2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #52

Story of the Week... Editorial of the Week... Toon of the Week... SkS in the News... Coming Soon on SkS... Poster of the Week... SkS Week in Review... 

Story of the Week...

2018 Was A Milestone Year For Climate Science (If Not Politics) 

Hurricane Michael Impact on Mexico Beach Florida 

The devastation from Hurricane Michael over Mexico Beach, Fla. A massive federal report released in November warns that climate change is fueling extreme weather disasters like hurricanes and wildfires. Gerald Herbert/AP

2018 was a hot year — in fact, the fourth warmest on record. The only years that were, on average, warmer were the past three, according to the World Meteorological Organization.

It has been warming for decades now. But 2018 brought several major new and markedly more precise reports from scientists about what climate change is doing to the weather and how dire they expect the consequences to be.

That didn't stop President Trump and others from continuing to question the evidence.

"Is there climate change?" Trump said to reporters from Axios on HBO in November. "Yeah. Will it go back like this?" he added, motioning up and down with his hand. "I mean will it change back? Probably. That's what I think."

Another politician who weighed in on the clear evidence of a warmer planet was Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, when he was campaigning this past fall.

"Well, listen," he assured a moderator at a televised debate. "Of course the climate is changing. The climate has been changing from the dawn of time. The climate will change as long as we have a planet Earth."

Both statements are at odds with the consensus within the climate science community.

2018 Was A Milestone Year For Climate Science (If Not Politics) by Christopher Joyce NPR News, Dec 27, 2018

Editorial of the Week...

Opinion: Our house is on fire, and many Albertans want more lighters

Calgary Flooding

Do we want to save the planet or get rich and watch it die? POSTMEDIA

It boils down to this. 1) Albertans have become very wealthy by exporting fossil fuels. 2) Scientists state that the climate crisis is an existential threat to civilization. 3) The only way to minimize catastrophic climate change is to immediately decrease our fossil fuel use as quickly as possible. 4) 3 threatens 1.

Let’s unpack some of this, shall we? 1) Due to geographical fortune, our province sits on a vast reservoir of fossil fuels: coal, natural gas and oil. With their high energy content and transportability, they have been highly desired for (historically) a much higher value than their extraction cost, which has made us extraordinarily rich. Even now, in the downturn, even as many people are hurting financially, we still have the highest average monthly income in Canada. Being rich is fun, and we don’t want it to end.

The problem is Point 2. As time passes, and we put more and more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, it’s becoming increasingly clear that all that we love is at risk. Our ecosystems, food systems, economic systems, life support systems. Scientists are talking about a doomsday scenario where it all just collapses, within our lifetimes, if we don’t act now.

Opinion: Our house is on fire, and many Albertans want more lighters, Opinion by Joe Vipond & Noel Keough, Calgary Herald, Dec 29, 2018

Joe Vipond is an emergency physician in Calgary. He sits on the board of the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment.

Noel Keough is an associate professor of sustainable design at the University of Calgary. He is the president of the board of Sustainable Calgary Society. 

Toon of the Week...

2018 Toon 52

Hat tip to the Clean Air Cartoons Facebook page.

SkS in the News

The "explainer" article*, 9 questions about climate change you were too embarrassed to ask, contains the following paragraph:

4) There are other human fingerprints that suggest increased greenhouse gases are warming the planet. For instance, back in the 1960s, simple climate models predicted that global warming caused by more carbon dioxide would lead to cooling in the upper atmosphere (because the heat is getting trapped at the surface). Later satellite measurements confirmed exactly that. Here are a few other similar predictions that have also been confirmed.

The first link embedded in the above paragraph is to the SkS article, 10 Indicators of a Human Fingerprint on Climate Change by John Cook, July 30, 2018

* This explainer was updated by Umair Irfan in December 2018 and draws heavily from a card stack written by Brad Plumer in 2015. Brian Resnick contributed the section on the Paris climate accord in 2017. 

Coming Soon on SkS...

Poster of the Week...

 2018 Poster 52

SkS Week in Review... 

Posted by John Hartz on Sunday, 30 December, 2018

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