Tag Archives: global warming

Two More Mysterious Giant Holes Emerge In Siberia (Pictures)

About two weeks ago, I reported on a giant crater that appeared on the Yamal peninsula in Siberia.

Well, while scientists are still trying to figure out what caused this first crater, two more have been discovered in Siberia.

Crater of Antipayuta

Click to enlarge

This crater was alo discovered on the Yamal peninsula, near the village of Antipayuta (a few hundred miles from the first crater). It measures 50 feet in diameter.

Mikhail Lapsui is a deputy of the regional parliament in the area. He visited this second crater and talked to locals from Antipayuta.

Lapsui reported that locals claimed this crater was formed in September of last year. When he asked about what caused it, he got a number of different stories:

“According to the first, initially at the place was smoking, and then there was a bright flash. In the second version, a celestial body fell there.”

Crater of Nosok

Click to enlarge

The second crater is a bit smaller, measuring just 15 feet across. However, it has an estimated depth of about 200-330 feet and observers say the crater is perfectly cone-shaped. It is located near the village of Nosok, in the Krasnoyarsk region.

One expert in the region had this to say about the strange, cone-shaped crater:

“It is not like this is the work of men, but also doesn’t look like natural formation.”

While no official explanations have been given by scientists studying the craters yet, most theories center around the melting of permafrost in the Siberian tundra. This melting releases gas that was trapped in the ice underground.

As more permafrost melts, the pressure of this gas builds up. Hypothetically, this build-up could cause the ground above it to be ejected if the pressure gets high enough.

Since we reported on the first crater, video has been released showing it in more detail. Check it out below:

Read the original story from the Siberian Times here.

Think You Can Disprove Man-Made Climate Change? There’s $10,000 Up for Grabs If You Can

Dr. Christopher Keating is a former physics professor who taught at the University of South Dakoa as well as the U.S. Naval Academy. He is also author of the book “Undeniable: Dialogues on Global Warming”.

Recently, Keating posted a challenge on his blog: he offered $10,000 to anyone who could disprove man-made climate change using the scientific method. In the post, Keating said,

“I know you are not going to get rich with $10,000. But, tell me, wouldn’t you like to have a spare $10,000? After all, the skeptics all claim it is a simple matter, and it doesn’t even have to be original,” Keating wrote. “If it is so easy, just cut and paste the proof from somewhere. Provide the scientific evidence and prove your point and the $10,000 is yours! This is no joke. If someone can provide a proof that I can’t refute, using scientific evidence, then I will write them a check.”

Christopher Keating, Ph.D

Keating admits his bias, saying he’s sure he’ll never have to write the check because,

“The scientific evidence for global warming is overwhelming and no one can prove otherwise.”

But in response to those criticizing his ability to judge fairly because of his bias and his incentive to not lose $10,000, he had this to say:

“If I am a fraud, then I will be held up as an example of how climate scientists everywhere are frauds.”

Keating refuted the first submission because the data used by the skeptic was “cherry-picked” and only showed the last 14 years of average yearly temperature changes (in Celsius).

The graph submitted by the challenger

Keating responded by posting the same graph, but for the last 34 years, which showed a long-term upward trend.

The graph posted by Keating in his rebuttal, which goes back 20 years further than the graph above

The second submission was a little better. The submitter used data on naturally occurring climate change to argue that the current fluctuations aren’t a result of human activity. While Keating couldn’t dispute the data presented, he basically argued that just saying there was natural fluctuations in the past does not at all prove that the warming we’re now experiencing is natural.

In a recent interview with the College Fix, Keating added that the movement to deny man-made climate change is,

“…very similar to the one waged by tobacco advocates to deny a link between smoking and lung cancer.”

Keating is very confident in his findings and comes off as arrogant more than once in his responses (which I think detracts from his solid arguments). Also, the fact that he has the final say on whether a submission passes the test makes the competition somewhat rigged. However, he does do a great job of backing up his positions with solid data.

For anyone who wants to learn more about both sides of the argument, the exchanges between Keating and those refuting his claims are a pretty good place to start.

Worth noting: one of the biggest indicators of how we are affecting the climate is the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

The amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere since it started being recorded in 1958 (Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)

At the beginning of the industrial revolution, this number was at 300 parts per million. In the late 80s, it had risen to 350ppm. Now, carbon dioxide levels have risen above 400ppm for the first time in recorded history.

While levels that high have existed before (millions of years ago), the extremely rapid rise in carbon dioxide concentration over the last century is much faster than that concentration has ever risen in the past. Here’s a few reactions to that announcement from NASA scientists.

(h/t The Blaze)

Why Were Canadian Weather Forecasters Just Forbidden to Discuss Climate Change?

Well, according to the Canadian Meteorological Service (CMS), spending years studying meteorology doesn’t qualify a meteorologist to discuss any climate events that occur over a span of more than a few months.

“Environment Canada scientists speak to their area of expertise. For example, our Weather Preparedness Meteorologists are experts in their field of severe weather and speak to this subject. Questions about climate change or long-term trends would be directed to a climatologist or other applicable authority,”

said CMS spokesman Mark Johnson in an interview with investigative journalist Mike De Souza. However, this move follows a longer trend of strict government control over the field of science since Prime Minister Stephen Harper was elected.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper

In 2007, shortly after he won the election, Harper’s administration passed a law that banned Canadian scientists from speaking with and/or sharing their findings with the media without first getting government approval. According to Climate Science Watch, media coverage of climate change has dropped 80% since the new law was enacted.

Many people see this recent announcement as just the next step in the Harper government’s war on science. Harper’s administration followed the scientist-media gag legislation by eliminating the position of National Science Advisor just a year later, and there are numerous examples of the government suppressing information from scientists since he took office.

Read more from IFL here.

From the Editor: Why I Really REALLY Hate Everything About the Climate Change Debate

I personally hate talking about the issue of climate change. I think all the dialogue around it has become a joke- just a bunch of regurgitated political talking points and sound-bites. Look, I understand that there is no such thing as “certainty” in science. But what we have is a group of politically and financially motivated people (the oil and gas industry and the mostly conservative politicians in their pockets) who are using a tiny bit of uncertainty as an excuse to ignore a major problem.

That isn’t to absolve those who claim to be champions of the climate change debate either. Every year I hear liberal politicians (Obama included) making big promises about passing legislation to slow climate change, and every year I see those politicians forget about their promises once they’ve won their spot in Washington. While some of them may be genuinely concerned, it’s my (possibly pessimistic) opinion that most of them use global warming for the votes, just like some conservatives deny it for the votes.

I don’t claim to be a climate expert by any means- that’s a claim very few people in this world can make. But when we live in a global, interdependent society, we simply cannot survive without a certain level of trust and respect for the academics who are our experts.

Could 99% of climatologists be wrong about climate change? Sure. Could they all be part of some massive conspiracy to tax carbon-emissions? Also possible.

But if you took your child to 100 doctors, and 99 of them said the child had a fatal disease, would you believe the one doctor who said the child was fine? Because that’s what we’re doing with our planet right now.

Sure, believing that one doctor may help ease our pain in the short term, as it allows us to pretend like there’s nothing wrong with our child as well as saving us the cost of treatment. But when the child’s body begins to break down and we’re helpless to stop it, we will be stuck wondering why we didn’t listen to the other doctors and try to save our child when we had the chance…

God forbid…

Taking real action to battle climate change will cost lots of rich and influential people a lot of their riches and influence, and (in my humble opinion) that is the primary reason why they’re relentlessly trying to convince us to listen to that one dissenting doctor.

Why Did the U.S. House Pass An Amendment Barring the Pentagon From Investigating Climate Change?

No, that’s not a typo. The amendment to the National Defense Authorization bill was brought by Republican Representative David McKinley of West Virginia. It prevents the Department of Defense from spending any of its funding to assess the risks of climate and its implications on national defense.

Here’s how the amendment reads:

“None of the funds authorized to be appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act may be used to implement the U.S. Global Change Research Program National Climate Assessment, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fifth Assessment Report, the United Nation’s Agenda 21 sustainable development plan, or the May 2013 Technical Update of the Social Cost of Carbon for Regulatory Impact Analysis Under Executive Order 12866.”

Rep. David McKinley

McKinley, who has had a significant portion of his political campaigns financed by the oil and mining industries, wrote the following in a memo to his colleagues in the House:

“This amendment will prohibit the costs of the President’s climate change policies being forced on the Department of Defense by the Obama Administration… The climate is obviously changing; it has always been changing. With all the unrest around the [world], why should Congress divert funds from the mission of our military and national security to support a political ideology?”

Just last year though, the Department of Defense published an evaluation of climate change in which they stated that climate change has adverse effects on infrastructure here in the U.S. and called the impacts of climate change abroad “threat multipliers”, because of their potential to exacerbate issues such as,

“poverty, environmental degradation, political instability and social tensions — conditions that can enable terrorist activity and other forms of violence.”

Former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta in 2012: “The area of climate change has a dramatic impact on national security” (Photo: DOD/Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo)

Furthermore, this issue is not as politically-charged as McKinley would have you think. During the second Bush administration, Congress ordered a National Intelligence Assessment of climate change, which concluded that it was a serious threat to national security.

Even Tom Ridge, who served as Secretary of Homeland Security under Bush, admitted this week that climate change is, “a real serious problem,” saying that it would, “bring destruction and economic damage”.

Read more from the Huffington Post here.

Happy Earth Day: Here’s A Few Graphics Illustrating the Current State of Affairs On Our Planet

Today, April 22, is Earth Day. The first Earth Day, celebrated in 1970, was organized by environmental activists in a number of major cities who were fed up with the high levels of pollution that existed in many cities during that time (there were more factories in the cities in 1970 than there are now).

Earth Day is now celebrated in over 192 countries, promoting activism in conservation and environmental protection. A lot of other things have changed since 1970, though. For one, the global population has nearly doubled. The graphic below shows the relationship between our population growth and our use of resources.

Courtesy of World Wildlife Federation (click to enlarge)
Courtesy of World Wildlife Federation (click to enlarge)

With manufacturing growing rapidly in countries like China and India in the past few decades, we have also been increasing the amount of carbon dioxide we’re emitting into the atmosphere.

This interactive graphic allows you to see total emissions and emissions per person in different countries, as well as how much these numbers changed between 1996 and 2006. Click the image to link to the interactive map.

Carbon emissions (courtesy of The Guardian)

One of the most simple but most effective ways to promote a healthy Earth is recycling. The United States is notoriously wasteful. Here’s Dave Tilford from the environmental activism group The Sierra Club:

 “With less than 5 percent of world population, the U.S. uses one-third of the world’s paper, a quarter of the world’s oil, 23 percent of the coal, 27 percent of the aluminum, and 19 percent of the copper.”

This graphic gives 10 quick facts about trash in America (click image to enlarge):

It’s not all gloom and doom however. The good thing is, we still have time to change the way we view our relationship with the Earth and adjust the way we live accordingly.

There’s lots of little things you can do to help this transition. The National Resources Defense Council put together this great graphic showing a few ways you can actively promote the health of the Earth in your everyday life (click image to enlarge):

Courtesy of the NRDC

Oh, and plant a tree if you can!! Happy Earth Day!

Revolutionary Step? Bolivia Gives the Earth Comprehensive Legal Rights

The Law of Mother Earth is a bold move by the Bolivian government. At its source is the ancient “Pachamama” traditions of the native Andean people. This worldview is based on the belief that the earth is actually a living being (“Pachamama” translates to Mother Earth).

The Bolivian government says the law is a culmination of efforts to combat climate change, to live in harmony with the Earth and to prioritize “the greater good”.

The legislation gives the Earth the rights to,

“Life and regeneration; biodiversity and freedom from genetic modification; pure water; clean air; naturally balanced systems; restoration from the effects of human activity; and freedom from contamination.”

Bolivians rallying in support of the legislation (Source: http://www.cipamericas.org)

Furthermore, the law decrees that the Bolivian government is now legally bound to,

“Prioritize the well-being of its citizens and the natural world by developing policies that promote sustainability and control industry.”

The economy must operate within the natural limits of the environment, and the government must pursue renewable energy technologies as well as total energy and food sovereignty.

Indigenous Bolivians celebrate the winter solstice (Photo: David Mercado/Reuters)

It also gives citizens the right to sue individuals or groups (including the government and businesses) on behalf of the Earth if they belief Earth’s rights have been violated.

Here’s the full list of rights stated in the law:

  • The right to maintain the integrity of life and natural processes.
  • The right to not have cellular structure modified or genetically altered.
  • The right to continue vital cycles and processes free from human alteration.
  • The right to pure water.
  • The right to clean air.
  • The right to balance, to be at equilibrium.
  • The right to be free of toxic and radioactive pollution.
  • The right to not be affected by mega-infrastructure and development projects that affect the balance of ecosystems and the local inhabitant communities

Read more from CS GLobe here.