June, 2019

Much of my news comes from The Daily Climate, whose wonderful subscription service clues me in to what's going on each day. Another great source of stories (and commentaries) comes from my friend Jim Poyser, at Apocadocs. They stopped collecting news at the election of U.S. Unindicted Co-conspirator Forty-Five, which was a frickin' party pooper of a day, I'll tell ya.

Here's the 10-day weather forecast for Mattawa, Ontario, where we have a farm, away from the noise of that blowhard, the liar-in-chief. I try to spend as much time as I can on the farm.

June, 2019

6/30/2019

  • There’s no scientific consensus that humanity is doomed: By David Von Drehle, Columnist
    • One of the most important things I understand about science is this: Scientists know a lot less than we ordinary folks sometimes like to believe. I doubt there is a single scientific discipline in which humans know even half of all there is to know. (I would love to hear from experts in a field nearing the totality of knowledge — that would be a fascinating discovery in itself.) In many fields, I suspect humans know only one-tenth, or one-hundredth, or one-thousandth of all there is to know.
    • For generations, religion and mythology painted the invisible end times. With the rise of science, though, people have stretched its incremental powers to glimpse the ultimate. They’ve applied partial knowledge to the vast unknowing. We scoff at the ignorance of our elders who searched comets for portents of The End. But how different are we? Isn’t it possible that our era will prove to have been too charmed by worst-case, end-of-the-world climate change predictions?
    • Here is a classic case of partial science feeding apocalyptic visions. Science has explained the problem: Certain gases in the atmosphere trap heat at the Earth’s surface. More of those gases in the atmosphere will trap more heat, unleashing a cascade of unpredictable effects. As always with science, the unlocked knowledge reveals more mysteries to be plumbed. How will Earth’s complex climate react, and how quickly? And how will Earth’s most creative and adaptable species, human beings, react to shape the outcome?
    • The challenge of climate change demands an urgent response but not an apocalyptic one. For example: It has become common in certain circles for people to say they won’t have children because of the impending hellscape of drought, fire, flood and tempest that will ruin future lives. How common? A celebrity member of Congress gave an endorsement. “Basically, there’s a scientific consensus that the lives of children are going to be very difficult,” said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.). She added: “And it does lead, I think, young people to have a legitimate question: Is it okay to still have children?”
    • This is not the language of science. That gloomy “consensus” has no scientific claim. Instead, with so much still to be learned and such a powerful tool in science, optimism is the attitude worthy of the work ahead.
    • That work will be a thrilling drama, though none of us alive today will likely see the end. This will be a chapter somewhere between the covers of a vast book and nowhere near the last chapter, either. Science can be counted on to unlock more mysteries, to frame the right questions and to lengthen the tale.
    • [ael: thank God we have "columnists" to explain that, while apocalyptic responses are not appropriate, optimism is…. And to boastfully hope that "Earth’s most creative and adaptable species, human beings…" may somehow "react to shape the outcome" ignores the fact that we're in the process of very much shaping the outcome — and it's apocalyptic, stupid, greedy, yet entirely understandable given our not so creative politicians.]

6/29/2019

6/28/2019

  • France records all-time highest temperature of 45.1C: Record for mainland France falls in Provence as Europe swelters in heatwave
  • UK’s Goal of Net-Zero Carbon by 2050 Becomes Law: The United Kingdom’s goal to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 has now become law, making the UK the world’s first G7 country to establish this form of legally binding target, Reuters reported. The target was announced earlier this month by outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May, who called it a “crucial” plan for protecting the planet.
  • In Greenland’s Melting Ice, A Warning on Hard Climate Choices: Greenland is melting at an unprecedented rate, causing vast quantities of ice to disappear and global sea levels to rise. The fate of the ice sheet is not sealed, but unless CO2 emissions are sharply cut, the long-term existence of Greenland’s ice is in doubt.
    • The heat wave arrived early this spring — a shroud of temperate air, sweeping in during early June, which enveloped the Northern Hemisphere’s biggest ice sheet in a stifling hug. At its peak, nearly 45 percent of Greenland’s frozen surface turned to meltwater, coloring the huge white expanse with sapphire lakes and lapis streams. During the warmest stretch, runoff from the ice sheet amounted to about 2 billion tons, which meant that at the same time Greenland was losing water, the North Atlantic was gaining it. Some areas on the island were 40 degrees Fahrenheit above normal for this time of year.
  • U.S. pushing to downgrade climate issue — angering others at G20 summit: The latest draft, seen by Reuters, includes language supporting implementation of the 2015 Paris Agreement, and saying the accord signed by 200 nations is “irreversible.”
    • An earlier draft, also seen by Reuters, did not include such language at the insistence of the United States, two sources familiar with the discussions over the communique told Reuters. Further changes to the communique are likely before the final adoption of the text on Saturday by Group of 20 leaders in Osaka for this week’s summit, but the inclusion of stronger language came as French President Emmanuel Macron said France will not accept a text that does not mention the Paris agreement.
  • Climate-change anxiety is now a part of growing up. Pop culture has caught on. The kids are anxious.
    • Can you blame them? In a nation inundated with news of mass shootings and the separation of migrant families, the youngest generation must also learn to cope with the debilitating knowledge that they will be the generation most affected by climate change, should it continue on the trajectory scientists believe it will take. According to a study by the American Psychological Association (APA) released in October, 58 percent of surveyed Gen Zers, ranging in age from 15 to 21 years old, reported feeling stressed by news coverage of the subject. That’s 7 percent higher than adults overall.

6/27/2019

  • U.S. Medical Groups Warn Candidates: Climate Change Is a 'Health Emergency': 'I’ve seen a lot, but this scares me,' one doctor said. Ahead of the first debates, 70-plus health groups call for moving away from fossil fuels.
    • The nation's leading medical organizations are urging political candidates "to recognize climate change as a health emergency." As the campaign season enters full gear, they issued a call on Monday for urgent action on "one of the greatest threats to health America has ever faced." More than 70 health organizations signed a statement that, among other things, calls for a move away from fossil fuels. The groups cite storm and flood emergencies, chronic air pollution, the spread of diseases carried by insects, and especially heat-related illnesses. Europe is anticipating an intense heat wave starting this week, and parts of the U.S., where extreme heat has been the leading cause of weather-related deaths, have already experienced record-breaking heat this year.
    • The health professionals are calling for the U.S. government to act on the goals set under the Paris climate agreement, transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy, and support "active" transportation networks to encourage walking and cycling. The American Medical Association and the American Heart Association joined dozens of other organizations in signing the U.S. Call to Action on Climate Health and Equity. Recognizing that climate change poses a greater threat to children, pregnant women and marginalized communities, the groups said that social justice needs to be a mainstay of climate policy.

6/26/2019

  • Exclusive: Investors with $34 trillion demand urgent climate change action: LONDON (Reuters) - Investors managing more than $34 trillion in assets, nearly half the world’s invested capital, are demanding urgent action from governments on climate change, piling pressure on leaders of the world’s 20 biggest economies meeting this week.
  • Chennai, an Indian City of Nearly 5 Million, Is Running Out of Water: The water is almost gone.
    • Satellite photographs reveal the stark shrinking of one of the main rain-fed reservoirs that serves Chennai, one of the biggest cities in India. In one image, taken by satellite on June 15 last year, the city’s largest reservoir, Lake Puzhal, resembles a dark blue ink-stain amid a densely crowded cityscape. In another, taken on Sunday, exactly a year later, the lake is a small grey fraction of its former self.
    • One of the city’s other important reservoirs, the smaller Chembarambakkam Lake, is also running dry. Chennai, a hot, muggy city on the Indian Ocean coast, should be in the throes of the monsoon by now. But the rains are late across India. And Chennai has received virtually none of the rain it should have seen by now.

6/24/2019

6/21/2019

  • Global Warming Pushes Microbes into Damaging Climate Feedback Loops: Research is raising serious concerns about climate change's impact on the world's tiniest organisms, and scientists say much more attention is needed.
    • Now, global warming is supercharging some microbial cycles on a scale big enough to trigger damaging climate feedback loops, research is showing. Bacteria are feasting on more organic material and produce extra carbon dioxide as the planet warms. In the Arctic, a spreading carpet of algae is soaking up more of the sun's summer rays, speeding melting of the ice. Deadly pathogenic microbes are also spreading poleward and upward in elevation, killing people, cattle and crops. So many documented changes, along with other alarming microbial red flags, have drawn a warning from a group of 30 microbiologists, published Tuesday as a "consensus statement" in the journal Nature Reviews Microbiology.
    • But there is compelling scientific evidence that global warming has brought malaria to higher elevations in Africa even as its being eradicated in other places, and that it has enabled the spread of bluetongue, a livestock disease that affects sheep, Baylis said.
    • Charges are also being documented in the Southern Ocean around Antarctica, where marine microplankton take in some 40 percent of all the carbon sequestered by all the oceans and sink it to the seafloor, partly mitigating the buildup of greenhouse gases. About 90 percent of the world's ocean biomass is microbial, making it a thick, living soup at a microscopic scale, and global warming brewing up some biological storms with as-yet unknown consequences, said Antje Boetius, a marine microbiologist at the Max Planck Institute in Germany.
    • Boetius also warned of other tipping points that haven't been studied yet, including the erosion of organic permafrost soil to the ocean, where aquatic bacteria could digest the material and release huge amounts of methane and CO2 to the air, as well as a potential increase in toxic algae blooms in the Arctic, where they are now still uncommon. "For everyone that studies ocean microbiology," she said, "it's really scary."

6/20/2019

  • Seawalls to protect US against rising oceans could cost $416bn by 2040: Seawalls could cost as much as the initial investment in the interstate highway system, with Florida facing $76bn, report finds
    • “You’re looking at close to half a trillion spent over the next 20 years and no one has thought about that. So the question is, who’s going to pay for that? Is it really going to be taxpayers? The current position of climate polluters is that they should pay nothing, and that’s just not tenable.” According to the report, Florida faces the highest costs, $76bn by 2040. Louisiana comes in second at $38bn and North Carolina third at $35bn. For cities, Jacksonville, Florida, New York and Virginia Beach could spend the most: $3.5bn, $2bn and $1.7bn, respectively.
  • Could Canada be a safe haven for climate refugees?:While Canada will experience the effects of climate change, it's in a better position than other countries
    • But with the changing climate, there will be areas in the country, previously considered unlivable, that may become more temperate. Some suggest this puts Canada in the unique position of being able to accept those who have been pushed out of their home due to climate change-related conditions: Climate refugees.
    • It's unlikely Canada will see a sudden, rapid influx of climate refugees, said Luisa Veronis, an associate professor of geography, environment and geomatics at the University of Ottawa. But an influx could build over time, she said, so it's important that our governments begin to plan for it, particularly when it comes to infrastructure.
  • Plastic wrapped in plastic: the wasteful reality of America's grocery stores: On a shopping trip to Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods and other leading markets, plastic feels more plentiful than the food itself
    • Where does your plastic go? Revealing America’s dirty secret.
    • A bundle of six small brie cheeses from Trader Joe’s seemed to sum it all up. Each 0.9oz wheel was encased in flexible clear plastic, bound together in a plastic sack, to be sold to Americans who might carry it home in a single-use plastic shopping bag, none of it apparently recyclable.
    • But American grocers, who serve a population nearly five times larger, have taken comparatively little action. Trader Joe’s has promised to reduce plastic by 500 tons in 2019; Kroger said it would stop giving out plastic bags. Yet the radical changes needed to tackle the problem still feel distant.
    • At Whole Foods, whose entire business is based on marketing sustainability, plastic-wrapped vegetables were sold alongside hard plastic containers bagged in plastic. Whole Foods also sold a plastic bag holding individually plastic wrapped salmon filets in the freezer section. In another aisle, there were plastic-lined juice boxes with plastic straws wrapped in plastic.
    • In many cases, the plastic was not recyclable. But even if it could be, history proves it probably won’t be: only 9% of the plastic ever produced has been recycled. Plastic at the grocery store offers momentary convenience in exchange for a lifetime of trouble – research has found the average plastic big is used for just 12 minutes but could take 450 years to break down.
    • Recycling felt like a joke, given the small mountain of plastic we bought in just one $339 shopping trip, or about half a month’s worth of groceries for a middle class American household. It made piecemeal changes, like a bag tax or a straw ban, feel like a watering can at a wildfire. As we left the office that day, a sign in the elevator marked the holiday: Earth Day 2019.
  • Which 2020 Democrats are powering their campaigns on fossil fuel donations? Democrats accept the climate crisis must be confronted – but there’s a split between those who signed a pledge to no longer accept industry money those who haven’t
  • U.S. Spy Satellite Photos Show Himalayan Glacier Melt Accelerating: Scientists used declassified military satellite data dating back to the Cold War to measure changes across the region and show the risks ahead for its communities.
    • ICIMOD released a report earlier this year stating that, in a best-case scenario, Himalayan glaciers will lose more than one-third of their mass by the end of the century—and if greenhouse gas emissions continue at current rates, two-thirds could be gone.
  • Horns are growing on young people’s skulls. Phone use is to blame, research suggests.: New research in biomechanics suggests that young people are developing hornlike spikes at the back of their skulls — bone spurs caused by the forward tilt of the head, which shifts weight from the spine to the muscles at the back of the head, causing bone growth in the connecting tendons and ligaments. The weight transfer that causes the buildup can be compared to the way the skin thickens into a callus as a response to pressure or abrasion.

6/19/2019

  • Scientists shocked by Arctic permafrost thawing 70 years sooner than predicted: Ice blocks frozen solid for thousands of years destabilized; ‘The climate is now warmer than at any time in last 5,000 years’
    • Permafrost at outposts in the Canadian Arctic is thawing 70 years earlier than predicted, an expedition has discovered, in the latest sign that the global climate crisis is accelerating even faster than scientists had feared. A team from the University of Alaska Fairbanks said they were astounded by how quickly a succession of unusually hot summers had destabilised the upper layers of giant subterranean ice blocks that had been frozen solid for millennia. “What we saw was amazing,” Vladimir Romanovsky, a professor of geophysics at the university, told Reuters. “It’s an indication that the climate is now warmer than at any time in the last 5,000 or more years.”
    • With scientists warning that sharply higher temperatures would devastate the global south and threaten the viability of industrial civilisation in the northern hemisphere, campaigners said the new paper reinforced the imperative to cut emissions. “Thawing permafrost is one of the tipping points for climate breakdown and it’s happening before our very eyes,” said Jennifer Morgan, executive director of Greenpeace International. “This premature thawing is another clear signal that we must decarbonise our economies, and immediately.”

6/18/2019

  • National Academies Presidents Affirm the Scientific Evidence of Climate Change: Recently, questions have been raised about climate science. The National Academies have addressed many of these questions in our independent, evidence-based reports. We are speaking out to support the cumulative scientific evidence for climate change and the scientists who continue to advance our understanding.
    • Scientists have known for some time, from multiple lines of evidence, that humans are changing Earth’s climate, primarily through greenhouse gas emissions. The evidence on the impacts of climate change is also clear and growing. The atmosphere and the Earth’s oceans are warming, the magnitude and frequency of certain extreme events are increasing, and sea level is rising along our coasts.
    • The National Academies are focused on further understanding climate change and how to limit its magnitude and adapt to its impacts, including on health. We also recognize the need to more clearly communicate what we know. To that end, in 2018, the National Academies launched an initiative to make it easier for decision makers and the public to use our extensive body of work to inform their decisions. In addition, we will be expanding our Based on Science communications effort to include clear, concise, and evidence-based answers to frequently asked questions about climate change.
    • A solid foundation of scientific evidence on climate change exists. It should be recognized, built upon, and most importantly, acted upon for the benefit of society.
  • UN climate chief says 3C hotter world 'just not possible': Climate change is an "existential issue", and stepping up efforts to keep warming to agreed limits is urgent, the U.N. climate chief says
    • Patricia Espinosa, head of the U.N. climate change secretariat, said existing country pledges to cut planet-warming emissions would heat the planet by 3 degrees Celsius (5.4F) from pre-industrial times. "That is just not possible," she said, adding it would leave people sicker and result in battles over resources such as water and land, with coastal residents losing homes to rising seas. "We are literally in a climate emergency, and… we are increasingly hearing that this is the fight of our lives," she said.
    • Espinosa said protests and school strikes by young people over government inaction on climate change - a movement that has gathered steam since last year - should serve as a reminder to U.N. negotiators why their work mattered. "They (youth) have credible and solid demands that are mobilising political leadership," she said. (Reporting by Megan Rowling @meganrowling; editing by Laurie Goering. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, climate change, women's and LGBT+ rights, human trafficking and property rights.
  • Canada's House of Commons has declared a national climate emergency: The House of Commons has passed a motion declaring a national climate emergency, and supporting Canada’s commitment to meet the Paris Agreement emissions targets.
    • Conservative MPs voted against the motion, but it still passed 186-63 with the support of the Liberals, New Democrats, Bloc Quebecois and Green MPs. The motion was was put forward by Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna.
  • Photograph lays bare reality of melting Greenland sea ice:
    1920.jpg?width=940&quality=85&auto=format&fit=max&s=bac6bbf3b05cbbcb7c09410c97db8c98
    994.jpg?width=620&quality=85&auto=format&fit=max&s=dc580cc1b29411b0f28ce0ec5b14c9e2
  • No Trump, please! Orlando Sentinel gets a jump on 2020 endorsements. “Our Orlando Sentinel endorsement for president in 2020: Not Donald Trump,” reads the headline on the Sentinel’s Tuesday editorial, which is pegged to the president’s visit to Orlando later Tuesday to officially launch his presidential campaign. In 2016, The Post’s editorial board ruled out a Trump endorsement months before the election, calling him a “unique and present danger” to the Constitution.

6/15/2019

  • Hopes for climate progress falter with coal still king across Asia: A depressing picture of global power generation has coal still firmly on top. And in a vicious cycle, the very heatwaves and winter freezes high carbon emissions cause seem to be increasing them
    • The world’s largest sovereign wealth fund is preparing to leave fossil fuels behind. Last week, Norway’s parliament confirmed by unanimous vote that its $1tn sovereign wealth fund would dump $13bn of fossil fuel investments – and start investing billions in renewables…. But fossil fuels are by no means in terminal decline, according to a recent review of the global energy industry. BP’s annual energy review revealed only days before the Norwegian vote that carbon emissions rose at the fastest rate in almost a decade last year.
    • The same cannot be said for fast-developing countries in Asia, for example, where the appetite for electricity is growing rapidly, and renewable energy is not increasing anything like fast enough to keep coal at bay. Asia’s appetite for coal-fired electricity is keeping coal production alive too. Indian mining group Adani last week announced plans to start work on a A$2bn (£1bn) coal mine in Australia after a decade of opposition from climate campaigners.
    • Dale points to a worrying vicious climate cycle to explain part of the US boom. Research suggests that wider swings in temperature are nudging homes and businesses to turn up either heating systems or air conditioners more often. Last year, the number of particularly hot or cold days in the US was the highest for 50 years. And temperature swings in the first months of 2019 are proving to be just as wide of seasonal norms.
  • Plucked from obscurity: why bluegrass is making a comeback: It was once derided as hillbilly music. How did bluegrass become the new sound of political protest across the US?

6/14/2019

  • The Great Insect Dying: How to save insects and ourselves: For years, insect decline solutions — usually couched in terms of “bees” and “pollinators” — touted “bug-friendly” gardens and the curbing of lawn pesticide use. All that was needed, these messages arguably implied, was small, individual actions and everything would be fine. Entomologists heartily disagree.
  • Forget colonizing Mars. We can all move to Russia when the world heats up. The vast region of Siberia stands out even by Russian standards. With 77 percent of Russia’s territory, it’s home to only 27 percent of the nation’s population, or 39 million people. Climate is the main culprit. Permafrost covers most of Siberia making agriculture and construction almost impossible. There is little precipitation, too, which does not make the settlement any easier.
    • Some relief could come from an unlikely source — climate change. According to scientists from NASA Langley Research Center and Krasnoyarsk Research Center, the inevitable rise of temperatures and precipitation will improve potential for human settlements in the Asian part of Russia by 2080s. Severe climate conditions are predicted to become milder and favorable. This could lead to up to a 9-fold increase in Siberia’s capacity to sustain human population opening the way for surge of climate migrants.

6/12/2019

  • 3 Republican Former EPA Heads Rebuke Trump EPA on Climate Policy and Treatment Science: In a Capitol Hill hearing, they urged Congress to provide stronger oversight of the Trump EPA and raised concerns about the agency's ties to industries it regulates.
    • "I find it disconcerting," McCarthy told a congressional hearing, that "this collection of past EPA Administrators feel obligated to testify together and individually to make the case that what is happening at EPA today is, simply put, not normal, and to solicit your help to get it on a more productive path."
    • "There is no doubt in my mind that under the current administration the EPA is retreating from its historic mission to protect our environment and the health of the public from environmental hazards," Whitman wrote in her testimony. "Therefore, I urge this committee, in the strongest possible terms, to exercise Congress's oversight responsibilities over the actions and direction of EPA in all of the areas I have discussed, and especially when it comes to climate change."
  • Climate Change Poses Major Risks to Financial Markets, Regulator Warns: Rostin Behnam, a trading regulator in Washington, issued a warning about risks to financial markets from global warming.
    • Rostin Behnam, who sits on the federal government’s five-member Commodity Futures Trading Commission, a powerful agency overseeing major financial markets including grain futures, oil trading and complex derivatives, said in an interview on Monday that the financial risks from climate change were comparable to those posed by the mortgage meltdown that triggered the 2008 financial crisis.
    • Mr. Behnam was appointed by President Trump to a seat on the commission that, by law, must be filled by a Democrat. He said that unusual status gave him a measure of political protection that other appointees within the administration might not benefit from.
  • Climate change poses 'high risk' to federal spending: GAO: The GAO, which has placed climate change in the “high risk” category – reserved for programs most in need of transformation – since 2013, noted the threats to American fiscal policy came from three primary categories: disaster aid, federal insurance for crops and property, and the costs associated with managing federal land.
    • “Climate change is playing a role in the increasing frequency of some types of extreme weather that lead to the billion-dollar disasters,” the report found.
  • Revealed: Mobil sought to fight environmental regulation, documents show: Oil giant looked to make tax-exempt donations to universities and civic groups in the early 1990s to promote the company’s interests
    • Oil giant Mobil sought to make tax-exempt donations to leading universities, civic groups and arts programmes to promote the company’s interests and undermine environmental regulation, according to internal documents from the early 1990s obtained by the Guardian.
    • The documents, dated in 1993 and provided to the Guardian by the Climate Investigations Center, show the Mobil Foundation justified spending by detailing major “benefits to Mobil” they expected in return for more than 80 proposed grants for 1994 – a practice not-for-profit experts said may have violated federal law.
    • “The public would have a very hard time finding out any of this,” said Naomi Oreskes, author of Merchants of Doubt and a Harvard University professor of the history of science, adding that “typically one can only see the organization and amount, but no details of what or why”.
  • Radiohead Donates Money to Climate Change Group Instead of Paying Ransom to Hackers: The band released hours of hacked recordings rather than pay ransom money to the hacker who stole them.

6/11/2019

  • ‘Frightening’ number of plant extinctions found in global survey: Study shows 571 species wiped out, and scientists say figure is likely to be big underestimate
    • A sixth mass extinction of life on Earth is under way, according to some scientists. A landmark report in May said human society was in jeopardy from the accelerating decline of the Earth’s natural life-support systems, with 1 million species of plants and animals at risk of extinction.

6/10/2019

  • The Great Insect Dying: Vanishing act in Europe and North America: Though arthropods make up most of the species on Earth, and much of the planet’s biomass, they are significantly understudied compared to mammals, plants, birds, amphibians, reptiles and fish. Lack of baseline data makes insect abundance decline difficult to assess.
    • So it’s no surprise that the first news of a so-called insect apocalypse came from Western Europe in a groundbreaking, eye-opening, and stunning paper that exploded on the scene in October 2017. It found that flying insects in 63 protected areas in Germany had declined by 75 percent in just 25 years. The study was built on the meticulous records of amateur entomologists. To date, this is the strongest data we have on insect declines in temperate areas.
    • One disturbing new development: the insect declines now being detected in Europe and North America may even extend as far north as the Arctic tundra. Research published in 2017 in Ecography assessed a field site in super-remote Zackenberg, Greenland, and found “strong declines of insects of certain fly families and species,” according to Toke Høye, a co-author and researcher at Denmark’s Aarhus University. One discovery: flies in the Muscidae family dropped by 80 percent in just 20 years.

6/9/2019

  • My father served on D-Day. Nationalism upended his youth.
    • It was four years after he had escaped Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia and eventually found safety in the United States. It was two years after he and his brother enlisted in the U.S. Army to fight, as many immigrants still do, for their adopted country. It was at the same time his family members who had not gotten out of Europe were being killed in concentration camps.
    • He experienced what can happen when leaders spawn hatred rather than condemn it. He also experienced having a great leader when it really matters. In 2002, 58 years after my dad landed on Utah Beach, we persuaded him to return to Normandy for a memorial ceremony at the American cemetery there. He walked by himself among the gravestones of his compatriots from the 4th Infantry Division, and eventually stopped and stood for a long time at the marker of one of his commanders, Brig. Gen. Theodore Roosevelt Jr.
    • Later we asked my dad why he spent the most time at Roosevelt’s grave, rather than at the resting places of his fellow infantrymen. He said Roosevelt was a great leader who lived by the regiment’s motto of “Deeds, not words.” In one of the few times my dad ever talked about combat, he showed us where he had landed on Utah Beach and described seeing the general standing calmly amid the indescribable chaos of battle and firmly directing the troops ashore. He said Roosevelt’s selfless, honorable leadership heartened him and, he presumed, thousands of other terrified young soldiers on that day.

6//2019 — 75th anniversary of D-Day

  • End of civilization: climate change apocalypse could start by 2050 if we don't act, report warns: A chilling Australian policy paper outlining a Doomsday scenario for humans if we don’t start dealing with climate change suggests that by 2050 we could see irreversible damage to global climate systems resulting in a world of chaos where political panic is the norm and we are on a path facing the end of civilization.
    • The worst thing about it, say experts, is that it’s actually a fairly calm and rational look at just how bad things could get — and how quickly — if humans don’t stop emitting greenhouse gases into the environment. The scenarios "don't seem that far-fetched to me. I don't think there's anything too crazy about them," said Adam Sobel, a professor of applies physics and mathematics at Columbia University in New York City who studies atmospheric and climate dynamics.
    • Existential climate-related security risk: A scenario: In2017-18,theAustralianSenateinquiredintotheimplicationsofclimatechangeforAustralia’snationalsecurity.TheInquiryfoundthatclimatechangeis“acurrentandexistentialnationalsecurityrisk”,onethat“threatenstheprematureextinctionofEarth-originatingintelligentlifeorthepermanentanddrasticdestructionofitspotentialfordesirablefuturedevelopment”.
  • ‘It is horrid’: India roasts under heat wave with temperatures above 120 degrees: According to weather website El Dorado on Wednesday, five of the hottest 15 places on the planet over the previous 24 hours were in India or neighboring Pakistan. In Churu, the mercury hit 118 degrees, down from 122 degrees on Monday. That temperature is just shy of India’s all-time high, recorded in 2016.

6/4/2019: Thad returns from China

  • Companies See Climate Change Hitting Their Bottom Lines in the Next 5 Years: Many of the world’s biggest companies, from Silicon Valley tech firms to large European banks, are bracing for the prospect that climate change could substantially affect their bottom lines within the next five years, according to a new analysis of corporate disclosures.
    • Total, the French energy giant, has cited analysts’ claims that efforts to tame global warming might render some reserves “unburnable.”
    • Even so, analysts warn that many companies are still lagging in accounting for all of the plausible financial risks from global warming. “The numbers that we’re seeing are already huge, but it’s clear that this is just the tip of the iceberg,” said Bruno Sarda, the North America president for CDP, an international nonprofit that wrote the new report and works with companies around the world to publicly disclose the risks and opportunities that climate change could create for their businesses.

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