Rampant denial of humanity’s contribution to climate change explains why I’ve been called an “eco-clown” and “nutstoponder”. Republican Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma can toss a snowball across the Senate floor, declaring “God is still up there, and He promised to maintain the seasons and that cold and heat would never cease as long as the earth remains, the arrogance of people to think that we, human beings, would be able to change what He is doing in the climate is to me outrageous,” and I’m the delusional nutter taking exception to Wisconsin Koch puppet Scott Walker “scrubbing” public Natural Resource websites of references to man made climate change. We’re asked to believe Trump’s appointment of Scott Pruitt to head the EPA will restore American greatness, and I’m the nutter.
Links to refresh your memory –
Still in denial? Ponder these short videos –
America has been dead to me since election night. Self preservation prescribed absolute avoidance of U.S. media. Hearing his voice, seeing that orange face, reacting to Trumpish ascension without blind rage, perfectly good reasons to wash hands of the sordid affair. All well and good until ambushed by CBC radio this afternoon. But for missing that last green light, I might have been out of the vehicle when “U.S. scientists are scrambling to archive environmental research in Canada before Trump inauguration” shot resolve to smithereens. Oh crap! I knew Trump appointed climate denier Scott Pruitt to head the EPA, now I had to look into the impetus of a news bomb.
Oh man, if knowledge were power America wouldn’t be facing the likes of Scott Pruitt. Ponder Pruitt’s environmental legacy below, followed by a link to “Meet Scott Pruitt”-
• May 2011: As Oklahoma Attorney General, Scott Pruitt sues the EPA, alleging that the federal agency violated its own procedures in rejecting a state plan to reduce regional haze at three coal plants. In May 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review Pruitt’s challenge of the EPA’s plan for reducing haze. The EPA’s plan is designed to reduce pollution from coal-fired power plants and industrial sources to improve visibility at federally managed wilderness areas such as the 59,000-acre Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge near Lawton.
It would target coal-fired power plants operated by Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co. at Red Rock and Muskogee and another operated by American Electric Power-Public Service Company of Oklahoma at Oologah.
• September 2011: Oklahoma joins other states in challenging an EPA regulation of power-plant air pollution that crosses state lines. In 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the cross-state air pollution rule, which is scheduled to take effect in May 2017.
• July 2013: Pruitt and his counterparts in 11 other states sue the EPA in federal court, alleging violations of the Freedom of Information Act. The states sued after the EPA denied a request for communication records between the federal agency and nonprofit environmental groups. Pruitt claimed that the agency encourages certain types of lawsuits by nonprofit environmental organizations, such as Greenpeace, Defenders of Wildlife, WildEarth Guardians and the Sierra Club. The EPA then settles the suits by entering consent decrees that contain obligations not found in federal law, Pruitt claimed.
A district judge dismissed the lawsuit in December 2013, siding with the EPA’s claims that the records request was overly broad and vague.
• April 2014: Pruitt sent a letter to the EPA’s Office of the Inspector General, questioning plans to evaluate how the agency and states have done in regulating hydraulic fracturing.
“I am concerned that this project is politically motivated and ignores the EPA’s three previous failed attempts to link hydraulic fracturing to water contamination,” Pruitt wrote. “The U.S. Department of Energy has investigated hydraulic fracturing’s potential harm to water supplies and found no evidence linking the drilling technique to groundwater contamination.”
• August 2014: Pruitt joined 11 other states in a suit challenging the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulation of greenhouse gases. Filed in the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals, the suit specifically seeks to throw out a 2011 settlement in a lawsuit brought against the EPA by 12 states, the District of Columbia and three environmental organizations. In the settlement, the EPA agreed to begin regulation of greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act.
• July 2015: Pruitt sues the EPA in Tulsa federal court over the agency’s plan to rein in pollution from coal-fired power plants. In a news release, Pruitt described the EPA’s Clean Power Plan as “an unlawful attempt to expand federal bureaucrats’ authority over states’ energy economies in order to shutter coal-fired power plants and eventually other sources of fossil-fuel generated electricity.” The lawsuit was later dismissed by a judge on jurisdictional grounds.
• July 2015: Pruitt files a lawsuit in Tulsa federal court challenging the EPA’s new rules governing pollution controls on waters governed by the Clean Water Act. A judge later dismissed the lawsuit on jurisdictional grounds. An appeal is pending.
• October 2015: Pruitt joins 26 other states in challenging the EPA’s Clean Power Plan rules just after they became effective. The new rules require states to cut carbon emissions by 30 percent by 2030. Each state has a customized target and is responsible for drawing up an effective plan to meet its goal. All but two of the state challenges were filed by Republicans. The case is still pending in U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
• August 2016: Pruitt joined a dozen other states in a lawsuit challenging federal regulations for methane emissions from new equipment at oil and natural gas sites. The rules are part of the Obama administration’s goal to cut methane emissions from the oil and gas industry more than 40 percent from 2012 levels by 2025.
Scott Pruitt is buddies with James Inhofe, fellow Okkie and Republican chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, the genius who tossed a snowball on the senate floor as proof God exists, climate change is a hoax, the politician who declared “God is still up there, and He promised to maintain the seasons and that cold and heat would never cease as long as the earth remains.” https://notestoponder.wordpress.com/2015/03/09/senate-snowball/
Scott Pruitt is why U.S. climate researchers scramble to preserve data before Trump’s buffoons assume positions of power.
December 5, 1952 – residents of London, England woke to cloudless skies characteristic of a prolonged pattern of unusually chilly weather. Shivering citizens fed coal burning fireplaces with earnest, soot belched from thousands of chimneys. Within a few hours thick fog settled over the city, by afternoon fog began to turn “sickly yellow” in hue.
Unaware of temperature inversion caused by a stalled high pressure weather system, Londoners had no way of knowing warm temperatures 1,000 feet above ground blocked noxious soot’s escape. Reeking of rotten eggs, poisonous sulfur rich smog halted air, train, boat and surface transportation. Those who ventured outside reported streets thick with sticky goo and blackened faces of coal miners. Over 5 days an estimated 12,000 succumbed to the killer fog. A government investigation resulted in the Clean Air Act of 1956, restricting burning of coal in urban areas and grants to convert coal heat to gas, oil or electric.
Knowing coal emissions trapped in fog are lethal isn’t the same as understanding chemical interactions at play. It took a trip to China (a coal burning nation, home to 16 of the 20 most polluted cities in the world) by Texas A&M researcher Renyi Zhang to publish findings Oct. 9 2016 in Proceeding of The National Academy of Sciences. Research indicating the same phenomenon takes place today.
“People have known that sulfate was a big contributor to the fog, and sulfuric acid particles were formed from sulfur dioxide released by coal burning for residential use and power plants, and other means.
But how sulfur dioxide was turned into sulfuric acid was unclear. Our results showed that this process was facilitated by nitrogen dioxide, another co-product of coal burning, and occurred initially on natural fog. Another key aspect in the conversion of sulfur dioxide to sulfate is that it produces acidic particles, which subsequently inhibits this process. Natural fog contained larger particles of several tens of micrometers in size, and the acid formed was sufficiently diluted. Evaporation of those fog particles then left smaller acidic haze particles that covered the city.”
There are those who flatly deny man-made climate change, others who prescribe to global warming as a natural earth cycle, and scoffers convinced the whole thing is an elaborate hoax. Presidential wannabe Donald Trump contends climate change a conspiracy perpetrated by China to undermine the U.S. economy. Bastions of tight ass right wing patriotic duplicity, the likes of Heartland Institute, Americans for Prosperity and the Heritage Foundation, use their considerable non-profit resources to cast doubt on climate science – target of choice, the NOAA. Inhabiting the opposite end of the spectrum, a plethora of organizations from the David Suzuki Foundation to Greenpeace champion the result of humanity’s indifference to drastic warning signs of climate calamity.
On Monday UK climate scientist Ed Hawkins of the University of Reading, posted this “infographic” on Twitter. In a Washington Post article, Jason Samenow wrote –
“Over the years, scientists have attempted to visually communicate the Earth’s warming in many ways. They’ve developed an array of maps, charts, and animations that present an unmistakable picture of a warming world.
But I’ve seen no visual as striking and effective as the infographic posted to Twitter Monday by climate scientist Ed Hawkins.”
Regardless of which camp you call home, ponder Hawkin’s graphic. Each ring represents a year from 1850-2016.
Over 50 billion bottles of water are consumed each year in America. A United Nations study estimates our oceans contain 46,000 pieces of floating plastic per square mile. In America alone, 1.5 million barrels of oil (reported at the 2007 U.S. Conference of Mayors, likely much higher today) are needed to produce plastic for water bottles, that’s enough oil to power 250,000 homes or 100,000 cars for a year.
Enter Ooho, the edible water bottle. Brown algae and calcium chloride form a gel around water, the process of “spherification” (think egg yolk) forms a double membrane, keeping contents safe and hygienic while allowing a label to be placed between the two layers of membrane. Water is frozen before being “dipped” in calcium chloride, then bathed in brown algae to strengthen by creating a second layer. At a cost of 2 cents per “bottle” Ooho’s future should be bright, but it has a few problems.
London design student and creator Rodrigo Garcia Gonzalez concedes container strength is akin to the skin of fruit. Toss in how to re-seal the vessel and ways to keep membranes sanitary for consumption. Technicalities aside, the edible water bottle demonstrates life without plastic water bottles is conceivable.
The Ooho edible water bottle can’t be closed, but is biodegrade. (Rodrigo García González)
Feeling crafty? Make an edible water bottle at home –
Ponder hungry microorganisms lurking within the Arctic tundra. Vast regions of permafrost – defined as permanently frozen layers of rock, soil and sediment – now thawing at alarming rates due to increased global temperatures. I’m not talking the thin “active” top layer of permafrost covering 24% of Northern Hemisphere land – ponder deep layers of ancient glaciated tundra surrendering to the elements.
Boreholes in northern Canada, Norway and Russia indicate a .4 degree increase in ground temperatures at a depth of 60 meters. It might sound like no big deal – let me assure you otherwise. In the last decade it translates to an increase greater than the last 100 years. So why worry about mushy tundra?
Trapped in that permafrost are enormous amounts of formerly frozen ancient carbon. As the ground warms, billions of voracious microorganisms belly up to the all you can eat buffet. Devouring carbon releases vast amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere – CO2 that contributes to accelerated global warming.
Robert Spencer from the University of Florida, lead researcher of a paper published April 23, 2015 in Geophysical Research Letters said –
“When you have a huge frozen store of carbon and it’s thawing, we have some big questions. The primary question is when it thaws, what happens to it? Our research shows this ancient carbon is rapidly utilized by microbes and transferred to the atmosphere, leading to further warming in the region and therefore more thawing. So we get into a runaway effect.”
While the climate denial camp busily pats itself on the back for convincing the masses we have nothing to worry about – stop and ask yourself why people gobble their self serving propaganda hook, line and sinker.