Obama Administration Signs Death Warrant for Colorado Roadless Forest, Jump-starts Trump’s Attack on Climate

GR:  Perhaps Obama believes University of Arizona professor Guy McPherson’s prediction that global-warming feedbacks will cause human extinction within 10 years (by 2026). So it can’t hurt to give the wasters what they want–what difference could it make?–right? 😦

In Move That Will Undercut America’s Clean-energy Industries, U.S. Forest Service Opens 20,000 Acres of National Forest in Colorado to Bulldozing Roads for Coal Mining

DENVER, Colo., December 16, 2016— “The U.S. Forest Service announced today that it would on Monday reimpose a controversial coal mine loophole, issuing a final rule that opens 20,000 acres of wild Colorado forest to bulldozing for coal mining, something the agency admits will undermine clean-energy development, result in millions of tons of climate pollution, and cause up to $3.4 billion in global damage due to worsened climate change.

“The Obama administration just gave Arch Coal an early Christmas present,” said Nathaniel Shoaff, an attorney with the Sierra Club’s Environmental Law Program. “The rest of us will be saddled with nearly half a billion tons of climate pollution and a $3.4 billion price tag. This is a sad and damaging bookend for President Obama’s climate legacy.”

“In 2012 the Forest Service adopted the Colorado Roadless Rule to protect 4 million acres of wild national forest in the state, but the rule included a loophole to permit bulldozing roads for coal mining on 20,000 acres of roadless national forest. In 2014 a federal court vacated the coal mine loophole because the Forest Service failed to disclose the climate change impacts of unlocking hundreds of millions of tons of coal for burning.

“The Forest Service will reimpose the loophole on Monday, Dec. 19. The loophole opens the door to mining 170 million tons of coal, and bulldozing up to 450 drilling pads and 67 miles of road in wild aspen and spruce forest in the Sunset and Flat Irons Roadless areas immediately adjacent to Mount Gunnison in the West Elk Wilderness, 45 miles southwest of Aspen, Colo. These roadless lands provide habitat for elk, goshawks, black bears and imperiled lynx, and are frequented by hikers and hunters. According to a Forest Service analysis released last month, coal mined from these roadless lands will displace nearly 10,000 gigawatt hours of clean, renewable power including solar and wind.” –Center for Biological Diversity (Continue:   Obama Administration Signs Death Warrant for Colorado Roadless Forest, Jump-starts Trump’s Attack on Climate

Nitrogen pollution: the forgotten element of climate change

GR:  Living downstream from an active farm, I have witnessed the deadly impact of nitrogen fertilizer runoff first hand (more here). The authors of the article below point out that global warming will increase the need for nitrogen fertilizer which itself fuels global warming–giving us another nasty positive feedback loop. Increasing nitrogen use in food production gives us another reason to focus on family planning and population reduction while we might still control the process.

“While carbon pollution gets all the headlines for its role in climate change, nitrogen pollution is arguably a more challenging problem. Somehow we need to grow more food to feed an expanding population while minimising the problems associated with nitrogen fertiliser use.

“In Europe alone, the environmental and human health costs of nitrogen pollution are estimated to be 70 to 320 billion euros per year.

Food & Agriculture – Green beans: why pulses are the eco-friendly option for feeding – and saving – the world. Read now.

“Nitrogen emissions such as ammonia, nitrogen oxide and nitrous oxides contribute to particulate matter and acid rain. These cause respiratory problems and cancers for people and damage to forests and buildings.

“Nitrogenous gases also play an important role in global climate change. Nitrous oxide is a particularly potent greenhouse gas as it is over 300 times more effective at trapping heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide.

“Nitrogen from fertiliser, effluent from livestock and human sewage boost the growth of algae and cause water pollution. The estimated A$8.2 billion damage bill to the Great Barrier Reef is a reminder that our choices on land have big impacts on land, water and the air downstream.” Ee Ling Ng and Deli Chen, Robert Edis (Continue: Nitrogen pollution: the forgotten element of climate change | Asia Pacific)

Beyond the Point of No Return — Imminent Carbon Feedbacks

GR:  Yesterday I reported on the positive-feedback loop forming as global soils begin to warm and release greenhouse gasses. This article by Robert Scribbler lays out the catastrophic consequences of the feedback loop.  The world’s scientists are beginning to shout that disaster is looming. However, greed has deafened the world’s leaders. The invader’s boats have reached our shores folks.  He does not take prisoners.

“It’s fair to say we have passed the point of no return on global warming and we can’t reverse the effects, but certainly we can dampen them,” said biodiversity expert Dr. Thomas Crowther.

“I’m an optimist and still believe that it is not too late, but we urgently need to develop a global economy driven by sustainable energy sources and start using CO2, as a substrate, instead of a waste product.” — Prof Ivan Janssens, recognized as a godfather of the global ecology field.

“…we are at the most dangerous moment in the development of humanity. We now have the technology to destroy the planet on which we live, but have not yet developed the ability to escape it… we only have one planet, and we need to work together to protect it.” — Professor Stephen Hawking yesterday in The Guardian.


“The pathway for preventing catastrophic climate change just got a whole hell of a lot narrower.” –Robert Scribbler

“For according to new, conservative estimates in a scientific study led by Dr. Thomas Crowther, increasing soil respiration alone is about to add between 0.45 and 0.71 parts per million of CO2 to the atmosphere every year between now and 2050.

(Thomas Crowther explains why rapidly reducing human greenhouse gas emissions is so important. Namely, you want to do everything you can to avoid a runaway into a hothouse environment that essentially occurs over just one Century. Video source: Netherlands Institute of Ecology.)

“What this means is that even if all of human fossil fuel emissions stop, the Earth environment, from this single source, will generate about the same carbon emission as all of the world’s fossil fuel industry did during the middle of the 20th Century. And that, if human emissions do not stop, then the pace of global warming of the oceans, ice sheets, and atmosphere is set to accelerate in a runaway warming event over the next 85 years.” –Robert Scribbler (Continue reading:  Beyond the Point of No Return — Imminent Carbon Feedbacks Just Made the Stakes for Global Warming a Hell of a Lot Higher)

Scientists have long feared this ‘feedback’ to the climate system. Now they say it’s happening – Washington Post

GR:  The potential for runaway global warming is growing. This is an important article that we shouldn’t ignored. Of course, one might argue that when you are chained across the railroad tracks, you might as well ignore the approaching train. If that’s where we are, perhaps its time for the Champaign.

“At a time when a huge pulse of uncertainty has been injected into the global project to stop the planet’s warming, scientists have just raised the stakes even further.

“In a massive new study published Wednesday in the influential journal Nature, no less than 50 authors from around the world document a so-called climate system “feedback” that, they say, could make global warming considerably worse over the coming decades.

“That feedback involves the planet’s soils, which are a massive repository of carbon due to the plants and roots that have grown and died in them, in many cases over vast time periods (plants pull in carbon from the air through photosynthesis and use it to fuel their growth). It has long been feared that as warming increases, the microorganisms living in these soils would respond by very naturally upping their rate of respiration, a process that in turn releases carbon dioxide or methane, leading greenhouse gases.

“It’s this concern that the new study validates. “Our analysis provides empirical support for the long-held concern that rising temperatures stimulate the loss of soil C to the atmosphere, driving a positive land C–climate feedback that could accelerate planetary warming over the twenty-first century,” the paper reports.

“This, in turn, may mean that even humans’ best efforts to cut their emissions could fall short, simply because there’s another source of emissions all around us. The very Earth itself.” –Chris Mooney (please continue reading:  Scientists have long feared this ‘feedback’ to the climate system. Now they say it’s happening – The Washington Post)