For any day but especially for Earth Day this April 22, 2016 there are some things to keep in mind.
“Earth's Temperature Just Shattered the Thermometer: Only three months in, and 2016 will almost certainly be the hottest year on record…” Bloomberg Financial News
“Climate change will wipe $2.5tn off global financial assets: Study ... Losses could soar to $24tn and wreck the global economy in worst case scenario, first economic modelling estimate suggests the economic impact of climate change could play havoc with the world economy…” The new study, published in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Climate Change, used economic modeling to estimate the impact of unchecked climate change. It found that in that scenario, the assets were effectively overvalued today by $2.5tn, but that there was a 1% chance that the overvaluation could be as high as $24tn…” – the journal Nature
Perhaps they’re underestimating the losses even so. The following quote is from the US insurance industry’s recent annual conference:
RIMS 2016: Sea Level Rise Will Be Worse and Come Sooner - Think sea level rise will be moderate and something we can all plan for? Think again - Sea levels could rise by much more than originally anticipated, and much faster, according to new data being collected by scientists studying the melting West Antarctic ice sheet – a massive sheet the size of Mexico. That revelation was made by an official with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Tuesday at the annual RIMS conference for risk management and insurance professionals in San Diego, Calif. – Don Jergler, Insurance Journal
Here in Pennsylvania what are we doing about this very scary danger?
"Researchers fly over 8,000 well pads and find hundreds of methane leaks.
As Pennsylvania’s natural gas production continues to expand, so does the possibility of potentially harmful methane emissions." – Public Source, Pennsylvania.
“States at the center of the recent oil and gas boom should prepare for the inevitable bust and put drilling revenues into permanent trust funds, says a new report from the Metropolitan Policy Program at Brookings.”
In this Brookings report, Pennsylvania was cited as being particularly bad at handling oil and gas revenues.
And now? Many people in the fossil fuel industry are pushing PA to invest more millions in this old dirty dying technology with their plan for more pipelines and other infrastructure to bring Philly back to it’s petroleum product producer “Filthadelphia” state it was as of Earth Day in the 1970s.
Why should we believe the industry insiders siren songs of a wonderful new world based on oil? They don’t have a great track record on telling the truth. The oil industry knew the dangers from petroleum a long time ago. In the 1980’s they even went so far as to start a massive campaign denying what their own scientists were telling them back as far as the 1960s about climate change and oil:
“CO2's Role in Global Warming Has Been on the Oil Industry's Radar Since the 1960s
Historical records reveal early industry concern with air pollutants, including smog and CO2, and unwanted regulation”. – Inside Climate News
It’s all coming out now. A Judge denied a motion by the fossil fuel industry and the federal government to dismiss the landmark climate change case being brought by young people in a court in Oregon suing:
“…the federal government for violating their constitutional rights to life, liberty and property, and their right to essential public trust resources, by permitting, encouraging and otherwise enabling continued exploitation, production and combustion of fossil fuels.”… “This decision is one of the most significant in our nation’s history,” plaintiffs’ attorney Philip Gregory said.“The court upheld our claims that the federal government intensified the danger to our plaintiffs’ lives, liberty and property. Judge Coffin decided our complaint will move forward and put climate science squarely in front of the federal courts. The next step is for the court to order our government to cease jeopardizing the climate system for present and future generations. The court gave America’s youth a fair opportunity to be heard.” – Ecowatch
The good news is that we can change. We don’t have to suffer the worst of the calamities cited above – We even know how. The technology to make the transition is here today. Yes, it will get better and cheaper as time goes on, but right now today:
“Wind and Solar Are Crushing Fossil Fuels - Record clean energy investment outpaces gas and coal 2 to 1. Wind and solar have grown seemingly unstoppable. While two years of crashing prices for oil, natural gas, and coal triggered dramatic downsizing in those industries, renewables have been thriving. Clean energy investment broke new records in 2015 and is now seeing twice as much global funding as fossil fuels….” – Bloomberg Financial News
“A surprising ally in the battle against climate change: dirt. By changing farming practices, an extra 9 billion tons of greenhouse gases could be locked away in the soil, according to an international team of scientists - Earth’s soils represent a potential storehouse for billions of tons of greenhouse gases, a vital addition to our arsenal for combating climate change, according to new research. The international group of scientists, whose findings are published Wednesday in the journal Nature, argue that carbon sequestration in soil has been under-appreciated and under-utilized, but has vast potential…” – Christian Science Monitor
If you tune in to Planet Philadelphia on May 6th you will hear about more solutions both political and technical with interviews about Carbon Fee and Dividend scheme that is getting a lot of attention with Karen Melton who lives here in NW Philly, and what’s happening in wave energy with Dr. Alison LaBonte, the Marine and Hydrokinetic Technology Program Manager in the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Wind and Water Power Technologies Office. So tune in to Planet Philadelphia on wonderful Gtown Radio at 4:00 May 6th to this and a whole lot more.
Planet Philadelphia is now a partner in Covering Climate Now, a global collaboration of more than 250 news outlets to strengthen coverage of the climate story.
Please tune in to http://www.gtownradio.com/ 1st and 3rd Fridays each month at 4:00 to 5:00 pm for Planet Philadelphia and listen to a super show.