Tag Archives: global warming

As a killer hurricane descends on Florida, a reminder that it is time to act on global warming in Montana

As I write this, Hurricane Matthew is bearing down on Florida’s eastern coast. It is a killer Category 4 storm, with 140 mph winds. It has already caused extreme devastation in Haiti, leaving over 100 people dead and many more homeless. According to the National Weather Service on Thursday afternoon, “Extremely dangerous, life-threatening weather conditions are forecast in the next 24 hours. Airborne debris lofted by extreme winds will be capable of breaching structures, unprotected windows and vehicles.”

The Governor of Florida has told 1.5 million people to leave their homes, saying, “You need to leave. Evacuate, evacuate, evacuate.”

Tropical storms are the norm in Florida, but as the ocean warms, we can expect more and more devastating hurricanes like Matthew. Recent research has shown that we are experiencing more storms with higher wind speeds, and these storms will be more destructive, last longer and make landfall more frequently than in the past.

There are obviously no tropical storms in Montana, we have seen many impacts here due to global warming, and can expect more in the future.

We are all connected. It is time to act now to reduce carbon emissions. As Florida is devastated by a storm fueled by warmer oceans, we can no longer afford ourselves the luxury of complaining about “a war on coal” or allow our government agencies to permit oil and gas companies to operate with minimal regulation.

We can move quickly if we act together to move toward a carbon-free future rather than clinging to the devastating impacts of our energy past.

To read more, click the link. Continue reading

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New study warns we’re not moving fast enough to avoid the worst effects of climate change

A new credible study warns of an impending climate disaster, you should take notice. The study argues that the serious effects of climate change — sea level rise of several feet, followed by increases so large they would force humanity to flee the coasts — will occur over the next 50 years, not over the course of centuries as climate scientists currently believe.

Lead author in the study is Dr. James Hansen, retired NASA scientist and director of the Columbia University Climate Center. The paper, published in the European journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, was co-authored with 18 other scientists. Dr. Hansen has been right before. He gained fame in 1988 when he warned Congress that global warming had already begun. He was ahead of the scientific consensus at the time, but he was right.

This is big news. Dr. Hansen’s study will dominate scientific debate on climate change for years to come. To read more, and watch Dr. Hansen’s 15 minute video overview of the study, click the link. Continue reading

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Study: Native trout populations endangered by global warming

We’re about a month away from the first mayfly hatch, and it’s getting to be time for a fisherman’s thoughts to turn to casting a fly on one of the magnificent wild trout streams along the Beartooth Front.

It’s something we take for granted, but a recent study by a team of researchers from the US Geological Survey (USGS), including two based in Montana, found that changes in climate directly and consistently influence trout populations worldwide.

“The key message is that climate does have a strong influence on trout populations, and this is something we have observed over time,” said lead author Ryan Kovach, stationed at Glacier National Park. “We’ve seen that year-to-year variations in streamflow and temperature can have an impact on trout populations. This highlights that climate and climate change is not speculative, it is realized. It is something that we need to confront now in terms of natural resource management, but also from a societal perspective.”

As waters inevitably warm and river levels drop, it is critical that we do everything we can to minimize impacts on our native trout populations. Continue reading

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Congratulations! You’ve just lived through the hottest year on record. Again.

Stop me if you’ve heard this before…

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, in a press release issued today:

“During 2015, the average temperature across global land and ocean surfaces was 1.62°F (0.90°C) above the 20th century average. This was the highest among all years in the 1880-2015 record, surpassing the previous record set last year by 0.29°F (0.16°C). This is also the largest margin by which the annual global temperature record has been broken. Ten months had record high temperatures for their respective months during the year. The five highest monthly departures from average for any month on record all occurred during 2015. Since 1997, which at the time was the warmest year on record, 16 of the subsequent 18 years have been warmer than that year.”

The issue of global warming has taken on increasing importance in this presidential election year, since the candidates hold widely divergent positions on whether warming actually exists, and, if it does, what humans should do about it. Continue reading

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Delegates reach historic climate agreement in Paris

Representatives of 195 countries, representing more than 95% of global greenhouse gas emissions, today reached a landmark climate agreement that will, for the first time, commit nearly every country to lowering planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions to help stave off the most drastic effects of climate change. The goal of the agreement is to limit global temperature rise to less than 2° Celcius, along with a stretch goal of 1.5°. Continue reading

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Paris climate talks: the future of the planet is at stake

Beginning today 40,000 world leaders, diplomats, experts and partisans will meet in Paris to begin 12 days of climate talks that could very well decide the future of our planet.

The conference is called Conference of the Parties 21, or COP 21, which refers to the countries that have signed up to the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). UNFCCC is an international treaty now signed by 195 parties, with the aim of reducing global greenhouse gas emissions to control climate change. This is the 21st meeting since 1992, hence COP 21.

The goal is a new global climate treaty, involving all nations, that would take effect in 2020 to help the world avoid the worst consequences of manmade global warming. According to the UNFCCC, this means limiting global warming in 2100 to less than 2°C, or 3.7°F, above pre-industrial levels.

According to recent data, we’re already halfway there. In 2015, global temperatures have reached 1°C higher than pre-industrial levels. Without action, temperatures are expected to increase by 3.7 – 4.8°C by 2100.

To learn more about what can be accomplished in Paris, and why we should feel great urgency about acting now, read on. Continue reading

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American acceptance of climate change growing rapidly, opening opportunities for action

American acceptance of the problem of climate change and the need for action is growing rapidly. A New National Survey on Energy and the Environment (NSEE) from the Gerald Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan shows acceptance of mainstream science near an all time high. For the first time since 2008, at least 7 out of 10 Americans indicate that they believe there is solid evidence of global warming over the past four decades.

For a discussion of the findings and their implications, go to the post. Continue reading

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The regulation of Arctic Ocean drilling, with implications for the Beartooth Front

As President Obama heads off to Alaska this week, he has focused on climate change. Alaska is suffering greater effects of global warming than any other state in the United States.

His presence there highlights recent conflicts between the Administration and environmentalists over drilling in the Arctic Ocean. Shell was awarded a permit this month to drill two exploratory wells there. The potential benefits are great because the area contains 20% of the world’s undiscovered oil reserves, but the dangers of a spill in such a remote and inaccessible area are frightening.

Obama justified the decision in his weekly address by saying that, despite our progress in moving to renewable energy, we need to continue to drill for fossil fuels. Given that, it is better we find domestic sources than foreign ones, and the regulation put on Arctic drilling makes the possibility of a spill very small.

In a sense, we face similar choices along the Beartooth Front, where drilling is allowed, but the environmental risk is great. Continue reading

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Where is Montana’s “man on the moon” leader?

In 1961 President Kennedy announced the US would put a man on the moon within a decade. The power of this vision, and the resources that accompanied it, enabled Neil Armstrong to take “one giant leap for mankind” eight years later.

In Hawaii, visionary leadership by Governor David Ige has led Hawaii to pass legislation that mandates that the state’s power grid must deliver 100 percent renewable electricity by the end of 2045, just 30 years away.

Where is that leadership in Montana? While state agencies are doing everything they can to protect the fossil fuel industry, our leaders happily promote an “all of the above strategy” that fails to explain how the state will transition from coal, oil and gas to renewables over time. We need man on the moon leaders who will put a stake in the ground saying what Montana will look like in 20, 30, or 50 years.

The means ruffling feathers. That means offending Big Oil and Big Coal. That means having a grown up conversation within the state about the future of energy.

We need a “man on the moon” leader to step forward. Continue reading

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We here at Preserve the Beartooth Front are pleased to announce the latest recipient of the Rex Tillerson Fracking Hypocrite Award. The Award is a 160-foot water tower, engraved with Rex Tillerson’s photo, delivered to the recipient’s front yard.

We’ve written often about Rex. He’s the CEO of ExxonMobil who publicly complained that “dysfunctional regulation of hydraulic fracturing is holding back the American economic recovery, growth and global competitiveness,” and then joined with his neighbors in a lawsuit to block construction of a large water tower, to be used to support fracking operations, next to his Texas home.

Click to see which Montanan is today’s award winner.

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