Global Weirding News of the Week

Since we had plenty of news last Friday and I was heading out of town, I decided to leave our weekly roundup of global weirding and environmental news (that we didn’t already cover) to Monday. Here’s the global weirding portion.

Climate: Student Reporters Take on Climate Change and Security

Coincidences abound—just after posting an item on Representative Gabrielle Giffords’s focus on climate change and renewable energy as a national security issues, I run across a new multimedia project from Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism that explores: climate change and national security. Called “Global Warning,” the website is the product of three months of investigations by student reporters at one of the best journalism schools in the U.S., with stories exploring the climate risks to energy infrastructure, the spread of disease in a warmer world, military clashes in a melting Arctic. Some of the pieces will also appear in the Washington Postand in McClatchy newspaper, but all of them will be found online on a website that includes sophisticated graphics, climate change timelines and even a global warming strategy game….

Climate Education For Children Part 2

In my search for Climate Education For Children Part 2, I found the following sites….

Describing Socioeconomic Futures for Climate Change Research and Assessment

The implications of climate change for the environment and society depend on the rate and magnitude of climate change, but also on changes in technology, economics, lifestyles, and policy that will affect the capacity both for limiting and adapting to climate change. Describing Socioeconomic Futures for Climate Change Research and Assessment reviews the state of science for considering socioeconomic changes over long time frames and clarifies definitions and concepts to facilitate communication across research communities. The book also explores driving forces and key uncertainties that will affect impacts, adaptation, vulnerability and mitigation in the future. Furthermore, it considers research needs and the elements of a strategy for describing socioeconomic and environmental futures for climate change research and assessment….

Where does your electricity come from?

As you read this blog on the internet, which connects us all around the globe, many of us are still blind to the fact that half of our electricity in our country still comes from a technology that was introduced in the nineteenth century: coal.

Last night, I saw a film called Dirty Business: “Clean Coal” and the Battle for Our Energy Future, consulted and narrated by Rolling Stone reporter Jeff Goodell, which asks these crucial questions: “Can coal ever really be made “clean”? If we were to try to wean ourselves off coal, how would we keep the lights on? Is renewable energy ready for prime time? Is Carbon Capture and Storage really a viable option financially and environmentally?…

Koch Sues: Claim That We Believe In Global Warming Damaged Our Reputation

Pollution machine Koch Industries is taking to court to defend its reputation as a cesspool of global warming denial. The right-wing carbon industry giant, owned by Tea Party billionaires David and Charles Koch, has filed a lawsuit in Utah to punish anonymous pranksters who claimed on the company’s behalf that it was discontinuing funding to climate denial front groups. According to Koch’s lawyers, as a result of the rumor that the company believes in climate science, its “business and reputation were harmed“….

Obama Administration Reverses Largest Appalachian Mountaintop Removal Permit in US History

In nearly four decades since the Clean Water Act was passed, the Environmental Protection Agency has never vetoed any mining permit retroactively. That changed this morning.

Word is just coming down via Coal Tattoo that the Obama administration EPA has just vetoed the largest single mountaintop removal permit in West Virginia history. The permit was initially awarded during the previous very fossil-friendly Bush administration, after a fractious decades-long court battle….

India Farmer Suicides Linked To Crop Failure, Climate Change (VIDEO)

Loss of government subsidies, international competition and recently erratic climate patterns are all being blamed for a staggering number of Indian farmers who are resorting to suicide, Al-Jazeera is reporting….

Military v climate spending: How China outguns the US on clean energy

China is spending 1/6th as much as the US on its military and investing twice as much on clean energy technology….

Major bank calls US ‘significant outlier’ on greenhouse-gas action

One of the world’s largest banks said Thursday there is “positive momentum” in 2011 for climate change-related investments. But the bank says there’s one exception to that rule: the United States….

To save the planet and the budget, cut energy off the dole

President Obama promised in the fall that a top priority of his legislative program for 2011 would be an energy policy “that helps us grow at the same time as it deals with climate change in a serious way.” With global warming deniers now in charge of the House of Representatives, there would seem to be little hope for major legislation on clean energy or climate in this Congress….

But all is not lost. If Obama wants to set us on a path to a sustainable-energy future – and a green one, too – he should propose a very simple solution to the current mess: eliminate all energy subsidies. Yes, all of them – oil, coal, gas, nuclear, ethanol, and wind and solar. Energy subsidies are the sordid legacy of more than 60 years of politics as usual in Washington. It would be better for national security, the balance of payments, the budget deficit and even, yes, the environment if we simply wiped the slate clean and let all energy sources compete for the future….

Kerry, other Dems say hottest year on record a wake-up call on global warming

Sen. John Kerry and other advocates for climate change legislation say data showing that 2010 was tied for the hottest year on record should prompt action.

“How many times do we have to be smacked in the face with factual evidence before we address global climate change? Report after report keep confirming it’s getting worse every year,” Kerry (D-Mass.) said in a statement Wednesday.

Kerry added: “Will we find common ground and adult leadership or keep piling the science on a shelf to collect dust?”…

Terrific ABC News story: “Raging Waters In Australia and Brazil Product of Global Warming” – “Scientists: Climate Change No Longer a Theory, It’s Happening”

The pictures today from around the world of dramatic rooftop rescues from raging waters, makes it seem as though natural disasters are becoming an everyday occurrence. But they’re not all that natural; climate scientists say man-made global warming is the sudden force behind the forces of nature….

Brazilian floods: Brazil’s deadliest natural disaster in history

Torrential rains inundated a heavily populated, steep-sloped area about 40 miles north of Rio de Janeiro on Tuesday and Wednesday, triggering flash floods and mudslides that have claimed at least 611 lives. Rainfall amounts of approximately 300 mm (12 inches) fell in just a few hours in the hardest-hit regions, Teresopolis and Nova Friburgo. Many more people are missing, and the death toll is expected to go much higher once rescuers reach remote villages that have been cut off from communications. The death toll makes the January 2011 floods Brazil’s worst single-day natural disaster in its history. Brazil suffers hundreds of deaths each year due to flooding and mudslides, but the past 12 months have been particularly devastating. Flooding and landslides near Rio in April last year killed 246 people and did about $13 billion in damage, and at least 85 people perished last January during a similar event….

Glacier melt in Peru becomes more than a climate issue

Glacier melt hasn’t caused a national crisis in Peru, yet. But high in the Andes, rising temperatures and changes in water supply over the last 40 years have decimated crops, killed fish stocks and forced villages to question how they will survive for another generation.

Without international help to build reservoirs and dams and improve irrigation, the South American nation could become a case study in how climate change can destabilize a strategically important region, according to Peruvian, U.S. and other officials.

Dirty Business Film Debunks ‘Clean Coal’ Myth

Dirty Business, the new documentary from the Centre for Investigative Journalism, began its nationwide screening tour last night in Berkeley, California, with the aim of debunking the myth of “clean coal” and kick-starting a debate on the future of energy in the US.

The film shows scarred mountains, abandoned family homes on remote hillsides, water courses toxic with sludge, respiratory fatalities and children whose growth has been stunted by pollution as some of the side effects of coal extraction and the power stations that burn it. And, of course, it shows the effect of coal combustion on global temperatures.

The film is narrated by Jeff Goodell, Big Coal author and contributing editor of Rolling Stone magazine, who compares the first time he saw an open-top mine in West Virginia like the “first time you look into an abattoir after a lifetime of eating animals”….

I accept Joe Bastardi’s wager on global warming — and I also challenge him to one on Arctic sea ice – Anti-science long-range forecasts can cost people billions of dollars

Accuweather’s “expert long-range forecaster” Joe Bastardi has apparently issued some sort of a challenge to his critics.  Let’s see if he has the nerve to back up his unscientific claims with two real bets, which I will lay out below.  He ought to, given that if any of the industries who rely on such long-term forecast actually believed Bastardi, they could lose millions of dollars….

Image Credit: AZRainman

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