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Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to Hold Four Public Informational Hearings on its Proposed General Permits on Nonmetallic (Including Frac Sand) Mining Operations

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On March 16, the Department of Natural Resources released the public notice for the reissuance of the following two WPDES Nonmetallic Mining Operations general permits:

Nonmetallic Mining Operations (Non-Industrial Sand and Other Aggregates), WPDES General Permit No. WI-A046515-6: This general permit covers nonmetallic mining operations defined under Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) Code 1400 to 1499, except SIC Code 1446 (Industrial Sand). Typical operations covered under this general permit include mining and processing of construction sand, gravel, stone, rock and other aggregate.

Nonmetallic Mining Operations for Industrial Sand Mining and Processing, WPDES General Permit No. WI-B046515-6: This general permit covers nonmetallic mining operations defined under SIC Code 1446, Industrial Sand.

WPDES General Permit Nos. WI-A046515-6 and WI-B046515-6 authorize and regulate discharges of storm water and process wastewater from operations whose primary income-producing activity is nonmetallic mining. The proposed general permits and fact sheet are available on the WPDES permits on public notice webpage.

In late March and early April, the DNR will hold four public informational hearings on the proposed general permits. See the public notice for more details.

Lake Temperature Data Over Decades Show Warming

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Large, increasing methane emissions from northern lakes:

Methane is increasing in the atmosphere, but many sources are poorly understood. Lakes at high northern latitudes are such a source. However, this may change with a new study published in Nature Geoscience. By compiling previously reported measurements made at a total of 733 northern water bodies — from small ponds formed by beavers to large lakes formed by permafrost thaw or ice-sheets — researchers are able to more accurately estimate emissions over large scales.

“The release of methane from northern lakes and ponds needs to be taken seriously. These waters are significant, contemporary sources because they cover large parts of the landscape. They are also likely to emit even more methane in the future,” says Martin Wik, PhD student at the Department of Geological Sciences and Bolin Centre for Climate Research, Stockholm University, who led the study.

With climate warming, particularly at high northern latitudes, longer ice-free seasons in combination with permafrost thaw is likely to fuel methane release from lakes, potentially causing their emissions to increase 20-50 precent before the end of this century. Such a change would likely generate a positive feedback on future warming, causing emissions to increase even further.

“This means that efforts to reduce human induced warming are even more urgent in order to minimize this type of feedback of natural greenhouse gas emissions. In a sense, every reduction in emissions from fossil fuels is a double victory,” says David Bastviken, Professor at Tema Environmental Change, Linköping University.

Source: January 4, 2016 – Stockholm University, ScienceDaily.com.

Climate change is rapidly warming lakes around the world, threatening freshwater supplies and ecosystems, according to a study spanning six continents.

The study is the largest of its kind and the first to use a combination of satellite temperature data and long-term ground measurements. A total of 235 lakes, representing more than half of the world’s freshwater supply, were monitored for at least 25 years. The research, published in Geophysical Research Letters, was announced today at the American Geophysical Union meeting.

The study, which was funded by NASA and the National Science Foundation, found lakes are warming an average of 0.61 degrees Fahrenheit (0.34 degrees Celsius) each decade. That’s greater than the warming rate of either the ocean or the atmosphere, and it can have profound effects, the scientists say.

Algal blooms, which can ultimately rob water of oxygen, are projected to increase 20 percent in lakes over the next century as warming rates increase. Algal blooms that are toxic to fish and animals would increase by 5 percent. If these rates continue, emissions of methane, a greenhouse gas 25 times more powerful than carbon dioxide on 100-year time scales, will increase 4 percent over the next decade.

“Society depends on surface water for the vast majority of human uses,” said co-author Stephanie Hampton, director of Washington State University’s Center for Environmental Research, Education and Outreach in Pullman. “Not just for drinking water, but manufacturing, for energy production, for irrigation of our crops. Protein from freshwater fish is especially important in the developing world.”

The temperature of water influences a host of its other properties critical to the health and viability of ecosystems. When temperature swings quickly and widely from the norm, life forms in a lake can change dramatically and even disappear.

“‘These results suggest that large changes in our lakes are not only unavoidable, but are probably already happening,” said lead author Catherine O’Reilly, associate professor of geology at Illinois State University, Normal. Earlier research by O’Reilly has seen declining productivity in lakes with rising temperatures.

Temperature increases close to or above the average .61 degrees F rise were seen in some of the world’s most popular waters, including Lake Tahoe (+.97 F by hand, +1.28 by satellite), the Dead Sea (+1.13 F), two reservoirs serving New York City, Seattle’s Lake Washington (+.49 F), and the Great Lakes Huron (+1.53 F by hand, +.79 by satellite), Michigan (+.76 F by hand, +.36 by satellite), Ontario (+.59 F) and Superior (+2.09 F by hand measurement, +1.44 F by satellite).

Study co-author Simon Hook, science division manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., said satellite measurements provide a broad view of lake temperatures over the entire globe. But they only measure surface temperature, while hand measurements can detect temperature changes throughout a lake. Also, while satellite measurements go back 30 years, some lake measurements go back more than a century.

“Combining the ground and satellite measurements provides the most comprehensive view of how lake temperatures are changing around the world,” he said.

The researchers said various climate factors are associated with the warming trend. In northern climates, lakes are losing their ice cover earlier, and many areas of the world have less cloud cover, exposing their waters more to the sun’s warming rays.

Previous work by Hook using satellite data indicated that many lake temperatures were warming faster than air temperature and that the greatest warming was observed at high latitudes, as seen in other climate warming studies. This new research confirmed those observations, with average warming rates of 1.3 degrees Fahrenheit (0.72 degrees Celsius) per decade at high latitudes.

Warm-water, tropical lakes may be seeing less dramatic temperature increases, but increased warming of these lakes can still have large negative impacts on fish. That can be particularly important in the African Great Lakes, where fish is an important source of food.

“We want to be careful that we don’t dismiss some of these lower rates of change,” said Hampton. “In warmer lakes, those temperature changes can be really important. They can be just as important as a higher rate of change in a cooler lake.”

In general, the researchers write, “The pervasive and rapid warming observed here signals the urgent need to incorporate climate impacts into vulnerability assessments and adaptation efforts for lakes.”

The Great Lakes are some of the world’s fastest warming lakes.

The decline of Great Lakes ice cover over the past several decades is contributing significantly to the rate of increase of summer water temperature, the study said.

The data also shows the world’s lakes are warming faster than the air around the lakes.

The study, published in the Geophysical Research Letters, finds that Lake Superior is warming the fastest of any of the Great Lakes.

The downside to warming waters is a more rapidly changing Great Lakes ecology. Warmer waters can negatively effect some native Great Lakes species, and increase invasive species.

Lake Superior is warming at a rate of 2.1°F per decade, according to the study.

Northern Lake Michigan is warming 0.4°F per decade, while southern Lake Michigan is warming at 0.76°F.

Northern Lake Huron is warming faster than southern Lake Huron. Northern Lake Huron is warming at a rate of 1.5°F and southern Lake Huron .79°F.

Lake Ontario is warming at .59°F per decade.

Lake Erie has been the slowest to warm at 0.15°F per decade.

The study looked at data from 1985 to 2009. It used satellite data, and actual water and air temperature measurements from buoys on the Great Lakes.

One would think the water would warm at the same rate as the air above it. The study showed this is not the case. Great Lakes water temperatures are actually rising about 50 percent faster than the overlying air temperatures.

An increasing number of ice-free days on each Great Lake are a major culprit in the warming, the study said. Lack of ice causes summer stratification of the water to occur earlier in the summer. Once summer stratification occurs, Great Lakes waters can warm faster on the surface.

Summer stratification means the water is warmer on the top surface of a lake, and then gets colder in gradually deeper water. This stratification develops during the spring and early summer. Coming out of winter, the surface water is coldest, and maybe ice covered, and the water gets warmer as you go to deeper depths. The temperature pattern then flip-flops heading into summer.

An older study found that this summer stratification is occurring nearly 14 days earlier in the last 27 years.

Although 2.1°F warming over a decade may not sound like a lot, that’s a 4.5°F water temperature rise on Lake Superior since 1979.

The study exemplifies the interdisciplinary work of WSU’s Grand Challenges, areas of research addressing some of society’s most complex issues. The study is also in keeping with the theme of the challenge “Sustainable Resources: Food, Energy, and Water,” which will develop strategies that link optimized agricultural practices, water management, and energy production.

Sources:
Washington State University – reported in ScienceDaily.com
Mark Torregrossa | mtorregr@mlive.com

150-year global ice record reveals major warming trend
September 7, 2000 By Brian Mattmiller

Sources as diverse as newspaper archives, transportation ledgers and religious observances, scientists have amassed lake and river ice records spanning the Northern Hemisphere that show a steady 150-year warming trend.

The study, which includes 39 records of either freeze dates or breakup dates from 1846 to 1995, represents one of the largest and longest records of observable climate data ever assembled. University limnologist John Magnuson led a team of 13 co-authors who contributed to the report, to be published in the Sept. 8 issue of the journal Science.

Sites ranges from Canada, Europe, Russia and Japan. Of those, 38 indicate a consistent warming pattern. The average rate of change over the 150-year period was 8.7 days later for freeze dates; and 9.8 days earlier for breakup dates. A smaller collection of records going well past 150 years also show a warming trend, at a slower rate.

“We think this is a very robust observation: It is clearly getting warmer in the Northern Hemisphere,” says Magnuson. “The importance of these records is that they come from very simple, direct human observations, making them very difficult to refute in any general way.”

Magnuson says the observational nature of the study is “both its strength and its weakness,” and the results do not offer specific proof that greenhouse gases are driving the warming trend. However, the findings are consistent with computer-generated models that have been developed to estimate climate change from greenhouse gases over a 125-year time period, he says.

The findings also correspond to an air temperature increase of 1.8 degrees Celsius over the past 150 years. A temperature change of 0.2 degrees Celsius typically translates to a one-day change in ice-on and ice-off dates.

Freeze dates were defined in the study as the observed period the lake or river was completely ice-covered; the breakup date was defined as the last ice breakup observed before the summer open-water phase.

Ice records have valuable attributes for climate researchers, Magnuson says. They can be gathered across a wide range of the globe, and in areas traditionally without weather stations. Their primary weakness is that early observers did not document the methods used.

“Of course, 10,000 years ago the Midwest was covered by ice, so we know it’s getting warmer,” he says. “What’s troubling and scary to people is that these rates in recent decades are so much faster.”

Climate models have predicted a doubling of total greenhouse gases in the next 30 years or so, a change that could potentially move the climate boundaries for fish and other organisms northward by about 300 miles, approximately the length of the state of Wisconsin, Magnuson says.

The records in this study are part of a decade-long project led by Magnuson and the UW–Madison Center for Limnology to build a database of lake and river ice records from around the world. The project was supported by the National Science Foundation’s Long-Term Ecological Research program, which emphasizes tracking and understanding global changes.

“It’s kind of a new science, you might call it network science,” Magnuson says. “We reached out to colleagues around the world and asked for these records. It turned out some people had very rich stores of data.”

The records in this study represent the longest and most intact of 746 records collected through the project. Some individual records are of astonishing lengths, with one dating back to the 9th century, another to the 15th century and two more to the early 1700s.

For example, Lake Suwa in Japan has a record dating back to 1443 that was kept by holy people of the Shinto religion. The religion had shrines on either side of the lake. Ice cover was recorded because of the belief that ice allowed deities on either side of the lake — one male, one female — to get together.

Lake Constance, a large lake on the border of Germany and Switzerland, has a peculiar record dating back to the 9th century. Two churches, one in either country, had a tradition of carrying a Madonna figure across the lake to the alternate church each year it froze.

Two other long records come from Canada’s Red and McKenzie rivers, which date back to the early 1700s and were kept because ice cover and open water were critical to the fur trade. Records from Grand Traverse Bay and Toronto Harbor, both on the shores of the Great Lakes, reflect their prominence as shipping ports.

Other records included in the study are from lakes Mendota, Monona and Geneva from Wisconsin; lakes Detroit and Minnetonka from Minnesota; lakes Oneida from New York and Moosehead from Maine; Lake Kallavesi from Finland; and the Angara River and Lake Baikal from eastern Russia.

Another finding in the study, based on the 184 ice records from 1950 to 1995, showed the variability in freeze and breakup dates increased in the last three decades. Magnuson says it might be related to intensification of global climate drivers such as the El Nino /La Nina effects in the Pacific Ocean.

Magnuson says the ecological effects of global warming are only beginning to be studied. But studies already exist that have shown the northern ranges of some butterflies and birds have been extending northward.

Source: University of Wisconsin – Madison

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In Wake of Flint, Michigan’s Lead in Its Drinking Water, U.S. EPA Sends Letters to All State Governors to Ensure Protection of Public from Lead in Its Drinking Water

As with many environmental pollution and resource destruction activities, once  the problem reaches a crisis stage, which might also be called “the tipping point”, the impacts or “unintended consequences become  essentially “irreversible” —  that is, the damage is done and there is no way to return things to the earlier preconditions.

The problem of excessive greenhouse gases in our atmosphere from too much fossil fuel burning by humans over the past 100+ years is a comparable  situation, but is occurring on a much larger scale, of course. There will be essentially no going back to previous conditions that existed on earth before global warming  from human activities began sticking up its ugly head.

To return to the lead in drinking water problem, the  U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on February 29th sent letters to all state governors and water regulators across the U.S. promising greater enforcement of rules to protect citizens from lead in their drinking water, in the wake of the drinking water contamination crisis in Flint, Michigan, where many children tested extremely high concentrations of lead in their bodies, high enough to cause irreversible brain damage. The EPA is urging every state in the U.S. to locate all water lines in their jurisdiction that could potentially be distributing lead-contaminated drinking water to the public, which apparently was already required of every state in the U.S..

As reported in the Detroit Free Press Sunday, millions of lead service lines remain buried in cities across the nation, but in many cases water utilities are uncertain where those lines are, making it difficult for EPA to monitor many utilities’ compliance with the lead testing requirement, even at locations most likely suspected to have high concentrations of lead already in their public’s drinking water coming out of the tap.

The EPA, having already been criticized by some for not moving more quickly in Flint after learning of the elevated lead level in at least one home in February, 2015, and two months later, found to be not practicing corrosion control as was required, said it is now increasing its regulatory oversight over state programs – “to identify and address any deficiencies.”

The EPA outlined its plans in two letters sent Monday: One, from agency Administrator Gina McCarthy to governors in 49 states; and a second, with more detail, from Deputy Assistant Administrator Joel Beauvais in the EPA Office of Water, to state regulators. The state of Wyoming did not get letters because it has not taken primary responsibility for drinking water, so it remains with EPA.

In January, McCarthy issued an emergency order taking over testing and putting other requirements on Michigan and the city of Flint, saying they were delaying implementation of recommendations made by the federal agency. That came, however, some 20 months after Flint switched water sources and the state Department of Environmental Quality, with primary responsibility, failed to require corrosion control, which apparently allowed lead to leach from aging lines into residents’ taps.

While the state DEQ has borne most of the blame, the EPA has been criticized for not moving more decisively to restore corrosion control and react to fears of widespread lead contamination after the state acknowledged in April of last year that it did not believe it had to require corrosion control under the 25-year-old Lead and Copper Rule at that point. It has since acknowledged the mistake.

McCarthy said in her letter that her staff “will be meeting with every state drinking water program across the country to ensure that states are taking appropriate action to identify and address” any issues of lead levels being above acceptable levels.

She also called for states to do more to ensure that the public receives “better and quicker” information on lead risks, and said her agency will be working with states to make sure there is “adequate and sustained investment” in regulatory oversight of drinking water laws. She said EPA will be looking to help find financing for the “upgrading and replacement of aging infrastructure, especially for poor and overburdened communities.”

A Day to Remember – February 29, 2016

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I could not allow this day – Feb. 29 – to pass without comment. Leap year – a year having an extra day in February – occurs only every four years.

So, is that good or bad?

It’s not good, in fact it’s DISASTROUS, because yet ANOTHER day, and year, and decade has gone by while our elected officials in the State of Wisconsin Legislature, and the U.S. Congress, and the population of our state and country, refuse to take the threat, and now reality, of global warming caused by too much fossil fuel burning – in cars, trucks, airplanes, electric power producing plants that burn fossil fuels, seriously, despite alarming increases in sea levels.

Too much fuel burning primarily coal, methane (natural gas), and oil products, have been burned by humans over the past decades and centuries for the energy that has been produced, resulting in the emission and accumulation of elevated concentrations of “greenhouse gases” in earth’s atmosphere, resulting in global warming, the rise in the elevation levels of earth’s oceans, due to the melting of the earth’s Arctic and Antarctic Circle’s land ice and snow, the shrinking of earth’s mountainous glaciers, a thawing of the earth’s permafrost region (one-fifth of the earth’s land surface), causing a warming, expansion, and acidification of earth’s oceans, leading to a dangerous rise in sea level.

The warming is already wreaking of havoc on earth’s biological systems, including humans, most notably in poorer, tropical countries, many of which are already experiencing grave losses due to extreme weather events, such as drought, heat waves and severe storms, along with unprecedented flooding, all of which had been scientifically predicted well over a century ago!

The warming has been compounded by the increasing loss of vegetation, particularly the loss of the tropical rainforests, which had been naturally sequestering carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, but not anymore, by the ones which have been replaced by other forms of development or money producing mono-culture agriculture.

Global warming from human causes is not rocket science, despite what the flat earth believers may still be claiming. However, saying that human-caused global warming is not occurring, because it has not been “proven” to be happening –  as of  this February 29, 2016, is utterly preposterous, and those who claim human-caused global warming is not happening are either fools or worse yet – liars.

A Remarkable State of the State Speech by the Governor of Wisconsin

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Governor Scott Walker’s 6th “State of the State” address was remarkable, not because of anything the governor said in the speech, but rather because of what the Wisconsin governor chose to exclude from the speech. Delivered in the historic State Capitol building to the Wisconsin State Legislature and a TV audience on Tuesday, January 21, 2016, the remarkable thing is that the governor continues to claim everything is rosy not just here and now but also for all of Wisconsin in the future. But such is far from the case.

Wisconsin’s economic and environmental future looks increasingly more dismal and bleak, because our governor, along with most of the Republican dominated Wisconsin Legislature, continue to ignore the greatest challenge of our lifetime – global warming and its accompanying changes to our climate. Despite alarm bells being sounded by scientists everywhere, including those at NASA and NOAA, the threats of our planet’s warming, including rising sea levels and more extreme weather occurrences, is irrefutable. Our president and the entire scientific community call the situation “urgent”.

It is unconscionable for Wisconsin’s governor and our state and federal office holders to continue to tell Wisconsinites nothing is wrong or, just as bad, to say nothing about the real truth behind the catastrophic rise in greenhouse gases in our atmosphere, the oceans, mostly from burning too much fossil fuels, including gasoline, aviation fuel, coal and natural gas (methane). The governor’s speech moreover did not acknowledge Wisconsin’s economy is already failing countless Wisconsin families, preventing them from enjoying a decent standard of living, and having a future not marred by an inhospitable climate. In fact, Governor Walker’s speech was devoid of saying anything negative about the state’s current and projected future, much less identifying any plans whatsoever for the state to address or adequately respond to the expected future conditions.

And not unlike what has happened in Flint Michigan, where the governor and city officials failed to inform the residents that their drinking water had been contaminated with lead, Governor Walker and Wisconsin officials are similarly not informing residents of Wisconsin of the growing perils which await future citizens of Wisconsin. Scientists everywhere are now saying the record high buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and oceans represent a “grave risk” for humanity and other species sharing earth as their home. The governor and all Wisconsin’s citizens should know that allowing such problems to continue to fester, unabated, will inevitably lead to disaster the longer we all wait to take action, just like what happened in Flint, Michigan.

Please somebody wake up Governor Scott Walker – BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE! And Governor Walker please be truthful in what you tell Wisconsin’s families and businesses what the real state of our once great state is, and will be, if we continue to do “business as usual”.

Rally Planned at Madison Capitol Steps to Voice Wisconsin People’s Opposition to Enbridge Crude Oil Pipeline Capacity Expansion Through Dane County and 12 other Wisconsin Counties

Fuelleakrate

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Local and National Speech will be delived at a public rally on the State Street side of the Wisconsin Capitol Building Saturday, at 3;00 o’clock pm on Saturday, 12 December. All people concerned about oil spills and the warming planet will be in attendance.

A federal judge says courts don’t have the authority to question U.S. State Department decisions in a cross-border pipeline dispute.

Environmental groups brought a lawsuit against Enbridge Energy, claiming the firm is illegally transporting more oil from Canada by switching it between lines at the border. But a U.S. district judge ruled this week that because the State Department OK’d the reroute, it’s not subject to legal challenges.

Enbridge proposed to nearly double the amount of oil on its Line 67 pipeline that runs from Alberta to Superior. According to Wisconsin Safe Energy Alliance co-founder Carl Whiting, the pipeline switch at the border is already sending that much more to Wisconsin. He said the move skirts national laws on cross-border expansions and expressed disappointment with the judge’s ruling.

“The last thing this region – Wisconsin in particular – needs is to become the major corridor for tar sands at a time when we’re facing climate issues,” he said.

Whiting said parties to the suit are considering other options. Enbridge spokeswoman Lorraine Little said the judge’s ruling affirms the State Department’s decision that the company is operating its pipelines at the border in accordance with existing permits.

Little provided the following statement:

“Wednesday’s decision leaves in place the State Department’s approval of Enbridge’s use of Line 3 and Line 67 consistent with its existing permits. The interconnections are simply leveraging the flexibility we have under our existing permits to meet our obligations to shippers and to continue the vital service of transporting reliable, secure supplies of North American crude oil.”

Winona Laduke, executive director of the group Honor the Earth and member of the White Earth Nation called the ruling “baffling” in a press release.

“The federal government has allowed Enbridge to violate federal laws, but the federal courts don’t feel they have jurisdiction to intervene … Ojibwe tribes stand united in opposition to this pipeline invasion and we will continue our resistance until justice is served.”

WPR Article By Danielle Kaeding, 11 December 2015

President Obama Should Request U.S. Congress to Issue Declaration of War to Fight Global Warming

On December 8, 1941, the United States Congress declared war on the Empire of Japan in response to its surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor in the U.S. Territory (soon to become state) of Hawaii the morning of December 7, 1941.

The Declaration of War was formulated an hour after President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s famous Infamy Speech at 12:30 pm on December 8, 1941. The declaration quickly passed the Senate and then the House at 1:10 p.m the same day. Roosevelt signed the declaration at 4:10 p.m., December 8, 1941. The power to declare war is assigned exclusively to Congress in the United States Constitution; however, the president’s signature was symbolically powerful and resolved any doubts.

Two days later, a similar war declaration against Germany and Italy passed both the Senate and the House of Representatives.

In the Joint Resolutions declaring war against the Imperial Government of Japan, Germany and Italy, the Congress pledged “all the resources of the country of the United States” … “and the president is hereby authorized and directed to employ the entire naval and military forces of the United States and the resources of the government to carry on war … to bring the conflict to a successful termination.”

The magnitude of the threat of accelerating global warming and a rapidly changing climate that would undeniably accompany the continued and increasing accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, as a direct consequence of human actions, mainly from too much fossil fuel burning and continuing and increased deforestation, especially in the tropics, upon the United States of America and the rest of the world, both now and into the future, easily dwarfs the loss of life, injury and misery to humans and animals wrought by all known wars, and therefore justifies a declaration of war by all countries of the world to slow and ultimately halt global warming and climate change, worldwide. Such declarations should be made now, without delay, to ensure an hospitable and safe world for all Earth’s current and future generations.

It is morally essential that Government, businesses, individuals and families begin to meet this challenge of increasing global warming and climate change that has already begun to cause loss of human lives, other species living in the world, and brought pain and misery to so many. To ignore and campaign against actions that reduce this growing threat, which will unquestionably hurt the people of the world’s poorer countries and Earth’s millions and millions of species, is utterly and morally reprehensible and is a practice that ought stop immediately because it needlessly delays progress in attacking this major problem of untold negative consequences for centuries to come.

Climate Change Summit Delegates Better Not Blow It!

 

 

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More than 40,000 delegates from 195 countries are attending COP21, the United Nation International Framework on Climate Change (IPCC) annual meeting, which is being held this year  in Paris, France, November 30 to December 10. The attendees this year have the daunting responsibility of achieving a legally binding agreement to keep global warming below what scientists worldwide say is a critical threshold of 2 degrees Celsius [3.6 degrees Fahrenheit] of global average temperature warming above the average global temperature prior to the Industrial Revolution .

The delegates in Paris the next two weeks represent countries that presently emit 95% of greenhouse gases emitted to the atmosphere from human-related sources; they have, literally, the fate of our planet -EARTH –  INCLUDING QUITE POSSIBLY ALL ITS CURRENT AND FUTURE PEOPLE AND ANIMALS – within their hands the next ten days at this historic conference.

Representatives of the 195 nations taking part in this meeting – the 21st annual “Conference of the Parties” to the IPCC (thus COP21), the first of which took place in Berlin in 1995 – are charged what has been called “an urgent last chance to save the planet”.

Clearly, this will not be an easy goal to reach, since the planet already has been warmed by 0.85 degrees Celsius since 1880, according to the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report in 2014, and many scientists say the gases we have already emitted into the atmosphere will “lock us in” to around 2 degrees Celsius of warming. Therefore, it will take significant reductions in emissions in the near future, especially from the largest emitters such as the United States and China, as well as commitments to sustainable development from all countries.

Study Finds Pace of Arctic Melting Increasing North of Scandinavia

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Image credit:Jason Roberts, BBC-Cracked surface: The largest ice cap in the Eurasian Arctic – Austfonna in Svalbard.

A recent technical study reported that glaciers at the Austfonna ice cap , located within the arctic circle north of Scandinavia, appear to have come “ungrounded”, flowing out to sea at a “rapid pace” and draining ice from the ice cap in the process. The study reports the Austfonna ice cap is now thinning by an average of 25 meters per year.

The waters of the Arctic Ocean are known to have warmed at a rapid pace relative to the rest of the world over recent years, and 2012 in particular was a year of “exceptional melting” and warmth in the arctic due to extreme storms. The study concludes “the sudden glacial movement suggests that the warming in 2012 destabilized glaciers in the surrounding territory and [that] it is happening at an exceptionally rapid pace”.

There has been widespread ice loss to the Arctic Ocean and “the melting is creating the potential for future instability if further ungrounding occurs”.

“Across Austfonna, there is a coherent pattern of ice margin thinning at all marine-based sectors  [and] the behavior recorded here demonstrates that slow-flowing ice caps can enter states of significant imbalance over very short timescales and highlights their capacity for increased ice loss in the future.”

Chasing Ice

Obama and Nebraska Residents, Assisted by Neil Young and Willie Nelson, Reject Keystone Tar Sands Crude Oil Pipeline

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By New York Times Writer Chas Danner
Nov. 9, 2015

Following a seven-year stint in political and regulatory purgatory, the Keystone XL project finally met its end last week when President Obama, eyeing the upcoming U.N. climate talks in Paris, formally rejected TransCanada’s request to build the cross-border oil pipeline. Climate activists [with help from two longtime progressive American artists/musicians who didn’t really need the exposure – Neil Young and Willie Nelson and who also opposed the plan] are celebrating their victory and already attempting to parlay the momentum into more wins. Proponents of the pipeline — a group that at this point consists mainly of Republicans and Republican presidential candidates, energy-industry lobbyists, and some labor unions who were looking forward to tens of thousands of temporary construction jobs — are decrying Obama’s decision and writing the whole thing off as a hallmark of irresponsible political capitulation….

Meanwhile, Bill McKibben, one of the central leaders of the anti-KXL fight, writes in The New Yorker that he now believes he and his allies, because of their new tactics, finally have fossil-fuel companies on the defensive:

[T]he Keystone rallying cry [has] quickly spread to protests against other fossil-fuel projects. One industry executive summed it up nicely this spring, when he told a conference of his peers that they had to figure out how to stop the “Keystone-ization” of all their plans. … [And] this fall, the governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, speaking to members of the insurance industry at Lloyds of London, used [“leave it in the ground“] language to tell them that they faced a “huge risk” from “unburnable carbon” that would become “stranded assets.” No one’s argued with the math, and that math indicates that the business plans of the fossil-fuel giants are no longer sane. Word is spreading: portfolios and endowments worth a total of $2.6 trillion in assets have begun to divest from fossil fuels. The smart money is heading elsewhere.

We won’t close that gap between politics and physics at the global climate talks next month in Paris. […] In many ways, the developments of the past two days are more important than any pledges and promises for the future, because they show the ways in which political and economic power has already started to shift. If we can accelerate that shift, we have a chance. It’s impossible, in the hottest year that humans have ever measured, to feel optimistic. But it’s also impossible to miss the real shift in this battle. [End of Danner text]

The nearly 1,200-mile (2,000-km) pipeline would carry 830,000 barrels a day of mostly Canadian oil sands crude to Nebraska en route to refineries and ports along the U.S. Gulf Coast.
Read more at Reutershttp://www.reuters.com/article/2015/11/05/us-transcanada-keystone-state-idUSKCN0ST2VX20151105#PXYjkPeuAjeDlY1G.99However, Enbridge Company pipeline projects permitted by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s Department of Natural Resources, are planning on pumping 1.2 million barrels of tar sands crude across Wisconsin for processing into gasoline, diesel fuel and jet fuel, soon, and are planning on pumping another 600 million barrels of tar sands crude oil through a second parallel pipe from Alberta to Illinois in the not too distant future. Burning that much fuel will certainly add to the planet’s global warming troubles, probably sooner than most of us earthlings burning all those fossil fuels had anticipated.

Also see: Obama Urged to reject Keystone XL

Obama Clean Power Plan