Global Warming hits home

Posted February 21, 2015 on 8:43 pm | In the category Canada, Global Warming, Uncategorized | by Mackenzie Brothers

The has never been more dramatic proof of the threat of global warming than what  has happened on the west coast of Canada this winter. Here it is February 20 and Vancouverites are faced with all the consequences.  The cheery tree are in full bloom on the streets, and the leaves leaves smudge marks on parked cars.  The sound of lawnmowers has awakened the  hibernating animals, coming two months early out of  their burrows,  to see what’s up this early in the day.  And the gras iss unusually thick due to sudden surge of too warm sun.  After working up a sweat from the hand-mowing  work, it is an old tradition  to take a run down to the beach for a swim, and many are doing that only to find the lifeguards are not on duty. and red warn ing flags are waving.  The water is nevertheless refreshing if dangerous .  The orcas have shown up much  earlier than usual in the bay and we are all delighted  to see more than the usual little ones following Mama around.  And the skiers, bereft of snow in the local mountains, have to drive north for an hour and half before hitting the powdery slopes.  Frustrating it is too for those who like to shovel snow or push a snow blower, as they must seek some other form of exercise.

People who have had to travel east or to the high arctic come back with  a different story.  It’s hard to believe but they say that it hasn’t been nearly as warm and green out east.  No doubt as a piece of satire, the New York Times claimed that the mayor of New York closed the city subway system down one day in advance of  a two-inch snowfall, fearful that  the white stuff would fill the subway tunnels.  The mayor of Winnipeg offered him a week’s vacation there to clear his mind, but he has not had a reply.  And the Peg has always been the place for the true winter fans.

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Wake up and smell the smoke

Posted August 9, 2010 on 2:37 am | In the category Germany, Global Warming, Russia | by Mackenzie Brothers

Not all of Russia is burning . It is way too big. But a lot of it is and that part is in Europe. It’s been 40 degrees in Moscow on many days for longer than seems possible and it’s been 35-37 degrees in Central Europe for weeks at a time. It turns out the German Bundesbahn is programmed to provide air conditioning in its fast (and expensive) CE trains when the temperature outside reaches 32 degrees, but to stop providing it when it reaches 35, which was assumed to be the maximum possible. The result was that hundreds of passengers were left boiling in superheated trains in the last weeks in which you could not open the windows, and some had to be flagged down before the situation of the passengers became critical. Even Stockholm was hot though few Swedes complained as they enjoyed their water-surrounded vacation spots more than usual.

But the tremendous storms that pushed regularly through Bavaria at dusk this summer never made it to eastern Europe and the question hanging in the air is if we are indeed seeing the future of a different Europe with drought, wild fires, suffocating smog and dangerous heat replacing the relatively moderate Central and Eastern European summers of the past. If that is the case – and lots of researchers think it is – it is simply incredible that the main polluters of the word – Canada, the U.S. China,India etc – are ignoring the problem and still building their energy futures on fossil fuels. The Obama government has stuck its head in the sand, the Harper government has the second largest oil reserves in the word and plans to use it despite the tremendous resources needed to transform it into fuel, and the cities of China and India already live in a permanently toxic soup. Only the European middle powers are making some real efforts at alternate energy sources – Germany, the Netherlands, Spain – but they don’t have a chance if the leaders of the big polluters don’t wake up and smell the smog before it’s too late.

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America Takes on Mother Nature

Posted November 13, 2007 on 6:14 pm | In the category Environment, Global Warming, U.S. Domestic Policy | by Jeff

Bob and Doug Mackenzie have reported on the successful – but huge – investment of the Dutch in controlling Mother Nature – or at least adapting to Her powers. But in doing so they cast aspersions on the United States’ ability to do the same, unpleasantly referring to Katrina.

Well, as it turns out Bob and Doug have missed the big story developing in the Southeastern United States.  After a year long drought that has led to dangerous lows in drinking water supplies in Georgia and Alabama as well as major, long-burning fires, the governors of those two states have taken action. And you better believe that they are not going to waste a whole baggage car full of taxpayers’ money to do so.

An AP story in today’s NY Times reported that:

“…Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue stepped up to a podium outside the state Capitol on Tuesday and led a solemn crowd of several hundred people in a prayer for rain on his drought-stricken state.

”We’ve come together here simply for one reason and one reason only: To very reverently and respectfully pray up a storm,” Perdue said after a choir provided a hymn. …”It’s time to appeal to Him who can and will make a difference,” Perdue told the crowd….

Alas the AP report continued:

Meteorologists said earlier this week there was a slight possibility of rain Tuesday, but less of a chance of precipitation was predicted for the rest of the week.

That Governor Perdue persisted in his prayer strategy showed special faith since Alabama Gov. Bob Riley had issued a proclamation declaring a week in July as ”Days of Prayer for Rain” to ”humbly ask for His blessings and to hold us steady in times of difficulty.”  Alas, those prayers remain unanswered.

In a related story, President Bush announced that special presidential advisor Pat Robertson would be leading the nation in a day of prayer aimed at reducing the price of oil.

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The Dutch Gamble Pays Off

Posted November 10, 2007 on 3:01 am | In the category Europe, Global Warming, Uncategorized | by Mackenzie Brothers

A good percentage of the inhabitants of the Netherlands live below sea level and in the past catastrophes occurred regularly as the North Sea overwhelmed dykes and rushed in on human settlements. Margriet de Moor’s thrilling and frightening novel, Flood Tide, recalls the killer floods of 1953 when thousands of people were killed as the sea reclaimed the lands that had been taken from it when dykes set up to protect new settlements were overwhelmed and whole towns disappeared from the face of the earth. In February 1962 neighbouring Hamburg was the victim of a surging flood that killed hundreds and a decade ago the Dutch concluded that their big urban centres, Rotterdam and Amsterdam, were increasingly threatened by great calamity. They concluded that the rapidly growing urban population was never going to be safe from the sea unless something serious was done, a decision that unfortunately was never even remotely considered for New Orleans. No doubt too expensive.
And so exactly ten years ago the spectacular engineering project known as the Maeslant flood tide defence was declared operational. Two 220 meter long gigantic horizontal towers, each heavier than the Eifel Tower that they resemble, have been waiting since then for the moment when they could show that they could indeed be swung into place and close off the Nieuwe Waterweg, the 20 kilometer long and 360 meter wide channel leading from the North Sea to Europe’s biggest harbour in Rotterdam. Yesterday the moment came as the storm called Thilo smashed into the Dutch coast and the towers were closed for the first time under storm conditions since they were built. It was a moment that in many ways would determine whether the city of Rotterdam and its great harbour had a secure future, particularly in the face of global warming.
And so far it has held. When the morning of the flood tide came, the flood was still being held back and Dutch engineers seem convinced that even the higher floods expected in the day would not breech their engineering marvel. This project cost the Dutch a tremendous fortune, but you won’t find any Dutch people today who would say it wasn’t worth it, despite the ten years it stood idle. It’s something the residence of New Orleans were not given the chance to decide.

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The More Climate Changes the More We’re Screwed

Posted April 11, 2007 on 7:01 pm | In the category Environment, Global Warming, Uncategorized | by Kiwi

Among the decisions at last months EU summit two were related. Related in that way that allows one to see between the lines. Allows one to read the political sub-text that is usually meant to be obscured.

The big publicized decision was the EU ordering member states to reduce carbon emissions by 20% by 2020. This decision also required specific methods to reach that mandate. (Tho some of the new members grumped — saying they had hoped to leave micro-managed state planning behind when they escaped the USSR— maybe climate change required a bit of extra discipline.) Anyway,among the specific steps to be taken is forced replacement in each nation of a percentage of carbon-intensive light bulbs with more eco-friendly (and expensive) ones.

Well. okay.

But then came the–less publicized– related decision. A 100% tariff on imports of these
eco-friendly bulbs was extended to 2020. Seimens, the German manufacturer has a virtual lock on the EU market. It can pocket the excess profit europeans are forced by law to fork up.

So the sub-text comes into focus.

Eco-terrified Europeans are demanding climate change action. EU authorities are giving it to them. So to speak. Climate change policy comes with baggage europeans aren’t asking for. The baggage from the left is increased central control of european local decisions. The baggage from the right is increased protection of corporate profits.

The capitalists and the authoritarians are immediate big winners. And, hey, maybe there’ll actually be some climate change benefit by 2020. European’s will have to wait to see on that one. Mean time they pay up and shut up.

If this were just a one-off thing confined to the EU it wouldn’t be worth blogging. But maybe there is a universal theme? A sorta cynical global political manipulation of popular terror over climate change? A charade in which the left and right seem to fight each other but you and I are the only ones getting bruises?

In the US there is a worrying coalescence that looks remarkably similar. The Washington Post  today reports on a climate change debate between Kerry and Gingrich that was billed as a “smackdown fight” but degenerated into a love-in. Trees were being hugged by left and right alike.

So what? Nothing, really. Except that as voters we want to be careful what we ask for.

Europeans asked for action on climate change. What they’re getting is poorer and less autonomous.

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A FAIR AND UNBALANCED EDUCATION

Posted January 26, 2007 on 1:25 pm | In the category Education, Global Warming | by Jeff

In case you wondered, the Apocalypse is clearly upon us.  The evidence for this came to light in a suburb of Seattle where a teacher almost got away with showing her class the Al Gore movie about global warming without also bringing the Christian evangelical message about climate change to the class. Luckily one parent intervened and the School Board came to its senses, preparing to put a disciplinary letter in the teacher’s personnel file, placing a moratorium on the showing of the film in any of its schools and ordering future viewings to include evidence from those who do not believe that humans play a role in global warming.

What are those views? Well, according to the Washington Post the complaining parent identifies himself as: “a  43-year-old computer consultant [and] evangelical Christian who … believes that a warming planet is “one of the signs” of Jesus Christ’s imminent return for Judgment Day.” Al Gore against the bible?  The battle of the ages.  Another citizen, a self identified PhD scientist suggests studying the “recent findings by the Russian Sciences Academy Observatory predicting global cooling beginning in 2012.”

Hmmm. Who to believe? God’s Word? Russians? Al Gore?

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