Global Warming Effects, Some Good but Mostly Bad:
A recent poll found that Americans are more fearful of the term "Global Warming" than of "Climate Change". This is an interesting finding. In the long term, warming is the largest risk that we face Climate Change, as a term, covers many things including local microclimates which may have local patterns. But Global Warming is an overall, world-wide risk and it is increasing every day.
It remains to be seen if the US will step up and become a leader once again.
- Since Congress has refused to work on Climate Change, President Obama is moving to reduce the limits on emissions from Coal plants. This is a very important move and one that needs to become law. Over time, the limits need to be lowered even further - both here, and around the world. China is now worse than the US when it comes to coal emissions.
- A recent military report concludes that Climate Change represents a national security risk, that could lead to global "instability and conflict". In fact for thousands of years, climate issues have led to clashes, wars, and even demise of entire civilizations. For example, extreme drought around 1200 BC in the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean regions led to widespread death, and the displacement of people. Egyptians, Hittites, Canaanites, Cypriots, Minoans, Mycenaeans, Assyrians and Babylonians and 'sea peoples' from the Mediterranean area had conflicts during this time. Drought and the famine it brings are very destabilizing. Drought, earthquakes, and other events led to the collapse of civilization in this part of the world, as the Bronze Age was ending.
- You can become a tree! There is a neat product from Unabios.com that lets you put your ashes into an urn, from which a tree grows - Maple, Oak, Pine, or othre choices. Its a beautiful idea, and a way for a person to have an enduring legacy.
- Climate models predict increased storms near the poles. A recent study found that very large ocean waves are accelerating the break of the ice in Antarctica. This seems to be happening more, than in the Arctic or Greenland. While the large waves can fracture ice even further inland, they are also behind the process
- Climate Change leads to health risks. We are seeing that in California already. Drought there means that underground water supplies are being used more and more - supplies which can be contaminated by pesticides and herbicides. Plus, drought leads to a drop in agriculture, which in turn hurts the economy of the entire area.
- The State of Wyoming has rejected new science standards for education because they include education about Climate Change. This is backwards and hurts our children, and our future.
- Shell oil now says that Climate Change is a serious issue; they are joining Exxon and Mobile in calling for change.
- Cities cannot wait for the federal government to take action. Cities all around the US, and around the world, are forming sustainability policies, and developing plans for dealing with Climate Change, and rising seas. Coastal cities cannot ignore this risk - even if Congress is completely ignoring it.
- A new study says that Climate Change will reduce Biodiversity
- Companies are starting to offer Climate Change Insurance
- The government of Scotland is preparing national standards for dealing with Climate Change; one of the first countries to do so. We need more countries to follow suit. Germany has pledged to be completely run by Renewables by 2050.
- Invasive species will invade the arctic, as melting continues.
- On a positive note, Israel no longer has water shortages; they are building desalinization plants. If this could be run from renewable energy sources, it would be ideal. Israel has 4 such plants now, and a fifth one is being produced. Negotiations are underway for more sharing of water resources with Palestinians.
- How to best reduce emissions in coal plants and other kinds of energy producing plants is not clear; it needs to be cost-effective to be accepted. Experts do not agree. Here is a good article in the New York Times.
- Good article in the Huffington post about the *rate* of species extinction; the rate is increasing. We are killing off species faster than ever before. Human activities like strip mining, deforestation, and even pollution are being eclipsed by Climate Change as the mechanism of species extinction. Some are calling this the next "Great Exinction"; there have been 5 of them before, in all fo Earth's history. We are causing the sixth.