Thursday, November 19, 2015

Twenty-Five Days to Save the World

Paris was attacked by terrorists, and the goals of the upcoming Paris climate conference attacked by the response--at least from those who wish to derail climate action anyway.  Fortunately, supporters of climate action have not backed down--and have made the case again and again that the climate crisis threatens humanity.

Trying to exploit the visceral response to an horrific terrorist attack is only one tactic being employed, as the time for the conference draws closer.  Congressional Republicans are engaged in McCarthyite tactics against climate scientists, while--in the words of the New York Times article--"The Senate voted on Tuesday to block President Obama’s tough new climate change regulations, hoping to undermine his negotiating authority before a major international climate summit meeting in Paris this month."

It's political grandstanding, since there were not nearly enough votes to override the President's veto, which is a certainty if the bill passed both houses.  The opposition has played the politics of perception before successfully, and it's all they've got now.  But this time there is much stronger public support, and much less media timidity.

Meanwhile as widely reported (but in the words of Jeff Masters at Weather Underground): October 2015 was Earth’s warmest month on record by a huge margin, according to data released by NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) on Wednesday. October 2015 was the second consecutive month with a new all-time warmest month record: September 2015 previously held the record for the largest positive departure of temperature from average of any month among all 1630 months in the historical record that began in January 1880. 

 October 2015's warmth makes the year-to-date period (January - October) the warmest such period on record, according to both NOAA and NASA. October 2015 was the sixth consecutive month a monthly high temperature record has been set in NOAA's database, and the eighth month of the ten months so far in 2015. "

Apart from global heating itself, a contributing factor is the very strong El Nino, and it's likely to add even more in coming months.  From the Weather Underground El Nino report:

Weekly Update (November 16, 2015):
The weekly sea surface temperature reading, taken within the Niño 3.4 region near the equator, has risen to 3.0°C above average. This is the highest weekly value observed during any El Niño event in NOAA’s records. This week’s reading beats the highest weekly departure of 2.8°C recorded in late November 1997 during the record-setting 1997-98 El Niño. In a news release issued on Monday, the secretary-general of the World Meteorological Center warned that “this naturally occurring El Niño event and human induced climate change may interact and modify each other in ways which we have never before experienced.” 

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