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Scientists Condemn Trump’s “No Climate Change”

About 400 world renowned and highly respected scientists of the National Academy of Science penned a letter slamming Republicans, and by inference, the presidential hopeful Donald Trump, for consistently denying that climate change is man-made. Trump has often claimed that climate change was “created by and for the Chinese.” The letter, which doesn’t specifically name Trump, was released 2 days ago and was signed by 30 Nobel laureates including famed physicist Stephen Hawking, Nobel Prize-winning physicist Steven Chu, who served as Secretary of Energy under President Barack Obama. Also signing was Columbia University’s Jim Hansen known as the father of climate change awareness.

Trump and the GOP have openly opposed last year’s Paris Agreement and has pushed for a U.S. withdrawal from the COP21 Paris Accord, a move that has been dubbed “Parexit.” If that happens, scientists say it will have dire consequences on the global community…and the impacts would be “severe and long-lasting for the planet.” Making a sharp contrast between the harsh reality of climate change and the man-made political process, the letter states “The climatic consequences of exceeding such thresholds are not confined to the next one or two electoral cycles. They have lifetimes of many thousands of years.”

 
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A Must Read on NYC Rising Seas

Last week a blockbuster and prescient article in New York Magazine was about the city’s rising sea levels entitled “When Will New York City Sink?”  Author Andrew Rice penned an extraordinary lengthy (7 pages) and comprehensive piece that  included the voices of many scientists, climatologists, policy makers, builders and architects. They all had the same message: over the next 50 – 100 years as the sea levels around New York City will rise and life as we know it will change drastically.  Rice constantly reinforced that message, with hard to swallow images and ideas. For instance, those born in this decade may see the waters surrounding the city rise by six feet that will become an “unstoppable force” or folks will be carrying galoshes every day to work to fend off rising waters in on sidewalks, water that will be climbing around each of the boroughs. As the sea levels climb floods will be more common and “cataclysmic” because the higher waters will surge with more strength.

The article explains that as the earth is getting warmer and glaciers are drastically melting, it has become clear that this is a man-made reality.  Even the Paris Agreement, signed less than a year ago to cut carbon emissions might not be enough to slow global warming, given the vast amounts of carbon we’ve already put into the atmosphere.

npcc-map3The map in the article was provided by the New York City Panel on Climate Change (NPCC) and shows waters encroaching on Hudson River Park and West Street, covering the local airports, La Guardian and JFK, Williamsburg waterfront, Roosevelt Island and Brooklyn Bridge.

Experts assert that a foolhardy and extremely short sighted government is forging ahead to build valuable waterfront properties to reap the economic benefits without considering the dire consequences of real estate at water’s edges.  The effort shown via climate change policies are more focused on “mitigation,” or “changing energy-consumption patterns in the present day.” What that means, according to Rice, is long-term adaptation gets less attention. And why is that? Any major step or outward act to prepare for the rising seas sends a doomsday message to the constituents – not likely to be served up by any local politician.

Rice checked out the Princeton’s Climate Central that has created programs that map out sea-level projections for the future. From his observations he forecast such alarming images as rooftops of southern Brooklyn looking like boats bobbing in a marina and La Guardia and JFK airports totally under water. At a 3 feet sea level rise the Hudson River Park and West Street were already under water, another foot of water submerged Canal Street as well as the Williamsburg waterfront, Roosevelt Island, and Brooklyn Bridge Park.

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And the economic fallout of losing industry escaping the rising waters? Rice cites research that says “the industry’s anticipated annual losses in New York will more than double by 2050, to $4.4 billion…” The groundwork is already being laid for financial loss because the MTA (Metropolitan Transportation Authority) can’t seem to buy flood insurance for the subway system.

While scenarios are quite daunting, a 3-minute video drives home many points.

Video: A Look at New York’s Not-So-Distant Future    http://on.aol.com/video/nyc-s-flooded-future-57cecacb1c689946759f8be8?context=PC:news:PL7379:1473677479

 
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Rising Seas means Sinking Values

If you live near the coast, your home could be under water in the foreseeable future, and certainly by 2100. Last month Zillow, the prominent real estate and rental marketplace, issued a news analysis that showed rising sea levels that were directly caused by climate change. Zillow’s projections claimed rising seas could put 2 million homes underwater. The top 3 states expected to lose the most homes are Florida, New Jersey and New York.  In Florida, almost 1 million homes are at risk and whose total value is estimated at $412.6 billion. In New Jersey, especially around Cape May area, 190,429 homes are at risk, valued at $93.1 billion. On Long Island in New York 96,708 homes could very well see the Atlantic ocean inside instead of outside whose value is worth $71 billion.

Zillow used data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) that revealed which homes would be affected by the predicted six-foot rise in ocean levels. Research recently published in Nature found that sea levels could rise six feet by 2100, nearly twice as high as previous expected.

courtesy of buzzfeed.com

courtesy of buzzfeed.com

Seven other states were listed as part of Zillow’s top 11 states whose homes would be at risk: Massachusetts  (Cape Cod), California  (Long Beach), South Carolina (Folly Beach), North Carolina, (Sunset Beach), Maryland (Ocean City Beach), Virginia  (Virginia Beach). The New Orleans Times Picayune has reported that most of New Orleans will be submerged by 2100 regardless of global efforts to lessen carbon emissions.

More than half of all homes that would be lost are in Florida, and they account for nearly half of the lost housing value as well. In all, one in eight Florida homes would be lost. More than 9 percent of homes in Hawaii would be underwater; 81 percent of those are in the capital city of Honolulu. Thirty-six coastal cities would be entirely underwater, and nearly 300 cities would lose at least half their homes

Nature.com has a brief analysis of population size vulnerable to SLR  where calculated . They state that “2100 SLR of 3 feet places a land area projected to house 4.2 million people at risk of inundation, whereas 6 feet affects 13.1 million people—approximately two times larger than indicated by current populations.”

These latest figures are alarming, to say the least. They are raising many red flags for homeowners, elected officials and candidates and many are starting to take action. ClimateYou will be following this issue closely. Stay tuned.

 

 
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SAVING THE PLANET AT ITS TIPPING POINT

Right now, in Honolulu, Hawaii, about 10,000 people from 192 countries have come together to save the earth. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) holds its Congress every four years and is the largest gathering of its kind to focus solely on the future of our environment. In the upcoming week some 1,000 events will focus on a plethora of subjects from conservation of the earth’s natural assets to sustainable practices geared to protect smaller countries and indigenous peoples.

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Participants in high level sessions to workshops are experts in their field. Among the participants in the high level session “A Changing Climate: Championing Nature-Based Solutions,” are Pulitzer prize journalist Tom Friedman of the New York Times, the honorable Enele Sosene Sopoaga, Prime Minister or Tuvalu, Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Xavier Sticker, Ambassador for the Environment, France, Tom Butler, President and CEO, International Council on Mining & Metals (ICMM) Martha Rojas-Urrego, Secretary General, The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands and Peter Seligmann, Chairman and CEO, Conservation International,

Of the numerous workshops, debates and sessions are “Preparing the Next Generation of Stewards through Work Opportunities,” “Interactive tools for Mapping and Analyzing Protected Areas,” “Interactive tools for mapping and analyzing protected areas,” Plant Extinction Prevention Program Model: Partnering for Effective Conservation on Oceanic Islands,” and “How to sell a Conservation project.”

From Faith based groups, academia, business and media groups speaker include Dr Jane Goodall, Founder, Jane Goodall Institute, UK, Prof. Edward O. Wilson, Founder, E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation, USA, Dr. Sylvia Earle, Ocean Elder and Founder, Mission Blue, USA, Mr Peter Seligmann, President, Conservation International, USA.

US Secretary of Interior, Sally Jewell at IUCN

US Secretary of Interior, Sally Jewell at IUCN

The IUCN was formed in 1948 and today is a leading environmental organization known globally for setting an intent and aggressive international agenda on a range of issues including climate change. The IUCN is universally known for its Red List of Threatened Species which is a comprehensive, present status of plant and animal species.  The Red List is the ‘go-to’ list that guides governments and policy makers, NGO’s and scientific institutions.

President Barack Obama is expected to make an appearance at the IUCN Congress. The President just announced the creation of the world’s largest mainline reserve off Hawaii at the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, more than quadrupling the size of the reserve, now the largest marine protected area in the world.

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Carbon Chasers Down on the Farm

For over 20 years Jay and Polly Armour have worked their organic farm using practices that play a key role in climate change. When ClimateYou toured their Four Winds Farm in Gardiner, New York, last week, we clearly saw how farmers can put carbon back in the soil and not into the atmosphere where it adds to the great amount of greenhouse gases causing changes in our climate.

The Armour’s essential practices would never be considered by this country’s industrial agriculture farm complex, but to local farmers they make a lot of sense for many reasons. There’s much more science than meets the eye on a farm, but basically, carbon farming practices are scientific in nature; among them are stop rototilling, plant  nitrogen fixing cover crops, create super-duper compost with beneficial organisms that will replace pesticides and fungicides. Although these seem straight-forward, farmers like Jay and Polly know the full scope of how soil works, what its many components are and its ability to hold moisture, plant roots and carbon.

“I always believed that the rototiller was my friend when it came to controlling weeds,” admits Jay Armour. “But I quickly learned that churning up the earth introduces oxygen into the soil which pulls carbon out of the soil and into the air.”

That’s where the fine science of composting comes in. With the right combination of organic matter in the compost that is then used in plant beds, it acts as a barrier between the soil and the sun; the soil doesn’t dry out and becomes drought resistant because the compost retains moisture. (The practice also yields better tasting veggies.) Since the compost inhibits weeds, the rototiller isn’t needed nor is the diesel fuel tractor that pulls it, which considerably lessens the farm’s carbon footprint.

Jay Armour in front of compost at Four Winds Farm

Jay Armour in front of compost at Four Winds Farm

“We also plant rows of comfry, a ground cover that acts as a water barrier and combats erosion,” says Polly, standing in a field of rows of carrot tops bordered by large comfry plants. “Since we don’t need the use of the tractor, our rows are closer together and we produce a lot in a small space.”

showing comfry ground cover

Polly Armour showing comfry ground cover

carbon restorationIn the white paper “Soil Carbon Restoration: Can Biology do the Job?” by Jack Kittredge, Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA) policy director, you can get a better, in-depth look about the problem of carbon dioxide buildup and climate change here. It’s not just a practice for farmers, Kittredge lays out how each of us, gardeners, landscapers, consumers of local produce, can also add to mitigating and affecting climate change.

 
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