Tag Archives: floods

147. Attention to Climate is Urgent

19 Feb

The vast majority of nations in the world understand the urgency of climate solutions. We already have worse hurricanes, new flooding, forest fires, glaciers and polar caps melting, sea levels rising, etc. The city of Venice, Italy is already sinking and flooding due to climate factors. Major USA coastal cities and most of Florida will soon be at risk.

Our President refuses to recognize this vital problem because it does not suit his billionaire friends, like the Charles and David Koch of Koch Industries. Making proper changes would cost them a few billion out of their 100 or so billion in assets. Helping his extremely rich friends (and donors) is more important than saving millions of lives and in other ways protecting the USA and many others in the world.

Two very authoritative reports have definitely concluded that the average global temperature is increasing, and the increase is caused by human activities, such as burning fossil fuels. (The Koch family has been in the oil business for decades.) One report is by a United Nations Special Scientific Panel released October 8, 2018. This report indicated that the climate is changing faster than originally anticipated. The other report is the “Fourth National Climate Assessment” (Nov. 23, 2018) by US Global Change Research program. This report is from Trumps gov and he only very reluctantly released it. The official report summary says: “Climate change creates new risks and exacerbates existing vulnerabilities in communities across the United States, presenting growing challenges to human health and safety, quality of life, and the rate of economic growth.”   Trillions of dollars and millions of lives are at stake. Contrary to his claim of “draining the swamp,” his cabinet is full of climate deniers and promoters of CO2 pollution.

The Trump position on climate-change has vacillated like many of his other concerns. In 2009 his family was a major part of a business coalition that asserted “If we fail to act now, it is scientifically irrefutable that there will be catastrophic and irreversible consequences for humanity and our planet.” Later, when running for President he labeled the issue as a “hoax” and then later, not a hoax. He said “he does not believe it.” At one time he said that the climate will change back again. When Amy Klobuchar spoke in a freezing snow storm, he inferred that this disproves global warming. Trump does not understand that local weather is not relevant to global average temperature increases. Trumps Secretary of State Tillerson urged him not to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement. That apparently led to his being fired.

Recent scientific research has indicated that we have about 10 years to make major changes in climate factors, such as burning fuels that send carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. We must spend some money on converting to battery operated cars and converting to cleaner power plants. Our gov must support research and incentives in these areas.  We must also support promising research on methods for removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Time is running out and all possible solutions must be supported.  Please see my previous blogs for more discussions on climate.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

18. Energy, Food, Water and Our Survival

25 Apr

An intelligent alien from another planet might see the great surge in human population in the last couple of centuries as similar to an infestation of locusts. Evolution of life on Earth has resulted in a species with an ability to survive and reproduce so effective that it is now straining the resources of the entire planet. We are gobbling up all the fish in the seas, we are creating huge heards of cows that consume massive amounts of energy and give off climate-affecting gases, and in many places we are running out of water and resources for electricity.

Although I have been aware of all these problems for a long time, an excellent article in Scientific American by Michael E. Webber (Feb. 2015) clarifies these issues and points out often neglected interactions. He states that:
ENERGY <> WATER <> FOOD
are the three most important factors for our survival, and that the interaction between these factors is of critical importance.

Here are some examples. To increase necessary food production, overuse of water pumps has often used up electrical energy resources causing massive black-outs. Producing drinkable water by desalination of sea-water consumes too much of available energy. Planting more crops for food uses up water and energy resources. Using oil for increased energy produces atmospheric gases that lead to droughts in some areas and floods in other places. Nuclear power-plants, great for energy, squander available water required for cooling processes.Food production and distribution can consume massive amounts of energy.

There are solutions to all of our energy, water, and food problems, but we must carefully consider how each factor affects the other. Times have changed. 50 years ago, all three were plentiful, but now we must make unbiased adaptations. “Deciders”, such as congressmen, need to be well-educated (particularly in science) in order to make the best decisions. Special interests can support short-sited legislation that will make our survival even more hazardous.

A final thought: terrorism, ISIS threats, and wars in general, are all stimulated by large populations of poor people. Desperate people are easy recruits for anti-social acts. Inefficient handling of the three factors clearly promotes these desperate situations and poverty.