Stealth Bananas!!!

…The normal, cautious thing is to say that there’s no way to attribute any particular event, like a heat wave in the Ukraine, to global warming — and news media have basically been bullied by this argument into rarely mentioning climate change even when reporting on extreme weather. But Hansen et al make an important point: this argument is much weaker when we’re talking about really extreme events, like temperatures more than 3 standard deviations above historical norms. Such events would almost never happen if there weren’t a rising trend in global temperatures; so when they become quite common, as they have, it’s fair to call them evidence of warming.

The second point is how we know that climate change is a bad thing — a question I sometimes get asked. The questioners wonder why the fact that, say, more of Canada becomes agriculturally viable doesn’t offset the damage in places that get too hot.

My first-pass answer is that we have a global economy that is adapted to historically normal climate — not just in terms of what is grown where, but in terms of where we locate our cities. In the long run, after a couple of centuries’ worth of urban development and infrastructure has been drowned by rising sea levels and/or made useless because previously habitable regions need to be abandoned, we might be able to reconstruct an equally productive economy; but in the long run …

But Hansen et al make a stronger point: life as we know it evolved to fit the historical range of planetary temperatures. In the long run it might be able to adapt to a changed world — but now we’re talking millions of years.

In the long run, we are all extinct.

…In other words, despite 20 years of effort by Big Food to make organic friendly to GMOs, monocrops, dodgy fertilizers like sewage sludge, and more, the organic label remains the single most accessible way for consumers to avoid supporting the worst ecological practices of industrial agriculture. And consumers should know this, and not get the idea that the organic label has been drained of all meaning. (Consumers can also seek out nearby farmers and learn directly about their practices, but not everyone has the time or resources to do that.)…

…After a test of his observation pulled up plastic from 16 feet beneath the surface, Proskurowski developed a method for pulling up plastic as deep as 100 feet. He tested his method in the North Atlantic.

"Almost every tow we did contained plastic regardless of the depth," Proskurowski said in a press release.

Proskurowski calculated that previous studies may have been underestimating the total amount of plastic by a factor of 2.5 up to 27…

…there are about 144,000 brine disposal wells in the U.S., into which about two billion gallons of fracking brine are injected daily….In addition to the earthquake hazard, though, well injection is emerging as a contamination issue for wells and aquifers….

So, how many tiny island nations will disappear under the rising tides?

We’ve spent a solid century & a half digging up carbon-rich fuels & partially combusting them on a global & industrial scale, but we’re supposed to believe that that (mostly invisible) mess doesn’t exist, doesn’t have impact, & etc . ….

We’ve spent a solid century & a half digging up carbon-rich fuels & partially combusting them on a global & industrial scale, but we’re supposed to believe that that (mostly invisible) mess doesn’t exist, doesn’t have impact, & etc . ….

EVER heard the one about climate scientists being a bunch of rent-seekers just out to chase taxpayers money, or the one where climate change scientists are just part of an elite left-wing conspiracy out to trample on the heretics?

How about your nearest conservative columnist telling you that “green is the new red” or how climate science and environmentalism has become a new religion? Where do these rhetorical tricks and debating points actually come from? How does the echo chamber work?…

Who finances the research? Well, there’s a whole lot more money for the fossil fuel industries to fund their preferred brands of propaganda:

…37 governments spent $409bn on artificially lowering the price of fossil fuels in 2010. Critics say the subsidies significantly boost oil and gas consumption and disadvantage renewable energy technologies, which received only $66bn of subsidies in the same year….

…But the most amazing and telling evidence of the bias of the Wall Street Journal in this field is the fact that 255 members of the United States National Academy of Sciences wrote a comparable (but scientifically accurate) essay on the realities of climate change and on the need for improved and serious public debate around the issue, offered it to the Wall Street Journal, and were turned down. The National Academy of Sciences is the nation’s pre-eminent independent scientific organizations. Its members are among the most respected in the world in their fields. Yet the Journal wouldn’t publish this letter, from more than 15 times as many top scientists. Instead they chose to publish an error-filled and misleading piece on climate because some so-called experts aligned with their bias signed it….
…That the WSJ would publish an amateurish collection of falsehoods and half truths is no surprise. The entire global Murdoch enterprise is designed to advance the pollutocrat do-nothing agenda…
Burning Discarded Automobile Batteries, 07/1972 (by The U.S. National Archives)
[Back before we had ‘smothering’ levels of environmental regulation.]

Burning Discarded Automobile Batteries, 07/1972 (by The U.S. National Archives)

[Back before we had ‘smothering’ levels of environmental regulation.]

Q: How do I find out about my own body burden?

A: In general, there is no readily accessible way to know. Even if you could learn about your own body burden, you may not find the information useful. Your doctor in general cannot prescribe treatments that will lower the level of chemicals in your body. Finding out about your community body burden, however, is useful, and can lead you and your neighbors to take actions to lower your chemical exposures.

Government agencies, health care facilities, or other laboratories do not routinely offer body burden measurements. Most of what we know about body burdens of contaminants comes from limited studies of a few contaminants, conducted by government agencies on selected groups of people. These studies often break down the analysis by sex, age, and race, which provides useful information about population-wide averages. But population-wide averages cannot predict body burdens for individual people. Moreover, these population studies are usually limited to just a few of the contaminants to which people are regularly exposed.

In general, you can find out more about the chemicals in the fish you eat than you can discover about the chemicals stored in your body. In other countries, Sweden for example, body burden monitoring is more extensive, and the government tracks how well it is doing in reducing peopleâs exposures to environmental chemicals by watching the body burdens go down. Body burden monitoring gives them a report card on their primary prevention activities. Body burden monitoring also can serve as an early warning system that identifies new chemicals that are increasing in people, and that the government should pay attention to.

Since we have the right to know about what chemicals are in our air, water, soil, food and products we use daily, it makes sense that we should have the right to know about the chemicals we carry in our bodies. We should take a lesson from the Swedes and establish extensive community-based body burden monitoring programs around the world….

Want to eat cleaner? Here’s some tools to help .. …

…Mitigating the toxic effects of exposures to POPs (or to any toxic substance) necessitates avoiding or minimizing overall exposure to such compounds. Minimizing exposure to POPs is more efficient, effective and economical than eating/storing/eliminating them from our bodies. High fat animal products are a primary contributor to POP intakes. Dairy products, processed foods, and meat are major contributors of PCB and dioxin accumulation. Consuming fewer animal products and cleaner sources are prudent measures. Industrial, toxicant-promoting agricultural practices such as CAFOs [concentrated animal feeding operations] contribute significantly to the increase of toxins in our food supply. Lower toxin levels are found in vegans and vegetarians, as well as those who consume greater quantities of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, seeds, beans and wild caught young fish….
…The bigger question, dear readers, is why our bodies and our food are full of poison to begin with. The answer is long and complex, involves terms like military-industrial complex, and should inspire rage. While there is now an international ban on many POPs, which have been linked to health issues including diabetes and cancer, some countries have been slow to come around, including the good ol’ U.S. of A. And the longer it takes to ban these chemicals, the longer they’ll be with us; they’re called “persistent” for a reason….