Sunday, January 13, 2013

Watch 131 Years of Global Warming in 26 Seconds | Climate Central

Watch 131 Years of Global Warming in 26 Seconds | Climate Central:
While temperatures soared for many this summer, this video takes the longer historical view. It comes to us from our friends at NASA and is an amazing 26-second animation depicting how temperatures around the globe have warmed since 1880. That year is what scientists call the beginning of the “modern record.”

You’ll note an acceleration of those temperatures in the late 1970s as greenhouse gas emissions from energy production increased worldwide and clean air laws reduced emissions of pollutants that had a cooling effect on the climate, and thus were masking some of the global warming signal.

The data come from NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, which monitors global surface temperatures. As NASA notes, “in this animation, reds indicate temperatures higher than the average during a baseline period of 1951-1980, while blues indicate lower temperatures than the baseline average.”


  1. NASA really is very good at this,wish we could have a similar movie of the planned JPP disaster.

    Climate-change denial feels the heat

    A study released by the university and co-written by Professor Reser found Australians were more ready to accept climate change was happening - and many believed they were experiencing it.

    The peer-reviewed national survey conducted in mid-2011 and published late last year found 39 per cent of respondents viewed climate change as ''the most serious problem facing the world in the future if nothing is done to stop it''.


    Just 4.2 per cent of the survey's 4347 respondents selected the option ''there is no such thing as climate change'' and 8.5 per cent could be considered strong sceptics, Professor Reser said.

    He said a ''remarkable'' finding was 45 per cent of respondents reported direct personal experience of climate change. By contrast, the ratio in the US was about a quarter, he said.

    That experience included floods (29 per cent), bushfires (23 per cent) and cyclones (18 per cent).

    Perceived climate-change experiences varied according to voting intentions. Some 75.7 per cent of Green voters and 60.3 per cent of Labor selected the ''We are already feeling the effects'' option. Among National Party supporters, 40.5 per cent picked the option but just 32.7 per cent of Liberal voters did.

    Results of a test about climate change also saw divergent results.

    ''Those who voted Green or Labor were simply more objectively knowledgeable about the phenomenon and the issue,'' he said. ''Our female respondents were generally more knowledgeable, more concerned.''

  2. There's a link between blue jeans and cancer.


    (this is a long article so a few bits here)

    A Cancer Cycle, From Here to China


    Published: January 11, 2013

    MORE than one million people in the Chinese city of Handan awoke last week to the alarming news that an essential source of their drinking water, the Zhouzhang River, had been dangerously contaminated by a 39-ton chemical spill in the nearby city of Changzhi. What made the news even more shocking was that the leak, from a factory pipe, had started at least five days earlier but had been kept secret by government officials, who allowed millions of their neighbors to keep drinking.

    The people of Handan reacted to these disclosures the same way almost anyone else would. First, they panicked, mobbing stores for bottled water. Then, they were furious, demanding to know why no one had told them they were drinking water laced with a probable carcinogen. If history is any guide, they will never get a satisfactory answer.

    For me, reading about Handan prompted a sick feeling of déjà vu. For the last five years I have been writing a history of the chemical industry’s egregious 60-year involvement in the New Jersey shore town of Toms River, which gained unwanted notoriety in the late 1990s thanks to a remarkably well-documented cluster of childhood cancer cases and a long history of often hidden industrial pollution.

    When news of the cancer cluster leaked in 1996, there was the predictable townwide panic, including a run on bottled water supplies. After a wrenching five-year investigation, state and federal health officials concluded that the sick children were more likely to have lived in parts of town where exposure to industrial chemicals — via drinking water and polluted air — were highest.

    As in Toms River, so many things about last week’s debacle in Handan were infuriating, starting with the chemical involved: aniline. That was the compound that launched the synthetic chemical industry in 1856, when a precocious 18-year-old named William Henry Perkin, experimenting in his parents’ London attic, inadvertently discovered that aniline, dissolved in sulfuric acid and mixed with potassium dichromate, made a superb purple dye.

    Soon London, Basel, Switzerland, and the Ruhr Valley in Germany were littered with aniline factories, many of which would morph into familiar corporate giants like CIBA, Geigy, Agfa and the German behemoth BASF, the industry leader. In Basel and London, it was said, you could tell which dyes were being made by the color of the nearby canals and rivers, where the factories dumped their waste

    In 1895, a Frankfurt surgeon named Ludwig Wilhelm Carl Rehn began noticing unusual numbers of bladder cancers — he called them “aniline tumors” — among workers in dye plants

    In the 1950s, at Cincinnati Chemical Works, almost half of the long-term workers who handled a dye compound called benzidine got bladder cancer. Soon after, the Cincinnati factories closed and their Swiss owners transferred manufacturing to a huge new facility in a small town where there would be less scrutiny: Toms River.

    The industry jobs that started in Basel, and then migrated to Cincinnati and Toms River, are now in Shanxi Province and other coal-rich areas of China. BASF alone now owns or invests in 45 Chinese ventures. Meanwhile, hundreds of smaller companies like the Tianji Coal Chemical Industry Group, whose Changzhi factory was the source of last week’s leak, are busy turning coal into aniline and a host of other chemical products.

    Business is booming. If you don’t believe me, head over to the Ocean County Mall in Toms River, where you can get a pair of jeans dyed just the right shade of faded blue, thanks to aniline-based indigo dye. They’re made in China, and they’re cheap — if you don’t count the long-term cost.


    Ono and her son, Sean Lennon, have a connection with the issue. She and her late husband, John Lennon, bought a farm in the Catskills, and she and her son want to prevent the drilling - also known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking - near that property, and everywhere else.


    (CNN) —A federal judge on Friday gave final approval to a settlement between BP and as many as 100,000 plaintiffs who allege they were sickened or injured by the 2010 Gulf oil disaster.

    "Without a settlement, Plaintiffs face significant further expenses in time, money, and resources -- with no assurance of recovery," U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier wrote in his ruling, which did not list the amount of compensation.


    ...China has made a firm commitment to improve its air quality. In February 2012, the China State Council approved its first national ambient air quality standard for PM2.5, which will come into effect by the end of 2015. Since substantial coal use (equivalent to 50% of global coal consumption) is the primary reason for the poor air quality, China is considering setting a cap on its use. According to the 12th Five-Year Plan of the China Coal Industry (2011−2015) formulated by the National Development and Reform Commission of China (NDRC), coal consumption will be limited to 3900 million metric tons (MMT) by 2015, which will present a challenge given the tremendous increase in coal use within the last 5 years (2300 MMT in 2006 and 3200 MMT in 2010).

    The enormous growth in vehicle population in China (from 5 million in 1990 to 100 million in 2011) has raised serious concerns about energy supply security


    "Once-in-a-generation" oil and natural gas fields apparently lured the Royal Dutch Shell company into ignoring clear dangers about drilling in the Alaskan Arctic. It could soon be paying the price.

    While environmentalists might be breathing a sigh of relief that the Kulluk oil rig didn't spill a drop of its 150,000 gallons of oil after running aground off the coast of Alaska late last December, the Royal Dutch Shell company is likely still holding its breath.

    On January 3, a group of 45 Democratic congressmen from the Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition called for a formal investigation of the Kulluk incident in order to determine whether Shell should be allowed to continue drilling for oil in Alaskan waters - into which Shell has invested $5 billion (3.75 billion euros).

    “The recent grounding of Shell's Kulluk oil rig amplifies the risks of drilling in the Arctic," the group's announcement read. "This is the latest in a series of alarming blunders, including the near grounding of another of Shell's Arctic drilling rigs, the 47-year-old Noble Discoverer, in Dutch Harbor and the failure of its blowout containment dome, the Arctic Challenger, in lake-like conditions.”

    In an April document entitled "-48° C," Lloyd's of London - a British insurance giant - claimed that "cleaning up any oil spill in the Arctic, particularly in ice-covered areas, would present multiple obstacles which together constitute a unique and hard-to-manage risk."

    In July, British Petroleum - which had run the Deepwater Horizon platform - withdrew its own bid to drill in the arctic due to incalculable "costs" of any accidents there.

    Why, then, did Shell push forward? It appears that 27 billion barrels of recoverable oil and more than 100 trillion cubic feet of natural gas locked under below Arctic waters blinded the company to risks perceived by others. In the short-term, the potential to save $6 million in taxes also encouraged the company to tow its platform through a gale.

    US inspectors will soon converge on Kodiak Island in Alaska. What they discover there may well determine the future of offshore oil drilling in Alaska - and Shell's $5 billion investment.