Saturday, August 14, 2010

Pakistan floods have displaced 20 million people

Pakistan PM Gilani says floods affect 20m people - BBC News

Already 36,000 people are reported as suffering symptoms of cholera, and officials are scrambling to contain the spread of this deadly disease. There's great potential for mass outbreaks of infectious diseases in flooded areas, and we are going to see countless more disasters like this in the years ahead. In addition to how awful it is for the Pakistanis suffering through this disaster, I'm concerned that an event like this could at some point coincide with an even more dangerous disease like avian flu or swine flu, and cause mass infections of a deadly, contagious disease that becomes a worldwide epidemic.

The damage to cotton crops alone from the floods already amounts to $1.8 billion, and 17 million acres of farmland are still underwater. Even when the floods recede, how do these farmers rebuild their livelihoods out of this wreckage? I wrote here on this blog about the rage many Pakistanis are expressing about the floods, some by attacking government officials responsible for relief efforts. How many of these Pakistanis dispossessed by the floods will turn to violence and embrace terrorism? Will they target people in rich countries whose pollution has caused these enormous catastrophes? The New York Times sure isn't bothering to ask these questions. On its website frontpage this morning there are no stories about the Pakistan floods, or any of the other climate change-related disasters ongoing around the world.

And as I said in my first post, it doesn't get any better than this.

Climate change is causing these horrible disasters. Say it loudly and clearly to whoever cares enough to think about it. It's the truth, and if we have any hope for ourselves, we need to start making the public face reality.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Greenland ice sheet could be bound to disappear within the decade

Greenland ice sheet faces 'tipping point in 10 years' - The Guardian

This is extremely alarming. If this ice sheet melts away, sea levels around the world will rise by 27 feet.

"What is going on in the Arctic now is the biggest and fastest thing that nature has ever done." - Richard Alley, Professor of Geosciences at Penn State University

"Nature is doing this" . . . only to the extent that we have forced it to do it.

China Floods Worsening; American media failure

Fresh Rains Threaten China Landslide Rescue Effort - BBC News

Over 700 dead so far, with many more bodies likely to be discovered. Over 1,000 other people missing. "Epidemic prevention specialists" are in the area to try to stop outbreaks of infectious disease, which are already infecting people forced to drink contaminated water from the floods.

Three more days of torrential rain is forecast, to make things worse.

BBC News doesn't usually explicitly link disasters like this and the Pakistan floods to the predicted effects of climate change, as they should. But at least BBC News covers the stories of the disasters with the attention they deserve. We are witnessing confirmation that our old climate is gone; and scary to think that this "new" climate is the best we are ever likely to see.

The NY Times online this morning has no prominent stories on these disasters. The American public is woefully ignorant of how our climate is changing, and this is why. Our mass media are failing to report on the most important story for every American to understand. Like the invasion of Iraq, blood on their hands here too. I doubt they'll ever admit their failure, even once we all see clearly how irreversible and pitiful this all this. After all, they had to report both sides.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Rice yield declines in Asia

Rice yields declining under global warming

"Global warming is cutting rice yields in many parts of Asia, according to research, with more declines to come."

Yields have decreased 10-20% in the last 25 years in some areas.

The theorized mechanism that causes the decline: when it's hotter at night, plants need to respire (breathe) more, so they expend more of their energy at a time when they are not able to photosynthesize.

Listening to Miles Davis's Miles in the Sky - "Stuff"

Monday, August 9, 2010

More on continuing Pakistan floods

Pakistan flood personal stories - BBC News

"Nowshera is destroyed and I am desperately upset." - Shabana Iqbal, Nowshera district (my italics)

"It's been 10 days and I'm getting upset about it. When it starts raining I become so scared I feel that anything could happen. . . . "No place is safe. People are also looting other people's houses and the pitiful thing is that a number of young girls have also been kidnapped in the chaos." - Haroona Gul, Peshawar
Death Rate Doubles in Moscow as Heat Wave Continues

Overcrowded morgues, potential to spread infections diseases. Death stench b/c of lack of refrigerated space. Fires near facilities that contain radioactive nuclear material, people told to stay away.

"The head of the state weather service, Alexander Frolov, said on Monday that the heatwave of 2010 was the worst in 1,000 years of recorded Russian history."

As I wrote in my first post here, this is as good as it gets.

Wildfires release more carbon into the atmosphere, and prevent it from being stored in trees, which are now dead.

2+2=5 "You have not been paying attention". Blood on the hands of the American media, again. What to do.

Future Terrorists?

"Enraged survivors have been physically attacking government officials in flood-hit areas, amid widespread anger at the pace of the relief effort."

Suffering and desperation. Some of these people may shun civil society, the gov't, if they feel that the gov't does not care about them. They are more susceptible to the appeals of violent organizations.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Greenland glacier loses ice

Looking at the maps, you can see how much ice there is, and why it helps to cool the planet. Low albedo of water warms the planet.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Pakistan Floods: It doesn't get any better than this.

'2.5m people affected' by Pakistan floods officials say - BBC News

The truth is that it doesn't get any better than this. Ever. The record-breaking heatwaves across the globe this summer? This is among the coolest summers we will ever have, going forward. The damages to crops from the heat waves and flooding, and the food and water shortages? Mild, compared to the rest of our lives. And the rest of your children's lives, if you have children.

Considering an increasingly hostile climate that we created, increasing global population, basic human behavior that causes people to fight to survive, and the weapons at our disposal, we are set to destroy ourselves. By 2020, a fitting date, we'll all see this clearly.