2009?

Friedman’s boss, Barack Obama, had taken over GM, of course. Having fired GM CEO Rick Wagoner on March 30, 2009, Obama’s Auto Task Force was fast-tracking the Detroit company for bankruptcy in order to shore up its finances and preserve the jobs and dues of a key Democratic political constituency, the UAW.

Given the political importance of the GM/UAW bailout, does anyone believe that GM employees would alert the federal government to an expensive new recall when the same federal government was saving the automaker for the president’s political benefit?

The White House’s slavish media, of course, has collective amnesia over that government bailout. Reports have ignored that GM was under government supervision for half the period it failed to report the ignition-switch defect to . . . the government. Trial lawyers haven’t forgotten, however, and some are arguing that GM and the Auto Task Force hid the ignition problems from the bankruptcy court, reports the Detroit Free Press.

Friedman (who worked for the far-left Union of Concerned Scientists until 2013) and Transportation secretary Anthony Foxx claimed that the Cobalt ignition scandal was indicative of a company culture that failed to alert federal regulators of possible defects, even telling its employees not to use words like “defect” or “problem” in describing product issues.

That’s demonstrably not true as the Cobalt itself was recalled three times for other – more expensive – fixes to its headlights, headliner trim, and power steering. But why let facts get in the way of a good headline?

“What we cannot tolerate [is a] company that knows danger exists and says nothing,” raged Foxx. “What GM did was break the law.”

That’s rich coming from an administration that brazenly broke the law in giving the UAW priority over secured creditors in the 2009 auto bailout, at the cost of millions to teacher and police pensioners. The president’s concern for GM’s future was as shallow as his concern for those pensioners. The Obama that made the salvation of GM and American manufacturing the centerpiece of his campaign (“GM is alive, Bin Laden is dead”) has utterly ignored the company since the recall campaign engulfed it.

Not that anyone’s shedding tears for the automaker. The bitterness of GM’s stint on the federal dole is still in the public mouth – as is its historically high-handed treatment of suppliers.

But what a turnaround for Government Motors. In 2012, Washington elites scoffed at  those who criticized the GM bailout as unpatriotic. Five years later and GM is reviled by the same elites as an outlaw.

When asked at a Brookings forum this week whether the auto task force knew of GM’s ignition switch issue, former auto czar Steve Rattner (and noted outlaw) pled ignorance. “We’re not forensic accountants,” he said. “We had about 40 days to do all this due diligence and we can’t find something like that out.”

Rattner had his political mission. Now NHTSA has its.

Climate Alarmists, Pretty Happy with Pope Francis


Noted climate alarmist Bill McKibben just tweeted this gem . . .

. . . that links to this story on Think Progress Green:

Pope Francis Makes Biblical Case For Addressing Climate Change: ‘If We Destroy Creation, Creation Will Destroy Us’

An excerpt from TPG:

Speaking to a massive crowd in Rome, the first Argentinian pope delivered a short address in which he argued that respect for the “beauty of nature and the grandeur of the cosmos” is a Christian value, noting that failure to care for the planet risks apocalyptic consequences.

“Safeguard Creation,” he said. “Because if we destroy Creation, Creation will destroy us! Never forget this!”

The pope centered his environmentalist theology around the biblical creation story in the book of Genesis, where God is said to have created the world, declared it “good,” and charged humanity with its care. Francis also made reference to his namesake, Saint Francis of Assisi, who was a famous lover of animals, and appeared to tie the ongoing environmental crisis to economic concerns — namely, instances where a wealthy minority exploits the planet at the expense of the poor.

“Creation is not a property, which we can rule over at will; or, even less, is the property of only a few: Creation is a gift, it is a wonderful gift that God has given us, so that we care for it and we use it for the benefit of all, always with great respect and gratitude,” Francis said.

Francis also said that humanity’s destruction of the planet is a sinful act, likening it to self-idolatry.

“But when we exploit Creation we destroy the sign of God’s love for us, in destroying Creation we are saying to God: ‘I don’t like it! This is not good!’ ‘So what do you like?’ ‘I like myself!’ – Here, this is sin! Do you see?”

Hey, do you know what else is part of “Creation?” A baby. Are we to assume that Think Progress and Bill McKibben are embracing Catholicism’s pro-life message, too?

And as far as the environment goes, I’m for alleviating the suffering of the world’s poor through cheap, affordable electricity — something the Left wants to deny those in need. 

Alarmists Banking on El Niño to Sell Global Warming?


Via the NYT’s “The Upshot” blog:

The return of El Niño is likely to increase global temperatures. Mr. Trenberth believes it is “reasonable” to expect that 2015 will be the warmest year on record if this fall’s El Niño event is strong and long enough.

That could make a difference in the battle for public opinion. One-third of Americans don’t trust climate scientists, according to Jon Krosnick of Stanford University, and they make their decisions about climate change “based on very recent trends in warming.” Belief in warming jumps when global temperatures hit record highs; it drops in cooler years.

And. . .

A sustained period of faster warming won’t convert skeptics into climate change activists. But the accompanying wave of headlines might energize climate change activists and refocus attention on climate change heading into the 2016 presidential election. Those headlines could include landslides in Southern California, or widespread floods across the South.

The timing could provide an uncomfortable backdrop for Republican presidential hopefuls who are skeptical of climate change, like Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who recently said he did not believe human activity was causing climate change. Democrats, eager to cast Republicans as anti-science or to appeal to voters in the endangered coastal city of Miami, might be likelier to re-emphasize climate change if polls show an increase in the public’s belief in global warming, which Mr. Krosnick anticipates will happen if global temperatures rise to record levels.

But. . .

Even so, Mr. Krosnick doubts whether higher temperatures would compel more ambitious measures to curb carbon emissions: “It won’t vastly increase pressure on the government to do something.”

Ah, so close!


Science: Global Warming May Cause Volcanic Activity


Now we have to cut emissions to slow down plate tectonics. Good luck with that:

New research on the effects of ice sheet melt in the Antarctic shows climate change is deforming the Earth’s crust, potentially prompting volcanic activity that could cause global sea-levels to rise much more than predicted.

Scientists led by Newcastle University in the UK studied the impact of the collapse of the giant Larsen B ice shelf in 2002, using Global Positioning System (GPS) stations to gauge how the Earth’s mantle responded to the relatively sudden loss of billions of tonnes of ice as glaciers accelerated.

As expected, the bedrock rose without the weight but at a pace – as much as 5 centimetres a year in places – that was about five times the rate that could be attributed by the loss of ice mass alone, said Matt King, now at the University of Tasmania (UTAS), who oversaw the work.

“It’s like the earth in 2002 was prodded by a stick, a very big stick, and we’ve been able to watch how it responded,” Professor King said. “We see the earth as being tremendously dynamic and always changing, responding to the forces.”  

Such dynamism – involving rocks hundreds of kilometres below the surface moving “like honey” – could have implications for volcanoes in the region, Professor King said.

“It’s one of the big unknowns: If something starts to happen with one of those volcanoes, our estimates of what sea levels might be like in the future may have a significant revision”, he said, adding “fire and ice generally don’t go well together”.

“It’s a big ‘if’ – but if a volcano erupted from underneath the ice sheet, it would dramatically accelerate the ice melt and the flows into the oceans.”

The rest here.


Hollywood Hypocrisy on Global Warming


Harrison Ford and Arnold Schwarzenegger, who both starred in James Cameron’s alarmist documentary Years of Living Dangerously, showed up in Cannes to promote their new film Expendables 3 in two tanks. Yes, gas-guzzling, planet-killing, Soviet-era tanks (well, armored personnel carriers of some sort):

The Croisette is not the easiest street to negotiate during the Cannes film festival. The traffic crawls crossly between the long strip of grand hotels and the prom with beach beyond. Officials cordon off stretches for long periods, tourists hub around hotel doors in the hope of seeing a star, irate journalists and film-makers jostle and shove. Scooters, motorbikes, pedalos and segways add to the melee. Protesters, musicians, mime artists and a small motorised train don’t help.

So it was a measure of the affection that The Expendables cast are held in that when they rode slowly down the Croisette on two massive Soviet-era tanks, completely clogging the thoroughfare, festival-goers simply cheered them on and took out their smartphones to take a photo.

The stunt contributed to the estimated $2m bill for this weekend’s promotional push, and formed the filling in a day which began with a promo of clips from the movie, and concluded with a star-studded press conference at the Carlton hotel.

Some photos of the stunt:

And here you can see the second one in the background:

They just don’t get how hypocritical they are, do they? 



John Kerry Urges Boston College Graduates to Fight Global Warming


From the AP:

He also urged B.C.’s approximately 4,000 undergraduate and graduate students to take part in the struggle against global warming.

“If we do nothing and it turns out the critics and the naysayers and the members of the Flat Earth Society, if it turns out that they’re wrong, it turns out we are risking nothing less than the future of our entire planet,” said Kerry, who spent a significant part of his 28 years as a U.S. Senator of Massachusetts fighting for clean energy.

He added that global warming could lead to food insecurity through longer droughts and more powerful storms, which hurt the poorest of the world’s population the most, something he witnessed firsthand while visiting the Philippines after last year’s typhoon.

“The solution,” he said, “is staring us in the face: the right energy policy,” he said.

And from Reuters:

“Ninety-seven percent of the world’s scientists tell us this is urgent. Why? Because if crops can’t grow, there will be food insecurity. If there are stronger more powerful storms, things will change in a hurry,” Kerry said at Boston College, where he received his law degree in 1976.

“Climate change is directly related to the potential of greater conflict and greater instability. I’m telling you that there are people in parts of the world, in Africa, today, they fight each other over water. They kill each other.”

Yes, there are conflicts over water in Africa, but it’s Kerry who’s in the Flat Earth Society if he truly believes that America’s energy policies are going to do anything to fix what’s going wrong in Africa.

What We’re Reading


James Taranto, WSJ: The case for skepticism about climate scientists.

Irwin Stelzer, The Weekly Standard: Let’s tax carbon.

Bloomberg Businessweek: China targets 70 gigawatts of solar power to cut coal reliance.

David Rose, reporter for the Daily Mail and Vanity FairWith Modi’s landslide victory in India, you can kiss a world [greenhouse gas] treaty in Paris 2015 goodbye. His government has one priority: growth.

Marc Morano, Climate DepotScientists in cover-up of research casting doubt on ‘global warming’ because it was ‘less than helpful’ to their cause.

Claire Carter, Telegraph U.K.: Global warming research suppressed due to intolerance of scepticism, claims scientist

Puneet Kollipara, Washington PostWhy society is failing to stop global warming, in one 90-second video.


Oops: Gov. Brown Issues a Correction on Global Warming and LAX Airport


As Anthony Watts pointed out hours after Brown made this ludicrous statement, Los Angeles International airport is not at risk of flooding from global warming. Not now, not in the near future, and not in the next few thousand years. Via the Los Angeles Times:

An  aide to Jerry Brown confirmed Wednesday that the governor was wrong when he said global warming would eventually cause rising seawater to inundate Los Angeles International Airport.

Citing new studies, Brown called attention to the global warming issue on Tuesday, saying a predicted 4-foot rise in sea level within the next 200 years could force the relocation of LAX at a cost of billions of dollars.

But various sources say that the nation’s third-busiest airport — bordered by the Pacific Ocean — has elevations ranging from 108 feet to 126 feet and is protected by higher coastal bluffs on the west side.

“The governor misspoke about LAX,” said Evan Westrup, a spokesman for the Brown administration.

Environmental officials for Los Angeles World Airports, the operator of LAX, said the airport has an elevation of more than 120 feet. “A 4-foot rise in sea level,” they said, “should have minimal impact on airport operations.”

In addition, a recent study by USC’s Sea Grant Program did not identify LAX as one of the coastal areas in Los Angeles threatened by sea level rise.

Airport officials said, however, that any organization with coastal structures should be concerned about the potential adverse impact of climate change. They added that the airport department is part of a citywide effort to explore and plan ways to cope with predicted increases in sea level.

The rest here.

And here’s Watts on his uncredited role in getting the governor and the Los Angeles Times to correct the record. 



Columbia University Won’t Divest from Fossil Fuel Companies


Columbia Spectator:

The Advisory Committee on Socially Responsible Investing announced on Wednesday that it voted not to support Barnard Columbia Divest’s proposal to divest from fossil fuel companies because the proposal did not meet the ACSRI’s criteria for divestment. 

The ACSRI said in its response to BCD that the decision was specifically in response to the Barnard Columbia Divest proposal, and not a general recommendation on fossil fuel divestment. The response also said that the ACSRI will establish a subcommittee to study student proposals for divestment and “pursue the optimal engagement model for the university.”

The response noted, however, that Columbia currently does not own stocks of any top-200 company in its directly managed portfolio. While Columbia does hold stocks of oil or gas companies that were donated or selected by donors, such securities are not controlled by the University’s Investment Management Company, which the ACSRI advises.

BCD proposed in November that the ACSRI recommend to trustees divestment from the top 200 publicly traded coal, oil, and gas companies, the imposition of a freeze on new fossil fuel investments, and divestment from all direct holdings and commingled funds within five years.

In the response, the ACSRI said that the BCD proposal did not meet the three basic criteria of the divestment being “a broad consensus within the University community regarding the issue at hand,” having merits of the dispute lying clearly on one side, and being “more viable and appropriate than ongoing communication and engagement with company management.”

Beware the Climate-Military-Industrial Complex


Next from John Kerry and the White House, global warming is a “national security threat.” Via the New York Times:

Climate Change Deemed Growing Security Threat by Military Researchers

The accelerating rate of climate change poses a severe risk to national security and acts as a catalyst for global political conflict, a report published Tuesday by a leading government-funded military research organization concluded.

The CNA Corporation Military Advisory Board found that climate change-induced drought in the Middle East and Africa is leading to conflicts over food and water and escalating longstanding regional and ethnic tensions into violent clashes. The report also found that rising sea levels are putting people and food supplies in vulnerable coastal regions like eastern India, Bangladesh and the Mekong Delta in Vietnam at risk and could lead to a new wave of refugees.

In addition, the report predicted that an increase in catastrophic weather events around the world will create more demand for American troops, even as flooding and extreme weather events at home could damage naval ports and military bases.

In an interview, Secretary of State John Kerry signaled that the report’s findings would influence American foreign policy.

“Tribes are killing each other over water today,” Mr. Kerry said. “Think of what happens if you have massive dislocation, or the drying up of the waters of the Nile, of the major rivers in China and India. The intelligence community takes it seriously, and it’s translated into action.”

Mr. Kerry, who plans to deliver a major speech this summer on the links between climate change and national security, said his remarks would also be aimed at building political support for President Obama’s climate change agenda, including a new regulation to cut pollution from coal-fired power plants that the administration will introduce in June.

“We’re going to try to lay out to people legitimate options for action that are not bank-breaking or negative,” Mr. Kerry said.

Pentagon officials said the report would affect military policy. “The department certainly agrees that climate change is having an impact on national security, whether by increasing global instability, by opening the Arctic or by increasing sea level and storm surge near our coastal installations,” John Conger, the Pentagon’s deputy under secretary of defense for installations and environment, said in a statement. “We are actively integrating climate considerations across the full spectrum of our activities to ensure a ready and resilient force.”

The rest from the Times here.

I’ve read the CNA report and, personally, don’t get what all the fuss is about.

For example, here’s the hype from the very first paragraph of the report:

To the reader:

The nature and pace of observed climate changes—and an emerging scientific consensus on their projected consequences—pose severe risks for our national security. During our decades of experience in the U.S. military, we have addressed many national security challenges, from containment and deterrence of the Soviet nuclear threat during the Cold War to political extremism and transnational terrorism
in recent years. The national security risks of projected climate change are as serious as any challenges we have faced.

But here are the recommendations:

1. To lower our national security risks, the United States should take a global leadership role in preparing for the projected impacts of climate change.

2. Supported by National Intelligence Estimates, the U.S. military’s Combatant Commanders (CCMDs) should factor in the impacts of projected climate change across their full spectrum of planning
and operations.

3. The United States should accelerate and consolidate its efforts to prepare for increased access and military operations in the Arctic.

4. Climate adaptation planning should consider the water-food-energy nexus to ensure comprehensive decision making.

5. The projected impacts of climate change should be integrated fully into the National Infrastructure Protection Plan and the Strategic National Risk Assessment.

6. In addition to DOD’s conducting comprehensive assessments of the impacts of climate change on mission and operational resilience, the Department should develop, fund, and implement plans to adapt, including developing metrics for measuring climate impacts and resilience. The Department should place a greater emphasis on the projected impacts of climate change on both DOD facilities and associated community infrastructures.

That’s it? The retired officers behind this report are comparing global warming to the Cold War and terrorism, and these are the recommendations? 

This report is being sold as some sort of action plan to win the war on global warming, but it’s not even close. It’s just another political document designed to help Secretary Kerry and the president sell their energy policies. Good luck with that. 




Cancel the Alarm Over the ‘Collapse’ of Antarctica’s Ice Sheets


And the alarm has been canceled by Andrew Revkin of the NYT, no less:

Consider Clashing Scientific and Societal Meanings of ‘Collapse’ When Reading Antarctic Ice News

For decades, the inevitability of many feet, even yards, of sea-level rise in a warming climate has been crystal clear. But society’s response, both in stemming heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to eroding coastlines, will always be more a function of the rate of change than the ultimate outcome.

That’s why it’s important to get beyond headlines — including the titles of papers — in considering new research pointing to the inevitable “collapse” of ice sheets in West Antarctica. To the public, collapse is a term applied to a heart attack victim on a street corner or a building stricken by an earthquake or bomb. To a glaciologist, it describes the transition to unavoidable loss of an ice sheet — a process that can take centuries to get into gear, and millenniums to complete.

[Insert, May 14, 6:45 a.m. | I encourage you to read two superb explanatory posts by Antarctic post-doctoral researcher Bethan Davies describing the research and glaciologists' use of "collapse."]

News articles by The TimesTime, the Associated Press and others capture the basics in two new papers, one on six West Antarctic glaciers that appear to have nothing holding back eventual disappearance, accepted for publication in Geophysical Research Letters, and the other taking a closer look at one of those ice masses, the Thwaites Glacier, posted online today by the journal Science.

Some headlines are completely overwrought — as with this NBC offering: “West Antarctic Ice Sheet’s Collapse Triggers Sea Level Warning.” This kind of coverage could be interpreted to mean there’s an imminent crisis. It’s hard to justify that conclusion given the core findings in the studies. (Am I trying to maintain a hold on reality or am I a “scold”?)

The rest here.


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