Weatherdem's Weblog

Bridging climate science, citizens, and policy


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NOAA Sea-Level Rise Report Issued – Dec 2012

This is a busy time of year for the sciences with the annual American Geophysical Union’s and the international Conference of Parties meetings occurring simultaneously.  NOAA has issued a number of reports in recent days, none of which are overflowing with good news.  Today, NOAA released their Global Sea Level Rise Scenarios for the United States National Climate Assessment.  It was produced in response to a request from the U.S. National Climate Assessment Development and Advisory Committee and consists of a review and synthesis of recent scientific publications examining global sea level change.

Why is this report important?  “More than 8 million people in the US live in areas at risk of coastal flooding. Along the Atlantic Coast alone, almost 60 percent of the land that is within a metre of sea level is planned for further development, with inadequate information on the potential rates and amount of sea level rise.”  The public, policymakers and planners need to know what to expect with respect to sea-level rise this century: where should development occur or be restricted and why?

The report is based on four plausible scenarios.  Scenario 1 is simply a linear extrapolation of the historical sea-level rise (SLR) rate out to 2100.  Scenario 2 is based only on projected ocean warming.  Scenario 3 builds on 2 by adding recent ice sheet loss (land-based).  Scenario 4 reflects ocean warming and the maximum plausible contribution of ice sheet loss and glacial melting.  Scenario 1 is appropriate for communities which can assume high risk or for short-term projects.  Scenario 4, in contrast, is meant for places which can’t accept risk.

Here are the scenario SLR values by 2100:

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Note that these values are not predictions, but are projections.  That is, NOAA isn’t saying that if X and Y happen, then the Intermediate-High scenario is a prediction.  The scenarios present a framework for policymakers and the public to use to make decisions.

Here is a time series graph of historical and projected SLR:

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The range of potential SLR shown in the table and figure above might lead some to conclude that ‘high confidence” in that range is misplaced by NOAA.  This is a gross misinterpretation of what is presented.  The level of uncertainty, which will always exist, is actually useful to policymakers.  Given this range of projections, people can leverage local and regional knowledge to come to better decisions than they would without this range.  Something quantified is better than a big shrug when planning, after all.

With the governors of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut requesting $80 Billion to clean up and rebuild (better) after Hurricane Sandy, future projections of sea-level rise can obviously provide guidance regarding what and how to rebuild in addition to where to rebuild.  Policy development and planning will have to take these and other projections into heavier account this century than they did last century.  An estimate of how many billions of dollars can potentially be saved by incorporating this information would also be useful.


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Bush Deregulates Industries, Economic Downturn Worsens & more

Bush pushes new deregulation rules, or as I talk about at SquareState, Bush Launches Last Attacks on Americans.

The economic downturn speeds up. Among the new problems, consumer spending is down by the largest amount in four years.  Consumer spending accounts for 70% of U.S. economic activity.  I expect that number to continue to decrease.  After all, home equity is tapped, credit cards are tapped, wages remain stagnant, workers are being laid off, and the Bush administration bails out industries.  Where are consumers supposed to get the money to buy their crap?

Another story has received almost no attention in the glare of the 2008 election: refugees from Ike.
The 2008 Atlantic hurricane season caused a lot of damage and death this year.  Do we have disaster fatigue?  If so, it doesn’t bode well for the future.  Extreme weather events are likely to become more common.

Early voting numbers look strong.


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Around the Blogosphere 10/21/08

Matt Stoller did an analysis of League of Conseration Voters endorsement patterns of incumbent Democrats and Republicans.  The result: it looks as though Democrats must reach a higher lifetime LCV score to receive an endorsement than Republicans.  Does LCV include Republicans, even though their voting patterns aren’t as strong as Democrats, just to appear bipartisan?  Is there a similar trend with other single-issue advocacy groups?  CONservative groups aren’t shy about discriminating against Democrats.  Think of the NRA.  A Democrat would have to be very conservative before the NRA endorsed them in a race.  Now think of NARAL.  They continually endorse Republicans that are anti-choice.  The progressive movement needs to do some serious self-examination moving forward.  A progressive agenda cannot be fought for and enacted when advocacy groups get behind people who don’t believe in that agenda.  LCV asks activists for money.  Activists would do well to keep track of how LCV operates when deciding whether or not to donate.  A table of Colorado officials can be found after the fold.  The LCV Scorecard can be found here.

Sarah Palin is a super-socialist.  She’s touring the country trying to scare voters into believing Barack Obama is a socialist because of his tax policy.  What kind of tax policy does Sarah Palin believe in?  A policy that dispenses tax money from oil and gas drilling to Alaskan citizens.  Is that oil and gas exclusively sold to Americans?  No, it’s sold overseas.  The rest of America then pays more for oil and gas that we buy from overseas.  So mainland U.S. consumers are paying more at the pump to give every Alaskan a $3,200 check every year.  There’s no way I’m voting for this hypocrite.

I’m voting for Barack Obama in spite of Colin Powell.  Powell continues to demonstrate he’s more interested in power than standing up for what he believes.  If Obama was behind in the polls, I doubt very seriously Powell would have endorsed him.  Powell wants Obama’s ear.  I hope Obama doesn’t give it to him.

Vote for McCain.  The last 10 seconds are hilarious!

Talk to your parents about McCain.  Some really clever videos are being produced this election cycle.

Proponents of “drill or bust” purposefully leave out an important part of reality.  In ten years time, off-shore drilling, for instance, will produce ~200,000 barrels of oil per day.  OPEC is holding an emergency meeting this Friday (three days from now) and they’re proposing to cut current production by 2,000,000 barrels per day.  OPEC wants oil to cost $70-$90 per barrel, which this year meant $3.00-$4.50 gas in America.  Any gain in supply from the U.S. will be met with cuts in supply from OPEC.  There will be no cut in oil or gas prices if we drill more.

Do you enjoy “Are You Smarter Than a 5th-Grader?”  Sarah Palin shows she can’t answer a 3rd graders’ question.

How “green” is your bathroom?

How the Banksters Made a Complete Killing Off the Bailout is a good article.  Much was made in the corporate media about how strong the oversight over the Bailout was going to be.  I didn’t trust that it would be there and the details in this article validate that view.  The Democratic-led Congress is going to own the fallout from the financial crisis.  I really hoped they would make a hard push for tough oversight.  They still can…

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More Types of Plastics to be Recycled in Colorado?

Here is one example of demand actually affecting a market. But there isn’t a large corporation with a vested interest in gaming the market, so we can see things develop closer to a theoretical market. The market? Plastics recycling.

Recycle America, a subsidiary of Wast Management, is beginning to accept Nos. 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7. They have been recycling Nos. 1 and 2 for years. They want to slowly get the word out that they’re accepting different types now due to the complexities involved in operations and marketing. Overseas markets such as China are interested in utilizing recycled plastics in goods they can sell their consumers.

Perhaps if we decrease the number of plastics we throw away, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch can be reduced in size or even eliminated.

Check out the article (1st link) to see the list of items that could be accepted.


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Roan Plateau Update: BLM Schedules Auction

55,000 acres could be opened up for auction to oil and gas companies, as assigned by the Bureau of Land Management. Approximately 34,000 acres are on top of the plateau, identified as sensitive areas for wildlife.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management, which will offer the leases in an Aug. 14 auction in Denver, has said that efforts by Sen. Ken Salazar and Reps. Mark Udall and John Salazar to modify the management plan for the Roan Plateau wouldn’t stop the agency from offering the leases.

Every community level, from the smallest town to the entire state, Democrat, Undeclared and Republican alike, have all expressed their desire not to allow drilling on top of the Roan. This of course hasn’t stopped the Bush administration and their cronies that have continually ignored the will of the people since they took control of our government.

Rep. Udall said a few months ago that he might introduce federal legislation that would reflect the proposal brought up by Gov. Bill Ritter. It would open up the Roan in phases with some oversight enacted during the entire process. This step might be necessary because the BLM, despite approval of Ritter’s plan by elected officials from both parties, rejected the plan. Sen. Ken Salazar has also said he might introduce similar legislation in the Senate. The BLM has said that news won’t stop the auction. Rep. DeGette introduced the Colorado Wilderness Act in April. It would protect the Roan from this kind of development.

Rep. Udall, Rep. Salazar and Sen. Salazar: this is the time to introduce your legislation and or get on board with Rep. DeGette’s legislation and get it passed. You have two months before the auction starts. The will of the fossil fuel industry is being carried out over the will of the people. This is not acceptable.

Cross-posted at SquareState.net.  There are a large number of diaries written about the Roan over there too.


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They Must Be Kidding

Hahahahaha!  I love when info-tainment pieces like this come out.  From Think Progress: Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) cited McCain’s environmental record, claiming that it’s stronger that former Vice President Al Gore’s.  He can’t be serious.  “Climate change is the road less traveled but he’s traveled it even more than Al Gore,” Graham said. “Al Gore has talked about it and deserves great recognition but he was around here a long time and never introduced a bill.”

That’s interesting spin, Sen. Graham.  I guess he wasn’t aware that Al Gore held the first congressional hearings on climate change in the 1970’s.  Just to make sure the record is clear: that was before John McCain was first elected.

Graham and McCain want to continue to fairy tale that McCain is some kind of ‘maverick’, as the corporate stenographic press continue to faithfully report, by trying to fleece the American public into believing John McCain is some kind of environmentalist.  The double-speak on these matters is astounding.  Conservatives rail against wacked-out, commie hippies that hug trees and work to undermine the economy when discussing environmental-minded Democrats.  If McCain was interested in environmental issues, I could see the ‘maverick’ label as true.  But he doesn’t even know what his economic policies are.


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BLM Blows Roan Decision

The Bureau of Land Management on Thursday released its management plan for drilling on the Roan Plateau, home of a great deal of biodiversity as well as large amounts of oil and gas. Last year, Gov. Ritter proposed a number of environmental compromises to establish more responsible drilling plans on top of the Plateau. The BLM’s decision disregards the majority of those proposals.

“In December, Ritter sent recommendations to the Bureau of Land Management—a division of the Department of Interior—asking for areas considered the most environmentally sensitive under the bureau’s plan be expanded to 36,184 acres from 21,034 acres. [The] plan also suggested phasing in leases on top of the plateau rather than leasing the land all at once, effectively increasing the protected areas on the plateau.

But the federal government ignored most of Ritter’s suggestions, submitting a plan Thursday without significant changes from one issued last June.”

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