Archive for the ‘Climate Change’ Category

>Global cooling – not the way to go

January 6, 2010

>Every year on a cold morning I take a picture of the fountain in its frozen state and post it on this site. As far as I can tell, the goldfish and their brown progeny are still alive, but I won’t know for sure until the thaw takes place. They have survived previous freezes.

But its cold for us southerners. Of course, my brother in Minnesota would laugh at us for being such weenies when it comes to cold weather.

Speaking of weenies, and the cold, I wonder if David, standing near the fountain, experiences “shrinkage” related to the cold weather.

But what if the cold weather became permanent. While our immediate and more pressing concern is climate change in the other direction, there is a theory about global cooling that could occur if a local nuclear skirmish between India and Pakistan occurred.

Scientific American has an article where Alan Robock and Owen Brian Toon explore that possibility. (The entire article is only available online if you are a subscriber. I have the magazine if you want to borrow it).

Here are the key concepts from the article.

Nuclear bombs dropped on cities and industrial areas in a fight between India and Pakistan would start firestorms that would put massive amounts of smoke into the upper atmosphere.

The particles would remain there for years, blocking the sun, making the earth’s surface cold, dark and dry. Agricultural collapse and mass starvation could follow.

Cooling scenarios are based on computer models. but observations of volcanic eruptions, forest fire smoke and other phenomena provide confidence that the models are correct.

Here is why the smoke particles from the fires would not just be brought down to the earth by rain and gravity.

“Fires ignited by bombs would send smoke up through the troposphere within two days.” (That’s up about 12 kilometers). “The sun would then heat the tiny particles and loft them into the stratosphere,” by day 49. (That is up to 50 kilometers). “Precipitation never occurs there, so particles would take about 10 years to fully settle to earth’s surface. Smoke in the troposphere washes out within a week or so.”

The sky would look overcast everywhere.

Less sunlight and cooler temperature would shorten the growing season everywhere.

The authors report on the effects of volcanoes and forest fires. the most remarkable was the 1815 Tambora eruption in Indonesia which darkened the skies and produced a global temperature decline of about 0.5 degrees C for a year. “1816 became known as ‘The Year without a Summer’ or ‘Eighteen Hundred and Froze to Death.'”

“In New England, although the average summer temperature was lowered only a few degrees, crop-killing frosts occurred in every month.”

There are more examples of past effects and future possibilities in the article.

A solution is offered as well: Abolition of nuclear weapons.

“…on September 24 (2009), the president led the United nations Security Council to approve a draft resolution that would step up efforts to rid the world of nuclear weapons. Our modeling results only strengthen the reasons to support further progress on such policy.”

Here, Molly discusses the effect on our world from a nuclear war. While her scenario is a bit more explosive, the results are the same.

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>Young Evangelicals

April 6, 2009

>I’ve written previously about Rick Cizik and evangelicals in general. Cizik, of course, is the former vice president for governmental affairs of the National Association of Evangelicals who was booted after saying he believed in civil unions for gays and lesbians during an interview on NPR’s Fresh Air.

The Advocate has an article in their current issue titled “Reduce, Reuse, Religion?” The article focuses on Jonathan Merritt, a Southern Baptist student (or former student) who is becoming a leader in the growing “creation care” movement among evangelicals.


Read what Merritt said about his new found fame (or infamy) in this article from the Christian Index. He’s been tagged a (gasp) liberal.

All because he is concerned about the environment. Southern Baptist Environment and Climate Initiative is the web site he started and his declaration that created the buzz can be found there.

My interest in the Advocate article (and I assume their purpose in printing it) is that it says young evangelicals are taking the focus off of divisive social issues and placing it on more pressing concerns. (The article is not available online as I write this) A majority of young white evangelicals (age 18-29) support either marriage or domestic partnership for same sex couples (58%), according to a 2008 study referenced in the article, compared to 46% of evangelicals over 30.

Merritt says it’s easy to see why. Four out of ten evangelical youths say they have a close friend or family member who is gay, twice as many as their older counterparts. When the issue becomes personal, attitudes change. “Many older [evangelicals] are in disbelief when you quote that statistic,” he says. “One man said to me, ‘Well, I have a cousin who is gay.’ I told him the difference is that I hang out with my friends who are gay on Friday nights. You just see your cousin at Christmastime.”

The future looks bright(er) for the planet, and for equality.

Read an announcement about a distinguished speaker, Susan Solomon, coming to UAB Wednesday at Bessemer Science and Nature, speaking of climate change.

The Arctic is Melting…and from the Tribune, Why Trust Bush?

December 12, 2007

“The Arctic is often cited as the canary in the coal mine for climate warming,” said Zwally, who as a teenager hauled coal. “Now as a sign of climate warming, the canary has died. It is time to start getting out of the coal mines.”

Jay Zwally is a NASA climate scientist, who also said, “At this rate, the Arctic Ocean could be nearly ice-free at the end of summer by 2012, much faster than previous predictions.”

Read the story here on aol news. Now I know that anecdotal reports and individual events can not by themselves prove global warming to be a fact. But here it is 78 degrees in the middle of December and dry as a bone. The picture in The Birmingham News this morning of a sunbather at Oak Mountain State Park tells the story of the bigger picture of climate change that the vast majority of real scientists know to be fact.

Just think, if one of the Republican planet haters gets elected president, by the time their term ends, the Arctic ice could be no more. From 2008 to 2012, while they would continue to refuse to admit our country’s (and our species’) part and ignore steps that should be taken to help our planet, the Arctic (along with Alaska and Greenland…see the article) would be melting.

The republicans don’t care about our planet. The rest of the world doesn’t count to them. Oh, unless they have oil.

They care about two things: money and power. And to control those things, they only use one tactic: fear.

Fear of terror . But as we have seen this week and last, terror from abroad is not what affects us, or what we should fear. Terror from deranged U. S. citizens at shopping malls and churches and universities is much more likely to affect us than a foreign born agent slipping in to the country.

Fear of immigrants. Just listen to the hateful rhetoric from republican presidential candidates about illegal immigration.

Fear of the gay community. Although gay people have been a part of world history since Socrates (yes) and a part of our history since the time of Johnny Appleseed (no, but read Frontiers by Michael Jenson…I have the book if you want to borrow it), now the thought of “Adam and Steve” living happily together or fighting to protect our country is supposed to scare people into voting to preserve bigotry and keep them in power.

Fear of Hillary. There is a debate today (1:00 central time on CNN and others, the Dems debate tomorrow)of Republican candidates, if it the debates of the past are any indication, Hillary’s name will be mentioned more than any thing else. They are scared of her because she is a woman. They are scared of her because she is a leader. They are scared of her because she is right. They are scared of her because she represents the truth.

Here is what we should really fear. The remaining 405 days of the Bush presidency. I addressed this in my Western Tribune column this week, and here it is. For those who want to wait and read it in the newspaper at home by the fireplace (it’s too hot to be building a fire) this evening, stop now. There is nothing after the Tribune column (till someone posts comments).

*********************************

There are just a little more than 400 days left in the Bush administration, but I am not sure the country can stand the rest of his term.

I worry about the children that have been learning about our government with him as their role model over the last few years.

The latest and possibly the most egregious thing the president has done is his handling of the intelligence concerning Iran and its nuclear capabilities.

Last week we learned that the president knew that Iran had halted its nuclear weapons program as early as August, but continued to use harsh language in what appeared to be a run-up to war. This is similar to the way he deceived the American people in the run-up to the war in Iraq in 2002 and 2003.

Is George W. Bush three years old? He made an excuse for not changing his tone by saying “nobody ever told me” to change the rhetoric about Iran. That sounds like something one of my kids would have said when they were toddlers being scolded for something they did.

Just as disturbing is that Iran actually halted the program in 2003, and it took our intelligence community 4 years to realize it and report it in the National Intelligence Estimate.

Now in what could be an effort to shift attention from his mishandling of the Iran situation, Bush has sent a letter to Kim Jong Il, the North Korean leader that Bush once called a “pygmy,” asking for full disclosure of the dictator’s nuclear programs. But isn’t this the guy that Bush for years has refused to even recognize, much less communicate directly with?

Bush is taking the advice of Democratic presidential candidates who in debates have urged dialogue and diplomacy with our enemies. Only by talking with our enemies (which in the case of the Middle East are difficult to separate from our allies) can we reach peaceful solutions to the multitude of problems that confront us in the world’s hot spots.

While I must support the diplomatic effort the president has put forth regarding North Korea, I have to wonder why we should expect the leaders of that country and others to believe he is sincere. The world knows this administration deceived them (and us) about Iraq, and now can clearly see he was trying to do the same with Iran.

Why trust him now?

>The Arctic is Melting…and from the Tribune, Why Trust Bush?

December 12, 2007

>“The Arctic is often cited as the canary in the coal mine for climate warming,” said Zwally, who as a teenager hauled coal. “Now as a sign of climate warming, the canary has died. It is time to start getting out of the coal mines.”

Jay Zwally is a NASA climate scientist, who also said, “At this rate, the Arctic Ocean could be nearly ice-free at the end of summer by 2012, much faster than previous predictions.”

Read the story here on aol news. Now I know that anecdotal reports and individual events can not by themselves prove global warming to be a fact. But here it is 78 degrees in the middle of December and dry as a bone. The picture in The Birmingham News this morning of a sunbather at Oak Mountain State Park tells the story of the bigger picture of climate change that the vast majority of real scientists know to be fact.

Just think, if one of the Republican planet haters gets elected president, by the time their term ends, the Arctic ice could be no more. From 2008 to 2012, while they would continue to refuse to admit our country’s (and our species’) part and ignore steps that should be taken to help our planet, the Arctic (along with Alaska and Greenland…see the article) would be melting.

The republicans don’t care about our planet. The rest of the world doesn’t count to them. Oh, unless they have oil.

They care about two things: money and power. And to control those things, they only use one tactic: fear.

Fear of terror . But as we have seen this week and last, terror from abroad is not what affects us, or what we should fear. Terror from deranged U. S. citizens at shopping malls and churches and universities is much more likely to affect us than a foreign born agent slipping in to the country.

Fear of immigrants. Just listen to the hateful rhetoric from republican presidential candidates about illegal immigration.

Fear of the gay community. Although gay people have been a part of world history since Socrates (yes) and a part of our history since the time of Johnny Appleseed (no, but read Frontiers by Michael Jenson…I have the book if you want to borrow it), now the thought of “Adam and Steve” living happily together or fighting to protect our country is supposed to scare people into voting to preserve bigotry and keep them in power.

Fear of Hillary. There is a debate today (1:00 central time on CNN and others, the Dems debate tomorrow)of Republican candidates, if it the debates of the past are any indication, Hillary’s name will be mentioned more than any thing else. They are scared of her because she is a woman. They are scared of her because she is a leader. They are scared of her because she is right. They are scared of her because she represents the truth.

Here is what we should really fear. The remaining 405 days of the Bush presidency. I addressed this in my Western Tribune column this week, and here it is. For those who want to wait and read it in the newspaper at home by the fireplace (it’s too hot to be building a fire) this evening, stop now. There is nothing after the Tribune column (till someone posts comments).

*********************************

There are just a little more than 400 days left in the Bush administration, but I am not sure the country can stand the rest of his term.

I worry about the children that have been learning about our government with him as their role model over the last few years.

The latest and possibly the most egregious thing the president has done is his handling of the intelligence concerning Iran and its nuclear capabilities.

Last week we learned that the president knew that Iran had halted its nuclear weapons program as early as August, but continued to use harsh language in what appeared to be a run-up to war. This is similar to the way he deceived the American people in the run-up to the war in Iraq in 2002 and 2003.

Is George W. Bush three years old? He made an excuse for not changing his tone by saying “nobody ever told me” to change the rhetoric about Iran. That sounds like something one of my kids would have said when they were toddlers being scolded for something they did.

Just as disturbing is that Iran actually halted the program in 2003, and it took our intelligence community 4 years to realize it and report it in the National Intelligence Estimate.

Now in what could be an effort to shift attention from his mishandling of the Iran situation, Bush has sent a letter to Kim Jong Il, the North Korean leader that Bush once called a “pygmy,” asking for full disclosure of the dictator’s nuclear programs. But isn’t this the guy that Bush for years has refused to even recognize, much less communicate directly with?

Bush is taking the advice of Democratic presidential candidates who in debates have urged dialogue and diplomacy with our enemies. Only by talking with our enemies (which in the case of the Middle East are difficult to separate from our allies) can we reach peaceful solutions to the multitude of problems that confront us in the world’s hot spots.

While I must support the diplomatic effort the president has put forth regarding North Korea, I have to wonder why we should expect the leaders of that country and others to believe he is sincere. The world knows this administration deceived them (and us) about Iraq, and now can clearly see he was trying to do the same with Iran.

Why trust him now?