Tagged With climate

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Stock up on your canned beans and gumboots, folks: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook has dropped, and for the first time in years, the weather monitoring agency is predicting more hurricanes than average.

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On Monday, the Washington Post reports that EPA head Scott Pruitt was behind the dismissal of half of the members of the agency's Board of Science Counselors. The 18-member board oversees the rigour and integrity of the scientific research guiding policy decisions coming out of the EPA, from climate change to air pollution. Even more alarming, a spokesman for the EPA told the New York Times their replacements may be representatives from the polluting industries themselves. While the move has outraged some environmentalists, it seems completely in line with Pruitt's longstanding goal of curtailing the EPA's regulatory power from within.

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Back on a crisp January day in 2016, I slipped around on a frozen lake in Wisconsin to ask a bunch of portly men in grey hoodies and trucker hats how the fishing had been compared to when they were kids. Secretly, I wanted to know what they thought about the changing climate. The men had various backgrounds, many of them in agriculture, and nearly all noticed fewer ice fishing days than when they were kids. They detailed their thoughts in gruff what-is-this-kid-doing-here Wisconsin accents from folding chairs beside flopping future fillets.

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Bret Stephens unleashed a Category 6 hurricane on Twitter last week, when he penned a column for the New York Times espousing opinions on climate change that can best be described as... controversial. While acknowledging that human-caused global warming is a settled matter, Stephens argued that the risk climate change poses is not. As a Times push notification sent out to millions of subscribers on Friday summarized, "reasonable people can be sceptical about the dangers of climate change."

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In 1908, Ernest Shackleton's legendary Nimrod team was making its way toward the South Pole when the men were startled by something unexpected: The sound of liquid water, roaring across the frozen wasteland toward the sea. One hundred and nine years later, scientists can confirm that this sound, described by one early explorer as "odd after the usual Antarctic silence" was not a trick of the mens' imaginations, nor was it a fluke. Hundreds of individual waterways gush across our planet's ice-covered continent in the summertime, and they have been doing so for decades.

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It's one of the biggest mysteries in this global experiment we're conducting by pouring 10 billion tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere each year: What will happen to the plants? Will the relentless burning of fossil fuels prompt our leafy green friends to suck down more CO2, tapping the brakes on climate change? Or are the trees unable to bail Earth's atmosphere out this mess?

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The climate is changing, driven in part by humans spewing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. An overwhelming majority of climate scientists agrees with this statement. They agree with this statement because they look at long-term climate models, look at carbon emissions, run lots of tests, and see that one drives the other. I do not like writing serious articles about climate change because it's exasperating. But there is news that I must report: As usual, we're on track for a record-breaking year.

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In a speech yesterday full of half-truths, demi-truths and, of course, alternative facts, US President Trump doubled down on his campaign promise to reinvigorate America's long-ailing coal and steel industries, promising that under his administration "dying industries will come roaring back to life". Sure. Meanwhile, in a move that more closely reflects market reality, China announced it is cutting 500,000 coal and steel jobs as it begins shifting its economy away from heavy manufacturing.

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On Thursday, US President Trump signed legislation blocking the Stream Protection Rule, a key Obama regulation that limited mining companies from dumping excess spoil into waterways. Waste from mining operations can contain sulphur-bearing minerals which, mixed with water, create what the EPA calls "acid mine drainage". It's a fair trade-off, in Trump's mind, for stimulating coal industry job growth. Trump is set to kill even more regulations. The problem: Deregulation won't bring back coal jobs.