Next weekend President Obama meets with Chinese leaders, who may now be more willing to discuss measures to combat climate change due to vanishing glaciers shocking China into reality of global warming.
AS an expedition from Chinese state television worked its way across the remote Tibetan plateau earlier this year, the explorers were amazed by what they found.
The plateau has been called the world’s third largest ice store after the North and South Poles. Yet according to Chinese scientists, the "third pole" is warming up faster than anywhere else on earth.
The TV team found bare rock where glaciers had retreated. Lakes had dried up. Lush grassland had turned to desert. The livestock was dead, the farmers impoverished.
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The visuals of these damaging climate change impacts were so "stark that censors allowed the programme makers to broadcast a frank expose. Their film attracted the attention of the Communist party’s leaders and has put climate change at the centre of a remarkably open debate in China ahead of a summit on the issue in Copenhagen next month."
China has now "woken up to the damage in an unprecedented way."
So, what will it take to remove Americans from the new status of climate change illiterate?
One obstacle is passive aggressive global warming deniers in the GOP who proclaim to acknowledge that climate change science is real, yet engage in obstructive actions to prevent or slow climate change legislation. Extremist Inhofe was not the only GOP to demand an EPA study before proceeding with marking up climate change legislation in the Senate. Even the "moderate" Graham and other GOP Senate leaders supported that duplicative study, which was merely another delay tactic to obstruct climate change legislation. Similar to the boycott, my diary listed some of the parliamentary means GOP used over past 1 ½ years to delay climate change legislation. It is also clear the stated reason of the need for economic analysis was BS. Some Senate GOP have "routinely voted on energy and global warming bills without any analysis." (H/T Meteor Blades).
It's not just GOP lawmakers.
BIG greenhouse polluting companies around the world, employing thousands of lobbyists, are exerting heavy pressure on governments to weaken climate change laws at home and slow progress on an international climate agreement in Copenhagen, a global investigation reveals.
...In the US there are more than 2800 climate lobbyists, five for every member of Congress, an increase of more than 400 per cent over the past six years. From Washington to Canberra and New Delhi to Brussels, companies and their lobbyists are often raising the same widespread fears about jobs, power blackouts and economic losses unless governments weaken commitments to combat climate change.
Are at least some of the corporate climate change deniers also illiterate? A Global Report shows ¾ of world oil and gas companies believe climate change could impact business, but only 19% taking action. The report identified the top five industry impacts of climate change, such as water resources, yet most were not aware of key risks:
Increased pressure on water resources: Concerns over changing rainfall patterns, water shortages, poor water quality, drought and flooding is significantly increasing the demand for water. Growing competition for available resources could create operational problems for companies which rely heavily on water for oil and gas production. The demand may also create conflicts with local communities and other water users throughout the world changing the risk landscape for oil and gas companies. Nearly all companies surveyed did not appear to recognise the risk landscape is changing - only 6% reported knowledge of potential civil and geo-political risks and 3% identified adverse risks for local communities.
Additional eco news this weekend includes:
CLIMATE CHANGE & ENERGY
Study: Clean Energy Legislation Could Boost US Manufacturing by 850,000 Jobs "building the components needed to make wind turbines, solar panels and other technologies."
What the CBO Isn't Telling Congress: Climate Change Threatens Million of Jobs: Testimony ignored British government's Stern Review regarded as "most definitive study" on the economic impacts of global warming as well as U.S. study concluding that "delayed action (or inaction) on global climate change will likely be the most expensive policy option."
New nuclear power plants are currently far and away the most expensive form of carbon free power you can (try to) buy — assuming you could find a nuclear vendor today that was actually willing to guarantee a price for their product in a Public Utility Commission hearing, which you can’t.
...The most detailed independent cost estimate of nuclear power published this year ... puts the generation costs for power from new nuclear plants at from 25 to 30 cents per kilowatt-hour — triple current U.S. electricity rates!
President Obama is preparing to break the deadlock in negotiations on a global deal on climate change by announcing a target for cutting US greenhouse gas emissions.
...The US delegation at pre-summit talks in Barcelona hinted that Mr Obama was considering offering a range of possible reductions rather than a single number. This would make it easier for the President to persuade Congress to pass legislation making the target legally binding.
The cap-and-trade law sought by Kerry and Graham would be similar to a landmark 1990 measure - supported and signed by Republican President George H.W. Bush - that reduced acid rain by cutting emissions of sulfur and nitrogen dioxides.
WATER & NATURAL RESOURCES
As oceans fall ill, Washington bureaucrats squabble. (video at link) (more impacts listed in article)
Off the coast of Washington state, mysterious algae mixed with sea foam have killed more than 8,000 seabirds, puzzling scientists. A thousand miles off California, researchers have discovered the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a swirling vortex roughly twice the size of Texas filled with tiny bits of plastic and other debris.
As the climate gets warmer, arid soils lose nitrogen as gas, reports a new Cornell study. That could lead to deserts with even less plant life than they sustain today, say the researchers.
FOOD & HEALTH
Maximiliano Calcaño is 2 and was born with no arms.
She lives in a small wooden house with no indoor plumbing in a rural village in northern Dominican Republic, not far from where coal ash generated by Virginia-based AES Corp. wound up at the edge of the sea. More than 50,000 tons of coal ash laden with heavy metals was left at a port abutting local homes for years while the company, politicians, prosecutors, environmental activists and bureaucrats argued -- and residents got sick.
Infants who are exposed to higher levels of air pollution are at increased risk for bronchiolitis, according to a new study.
According to a World Health Organisation report in 2002, harmful indoor pollutants represent a serious health problem that is responsible for more than 1.6 million deaths each year.
Indoor air is up to 12 times more polluted than outdoor air in some areas, with air quality affected by chemicals from paints, varnishes, adhesives, furnishings, clothing, solvents, building materials and even tap water.